Numbers 10

The Silver Trumpets

1 The LORD spoke further to Moses, saying,
2 "Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work you shall make them; and you shall use them for 1summoning the congregation and for having the camps set out.
3 "2When both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
4 "Yet if only one is blown, then the 3leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall assemble before you.
5 "But when you blow an alarm, the camps that are pitched 4on the east side shall set out.
6 "When you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are pitched on 5the south side shall set out; an alarm is to be blown for them to set out.
7 "When convening the assembly, however, you shall blow without 6sounding an alarm.
8 "7The priestly sons of Aaron, moreover, shall blow the trumpets; and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations.
9 "When you go to war in your land against the adversary who 8attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be 9remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies.
10 "Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, 10you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the LORD your God."

The Tribes Leave Sinai

11 Now in 11the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth of the month, the cloud was lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony;
12 and the sons of Israel set out on 12their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai. Then the cloud settled down in the 13wilderness of Paran.
13 14So they moved out for the first time according to the commandment of the LORD through Moses.
14 The standard of the camp of the sons of Judah, according to their armies, 15set out first, with Nahshon the son of Amminadab, over its army,
15 and Nethanel the son of Zuar, over the tribal army of the sons of Issachar;
16 and Eliab the son of Helon over the tribal army of the sons of Zebulun.
17 16Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who were carrying the tabernacle, set out.
18 Next 17the standard of the camp of Reuben, according to their armies, set out with Elizur the son of Shedeur, over its army,
19 and Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai over the tribal army of the sons of Simeon,
20 and Eliasaph the son of Deuel was over the tribal army of the sons of Gad.
21 18Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy objects; and 19the tabernacle was set up before their arrival.
22 20Next the standard of the camp of the sons of Ephraim, according to their armies, was set out, with Elishama the son of Ammihud over its army,
23 and Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur over the tribal army of the sons of Manasseh;
24 and Abidan the son of Gideoni over the tribal army of the sons of Benjamin.
25 21Then the standard of the camp of the sons of Dan, according to their armies, which formed the 22rear guard for all the camps, set out, with Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai over its army,
26 and Pagiel the son of Ochran over the tribal army of the sons of Asher;
27 and Ahira the son of Enan over the tribal army of the sons of Naphtali.
28 This was the order of march of the sons of Israel by their armies as they set out.
29 Then Moses said to 23Hobab the son of 24Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out to the place of which the LORD said, '25I will give it to you'; 26come with us and we will do you good, for the LORD 27has promised good concerning Israel."
30 But he said to him, "28I will not come, but rather * will go to my own land and relatives."
31 Then he said, "Please do not leave us, inasmuch * * as you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you 29will be as eyes for us.
32 "So it will be, if you go with us, that 30whatever good the LORD does for us, 31we will do for you."
33 32Thus they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey, with 33the ark of the covenant of the LORD journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out 34a resting place for them.
34 35The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.
35 Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, "36Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, And let those 37who hate You flee before * You."
36 When it came to rest, he said, "38Return, O LORD, To the myriad 39thousands of Israel."

Numbers 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

The silver trumpets. (1-10) The Israelites remove from Sinai to Paran. (11-28) Hobab entreated by Moses to continue. (29-32) The blessing pronounced by Moses. (33-36)

Verses 1-10 Here are directions concerning the public notices to be given the people by sound of trumpet. Their laws in every case were to be Divine, therefore, even in this matter Moses is directed. These trumpets typify the preached gospel. It sounds an alarm to sinners, calls them to repent, proclaims liberty to the captives and slaves of Satan, and collects the worshippers of God. It directs and encourages their heavenly journey; stirs them up to combat against the world and sin, encouraging them with the assurance of victory. It leads their attention to the sacrifice of Christ, and shows the Lord's presence for their protection. It is also necessary that the gospel trumpet give a distinct sound, according to the persons addressed, or the end proposed; whether to convince, humble, console, exhort, reprove, or teach. The sounding of the trumpet of the gospel is God's ordinance, and demands the attention of all to whom it is sent.

Verses 11-28 After the Israelites had continued nearly a year at mount Sinai, and all was settled respecting their future worship, they began their march to Canaan. True religion begins with the knowledge of the holy law of God, and humiliation for sin, but we must go on towards perfection, in acquaintance with Christ and his gospel, and those effectual encouragements, motives, and assistances to holiness, which it proposes. They took their journey according to the commandment of the Lord, ( Deuteronomy 1:6-8 ) , and as the cloud led them. Those who give themselves to the direction of God's word and Spirit, steer a steady course, even when they seem bewildered. While they are sure they cannot lose their God and Guide, they need not fear losing their way. They went out of the wilderness of Sinai, and rested in the wilderness of Paran. All our removes in this world are but from one wilderness to another. The changes we think will be for the better do not always prove so. We shall never be at rest, never at home, till we come to heaven, but all will be well there.

Verses 29-32 Moses invites his kindred to go to Canaan. Those that are bound for the heavenly Canaan, should ask and encourage their friends to go with them: we shall have none the less of the joys of heaven, for others coming to share with us. It is good having fellowship with those who have fellowship with God. But the things of this world, which are seen, draw strongly from the pursuit of the things of the other world, which are not seen. Moses urges that Hobab might be serviceable to them. Not to show where they must encamp, nor what way they must march, the cloud was to direct that; but to show the conveniences of the place they marched through, and encamped in. It well consists with our trust in God's providence, to use the help of our friends.

Verses 33-36 Their going out and coming in, gives an example to us to begin and end every day's journey and every day's work with prayer. Here is Moses's prayer when the ark set forward, "Rise up, and let thine enemies be scattered." There are those in the world who are enemies to God and haters of him; secret and open enemies; enemies to his truths, his laws, his ordinances, his people. But for the scattering and defeating of God's enemies, there needs no more than God's arising. Observe also the prayer of Moses when the ark rested, that God would cause his people to rest. The welfare and happiness of the Israel of God, consist in the continual presence of God among them. Their safety is not in their numbers, but in the favour of God, and his gracious return to them, and resting with them. Upon this account, Happy art thou, O Israel! who is like unto thee, O people! God will go before them, to find them resting-places by the way. His promise is, and their prayers are, that he will never leave them nor forsake them.

Cross References 39

  • 1. Isaiah 1:13
  • 2. Jeremiah 4:5; Joel 2:15
  • 3. Exodus 18:21; Numbers 1:16; Numbers 7:2
  • 4. Numbers 10:14
  • 5. Numbers 10:18
  • 6. Joel 2:1
  • 7. Numbers 31:6; Joshua 6:4; 2 Chronicles 13:12
  • 8. Judges 2:18; 1 Samuel 10:18; Psalms 106:42
  • 9. Genesis 8:1; Psalms 106:4
  • 10. Psalms 81:3-5
  • 11. Exodus 40:17
  • 12. Exodus 40:36
  • 13. Genesis 21:21; Numbers 12:16
  • 14. Deuteronomy 1:6
  • 15. Numbers 2:3-9
  • 16. Numbers 4:21-32
  • 17. Numbers 2:10-16
  • 18. Numbers 4:4-20
  • 19. Numbers 10:17
  • 20. Numbers 2:18-24
  • 21. Numbers 2:25-31
  • 22. Joshua 6:9, 13
  • 23. Judges 4:11
  • 24. Exodus 2:18; Exodus 3:1; Exodus 18:12
  • 25. Genesis 12:7; Exodus 6:4-8
  • 26. Psalms 95:1-7; Psalms 100:1-5
  • 27. Deuteronomy 4:40; Deuteronomy 30:5
  • 28. Judges 1:16; Matthew 21:28, 29
  • 29. Job 29:15
  • 30. Psalms 22:27-31; Psalms 67:5-7
  • 31. Leviticus 19:34; Deuteronomy 10:18
  • 32. Numbers 10:12
  • 33. Deuteronomy 1:33
  • 34. Isaiah 11:10
  • 35. Numbers 9:15-23
  • 36. Psalms 68:1, 2; Isaiah 17:12-14
  • 37. Deuteronomy 7:10; Deuteronomy 32:41
  • 38. Isaiah 63:17
  • 39. Deuteronomy 1:10

Footnotes 12

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the directions given for making two silver trumpets, and of the use of them, the ends and purposes for which they were to be made, Nu 10:1-10; and of the time of taking up of the cloud from the tabernacle, and of the removal of the camp of Israel from the wilderness of Sinai, and of the order of their march, Nu 10:11-28; when Moses most earnestly passed Hobab, his brother in law, to continue with him, Nu 10:29-32; and the chapter is closed with the prayer of Moses at the setting forward of the ark, and the resting of it, Nu 10:33-36.

Numbers 10 Commentaries

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