King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Numbers 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)

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The silver trumpets

1 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

2 Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.

3 And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

4 And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.

5 When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.

6 When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.

7 But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.

8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.

9 And if ye go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

The Israelites remove from Sinai to Paran

11 And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony.

12 And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.

13 And they first took their journey according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

14 In the first place went the standard of the camp of the children of Judah according to their armies: and over his host was Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

15 And over the host of the tribe of the children of Issachar was Nethaneel the son of Zuar.

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

17 And the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set forward, bearing the tabernacle.

18 And the standard of the camp of Reuben set forward according to their armies: and over his host was Elizur the son of Shedeur.

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

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

21 And the Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary: and the other did set up the tabernacle against they came.

22 And the standard of the camp of the children of Ephraim set forward according to their armies: and over his host was Elishama the son of Ammihud.

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

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

25 And the standard of the camp of the children of Dan set forward, which was the rereward of all the camps throughout their hosts: and over his host was Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

26 And over the host of the tribe of the children of Asher was Pagiel the son of Ocran.

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

28 Thus were the journeyings of the children of Israel according to their armies, when they set forward.

Hobab entreated by Moses to continue

29 And Moses said unto Hobab, the son of Raguel the Midianite, Moses’ father in law, We are journeying unto the place of which the LORD said, I will give it you: come thou with us, and we will do thee good: for the LORD hath spoken good concerning Israel.

30 And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.

31 And he said, Leave us not, I pray thee; forasmuch as thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.

32 And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what goodness the LORD shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.

The blessing pronounced by Moses

33 And they departed from the mount of the LORD three days’ journey: and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them in the three days’ journey, to search out a resting place for them.

34 And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp.

35 And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, LORD, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.

36 And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 2. Two trumpets. These were probably deemed sufficient at first, though in the days of Josue there were seven, (C.) and in those of Solomon 20,000. Josep. viii. 2. T. — They were used for all public assemblies. Josephus (iii. 11,) says, one was sounded to call the princes together, and the other to collect the people, which is not quite conformable to the Scriptures. C.

Ver. 4. Once. Heb. “with one trumpet.” If both sounded together uniformly, the people assembled, v. 7.

Ver. 5. Longer, and with interruptions. Heb. teruha, “a signal,” an alarm. Sept. “a loud cry of victory.” Chal. “the taratantara,” as Montanus translates, in allusion to the sound of the Hebrew word, (C.) or of the trumpets. When they were sounded with a variety of notes, or at different intervals, all knew that the camp was to break up, even though they had not been attentive to the motions of the cloud. Then Juda led the van. C. ii. 9. H.

Ver. 6. And, &c. Heb. “they shall blow an alarm for their marches.” This must be referred to the camps on the west, which proceeded forward at the third sounding, as those on the north did at the fourth, according to the Sept. H.

Ver. 7. Sound. High mysteries must be reserved for the more learned. Theod. q. 15. W.

Ver. 8. Priests. God’s officers and heralds. Curtius (3) observes, that among the Persians at day-break, the signal was given from the king’s tent by sound of trumpet.

Ver. 9. Your God, who will reward your obedience with victory.

Ver. 10. And on. This serves to explain what kind of banquet was meant. On the festivals of religion, peace-offerings were made, of which those who were pure, might partake. H. — On solemn and extraordinary occasions, holocausts were also presented to God by the whole nation; and the trumpets announced those public rejoicings. 2 Par. v. 12. xxix. 26. C. — Months. The day when the moon first appeared, was a festival day among the Jews, (M.) or the first day of the month, while they observed the solar year.

Ver. 11. The second. The Samar. copy here places what we read, Deut. i. 7, 8; and it is certain that those words were addressed to Moses on this occasion, though it be not so certain that they were written by him in this place. C. — Of the month Jiar. The Hebrews had continued near Sinai a year and 20 days. Thence they went to the desert of Pharan, encamping first at the sepulchres of concupiscence, and at Haseroth, which were probably in that desert. Moses only specifies those encampments, where something memorable took place. He mentions none between Asiongaber and Cades, thought the length of the journey required many. Num. xi. 34. xiii. 1. C. — Perhaps he only reckons those among the stations where the people continued a considerable time.

Ver. 17. It. Hence it would appear, that part of the Levites followed Juda’s division, which was preceded by the priests bearing the ark, (v. 33,) while the Caathites bore the sacred vessels after Ruben, (v. 21,) and were followed by Ephraim and Gad. But Calmet observes, that the Levites, and the whole camp of the Lord, came in the middle of the four great divisions, immediately after Ruben. C. ii. 9. 17. Salien thinks, that the ark and cloud led the way, and returned to the middle at the end of the journey, v. 36. H. T.

Ver. 21. Sanctuary, or holy vessels. They never set them down, till they arrived at the place where the tabernacle was to be fixed. Hebrew may be, “the sons of Caath set forward, bearing the vessels of the sanctuary, (C.) and they (the other Levites, v. 17,) set up the boards and curtains of the tabernacle till they arrived;” that so both the vessels and the ark might be placed in proper order. If the ark had to return into the middle of the camp from leading the way, as Salien insinuates; while it passed between the ranks of Juda, the Levites would have time to arrange every thing. H.

Ver. 29. Hobab; probably the brother of Sephora, and son of Raguel or Jethro, who had departed, leaving this son for a guide to Moses. Though God directed the marches of the Hebrews, he would not have them to neglect human means. — Kinsman. The Heb clothen, and Greek gambros, are not more determinate, as they signify either father, son, or brother-in-law (see Ex. ii. 18. C.); or in general a relation. S. Jerom. D.

Ver. 31. Guide, being well acquainted with the country, and consequently able to point out the best places for pasturage and for water, and to inform us what sort of people we are near. Heb. “thou shalt serve us for eyes.” Sept. “as a senator.” The Persians had officers who had the title of eyes and ears of the king. Brisson 1. Some suppose that Moses stood in no need of Hobab, having lived himself in that country 40 years, with Jethro; and that he only wished to keep his kinsman with him, that he might observe the true religion. He supposed at that time that they would presently obtain possession of Chanaan. But the sins of the people caused almost all to perish in the desert. Hobab probably accepted of the proposal, as we find the Cineans, descendants of Jethro, holding a portion of the land. C. Judg. i. 16. His posterity, the Rechabites, were noted for more than usual piety; and were the same with the Essenes, according to Serarius, and the first authors of a monastic life. Jerem. xxxv. T.

Ver. 33. Journey. During this time, we know not where they encamped. The first place that is specified is Tabera, or “the burning,” (C. xi. 3. C.) which S. Jerom believes is the same place which was also called the sepulchres of concupiscence, (v. 34,) the 13th station, (H.) which is described above as the desert of Pharan. M. — Before them. See v. 17. H. — The Rabbins assert that there were two arks; one containing the writings of Moses going before, with the lawgiver, at the head of the army; and the other, carried by the Levites, in the centre. Drusius. — Calmet would rather translate “went in their presence;” that is, in the midst. The kings of Persia always marched in the centre, for greater safety, and that they might communicate their orders with more expedition, as well as to keep all in order, and observe what was doing. Xenophon. Cyrop. iv. and viii. Arian ii. and iii. C. — But the ark of God would probably go before the people, with the cloud, which hung over it.

Ver. 36. Host. Sept. “Bring, or turn back, (H.) O Lord, the thousands, the myriads in Israel.” Some give the same sense to the Hebrew. C. — Prayers are composed, not only for the obtaining of good in general, but also for particular purposes. W.