10:11 1 On the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle of the testimony. 2 10:12 So the Israelites set out 3 on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud settled in the wilderness of Paran.
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.
10:18 The standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their companies; over his company was Elizur son of Shedeur. 10:19 Over the company of the tribe of the Simeonites was Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, 10:20 and over the company of the tribe of the Gadites was Eliasaph son of Deuel. 10:21 And the Kohathites set out, carrying the articles for the sanctuary; 7 the tabernacle was to be set up 8 before they arrived. 9 10:22 And the standard of the camp of the Ephraimites set out according to their companies; over his company was Elishama son of Ammihud. 10:23 Over the company of the tribe of the Manassehites was Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, 10:24 and over the company of the tribe of Benjaminites was Abidan son of Gideoni.
10:25 The standard of the camp of the Danites set out, which was the rear guard 10 of all the camps by their companies; over his company was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 10:26 Over the company of the tribe of the Asherites was Pagiel son of Ocran, 10:27 and over the company of the tribe of the Naphtalites was Ahira son of Enan. 10:28 These were the traveling arrangements 11 of the Israelites according to their companies when they traveled. 12
10:29 13 Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel, the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, 14 “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, 15 for the Lord has promised good things 16 for Israel.” 10:30 But Hobab 17 said to him, “I will not go, but I will go instead to my own land and to my kindred.” 10:31 Moses 18 said, “Do not leave us, 19 because you know places for us to camp in the wilderness, and you could be our guide. 20 10:32 And if you come with us, it is certain 21 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; 22 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 23 And the cloud of the Lord was over them by day, when they traveled 24 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!”
1 sn This section is somewhat mechanical: It begins with an introduction (vv. 11, 12), and then begins with Judah (vv. 13-17), followed by the rest of the tribes (vv. 18-27), and finally closes with a summary (v. 28). The last few verses (vv. 29-36) treat the departure of Hobab.
tn The expression is difficult; it is מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת (mishkan ha’edut). The reference is to the sacred shrine that covered the ark with the commandments inside. NEB renders the expression as “tabernacle of the Token”; NAB has “the dwelling of the commandments.”
3 sn The verb is the same as the noun: “they journeyed on their journeyings.” This underscores the point of their continual traveling.
4 tn Heb “mouth.”
5 tn Heb “hand.”
6 sn The “standard” (דֶּגֶל, degel) was apparently some kind of a symbol put up on a pole to signify the tribal hosts. R. de Vaux thought it simply referred to a pole or a mast, but that would not distinguish tribes (Ancient Israel, 226-27).
7 tn Heb “carrying the sanctuary,” a metonymy of whole for parts, representing all the holy objects that were located in the sanctuary.
8 tn The verb is the third person plural form; without an expressed subject it is treated as a passive.
9 tn Heb “against their coming.”
10 tn The MT uses a word that actually means “assembler,” so these three tribes made up a strong rear force recognized as the assembler of all the tribes.
11 tn Or “journeyings of.”
12 tn The verb is the preterite with vav (ו) consecutive. But in this sentence it should be subordinated as a temporal clause to the preceding statement, even though it follows it.
13 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.
14 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.
15 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.
16 tn The Hebrew text simply has “has spoken good” for Israel.
17 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Hobab) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
18 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Moses) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
19 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.
20 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.
21 tn Heb “and it shall be.”
22 tn The phrase “a journey of three days” is made up of the adverbial accusative qualified with the genitives.
24 tn The adverbial clause of time is composed of the infinitive construct with a temporal preposition and a suffixed subjective genitive.