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  Discovery Box

Numbers 10:1--21:35

Context
The Blowing of Trumpets

10:1 1 The Lord spoke to Moses: 10:2 “Make 2  two trumpets of silver; you are to make 3  them from a single hammered piece. 4  You will use them 5  for assembling the community and for directing the traveling of the camps. 10:3 When 6  they blow 7  them both, all the community must come 8  to you to the entrance of the tent of meeting.

10:4 “But if they blow with one trumpet, then the leaders, the heads of the thousands of Israel, must come to you. 9  10:5 When you blow an alarm, 10  then the camps that are located 11  on the east side must begin to travel. 12  10:6 And when you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that are located on the south side must begin to travel. 13  An alarm must be sounded 14  for their journeys. 10:7 But when you assemble the community, 15  you must blow, but you must not sound an alarm. 16  10:8 The sons of Aaron, the priests, must blow the trumpets; and they will be to you for an eternal ordinance throughout your generations. 10:9 If you go to war in your land against an adversary who opposes 17  you, then you must sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved 18  from your enemies.

10:10 “Also in the time when you rejoice, such as 19  on your appointed festivals or 20  at the beginnings of your months, you must blow with your trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings, so that they may 21  become 22  a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”

The Journey From Sinai to Kadesh

10:11 23 On the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle of the testimony. 24  10:12 So the Israelites set out 25  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 26  of the Lord, by the authority 27  of Moses.

10:14 The standard 28  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; 29  the tabernacle was to be set up 30  before they arrived. 31  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 32  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 33  of the Israelites according to their companies when they traveled. 34 

The Appeal to Hobab

10:29 35 Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel, the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, 36  “We are journeying to the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, 37  for the Lord has promised good things 38  for Israel.” 10:30 But Hobab 39  said to him, “I will not go, but I will go instead to my own land and to my kindred.” 10:31 Moses 40  said, “Do not leave us, 41  because you know places for us to camp in the wilderness, and you could be our guide. 42  10:32 And if you come with us, it is certain 43  that whatever good things the Lord will favor us with, we will share with you as well.”

10:33 So they traveled from the mountain of the Lord three days’ journey; 44  and the ark of the covenant of the Lord was traveling before them during the three days’ journey, to find a resting place for them. 10:34 45  And the cloud of the Lord was over them by day, when they traveled 46  from the camp. 10:35 And when the ark traveled, Moses would say, “Rise up, O Lord! May your enemies be scattered, and may those who hate you flee before you!” 10:36 And when it came to rest he would say, “Return, O Lord, to the many thousands of Israel!” 47 

The Israelites Complain

11:1 48 When the people complained, 49  it displeased 50  the Lord. When the Lord heard 51  it, his anger burned, 52  and so 53  the fire of the Lord 54  burned among them and consumed some of the outer parts of the camp. 11:2 When the people cried to Moses, he 55  prayed to the Lord, and the fire died out. 56  11:3 So he called the name of that place Taberah 57  because there the fire of the Lord burned among them.

Complaints about Food

11:4 58 Now the mixed multitude 59  who were among them craved more desirable foods, 60  and so the Israelites wept again 61  and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 62  11:5 We remember 63  the fish we used to eat 64  freely 65  in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 11:6 But now we 66  are dried up, 67  and there is nothing at all before us 68  except this manna!” 11:7 (Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 11:8 And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it with mills or pounded it in mortars; they baked it in pans and made cakes of it. It tasted like fresh olive oil. 69  11:9 And when the dew came down 70  on the camp in the night, the manna fell 71  with it.)

Moses’ Complaint to the Lord

11:10 72 Moses heard the people weeping 73  throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and when the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, Moses was also displeased. 74  11:11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you afflicted 75  your servant? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that 76  you lay the burden of this entire people on me? 11:12 Did I conceive this entire people? 77  Did I give birth to 78  them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your arms, as a foster father 79  bears a nursing child,’ to the land which you swore to their fathers? 11:13 From where shall I get 80  meat to give to this entire people, for they cry to me, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat!’ 81  11:14 I am not able to bear this entire people alone, 82  because it 83  is too heavy for me! 11:15 But if you are going to deal 84  with me like this, then kill me immediately. 85  If I have found favor in your sight then do not let me see my trouble.” 86 

The Response of God

11:16 87 The Lord said to Moses, “Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know are elders of the people and officials 88  over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting; let them take their position there with you. 11:17 Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take part of the spirit that is on you, and will put it on them, and they will bear some of the burden of the people with you, so that you do not bear it 89  all by yourself.

11:18 “And say to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves 90  for tomorrow, and you will eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing 91  of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat, 92  for life 93  was good for us in Egypt?” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 11:19 You will eat, not just one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 11:20 but a whole month, 94  until it comes out your nostrils and makes you sick, 95  because you have despised 96  the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why 97  did we ever come out of Egypt?”’”

11:21 Moses said, “The people around me 98  are 600,000 on foot; 99  but you say, ‘I will give them meat, 100  that they may eat 101  for a whole month.’ 11:22 Would they have enough if the flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?” 11:23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? 102  Now you will see whether my word to you will come true 103  or not!”

11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He then gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and had them stand around the tabernacle. 11:25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to them, and he took some of the Spirit that was on Moses 104  and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, 105  they prophesied, 106  but did not do so again. 107 

Eldad and Medad

11:26 But two men remained in the camp; one’s name was Eldad, and the other’s name was Medad. And the spirit rested on them. (Now they were among those in the registration, 108  but had not gone to the tabernacle.) So they prophesied in the camp. 11:27 And a 109  young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 11:28 Joshua son of Nun, the servant 110  of Moses, one of his choice young men, 111  said, 112  “My lord Moses, stop them!” 113  11:29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for me? 114  I wish that 115  all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 11:30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.

Provision of Quail

11:31 Now a wind 116  went out 117  from the Lord and brought quail 118  from the sea, and let them fall 119  near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side, and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about three feet 120  high on the surface of the ground. 11:32 And the people stayed up 121  all that day, all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. The one who gathered the least gathered ten homers, 122  and they spread them out 123  for themselves all around the camp. 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, 124  the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.

11:34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth Hattaavah, 125  because there they buried the people that craved different food. 126  11:35 The people traveled from Kibroth Hattaavah to Hazeroth, and they stayed at Hazeroth.

Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

12:1 127 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against 128  Moses because of the Cushite 129  woman he had married 130  (for he had married an Ethiopian woman). 12:2 They 131  said, “Has the Lord only 132  spoken through Moses? Has he not also spoken through us?” 133  And the Lord heard it. 134 

12:3 (Now the man Moses was very humble, 135  more so than any man on the face of the earth.)

The Response of the Lord

12:4 The Lord spoke immediately to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam: “The three of you come to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went. 12:5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent; he then called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward.

12:6 The Lord 136  said, “Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, 137  I the Lord 138  will make myself known to him in a vision; I will speak with him in a dream. 12:7 My servant 139  Moses is not like this; he is faithful 140  in all my house. 12:8 With him I will speak face to face, 141  openly, 142  and not in riddles; and he will see the form 143  of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 12:9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he departed. 12:10 When 144  the cloud departed from above the tent, Miriam became 145  leprous 146  as snow. Then Aaron looked at 147  Miriam, and she was leprous!

The Intercession of Moses

12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “O my lord, 148  please do not hold this sin against us, in which we have acted foolishly and have sinned! 12:12 Do not let her be like a baby born dead, whose flesh is half-consumed when it comes out of its 149  mother’s womb!”

12:13 Then Moses cried to the Lord, “Heal her now, O God.” 150  12:14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had only spit 151  in her face, would she not have been disgraced for seven days? Shut her out from the camp seven days, and afterward she can be brought back in again.”

12:15 So Miriam was shut outside of the camp for seven days, and the people did not journey on until Miriam was brought back in. 152  12:16 After that the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.

Spies Sent Out

13:1 153 The Lord spoke 154  to Moses: 13:2 “Send out men to investigate 155  the land of Canaan, which I am giving 156  to the Israelites. You are to send one man from each ancestral tribe, 157  each one a leader among them.” 13:3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command 158  of the Lord. All of them were leaders 159  of the Israelites.

13:4 Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; 13:5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 13:6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; 13:7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 13:8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 13:9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 13:10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 13:11 from the tribe 160  of Joseph, namely, the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi son of Susi; 13:12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13:13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 13:14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vopshi; 13:15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki. 13:16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to investigate the land. And Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua. 161 

The Spies’ Instructions

13:17 When Moses sent 162  them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negev, 163  and then go up into the hill country 13:18 and see 164  what the land is like, 165  and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 13:19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities, 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, 166  and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year 167  for the first ripe grapes. 168 

The Spies’ Activities

13:21 So they went up and investigated the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, 169  at the entrance of Hamath. 170  13:22 When they went up through the Negev, they 171  came 172  to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, 173  descendants of Anak, were living. (Now Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan 174  in Egypt.) 13:23 When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a staff 175  between two men, as well as some of the pomegranates and the figs. 13:24 That place was called 176  the Eshcol Valley, 177  because of the cluster 178  of grapes that the Israelites cut from there. 13:25 They returned from investigating the land after forty days.

The Spies’ Reports

13:26 They came back 179  to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. 180  They reported 181  to the whole community and showed the fruit of the land. 13:27 They told Moses, 182  “We went to the land where you sent us. 183  It is indeed flowing with milk and honey, 184  and this is its fruit. 13:28 But 185  the inhabitants 186  are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the banks 187  of the Jordan.” 188 

13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, “Let us go up 189  and occupy it, 190  for we are well able to conquer it.” 191  13:31 But the men 192  who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are!” 13:32 Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging 193  report of the land they had investigated, saying, “The land that we passed through 194  to investigate is a land that devours 195  its inhabitants. 196  All the people we saw there 197  are of great stature. 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim 198  there (the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim), and we seemed liked grasshoppers both to ourselves 199  and to them.” 200 

The Israelites Respond in Unbelief

14:1 201 Then all the community raised a loud cry, 202  and the people wept 203  that night. 14:2 And all the Israelites murmured 204  against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died 205  in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished 206  in this wilderness! 14:3 Why has the Lord brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt?” 14:4 So they said to one another, 207  “Let’s appoint 208  a leader 209  and return 210  to Egypt.”

14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground 211  before the whole assembled community 212  of the Israelites. 14:6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments. 14:7 They said to the whole community of the Israelites, “The land we passed through to investigate is an exceedingly 213  good land. 14:8 If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land that is flowing with milk and honey. 214  14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. 215  Their protection 216  has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!”

14:10 However, the whole community threatened to stone them. 217  But 218  the glory 219  of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent 220  of meeting.

The Punishment from God

14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise 221  me, and how long will they not believe 222  in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them? 14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence, 223  and I will disinherit them; I will make you into a nation that is greater and mightier than they!”

14:13 Moses said to the Lord, “When the Egyptians hear 224  it – for you brought up this people by your power from among them – 14:14 then they will tell it to the inhabitants 225  of this land. They have heard that you, Lord, are among this people, that you, Lord, are seen face to face, 226  that your cloud stands over them, and that you go before them by day in a pillar of cloud and in a pillar of fire by night. 14:15 If you kill 227  this entire people at once, 228  then the nations that have heard of your fame will say, 14:16 ‘Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to them, he killed them in the wilderness.’ 14:17 So now, let the power of my Lord 229  be great, just as you have said, 14:18 ‘The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, 230  forgiving iniquity and transgression, 231  but by no means clearing 232  the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.’ 233  14:19 Please forgive 234  the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, 235  just as you have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.”

14:20 Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 236  14:21 But truly, as I live, 237  all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 14:22 For all the people have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tempted 238  me now these ten times, 239  and have not obeyed me, 240  14:23 they will by no means 241  see the land that I swore to their fathers, nor will any of them who despised me see it. 14:24 Only my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully – I will bring him into the land where he had gone, and his descendants 242  will possess it. 14:25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites were living in the valleys.) 243  Tomorrow, turn and journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”

14:26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 14:27 “How long must I bear 244  with this evil congregation 245  that murmurs against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites that they murmured against me. 14:28 Say to them, ‘As I live, 246  says 247  the Lord, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing. 248  14:29 Your dead bodies 249  will fall in this wilderness – all those of you who were numbered, according to your full number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me. 14:30 You will by no means enter into the land where 250  I swore 251  to settle 252  you. The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 14:31 But I will bring in your little ones, whom you said would become victims of war, 253  and they will enjoy 254  the land that you have despised. 14:32 But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness, 14:33 and your children will wander 255  in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, 256  until your dead bodies lie finished 257  in the wilderness. 14:34 According to the number of the days you have investigated this land, forty days – one day for a year – you will suffer for 258  your iniquities, forty years, and you will know what it means to thwart me. 259  14:35 I, the Lord, have said, “I will surely do so to all this evil congregation that has gathered together against me. In this wilderness they will be finished, and there they will die!”’”

14:36 The men whom Moses sent to investigate the land, who returned and made the whole community murmur against him by producing 260  an evil report about the land, 14:37 those men who produced the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord. 14:38 But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among 261  the men who went to investigate the land, lived. 14:39 When Moses told 262  these things to all the Israelites, the people mourned 263  greatly.

14:40 And early 264  in the morning they went up to the crest of the hill country, 265  saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place that the Lord commanded, 266  for we have sinned.” 267  14:41 But Moses said, “Why 268  are you now transgressing the commandment 269  of the Lord? It will not succeed! 14:42 Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, and you will be 270  defeated before your enemies. 14:43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you will fall by the sword. Because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”

14:44 But they dared 271  to go up to the crest of the hill, although 272  neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. 14:45 So the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country swooped 273  down and attacked them 274  as far as Hormah. 275 

Sacrificial Rulings

15:1 276 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land where you are to live, 277  which I am giving you, 278  15:3 and you make an offering by fire to the Lord from the herd or from the flock (whether a burnt offering or a sacrifice for discharging a vow or as a freewill offering or in your solemn feasts) to create a pleasing aroma to the Lord, 15:4 then the one who presents his offering to the Lord must bring 279  a grain offering of one-tenth of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with one fourth of a hin of olive oil. 280  15:5 You must also prepare one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering 281  with the burnt offering or the sacrifice for each lamb. 282  15:6 Or for a ram, you must prepare as a grain offering two-tenths of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with one-third of a hin of olive oil, 15:7 and for a drink offering you must offer one-third of a hin of wine as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:8 And when you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or a sacrifice for discharging a vow or as a peace offering to the Lord, 15:9 then a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with half a hin of olive oil must be presented 283  with the young bull, 15:10 and you must present as the drink offering half a hin of wine with the fire offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:11 This is what is to be done 284  for each ox, or each ram, or each of the male lambs or the goats. 15:12 You must do so for each one according to the number that you prepare.

15:13 “‘Every native-born person must do these things in this way to present an offering made by fire as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:14 If a resident foreigner is living 285  with you – or whoever is among you 286  in future generations 287  – and prepares an offering made by fire as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he must do it the same way you are to do it. 288  15:15 One statute must apply 289  to you who belong to the congregation and to the resident foreigner who is living among you, as a permanent 290  statute for your future generations. You and the resident foreigner will be alike 291  before the Lord. 15:16 One law and one custom must apply to you and to the resident foreigner who lives alongside you.’”

Rules for First Fruits

15:17 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:18 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land to which I am bringing you 292  15:19 and you eat 293  some of the food of the land, you must offer up a raised offering 294  to the Lord. 15:20 You must offer up a cake of the first of your finely ground flour 295  as a raised offering; as you offer the raised offering of the threshing floor, so you must offer it up. 15:21 You must give to the Lord some of the first of your finely ground flour as a raised offering in your future generations.

Rules for Unintentional Offenses

15:22 296 “‘If you 297  sin unintentionally and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses – 15:23 all that the Lord has commanded you by the authority 298  of Moses, from the day that the Lord commanded Moses and continuing through your future generations – 15:24 then if anything is done unintentionally 299  without the knowledge of 300  the community, the whole community must prepare one young bull for a burnt offering – for a pleasing aroma to the Lord – along with its grain offering and its customary drink offering, and one male goat for a purification offering. 15:25 And the priest is to make atonement 301  for the whole community of the Israelites, and they will be forgiven, 302  because it was unintentional and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to the Lord, and their purification offering before the Lord, for their unintentional offense. 15:26 And the whole community 303  of the Israelites and the resident foreigner who lives among them will be forgiven, since all the people were involved in the unintentional offense.

15:27 “‘If any person 304  sins unintentionally, then he must bring a yearling female goat for a purification offering. 15:28 And the priest must make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally – when he sins unintentionally before the Lord – to make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. 15:29 You must have one law for the person who sins unintentionally, both for the native-born among the Israelites and for the resident foreigner who lives among them.

Deliberate Sin

15:30 “‘But the person 305  who acts defiantly, 306  whether native-born or a resident foreigner, insults 307  the Lord. 308  That person 309  must be cut off 310  from among his people. 15:31 Because he has despised 311  the word of the Lord and has broken 312  his commandment, that person 313  must be completely cut off. 314  His iniquity will be on him.’” 315 

15:32 When the Israelites were 316  in the wilderness they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 317  15:33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community. 15:34 They put him in custody, because there was no clear instruction about what should be done to him. 15:35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; the whole community must stone 318  him with stones outside the camp.” 15:36 So the whole community took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, 319  just as the Lord commanded Moses.

Rules for Tassels

15:37 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:38 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them to make 320  tassels 321  for themselves on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and put a blue thread 322  on the tassel of the corners. 15:39 You must have this tassel so that you may look at it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and obey them and so that you do not follow 323  after your own heart and your own eyes that lead you to unfaithfulness. 324  15:40 Thus 325  you will remember and obey all my commandments and be holy to your God. 15:41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.”

The Rebellion of Korah

16:1 326 Now Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, who were Reubenites, 327  took men 328  16:2 and rebelled against Moses, along with some of the Israelites, 250 leaders 329  of the community, chosen from the assembly, 330  famous men. 331  16:3 And they assembled against Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, 332  seeing that the whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the community of the Lord?”

16:4 When Moses heard it he fell down with his face to the ground. 333  16:5 Then he said to Korah and to all his company, “In the morning the Lord will make known who are his, and who is holy. He will cause that person 334  to approach him; the person he has chosen he will cause to approach him. 16:6 Do this, Korah, you and all your company: 335  Take censers, 16:7 put fire in them, and set incense on them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses will be holy. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi!” 16:8 Moses said to Korah, “Listen now, you sons of Levi! 16:9 Does it seem too small a thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the community of Israel to bring you near to himself, to perform the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the community to minister to them? 16:10 He has brought you near and all your brothers, the sons of Levi, with you. Do you now seek 336  the priesthood also? 16:11 Therefore you and all your company have assembled together against the Lord! And Aaron – what is he that you murmur against him?” 337  16:12 Then Moses summoned 338  Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come up. 339  16:13 Is it a small thing 340  that you have brought us up out of the land that flows with milk and honey, 341  to kill us in the wilderness? Now do you want to make yourself a prince 342  over us? 16:14 Moreover, 343  you have not brought us into a land that flows with milk and honey, nor given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you think you can blind 344  these men? We will not come up.”

16:15 Moses was very angry, and he said to the Lord, “Have no respect 345  for their offering! I have not taken so much as one donkey from them, nor have I harmed any one of them!”

16:16 Then Moses said to Korah, “You and all your company present yourselves before the Lord – you and they, and Aaron – tomorrow. 16:17 And each of you 346  take his censer, put 347  incense in it, and then each of you present his censer before the Lord: 250 censers, along with you, and Aaron – each of you with his censer.” 16:18 So everyone took his censer, put fire in it, and set incense on it, and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting, with Moses and Aaron. 16:19 When 348  Korah assembled the whole community against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting, then the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community.

The Judgment on the Rebels

16:20 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 16:21 “Separate yourselves 349  from among this community, 350  that I may consume them in an instant.” 16:22 Then they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground 351  and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all people, 352  will you be angry with the whole community when only one man sins?” 353 

16:23 So the Lord spoke to Moses: 16:24 “Tell the community: ‘Get away 354  from around the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’” 16:25 Then Moses got up 355  and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel went after him. 16:26 And he said to the community, “Move away from the tents of these wicked 356  men, and do not touch anything they have, lest you be destroyed because 357  of all their sins.” 358  16:27 So they got away from the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram on every side, and Dathan and Abiram came out and stationed themselves 359  in the entrances of their tents with their wives, their children, and their toddlers. 16:28 Then Moses said, “This is how 360  you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 361  16:29 If these men die a natural death, 362  or if they share the fate 363  of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 16:30 But if the Lord does something entirely new, 364  and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up 365  along with all that they have, and they 366  go down alive to the grave, 367  then you will know that these men have despised the Lord!”

16:31 When he had finished 368  speaking 369  all these words, the ground that was under them split open, 16:32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, along with their households, and all Korah’s men, and all their goods. 16:33 They and all that they had went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed over them. So they perished from among the community. 16:34 All the Israelites 370  who were around them fled at their cry, 371  for they said, “What if 372  the earth swallows us too?” 16:35 Then a fire 373  went out from the Lord and devoured the 250 men who offered incense.

The Atonement for the Rebellion

16:36 (17:1) 374  The Lord spoke to Moses: 16:37 “Tell 375  Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pick up 376  the censers out of the flame, for they are holy, and then scatter the coals of fire 377  at a distance. 16:38 As for the censers of these men who sinned at the cost of their lives, 378  they must be made 379  into hammered sheets for covering the altar, because they presented them before the Lord and sanctified them. They will become a sign to the Israelites.” 16:39 So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers presented by those who had been burned up, and they were hammered out as a covering for the altar. 16:40 It was a memorial for the Israelites, that no outsider who is not a descendant of 380  Aaron should approach to burn incense before the Lord, that he might not become like Korah and his company – just as the Lord had spoken by the authority 381  of Moses. 16:41 But on the next day the whole community of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the Lord’s people!” 382  16:42 When the community assembled 383  against Moses and Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting – and 384  the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 16:43 Then Moses and Aaron stood before the tent of meeting.

16:44 The Lord spoke to Moses: 16:45 “Get away from this community, so that I can consume them in an instant!” But they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. 385  16:46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take the censer, put burning coals from the altar in it, place incense on it, and go quickly into the assembly and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lord – the plague has begun!” 16:47 So Aaron did 386  as Moses commanded 387  and ran into the middle of the assembly, where the plague was just beginning among the people. So he placed incense on the coals and made atonement for the people. 16:48 He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. 16:49 Now 14,700 people died in the plague, in addition to those who died in the event with Korah. 16:50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and the plague was stopped.

The Budding of Aaron’s Staff

17:1 388 The Lord spoke to Moses: 17:2 “Speak to the Israelites, and receive from them a staff from each tribe, 389  one from every tribal leader, 390  twelve staffs; you must write each man’s name on his staff. 17:3 You must write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi; for one staff is for the head of every tribe. 391  17:4 You must place them 392  in the tent of meeting before the ark of the covenant 393  where I meet with you. 17:5 And the staff of the man whom I choose will blossom; so I will rid myself of the complaints of the Israelites, which they murmur against you.”

17:6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and each of their leaders gave him a staff, one for each leader, 394  according to their tribes 395  – twelve staffs; the staff of Aaron was among their staffs. 17:7 Then Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the testimony. 396 

17:8 On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony – and 397  the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted, and brought forth buds, and produced blossoms, and yielded almonds! 398  17:9 So Moses brought out all the staffs from before the Lord to all the Israelites. They looked at them, 399  and each man took his staff.

The Memorial

17:10 The Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s staff back before the testimony to be preserved for a sign to the rebels, so that you may bring their murmurings to an end 400  before me, that they will not die.” 401  17:11 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him – this is what he did.

17:12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We are bound to die! 402  We perish, we all perish! 17:13 (17:28) 403  Anyone who even comes close to the tabernacle of the Lord will die! Are we all to die?” 404 

Responsibilities of the Priests

18:1 405 The Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons and your tribe 406  with you must bear the iniquity of the sanctuary, 407  and you and your sons with you must bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

18:2 “Bring with you your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, so that they may join 408  with you and minister to you while 409  you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony. 18:3 They must be responsible to care for you and to care for the entire tabernacle. However, they must not come near the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you will die. 18:4 They must join 410  with you, and they will be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent, but no unauthorized person 411  may approach you. 18:5 You will be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the care of the altar, so that there will be 412  no more wrath on the Israelites. 18:6 I myself have chosen 413  your brothers the Levites from among the Israelites. They are given to you as a gift from the Lord, to perform the duties 414  of the tent of meeting. 18:7 But you and your sons with you are responsible for your priestly duties, for everything at the altar and within the curtain. And you must serve. I give you the priesthood as a gift for service; but the unauthorized person who approaches must be put to death.”

The Portion of the Priests

18:8 The Lord spoke to Aaron, “See, I have given you the responsibility for my raised offerings; I have given all the holy things of the Israelites to you as your priestly portion 415  and to your sons as a perpetual ordinance. 18:9 Of all the most holy offerings reserved 416  from the fire this will be yours: Every offering of theirs, whether from every grain offering or from every purification offering or from every reparation offering which they bring to me, will be most holy for you and for your sons. 18:10 You are to eat it as a most holy offering; every male may eat it. It will be holy to you.

18:11 “And this is yours: the raised offering of their gift, along with all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual ordinance. Everyone who is ceremonially clean in your household may eat of it.

18:12 “All the best of the olive oil and all the best of the wine and of the wheat, the first fruits of these things that they give to the Lord, I have given to you. 417  18:13 And whatever first ripe fruit in their land they bring to the Lord will be yours; everyone who is ceremonially clean in your household may eat of it.

18:14 “Everything devoted 418  in Israel will be yours. 18:15 The firstborn of every womb which they present to the Lord, whether human or animal, will be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn sons you must redeem, 419  and the firstborn males of unclean animals you must redeem. 18:16 And those that must be redeemed you are to redeem when they are a month old, according to your estimation, for five shekels of silver according to the sanctuary shekel (which is twenty gerahs). 18:17 But you must not redeem the firstborn of a cow or a sheep or a goat; they are holy. You must splash 420  their blood on the altar and burn their fat for an offering made by fire for a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 18:18 And their meat will be yours, just as the breast and the right hip of the raised offering is yours. 18:19 All the raised offerings of the holy things that the Israelites offer to the Lord, I have given to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual ordinance. It is a covenant of salt 421  forever before the Lord for you and for your descendants with you.”

Duties of the Levites

18:20 The Lord spoke to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any portion of property 422  among them – I am your portion and your inheritance among the Israelites. 18:21 See, I have given the Levites all the tithes in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they perform – the service of the tent of meeting. 18:22 No longer may the Israelites approach the tent of meeting, or else they will bear their sin 423  and die. 18:23 But the Levites must perform the service 424  of the tent of meeting, and they must bear their iniquity. 425  It will be a perpetual ordinance throughout your generations that among the Israelites the Levites 426  have no inheritance. 427  18:24 But I have given 428  to the Levites for an inheritance the tithes of the Israelites that are offered 429  to the Lord as a raised offering. That is why I said to them that among the Israelites they are to have no inheritance.”

Instructions for the Levites

18:25 The Lord spoke to Moses: 18:26 “You are to speak to the Levites, and you must tell them, ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe that I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you are to offer up 430  from it as a raised offering to the Lord a tenth of the tithe. 18:27 And your raised offering will be credited 431  to you as though it were grain from the threshing floor or as new wine 432  from the winepress. 18:28 Thus you are to offer up a raised offering to the Lord of all your tithes which you receive from the Israelites; and you must give the Lord’s raised offering from it to Aaron the priest. 18:29 From all your gifts you must offer up every raised offering due 433  the Lord, from all the best of it, and the holiest part of it.’ 434 

18:30 “Therefore you will say to them, 435  ‘When you offer up 436  the best of it, then it will be credited to the Levites as the product of the threshing floor and as the product of the winepress. 18:31 And you may 437  eat it in any place, you and your household, because it is your wages for your service in the tent of meeting. 18:32 And you will bear no sin concerning it when you offer up the best of it. And you must not profane the holy things of the Israelites, or else you will die.’” 438 

The Red Heifer Ritual

19:1 439 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 19:2 “This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded: ‘Instruct 440  the Israelites to bring 441  you a red 442  heifer 443  without blemish, which has no defect 444  and has never carried a yoke. 19:3 You must give it to Eleazar the priest so that he can take it outside the camp, and it must be slaughtered before him. 445  19:4 Eleazar the priest is to take 446  some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of the blood seven times 447  directly in front of the tent of meeting. 19:5 Then the heifer must be burned 448  in his sight – its skin, its flesh, its blood, and its offal is to be burned. 449  19:6 And the priest must take cedar wood, hyssop, 450  and scarlet wool and throw them into the midst of the fire where the heifer is burning. 451  19:7 Then the priest must wash 452  his clothes and bathe himself 453  in water, and afterward he may come 454  into the camp, but the priest will be ceremonially unclean until evening. 19:8 The one who burns it 455  must wash his clothes in water and bathe himself in water. He will be ceremonially unclean until evening.

19:9 “‘Then a man who is ceremonially clean must gather up the ashes of the red heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They must be kept 456  for the community of the Israelites for use in the water of purification 457  – it is a purification for sin. 458  19:10 The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer must wash his clothes and be ceremonially unclean until evening. This will be a permanent ordinance both for the Israelites and the resident foreigner who lives among them.

Purification from Uncleanness

19:11 “‘Whoever touches 459  the corpse 460  of any person 461  will be ceremonially unclean 462  seven days. 19:12 He must purify himself 463  with water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and the seventh day, then he will not be clean. 19:13 Anyone who touches the corpse of any dead person and does not purify himself defiles the tabernacle of the Lord. And that person must be cut off from Israel, 464  because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him. He will be unclean; his uncleanness remains on him.

19:14 “‘This is the law: When a man dies 465  in a tent, anyone who comes into the tent and all who are in the tent will be ceremonially unclean seven days. 19:15 And every open container that has no covering fastened on it is unclean. 19:16 And whoever touches the body of someone killed with a sword in the open fields, 466  or the body of someone who died of natural causes, 467  or a human bone, or a grave, will be unclean seven days. 468 

19:17 “‘For a ceremonially unclean person you must take 469  some of the ashes of the heifer 470  burnt for purification from sin and pour 471  fresh running 472  water over them in a vessel. 19:18 Then a ceremonially clean person must take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all its furnishings, and on the people who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, or one killed, or one who died, or a grave. 19:19 And the clean person must sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he must purify him, 473  and then he must wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and he will be clean in the evening. 19:20 But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person must be cut off from among the community, because he has polluted the sanctuary of the Lord; the water of purification was not sprinkled on him, so he is unclean.

19:21 “‘So this will be a perpetual ordinance for them: The one who sprinkles 474  the water of purification must wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water of purification will be unclean until evening. 475  19:22 And whatever the unclean person touches will be unclean, and the person who touches it will be unclean until evening.’”

The Israelites Complain Again

20:1 476 Then the entire community of Israel 477  entered the wilderness of Zin in the first month, 478  and the people stayed in Kadesh. 479  Miriam died and was buried there. 480 

20:2 And there was no water for the community, and so they gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron. 20:3 The people contended 481  with Moses, saying, 482  “If only 483  we had died when our brothers died before the Lord! 20:4 Why 484  have you brought up the Lord’s community into this wilderness? So that 485  we and our cattle should die here? 20:5 Why 486  have you brought us up from Egypt only to bring us to 487  this dreadful place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink!”

Moses Responds

20:6 So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting. They then threw themselves down with their faces to the ground, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 20:7 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 20:8 “Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and then speak 488  to the rock before their eyes. It will pour forth 489  its water, and you will bring water out of the rock for them, and so you will give the community and their beasts water to drink.”

20:9 So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, just as he commanded him. 20:10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the community together in front of the rock, and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, 490  must we bring 491  water out of this rock for you?” 20:11 Then Moses raised his hand, and struck the rock twice with his staff. And water came out abundantly. So the community drank, and their beasts drank too.

The Lord’s Judgment

20:12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough 492  to show me as holy 493  before 494  the Israelites, therefore you will not bring this community into the land I have given them.” 495 

20:13 These are the waters of Meribah, because the Israelites contended with the Lord, and his holiness was maintained 496  among them.

Rejection by the Edomites

20:14 497 Moses 498  sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: 499  “Thus says your brother Israel: ‘You know all the hardships we have experienced, 500  20:15 how our ancestors went down into Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time, 501  and the Egyptians treated us and our ancestors badly. 502  20:16 So when we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice and sent a messenger, 503  and has brought us up out of Egypt. Now 504  we are here in Kadesh, a town on the edge of your country. 505  20:17 Please let us pass through 506  your country. We will not pass through the fields or through the vineyards, nor will we drink water from any well. We will go by the King’s Highway; 507  we will not turn to the right or the left until we have passed through your region.’” 508 

20:18 But Edom said to him, “You will not pass through me, 509  or I will come out against 510  you with the sword.” 20:19 Then the Israelites said to him, “We will go along the highway, and if we 511  or our cattle drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We will only pass through on our feet, without doing anything else.”

20:20 But he said, “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them 512  with a large and powerful force. 513  20:21 So Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border; therefore Israel turned away from him.

Aaron’s Death

20:22 So the entire company of Israelites 514  traveled from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 515  20:23 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom. He said: 20:24 “Aaron will be gathered to his ancestors, 516  for he will not enter into the land I have given to the Israelites because both of you 517  rebelled against my word 518  at the waters of Meribah. 20:25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up on Mount Hor. 20:26 Remove Aaron’s priestly garments 519  and put them on Eleazar his son, and Aaron will be gathered to his ancestors 520  and will die there.”

20:27 So Moses did as the Lord commanded; and they went up Mount Hor in the sight 521  of the whole community. 20:28 And Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. So Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. And Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 20:29 When all the community saw that Aaron was dead, the whole house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.

Victory at Hormah

21:1 522 When the Canaanite king of Arad 523  who lived in the Negev 524  heard that Israel was approaching along the road to Atharim, he fought against Israel and took some of them prisoner.

21:2 So Israel made a vow 525  to the Lord and said, “If you will indeed deliver 526  this people into our 527  hand, then we will utterly destroy 528  their cities.” 21:3 The Lord listened to the voice of Israel and delivered up the Canaanites, 529  and they utterly destroyed them and their cities. So the name of the place was called 530  Hormah.

Fiery Serpents

21:4 Then they traveled from Mount Hor by the road to the Red Sea, 531  to go around the land of Edom, but the people 532  became impatient along the way. 21:5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness, for there is no bread or water, and we 533  detest this worthless 534  food.”

21:6 So the Lord sent poisonous 535  snakes 536  among the people, and they bit the people; many people of Israel died. 21:7 Then the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord that he would take away 537  the snakes from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.

21:8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a poisonous snake and set it on a pole. When anyone who is bitten looks 538  at it, he will live.” 21:9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it on a pole, so that if a snake had bitten someone, when he looked at the bronze snake he lived. 539 

The Approach to Moab

21:10 540 The Israelites traveled on and camped in Oboth. 21:11 Then they traveled on from Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim, 541  in the wilderness that is before Moab, on the eastern side. 542  21:12 From there they moved on and camped in the valley of Zered. 21:13 From there they moved on and camped on the other side of the Arnon, in the wilderness that extends from the regions 543  of the Amorites, for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 21:14 This is why it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,

“Waheb in Suphah 544  and the wadis,

the Arnon 21:15 and the slope of the valleys 545 

that extends to the dwelling of Ar, 546 

and falls off at the border of Moab.”

21:16 And from there they traveled 547  to Beer; 548  that is the well where the Lord spoke to Moses, “Gather the people and I will give them water.” 21:17 Then Israel sang 549  this song:

“Spring up, O well, sing to it!

21:18 The well which the princes 550  dug,

which the leaders of the people opened

with their scepters and their staffs.”

And from the wilderness they traveled to Mattanah; 21:19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel; and from Nahaliel to Bamoth; 21:20 and from Bamoth to the valley that is in the country of Moab, near the top of Pisgah, which overlooks the wilderness. 551 

The Victory over Sihon and Og

21:21 552 Then Israel sent messengers to King Sihon of the Amorites, saying, 553 

21:22 “Let us 554  pass through your land; 555  we will not turn aside into the fields or into the vineyards, nor will we drink water from any well, but we will go along the King’s Highway until we pass your borders.” 21:23 But Sihon did not permit Israel to pass through his border; he 556  gathered all his forces 557  together and went out against Israel into the wilderness. When 558  he came to Jahaz, he fought against Israel. 21:24 But the Israelites 559  defeated him in battle 560  and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the Jabbok, as far as the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was strongly defended. 21:25 So Israel took all these cities; and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 561  21:26 For Heshbon was the city of King Sihon of the Amorites. Now he had fought against the former king of Moab and had taken all of his land from his control, 562  as far as the Arnon. 21:27 That is why those who speak in proverbs 563  say,

“Come to Heshbon, let it be built.

Let the city of Sihon be established! 564 

21:28 For fire went out from Heshbon,

a flame from the city of Sihon.

It has consumed Ar of Moab

and the lords 565  of the high places of Arnon.

21:29 Woe to you, Moab.

You are ruined, O people of Chemosh! 566 

He has made his sons fugitives,

and his daughters the prisoners of King Sihon of the Amorites.

21:30 We have overpowered them; 567 

Heshbon has perished as far as Dibon.

We have shattered them as far as Nophah,

which 568  reaches to Medeba.”

21:31 So the Israelites 569  lived in the land of the Amorites. 21:32 Moses sent spies to reconnoiter 570  Jaazer, and they captured its villages 571  and dispossessed the Amorites who were there.

21:33 Then they turned and went up by the road to Bashan. And King Og of Bashan and all his forces 572  marched out against them to do battle at Edrei. 21:34 And the Lord said to Moses, “Do not fear him, for I have delivered him and all his people and his land into your hand. You will do to him what you did to King Sihon of the Amorites, who lived in Heshbon. 21:35 So they defeated Og, 573  his sons, and all his people, until there were no survivors, 574  and they possessed his land.

Numbers 33:1-56

Context
Wanderings from Egypt to Sinai

33:1 575 These are the journeys of the Israelites, who went out of the land of Egypt by their divisions under the authority 576  of Moses and Aaron. 33:2 Moses recorded their departures 577  according to their journeys, by the commandment 578  of the Lord; now these are their journeys according to their departures. 33:3 They departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the day 579  after the Passover the Israelites went out defiantly 580  in plain sight 581  of all the Egyptians. 33:4 Now the Egyptians were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lord had killed among them; the Lord also executed judgments on their gods.

33:5 The Israelites traveled from Rameses and camped in Succoth.

33:6 They traveled from Succoth, and camped in Etham, which is on the edge of the wilderness. 33:7 They traveled from Etham, and turned again to Pi-hahiroth, which is before Baal-Zephon; and they camped before Migdal. 33:8 They traveled from Pi-hahiroth, 582  and passed through the middle of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and camped in Marah. 33:9 They traveled from Marah and came to Elim; in Elim there are twelve fountains of water and seventy palm trees, so they camped there.

33:10 They traveled from Elim, and camped by the Red Sea. 33:11 They traveled from the Red Sea and camped in the wilderness of Zin. 33:12 They traveled from the wilderness of Zin and camped in Dophkah. 33:13 And they traveled from Dophkah, and camped in Alush.

33:14 They traveled from Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. 33:15 They traveled from Rephidim and camped in the wilderness of Sinai.

Wanderings in the Wilderness

33:16 They traveled from the desert of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah. 33:17 They traveled from Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth. 33:18 They traveled from Hazeroth and camped in Rithmah. 33:19 They traveled from Rithmah and camped at Rimmon-perez. 33:20 They traveled from Rimmon-perez and camped in Libnah. 33:21 They traveled from Libnah and camped at Rissah. 33:22 They traveled from Rissah and camped in Kehelathah. 33:23 They traveled from Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher. 33:24 They traveled from Mount Shepher and camped in Haradah. 33:25 They traveled from Haradah and camped in Makheloth. 33:26 They traveled from Makheloth and camped at Tahath. 33:27 They traveled from Tahath and camped at Terah. 33:28 They traveled from Terah and camped in Mithcah. 33:29 They traveled from Mithcah and camped in Hashmonah. 33:30 They traveled from Hashmonah and camped in Moseroth. 33:31 They traveled from Moseroth and camped in Bene-jaakan. 33:32 They traveled from Bene-jaakan and camped at Hor-haggidgad. 33:33 They traveled from Hor-haggidgad and camped in Jotbathah. 33:34 They traveled from Jotbathah and camped in Abronah. 33:35 They traveled from Abronah and camped at Ezion-geber. 33:36 They traveled from Ezion-geber and camped in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.

Wanderings from Kadesh to Moab

33:37 They traveled from Kadesh and camped in Mount Hor at the edge of the land of Edom. 33:38 Aaron the priest ascended Mount Hor at the command 583  of the Lord, and he died there in the fortieth year after the Israelites had come out of the land of Egypt on the first day of the fifth month. 33:39 Now Aaron was 123 years old when he died in Mount Hor. 33:40 The king of Arad, the Canaanite king who lived in the south of the land of Canaan, heard about the approach of the Israelites.

33:41 They traveled from Mount Hor and camped in Zalmonah. 33:42 They traveled from Zalmonah and camped in Punon. 33:43 They traveled from Punon and camped in Oboth. 33:44 They traveled from Oboth and camped in Iye-abarim, on the border of Moab. 33:45 They traveled from Iim 584  and camped in Dibon-gad. 33:46 They traveled from Dibon-gad and camped in Almon-diblathaim. 33:47 They traveled from Almon-diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim before Nebo. 33:48 They traveled from the mountains of Abarim and camped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan River 585  across from Jericho. 586  33:49 They camped by the Jordan, from Beth-jeshimoth as far as Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.

At the Border of Canaan

33:50 The Lord spoke to Moses in the plains of Moab by the Jordan, across from Jericho. He said: 33:51 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you have crossed the Jordan into the land of Canaan, 33:52 you must drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images, all their molten images, 587  and demolish their high places. 33:53 You must dispossess the inhabitants of the land and live in it, for I have given you the land to possess it. 33:54 You must divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families. To a larger group you must give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group you must give a smaller inheritance. Everyone’s inheritance must be in the place where his lot falls. You must inherit according to your ancestral 588  tribes. 33:55 But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, then those whom you allow to remain will be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your side, and will cause you trouble in the land where you will be living. 33:56 And what I intended to do to them I will do to you.”

1 sn Here we have a short section (10:1-10) dealing with the regulations for blowing trumpets in times of war or in times of peace.

2 tn The Hebrew text uses what is called the “ethical dative” – “make [for] you two trumpets.” It need not be translated, but can simply be taken to underscore the direct imperative.

3 tn The imperfect tense is again instruction or legislation.

4 sn The instructions are not clearly spelled out here. But the trumpets were to be made of silver ingots beaten out into a sheet of silver and then bent to form a trumpet. There is archaeological evidence of silver smelting as early as 3000 b.c. Making silver trumpets would have been a fairly easy thing for the Israelites to do. The trumpet would have been straight, with a tapered form, very unlike the “ram’s horn” (שׁוֹפָר, shofar). The trumpets were used by the priests in Israel from the outset, but later were used more widely. The sound would be sharp and piercing, but limited in scope to a few notes. See further C. Sachs, The History of Musical Instruments.

5 tn Heb “and they shall be for you for assembling,” which is the way of expressing possession. Here the intent concerns how Moses was to use them.

6 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated as a temporal clause to the following similar verbal construction.

7 tn The verb תָקַע (taqa’) means “to strike, drive, blow a trumpet.”

8 tn Heb “the assembly shall assemble themselves.”

9 tn Heb “they shall assemble themselves.”

10 tn The word for an alarm is תְּרוּעָה (tÿruah). The root verb of this word means “to give a blast on the trumpet.” It may also on occasion mean “give a shout” in battle (Josh 6:10). In this passage it must refer to the sound of the trumpet.

11 tn Heb “the camps that are camping.”

12 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive functions as the equivalent of the imperfect tense. Here the emphasis is on the start of the journey.

13 tc The MT does not mention the departures of the northerly and westerly tribes. The Greek text completes the description by adding them, making a full schedule of the departure of the groups of tribes. The Greek is not likely to be original, however, since it carries all the signs of addition to complete the text, making a smooth, full reading. The MT is to be preferred; it apparently used two of the groups to give the idea.

14 tn The Hebrew text has “they shall blow an alarm”; the sentence without a formal subject should be taken as a passive idea.

15 tn There is no expressed subject in the initial temporal clause. It simply says, “and in the assembling the assembly.” But since the next verb is the second person of the verb, that may be taken as the intended subject here.

16 sn The signal for moving camp was apparently different in tone and may have been sharper notes or a different sequence. It was in some way distinguishable.

17 tn Both the “adversary” and “opposes” come from the same root: צָרַר (tsarar), “to hem in, oppress, harass,” or basically, “be an adversary.”

18 tn The Niphal perfect in this passage has the passive nuance and not a reflexive idea – the Israelites would be spared because God remembered them.

19 tn The conjunction may be taken as explicative or epexegetical, and so rendered “namely; even; that is,” or it may be taken as emphatic conjunction, and translated “especially.”

20 tn The vav (ו) is taken here in its alternative use and translated “or.”

21 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. After the instruction imperfects, this form could be given the same nuance, or more likely, subordinated as a purpose or result clause.

22 tn The verb “to be” (הָיָה, hayah) has the meaning “to become” when followed by the preposition lamed (ל).

23 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.

24 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.”

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

26 tn Heb “mouth.”

27 tn Heb “hand.”

28 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).

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

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

31 tn Heb “against their coming.”

32 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.

33 tn Or “journeyings of.”

34 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.

35 sn For additional bibliography for this short section, see W. F. Albright, “Jethro, Hobab, and Reuel in Early Hebrew Tradition,” CBQ 25 (1963): 1-11; G. W. Coats, “Moses in Midian,” JBL 92 (1973): 3-10; B. Mazar, “The Sanctuary of Arad and the Family of Hobab the Kenite,” JNES 24 (1965): 297-303; and T. C. Mitchell, “The Meaning of the Noun h£tn in the Old Testament,” VT 19 (1969): 93-112.

36 sn There is a problem with the identity of Hobab. The MT says that he is the son of Reuel, making him the brother-in-law of Moses. But Judg 4:11 says he is the father-in-law. In Judg 1:16; 4:11 Hobab is traced to the Kenites, but in Exod 3:1 and 18:1 Jethro (Reuel) is priest of Midian. Jethro is identified with Reuel on the basis of Exod 2:18 and 3:1, and so Hobab becomes Moses’ חֹתֵן (khoten), a relative by marriage and perhaps brother-in-law. There is not enough information to decide on the identity and relationships involved here. Some suggest that there is one person with the three names (G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 93); others suggest Hobab is a family name (R. F. Johnson, IDB 2:615), and some suggest that the expression “the son of Reuel the Midianite” had dropped out of the genealogy of Judges, leading to the conflict (J. Crichton, ISBE 2:1055). If Hobab is the same as Jethro, then Exod 18:27 does not make much sense, for Jethro did go home. On this basis many conclude Hobab is a brother-in-law. This would mean that after Jethro returned home, Moses conversed with Hobab, his brother-in-law. For more discussion, see the articles and the commentaries.

37 tn The verb is the Hiphil of the root “to be good” (יָטַב, yatav); it may be translated “treat well, deal favorably, generously with.” Here it is a perfect tense with vav (ו) following the imperative, showing a sequence in the verbal ideas.

38 tn The Hebrew text simply has “has spoken good” for Israel.

39 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Hobab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

40 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

41 tn The form with אַל־נָא (’al-na’) is a jussive; negated it stresses a more immediate request, as if Hobab is starting to leave, or at least determined to leave.

42 tn In the Hebrew text the expression is more graphic: “you will be for us for eyes.” Hobab was familiar with the entire Sinai region, and he could certainly direct the people where they were to go. The text does not record Hobab’s response. But the fact that Kenites were in Canaan as allies of Judah (Judg 1:16) would indicate that he gave in and came with Moses. The first refusal may simply be the polite Semitic practice of declining first so that the appeal might be made more urgently.

43 tn Heb “and it shall be.”

44 tn The phrase “a journey of three days” is made up of the adverbial accusative qualified with the genitives.

45 tc The scribes sensed that there was a dislocation with vv. 34-36, and so they used the inverted letters nun (נ) as brackets to indicate this.

46 tn The adverbial clause of time is composed of the infinitive construct with a temporal preposition and a suffixed subjective genitive.

47 sn These two formulaic prayers were offered by Moses at the beginning and at the end of the journeys. They prayed for the Lord to fight ahead of the nation when it was on the move, and to protect them when they camped. The theme of the first is found in Ps 68:1. The prayers reflect the true mentality of holy war, that it was the Lord who fought for Israel and defended her. The prayers have been included in the prayer book for synagogue services.

48 sn The chapter includes the initial general complaints (vv. 1-3), the complaints about food (vv. 4-9), Moses’ own complaint to the Lord (vv. 10-15), God’s response to Moses (vv. 16-25), Eldad and Medad (vv. 26-29), and the quail (vv. 30-35). The first part records the burning of the camp, named Taberah. Here is one of the several naming narratives in the wilderness experience. The occasion for divine judgment is the complaining of the people. The passages serve to warn believers of all ages not to murmur as the Israelites did, for such complaining reveals a lack of faith in the power and goodness of God. For additional literature, see W. Brueggemann, “From Hurt to Joy, from Death to Life,” Int 28 (1974): 3-19; B. S. Childs, “The Etiological Tale Re-examined,” VT 24 (1974): 387-97; G. W. Coats, Rebellion in the Wilderness; and A. C. Tunyogi, “The Rebellions of Israel,” JBL 81 (1962): 385-90.

49 tn The temporal clause uses the Hitpoel infinitive construct from אָנַן (’anan). It is a rare word, occurring in Lam 3:39. With this blunt introduction the constant emphasis of obedience to the word of the Lord found throughout the first ten chapters suddenly comes to an end. It is probable that the people were tired of moving for several days, the excitement of the new beginning died out quickly in the “great and terrible wilderness.” Resentment, frustration, discomfort – whatever it all involved – led to complaining and not gratitude.

50 tn Heb “it was evil in the ears of the Lord.” The word רַע (ra’) is a much stronger word than “displeased” would suggest. The bold anthropomorphism shows that what the Lord heard was painful to him.

51 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next verb as a temporal clause.

52 tn The common Hebrew expression uses the verb חָרָה (harah, “to be hot, to burn, to be kindled”). The subject is אַפּוֹ (’appo), “his anger” or more literally, his nose, which in this anthropomorphic expression flares in rage. The emphasis is superlative – “his anger raged.”

53 tn The vav (ו) consecutive does not simply show sequence in the verbs, but here expresses the result of the anger of the Lord for their complaining. With such a response to the complaining, one must conclude that it was unreasonable. There had been no long deprivation or endured suffering; the complaining was early and showed a rebellious spirit.

54 sn The “fire of the Lord” is supernatural, for it is said to come from the Lord and not from a natural source. God gave them something to complain about – something to fear. The other significant place where this “fire of the Lord” destroyed was in the case of Nadab and Abihu who brought strange fire to the altar (Lev 10:2).

55 tn Heb “Moses.”

56 sn Here is the pattern that will become in the wilderness experience so common – the complaining turns to a cry to Moses, which is then interpreted as a prayer to the Lord, and there is healing. The sequence presents a symbolic lesson, an illustration of the intercession of the Holy Spirit. The NT will say that in times of suffering Christians do not know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes for them, changing their cries into the proper prayers (Rom 8).

57 tn The name תַּבְעֵרָה (taverah) is given to the spot as a commemorative of the wilderness experience. It is explained by the formula using the same verbal root, “to burn.” Such naming narratives are found dozens of times in the OT, and most frequently in the Pentateuch. The explanation is seldom an exact etymology, and so in the literature is called a popular etymology. It is best to explain the connection as a figure of speech, a paronomasia, which is a phonetic wordplay that may or may not be etymologically connected. Usually the name is connected to the explanation by a play on the verbal root – here the preterite explaining the noun. The significance of commemorating the place by such a device is to “burn” it into the memory of Israel. The narrative itself would be remembered more easily by the name and its motif. The namings in the wilderness wanderings remind the faithful of unbelief, and warn us all not to murmur as they murmured. See further A. P. Ross, “Paronomasia and Popular Etymologies in the Naming Narrative of the Old Testament,” Ph.D. diss., University of Cambridge, 1982.

58 sn The story of the sending of the quail is a good example of poetic justice, or talionic justice. God had provided for the people, but even in that provision they were not satisfied, for they remembered other foods they had in Egypt. No doubt there was not the variety of foods in the Sinai that might have been available in Egypt, but their life had been bitter bondage there as well. They had cried to the Lord for salvation, but now they forget, as they remember things they used to have. God will give them what they crave, but it will not do for them what they desire. For more information on this story, see B. J. Malina, The Palestinian Manna Tradition. For the attempt to explain manna and the other foods by natural phenomena, see F. W. Bodenheimer, “The Manna of Sinai,” BA 10 (1947): 1-6.

59 tn The mixed multitude (or “rabble,” so NASB, NIV, NRSV; NLT “foreign rabble”) is the translation of an unusual word, הֲָאסַפְסֻף (hasafsuf). It occurs in the Hebrew Bible only here. It may mean “a gathering of people” from the verb אָסַף (’asaf), yielding the idea of a mixed multitude (in line with Exod 12:38). But the root is different, and so no clear connection can be established. Many commentators therefore think the word is stronger, showing contempt through a word that would be equivalent to “riff-raff.”

60 tn The Hebrew simply uses the cognate accusative, saying “they craved a craving” (הִתְאַוּוּ תַּאֲוָה, hitavvu tavah), but the context shows that they had this strong craving for food. The verb describes a strong desire, which is not always negative (Ps 132:13-14). But the word is a significant one in the Torah; it was used in the garden story for Eve’s desire for the tree, and it is used in the Decalogue in the warning against coveting (Deut 5:21).

61 tc The Greek and the Latin versions read “and they sat down” for “and they returned,” involving just a change in vocalization (which they did not have). This may reflect the same expression in Judg 20:26. But the change does not improve this verse.

tn The Hebrew text uses a verbal hendiadys here, one word serving as an adverb for the other. It literally reads “and they returned and they wept,” which means they wept again. Here the weeping is put for the complaint, showing how emotionally stirred up the people had become by the craving. The words throughout here are metonymies. The craving is a metonymy of cause, for it would have then led to expressions (otherwise the desires would not have been known). And the weeping is either a metonymy of effect, or of adjunct, for the actual complaints follow.

62 tn The Hebrew expresses the strong wish or longing idiomatically: “Who will give us flesh to eat?” It is a rhetorical expression not intended to be taken literally, but merely to give expression to the longing they had. See GKC 476 §151.a.1.

63 tn The perfect tense here expresses the experience of a state of mind.

sn As with all who complain in such situations, their memory was selective. It was their bitter cries to the Lord from the suffering in bondage that God heard and answered. And now, shortly after being set free, their memory of Egypt is for things they do not now have. It is also somewhat unlikely that they as slaves had such abundant foods in Egypt.

64 tn The imperfect tense would here be the customary imperfect, showing continual or incomplete action in past time.

65 tn The adverb “freely” is from the word חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”), from which is derived the noun “grace.” The word underscores the idea of “free, without cost, for no reason, gratis.” Here the simple sense is “freely,” without any cost. But there may be more significance in the choice of the words in this passage, showing the ingratitude of the Israelites to God for His deliverance from bondage. To them now the bondage is preferable to the salvation – this is what angered the Lord.

66 tn Heb “our souls.”

67 sn The Hebrews were complaining both about the bland taste of the manna and dehydration – they were parched in the wilderness.

68 tn Heb “before our eyes,” meaning that “we see nothing except this manna.”

69 tn Heb “And its taste was like the taste of fresh olive oil.”

70 tn The temporal clause is constructed of the infinitive construct from יָרָד (yarad) with a temporal preposition, followed by the subjective genitive.

71 tn Heb “came down.”

72 sn Moses begins to feel the burden of caring for this people, a stubborn and rebellious people. His complaint shows how contagious their complaining has been. It is one thing to cry out to God about the load of ministry, but it is quite another to do it in such a way as to reflect a lack of faith in God’s provision. God has to remind the leader Moses that he, the Lord, can do anything. This is a variation on the theme from Exodus – “who am I that I should lead….”

73 tn The participle “weeping” is functioning here as the noun in the accusative case, an adverbial accusative of state. It is explicative of the object.

74 tn Heb “it was evil in the eyes of Moses.”

75 tn The verb is the Hiphil of רָעַע (raa’, “to be evil”). Moses laments (with the rhetorical question) that God seems to have caused him evil.

76 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition is expressing the result of not finding favor with God (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12-13, §57). What Moses is claiming is that because he has been given this burden God did not show him favor.

77 sn The questions Moses asks are rhetorical. He is actually affirming that they are not his people, that he did not produce them, but now is to support them. His point is that God produced this nation, but has put the burden of caring for their needs on him.

78 tn The verb means “to beget, give birth to.” The figurative image from procreation completes the parallel question, first the conceiving and second the giving birth to the nation.

79 tn The word אֹמֵן (’omen) is often translated “nurse,” but the form is a masculine form and would better be rendered as a “foster parent.” This does not work as well, though, with the יֹנֵק (yoneq), the “sucking child.” The two metaphors are simply designed to portray the duty of a parent to a child as a picture of Moses’ duty for the nation. The idea that it portrays God as a mother pushes it too far (see M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 86-87).

80 tn The Hebrew text simply has “from where to me flesh?” which means “from where will I have meat?”

81 tn The cohortative coming after the imperative stresses purpose (it is an indirect volitive).

82 tn The word order shows the emphasis: “I am not able, I by myself, to bear all this people.” The infinitive לָשֵׂאת (laset) serves as the direct object of the verb. The expression is figurative, for bearing or carrying the people means being responsible for all their needs and cares.

83 tn The subject of the verb “heavy” is unstated; in the context it probably refers to the people, or the burden of caring for the people. This responsibility was turning out to be a heavier responsibility than Moses anticipated. Alone he was totally inadequate.

84 tn The participle expresses the future idea of what God is doing, or what he is going to be doing. Moses would rather be killed than be given a totally impossible duty over a people that were not his.

85 tn The imperative of הָרַג (harag) is followed by the infinitive absolute for emphasis. The point is more that the infinitive adds to the emphasis of the imperative mood, which would be immediate compliance.

86 tn Or “my own ruin” (NIV). The word “trouble” here probably refers to the stress and difficulty of caring for a complaining group of people. The suffix on the noun would be objective, perhaps stressing the indirect object of the noun – trouble for me. The expression “on my trouble” (בְּרָעָתִי, bÿraati) is one of the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the original reading in v. 15 was [to look] “on your evil” (בְּרָעָתֶךָ, bÿraatekha), meaning “the calamity that you bring about” for Israel. However, since such an expression could be mistakenly thought to attribute evil to the Lord, the ancient scribes changed it to the reading found in the MT.

87 sn The Lord provides Spirit-empowered assistance for Moses. Here is another variation on the theme of Moses’ faith. Just as he refused to lead alone and was given Aaron to share the work, so here he protests the burden and will share it with seventy elders. If God’s servant will not trust wholeheartedly, that individual will not be used by God as he or she might have been. Others will share in the power and the work. Probably one could say that it was God’s will for others to share this leadership – but not to receive it through these circumstances.

88 tn The “officials” (שֹׁטְּרִים, shottÿrim) were a group of the elders who seem to have had some administrative capacities. The LXX used the word “scribes.” For further discussion, see R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 69-70.

89 tn The imperfect tense here is to be classified as a final imperfect, showing the result of this action by God. Moses would be relieved of some of the responsibility when these others were given the grace to understand and to resolve cases.

90 tn The Hitpael is used to stress that they are to prepare for a holy appearance. The day was going to be special and so required their being set apart for it. But it is a holy day in the sense of the judgment that was to follow.

91 tn Heb “in the ears.”

92 tn Possibly this could be given an optative translation, to reflect the earlier one: “O that someone would give….” But the verb is not the same; here it is the Hiphil of the verb “to eat” – “who will make us eat” (i.e., provide meat for us to eat).

93 tn The word “life” is not in the text. The expression is simply “it was for us,” or “we had good,” meaning “we had it good,” or “life was good.”

94 tn Heb “a month of days.” So also in v. 21.

95 tn The expression לְזָרָה (lÿzarah) has been translated “ill” or “loathsome.” It occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek text interprets it as “sickness.” It could be nausea or vomiting (so G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 112) from overeating.

96 sn The explanation is the interpretation of their behavior – it is in reality what they have done, even though they would not say they despised the Lord. They had complained and shown a lack of faith and a contempt for the program, which was in essence despising the Lord.

97 tn The use of the demonstrative pronoun here (“why is this we went out …”) is enclitic, providing emphasis to the sentence: “Why in the world did we ever leave Egypt?”

98 tn Heb “the people who I am in their midst,” i.e., among whom I am.

99 tn The Hebrew sentence stresses the number. The sentence begins “600,000….”

100 tn The word order places the object first here: “Meat I will give them.” This adds to the contrast between the number and the statement of the Lord.

101 tn The verb is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence from the preceding imperfect tense. However, this verb may be subordinated to the preceding to express a purpose clause.

102 sn This anthropomorphic expression concerns the power of God. The “hand of the Lord” is idiomatic for his power, what he is able to do. The question is rhetorical; it is affirming that his hand is not shortened, i.e., that his power is not limited. Moses should have known this, and so this is a rebuke for him at this point. God had provided the manna, among all the other powerful acts they had witnessed. Meat would be no problem. But the lack of faith by the people was infectious.

103 tn Or “will happen” (TEV); KJV “shall come to pass unto thee.”

104 tn Heb “on him”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

105 tn The temporal clause is introduced by the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), which need not be translated. It introduces the time of the infinitive as past time narrative. The infinitive construct is from נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). The figurative expression of the Spirit resting upon them indicates the temporary indwelling and empowering by the Spirit in their lives.

106 tn The text may mean that these men gave ecstatic utterances, much like Saul did when the Spirit came upon him and he made the same prophetic utterances (see 1 Sam 10:10-13). But there is no strong evidence for this (see K. L. Barker, “Zechariah,” EBC 7:605-6). In fact there is no consensus among scholars as to the origin and meaning of the verb “prophesy” or the noun “prophet.” It has something to do with speech, being God’s spokesman or spokeswoman or making predictions or authoritative utterances or ecstatic utterances. It certainly does mean that the same Holy Spirit, the same divine provision that was for Moses to enable him to do the things that God had commanded him to do, was now given to them. It would have included wisdom and power with what they were saying and doing – in a way that was visible and demonstrable to the people! The people needed to know that the same provision was given to these men, authenticating their leadership among the clans. And so it could not simply be a change in their understanding and wisdom.

107 tn The final verb of the clause stresses that this was not repeated: “they did not add” is the literal rendering of וְלֹא יָסָפוּ (vÿloyasafu). It was a one-time spiritual experience associated with their installation.

108 tn The form of the word is the passive participle כְּתֻבִים (kÿtuvim, “written”). It is normally taken to mean “among those registered,” but it is not clear if that means they were to be among the seventy or not. That seems unlikely since there is no mention of the seventy being registered, and vv. 24-25 says all seventy went out and prophesied. The registration may be to eldership, or the role of the officer.

109 tn The article indicates that the “young man” was definite in the mind of the writer, but indefinite in English.

110 tn The form is the Piel participle מְשָׁרֵת (mÿsharet), meaning “minister, servant, assistant.” The word has a loftier meaning than the ordinary word for slave.

111 tn The verb is בָּחַר (bakhar, “to choose”); here the form is the masculine plural participle with a suffix, serving as the object of the preposition מִן (min). It would therefore mean “[one of] his chosen men,” or “[one of] his choice men.”

112 tn Heb “answered and said.”

113 sn The effort of Joshua is to protect Moses’ prerogative as leader by stopping these men in the camp from prophesying. Joshua did not understand the significance in the Lord’s plan to let other share the burden of leadership.

114 tn The Piel participle מְקַנֵּא (mÿqanne’) serves as a verb here in this interrogative sentence. The word means “to be jealous; to be envious.” That can be in a good sense, such as with the translation “zeal,” or it can be in a negative sense as here. Joshua’s apparent “zeal” is questioned by Moses – was he zealous/envious for Moses sake, or for some other reason?

115 tn The optative is expressed by the interrogative clause in Hebrew, “who will give….” Moses expresses here the wish that the whole nation would have that portion of the Spirit. The new covenant, of course, would turn Moses’ wish into a certainty.

116 sn The irony in this chapter is expressed in part by the use of the word רוּחַ (ruakh). In the last episode it clearly meant the Spirit of the Lord that empowered the men for their spiritual service. But here the word is “wind.” Both the spiritual service and the judgment come from God.

117 tn The verb means “burst forth” or “sprang up.” See the ways it is used in Gen 33:12, Judg 16:3, 14; Isa 33:20.

118 sn The “quail” ordinarily cross the Sinai at various times of the year, but what is described here is not the natural phenomenon. Biblical scholars looking for natural explanations usually note that these birds fly at a low height and can be swatted down easily. But the description here is more of a supernatural supply and provision. See J. Gray, “The Desert Sojourn of the Hebrews and the Sinai Horeb Tradition,” VT 4 (1954): 148-54.

119 tn Or “left them fluttering.”

120 tn Heb “two cubits.” The standard cubit in the OT is assumed by most authorities to be about eighteen inches (45 cm) in length.

121 tn Heb “rose up, stood up.”

122 sn This is about two thousand liters.

123 tn The verb (a preterite) is followed by the infinitive absolute of the same root, to emphasize the action of spreading out the quail. Although it is hard to translate the expression, it indicates that they spread these quail out all over the area. The vision of them spread all over was evidence of God’s abundant provision for their needs.

124 tn The verb is a prefixed conjugation, normally an imperfect tense. But coming after the adverb טֶּרֶם (terem) it is treated as a preterite.

125 sn The name “the graves of the ones who craved” is again explained by a wordplay, a popular etymology. In Hebrew קִבְרוֹת הַתַּאֲוָה (qivrot hattaavah) is the technical name. It is the place that the people craved the meat, longing for the meat of Egypt, and basically rebelled against God. The naming marks another station in the wilderness where the people failed to accept God’s good gifts with grace and to pray for their other needs to be met.

126 tn The words “different food” are implied, and are supplied in the translation for clarity.

127 sn In this short chapter we find a prime example of jealousy among leaders and how God dealt with it. Miriam and Aaron are envious of Moses’ leadership, but they use an occasion – his marriage – to criticize him. Often the immediate criticism is simply a surface issue for a deeper matter. God indicates very clearly he will speak through many people, including them, but Moses is different. Moses is the mediator of the covenant. The chapter is a lesson of what not to do. They should have fulfilled their duties before God and not tried to compete or challenge the leader in this way. There is a touch of divine irony here, for Miriam is turned white with leprosy. The chapter falls easily into the sections of the story: the accusation (vv. 1-3), the Lord’s response (vv. 4-10), the intercession of Moses (vv. 11-16). For further information, see J. S. Kselman, “A Note on Numbers 12:6-8,” VT 26 (1976): 500-504.

128 tn The preposition bet (בְּ) has the adversative sense here, “[speak] against” (see also its use for hostile speech in 21:5, 7). Speaking against is equal to the murmuring throughout the wilderness period. The verb of the sentence is וַתְּדַבֵּר (vattÿdabber), the feminine form of the verb. This indicates that Miriam was the main speaker for the two, the verb agreeing with the first of the compound subject.

sn It may be that Miriam was envious of the Cushite woman Moses married. And, in view of the previous chapter’s content about others being given a portion of the Spirit to share in the leadership role, she may have seen this as her chance finally to become just as important in the nation as her younger brother. After all, she safeguarded his birth and early years (Exod 2). But there are two issues here – the reason she gives (“does the Lord only speak through Moses?”), and the reason the text gives (the Cushite woman).

129 tn The Hebrew text has הַכֻּשִׁית (hakkushit, “the Cushite”) as the modifier of “woman.” The Greek text interpreted this correctly as “Ethiopian.” The word Cush in the Bible can describe the Cassites, east of Babylon of the later period (Gen 10:18), or Ethiopia (Isa 20:3; Nah 3:5; et al). Another suggestion is that it would refer to Cushan of Hab 3:7, perhaps close to Midian, and so the area Moses had been. This would suggest it could be Zipporah – but the Bible does not identify the Cushite as Zipporah. The most natural understanding would be that it refers to an Egyptian/Ethiopian woman. The text does not say when Moses married this woman, or what Miriam’s problem with her was. It is clear that it was a racial issue, by virtue of the use of “Cushite.” Whether she was of darker skin than the Hebrews would be hard to say, since the Bible gives no further detail. Neither does it say if this is a second wife, or a woman Moses married since Zipporah went home (Exod 18:2). These do not seem to be the issues the text wishes to elaborate on; it is simply stating that this woman was the occasion for a deeper challenge.

130 tn Heb “taken.”

131 tn Now the text changes to use a plural form of the verb. The indication is that Miriam criticized the marriage, and then the two of them raised questions about his sole leadership of the nation.

132 tn The use of both רַק and אַךְ (raq and ’akh) underscore the point that the issue is Moses’ uniqueness.

133 tn There is irony in the construction in the text. The expression “speak through us” also uses דִּבֵּר + בְּ(dibber + bÿ). They ask if God has not also spoken through them, after they have spoken against Moses. Shortly God will speak against them – their words are prophetic, but not as they imagined.

sn The questions are rhetorical. They are affirming that God does not only speak through Moses, but also speaks through them. They see themselves as equal with Moses. The question that was asked of the earlier presumptuous Moses – “Who made you a ruler over us?” – could also be asked of them. God had not placed them as equals with Moses. The passage is relevant for today when so many clamor for equal authority and leadership with those whom God has legitimately called.

134 sn The statement is striking. Obviously the Lord knows all things. But the statement of the obvious here is meant to indicate that the Lord was about to do something about this.

135 tc The spelling of the word is a Kethib-Qere reading with only a slight difference between the two.

tn The word עָנָו (’anav) means “humble.” The word may reflect a trustful attitude (as in Pss 25:9, 37:11), but perhaps here the idea of “more tolerant” or “long-suffering.” The point is that Moses is not self-assertive. God singled out Moses and used him in such a way as to show that he was a unique leader. For a suggestion that the word means “miserable,” see C. Rogers, “Moses: Meek or Miserable?” JETS 29 (1986): 257-63.

sn Humility is a quality missing today in many leaders. Far too many are self-promoting, or competitive, or even pompous. The statement in this passage would have been difficult for Moses to write – and indeed, it is not impossible that an editor might have added it. One might think that for someone to claim to be humble is an arrogant act. But the statement is one of fact – he was not self-assertive (until Num 20 when he strikes the rock).

136 tn Heb “he.”

137 tn The form of this construction is rare: נְבִיאֲכֶם (nÿviakhem) would normally be rendered “your prophet.” The singular noun is suffixed with a plural pronominal suffix. Some commentators think the MT has condensed “a prophet” with “to you.”

138 tn The Hebrew syntax is difficult here. “The Lord” is separated from the verb by two intervening prepositional phrases. Some scholars conclude that this word belongs with the verb at the beginning of v. 6 (“And the Lord spoke”).

139 sn The title “my servant” or “servant of the Lord” is reserved in the Bible for distinguished personages, people who are truly spiritual leaders, like Moses, David, Hezekiah, and also the Messiah. Here it underscores Moses’ obedience.

140 tn The word “faithful” is נֶאֱמָן (neeman), the Niphal participle of the verb אָמַן (’aman). This basic word has the sense of “support, be firm.” In the Niphal it describes something that is firm, reliable, dependable – what can be counted on. It could actually be translated “trustworthy.”

141 tn The emphasis of the line is clear enough – it begins literally “mouth to mouth” I will speak with him. In human communication this would mean equality of rank, but Moses is certainly not equal in rank with the Lord. And yet God is here stating that Moses has an immediacy and directness with communication with God. It goes beyond the idea of friendship, almost to that of a king’s confidant.

142 tn The word מַרְאֶה (mareh) refers to what is seen, a vision, an appearance. Here it would have the idea of that which is clearly visible, open, obvious.

143 tn The word “form” (תְּמוּנָה, tÿmunah) means “shape, image, form.” The Greek text took it metaphorically and rendered it “the glory of the Lord.” This line expresses even more the uniqueness of Moses. The elders saw God on one special occasion (Exod 24:10), and the people never (Deut 4:12, 15), but Moses has direct and familiar contact with God.

144 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) is here introducing a circumstantial clause of time.

145 tn There is no verb “became” in this line. The second half of the line is introduced with the particle הִנֵה (hinneh, “look, behold”) in its archaic sense. This deictic use is intended to make the reader focus on Miriam as well.

146 sn The word “leprosy” and “leprous” covers a wide variety of skin diseases, and need not be limited to the actual disease of leprosy known today as Hansen’s disease. The description of it here has to do with snow, either the whiteness or the wetness. If that is the case then there would be open wounds and sores – like Job’s illness (see M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 95-96).

147 tn Heb “turned to.”

148 tn The expression בִּי אֲדֹנִי (biadoni, “O my lord”) shows a good deal of respect for Moses by Aaron. The expression is often used in addressing God.

149 tc The words “its mother” and “its flesh” are among the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the text originally had here “our mother” and “our flesh,” but the ancient scribes changed these pronouns from the first person to the third person. Apparently they were concerned that the image of Moses’ mother giving birth to a baby with physical defects of the sort described here was somehow inappropriate, given the stature and importance of Moses.

150 tc Some scholars emend אֵל (’el, “God”) to עַל(’al, “no”). The effect of this change may be seen in the NAB: “‘Please, not this! Pray, heal her!’”

151 tn The form is intensified by the infinitive absolute, but here the infinitive strengthens not simply the verbal idea but the conditional cause construction as well.

152 tn The clause has the Niphal infinitive construct after a temporal preposition.

153 sn Chapter 13 provides the names of the spies sent into the land (vv. 1-16), their instructions (vv. 17-20), their activities (vv. 21-25), and their reports (vv. 26-33). It is a chapter that serves as a good lesson on faith, for some of the spies walked by faith, and some by sight.

154 tn The verse starts with the vav (ו) consecutive on the verb: “and….”

155 tn The imperfect tense with the conjunction is here subordinated to the preceding imperative to form the purpose clause. It can thus be translated “send…to investigate.”

156 tn The participle here should be given a future interpretation, meaning “which I am about to give” or “which I am going to give.”

157 tn Heb “one man one man of the tribe of his fathers.”

158 tn Heb “mouth.”

159 tn Heb “heads.”

160 tc Some scholars emend “tribe” to “sons.” Cf. Num 1:10.

161 sn The difference in the names is slight, a change from “he saves” to “the Lord saves.” The Greek text of the OT used Iesoun for Hebrew Yeshua.

162 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the next verb of the same formation to express a temporal clause.

163 tn The instructions had them first go up into the southern desert of the land, and after passing through that, into the hill country of the Canaanites. The text could be rendered “into the Negev” as well as “through the Negev.”

164 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; the word therefore carries the volitional mood of the preceding imperatives. It may be either another imperative, or it may be subordinated as a purpose clause.

165 tn Heb “see the land, what it is.”

166 tn The verb is the Hitpael perfect with vav (ו) consecutive, from the root חָזַק (khazaq, “to be strong”). Here it could mean “strengthen yourselves” or “be courageous” or “determined.” See further uses in 2 Sam 10:12; 1 Kgs 20:22; 1 Chr 19:13.

167 tn Heb “Now the days were the days of.”

168 sn The reference to the first ripe grapes would put the time somewhere at the end of July.

169 sn Zin is on the southern edge of the land, but Rehob is far north, near Mount Hermon. The spies covered all the land.

170 tn The idiom uses the infinitive construct: “to enter Hamath,” meaning, “on the way that people go to Hamath.”

171 tc The MT has the singular, but the ancient versions and Smr have the plural.

172 tn The preterite with vav (ו) consecutive is here subordinated to the following clause. The first verse gave the account of their journey over the whole land; this section focuses on what happened in the area of Hebron, which would be the basis for the false report.

173 sn These names are thought to be three clans that were in the Hebron area (see Josh 15:14; Judg 1:20). To call them descendants of Anak is usually taken to mean that they were large or tall people (2 Sam 21:18-22). They were ultimately driven out by Caleb.

174 sn The text now provides a brief historical aside for the readers. Zoan was probably the city of Tanis, although that is disputed today by some scholars. It was known in Egypt in the New Kingdom as “the fields of Tanis,” which corresponded to the “fields of Zoar” in the Hebrew Bible (Ps 78:12, 43).

175 tn The word is related etymologically to the verb for “slip, slide, bend, totter.” This would fit the use very well. A pole that would not bend would be hard to use to carry things, but a pole or stave that was flexible would serve well.

176 tn The verb is rendered as a passive because there is no expressed subject.

177 tn Or “Wadi Eshcol.” The translation “brook” is too generous; the Hebrew term refers to a river bed, a ravine or valley through which torrents of rain would rush in the rainy season; at other times it might be completely dry.

178 tn The word “Eshcol” is drawn from the Hebrew expression concerning the “cluster of grapes.” The word is probably retained in the name Burj Haskeh, two miles north of Damascus.

179 tn The construction literally has “and they went and they entered,” which may be smoothed out as a verbal hendiadys, the one verb modifying the other.

180 sn Kadesh is Ain Qadeis, about 50 miles (83 km) south of Beer Sheba. It is called Kadesh-barnea in Num 32:8.

181 tn Heb “They brought back word”; the verb is the Hiphil preterite of שׁוּב (shuv).

182 tn Heb “told him and said.” The referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

183 tn The relative clause modifies “the land.” It is constructed with the relative and the verb: “where you sent us.”

184 sn This is the common expression for the material abundance of the land (see further, F. C. Fensham, “An Ancient Tradition of the Fertility of Palestine,” PEQ 98 [1966]: 166-67).

185 tn The word (אֶפֶס, ’efes) forms a very strong adversative. The land was indeed rich and fruitful, but….”

186 tn Heb “the people who are living in the land.”

187 tn Heb “by the side [hand] of.”

188 sn For more discussion on these people groups, see D. J. Wiseman, ed., Peoples of Old Testament Times.

189 tn The construction is emphatic, using the cohortative with the infinitive absolute to strengthen it: עָלֹה נַעֲלֶה (’aloh naaleh, “let us go up”) with the sense of certainty and immediacy.

190 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive brings the cohortative idea forward: “and let us possess it”; it may also be subordinated to form a purpose or result idea.

191 tn Here again the confidence of Caleb is expressed with the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense: יָכוֹל נוּכַל (yakhol nukhal), “we are fully able” to do this. The verb יָכַל (yakhal) followed by the preposition lamed means “to prevail over, to conquer.”

192 tn The vav (ו) disjunctive on the noun at the beginning of the clause forms a strong adversative clause here.

193 tn Or “an evil report,” i.e., one that was a defamation of the grace of God.

194 tn Heb “which we passed over in it”; the pronoun on the preposition serves as a resumptive pronoun for the relative, and need not be translated literally.

195 tn The verb is the feminine singular participle from אָכַל (’akhal); it modifies the land as a “devouring land,” a bold figure for the difficulty of living in the place.

196 sn The expression has been interpreted in a number of ways by commentators, such as that the land was infertile, that the Canaanites were cannibals, that it was a land filled with warlike dissensions, or that it denotes a land geared for battle. It may be that they intended the land to seem infertile and insecure.

197 tn Heb “in its midst.”

198 tc The Greek version uses gigantes (“giants”) to translate “the Nephilim,” but it does not retain the clause “the sons of Anak are from the Nephilim.”

sn The Nephilim are the legendary giants of antiquity. They are first discussed in Gen 6:4. This forms part of the pessimism of the spies’ report.

199 tn Heb “in our eyes.”

200 tn Heb “in their eyes.”

201 sn This chapter forms part of the story already begun. There are three major sections here: dissatisfaction with the reports (vv. 1-10), the threat of divine punishment (vv. 11-38), and the defeat of the Israelites (vv. 39-45). See K. D. Sakenfeld, “The Problem of Divine Forgiveness in Num 14,” CBQ 37 (1975): 317-30; also J. R. Bartlett, “The Use of the Word רֹאשׁ as a Title in the Old Testament,” VT 19 (1969): 1-10.

202 tn The two verbs “lifted up their voice and cried” form a hendiadys; the idiom of raising the voice means that they cried aloud.

203 tn There are a number of things that the verb “to weep” or “wail” can connote. It could reflect joy, grief, lamentation, or repentance, but here it reflects fear, hopelessness, or vexation at the thought of coming all this way and being defeated by the Canaanite armies. See Judg 20:23, 26.

204 tn The Hebrew verb “to murmur” is לוּן (lun). It is a strong word, signifying far more than complaining or grumbling, as some of the modern translations have it. The word is most often connected to the wilderness experience. It is paralleled in the literature with the word “to rebel.” The murmuring is like a parliamentary vote of no confidence, for they no longer trusted their leaders and wished to choose a new leader and return. This “return to Egypt” becomes a symbol of their lack of faith in the Lord.

205 tn The optative is expressed by לוּ (lu) and then the verb, here the perfect tense מַתְנוּ (matnu) – “O that we had died….” Had they wanted to die in Egypt they should not have cried out to the Lord to deliver them from bondage. Here the people became consumed with the fear and worry of what lay ahead, and in their panic they revealed a lack of trust in God.

206 tn Heb “died.”

207 tn Heb “a man to his brother.”

208 tn The verb is נָתַן (natan, “to give”), but this verb has quite a wide range of meanings in the Bible. Here it must mean “to make,” “to choose,” “to designate” or the like.

209 tn The word “head” (רֹאשׁ, rosh) probably refers to a tribal chief who was capable to judge and to lead to war (see J. R. Bartlett, “The Use of the Word רֹאשׁ as a Title in the Old Testament,” VT 19 [1969]: 1-10).

210 tn The form is a cohortative with a vav (ו) prefixed. After the preceding cohortative this could also be interpreted as a purpose or result clause – in order that we may return.

211 sn This action of Moses and Aaron is typical of them in the wilderness with the Israelites. The act shows self-abasement and deference before the sovereign Lord. They are not bowing before the people here, but in front of the people they bow before God. According to Num 17:6-15 this prostration is for the purpose of intercessory prayer. Here it prevents immediate wrath from God.

212 tn Heb “before all the assembly of the congregation.”

213 tn The repetition of the adverb מְאֹד (mÿod) is used to express this: “very, very [good].”

214 tn The subjective genitives “milk and honey” are symbols of the wealth of the land, second only to bread. Milk was a sign of such abundance (Gen 49:12; Isa 7:21,22). Because of the climate the milk would thicken quickly and become curds, eaten with bread or turned into butter. The honey mentioned here is the wild honey (see Deut 32:13; Judg 14:8-9). It signified sweetness, or the finer things of life (Ezek 3:3).

215 sn The expression must indicate that they could destroy the enemies as easily as they could eat bread.

216 tn Heb “their shade.” The figure compares the shade from the sun with the protection from the enemy. It is also possible that the text is alluding to their deities here.

217 tn Heb “said to stone them with stones.” The verb and the object are not from the same root, but the combination nonetheless forms an emphasis equal to the cognate accusative.

218 tn The vav (ו) on the noun “glory” indicates a strong contrast, one that interrupts their threatened attack.

219 sn The glory of the Lord refers to the reality of the Lord’s presence in a manifestation of his power and splendor. It showed to all that God was a living God. The appearance of the glory indicated blessing for the obedient, but disaster for the disobedient.

220 tc The Greek, Syriac, and Tg. Ps.-J. have “in the cloud over the tent.”

221 tn The verb נָאַץ (naats) means “to condemn, spurn” (BDB 610 s.v.). Coats suggests that in some contexts the word means actual rejection or renunciation (Rebellion in the Wilderness, 146, 7). This would include the idea of distaste.

222 tn The verb “to believe” (root אָמַן, ’aman) has the basic idea of support, dependability for the root. The Hiphil has a declarative sense, namely, to consider something reliable or dependable and to act on it. The people did not trust what the Lord said.

223 tc The Greek version has “death.”

224 tn The construction is unusual in that we have here a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive with no verb before it to establish the time sequence. The context requires that this be taken as a vav (ו) consecutive. It actually forms the protasis for the next verse, and would best be rendered “whenthen they will say.”

225 tn The singular participle is to be taken here as a collective, representing all the inhabitants of the land.

226 tn “Face to face” is literally “eye to eye.” It only occurs elsewhere in Isa 52:8. This expresses the closest communication possible.

227 tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect of מוּת (mut), וְהֵמַתָּה (vÿhemattah). The vav (ו) consecutive makes this also a future time sequence verb, but again in a conditional clause.

228 tn Heb “as one man.”

229 tc The form in the text is אֲדֹנָי (’adonay), the word that is usually used in place of the tetragrammaton. It is the plural form with the pronominal suffix, and so must refer to God.

230 tn The expression is רַב־חֶסֶד (rav khesed) means “much of loyal love,” or “faithful love.” Some have it “totally faithful,” but that omits the aspect of his love.

231 tn Or “rebellion.”

232 tn The infinitive absolute emphasizes the verbal activity of the imperfect tense, which here serves as a habitual imperfect. Negated it states what God does not do; and the infinitive makes that certain.

233 sn The Decalogue adds “to those who hate me.” The point of the line is that the effects of sin, if not the sinful traits themselves, are passed on to the next generation.

234 tn The verb סְלַח־נָא (selakh-na’), the imperative form, means “forgive” (see Ps 130:4), “pardon,” “excuse.” The imperative is of course a prayer, a desire, and not a command.

235 tn The construct unit is “the greatness of your loyal love.” This is the genitive of specification, the first word being the modifier.

236 tn Heb “forgiven according to your word.” The direct object, “them,” is implied.

237 sn This is the oath formula, but in the Pentateuch it occurs here and in v. 28.

238 tn The verb נָסָה (nasah) means “to test, to tempt, to prove.” It can be used to indicate things are tried or proven, or for testing in a good sense, or tempting in the bad sense, i.e., putting God to the test. In all uses there is uncertainty or doubt about the outcome. Some uses of the verb are positive: If God tests Abraham in Genesis 22:1, it is because there is uncertainty whether he fears the Lord or not; if people like Gideon put out the fleece and test the Lord, it is done by faith but in order to be certain of the Lord’s presence. But here, when these people put God to the test ten times, it was because they doubted the goodness and ability of God, and this was a major weakness. They had proof to the contrary, but chose to challenge God.

239 tn “Ten” is here a round figure, emphasizing the complete testing. But see F. V. Winnett, The Mosaic Tradition, 121-54.

240 tn Heb “listened to my voice.”

241 tn The word אִם (’im) indicates a negative oath formula: “if” means “they will not.” It is elliptical. In a human oath one would be saying: “The Lord do to me if they see…,” meaning “they will by no means see.” Here God is swearing that they will not see the land.

242 tn Heb “seed.”

243 sn The judgment on Israel is that they turn back to the desert and not attack the tribes in the land. So a parenthetical clause is inserted to state who was living there. They would surely block the entrance to the land from the south – unless God removed them. And he is not going to do that for Israel.

244 tn The figure is aposiopesis, or sudden silence. The main verb is deleted from the line, “how long…this evil community.” The intensity of the emotion is the reason for the ellipsis.

245 sn It is worth mentioning in passing that this is one of the Rabbinic proof texts for having at least ten men to form a congregation and have prayer. If God called ten men (the bad spies) a “congregation,” then a congregation must have ten men. But here the word “community/congregation” refers in this context to the people of Israel as a whole, not just to the ten spies.

246 sn Here again is the oath that God swore in his wrath, an oath he swore by himself, that they would not enter the land. “As the Lord lives,” or “by the life of the Lord,” are ways to render it.

247 tn The word נְאֻם (nÿum) is an “oracle.” It is followed by the subjective genitive: “the oracle of the Lord” is equal to saying “the Lord says.”

248 tn Heb “in my ears.”

sn They had expressed the longing to have died in the wilderness, and not in war. God will now give them that. They would not say to God “your will be done,” so he says to them, “your will be done” (to borrow from C. S. Lewis).

249 tn Or “your corpses” (also in vv. 32, 33).

250 tn The relative pronoun “which” is joined with the resumptive pronoun “in it” to form a smoother reading “where.”

251 tn The Hebrew text uses the anthropomorphic expression “I raised my hand” in taking an oath.

252 tn Heb “to cause you to dwell; to cause you to settle.”

253 tn Or “plunder.”

254 tn Heb “know.”

255 tn The word is “shepherds.” It means that the people would be wilderness nomads, grazing their flock on available land.

256 tn Heb “you shall bear your whoredoms.” The imagery of prostitution is used throughout the Bible to reflect spiritual unfaithfulness, leaving the covenant relationship and following after false gods. Here it is used generally for their rebellion in the wilderness, but not for following other gods.

257 tn The infinitive is from תָּמַם (tamam), which means “to be complete.” The word is often used to express completeness in a good sense – whole, blameless, or the like. Here and in v. 35 it seems to mean “until your deaths have been completed.” See also Gen 47:15; Deut 2:15.

258 tn Heb “you shall bear.”

259 tn The phrase refers to the consequences of open hostility to God, or perhaps abandonment of God. The noun תְּנוּאָה (tÿnuah) occurs in Job 33:10 (perhaps). The related verb occurs in Num 30:6 HT (30:5 ET) and 32:7 with the sense of “disallow, discourage.” The sense of the expression adopted in this translation comes from the meticulous study of R. Loewe, “Divine Frustration Exegetically Frustrated,” Words and Meanings, 137-58.

260 tn The verb is the Hiphil infinitive construct with a lamed (ל) preposition from the root יָצָא (yatsa’, “to bring out”). The use of the infinitive here is epexegetical, that is, explaining how they caused the people to murmur.

261 tn The Hebrew text uses the preposition “from,” “some of” – “from those men.” The relative pronoun is added to make a smoother reading.

262 tn The preterite here is subordinated to the next preterite to form a temporal clause.

263 tn The word אָבַל (’aval) is rare, used mostly for mourning over deaths, but it is used here of mourning over bad news (see also Exod 33:4; 1 Sam 15:35; 16:1; etc.).

264 tn The verb וַיַּשְׁכִּמוּ (vayyashkimu) is often found in a verbal hendiadys construction: “They rose early…and they went up” means “they went up early.”

265 tn The Hebrew text says literally “the top of the hill,” but judging from the location and the terrain it probably means the heights of the hill country.

266 tn The verb is simply “said,” but it means the place that the Lord said to go up to in order to fight.

267 sn Their sin was unbelief. They could have gone and conquered the area if they had trusted the Lord for their victory. They did not, and so they were condemned to perish in the wilderness. Now, thinking that by going they can undo all that, they plan to go. But this is also disobedience, for the Lord said they would not now take the land, and yet they think they can. Here is their second sin, presumption.

268 tn The line literally has, “Why is this [that] you are transgressing….” The demonstrative pronoun is enclitic; it brings the force of “why in the world are you doing this now?”

269 tn Heb “mouth.”

270 tn This verb could also be subordinated to the preceding: “that you be not smitten.”

271 tn N. H. Snaith compares Arabic ’afala (“to swell”) and gafala (“reckless, headstrong”; Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], 248). The wordעֹפֶל (’ofel) means a “rounded hill” or a “tumor.” The idea behind the verb may be that of “swelling,” and so “act presumptuously.”

272 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) here introduces a circumstantial clause; the most appropriate one here would be the concessive “although.”

273 tn Heb “came down.”

274 tn The verb used here means “crush by beating,” or “pounded” them. The Greek text used “cut them in pieces.”

275 tn The name “Hormah” means “destruction”; it is from the word that means “ban, devote” for either destruction or temple use.

276 sn The wilderness wandering officially having begun, these rules were then given for the people to be used when they finally entered the land. That they would be provided here would be of some encouragement to the nation after their great failure. God still spoke of a land that was to be their land, even though they had sinned greatly. This chapter collects a number of religious rules. The first 16 verses deal with rulings for sacrifices. Then, vv. 17-36 concerns sins of omission. Finally, rules concerning tassels are covered (vv. 37-41). For additional reading, see G. B. Gray, Sacrifice in the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925); B. A. Levine, In the Presence of the Lord (SJLA); D. J. McCarthy, “The Symbolism of Blood and Sacrifice,” JBL 88 (1969): 166-76; “Further Notes on the Symbolism of Blood and Sacrifice,” JBL 92 (1973): 205-10; J. Milgrom, “Sin Offering or Purification Offering,” VT 21 (1971): 237-39; N. H. Snaith, “Sacrifices in the Old Testament,” VT 7 (1957): 308-17; R. J. Thompson, Penitence and Sacrifice in Early Israel; R. de Vaux, Studies in Old Testament Sacrifice.

277 tn Heb “the land of your habitations.”

278 tn The Hebrew participle here has the futur instans use of the participle, expressing that something is going to take place. It is not imminent, but it is certain that God would give the land to Israel.

279 tn The three words at the beginning of this verse are all etymologically related: “the one who offers his offering shall offer.”

280 sn Obviously, as the wording of the text affirms, this kind of offering would be made after they were in the land and able to produce the grain and oil for the sacrifices. The instructions anticipated their ability to do this, and this would give hope to them. The amounts are difficult to determine, but it may be that they were to bring 4.5 liters of flour and 1.8 liters each of oil and wine.

281 sn The drink-offering was an ancient custom, mentioned in the Ugaritic tablets of Ras Shamra (14th century b.c.). The drink offering was poured out at the base of the altar (see Sir 50:15 and Josephus, Ant. 3.9.4 [3.234]).

282 tn Heb “for the one lamb,” but it clearly means “for each lamb.”

283 tn The text changes from direct address here to the third person form of the verb. If the MT is correct, then to make a smooth translation it would need to be made a passive (in view of the fact that no subject is expressed).

284 tn Heb “according to thus shall it be done.”

285 tn The word גּוּר (gur) was traditionally translated “to sojourn,” i.e., to live temporarily in a land. Here the two words are from the root: “if a sojourner sojourns.”

286 tn Heb “in your midst.”

287 tn The Hebrew text just has “to your generations,” but it means in the future.

288 tn The imperfect tenses must reflect the responsibility to comply with the law, and so the classifications of instruction or obligation may be applied.

289 tn The word “apply” is supplied in the translation.

290 tn Or “a statute forever.”

291 tn Heb “as you, as [so] the alien.”

292 tn The relative clause is literally, “which I am causing you to enter there.” The final adverb is resumptive, and must be joined with the relative pronoun.

293 tn The verse has a temporal clause that actually continues or supplements the temporal clause of the preceding verse. It is made up of the temporal indicator, the infinitive construct with the preposition, and the suffixed subjective genitive: “and it shall be when you eat.” Here it is translated simply “and eat” since the temporal element was introduced in the last verse.

294 tn This is the תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah), the “raised offering” or “heave offering” (cf. KJV, ASV). It may simply be called a “contribution” (so NAB). The verb of the sentence is from the same root: “you shall lift up/raise up.” It was to be an offering separated from the rest and raised up to the Lord in the sight of all. It was designed to remind the Israelites that the produce and the land belonged to God.

295 tn Or “the first of your dough.” The phrase is not very clear. N. H. Snaith thinks it means a batch of loaves from the kneading trough – the first batch of the baking (Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], 251).

296 sn These regulations supplement what was already ruled on in the Levitical code for the purification and reparation offerings. See those rulings in Lev 4-7 for all the details. Some biblical scholars view the rules in Leviticus as more elaborate and therefore later. However, this probably represents a misunderstanding of the purpose of each collection.

297 tn The verb is the plural imperfect; the sin discussed here is a sin committed by the community, or the larger part of the community.

298 tn Heb “hand.”

299 tn The idea of לִשְׁגָגָה (lishgagah) seems to be that of “inadvertence” or “without intent.” The text gives no indication of how this offense might be committed, or what it might include. It probably describes any transgressions done in ignorance of the Law that involved a violation of tabernacle procedure or priestly protocol or social misdemeanor. Even though it was done unintentionally, it was still a violation and called for ritual purification.

300 tn Heb “[away] from the eyes of the community.”

301 tn The verb is the Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive (וְכִפֶּר, vÿkhipper) to continue the instruction of the passage: “the priest shall make atonement,” meaning the priest is to make atonement for the sin (thus the present translation). This verb means “to expiate,” “to atone for,” “to pacify.” It describes the ritual events by which someone who was separated from the holy Lord God could find acceptance into his presence through the sacrificial blood of the substitutionary animal. See Lev 1 and Num 17:6-15.

302 tn Or “they will be forgiven.”

303 tn Again, rather than translate literally “and it shall be forgiven [to] them” (all the community), one could say, “they (all the community) will be forgiven.” The meaning is the same.

304 tn The Hebrew text hasוְאִם־נֶפֶשׁ אַחַת (vÿim-nefeshakhat), sometime translated “and if any soul.” But the word describes the whole person, the soul in the body; it refers here to the individual who sins.

305 tn Heb “soul.”

306 tn The sin is described literally as acting “with a high hand” – בְּיָד רָמָה (bÿyad ramah). The expression means that someone would do something with deliberate defiance, with an arrogance in spite of what the Lord said. It is as if the sinner was about to attack God, or at least lifting his hand against God. The implication of the expression is that it was done in full knowledge of the Law (especially since this contrasts throughout with the sins of ignorance). Blatant defiance of the word of the Lord is dealt with differently. For similar expressions, see Exod 14:8 and Num 33:3.

307 tn The verb occurs only in the Piel; it means “to blaspheme,” “to revile.”

308 tn The word order in the Hebrew text places “Yahweh” first for emphasis – it is the Lord such a person insults.

309 tn Heb “soul.”

310 tn The clause begins with “and” because the verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. As discussed with Num 9:13, to be cut off could mean excommunication from the community, death by the community, or death by divine intervention.

311 tn The verb בָּזָה (bazah, “to despise”) means to treat something as worthless, to treat it with contempt, to look down the nose at something as it were.

312 tn The verb פָּרַר (parar, “to break”) can mean to nullify, break, or violate a covenant.

313 tn Heb “soul.”

314 tn The construction uses the Niphal imperfect with the modifying Niphal infinitive absolute. The infinitive makes the sentence more emphatic. If the imperfect tense is taken as an instruction imperfect, then the infinitive makes the instruction more binding. If it is a simple future, then the future is certain. In either case, there is no exclusion from being cut off.

315 sn The point is that the person’s iniquity remains with him – he must pay for his sin. The judgment of God in such a case is both appropriate and unavoidable.

316 tn The preterite of the verb “to be” is here subordinated to the next, parallel verb form, to form a temporal clause.

317 sn For this brief passage, see A. Phillips, “The Case of the Woodgatherer Reconsidered,” VT 19 (1969): 125-28; J. Weingreen, “The Case of the Woodgatherer (Numbers XV 32-36),” VT 16 (1966): 361-64; and B. J. Bamberger, “Revelations of Torah after Sinai,” HUCA 16 (1941): 97-113. Weingreen argues that there is something of the Rabbinic method of setting a fence around the Law here; in other words, if this sin were not punished, the Law would have been violated in greater ways. Gathering of wood, although seemingly harmless, is done with intent to kindle fire, and so reveals a culpable intent.

318 tn The sentence begins with the emphatic use of the infinitive absolute with the verb in the Hophal imperfect: “he shall surely be put to death.” Then, a second infinitive absolute רָגוֹם (ragom) provides the explanatory activity – all the community is to stone him with stones. The punishment is consistent with other decrees from God (see Exod 31:14,15; 35:2). Moses had either forgotten such, or they had simply neglected to (or were hesitant to) enact them.

319 tn Heb “stoned him with stones, and he died.”

320 tn The construction uses the imperative followed by perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives. The first perfect tense may be translated as the imperative, but the second, being a third common plural form, has to be subordinated as a purpose clause, or as the object of the preceding verb: “speak…and say…that they make.”

321 sn This is a reference to the צִיצִת (tsitsit), the fringes on the borders of the robes. They were meant to hang from the corners of the upper garment (Deut 22:12), which was worn on top of the clothing. The tassel was probably made by twisting the overhanging threads of the garment into a knot that would hang down. This was a reminder of the covenant. The tassels were retained down through history, and today more elaborate prayer shawls with tassels are worn during prayer. For more information, see F. J. Stephens, “The Ancient Significance of Sisith,” JBL 50 (1931): 59-70; and S. Bertman, “Tasselled Garments in the Ancient East Mediterranean,” BA 24 (1961): 119-28.

322 sn The blue color may represent the heavenly origin of the Law, or perhaps, since it is a royal color, the majesty of the Lord.

323 tn Heb “seek out, look into.”

324 tn This last clause is a relative clause explaining the influence of the human heart and physical sight. It literally says, “which you go whoring after them.” The verb for “whoring” may be interpreted to mean “act unfaithfully.” So, the idea is these influences lead to unfaithful activity: “after which you act unfaithfully.”

325 tn This clause also serves as a purpose/result clause of the preceding – “in order that you may remember….” But because the line is so long, it is simpler to make this a separate sentence in the translation.

326 sn There are three main movements in the story of ch. 16. The first is the rebellion itself (vv. 1-19). The second is the judgment (vv. 20-35). Third is the atonement for the rebels (vv. 36-50). The whole chapter is a marvelous account of a massive rebellion against the leaders that concludes with reconciliation. For further study see G. Hort, “The Death of Qorah,” ABR 7 (1959): 2-26; and J. Liver, “Korah, Dathan and Abiram,” Studies in the Bible (ScrHier 8), 189-217.

327 tc The MT reading is plural (“the sons of Reuben”); the Smr and LXX have the singular (“the son of Reuben”).

328 tn In the Hebrew text there is no object for the verb “took.” The translation presented above supplies the word “men.” However, it is possible that the MT has suffered damage here. The LXX has “and he spoke.” The Syriac and Targum have “and he was divided.” The editor of BHS suggests that perhaps the MT should be emended to “and he arose.”

329 tn Heb “princes” (so KJV, ASV).

330 tn These men must have been counselors or judges of some kind.

331 tn Heb “men of name,” or “men of renown.”

332 tn The meaning of רַב־לָכֶם (rab-lakhem) is something like “you have assumed far too much authority.” It simply means “much to you,” perhaps “you have gone to far,” or “you are overreaching yourselves” (M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 123). He is objecting to the exclusiveness of the system that Moses has been introducing.

333 tn Heb “fell on his face.”

334 tn Heb “him.”

335 tn Heb “his congregation” or “his community.” The expression is unusual, but what it signifies is that Korah had set up a rival “Israel” with himself as leader.

336 tn The verb is the Piel perfect. There is no imperfect tense before this, which makes the construction a little difficult. If the vav (ו) is classified as a consecutive, then the form would stand alone as an equivalent to the imperfect, and rendered as a modal nuance such as “would you [now] seek,” or as a progressive imperfect, “are you seeking.” This latter nuance can be obtained by treating it as a regular perfect tense, with an instantaneous nuance: “do you [now] seek.”

sn Moses discerned correctly the real motivation for the rebellion. Korah wanted to be the high priest because he saw how much power there was in the spiritual leadership in Israel. He wanted something like a general election with himself as the candidate and his supporters promoting him. The great privilege of being a Levite and serving in the sanctuary was not enough for him – the status did not satisfy him. Korah gave no rebuttal. The test would be one of ministering with incense. This would bring them into direct proximity with the Lord. If God honored Korah as a ministering priest, then it would be settled. But Moses accuses them of rebellion against the Lord, because the Lord had chosen Aaron to be the priest.

337 sn The question indicates that they had been murmuring against Aaron, that is, expressing disloyalty and challenging his leadership. But it is actually against the Lord that they had been murmuring because the Lord had put Aaron in that position.

338 tn Heb “Moses sent to summon.” The verb קָרָא (qara’) followed by the lamed (ל) preposition does not mean “call to” but “summon.” This is a command performance; for them to appear would be to submit to Moses’ authority. This they will not do.

339 tn The imperfect tense נַעֲלֶה (naaleh) expresses their unwillingness to report: “we are not willing,” or “we will not.” The verb means “to go up.” It is used in the sense of appearing before an authority or a superior (see, e.g., Gen 46:31; Deut 25:7; Judg 4:5).

340 tn The question is rhetorical. It was not a small thing to them – it was a big thing.

341 tn The modern scholar who merely sees these words as belonging to an earlier tradition about going up to the land of Canaan that flows with milk and honey misses the irony here. What is happening is that the text is showing how twisted the thinking of the rebels is. They have turned things completely around. Egypt was the land flowing with milk and honey, not Canaan where they will die. The words of rebellion are seldom original, and always twisted.

342 tn The verb הִשְׂתָּרֵר (histarer) is the Hitpael infinitive absolute that emphasizes the preceding תִשְׂתָּרֵר (tistarer), the Hitpael imperfect tense (both forms having metathesis). The verb means “to rule; to act like a prince; to make oneself a prince.” This is the only occurrence of the reflexive for this verb. The exact nuance is difficult to translate into English. But they are accusing Moses of seizing princely power for himself, perhaps making a sarcastic reference to his former status in Egypt. The rebels here are telling Moses that they had discerned his scheme, and so he could not “hoodwink” them (cf. NEB).

343 tn Here אַף (’af) has the sense of “in addition.” It is not a common use.

344 tn Heb “will you bore out the eyes of these men?” The question is “Will you continue to mislead them?” (or “hoodwink” them). In Deut 16:19 it is used for taking a bribe; something like that kind of deception is intended here. They are simply stating that Moses is a deceiver who is misleading the people with false promises.

345 tn The verb means “to turn toward”; it is a figurative expression that means “to pay attention to” or “to have regard for.” So this is a prayer against Dathan and Abiram.

346 tn Heb “and take, a man, his censer.”

347 tn This verb and the following one are both perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutives. Following the imperative they carry the same force, but in sequence.

348 tn This clause is clearly foundational for the clause that follows, the appearance of the Lord; therefore it should be subordinated to the next as a temporal clause (one preterite followed by another preterite may be so subordinated).

349 tn The verb is הִבָּדְלוּ (hibbadÿlu), the Niphal imperative of בָּדַל (badal). This is the same word that was just used when Moses reminded the Levites that they had been separated from the community to serve the Lord.

350 sn The group of people siding with Korah is meant, and not the entire community of the people of Israel. They are an assembly of rebels, their “community” consisting in their common plot.

351 sn It is Moses and Aaron who prostrate themselves; they have the good of the people at heart.

352 tn The expression “the God of the spirits of all humanity [flesh]” is somewhat difficult. The Hebrew text says אֱלֹהֵי הָרוּחֹת לְכָל־בָּשָׂר (’elohey harukhot lÿkhol-basar). This expression occurs in Num 27:16 again. It also occurs in some postbiblical texts, a fact which has prompted some scholars to conclude that it is a late addition. The words clearly show that Moses is interceding for the congregation. The appeal in the verse is that it is better for one man to die for the whole nation than the whole nation for one man (see also John 11:50).

353 tn The verb is the Qal imperfect יֶחֱטָא (yekheta’); it refers to the sinful rebellion of Korah, but Moses is stating something of a principle: “One man sins, and will you be angry….” A past tense translation would assume that this is a preterite use of the imperfect (without vav [ו] consecutive).

354 tn The motif of “going up” is still present; here the Hebrew text says “go up” (the Niphal imperative – “go up yourselves”) from their tents, meaning, move away from them.

355 tn Heb “rose up.”

356 tn The word רָשָׁע (rasha’) has the sense of a guilty criminal. The word “wicked” sometimes gives the wrong connotation. These men were opposing the Lord, and so were condemned as criminals – they were guilty. The idea of “wickedness” therefore applies in that sense.

357 tn The preposition bet (בְּ) in this line is causal – “on account of their sins.”

358 sn The impression is that the people did not hear what the Lord said to Moses, but only what Moses said to the people as a result. They saw the brilliant cloud, and perhaps heard the sound of his voice, but the relaying of the instructions indicates they did not hear the actual instruction from the Lord himself.

359 tn The verb נִצָּבִים (nitsavim) suggests a defiant stance, for the word is often used in the sense of taking a stand for or against something. It can also be somewhat neutral, having the sense of positioning oneself for a purpose.

360 tn Heb “in this.”

361 tn The Hebrew text simply has כִּי־לֹא מִלִּבִּי (ki-lomillibbi, “for not from my heart”). The heart is the center of the will, the place decisions are made (see H. W. Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament). Moses is saying that the things he has done have not come “from the will of man” so to speak – and certainly not from some secret desire on his part to seize power.

362 tn Heb “if like the death of every man they die.”

363 tn The noun is פְּקֻדָּה (pÿquddah, “appointment, visitation”). The expression refers to a natural death, parallel to the first expression.

364 tn The verb בָּרָא (bara’) is normally translated “create” in the Bible. More specifically it means to fashion or make or do something new and fresh. Here the verb is joined with its cognate accusative to underscore that this will be so different everyone will know it is of God.

365 tn The figures are personifications. But they vividly describe the catastrophe to follow – which was very much like a mouth swallowing them.

366 tn The word is “life” or “lifetime”; it certainly means their lives – they themselves. But the presence of this word suggest more. It is an accusative specifying the state of the subject – they will go down alive to Sheol.

367 tn The word “Sheol” in the Bible can be used four different ways: the grave, the realm of the departed [wicked] spirits or Hell, death in general, or a place of extreme danger (one that will lead to the grave if God does not intervene). The usage here is certainly the first, and very likely the second as well. A translation of “pit” would not be inappropriate. Since they will go down there alive, it is likely that they will sense the deprivation and the separation from the land above. See H. W. Robinson, Inspiration and Revelation in the Old Testament; N. J. Tromp, Primitive Conceptions of Death and the Netherworld in the Old Testament (BibOr 21), 21-23; and A. Heidel, The Gilgamesh Epic, especially ch. 3.

368 tn The initial temporal clause is standard: It begins with the temporal indicator “and it was,” followed here by the Piel infinitive construct with the preposition and the subjective genitive suffix. “And it happened when he finished.”

369 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition lamed (ל) functions here as the direct object of the preceding infinitive. It tells what he finished.

370 tn Heb “all Israel.”

371 tn Heb “voice.”

372 tn Heb “lest.”

373 tn For a discussion of the fire of the Lord, see J. C. H. Laughlin, “The Strange Fire of Nadab and Abihu,” JBL 95 (1976): 559-65.

374 sn Beginning with 16:36, the verse numbers through 17:13 in the English Bible differ from the verse numbers in the Hebrew text (BHS), with 16:36 ET = 17:1 HT, 16:37 ET = 17:2 HT, 17:1 ET = 17:16 HT, etc., through 17:13 ET = 17:28 HT. With 18:1 the verse numbers in the ET and HT are again the same. But in the English chap. 17 there are two parts: Aaron’s rod budding (1-9), and the rod preserved as a memorial (10-13). Both sections begin with the same formula.

375 tn Heb “say to.”

376 tn The verb is the jussive with a vav (ו) coming after the imperative; it may be subordinated to form a purpose clause (“that he may pick up”) or the object of the imperative.

377 tn The Hebrew text just has “fire,” but it would be hard to conceive of this action apart from the idea of coals of fire.

378 tn The expression is “in/by/against their life.” That they sinned against their life means that they brought ruin to themselves.

379 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. But there is no expressed subject for “and they shall make them,” and so it may be treated as a passive (“they shall [must] be made”).

380 tn Heb “from the seed of.”

381 tn Heb “hand.”

382 sn The whole congregation here is trying to project its guilt on Moses and Aaron. It was they and their rebellion that brought about the deaths, not Moses and Aaron. The Lord had punished the sinners. The fact that the leaders had organized a rebellion against the Lord was forgotten by these people. The point here is that the Israelites had learned nothing of spiritual value from the event.

383 tn The temporal clause is constructed with the temporal indicator (“and it was”) followed by the Niphal infinitive construct and preposition.

384 tn The verse uses וְהִנֵּה (vÿhinneh, “and behold”). This is the deictic particle – it is used to point things out, suddenly calling attention to them, as if the reader were there. The people turned to look toward the tent – and there is the cloud!

385 tn Heb “they fell on their faces.”

386 tn Heb “took.”

387 tn Or “had spoken” (NASB); NRSV “had ordered.”

388 sn Num 17:1 in the English Bible is 17:16 in the Hebrew text (BHS). See also the note on 16:36.

389 tn Heb “receive from them a rod, a rod from the house of a father.”

390 tn Heb “from every leader of them according to their fathers’ house.”

391 tn Heb “one rod for the head of their fathers’ house.”

392 tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect of נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”), and so “to set at rest, lay, place, put.” The form with the vav (ו) consecutive continues the instruction of the previous verse.

393 tn The Hebrew text simply reads “the covenant” or “the testimony.”

394 tn Heb “a rod for one leader, a rod for one leader.”

395 tn Heb “the house of their fathers.”

396 tn The name of the tent now attests to the centrality of the ark of the covenant. Instead of the “tent of meeting” (מוֹעֵד, moed) we now find the “the tent of the testimony” (הָעֵדֻת, haedut).

397 tn Here too the deictic particle (“and behold”) is added to draw attention to the sight in a vivid way.

398 sn There is no clear answer why the tribe of Levi had used an almond staff. The almond tree is one of the first to bud in the spring, and its white blossoms are a beautiful sign that winter is over. Its name became a name for “watcher”; Jeremiah plays on this name for God’s watching over his people (1:11-12).

399 tn The words “at them” are not in the Hebrew text, but they have been added in the translation for clarity.

400 tn The verb means “to finish; to complete” and here “to bring to an end.” It is the imperfect following the imperative, and so introduces a purpose clause (as a final imperfect).

401 tn This is another final imperfect in a purpose clause.

402 tn The use of הֵן (hen) and the perfect tense in the nuance of a prophetic perfect expresses their conviction that they were bound to die – it was certain (see GKC 312-13 §106.n).

403 sn Num 17:13 in the English Bible is 17:28 in the Hebrew text (BHS). See also the note on 16:36.

404 tn The verse stresses the completeness of their death: “will we be consumed by dying” (הַאִם תַּמְנוּ לִגְוֹעַ, haim tamnu ligvoa’).

405 sn This chapter and the next may have been inserted here to explain how the priests are to function because in the preceding chapter Aaron’s position was affirmed. The chapter seems to fall into four units: responsibilities of priests (vv. 1-7), their portions (vv. 8-19), responsibilities of Levites (vv. 20-24), and instructions for Levites (vv. 25-32).

406 tn Heb “your father’s house.”

407 sn The responsibility for the sanctuary included obligations relating to any violation of the sanctuary. This was stated to forestall any further violations of the sanctuary. The priests were to pay for any ritual errors, primarily if any came too near. Since the priests and Levites come near all the time, they risk violating ritual laws more than any. So, with the great privileges come great responsibilities. The bottom line is that they were responsible for the sanctuary.

408 sn The verb forms a wordplay on the name Levi, and makes an allusion to the naming of the tribe Levi by Leah in the book of Genesis. There Leah hoped that with the birth of Levi her husband would be attached to her. Here, with the selection of the tribe to serve in the sanctuary, there is the wordplay again showing that the Levites will be attached to Aaron and the priests. The verb is יִלָּווּ (yillavu), which forms a nice wordplay with Levi (לֵוִי). The tribe will now be attached to the sanctuary. The verb is the imperfect with a vav (ו) that shows volitive sequence after the imperative, here indicating a purpose clause.

409 tn The clause is a circumstantial clause because the disjunctive vav (ו) is on a nonverb to start the clause.

410 tn Now the sentence uses the Niphal perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive from the same root לָוָה (lavah).

411 tn The word is “stranger, alien,” but it can also mean Israelites here.

412 tn The clause is a purpose clause, and the imperfect tense a final imperfect.

413 tn Heb “taken.”

414 tn The infinitive construct in this sentence is from עָבַד (’avad), and so is the noun that serves as its object: to serve the service.

415 tn This is an uncommon root. It may be connected to the word “anoint” as here (see RSV). But it may also be seen as an intended parallel to “perpetual due” (see Gen 47:22; Exod 29:28; Lev 6:11 [HT]).

416 tn Heb “from the fire.” It probably refers to those parts that were not burned.

417 tn This form may be classified as a perfect of resolve – he has decided to give them to them, even though this is a listing of what they will receive.

418 tn The “ban” (חֵרֶם, kherem) in Hebrew describes that which is exclusively the Lord’s, either for his sanctuary use, or for his destruction. It seems to refer to an individual’s devoting something freely to God.

419 tn The construction uses the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense of the verb “to redeem” in order to stress the point – they were to be redeemed. N. H. Snaith suggests that the verb means to get by payment what was not originally yours, whereas the other root גָאַל (gaal) means to get back what was originally yours (Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], 268).

420 tn Or “throw, toss.”

421 sn Salt was used in all the offerings; its importance as a preservative made it a natural symbol for the covenant which was established by sacrifice. Even general agreements were attested by sacrifice, and the phrase “covenant of salt” speaks of such agreements as binding and irrevocable. Note the expression in Ezra 4:14, “we have been salted with the salt of the palace.” See further J. F. Ross, IDB 4:167.

422 tn The phrase “of property” is supplied as a clarification.

423 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive construct of the verb “to bear” with the lamed (ל) preposition to express the result of such an action. “To bear their sin” would mean that they would have to suffer the consequences of their sin.

424 tn The verse begins with the perfect tense of עָבַד (’avad) with vav (ו) consecutive, making the form equal to the instructions preceding it. As its object the verb has the cognate accusative “service.”

425 sn The Levites have the care of the tent of meeting, and so they are responsible for any transgressions against it.

426 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Levites) has been supplied in the translation for clarity.

427 tn The Hebrew text uses both the verb and the object from the same root to stress the point: They will not inherit an inheritance. The inheritance refers to land.

428 tn The classification of the perfect tense here too could be the perfect of resolve, since this law is declaring what will be their portion – “I have decided to give.”

429 tn In the Hebrew text the verb has no expressed subject (although the “Israelites” is certainly intended), and so it can be rendered as a passive.

430 tn The verb in this clause is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it has the same force as an imperfect of instruction: “when…then you are to offer up.”

431 tn The verb is חָשַׁב (khashav, “to reckon; to count; to think”); it is the same verb used for “crediting” Abram with righteousness. Here the tithe of the priests will be counted as if it were a regular tithe.

432 tn Heb “fullness,” meaning the fullness of the harvest, i.e., a full harvest.

433 tn The construction is “every raised offering of the Lord”; the genitive here is probably to be taken as a genitive of worth – the offering that is due the Lord.

434 tn Or “its hallowed thing.”

435 tn The wording of this verse is confusing; it may be that it is addressed to the priests, telling them how to deal with the offerings of the Levites.

436 tn The clause begins with the infinitive construct with its preposition and suffixed subject serving to indicate the temporal clause.

437 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; it functions as the equivalent of the imperfect of permission.

438 tn The final clause could also be rendered “in order that you do not die.” The larger section can also be interpreted differently; rather than take it as a warning, it could be taken as an assurance that when they do all of this they will not be profaning it and so will not die (R. K. Harrison, Numbers [WEC], 253).

439 sn In the last chapter the needs of the priests and Levites were addressed. Now the concern is for the people. This provision from the sacrifice of the red heifer is a precaution to ensure that the purity of the tabernacle was not violated by pollutions of impurity or death. This chapter has two main parts, both dealing with ceremonial purity: the ritual of the red heifer (vv. 1-10), and the purification from uncleanness (vv. 11-22). For further study see J. Milgrom, “The Paradox of the Red Cow (Num 19),” VT 31 (1981): 62-72.

440 tn Heb “speak to.”

441 tn The line literally reads, “speak to the Israelites that [and] they bring [will bring].” The imperfect [or jussive] is subordinated to the imperative either as a purpose clause, or as the object of the instruction – speak to them that they bring, or tell them to bring.

442 tn The color is designated as red, although the actual color would be a tanned red-brown color for the animal (see the usage in Isa 1:18 and Song 5:10). The reddish color suggested the blood of ritual purification; see J. Milgrom, “The Paradox of the Red Cow (Num 19),” VT 31 (1981): 62-72.

443 sn Some modern commentators prefer “cow” to “heifer,” thinking that the latter came from the influence of the Greek. Young animals were usually prescribed for the ritual, especially here, and so “heifer” is the better translation. A bull could not be given for this purification ritual because that is what was given for the high priests or the community according to Lev 4.

444 tn Heb “wherein there is no defect.”

445 tc The clause is a little ambiguous. It reads “and he shall slaughter it before him.” It sounds as if someone else will kill the heifer in the priest’s presence. Since no one is named as the subject, it may be translated as a passive. Some commentators simply interpret that Eleazar was to kill the animal personally, but that is a little forced for “before him.” The Greek text gives a third person plural sense to the verb; the Vulgate follows that reading.

446 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; it functions here as the equivalent of the imperfect of instruction.

447 sn Seven is a number with religious significance; it is often required in sacrificial ritual for atonement or for purification.

448 tn Again, the verb has no expressed subject, and so is given a passive translation.

449 tn The imperfect tense is third masculine singular, and so again the verb is to be made passive.

450 sn In addition to the general references, see R. K. Harrison, “The Biblical Problem of Hyssop,” EvQ 26 (1954): 218-24.

451 sn There is no clear explanation available as to why these items were to be burned with the heifer. N. H. Snaith suggests that in accordance with Babylonian sacrifices they would have enhanced the rites with an aroma (Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], 272). In Lev 14 the wood and the hyssop may have been bound together by the scarlet wool to make a sprinkling device. It may be that the symbolism is what is important here. Cedar wood, for example, is durable; it may have symbolized resistance to future corruption and defilement, an early acquired immunity perhaps (R. K. Harrison, Numbers [WEC], 256).

452 tn The sequence continues with the perfect tense and vav (ו) consecutive.

453 tn Heb “his flesh.”

454 tn This is the imperfect of permission.

455 sn Here the text makes clear that he had at least one assistant.

456 tn Heb “it will be.”

457 tn The expression לְמֵי נִדָּה (lÿme niddah) is “for waters of impurity.” The genitive must designate the purpose of the waters – they are for cases of impurity, and so serve for cleansing or purifying, thus “water of purification.” The word “impurity” can also mean “abhorrent” because it refers to so many kinds of impurities. It is also called a purification offering; Milgrom notes that this is fitting because the sacrificial ritual involved transfers impurity from the purified to the purifier (pp. 62-72).

458 sn The ashes were to be stored somewhere outside the camp to be used in a water portion for cleansing someone who was defiled. This is a ritual that was enacted in the wilderness; it is something of a restoring rite for people alienated from community.

459 tn The form is the participle with the article functioning as a substantive: “the one who touches.”

460 tn Heb “the dead.”

461 tn The expression is full: לְכָל־נֶפֶשׁ אָדָם (lÿkhol-nefeshadam) – of any life of a man, i.e., of any person.

462 tn The verb is a perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; it follows only the participle used as the subject, but since the case is hypothetical and therefore future, this picks up the future time. The adjective “ceremonially” is supplied in the translation as a clarification.

463 tn The verb is the Hitpael of חָטָא (khata’), a verb that normally means “to sin.” But the Piel idea in many places is “to cleanse; to purify.” This may be explained as a privative use (“to un-sin” someone, meaning cleanse) or denominative (“make a sin offering for someone”). It is surely connected to the purification offering, and so a sense of purify is what is wanted here.

464 sn It is in passages like this that the view that being “cut off” meant the death penalty is the hardest to support. Would the Law prescribe death for someone who touches a corpse and fails to follow the ritual? Besides, the statement in this section that his uncleanness remains with him suggests that he still lives on.

465 tn The word order gives the classification and then the condition: “a man, when he dies….”

466 tn The expression for “in the open field” is literally “upon the face of the field” (עַל־פְּנֵי הַשָּׂדֶה, ’al pÿne hassadeh). This ruling is in contrast now to what was contacted in the tent.

467 tn Heb “a dead body”; but in contrast to the person killed with a sword, this must refer to someone who died of natural causes.

468 sn See Matt 23:27 and Acts 23:3 for application of this by the time of Jesus.

469 tn The verb is the perfect tense, third masculine plural, with a vav (ו) consecutive. The verb may be worded as a passive, “ashes must be taken,” but that may be too awkward for this sentence. It may be best to render it with a generic “you” to fit the instruction of the text.

470 tn The word “heifer” is not in the Hebrew text, but it is implied.

471 tn Here too the verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; rather than make this passive, it is here left as a direct instruction to follow the preceding one. For the use of the verb נָתַן (natan) in the sense of “pour,” see S. C. Reif, “A Note on a Neglected Connotation of ntn,” VT 20 (1970): 114-16.

472 tn The expression is literally “living water.” Living water is the fresh, flowing spring water that is clear, life-giving, and not the collected pools of stagnant or dirty water.

473 tn The construction uses a simple Piel of חָטָא (khata’, “to purify”) with a pronominal suffix – “he shall purify him.” Some commentators take this to mean that after he sprinkles the unclean then he must purify himself. But that would not be the most natural way to read this form.

474 tn The form has the conjunction with it: וּמַזֵּה (umazzeh). The conjunction subordinates the following as the special law. It could literally be translated “and this shall be…that the one who sprinkles.”

475 sn This gives the indication of the weight of the matter, for “until the evening” is the shortest period of ritual uncleanness in the Law. The problem of contamination had to be taken seriously, but this was a relatively simple matter to deal with – if one were willing to obey the Law.

476 sn This chapter is the account of how Moses struck the rock in disobedience to the Lord, and thereby was prohibited from entering the land. For additional literature on this part, see E. Arden, “How Moses Failed God,” JBL 76 (1957): 50-52; J. Gray, “The Desert Sojourn of the Hebrews and the Sinai Horeb Tradition,” VT 4 (1954): 148-54; T. W. Mann, “Theological Reflections on the Denial of Moses,” JBL 98 (1979): 481-94; and J. R. Porter, “The Role of Kadesh-Barnea in the Narrative of the Exodus,” JTS 44 (1943): 130-43.

477 tn The Hebrew text stresses this idea by use of apposition: “the Israelites entered, the entire community, the wilderness.”

478 sn The text does not indicate here what year this was, but from comparing the other passages about the itinerary, this is probably the end of the wanderings, the fortieth year, for Aaron died some forty years after the exodus. So in that year the people come through the wilderness of Zin and prepare for a journey through the Moabite plains.

479 sn The Israelites stayed in Kadesh for some time during the wandering; here the stop at Kadesh Barnea may have lasted several months. See the commentaries for the general itinerary.

480 sn The death of Miriam is recorded without any qualifications or epitaph. In her older age she had been self-willed and rebellious, and so no doubt humbled by the vivid rebuke from God. But she had made her contribution from the beginning.

481 tn The verb is רִיב (riv); it is often used in the Bible for a legal complaint, a law suit, at least in form. But it can also describe a quarrel, or strife, like that between Abram’s men and Lot’s men in Genesis 13. It will be the main verb behind the commemorative name Meribah, the place where the people strove with God. It is a far more serious thing than grumbling – it is directed, intentional, and well-argued. For further discussion, see J. Limburg, “The Root ‘rib’ and the Prophetic Lawsuit Speeches,” JBL 88 (1969): 291-304.

482 tn Heb “and they said, saying.”

483 tn The particle לוּ (lu) indicates the optative nuance of the line – the wishing or longing for death. It is certainly an absurdity to want to have died, but God took them at their word and they died in the wilderness.

484 tn Heb “and why….” The conjunction seems to be recording another thing that the people said in their complaint against Moses.

485 tn The clause uses the infinitive construct with the lamed (ל) preposition. The clause would be a result clause in this sentence: “Why have you brought us here…with the result that we will all die?”

486 tn Heb “and why.”

487 tn Here also the infinitive construct (Hiphil) forms the subordinate clause of the preceding interrogative clause.

488 tn The verb is the Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive, following the two imperatives in the verse. Here is the focus of the instruction for Moses.

489 tn Heb “give.” The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, as are the next two in the verse. These are not now equal to the imperatives, but imperfects, showing the results of speaking to the rock: “speak…and it will…and so you will….”

490 tn The word is הַמֹּרִים (hammorim, “the rebels”), but here as a vocative: “you rebels.” It was a harsh address, although well-earned.

491 tn The word order and the emphasis of the tense are important to this passage. The word order is “from this rock must we bring out to you water?” The emphasis is clearly on “from this rock!” The verb is the imperfect tense; it has one of the modal nuances here, probably obligatory – “must we do this?”

492 tn Or “to sanctify me.”

sn The verb is the main word for “believe, trust.” It is the verb that describes the faith in the Word of the Lord that leads to an appropriate action. Here God says that Moses did not believe him, meaning that what he did showed more of Moses than of what God said. Moses had taken a hostile stance toward the people, and then hit the rock twice. This showed that Moses was not satisfied with what God said, but made it more forceful and terrifying, thus giving the wrong picture of God to the people. By doing this the full power and might of the Lord was not displayed to the people. It was a momentary lack of faith, but it had to be dealt with.

493 sn Using the basic meaning of the word קָדַשׁ (qadash, “to be separate, distinct, set apart”), we can understand better what Moses failed to do. He was supposed to have acted in a way that would have shown God to be distinct, different, holy. Instead, he gave the impression that God was capricious and hostile – very human. The leader has to be aware of what image he is conveying to the people.

494 tn Heb “in the eyes of.”

495 tn There is debate as to exactly what the sin of Moses was. Some interpreters think that the real sin might have been that he refused to do this at first, but that fact has been suppressed from the text. Some think the text was deliberately vague to explain why they could not enter the land without demeaning them. Others simply, and more likely, note that in Moses there was unbelief, pride, anger, impatience – disobedience.

496 tn The form is unusual – it is the Niphal preterite, and not the normal use of the Piel/Pual stem for “sanctify/sanctified.” The basic idea of “he was holy” has to be the main idea, but in this context it refers to the fact that through judging Moses God was making sure people ensured his holiness among them. The word also forms a wordplay on the name Kadesh.

497 sn For this particular section, see W. F. Albright, “From the Patriarchs to Moses: 2. Moses out of Egypt,” BA 36 (1973): 57-58; J. R. Bartlett, “The Land of Seir and the Brotherhood of Edom,” JTS 20 (1969): 1-20, and “The Rise and Fall of the Kingdom of Edom,” PEQ 104 (1972): 22-37, and “The Brotherhood of Edom,” JSOT 4 (1977): 2-7.

498 tn Heb “And Moses sent.”

499 sn Some modern biblical scholars are convinced, largely through arguments from silence, that there were no unified kingdoms in Edom until the 9th century, and no settlements there before the 12th century, and so the story must be late and largely fabricated. The evidence is beginning to point to the contrary. But the cities and residents of the region would largely be Bedouin, and so leave no real remains.

500 tn Heb “found.”

501 tn Heb “many days.”

502 tn The verb רָעַע (raa’) means “to act or do evil.” Evil here is in the sense of causing pain or trouble. So the causative stem in our passage means “to treat wickedly.”

503 tn The word could be rendered “angel” or “messenger.” Some ambiguity may be intended in this report.

504 tn The Hebrew text uses הִנֵּה (hinneh) to emphasize the “here and now” aspect of the report to Edom.

505 tn Heb “your border.”

506 tn The request is expressed by the use of the cohortative, “let us pass through.” It is the proper way to seek permission.

507 sn This a main highway running from Damascus in the north to the Gulf of Aqaba, along the ridge of the land. Some scholars suggest that the name may have been given by the later Assyrians (see B. Obed, “Observations on Methods of Assyrian Rule in Transjordan after the Palestinian Campaign of Tiglathpileser III,” JNES 29 [1970]: 177-86). Bronze Age fortresses have been discovered along this highway, attesting to its existence in the time of Moses. The original name came from the king who developed the highway, probably as a trading road (see S. Cohen, IDB 3:35-36).

508 tn Heb “borders.”

509 tn The imperfect tense here has the nuance of prohibition.

510 tn Heb “to meet.”

511 tn The Hebrew text uses singular pronouns, “I” and “my,” but it is the people of Israel that are intended, and so it may be rendered in the plural. Similarly, Edom speaks in the first person, probably from the king. But it too could be rendered “we.”

512 tn Heb “to meet him.”

513 tn Heb “with many [heavy] people and with a strong hand.” The translation presented above is interpretive, but that is what the line means. It was a show of force, numbers and weapons, to intimidate the Israelites.

514 tn Again the passage uses apposition: “the Israelites, the whole community.”

515 sn The traditional location for this is near Petra (Josephus, Ant. 4.4.7). There is serious doubt about this location since it is well inside Edomite territory, and since it is very inaccessible for the transfer of the office. Another view places it not too far from Kadesh Barnea, about 15 miles (25 km) northeast at Jebel Madurah, on the northwest edge of Edom and so a suitable point of departure for approaching Canaan from the south (see J. L. Mihelec, IDB 2:644; and J. de Vaulx, Les Nombres [SB], 231). Others suggest it was at the foot of Mount Hor and not actually up in the mountains (see Deut 10:6).

516 sn This is the standard poetic expression for death. The bones would be buried, often with the bones of relatives in the same tomb, giving rise to the expression.

517 tn The verb is in the second person plural form, and so it is Moses and Aaron who rebelled, and so now because of that Aaron first and then Moses would die without going into the land.

518 tn Heb “mouth.”

519 tn The word “priestly” is supplied in the translation for clarity.

520 tn Heb “will be gathered”; this is a truncated form of the usual expression “gathered to his ancestors,” found in v. 24. The phrase “to his ancestors” is supplied in the translation here.

521 tn Heb “eyes.”

522 sn This chapter has several events in it: the victory over Arad (vv. 1-3), the plague of serpents (vv. 4-9), the approach to Moab (vv. 10-20), and the victory over Sihon and Og (vv. 21-35). For information, see D. M. Gunn, “The ‘Battle Report’: Oral or Scribal Convention.” JBL 93 (1974): 513-18; and of the extensive literature on the archaeological site, see EAEHL 1:74-89.

523 sn The name Arad probably refers to a place a number of miles away from Tel Arad in southern Israel. The name could also refer to the whole region (like Edom).

524 tn Or “the south”; “Negev” has become a technical name for the southern desert region and is still in use in modern times.

525 tn The Hebrew text uses a cognate accusative with the verb: They vowed a vow. The Israelites were therefore determined with God’s help to defeat Arad.

526 tn The Hebrew text has the infinitive absolute and the imperfect tense of נָתַן (natan) to stress the point – if you will surely/indeed give.”

527 tn Heb “my.”

528 tn On the surface this does not sound like much of a vow. But the key is in the use of the verb for “utterly destroy” – חָרַם (kharam). Whatever was put to this “ban” or “devotion” belonged to God, either for his use, or for destruction. The oath was in fact saying that they would take nothing from this for themselves. It would simply be the removal of what was alien to the faith, or to God’s program.

529 tc Smr, Greek, and Syriac add “into his hand.”

530 tn In the Hebrew text the verb has no expressed subject, and so here too is made passive. The name “Hormah” is etymologically connected to the verb “utterly destroy,” forming the popular etymology (or paronomasia, a phonetic wordplay capturing the significance of the event).

531 tn The “Red Sea” is the general designation for the bodies of water on either side of the Sinai peninsula, even though they are technically gulfs from the Red Sea.

532 tn Heb “the soul of the people,” expressing the innermost being of the people as they became frustrated.

533 tn Heb “our souls.”

534 tn The Israelites’ opinion about the manna was clear enough – “worthless.” The word used is קְלֹקֵל (qÿloqel, “good for nothing, worthless, miserable”).

535 tn Heb “fiery.”

536 tn The designation of the serpents/ snakes is נְחָשִׁים (nÿkhashim), which is similar to the word for “bronze” (נְחֹשֶׁת, nÿkhoshet). This has led some scholars to describe the serpents as bronze in color. The description of them as fiery indicates they were poisonous. Perhaps the snake in question is a species of adder.

537 tn The verb is the Hiphil jussive with a vav (ו) consecutive from the verb סוּר (sur); after the imperative this form may be subordinated to become a purpose clause.

538 tn The word order is slightly different in Hebrew: “and it shall be anyone who is bitten when he looks at it he shall live.”

539 sn The image of the snake was to be a symbol of the curse that the Israelites were experiencing; by lifting the snake up on a pole Moses was indicating that the curse would be drawn away from the people – if they looked to it, which was a sign of faith. This symbol was later stored in the temple, until it became an object of worship and had to be removed (2 Kgs 18:4). Jesus, of course, alluded to it and used it as an illustration of his own mission. He would become the curse, and be lifted up, so that people who looked by faith to him would live (John 3:14). For further material, see D. J. Wiseman, “Flying Serpents,” TynBul 23 (1972): 108-10; and K. R. Joines, “The Bronze Serpent in the Israelite Cult,” JBL 87 (1968): 245-56.

540 sn See further D. L. Christensen, “Numbers 21:14-15 and the Book of the Wars of Yahweh,” CBQ 36 (1974): 359-60; G. W. Coats, “The Wilderness Itinerary,” CBQ 34 (1972): 135-52; G. I. Davies, “The Wilderness Itinerary,” TB 25 (1974): 46-81; idem, The Way of the Wilderness; G. E. Mendenhall, “The Hebrew Conquest of Palestine,” BA 25 (1962): 66-87.

541 sn These places are uncertain. Oboth may be some 15 miles (25 km) from the south end of the Dead Sea at a place called ‘Ain el-Weiba. Iye Abarim may be the modern Mahay at the southeastern corner of Moab. See J. Simons, The Geographical and Topographical Texts of the Old Testament.

542 tn Heb “the rising of the sun.”

543 tn Or “border.”

544 tc The ancient versions show a wide variation here: Smr has “Waheb on the Sea of Reeds,” the Greek version has “he has set Zoob on fire and the torrents of Arnon.” Several modern versions treat the first line literally, taking the two main words as place names: Waheb and Suphah. This seems most likely, but then there would then be no subject or verb. One would need something like “the Israelites marched through.” The KJV, following the Vulgate, made the first word a verb and read the second as “Red Sea” – “what he did in the Red Sea.” But subject of the passage is the terrain. D. L. Christensen proposed emending the first part from אֶת וָהֵב (’et vahev) to אַתָּה יְהוָה (’attah yehvah, “the Lord came”). But this is subjective. See his article “Num 21:14-15 and the Book of the Wars of Yahweh,” CBQ 36 (1974): 359-60.

545 tc There are many variations in this text, but the MT reading of something like “the descent of the torrents/valleys” is preferable, since it is describing the topography.

546 sn The place is unknown; it is apparently an important city in the region.

547 tn The words “they traveled” are not in the Hebrew text, but are supplied here because of English style. The same phrase is supplied at the end of v. 18.

548 sn Isa 15:8 mentions a Moabite Beerelim, which Simons suggests is Wadi Ettemed.

549 tn After the adverb “then” the prefixed conjugation has the preterite force. For the archaic constructions, see D. N. Freedman, “Archaic Forms in Early Hebrew Poetry,” ZAW 72 (1960): 101-7. The poem shows all the marks of being ancient.

550 sn The brief song is supposed to be an old workers’ song, and so the mention of leaders and princes is unusual. Some think they are given credit because they directed where the workers were to dig. The scepter and staff might have served some symbolic or divining custom.

551 tn Or perhaps as a place name, “Jeshimon.”

552 sn For this section, see further J. R. Bartlett, “Sihon and Og of the Amorites,” VT 20 (1970): 257-77, and “The Moabites and the Edomites,” Peoples of Old Testament Times, 229-58; S. H. Horn, “The Excavations at Tell Hesban, 1973,” ADAJ 18 (1973): 87-88.

553 tc Smr and the LXX have “words of peace.”

554 tn The Hebrew text uses the singular in these verses to match the reference to “Israel.”

555 tc Smr has “by the King’s way I will go. I will not turn aside to the right or the left.”

556 tn Heb “Sihon.”

557 tn Heb “people.”

558 tn The clause begins with a preterite with vav (ו) consecutive, but may be subordinated to the next preterite as a temporal clause.

559 tn The Hebrew text has “Israel,” but the verb is plural.

560 tn Heb “with the edge of the sword.”

561 tn Heb “its daughters.”

562 sn There is a justice, always, in the divine plan for the conquest of the land. Modern students of the Bible often think that the conquest passages are crude and unjust. But an understanding of the ancient Near East is critical here. This Sihon was not a part of the original population of the land. He himself invaded the territory and destroyed the population of Moab that was indigenous there and established his own kingdom. The ancient history is filled with such events; it is the way of life they chose – conquer or be conquered. For Israel to defeat them was in part a turning of their own devices back on their heads – “those that live by the sword will die by the sword.” Sihon knew this, and he did not wait, but took the war to Israel. Israel wanted to pass through, not fight. But now they would either fight or be pushed into the gorge. So God used Israel to defeat Sihon, who had no claim to the land, as part of divine judgment.

563 sn Proverbs of antiquity could include pithy sayings or longer songs, riddles, or poems composed to catch the significance or the irony of an event. This is a brief poem to remember the event, like an Egyptian victory song. It may have originated as an Amorite war taunt song; it was sung to commemorate this victory. It was cited later by Jeremiah (48:45-46). The composer invites his victorious people to rebuild the conquered city as a new capital for Sihon. He then turns to address the other cities which his God(s) has/have given to him. See P. D. Hanson, “The Song of Heshbon and David’s Nir,” HTR 61 (1968): 301.

564 tn Meaning, “rebuilt and restored.”

565 tc Some scholars emend to בָּלְעָה (balah), reading “and devoured,” instead of בַּעֲלֵי (baaley, “its lords”); cf. NAB, NRSV, TEV. This emendation is closer to the Greek and makes a better parallelism, but the MT makes good sense as it stands.

566 sn The note of holy war emerges here as the victory is a victory over the local gods as well as over the people.

567 tc The first verb is difficult. MT has “we shot at them.” The Greek has “their posterity perished” (see GKC 218 §76.f).

568 tc The relative pronoun “which” (אֲשֶׁר, ’asher) posed a problem for the ancient scribes here, as indicated by the so-called extraordinary point (punta extraordinaria) over the letter ר (resh) of אֲשֶׁר. Smr and the LXX have “fire” (אֵשׁ, ’esh) here (cf. NAB, NJB, RSV, NRSV). Some modern scholars emend the word to שֹׁאָה (shoah, “devastation”).

569 tn Heb “Israel.”

570 tn Heb “Moses sent to spy out.”

571 tn Heb “daughters.”

572 tn Heb “people.”

573 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Og) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

574 tn Heb “no remnant.”

575 sn This material can be arranged into four sections: from Egypt to Sinai (vv. 1-15), the wilderness wanderings (vv. 16-36), from Kadesh to Moab (vv. 37-49), and final orders for Canaan (vv. 50-56).

576 tn Heb “hand.”

577 tn Heb “their goings out.”

578 tn Heb “mouth.”

579 tn Heb “morrow.”

580 tn Heb “with a high hand”; the expression means “defiantly; boldly” or “with confidence.” The phrase is usually used for arrogant sin and pride, the defiant fist, as it were. The image of the high hand can also mean the hand raised to deliver the blow (Job 38:15).

581 tn Heb “in the eyes.”

582 tc So many medieval Hebrew manuscripts, Smr, Syriac, and Latin Vulgate. Other witnesses have “from before Hahiroth.”

583 tn Heb “mouth.”

584 tn Iim is a shortened form of the name Iye-abarim mentioned in v. 44.

585 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

586 map For the location of Jericho see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

587 tn The Hebrew text repeats the verb “you will destroy.”

588 tn Heb “of your fathers.”



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