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Numbers 10:11-28

Context
The Journey From Sinai to Kadesh

10:11 1 On the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle of the testimony. 2  10:12 So the Israelites set out 3  on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud settled in the wilderness of Paran.

Judah Begins the Journey

10:13 This was the first time they set out on their journey according to the commandment 4  of the Lord, by the authority 5  of Moses.

10:14 The standard 6  of the camp of the Judahites set out first according to their companies, and over his company was Nahshon son of Amminadab.

10:15 Over the company of the tribe of Issacharites was Nathanel son of Zuar, 10:16 and over the company of the tribe of the Zebulunites was Elion son of Helon. 10:17 Then the tabernacle was dismantled, and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out, carrying the tabernacle.

Journey Arrangements for the Tribes

10:18 The standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their companies; over his company was Elizur son of Shedeur. 10:19 Over the company of the tribe of the Simeonites was Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, 10:20 and over the company of the tribe of the Gadites was Eliasaph son of Deuel. 10:21 And the Kohathites set out, carrying the articles for the sanctuary; 7  the tabernacle was to be set up 8  before they arrived. 9  10:22 And the standard of the camp of the Ephraimites set out according to their companies; over his company was Elishama son of Ammihud. 10:23 Over the company of the tribe of the Manassehites was Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, 10:24 and over the company of the tribe of Benjaminites was Abidan son of Gideoni.

10:25 The standard of the camp of the Danites set out, which was the rear guard 10  of all the camps by their companies; over his company was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 10:26 Over the company of the tribe of the Asherites was Pagiel son of Ocran, 10:27 and over the company of the tribe of the Naphtalites was Ahira son of Enan. 10:28 These were the traveling arrangements 11  of the Israelites according to their companies when they traveled. 12 

1 sn This section is somewhat mechanical: It begins with an introduction (vv. 11, 12), and then begins with Judah (vv. 13-17), followed by the rest of the tribes (vv. 18-27), and finally closes with a summary (v. 28). The last few verses (vv. 29-36) treat the departure of Hobab.

2 tc Smr inserts a lengthy portion from Deut 1:6-8, expressing the command for Israel to take the land from the Amorites.

tn The expression is difficult; it is מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת (mishkan haedut). The reference is to the sacred shrine that covered the ark with the commandments inside. NEB renders the expression as “tabernacle of the Token”; NAB has “the dwelling of the commandments.”

3 sn The verb is the same as the noun: “they journeyed on their journeyings.” This underscores the point of their continual traveling.

4 tn Heb “mouth.”

5 tn Heb “hand.”

6 sn The “standard” (דֶּגֶל, degel) was apparently some kind of a symbol put up on a pole to signify the tribal hosts. R. de Vaux thought it simply referred to a pole or a mast, but that would not distinguish tribes (Ancient Israel, 226-27).

7 tn Heb “carrying the sanctuary,” a metonymy of whole for parts, representing all the holy objects that were located in the sanctuary.

8 tn The verb is the third person plural form; without an expressed subject it is treated as a passive.

9 tn Heb “against their coming.”

10 tn The MT uses a word that actually means “assembler,” so these three tribes made up a strong rear force recognized as the assembler of all the tribes.

11 tn Or “journeyings of.”

12 tn The verb is the preterite with vav (ו) consecutive. But in this sentence it should be subordinated as a temporal clause to the preceding statement, even though it follows it.



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