Numbers 21:18

18 about the well that the princes dug, that the nobles of the people sank— the nobles with scepters and staffs.” Then they went from the wilderness to Mattanah,

Read Numbers 21:18 Using Other Translations

The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah:
the well that the princes made, that the nobles of the people dug, with the scepter and with their staffs."And from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah,
Sing of this well, which princes dug, which great leaders hollowed out with their scepters and staffs.” Then the Israelites left the wilderness and proceeded on through Mattanah,

What does Numbers 21:18 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Numbers 21:18

The princes digged the well
The princes and heads of the several tribes:

the nobles of the people digged it;
the seventy elders, according to the Targum of Jonathan:

by the direction of the lawgiver;
either the Lord himself, the lawgiver of his people, who pointed out the spot, and directed the princes where to dig, that is, be did this by Moses; and who, as Jarchi thinks, is the lawgiver, and not amiss: the Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem render the word by Scribes, in the plural number, and interpret them of Moses and Aaron: and this the princes and nobles "dug with their staves"; either their walking sticks, or their rods, the ensigns of their authority; with these they smote the ground, or stuck them in a soft and sandy place, upon which the waters bubbled up and flowed out. Dr. Shaw F14 chooses to render the words, "with their united applause", or "clapping of hands", as the word (Nev) in Chaldee signifies; or it may be expressed, as by Dr. Hunt, quoted by him, "by describing" or "marking out" the figure or fashion of the well "with staves". Mr. Ainsworth thinks that this well signified Christ, the fountain of gardens, and well of living waters; and the waters of it the Spirit and his graces, which are a well of living water springing up unto everlasting life; the means of which are the labours of the governors of the church, the ministers of Christ,

by preaching the word, and opening the Scriptures; and such grace is worthy of a song, and to be had with joy out of the wells of salvation, ( Isaiah 12:3 ) :

and from the wilderness they went to Mattanah;
from the wilderness near Arnon, which came out of the coasts of the Amorites, ( Numbers 21:13 ) to a place which signifies a gift. The Targums of Jonathan and Jerusalem render it,

``and from the wilderness it was given to them for a gift''

that is, the well; and so the people of God, that are called out of the wilderness of this world, and come up from it, are called to partake of the gifts and blessings of grace, which are freely given unto them of God.


F14 Travels, p. 67. Ed. 2.
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