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This is a chronologically-ordered Bible site with commentary on each passage.
The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of SouthPointe Bible Fellowship in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the April 1 reading. Select here for a new reading date:

BibleTrack Summary: April 1
<< Num 32

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Numbers 33-34    Listen Podcast


Where y'all been for the last 40 years? (Numbers 33:1-49)

Israel leaves Egypt (see table below).

1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.
2 And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys according to their goings out.
3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.
5 And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched in Succoth.
6 And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which is in the edge of the wilderness.
7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth, which is before Baalzephon: and they pitched before Migdol.
8 And they departed from before Pihahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.
9 And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim: and in Elim were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they pitched there.
10 And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red sea.
11 And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin.
12 And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah.
13 And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush.
14 And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim, where was no water for the people to drink.
15 And they departed from Rephidim, and pitched in the wilderness of Sinai.
16 And they removed from the desert of Sinai, and pitched at Kibrothhattaavah.
17 And they departed from Kibrothhattaavah, and encamped at Hazeroth.
18 And they departed from Hazeroth, and pitched in Rithmah.

The 38+ years of wilderness wandering for which there is no detailed account begin here (see table below).

19 And they departed from Rithmah, and pitched at Rimmonparez.
20 And they departed from Rimmonparez, and pitched in Libnah.
21 And they removed from Libnah, and pitched at Rissah.
22 And they journeyed from Rissah, and pitched in Kehelathah.
23 And they went from Kehelathah, and pitched in mount Shapher.
24 And they removed from mount Shapher, and encamped in Haradah.
25 And they removed from Haradah, and pitched in Makheloth.
26 And they removed from Makheloth, and encamped at Tahath.
27 And they departed from Tahath, and pitched at Tarah.
28 And they removed from Tarah, and pitched in Mithcah.
29 And they went from Mithcah, and pitched in Hashmonah.
30 And they departed from Hashmonah, and encamped at Moseroth.
31 And they departed from Moseroth, and pitched in Benejaakan.
32 And they removed from Benejaakan, and encamped at Horhagidgad.
33 And they went from Horhagidgad, and pitched in Jotbathah.
34 And they removed from Jotbathah, and encamped at Ebronah.
35 And they departed from Ebronah, and encamped at Eziongaber.

The recorded events of Israel's wanderings resume here (see table below).

36 And they removed from Eziongaber, and pitched in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.
37 And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in the edge of the land of Edom.
38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the first day of the fifth month.
39 And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old when he died in mount Hor.
40 And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.
41 And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah.
42 And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon.
43 And they departed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth.
44 And they departed from Oboth, and pitched in Ijeabarim, in the border of Moab.
45 And they departed from Iim, and pitched in Dibongad.
46 And they removed from Dibongad, and encamped in Almondiblathaim.
47 And they removed from Almondiblathaim, and pitched in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
48 And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
49 And they pitched by Jordan, from Bethjesimoth even unto Abelshittim in the plains of Moab.

Okay, so maybe this chapter is not the most interesting reading, but there is some very helpful information here. For instance, just from reading the incidents of Exodus through Numbers 32, it may seem that Israel did not often break camp and move on during their 40 years in the wilderness. However, there is a gap of 38+ years of recorded activity that begins somewhere between the return of the spies in Numbers 14 (see notes) and the beginning of Numbers 20 (see notes). It cannot be known with absolute certainty when exactly the events of chapters 15-19 took place; but Numbers 16 (see notes) reads like the events of that chapter took place at the beginning of the 38+ years. Also, the instructions of Numbers 17-19 appear to be given in the aftermath of the tragic events of Numbers 16. For that reason, I'm relatively certain that the 38+ year gap takes place between Numbers 19 and 20 (see notes). This record bridges that gap by giving the route which Israel took during this time in verses 19-36. This is the only place in scripture where we get a complete overview (although without details) of their wilderness journey.

The 17 camp sites mentioned in verses 19-36 between Rithmah and Kadesh, are the places at which Israel set up in the desert, from their return from Kadesh into the “desert of the way to the Red Sea” (Numbers 14:25, see notes), till the reassembling of the whole congregation in the desert of Zin at Kadesh (Numbers 20:1, see notes). You may be asking, "Why are the maps of Israel's journey so vague?" The reason is that most of the place names where the Hebrews traveled were camp sites - not cities, and thus cannot be identified with certainty today. Centers of activity come and go. For example, if I asked 100 people in my community where Kenwood, Georgia is located, I seriously doubt that ten people could tell me. Fifty years from now, it is likely that no one will remember. It's no longer found on most maps and remains as just a memory for our county's old timers who used to gather around the country store at the train depot there. It even had it's own post office. That's the way it is with regard to the mapping of Israel's journeys in the wilderness; we simply have no accurate record regarding the exact location of most of these camp sites.

Israel's forty-year journey from Egypt to Canaan
Numbers 33:3 Departed from Ramses Exodus 15:23 (see notes)
Numbers 33:5 Succoth Exodus 12:37 (see notes); Exodus 13:20 (see notes)
Numbers 33:6 Etham Exodus 13:20 (see notes)
Numbers 33:7 Migdol - after turning unto Pihahiroth (by the [Red] sea according to Exodus 14:2) Exodus 14:2 (see notes)
Numbers 33:8 Marah - after passing through the Red Sea Exodus 15:23 (see notes)
Numbers 33:9 Elim Exodus 15:27 (see notes)
Numbers 33:10 By the Red Sea
Numbers 33:11 Wilderness of Sin (on the 15th day of the second month according to Exodus 16:1) Exodus 16:1 (see notes)
Numbers 33:12 Dophkah
Numbers 33:13 Alush
Numbers 33:14 Rephidim (attacked by the Amalekites here according to Exodus 17:8) Exodus 17:1, 8 (see notes); Exodus 19:2 (see notes)
Numbers 33:15 Wilderness of Sinai
Numbers 33:16 Kibrothhattaavah (site of the quail plague) Numbers 11:34-35 (see notes); Deuteronomy 9:22 (see notes)
Numbers 33:17 Hazeroth Numbers 11:35 (see notes)
Numbers 33:18 Rithmah
The specific activities

of Israel are

not documented

for these

38+ years

Numbers 33:19 Rimmonparez
Numbers 33:20 Libnah
Numbers 33:21 Rissah
Numbers 33:22 Kehelathah
Numbers 33:23 Mount Shapher
Numbers 33:24 Haradah
Numbers 33:25 Makheloth
Numbers 33:26 Tahath
Numbers 33:27 Tarah
Numbers 33:28 Mithcah
Numbers 33:29 Hashmonah
Numbers 33:30 Moseroth
Numbers 33:31 Benejaakan
Numbers 33:32 Horhagidgad
Numbers 33:33 Jotbathah
Numbers 33:34 Ebronah
Numbers 33:35 Eziongaber
Numbers 33:36 Kadesh - in the wilderness of Zin Numbers 20:1 (see notes) - Miriam died here
Numbers 33:37 Mount Hor - in the edge of Edom Numbers 20:25-29 (see notes) - Aaron died here
Numbers 33:41 Zalmonah
Numbers 33:42 Punon
Numbers 33:43 Oboth
Numbers 33:44 Ijeabarim - in the border of Moab
Numbers 33:45 Dibongad
Numbers 33:46 Almondiblathaim
Numbers 33:47 Nebo - before Mount Abarim Deuteronomy 32:49 (see notes) - Moses died here
Numbers 33:48 Near Jericho - in Moab
Numbers 33:49 From Bethjesimoth to Abelshittim - by the Jordan River in Moab

Israel's Wilderness Journey

Here we are; what do we do now? (Numbers 33:50-56)

50 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.
55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you, as I thought to do unto them.

At this point, Israel is set up east of the Jordan River across from Jericho. That's just east of the north side of the Dead Sea. They are ready to go into Canaan. But first, some instructions about what to do when they get there are in order. Verse 52 says it well, "Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:" Paganism, polytheism and the people who are involved - all must go. Verse 53 says that Israel is to evict these folks. Later we see in Deuteronomy 9:4 (see notes), "Speak not thou in thine heart, after that the LORD thy God hath cast them out from before thee, saying, For my righteousness the LORD hath brought me in to possess this land: but for the wickedness of these nations the LORD doth drive them out from before thee." A similar statement is made concerning the banishment of these people from Canaan in Leviticus 18:27-28 (see notes). Verse 54 explains the process whereby Israel shall determine which tribe moves where after crossing the Jordan River into Canaan - the lottery. Casting lots was the supernatural way Israel made decisions. (For more information on casting lots, click here.)

So, what if Israel chooses not to drive out the current inhabitants of Canaan? There's your answer in verse 55, "...those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell." After a seven-year campaign of Israel inhabiting Canaan, they did not manage to drive all of the previous citizens out of the land. And, just as verse 55 says, those previous residents turned out to be a problem...a huge problem.

Israel's Promised Land MapMoses goes over the survey of the new land (Numbers 34:1-15)

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Command the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land of Canaan; (this is the land that shall fall unto you for an inheritance, even the land of Canaan with the coasts thereof:)
3 Then your south quarter shall be from the wilderness of Zin along by the coast of Edom, and your south border shall be the outmost coast of the salt sea eastward:
4 And your border shall turn from the south to the ascent of Akrabbim, and pass on to Zin: and the going forth thereof shall be from the south to Kadeshbarnea, and shall go on to Hazaraddar, and pass on to Azmon:
5 And the border shall fetch a compass from Azmon unto the river of Egypt, and the goings out of it shall be at the sea.
6 And as for the western border, ye shall even have the great sea for a border: this shall be your west border.
7 And this shall be your north border: from the great sea ye shall point out for you mount Hor:
8 From mount Hor ye shall point out your border unto the entrance of Hamath; and the goings forth of the border shall be to Zedad:
9 And the border shall go on to Ziphron, and the goings out of it shall be at Hazarenan: this shall be your north border.
10 And ye shall point out your east border from Hazarenan to Shepham:
11 And the coast shall go down from Shepham to Riblah, on the east side of Ain; and the border shall descend, and shall reach unto the side of the sea of Chinnereth eastward:
12 And the border shall go down to Jordan, and the goings out of it shall be at the salt sea: this shall be your land with the coasts thereof round about.
13 And Moses commanded the children of Israel, saying, This is the land which ye shall inherit by lot, which the LORD commanded to give unto the nine tribes, and to the half tribe:
14 For the tribe of the children of Reuben according to the house of their fathers, and the tribe of the children of Gad according to the house of their fathers, have received their inheritance; and half the tribe of Manasseh have received their inheritance:
15 The two tribes and the half tribe have received their inheritance on this side Jordan near Jericho eastward, toward the sunrising.

So, they haven't crossed over Jordan yet, but Moses is very specific about what property is to be Israel's for a possession. Some of these names are no longer locatable on a map, because they simply ceased to be called by that name after that. The place names for the eastern, western and southern borders are relatively easy to find on a map. The names given in this account for the northern border, extending into today's Lebanon and Syria, mention names that are no longer used. We do have a general idea of the location of that Northern border. Verse 14-15 make reference to the fact that Gad, Reuben and half of Manasseh stayed on the east side of the Jordan River.

A point of clarification is in order here. Take note of Genesis 15:18 (see notes), "In the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abraham, saying, Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates:" That's from the Nile to the Euphrates. That passage has caused some confusion because the tribes of Israel did not inhabit all of that land when they arrived in the Book of Joshua, nor is that large of a land survey specified in this passage. However, later on King David did, in fact, control the territory all the way over to the Euphrates. We see this in II Samuel 8:3 (see notes) "David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates." So, while the Israelites did not choose to live that far away, nonetheless David's kingdom and control extended to that point, thus fulfilling the promise God made to Abraham in Genesis 15:18 (see notes). put it more succinctly, Israel's living area was smaller than the actual kingdom area would be when the covenant with Abraham would be fulfilled under King David.

Organizing the lottery (Numbers 34:16-29)

16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
17 These are the names of the men which shall divide the land unto you: Eleazar the priest, and Joshua the son of Nun.
18 And ye shall take one prince of every tribe, to divide the land by inheritance.
19 And the names of the men are these: Of the tribe of Judah, Caleb the son of Jephunneh.
20 And of the tribe of the children of Simeon, Shemuel the son of Ammihud.
21 Of the tribe of Benjamin, Elidad the son of Chislon.
22 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Dan, Bukki the son of Jogli.
23 The prince of the children of Joseph, for the tribe of the children of Manasseh, Hanniel the son of Ephod.
24 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Ephraim, Kemuel the son of Shiphtan.
25 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Zebulun, Elizaphan the son of Parnach.
26 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Issachar, Paltiel the son of Azzan.
27 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Asher, Ahihud the son of Shelomi.
28 And the prince of the tribe of the children of Naphtali, Pedahel the son of Ammihud.
29 These are they whom the LORD commanded to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel in the land of Canaan.

Well, let's appoint a man from each tribe to be responsible for dividing the land. Here's the list; Eleazar (Aaron's son and high priest) and Joshua (Moses' successor) are placed in charge of overseeing the whole process. If you would like to see the notes on the actual lottery in Joshua 19, click here. A map of the tribe allotments can be found there as well.

For commentary on another passage, click here.

Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner