Numbers 10


וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   10:1

Numb. 10:1  And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

עֲשֵׂה לְךָ שְׁתֵּי חֲצֹוצְרֹת כֶּסֶף מִקְשָׁה תַּעֲשֶׂה אֹתָם וְהָיוּ לְךָ לְמִקְרָא הָעֵדָה וּלְמַסַּע אֶת־הַמַּחֲנֹות   10:2

Numb. 10:2  “Make for yourself two trumpets of silver.  You shall make them of beaten work.  And they shall be for you for the calling of the congregation and for departing the camps.”

Take notice that these horns are not shofarim, which are ram’s horns.  These horns are made of silver.

וְתָקְעוּ בָּהֵן וְנֹועֲדוּ אֵלֶיךָ כָּל־הָעֵדָה אֶל־פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד   10:3

Numb. 10:3  “When they will blow on them, then the entire congregation shall gather to you to the entrance of the tent of meeting.”

וְאִם־בְּאַחַת יִתְקָעוּ וְנֹועֲדוּ אֵלֶיךָ הַנְּשִׂיאִים רָאשֵׁי אַלְפֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   10:4

Numb. 10:4  “And if they will blow on one, then the chiefs, the heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather to you.”

וּתְקַעְתֶּם תְּרוּעָה וְנָסְעוּ הַמַּחֲנֹות הַחֹנִים קֵדְמָה   10:5

Numb. 10:5  “When you will blow an alarm, then the camps lying eastward shall pull up.”

וּתְקַעְתֶּם תְּרוּעָה שֵׁנִית וְנָסְעוּ הַמַּחֲנֹות הַחֹנִים תֵּימָנָה תְּרוּעָה יִתְקְעוּ לְמַסְעֵיהֶם   10:6

Numb. 10:6  “When you will blow a second alarm, then the camps lying southward shall pull up.  They shall sound an alarm for their journeys.”

וּבְהַקְהִיל אֶת־הַקָּהָל תִּתְקְעוּ וְלֹא תָרִיעוּ   10:7

Numb. 10:7  “But for gathering of the assembly, you shall blow, but it shall not be an alarm.”

וּבְנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים יִתְקְעוּ בַּחֲצֹצְרֹות וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לְחֻקַּת עֹולָם לְדֹרֹתֵיכֶם   10:8

Numb. 10:8  “And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and these shall be for an everlasting statute for you for your generations.”

It seems to me that in this verse the Lord is directing us today to always sound the horns to announce the start of every service, the calling together of the congregation.  One or more Cohanim are to sound the call.  I see no reason why this statute should be ignored today.

וְכִי־תָבֹאוּ מִלְחָמָה בְּאַרְצְכֶם עַל־הַצַּר הַצֹּרֵר אֶתְכֶם וַהֲרֵעֹתֶם בַּחֲצֹצְרֹות וֲנִזְכַּרְתֶּם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה   10:9

אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְנֹושַׁעְתֶּם מֵאֹיְבֵיכֶם

Numb. 10:9  “And when you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets and you shall be remembered before the Lord, your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.”

In this verse the Lord is telling us to sound alarms on horns to call the Israeli forces to war.  In this verse, because the second-person pronouns are all plural, I believe that in the case of war others besides the Cohanim may sound the alarm horns.  The Lord promises that when we do this, we will be victorious (at least saved).  As it turns out, we are often victorious (at least saved) even when we don’t keep this instruction of the Lord.  He is indeed watching over His rebellious children.

וּבְיֹום שִׂמְחַתְכֶם וּבְמֹועֲדֵיכֶם וּבְרָאשֵׁי חָדְשֵׁיכֶם וּתְקַעְתֶּם בַּחֲצֹצְרֹת עַל עֹלֹתֵיכֶם וְעַל זִבְחֵי   10:10

שַׁלְמֵיכֶם וְהָיוּ לָכֶם לְזִכָּרֹון לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהֵיכֶם אֲנִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם

Numb. 10:10   “And in the days of your gladness and in your appointed seasons and in your new moons, then you shall blow on your trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings.  And they shall be for a memorial to you before your God.” 

                                                             “I am the Lord, your God.”

Because the daily services have been substituted for the Temple sacrifices, we should be sounding horns during certain times in every service.  These sounds will be a memorial for us to remember the Lord, our God.

וַיְהִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בְּעֶשְׂרִים בַּחֹדֶשׁ נַעֲלָה הֶעָןָן מֵעַל מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת   10:11

Numb. 10:11   And it was in the second year in the second month on the twentieth of the month, the cloud rose up from over the Tabernacle of the testimony.

From this verse we can surmise that the Israelites remained in place from before the Passover until the month after its observance.  There is some reason to doubt this supposition, because the bible doesn’t always give the details between the verses.  However, it seems as if this verse is worded specifically to convey the idea that the people remained in one place during the time specified.  Another fact that this verse provides us is that the Israelites pulled up 15 days before the feast of Weeks, Shavuoth.

וַיִּסְעוּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמַסְעֵיהֶם מִמִּדְבַּר סִינָי וַיִּשְׁכֹּן הֶעָןָן בְּמִדְבַּר פָּארָן   10:12

Numb. 10:12   So the children of Israel set forth by their stations from the wilderness of Sinai.  Then the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.

Make note of the fact that this verse describes the start of the first pull out and its end.  The next 15 verses describe how the intervening pull out was implemented.  Thus this verse is introductory to the next 15.  In addition, it informs us of the end of the journey before the journey itself is described.  So we encounter once more the literary style that is exhibited throughout the bible, beginning with Gene. 1:1 and 1:2.

וַיִּסְעוּ בָּרִאשֹׁנָה עַל־פִּי יְהוָה בְּיַד־מֹשֶׁה   10:13

Numb. 10:13   Thus they made their first journey at the command of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

וַיִּסַּע דֶּגֶל מַחֲנֵה בְנֵי־יְהוּדָה בָּרִאשֹׁנָה לְצִבְאֹתָם וְעַל־צְבָאֹו נַחְשֹׁון בֶּן־עַמִּינָדָב   10:14

Numb. 10:14   And the standard of the camp of the children of Judah set forth in first place according to their station, and Nahshon son of Amminadab was over its host.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְּנֵי יִשָׂשכָר נְתַנְאֵל בֶּן־צוּעָר   10:15

Numb. 10:15   And Nethanel son of Zuar was over the host of the tribe of the children of Issachar.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְּנֵי זְבוּלֻן אֱלִיאָב בֶּן־חֵלֹון   10:16

Numb. 10:16   And Eliab son of Helon was over the host of the tribe of the children of Zebulun.

וְהוּרַד הַמִּשְׁכָּן וְנָסְעוּ בְנֵי־גֵרְשֹׁון וּבְנֵי מְרָרִי נֹשְׂאֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן   10:17

Numb. 10:17   Then the Tabernacle was taken down and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, bearers of the Tabernacle, set forth.

וְנָסַע דֶּגֶל מַחֲנֵה רְאוּבֵן לְצִבְאֹתָם וְעַל־צְבָאֹו אֱלִיצוּר בֶּן־שְׁדֵיאוּר   10:18

Numb. 10:18   And the standard of the camp of Reuben set forth according to their station, and Elizur son of Shedeur was over its host.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְּנֵי שִׁמְעֹון שְׁלֻמִיאֵל בֶּן־צוּרִי שַׁדָּי   10:19

Numb. 10:19   And Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was over the host of the tribe of the children of Simeon.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְנֵי־גָד אֶלְיָסָף בֶּן־דְּעוּאֵל   10:20

Numb. 10:20   And Eliasaph son of Deuel was over the host of the tribe of the children of Gad.

וְנָסְעוּ הַקְּהָתִים נֹשְׂאֵי הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וְהֵקִימוּ אֶת־הַמִּשְׁכָּן עַד־בֹּאָם   10:21

Numb. 10:21   Then the Kohathites, bearers of the sanctuary, set forth so the Tabernacle could be erected up to their coming.

וְנָסַע דֶּגֶל מַחֲנֵה בְנֵי־אֶפְרַיִם לְצִבְאֹתָם וְעַל־צְבָאֹו אֱלִישָׁמָע בֶּן־עַמִּיהוּד   10:22

Numb. 10:22   And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set forth from their station and Elishama son of Ammihud was over its host.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְּנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה גַּמְלִיאֵל בֶּן־פְּדָה־צוּר   10:23

Numb. 10:23   And Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was over the host of the tribe of the children of Manasseh.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְּנֵי בִנְיָמִן אֲבִידָן בֶּן־גִּדְעֹונִי   10:24

Numb. 10:24   And Abidan son of Gideoni was over the host of the tribe of the children of Benjamin.

וְנָסַע דֶּגֶל מַחֲנֵה בְנֵי־דָן מְאַסֵּף לְכָל־הַמַּחֲנֹת לְצִבְאֹתָם וְעַל־צְבָאֹו אֲחִיעֶזֶר בֶּן־עַמִּישַׁדָּי   10:25

Numb. 10:25   And the standard of the camp of the children of Dan, which was rearmost of all the camps, set forth from their station and Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai was over its host.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְּנֵי אָשֵׁר פַּגְעִיאֵל בֶּן־עָכְרָן   10:26

Numb. 10:26   And Pagiel son of Ochran was over the host of the tribe of the children of Asher.

וְעַל־צְבָא מַטֵּה בְּנֵי נַפְתָּלִי אֲחִירַע בֶּן־עֵינָן   10:27

Numb. 10:27   And Ahira son of Enan was over the host of the tribe of the children of Naphtali.

אֵלֶּה מַסְעֵי בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵל לְצִבְאֹתָם וַיִּסָּעוּ   10:28

Numb. 10:28   Such were the departures of the children of Israel according to their stations as they set forth.

וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה לְחֹבָב בֶּן־רְעוּאֵל הַמִּדְיָנִי חֹתֵן מֹשֶׁה נֹסְעִים אֲנַחְנוּ אֶל־הַמָּקֹום אֲשֶׁר אָמַר יְהוָה אֹתֹו   10:29

אֶתֵּן לָכֶם לְכָה אִתָּנוּ וְהֵטַבְנוּ לָךְ כִּי־יְהוָה דִּבֶּר־טֹוב עַל־יִשְׂרָאֵל

Numb. 10:29   And Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel, the Midianite father-in-law of Moses, “We are journeying to the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’  Come with us and we will be good for you, for the Lord has spoken well concerning Israel.”

Many commentators assume Hobab is Moses’ brother-in-law, but some describe Hobab as Moses’ father-in-law, through the claim that Jethro (previously identified as Moses’ father-in-law – see Exod. 3:1 and 4:18) had two names, having acquired the new name, Hobab, when he joined with the Israelites.  In Judg. 4:11 Hobab is mentioned again and is described there as the father-in-law of Moses.  It seems strange to me that Hobab should be so abruptly introduced at this point.  When had he joined the Israelites?  Was he with them from Egypt?  If not, when did he show up?  And who was Jethro, who appeared in the wilderness in Exodus 18 to instruct Moses?

I believe that Jethro indeed had two names, but neither of them was Hobab.  I believe Jephro’s other name was Reuel (see Exod. 2:18).  So I’m inclined to think that Hobab was Moses’ brother-in-law.  The phrase “the Midianite father-in-law of Moses” in this verse would refer to Reuel, not Hobab.  When Hobab arrived is a puzzle, but it may be that he was with the Israelites from Egypt, having decided to follow Moses, his relative by marriage.  This could conceivably explain the abruptness of his being mentioned.  Alternatively, he could have come with Jethro (or Reuel), his father, when the latter came to Moses in Exod. 18:1 to 18:5f. without Hobab being mentioned there.  Notice that Moses says to him in v. 10:31 “... for as much as you know our camp sites ....”  It sounds as if the Israelites could be in Hobab’s land, Midian.  However, this is made unlikely by Hobab’s comment in v. 10:30, “... I shall go to my land and my kindred.”  In any case, Hobab would appear to present a complete mystery.

וַיֹּאמֶר אֵלָיו לֹא אֵלֵךְ כִּי אִם־אֶל־אַרְצִי וְאֶל־מֹולַדְתִּי אֵלֵךְ   10:30

Numb. 10:30   And he said to him, “I will not come, but instead I shall go to my land and to my kindred.”

וַיֹּאמֶר אַל־נָא תַּעֲזֹב אֹתָנוּ כִּי עַל־כֵּן יָדַעְתָּ חֲנֹתֵנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר וְהָיִיתָ לָּנוּ לְעֵינָיִם   10:31

Numb. 10:31   And he said, “Please, you should not forsake us, for as much as you know our campsites in the wilderness, so you could be as eyes for us.”

Is Moses entreating Hobab sincerely, or is he saying this to simply entice Hobab to accompany them?  It seems to me that it is the former.  And once again, therefore, he is exhibiting a lack of faith in the Lord’s capability to guide and protect them.  He thinks he needs Hobab’s guidance as well.  See my remarks after the next verse.

וְהָיָה כִּי־תֵלֵךְ עִמָּנוּ וְהָיָה הַטֹּוב הַהוּא אֲשֶׁר יֵיטִיב יְהוָה עִמָּנוּ וְהֵטַבְנוּ לָךְ   10:32

Numb. 10:32   “And it would be, if you would go with us, then it would be good; what good the Lord will do for us, so we will do for you.”

Why do you suppose Moses said this in these two verses?  It appears that Hobab’s mind was already made up, as indicated in v. 10:30.  Did Moses hope that he could influence him to reconsider his decision with these additional statements?  I doubt it.  I’m guessing that these two verses were intended to convey Moses’ doubts about the Lord’s protecting them, doubts he’d already exhibited before (see Exod. 4:13, for example). Was he looking to Hobab for extra insurance during their wilderness travels?  Did Moses already understand that they would be wandering for an entire generation?  Why did he say “our campsites” in v. 10:31?  How many did he anticipate?  It sounds like he may have known something that had not been written here.

וַיִּסְעוּ מֵהַר יְהוָה דֶּרֶךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים וַאֲרֹון בְּרִית־יְהוָה נֹסֵעַ לִפְנֵיהֶם דֶּרֶךְ שְׁלֹשֶׁת יָמִים לָתוּר לָהֶם   10:33


Numb. 10:33   Then they set forth from the mountain of the Lord a journey of three days with the ark of the covenant of the Lord setting forth before them the three days of the journey to select a resting place for them.

The impression left by the scribe in this verse is that the ark was actively searching out the next campsite for the Israelites.  Commentators state that only in this case, the first journey, did the ark go before the Israelites.  Normally it would be in the middle of the four divisions of houses.  I’m not sure about this, because of vss. 10:11 and 10:12, where the cloud is described as rising up and leading the Israelites to pull up camp, and because the narrative of the camp pulling up in vss. 10:14 to 10:27 is not written as an ongoing repetitive behavior (in which the verbs would have been in the imperfect tense), but as the actual process of the first decamping..  I’m more inclined to suspect that the term “before them” is intended as a metaphor, implying that, while the ark was still in the middle of the formation, it was pro-actively seeking the next campsite ahead, so to speak, of the crowd.

As another aside, what did the Israelites do during the two intervening nights?  Did they continue to travel without stopping?  Obviously, they didn’t encamp again until they reached their unknown destination three days hence.

וַעֲןַן יְהוָה עֲלֵיהֶם יֹוםָם בְּנָסְעָם מִן־הַמַּחֲנֶה   10:34

Numb. 10:34   And the cloud of the Lord was over them by day in their journey from the camp.

וַיְהִי בִּנְסֹעַ הָאָרֹן וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה קוּמָה יְהוָה וְיָפֻצוּ אֹיְבֶיךָ וְיָנֻסוּ מְשַׂנְאֶיךָ מִפָּנֶיךָ   10:35

Numb. 10:35   And it was, while the ark was setting forth, that Moses said, “Rise up, O Lord, so that Your enemies disperse and those hating You flee from Your presence!”

וּבְנֻחֹה יֹאמַר שׁוּבָה יְהוָה רִבְבֹות אַלְפֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   10:36

Numb. 10:36   And on its settling down, he said, “Return, O Lord, to the myriads of thousands of Israel.”

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

358. You shall make two trumpets of silver that the priests shall keep.    V. 10:2

359. The priests shall blow on the trumpets to call the congregation.    V. 10:2

360. The priests shall blow on one trumpet to call the chiefs.    V. 10:3

361. When going to war, an alarm shall be sounded by the priests

        on the trumpets.    V. 10:9

362. The priests shall blow the trumpets over the sacrifices and peace

        offerings in the appointed seasons and new moons.    V. 10:10


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