Numbers 10 Commentary

Numbers: Journey to God's Rest-Land by Irving Jensen- used by permission

Source: Ryrie Study Bible
"Wilderness Wandering"
Numbers 1-12
Numbers 13-25
Numbers 26-36
Counting &
Nu 1-4
Cleansing &
Nu 5-8
Carping &
Nu 9-12
12 Spies &
Death in Desert
Nu 13-16
Aaron & Levites in
Nu 17-18
Serpent of Brass & Story of Balaam
Nu 21-25
Second Census 7 Laws of Israel
Nu 26-30
Last Days of Moses as Leader
Nu 31-33
Sections, Sanctuaries &
Nu 34-36
& Order
& Disorder
New Laws
for the New Order
Preparation for the Journey:
Moving Out
Participation in the Journey:
Moving On
Prize at end of the Journey:
Moving In
At Sinai
Mt Sinai
To Moab
Mt Hor
At Moab
Mt Nebo
En Route to Kadesh
(Mt Sinai)
En Route to Nowhere
En Route to Canaan
(Plains of Moab)
A Few Weeks to
2 Months
38 years,
3 months, 10 days
A Few
Christ in Numbers = Our "Lifted-up One"
(Nu 21:9, cp Jn 3:14-15)
Author: Moses

Numbers 10:1  The LORD spoke further to Moses, saying,


Nu 10:1-10 serves to signal bringing the first major portion of Numbers to a close. Nu 10:1-10 is still part of the final stage of putting all things in place for the ritual ceremonies and the whole system of worship prior to the journey from Sinai (Nu 7:1–10:10).

Jensen - To the sons of Aaron was given the task of blowing the two trumpets, not only as a marching signal, but also to announce other functions, as 10:1–10 indicates. Moses no doubt was the one who consulted with the sons of Aaron, to give them the signal for blowing.

Brian Bell entitles Nu 10:1-13 "Cleared for Take Off!" - Like travelers on a long layover, they’ve been now cleared for take off. Each knew his standard, his tribe, his role, his appointed place. The soul must visit Sinai, but not live there! It must journey forth to Hermon, Olivet, Calvary. The slumbering church should hear the trumpet call today, & move out & evangelize the world. Time to set out for their God-appointed inheritance. This would take them through an unknown land, a dangerous land, but God would give them the help they needed.

The LORD spoke further to Moses, saying - This introduces the next section Nu 10:1-10 dealing with regulations for the blowing of trumpets. 

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose - THE SILVER TRUMPETS THE GOSPEL OF GOD Numbers 10:1–10

    “Broken in heart! broken in heart!
      He bindeth up our wounds;
    My God, how tender is Thine art,
      Thy word how sweet it sounds!
    A broken heart, O trifle small
      Beside the radiant skies!
    Yet Thou, God, for my heart dost call,
      When I myself despise”

The blowing of the trumpets was, as it were, the voice of God to the people of Israel. He that hath ears to hear let him hear.
1. The trumpets, or the Gospel. Blessed are they that know the joyful sound. Note their—

1. NUMBER. “Make thee two trumpets of silver.” These two trumpets remind us of the Old and New Testaments, through which God has been pleased to speak to His people, and by which His call is still heard.
2. NATURE. “Trumpets of silver.” They were precious and sweet toned. The best of other books are but copper and tin compared with the Bible.
3. UNITY. “Of a whole piece shalt thou make them” (v. 2). This is a most assuring characteristic of the Bible. Although both the Old and New Testaments are written by different authors at different times and circumstances, they are each of a whole piece. The One Spirit breathes through all.

2. The trumpeters, or preachers of the Gospel. “The sons of Aaron shall blow the trumpets” (v. 8). In the eighth chapter we see them—

1. CALLED (chap. 8:6). The first preachers of the Gospel were all called and chosen by the Master. No man can take this honour to himself (Rom. 10:15).
2. PURIFIED (chap. 8:7). They must be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord.
3. CONSECRATED (chap. 8:10). His choosing us should be followed with our complete self-abnegation for His sake. “I have chosen you and ordained you.”
4. COMMISSIONED (chap. 8:15). “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” This is the trumpeter’s great commission.

3. The trumpeting, or preaching of the Gospel. No matter how good the trumpet may be, it takes the breath of a living man to sound it. The preaching of the Gospel in the power of the Holy Ghost is the voice and call of God to the hearer. There may be a great noise where there is no voice or message from Heaven. The blowing of these silver trumpets had various degrees of significance. Through them we hear the following calls—

1. ATONEMENT. “Ye shall blow with the trumpets over the sacrifices” (v. 10). How important this is. The preaching that is not connected with the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ is not the preaching that He bids. It is vain blowing apart from the reconciling Blood of the Lamb.
2. INVITATION. “When ye shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves at the door” (v. 3). Thus the trumpet call invited to the “door of the tabernacle.” So the Gospel invitation is to all, and that they all might come to Him who is the Door of the sheep and the Way to the Father. “Come unto Me, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “Unto you, O men, I call.”
3. PROGRESS. “When ye blow an alarm then the camps shall go forward” (v. 5). The call of the Gospel is not only to salvation, but to advancement in the knowledge of God and growth in grace. “I press on toward the mark,” says the apostle of the Gentiles. This note of the Gospel trumpet is greatly needed to-day. Let us go forward in a fresh consecration of ourselves, and in a new faith in God. Launch out into the deep.
4. CONFLICT. “If you go to war ye shall blow an alarm, and ye shall be saved from your enemies” (v. 9). With the progress of indifference and scepticism should come this sounding of the alarm, that we may “be remembered before the Lord,” and fight the good fight of FAITH. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand. To us the armour of God means being invested by Christ. “Abide in Me.”
5. GLADNESS. “Also in the day of your gladness ye shall blow with the trumpets” (v. 10). It is a blessed work to preach the Gospel with a glad heart. The joy of the Lord is your strength. The weakness of many Gospel trumpeters is that they have no real gladness in the service of God. Their gladness comes when their work for Christ is over for the day. The testimony of such can only be as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. The power of love is lacking. Restore unto us the joy of Thy salvation.

    “The trumpet of Christ ne’er sounds a retreat,
    All bloodless His battles, yet by blood made meet:
    Or be it danger, or be it defeat,
    The trumpet of Christ ne’er sounds a retreat.”

Numbers 10:2  "Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work you shall make them; and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for having the camps set out.

  • two trumpets: 2Ki 12:13 2Ch 5:12 
  • Ex 25:18,31 Eph 4:5 
  • summoning the congregation: Nu 10:7 Ps 81:3 89:15 Isa 1:13 Ho 8:1 Joe 1:14 

Silver coin depicting two trumpets
(134–135 AD)


Rod Mattoon - God would not only provide guidance with the cloud of fire that they could see, He would also provide guidance by the audible sound of the trumpets. Josephus described them on the Arch of Titus in Rome as 18" in length. They were straight with a bell shape or tip. The trumpets made known to the people the mind of the Lord and what His will was for the people. The pillar and trumpet together gave direction to the people. 

THOUGHT - The trumpets are a type or symbol of God's Word. It was the priests who blew the trumpets to give direction. The Bible says that God's people are a royal priesthood. We are to trumpet God's Word and depend upon His Word and the Holy Spirit for direction....We are to trumpet God's Word and give a clear message. Our witness and testimony should be clear that Jesus is our Savior, Lord, and master. The words "preach" or "evangelize" are words that mean "to trumpet." We are to trumpet the truth! As the trumpet was for the purpose of sounding an alarm, we too are to warn others too. (Mattoon)

Make yourself two trumpets of silver, of hammered work (cf Ex 25:18,31+) you shall make them - The trumpet (chatsotsrah) was a long metal trumpet used for signaling. It was used both in sacred (Nu 10:2, 8-10; 2 Ki. 12:13; Ps. 98:6) and secular spheres (2 Ki. 11:14; 2 Chr. 23:13; Hos. 5:8). Hammered work (Hebrew mikshah) made like the menorah (Nu 8:4).

The words of the LORD are pure words;
As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times. 
-- Psalm 12:6+

MacArthur -  According to a Jewish tradition, these instruments were between 12 and 20 in. long and had a narrow tube that was flared at the end. hammered work. The same description is given concerning the cherubim above the mercy seat. See Ex 25:18; 37:7 (MSB)

UBS - Trumpets were long and straight metallic instruments used for signal calls. One end of a trumpet had a mouthpiece, while the other end was widened into a bell shape. The sound on the trumpet was made by blowing into the mouthpiece in such a way as to vibrate the lips. The vibrations were magnified as they passed along the widening body of the tube 

TWOT adds this note on trumpet - "According to Josephus in Antiquities 3.12.6 (291), "In length a little short of a cubit, it is a narrow tube, slightly thicker than a flute...." The trumpets of Herod's temple are depicted on the Arch of Titus and on silver denarius coins of Bar Cochba. Early Egyptian examples were found in Tutankhamon's tomb. It should be distinguished from the shôpār, the curved ram's horn trumpet."

Gilbrant says "Most often trumpets were used by the priests (Num. 10:8; 1 Chr. 15:24; 16:6; 2 Chr. 23:13). They were used for several purposes in the Hebrew community, including summoning the community together, convoking the leaders, indicating the breaking of camp, sounding at the burnt offering and sounding a military alarm (cf. Num. 10:9; 31:6)." (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Consider the size of a camp with 2 million people. Here is an estimate from the internet on space that is needed for 1 million - a million people will take up to 24 million cu. ft of space. An average Olympic size swimming pool will take up to 88,263 cu. ft. of space. Hence, the volume is roughly 272 times an Olympic swimming pool.

NET NOTE - The instructions are not clearly spelled out here. But the trumpets were to be made of silver ingots beaten out into a sheet of silver and then bent to form a trumpet. There is archaeological evidence of silver smelting as early as 3000 B.C. Making silver trumpets would have been a fairly easy thing for the Israelites to do. The trumpet would have been straight, with a tapered form, very unlike the “ram’s horn” (שׁוֹפָר, shofar). The trumpets were used by the priests in Israel from the outset, but later were used more widely. The sound would be sharp and piercing, but limited in scope to a few notes.

R K Harrison -  Israel’s earlier experience with trumpets is recorded in Ex 19:16-20. There, words of both Canaanite and Phoenician derivation tell of the sound of the ram’s horn trumpet that accompanied the terrifying thunders and lightnings on Mount Sinai. Now an entirely new kind of trumpet was prescribed. These ḥăṣôṣrōt were silver clarions, depicted in extra-Biblical sources as long straight tubes flared at the end. From this time on, the Hebrews used this particular instrument as a “statute forever,” for sacred purposes only (e.g., Num 31:6; II Kgs 12:13; Ezr 3:10). (Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

and you shall use them for summoning the congregation Heb “and they shall be for you for assembling,”

and for having the camps set out - The trumpet sounded it was time to "break camp" and move out. Remember that at this point, they had yet to begin their wilderness journey and were still at the base camp. 

Budd points out that "“Whereas the cloud in Num. 9:15–23 represents the divine initiative in leadership the trumpets constitute the response of the human leadership as it summons the congregation to gather at the tent, and signals the moment of advance for each tribal group.” (WBC)

The use of trumpets to alert Israel reminds me of the trumpet Paul described signaling the Church pulling up stakes and setting out for our heavenly "promised land." (Aka, the "ultimate assembling" of His people at the Rapture)

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17+  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up (harpazo) together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

NUM. 10:2.   Trumpets of silver … for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps. C. H. MacINTOSH.

The silver trumpet ordered and settled every movement for Israel of old. The testimony of God ought to settle and order everything for the Church now. A Christian has no right to move or act apart from divine testimony. He must wait upon the word of his Lord. Till he gets that he must stand still. When he has got it he must go forward. God can and does communicate His mind to His militant people now, just as distinctly as He did to His people of old. True, it is not by the sound of a trumpet, or the movement of a cloud, but by His Word and Spirit. It is not by aught that strikes the senses that our Father guides us, but by that which acts in the heart, the conscience and the understanding.

Numbers 10:3  "When both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the doorway of the tent of meeting.

  • Jer 4:5 Joe 2:15,16 


When both are blown - The verb תָקַע (taqa’) means “to strike, drive, blow a trumpet.”

all the congregation shall gather themselves -  Heb “the assembly shall assemble themselves.”

to you at the doorway of the tent of meeting - "The Hebrew phrase used here, pethach ohel mo'ed, refers to the open area in front of the tent shrine in the tabernacle. This open area is also called the chatsar hammishkan (“courtyard of the tabernacle”; see Exod 27:9). This was the area accessible to laypeople, where they carried out their responsibilities for the sacrificial ritual, and met to hear Moses speak the word of Yahweh." (FSB)

NIVSB -  Not only for assembling but also for marching (vv. 5–6), battle (v. 9) and festivals (v. 10). Since different signals were used (v. 7), a guild of priestly musicians was developed (v. 8). See Jos 6:4 for the use of seven trumpets of rams’ horns (Hebrew shophar) in the battle of Jericho.

Numbers 10:4  "Yet if only one is blown, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel, shall assemble before you.

  • Nu 1:4-16 7:2 Ex 18:21 De 1:15 


Yet if only one is blown, then the leaders, the heads of the divisions of Israel - See Numbers 1:4–16. At the sound of one trumpet, the princes were to gather. 

Shall assemble before you - Leaders were responsible to bring about an orderly assembly of their respective tribe. 

Wenham -“If we follow Jewish tradition, long blasts were used to assemble the people to Moses, to the tent of meeting and for worship. Short staccato blasts were used in battle and to order the camps to move off.” (TOTC-Nu)

Brian Bell -  Blow them would gather them together, move them forward, summon them to battle, sound an alarm, or call them to enjoy the feasts of the Lord. They listened to the trumpets & watched the cloud, & were safe.. So God guided Israel’s movements 2 ways: one miraculous, one quite human.  1st, God provided the cloud; 2nd, Aaron & the priests blew the trumpets when it was time to break camp. The cloud reminded the people that God was ever-present to lead, guide, & inspire worship, & confidence. Israel needed to realize their dependence on the Lord for their every movement. The trumpet blasts were to bring these truths to remembrance. Today, His word is our cloud to move us, & my voice is to simply bring these truths to remembrance.

Numbers 10:5  "But when you blow an alarm, the camps that are pitched on the east side shall set out.

  • blow: Nu 10:6,7 Isa 58:1 Joe 2:1 
  • camps: Nu 2:3-9 


But when you blow an alarm - The word for an alarm is תְּרוּעָה (téru’ah). The root verb of this word means “to give a blast on the trumpet.” It may also on occasion mean “give a shout” in battle (Josh 6:10). In this passage it must refer to the sound of the trumpet. (NET)

MacArthur on the different sounds - Jewish tradition said the convocation sound was a long steady blast, while the advance signal was a succession of 3 shorter notes. (MSB)

the camps that are pitched - Hebrew “the camps that are camping.”

on the east side shall set out - the emphasis is on the start of the journey with Judah as the lead tribe, with Isaachar and Zebulun. 

Numbers 10:6  "When you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are pitched on the south side shall set out; an alarm is to be blown for them to set out.

  • blow:
  • the camps: Nu 2:10-16 

When you blow an alarm the second time - A single alarm was a signal for the eastward division to march; two such alarms the signal for the south; and possibly three for the west, and four for the North.

the camps that are pitched on the south side shall set out; an alarm is to be blown for them to set out - The tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad would have set out next (2:10–16).

Numbers 10:7  "When convening the assembly, however, you shall blow without sounding an alarm.

NET  Numbers 10:7 But when you assemble the community, you must blow, but you must not sound an alarm.

NLT  Numbers 10:7 But when you call the people to an assembly, blow the trumpets with a different signal.

ESV  Numbers 10:7 But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow a long blast, but you shall not sound an alarm.

NIV  Numbers 10:7 To gather the assembly, blow the trumpets, but not with the same signal.

  • ye shall blow: Nu 10:3,4 
  • sound: Joe 2:1 


When convening the assembly, however, you shall blow without sounding an alarm - "The signal for moving camp was apparently different in tone and may have been sharper notes or a different sequence. It was in some way distinguishable." (NET)

Sounding an alarm (07321)(rua) means to raise a noise, shout, shout, raise a sound, cry out, to sound a blast. 

Mattoon - the trumpets were to advance the people on their way and to attack for war (see Nu 31:6, 2 Chr 13:12). God sounds an alarm for battle for us. As pilgrims, our life is one battle after another. We live on a battlefield, not a playground. Our paths are full of dangers, temptations, and snares.

Numbers 10:8  "The priestly sons of Aaron, moreover, shall blow the trumpets; and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations.

  • Nu 31:6 Jos 6:4-16 1Ch 15:24 16:6 2Ch 13:12-15 


Jensen - Communication and revelation from God, clear as it may be, is often missed by the masses if unaided by God’s servants. If there was any possibility of false timing or even intentional disobedience of God’s signals by the masses, there was insurance in the provision of faithful and discerning leadership by God’s appointed servants, Moses, Aaron, and the sons of Aaron (Nu 10:8).

The priestly sons of Aaron - Eleazar and Ithamar (Nu 3:2).

Moreover, shall blow the trumpets - Two trumpets would be one for each son. 

and this shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations - This was to be a perpetual statute calling Israel to worship or to war. 

NIVSB has an interesting note - An inscription from the corner of the ledge surrounding the roof of the temple destroyed by the Romans in AD 70, reads “(for) the place of trumpeting” (lbyt htqy’h), using the same verb for blowing on the trumpet that occurs throughout this passage.

Numbers 10:9  "When you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and be saved from your enemies.

NET  Numbers 10:9 If you go to war in your land against an adversary who opposes you, then you must sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God, and you will be saved from your enemies.

NLT  Numbers 10:9 "When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the LORD your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies.

ESV  Numbers 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, that you may be remembered before the LORD your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies.

NIV  Numbers 10:9 When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies.

KJV  Numbers 10:9 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.

YLT  Numbers 10:9 'And when ye go into battle in your land against the adversary who is distressing you, then ye have shouted with the trumpets, and ye have been remembered before Jehovah your God, and ye have been saved from your enemies.

LXE  Numbers 10:9 And if ye shall go forth to war in your land against your enemies that are opposed to you, then shall ye sound with the trumpets; and ye shall be had in remembrance before the Lord, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

ASV  Numbers 10:9 And when ye go to war in your land against the adversary that oppresseth you, then ye shall sound an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before Jehovah your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.

CSB  Numbers 10:9 "When you enter into battle in your land against an adversary who is attacking you, sound short blasts on the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the LORD your God and be delivered from your enemies.

  • go: Nu 31:6 Jos 6:5 2Ch 13:14 
  • against the adversary who attacks: Jdg 2:18, 3:27, Jdg 4:2,3, 6:Jdg 9,34, Jdg 7:16-21, Jdg 10:8,12 1Sa 10:18 Ps 106:42 
  • then you shall: Isa 18:3 58:1 Jer 4:5,19,21 6:1,17 Eze 7:14 33:3-6 Ho 5:8 Am 3:6 Zep 1:16 1Co 14:8 
  • remembered: Ge 8:1 Ps 106:4 136:23 Lu 1:70-74 


When you go to war in your land against the adversary who attacks you -  "Both the “adversary” and “opposes” come from the same root: צָרַר (tsarar), “to hem in, oppress, harass,” or basically, “be an adversary.”" (NET)

Gilbrant says that the Hebrew word "tsar means "oppressor" or "adversary." The root of this derivative, tsārar  carries the idea of hostility, harassment and torment. Tsar tends to bring the focus of the action more to the harassing effects experienced from the enemy." 

Merrill - One might have expected civil or at least military leaders to blow these signaling trumpets. But priests were an integral part of warfare, addressing the warriors before battle (Deut 20:2–4), giving them God’s battle guidance (Nu 27:18–21; Jdg 20:26–28; 1 Sa 23:9; 30:7), and carrying the Ark and blowing the trumpets for battle (Nu 10:33–36; Josh 6; 1 Sam 4; 2 Sam 11:11). (CBC)

then you shall sound an alarm (rua) with the trumpets - The trumpets were also to herald going to battle 

Sound an alarm (07321)(rua)verb meaning to raise a noise, shout, shout, raise a sound, cry out, to sound a blast. Rua was utilized primarily to convey the action of shouting or the making of a loud noise. One could "raise a noise" either by shouting or with a horn (Nu 10:7, or the shofar - Josh 6:5). Shouting often took place just before a people or army rushed into battle against opposition (JUST LIKE THOSE SCENES IN "BRAVEHEART!"). At other times the war cry became the signal used to commence engagement with the enemy (Josh. 6:10, 16, 20; Jdg. 15:14; 1 Sa. 4:5; 17:20; 2 Chr. 13:15). At other times rua represented a shout of joy, often in response to the Lord's delivering activity His people (Job 38:7; Ps. 47:1; 95:1, 2; Isa. 44:23; Zeph. 3:14). Rua was used in rituals of the Israelite tabernacle (1 Samuel 4:5) to describe the exaltation of the people of Israel when the ark of the covenant was brought to the camp. Rua is also used for cries of complaint and distress (Isaiah 15:4). But the most common usage of rua is in signals for war (Nu 10:7) and war cries (Josh 6:10).

that you may be remembered before the LORD your God - They would be spared because God "remembered" them. "Trumpets that sounded a call to arms (Hos 5:8; Joel 2:1) would remind the LORD to rescue the Hebrews from their enemies." (NLTSB)

and be saved from your enemies - Trusting God and obeying God's leaders assured them of victory. "Should they take their eyes off the cloud and close their ears to the trumpets, however, they were doomed." (Jensen)

THOUGHT: This passage reminds me of Hebrew 2:18+ "For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able (HE HAS THE INHERENT ABILITY) to come to the aid (boetheo = literally to run to give aid on hearing a cry! UPSHOT? WE NEED TO CRY OUT, TO "SOUND THE TRUMPET!") of those who are (present tense - continually being) tempted.

R K Harrison -  Must the Lord be reminded to save his people? The answer is Yes and No. Israel did not conceive of him as a limited deity, whose interest was diverted to other things, or as a god who went to sleep and had to be aroused by the blast of the trumpets. Critics who hold this view appeal to Ps 44:22-24, and quote the words, “Awake, why sleepest Thou, O Lord?” But scrutiny of this psalm shows that it is a complaint to God, who knows the “secrets of the hearts” and who chastens his people. They are in trouble, and he seems to do nothing; hence the feeling of depression comes forth in hyperbolic language. For an account of the use of the trumpets in a time of distress, see 2 Chr 13:12-15. In battle the people “cried unto the Lord and the priests sounded with the trumpets.” Indeed, the trumpets as an “ordinance forever” symbolized dependence on God. Similarly prayer, as a more articulate expression of that dependence, reminds God to bless his people. (Wycliffe Bible Commentary)

Numbers 10:10  "Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months, you 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."

BGT  Numbers 10:10 καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς εὐφροσύνης ὑμῶν καὶ ἐν ταῖς ἑορταῖς ὑμῶν καὶ ἐν ταῖς νουμηνίαις ὑμῶν σαλπιεῖτε ταῖς σάλπιγξιν ἐπὶ τοῖς ὁλοκαυτώμασιν καὶ ἐπὶ ταῖς θυσίαις τῶν σωτηρίων ὑμῶν καὶ ἔσται ὑμῖν ἀνάμνησις ἔναντι τοῦ θεοῦ ὑμῶν ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν

NET  Numbers 10:10 "Also in the time when you rejoice, such as on your appointed festivals or at the beginnings of your months, you must blow with your trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings, so that they may become a memorial for you before your God: I am the LORD your God."

NLT  Numbers 10:10 Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind the LORD your God of his covenant with you. I am the LORD your God."

ESV  Numbers 10:10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God."

NIV  Numbers 10:10 Also at your times of rejoicing--your appointed feasts and New Moon festivals--you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God."

KJV  Numbers 10:10 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.

YLT  Numbers 10:10 'And in the day of your gladness, and in your appointed seasons, and in the beginnings of your months, ye have blown also with the trumpets over your burnt-offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace-offerings, and they have been to you for a memorial before your God; I, Jehovah, am your God.'

LXE  Numbers 10:10 And in the days of your gladness, and in your feasts, and in your new moons, ye shall sound with the trumpets at your whole-burnt-offerings, and at the sacrifices of your peace-offerings; and there shall be a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.

ASV  Numbers 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your set feasts, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow the trumpets over your burnt-offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace-offerings; and they shall be to you for a memorial before your God: I am Jehovah your God.

CSB  Numbers 10:10 You are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your fellowship sacrifices and on your joyous occasions, your appointed festivals, and the beginning of each of your months. They will serve as a reminder for you before your God: I am the LORD your God."

  • in the day: Nu 29:1 Lev 23:24 25:9,10 1Ch 15:24,28 16:42 2Ch 5:12,13 7:6 2Ch 29:26,28 Ezr 3:10 Ne 12:35 Ps 81:3 89:15 98:5,6 150:3 Isa 27:13 55:1-4 Mt 11:28 1Co 15:52 1Th 4:16,18 Rev 22:17 
  • a memorial: Nu 10:9 Ex 28:29 30:16 Jos 4:7 Ac 10:4 1Co 11:24-26


This passage indicates that even after the wilderness journey and entrance into the promised land, trumpets would play a role in various festival

Also in the day of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and on the first days of your months - NET = "Also in the time when you rejoice, such as on your appointed festivals or at the beginnings of your months." 

Merrill on day of your gladness -  might be coronation days (e.g., 2 Kgs 11:14; 1 Chr 29:22), victory celebrations (Nu 10:9; Esth 8:17; 9:17), or the annual festivals (2 Chr 30:21, 23, 26; Ezra 6:22; Neh 8:17)....This use of the trumpets was not so much to announce these various festivals as to invoke and celebrate the presence of God among His people on those special occasions. They would each be a memorial for the people before God, a kind of reminder of His guidance and blessing in the past, particularly in the wilderness. (BKC)

Constable on first days of your months -  In this chapter we have the first reference to the new moon celebration (v. 10). The appearance of the new moon signaled the beginning of a new month. The Jews viewed the first day of each new month as consecrated to God in a way similar to the Sabbath (cf. Isa. 1:13). They marked this fresh beginning with special sacrifices (28:11–15) over which the priests blew the silver trumpets (v. 10; Ps. 81:3). On the new moon of the seventh month, the Feast of Trumpets, the people did no work (Lev. 23:25–25; Num. 29:1–6; 2 Kings 4:23) In Israel’s later history the priests blew these trumpets on other festal occasions as well (Ezra 3:10; Neh. 12:35, 41; 1 Chr 15:24; 16:6; 2 Chr 5:12; 7:6; 29:27).

Related Resource:

You shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings - cf  2 Chr 29:26–30. 

Burnt offerings (05930)('olah from 'alah = to ascend and thus the picture of going up in smoke) refers to a whole burnt offering (one which goes up in smoke), which was voluntary, was understood as a sacrificial gift to God, resulting in a pleasing aroma acceptable to Jehovah (Lev 1:9). The presenter laid hands on the sacrifice which many feel signifies they saw the animal sacrifice as their substitute. The blood was sprinkled on the altar (Lev 1:6) When this offering was properly carried out (including a right heart attitude not just a "going through the motions," [which was not pleasing to God - Jer 6:20, Jer 7:21, 23, 24, see David - Ps 51:16-17-note] not just an external "work," but an internal submission and obedience to Jehovah), they made atonement and were acceptable before Jehovah. The total burning indicated (or should have indicated) total consecration of the presenter's heart and soul and life to Jehovah. As noted a key feature of 'olah appears to be that among the Israelite sacrifices only 'olah is wholly burned, rather than partially burned and eaten by the worshipers and/or the priest. Thus, the whole animal is brought up to the altar and the whole is offered as a gift (minha) in homage to Yahweh. Whole offering would be a better rendering in English to convey the theology. It is indeed burned, but the burning is essentially secondary to the giving of the whole creature to Yahweh.

THOUGHT  Does the burnt offering (wholly burned) not make us thing of Paul's great exhortation in Ro 12:1+? That's a rhetorical question of course.

Uses in Numbers - Num. 6:11; Num. 6:14; Num. 6:16; Num. 7:15; Num. 7:21; Num. 7:27; Num. 7:33; Num. 7:39; Num. 7:45; Num. 7:51; Num. 7:57; Num. 7:63; Num. 7:69; Num. 7:75; Num. 7:81; Num. 7:87; Num. 8:12; Num. 10:10; Num. 15:3; Num. 15:5; Num. 15:8; Num. 15:24; Num. 23:3; Num. 23:6; Num. 23:15; Num. 23:17; Num. 28:3; Num. 28:6; Num. 28:10; Num. 28:11; Num. 28:13; Num. 28:14; Num. 28:15; Num. 28:19; Num. 28:23; Num. 28:24; Num. 28:27; Num. 28:31; Num. 29:2; Num. 29:6; Num. 29:8; Num. 29:11; Num. 29:13; Num. 29:16; Num. 29:19; Num. 29:22; Num. 29:25; Num. 29:28; Num. 29:31; Num. 29:34; Num. 29:36; Num. 29:38; Num. 29:39;

Peace offerings (08002)(selem/shelem) is a noun which means fellowship offerings, thanksgiving offerings and all uses (except Amos 5:22) are in the plural form (selamim). The root Hebrew word conveys the idea of completion and fulfillment, of entering into a state of wholeness and unity, a restored relationship. The peace offerings were voluntary offerings (like burnt and grain offerings) given to God with thanks and praise. Uses in numbers - um. 6:14; Num. 6:17; Num. 6:18; Num. 7:17; Num. 7:23; Num. 7:29; Num. 7:35; Num. 7:41; Num. 7:47; Num. 7:53; Num. 7:59; Num. 7:65; Num. 7:71; Num. 7:77; Num. 7:83; Num. 7:88; Num. 10:10; Num. 15:8; Num. 29:39; 

THOUGHT - Does the peace offering that speaks of fellowship with God not make us think of Paul's words in Eph 2:14+ that " He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall." And Col 1:20+ "through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven. " And Romans 5:1-2+ "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through Whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God." 

and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God - NET = "so that they may become a memorial for you before your God:" NLT paraphrases it "The trumpets will remind the LORD your God of his covenant with you."

Merrill - “The trumpet blasts serve also as a prayer” (Milgrom 1989:75; cf. 2 Chr 13:12–16). Any time the trumpet sounded, the people would have heard a note of reminder, “I am the LORD your God” (10:10), and God would have heard Israel’s testimony that they were his people. That was God’s central covenant promise (Lev 26:12), which was echoed by the prophets (Jer 7:23; 11:4; 30:22; Ezek 34:31; 36:28; Joel 2:27) and apostles (2 Cor 6:16; Rev 21:3). Reminders are an important motif in Numbers (Nu 5:15; 16:36–38; 17:10; 31:54). (CBC)

I am the LORD your God - 40x in 39v - Exod. 6:7; Exod. 16:12; Exod. 20:2; Lev. 11:44; Lev. 18:2; Lev. 18:4; Lev. 18:30; Lev. 19:3; Lev. 19:4; Lev. 19:10; Lev. 19:25; Lev. 19:31; Lev. 19:34; Lev. 19:36; Lev. 20:7; Lev. 20:24; Lev. 23:22; Lev. 23:43; Lev. 24:22; Lev. 25:17; Lev. 25:38; Lev. 25:55; Lev. 26:1; Lev. 26:13; Num. 10:10; Num. 15:41; Deut. 5:6; Deut. 29:6; Jdg. 6:10; Isa. 41:13; Isa. 43:3; Isa. 48:17; Isa. 51:15; Ezek. 20:5; Ezek. 20:7; Ezek. 20:19; Ezek. 20:20; Joel 2:27; Joel 3:17

Question:  What is a burnt offering?

Answer: The burnt offering is one of the oldest and most common offerings in history. It’s entirely possible that Abel’s offering in Genesis 4:4 was a burnt offering, although the first recorded instance is in Genesis 8:20 when Noah offers burnt offerings after the flood. God ordered Abraham to offer his son, Isaac, in a burnt offering in Genesis 22, and then provided a ram as a replacement. After suffering through nine of the ten plagues, Pharaoh decided to let the people go from bondage in Egypt, but his refusal to allow the Israelites to take their livestock with them in order to offer burnt offerings brought about the final plague that led to the Israelites’ delivery (Exodus 10:24-29).

The Hebrew word for “burnt offering” actually means to “ascend,“ literally to “go up in smoke.” The smoke from the sacrifice ascended to God, “a soothing aroma to the LORD” (Leviticus 1:9). Technically, any offering burned over an altar was a burnt offering, but in more specific terms, a burnt offering was the complete destruction of the animal (except for the hide) in an effort to renew the relationship between Holy God and sinful man. With the development of the law, God gave the Israelites specific instructions as to the types of burnt offerings and what they symbolized.

Leviticus 1 and 6:8-13 describe the traditional burnt offering. The Israelites brought a bull, sheep, or goat, a male with no defect, and killed it at the entrance to the tabernacle. The animal’s blood was drained, and the priest sprinkled blood around the altar. The animal was skinned and cut it into pieces, the intestines and legs washed, and the priest burned the pieces over the altar all night. The priest received the skin as a fee for his help. A turtledove or pigeon could also be sacrificed, although they weren’t skinned.

A person could give a burnt offering at any time. It was a sacrifice of general atonement—an acknowledgement of the sin nature and a request for renewed relationship with God. God also set times for the priests to give a burnt offering for the benefit of the Israelites as a whole, although the animals required for each sacrifice varied:

  • Every morning and evening (Exodus 29:38-42; Numbers 28:2)
  • Each Sabbath (Numbers 28:9-10)
  • The beginning of each month (Numbers 28:11)
  • At Passover (Numbers 28:19)
  • With the new grain/firstfruits offering at the Feast of Weeks (Numbers 28:27)
  • At the Feast of Trumpets/Rosh Hashanah (Numbers 29:1)
  • At the new moon (Numbers 29:6)

The ultimate fulfillment of the burnt offering is in Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. His physical life was completely consumed, He ascended to God, and His covering (that is, His garment) was distributed to those who officiated over His sacrifice (Matthew 27:35). But most importantly, His sacrifice, once for all time, atoned for our sins and restored our relationship with God. (Source:

Question: What is a peace offering / fellowship offering?

Answer: The modern idea of a peace offering, also known as a fellowship offering, is that of “a propitiatory or conciliatory gift.” A man who offends his wife will often visit a florist with the thought that bringing home flowers will help smooth things over—the bouquet will be a “peace offering” of sorts. Propitiate means “to make someone pleased or less angry by giving or saying something desired,” and conciliatory means “intended to placate or pacify.” These definitions are interesting because the phrase peace offering has come to mean something completely different—almost the exact opposite—of what it originally meant in the Bible.

A peace offering in the Old Testament Law is described in Leviticus 7:11–21. It was a voluntary sacrifice given to God in three specific instances. First, a peace offering could be given as a freewill offering, meaning that the worshiper was giving the peace offering as a way to say thank you for God’s unsought generosity. It was basically just a way to praise God for His goodness. The second way a peace offering could be given was alongside a fulfilled vow. A good example of this was when Hannah fulfilled her vow to God by bringing Samuel to the temple; on that occasion she also brought a peace offering to express the peace in her heart toward God concerning her sacrifice—it was a way to say, “I have no resentment; I am holding nothing back in the payment of my vow.” The third purpose of a peace offering was to give thanksgiving for God’s deliverance in an hour of dire need. None of these three reasons to sacrifice had anything to do with propitiation, with appeasing God, or with pacifying Him.

There were under the Old Covenant sacrifices intended to represent propitiation (Leviticus 1—2; 4) but with the understanding that God has always been a God of grace (see Ephesians 2:8–9). He does not expect us to appease Him with our works but only to confess our need and dependence on Him. Under the Old Covenant, this relationship was expressed by the sacrificial system, which always looked forward to the sacrifice of the Messiah. Under the New Covenant, the Law has been written on our hearts (2 Corinthians 3:3), and the Holy Spirit of God gives us the power to live our lives accordingly (Romans 8:1–8; 1 Thessalonians 1:5). The sacrifices we give now are spiritual (Hebrews 13:15) and living (Romans 12:1).

Most sacrifices in the Old Testament system were not eaten by worshipers, but the peace offering was meant to be eaten—only a portion of the animal or grain brought to the altar was burned; the rest was given back to the worshiper and to the poor and hungry. The beautiful picture here is of God’s provision for His people, both physically and spiritually. His grace and goodness are present throughout the offerings. In the peace offering, God was providing what we need: a way to thank Him for His goodness and physical sustenance.

God is not interested in taking from us. That is not His heart at all. But the lie we so often believe is that our good actions bring about His goodness, and our sinful actions must be paid for in personal sacrifice. The peace offering shows that worshipers in the Old Testament were not any more responsible for their salvation than worshipers in the New Testament. Throughout the ages, people have been tempted to think that sacrifices create God’s favor. This belief is evident in our modern understanding of a peace offering as a propitiation for wrongdoing. But only Christ’s sacrifice creates favor with God and covers wrongdoing, and the Old Testament sacrifices were a picture of that future provision.(Source:

Knap - With Loins Girded - In the Beginnings of Your Months       Num. 10:10

We pass almost imperceptibly from the one month into the next unless someone draws to our attention that we, like today, start another month. In ancient times this was different in Israel and in many respects better as well. Whosoever first noticed in the light of the setting sun the sickle of the new moon had to notify the Jewish Council that declared the new moon at that instant. Not only was the common sacrifice offered upon the altar but also an extraordinary one, and, what concerns us most at this time, the priests would blow at this occasion upon the silver trumpets, so that everyone could hear that the old season had been concluded and a new one started.

This sound of the trumpet alerted everyone, better than our calendars, to the change into a new season. To some extent, of course, each division of time is imaginary. The days come forth from the womb of eternity one by one and they are similar. The first day of the new month resembles strikingly the last day of the former, and so we would quietly live on, if the Creator had not broken up the flow of time into hours, days, months, years and centuries, to give us thereby moments of rest that call us to self-examination. Nowadays life is such a hurry that we have double need of breaks to not run out of breath. Therefore, let the words of what we read now be to us the trumpet sound of old and let it make us halt for a moment to reflect upon the rapid flight of our days. Another full month lies behind us. We have lived through it, wrestled through it, plodded, suffered through it, but whatever it brought us, it bore the seal of God’s hand,—should this not turn us to thankfulness? However, also an accusation arises from the finished season concerning our manifold transgressions, that can only be covered by the mercy of God,—should this not bring us at the foot of the cross where the sin of the world was satisfied for, where there can also be found a covering for our transgressions?

Furthermore, the new month calls us to a new life in the communion of our God. The Dutch proverb says: a good beginning is half the job. Let us dedicate the beginnings of the months to our God, not to leave it at that, but so that from this principle a series of days developed that were truly sanctified. Let this new month find us at the altar to offer our God thanksgiving for His gracious keeping, and to beg for the future the lifting up of His countenance in Jesus Christ, because only in this manner shall we enter a new season with a heart that rests in God.

Numbers 10:11  Now in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth of the month, the cloud was lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony;

  • on: Nu 1:1 9:1,5,11 Ex 40:2 
  • the cloud: Nu 9:17-23 

Related Passages:

Deuteronomy 1:6-8 “The LORD our God spoke to us at Horeb, saying, ‘You have stayed long enough at this mountain. 7 ‘Turn and set your journey, and go to the hill country of the Amorites, and to all their neighbors in the Arabah, in the hill country and in the lowland and in the Negev and by the seacoast, the land of the Canaanites, and Lebanon, as far as the great river, the river Euphrates. 8‘See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them.’ 

Source: Constable's Notes


Merrill - The Journey to Kadesh Barnea (Nu 10:11–14:45)

NET Note on Numbers 10:11-36 - This section is somewhat mechanical: It begins with an introduction (vv. 11, 12), and then begins with Judah (vv. 13–17), followed by the rest of the tribes (vv. 18–27), and finally closes with a summary (v. 28). The last few verses (vv. 29–36) treat the departure of Hobab.

Now in the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth of the month, the cloud was lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony - The time is 13 months after the divine deliverance from Egypt and 11 months after the arrival at Mount Sinai, Israel began to march toward Canaan.This is amplified by Numbers 10:13 which says "So they moved out for the first time according to the commandment of the LORD through Moses." 

Currid - The people strike camp on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year after having left Egypt. This date is nineteen days after the census was taken, as reported in Numbers 1:1. The people had been at Sinai for almost a full year (compare Exod. 19:1 and Nu 10:11).

Believer's Study Bible - After taking the census and celebrating the supplementary Passover (cf. 9:6-13, note), having spent a little less than a year at Sinai, the Hebrews broke camp and followed the cloud into the Wilderness of Paran. The exact location of this area is uncertain, but it seems to have included the northeastern section of Sinai.

David Guzik - This was the first time Israel marched as an organized, prepared nation. They were not the same group that escaped Egypt as a mob.

They had been fully prepared to walk as Promised Land people and it was all focused towards this exact point: bringing them into the Promised Land:

  • They were ordered and organized
  • They were cleansed and purified
  • They were set apart and blessed
  • They were taught how to give and how to function as priests
  • They were made to remember judgment spared and deliverance brought
  • They were given God’s presence as a guide and the tools needed to lead the people

One would be tempted to think that after such extensive preparation—a virtual transformation from slave people to Promised Land people—the actual entering into the Promised Land would be easy. This was not the case. The preparation was exactly that—preparation. Ahead of them are the greatest challenges, challenges that can only be met by faith. A soldier might think boot camp finishes something—but it doesn’t. It only prepares for a greater challenge: The actual battle itself.

Irving Jensen's Outline of "The Journey" Numbers 10:11-22:1

 I.   Sinai to Kadesh—Unbelief (Numbers 10:11–14:45)
    A.      A Good Start (Numbers 10:11–36)
    B.      First Casualties (Numbers 11:1–35)
    C.      Rebellion of Two Leaders (Numbers 12:1–15)
    D.      Reconnaissance and Report (Numbers 12:16–13:33)
    E.      People’s Decision and God’s Judgment (Numbers 14:1–45)

II.  Desert Wanderings—Divine Chastening Numbers (Numbers 15:1–19:22)
    A.      God’s Legislation Reaffirmed (Numbers 15:1–41)
    B.      God’s Leaders Challenged (Numbers 16:1–50)
    C.      God’s High Priest Vindicated (Numbers 17:1–13)
    D.      God’s Priests and Levites Provided For (Numbers 18:1–32)
    E.      God’s People Offered Cleansing for Mass Defilement (Numbers 19:1–22)

III.  Kadesh to Moab—A New Generation and a New Start (Numbers 20:1–22:1)
    A.      First Signs of Retiring Leadership (Numbers 20:1–29)
    B.      Successful Advances to the Plains of Moab (Numbers 21:1–22:1)

Numbers 10:12  and the sons of Israel set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai. Then the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran.

  • set out: Nu 33:16 Ex 13:20 40:36,37 De 1:19 
  • from: Nu 1:1 9:1,5 33:15 Ex 19:1,2 
  • the wilderness: Nu 12:16 13:3,26 Ge 21:21 De 1:1 33:2 1Sa 25:1 Hab 3:3 

Wilderness of Paran


And the sons of Israel set out on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai - Again we see all Israel obeys the call to begin marching out. 

Wenham notes that " Verse 12 summarizes several days journeyings. Stops were made at Kibroth-hattaavah and Hazeroth before they finally reached the wilderness of Paran (Nu 11:35; 12:16). This is the largest and most barren of the wildernesses traversed by the Israelites, covering much of the Northern Sinai peninsula and some of the Southern Negeb and Arabah (Gen. 21:21; Num. 13:26; 1 Kgs 11:18)." (TOTC-Nu)

Then the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran - The immediate destination was the wilderness of Paran, a vast barren land in the north-central part of the Sinai Peninsula (see map above), but there would be several intermediate stops (cf. Nu 11:3, 34–35; Nu 12:16).

"This was “not a station but is the general name for the northern half of the Sinai Peninsula” (Milgrom 1989:76). Several campsites were in the region (Nu 10:12; 12:16; 13:3, 26; Deut 1:1; 33:2)." (Merrill)

MacArthur - "According to Nu 13:26, Kadesh was in the Wilderness of Paran, probably at its northern border. This verse gives a summary of God’s leading from Sinai to Kadesh." (MSB)

Wilderness of Paran - 6x in 6v - Gen. 21:21; Num. 10:12; Num. 12:16; Num. 13:3; Num. 13:26; 1 Sam. 25:1

Numbers 10:13  So they moved out for the first time according to the commandment of the LORD through Moses.

  • Nu 9:23 

Related Passages:

Numbers 9:23+  At the command of the LORD they camped, and at the command of the LORD they set out; they kept the LORD’S charge, according to the command of the LORD through Moses.

Source: Thru the Bible


In the diagram above "mixed multitude" is last but not sure of the Scripture that documents this. 

So they moved out for the first time according to the commandment of the LORD through Moses - They moved out in groups of three. Through Moses possibly by calling for blowing of trumpets (cf Nu 10:5-6) but direct communication from Yahweh to Moses cannot be ruled out.

Guzik - They actually marched in the order God had commanded earlier in the book. This means that they took God’s word seriously, and followed it exactly—just as Promised Land people should.

NIVSB - "This marks the first time Israel has moved its camp since setting at the foot of Mount Sinai roughly a year prior, just after the exodus from Egypt (Exod 19:1–2)." 

Numbers 10:14  The standard of the camp of the sons of Judah, according to their armies, set out first, with Nahshon the son of Amminadab, over its army,

  • Nu 2:3-9 26:19-27 Ge 49:8 
  • Nahshon: Nu 1:7 7:12 


Numbers 10:14-28 reveal that every tribe had an assigned place and purpose. We too have a purpose for our lives that God wants us to fulfill. Are you fulfilling your purpose?

The standard of the camp of the sons of Judah (cf Nu 2:3-4), according to their armies, set out first, with Nahshon the son of Amminadab, over its army - Numbers 10:14-28 is the same order as in Numbers 2:1-34. As in Nu 2:3, 10, 18, 25, each of the four groups has a standard for rallying and organization. The (06635) (tsaba from tsaba = to go forth to war, to wage war, to serve) is a masculine noun meaning troops or army (2Ki 5:1) and so has to do with war or warfare. Repeatedly uses in Numbers 10 - Num. 10:14; Num. 10:15; Num. 10:16; Num. 10:18; Num. 10:19; Num. 10:20; Num. 10:22; Num. 10:23; Num. 10:24; Num. 10:25; Num. 10:26; Num. 10:27; Num. 10:28; 

I find it fascinating that the Septuagint translates tsaba with the Greek noun dunamis which speaks of power, specifically inherent power to accomplish a task. In this case the "task" was conquest of Canaan and the repeated uses of dunamis to translate tsaba speak of the divine power present in each of the 12 tribes (dunamis in Numbers 10 = Nu. 10:14; 15; 16;18; 19; 20; 22; :23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28)

Believer's Study Bible - As they marched, the standards or banners were set over each group according to the directions that had been given to them (cf. 2:1).

Wiersbe - God had already told them how to organize the march, and all they had to do was obey. If we don’t obey in the things God has told us, He will not reveal anything new to us (John 7:17). (With the Word)

Numbers 10:15  and Nethanel the son of Zuar, over the tribal army of the sons of Issachar;

  • Nu 1:8 7:18


and Nethanel the son of Zuar, over the tribal army of the sons of Issachar - see note above on army  

Numbers 10:16  and Eliab the son of Helon over the tribal army of the sons of Zebulun.

  • Nu 1:9 7:24


 and Eliab the son of Helon over the tribal army of the sons of Zebulun see note above on army  

Numbers 10:17  Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who were carrying the tabernacle, set out.

  • the tabernacle: Nu 1:51 Heb 9:11 12:28 2Pe 1:14 
  • the sons: Nu 3:25,26,36,37 4:24-33 7:6-8 


Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who were carrying the tabernacle, set out - Next were the Gershonites and Merarites carrying the curtains and poles of the tabernacle on the oxcarts  (cf. Nu 4:21–45; Nu 7:2–8)

Wenham explains that "This detail is not mentioned in chapter 2, which does not differentiate between the Kohathites marching in the middle of the procession, and the Merarites and Gershonites going ahead of them. The latter arrangement was adopted so that the tabernacle could be set up before the most sacred objects carried by the Kohathites arrived (Nu 11:21). These could then be immediately placed inside the tent." (TOTC-Nu)

NIVSB - The Levite clans of the Gershonites and Merarites carried the tabernacle (Num 3:21–26, 33–37) ahead of the Kohathites, who transported its furnishings (3:27–32). The order was set so that, by the time the Kohathites arrived at the camp, the other Levites would have the tabernacle set up and ready for the furnishings (v. 21).

Numbers 10:18  Next the standard of the camp of Reuben, according to their armies, set out with Elizur the son of Shedeur, over its army,

  • the camp: Nu 2:10-16 26:5-18 
  • Elizur: Nu 1:5 7:35 


Next the standard of the camp of Reuben, according to their armies, set out with Elizur the son of Shedeur, over its army - see note above on army  

Numbers 10:19  and Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai over the tribal army of the sons of Simeon,

  • Simeon: Nu 1:6 7:36 


 and Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai over the tribal army of the sons of Simeon,- see note above on army  

Numbers 10:20  and Eliasaph the son of Deuel was over the tribal army of the sons of Gad.

  • Eliasaph: Nu 1:14 2:14, son of Reuel, Nu 7:42 


and Eliasaph the son of Deuel was over the tribal army of the sons of Gad- see note above on army  

Numbers 10:21  Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy objects; and the tabernacle was set up before their arrival.

  • the Kohathites: Nu 2:17 Nu 3:27-32 Nu 4:4-16 Nu 7:9 1Ch 15:2,12-15 
  • Nu 10:17 1:51 


Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy objects; and the tabernacle was set up before their arrival - The Gershonites and Merarites, assembled the tabernacle prior to the arrival of the Kohathites (cf Nu 3:27-32 Nu 4:4-16 Nu 7:9)

Numbers 10:22  Next 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,

  • the camp: Nu 2:18-24 26:23-41 Ge 48:19 Ps 80:1,2 
  • Elishama: Nu 1:10 7:48 


Next 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- see note above on army  

Numbers 10:23  and Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur over the tribal army of the sons of Manasseh;

  • Gamaliel: Nu 1:10 7:54 


and Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur over the tribal army of the sons of Manasseh- see note above on army  

Numbers 10:24  and Abidan the son of Gideoni over the tribal army of the sons of Benjamin.

  • Abidan: Nu 1:11 7:60 


and Abidan the son of Gideoni over the tribal army of the sons of Benjamin- see note above on army  

Numbers 10:25  Then the standard of the camp of the sons of Dan, according to their armies, which formed the rear guard for all the camps, set out, with Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai over its army,

  • the camp: Nu 2:25,28-31 26:42-51 Ge 49:16,17 
  • rear guard: De 25:17,18 Jos 6:9 Isa 52:12 58:8 
  • Ahiezer: Nu 1:12 7:66 


Then the standard of the camp of the sons of Dan, according to their armies, which formed the rear guard for all the camps, set out, with Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai over its army,- see note above on army  

Harrison on rear guard - rear guard or (even closer to Hebrew) gatherer (mƒ˒assēp), is a word bearing a tender connotation. As when a man gathers his neighbor’s lost sheep into his own house to restore it, so the Lord gathers us up even when our mother or father forsakes us (Ps 27:10). Or when evil oppression brings on a captivity, the God of Israel not only goes before his people but becomes the “gatherer” (“rear guard”) of the strays (Isa 52:12). (ibid)

Numbers 10:26  and Pagiel the son of Ochran over the tribal army of the sons of Asher;

  • Pagiel: Nu 1:13 7:72 


and Pagiel the son of Ochran over the tribal army of the sons of Asher- see note above on army  

Numbers 10:27  and Ahira the son of Enan over the tribal army of the sons of Naphtali.

  • Ahira: Nu 1:15 7:78 


and Ahira the son of Enan over the tribal army of the sons of Naphtali.- see note above on army  

Numbers 10:28  This was the order of march of the sons of Israel by their armies as they set out.

  • according: Nu 10:35,36 2:34 24:4,5 Song 6:10 1Co 14:33,40 Col 2:5 

This was the order of march of the sons of Israel by their armies as they set out.- see note above on armies. God had given this marching order in chapter 1 and now repeats it which emphasizes God's focus on order and on obeying His order lest they experience "disorder" and even defeat! 

Numbers 10:29  Then Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out to the place of which the LORD said, 'I will give it to you'; come with us and we will do you good, for the LORD has promised good concerning Israel."

NET  Numbers 10:29 Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel, the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are journeying to the place about which the LORD said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised good things for Israel."

NLT  Numbers 10:29 One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, "We are on our way to the place the LORD promised us, for he said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!"

ESV  Numbers 10:29 And Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out for the place of which the LORD said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us, and we will do good to you, for the LORD has promised good to Israel."

NIV  Numbers 10:29 Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out for the place about which the LORD said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised good things to Israel."

  • Ex 2:18, Ex 3:1 18:1,27 
  • the Lord: Ge 12:7 13:15 15:18 Ac 7:5 
  • come: Jud 1:16 4:11 1Sa 15:6 Ps 34:8 Isa 2:3 Jer 50:5 Zec 8:21-23 Rev 22:17 
  • for the Lord: Nu 23:19 Ge 32:12 Ex 3:8 6:7,8 Tit 1:2 Heb 6:18 


Keep the chronology in mind - the interaction between Moses and Hobab occurred before the nation left the camp at Mount Sinai. 

Then Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite (see Ex 2:18+), Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out to the place of which the LORD said, 'I will give it to you'; come with us and we will do you good, for the LORD has promised good concerning Israel - Note the phrase I will give it to you. They had in essence already received it because of God's covenant promises (God's part), but they had to go in and take it (Man's part). That's usually the way God operates in our lives - His sovereignty over our lives, but our responsibility to walk in His will. As believers we are pilgrims journeying through the wilderness of this dark world going toward Heaven and the mansions (Jn 14:2) that the Lord has promised to give us. 

Brian Bell - We should give this same invitation to our friends, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said.”

Believer's Study Bible Hobab is the brother-in-law of Moses and the son of Reuel (also called "Jethro," the priest of Midian; cf. Ex. 2:18; 3:1). According to Jdg. 1:16, Reuel/Jethro was a Kenite, which was probably a smaller group within the Midianites. That verse also indicates that Hobab finally agreed to accompany them.

Guzik - Moses was a wise enough leader to know his limitations, and to know that he needed help. Instead of just saying, “well, God got us this far and He’ll see us through without [Hobab]” he knew God’s help often comes through men like [Hobab]. Though Israel was guided by God, there was still help needed by man—men like [Hobab]. God plans it this way, often arranging it so His help comes to us partially through people He has ordained to help us.

NET Note on Hobab - There is a problem with the identity of Hobab. The MT says that he is the son of Reuel, making him the brother-in-law of Moses. But Judg 4:11 says he is the father-in-law. In Judg 1:16; 4:11 Hobab is traced to the Kenites, but in Exod 3:1 and 18:1 Jethro (Reuel) is priest of Midian. Jethro is identified with Reuel on the basis of Exod 2:18 and 3:1, and so Hobab becomes Moses’ חֹתֵן (khoten), a relative by marriage and perhaps brother-in-law. There is not enough information to decide on the identity and relationships involved here. Some suggest that there is one person with the three names (G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 93); others suggest Hobab is a family name (R. F. Johnson, IDB 2:615), and some suggest that the expression “the son of Reuel the Midianite” had dropped out of the genealogy of Judges, leading to the conflict (J. Crichton, ISBE 2:1055). If Hobab is the same as Jethro, then Exod 18:27 does not make much sense, for Jethro did go home. On this basis many conclude Hobab is a brother-in-law. This would mean that after Jethro returned home, Moses conversed with Hobab, his brother-in-law. For more discussion, see the articles and the commentaries.

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose -  A PILGRIM’S INVITATION Numbers 10:29–32

    “The past now lies behind us,
      On it be pardon seal’d;
    The present is around us,
      The future unrevealed.

    Or long, or short our lives be,
      We place us in Thy hand;
    O Jesus, guide and guard us
      Unto Thy blessed Land.”

Moses said to Hobab, his father-in-law, who had come from Median to visit him in the wilderness, “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.” Those who by faith see that city whose Builder and Maker is God desire others to come and share the blessedness.
The Christian life, as a pilgrimage, may be aptly illustrated from this incident as we see them—

1. Pilgrims. “We are journeying.” 1. Where from? From the house of bondage, from the slavery of sin and the dominion of the devil, from a life of misery and fruitlessness. 2. Where through? Through the wilderness of this world, still lying in the lap of the wicked one. The experience of each individual pilgrim may be vastly different, but all going on.

2. Pilgrims journeying to a land of promise. The Christian’s land of promise is Christ Himself. All the promises of God are in Him. The Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ and shows them unto us. May our spiritual life grow up and journey on into an ever increasing likeness to Him, whom having not seen, yet we love. Heirs together with Christ. “I go to prepare a place for you.”

3. Pilgrims animated by faith. “The Lord said, I will give it you.” They believe His word and press on. The way may be rough or smooth, their feelings may be happy or wretched, but His word of assurance changeth not. We walk by faith, not by sight. Believe, and thou shalt see. Faith is the evidence of things not seen. By faith Abraham sojourned (Heb. 11:8, 9).

4. Pilgrims anxious for others to come with them. “Come thou with us.” This is a day of glad tidings, we do not well if we hold our peace (2 Kings 7:8–10). The coming of others into the joy of salvation does not curtail but enlarges our own inheritance of blessing. There are many like Hobab, who are only friendly visitors, they attend Church, &c., but are not decided followers of the Lord. Bid them come. That Church or Christian is in a sad condition that has ceased to say, COME. “Let him that heareth say, Come” (Rev. 22:17).

5. Pilgrims willing to help others. “We will do thee good.” The Christian Church is a brotherhood, a family, the “Household of God.” O how attractive it would be to those sin-sick, miserable, heart-broken onlookers if they could but see the love of God yearning in us for their good. It takes the love of Christ so to constrain us.

6. Pilgrims willing to be helped by others. “Thou mayest be to us instead of eyes.” Hobab had an intimate geographical knowledge of the whole country that might have been helpful to the strangers. Many men of the world might be a great help to the Church if only brought into full sympathy with the Lord and His people. In seeking to win souls for Christ let us not attempt to belittle the gifts of those who may not yet see as we do. It may be helpful to point out to them, as Moses did, how their attainments and experiences could be helpful to the cause of God, and thus attain their highest value.

7. Pilgrims who often meet with refusals. “He said, I will not go, but I will depart to mine own land.” Mine own land is often preferred to God’s land of promise. Mine own little plot, self, to the great kingdom of our God and His Christ. The excuses for not going are very numerous and varied: “I don’t like your company,” “I intend to go some day, but not now,” “I would go if So-and-so would go with me,” “I am afraid that I could not hold on,” “I am satisfied where I am,” “I have married a wife, &c., I cannot come.” Well, we are going whether you come or not.

Numbers 10:30  But he said to him, "I will not come, but rather will go to my own land and relatives."

NET  Numbers 10:30 But Hobab said to him, "I will not go, but I will go instead to my own land and to my kindred."

NLT  Numbers 10:30 But Hobab replied, "No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family."

ESV  Numbers 10:30 But he said to him, "I will not go. I will depart to my own land and to my kindred."

NIV  Numbers 10:30 He answered, "No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people."

KJV  Numbers 10:30 And he said unto him, I will not go; but I will depart to mine own land, and to my kindred.

YLT  Numbers 10:30 And he saith unto him, 'I do not go; but unto my land and unto my kindred do I go.'

  • Ge 12:1 31:30 Ru 1:15-17 Ps 45:10 Lu 14:26 2Co 5:16 Heb 11:8,13 


But he said to him, "I will not come, but rather will go to my own land and relatives

Numbers 10:31  Then he said, "Please do not leave us, inasmuch as you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will be as eyes for us.

NET  Numbers 10:31 Moses said, "Do not leave us, because you know places for us to camp in the wilderness, and you could be our guide.

NLT  Numbers 10:31 "Please don't leave us," Moses pleaded. "You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide.

ESV  Numbers 10:31 And he said, "Please do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us.

NIV  Numbers 10:31 But Moses said, "Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the desert, and you can be our eyes.

KJV  Numbers 10:31 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.

  • eyes: Job 29:15 Ps 32:8 1Co 12:14-21 Ga 6:2 


Then he said, "Please do not leave us, inasmuch as you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will be as eyes for us - Moses recognized Hobab had "wilderness wisdom," which would be beneficial to Israel on their journey. Clearly the LORD was still the one leading the nation, but Hobab would give Israel assistance in wilderness living. As Wiersbe says "God promises to guide us, but that doesn’t mean we should be deaf to the wisdom of experienced people." (Ibid)

NET Note on be as eyes - In the Hebrew text the expression is more graphic: “you will be for us for eyes.” Hobab was familiar with the entire Sinai region, and he could certainly direct the people where they were to go. The text does not record Hobab’s response. But the fact that Kenites were in Canaan as allies of Judah (Jdg 1:16) would indicate that he gave in and came with Moses. The first refusal may simply be the polite Semitic practice of declining first so that the appeal might be made more urgently.

Brian Bell - Hobab’s wisdom didn’t take the place of God’s leading. Rather, Hobab assisted in the everyday problems of a people who were not accustomed to wilderness life. An invaluable guide knows: Where the shade was, water, best routes, safety. God promises to guide us, but that doesn’t mean we should be deaf to the wisdom of experienced people. A sailboat uses both wind against it sails & a rudder for direction to get to its destination!

Ronald Allen - “Moses continued to urge Hobab to join Israel. In a sense this is an act of evangelism. Hobab did not come easily. But subsequent biblical texts indicate that he did come. As such, he is like Ruth who joins Naomi en route to the Land of Promise, leaving all behind, with a promise of something ahead that is of more value than anything left at home.” (EBC)

Norman Geisler -   NUMBERS 10:31—If God lead Israel by a cloud then why was Hobab needed as a guide?

PROBLEM: Exodus 13:21–22 affirms that God supernaturally lead Israel through the wilderness by a cloud that was illuminated by night. However, Moses asked his father-in-law, Hobab, to come with them “inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes” (Num. 10:31). But why did they need a human guide when they had divine guidance?

SOLUTION: In response, several things should be observed. One is that Moses saw no contradiction between these and even mentions both the usefulness of Hobab (Num. 10:31) and the leadership of the pillar of cloud (Num. 10:34) only three verses later! Furthermore, there is an important difference between the general route to take (and how long to stay) provided by the cloud and specific arrangements for the camp supplied by human wisdom. An experienced person in the way of this wilderness could be invaluable for finding the most advantageous places for pasture, shelter, and other needed supplies. The critic shows a lack of understanding of the principle that God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves. (When Critics Ask)

G Campbell Morgan - Num. 10:31 Thou shalt be to us instead of eyes. —Num. l0.31

This is a very suggestive story. Reuel was the father of Zipporah, and so he was Moses' father-in-law (Ex 2.18-21). Hobab, therefore, was his brother-in-law. Just as they were on the eve of departure from Sinai to go into the promised land, Moses sought to persuade him to accompany them. His first appeal was made in the words: "Come with us and we will do thee good." Hobab declined this invitation. Then Moses used another method as he said: "Thou shalt be to us instead of eyes." The words immediately following this appeal, "And they set forward from the mount of Jehovah," leaves no room for doubt that Hobab went. Wherein lay the difference between the argument which failed and that which succeeded? However good the intention, and however true the statement, the first appeal was to selfishness. It promised the man that he should gain something by going. The second was an appeal for help. It suggested that his knowledge of the wilderness would be of service, that he could do something for others which would be of real value to them. The first failed. The second succeeded. Is there not something here that we do well to consider? We are very prone to make our appeal to selfishness—granted, on a high level, but still to selfishness. Would not the appeal that calls to service and sacrifice to the heroic be far more forceful? One thing is certain, and that is that this was the supreme note in Christ's. call to men in the days of His flesh. He certainly desires us to come to Him that He may do us good; but He ever calls us as those whom He needs to serve Him, by serving others

Numbers 10:32  "So it will be, if you go with us, that whatever good the LORD does for us, we will do for you."

NET  Numbers 10:32 And if you come with us, it is certain that whatever good things the LORD will favor us with, we will share with you as well."

NLT  Numbers 10:32 If you do, we'll share with you all the blessings the LORD gives us."

ESV  Numbers 10:32 And if you do go with us, whatever good the LORD will do to us, the same will we do to you."

NIV  Numbers 10:32 If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the LORD gives us."

KJV  Numbers 10:32 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.

YLT  Numbers 10:32 and it hath come to pass when thou goest with us, yea, it hath come to pass -- that good which Jehovah doth kindly with us -- it we have done kindly to thee.'

  • Jdg 1:16 4:11 1Jn 1:3 

So it will be, if you go with us, that whatever good the LORD does for us, we will do for you - Currid writes "The raison d’être for Moses’ invitation is for Hobab to be a guide. He will not lead the people; the Shekinah glory does that. But Hobab’s experience regarding food, water and other necessities would be of real help to the people. Oases and small pastures are often concealed in the desert terrain. This desert is Hobab’s homeland, and his guiding services will be invaluable. Hobab’s reply to Moses is not recorded. But the fact that later Hobab’s descendants are present in the land of promise (Jdg. 1:16; 4:11) indicates that it was a positive one." (EPSC-Nu)

Currid applies the story of Hobab - The emphasis which the text places on Israel’s dependence on God and his leading them through the wilderness might suggest that Israel ought to wait merely on the guidance of God. It may leave the impression that they need not employ others who could help them and give them advice with regard to their journey. That is a wrong impression. Clearly, God often uses human means to bring about his purposes, and thus Moses wishes to employ Hobab to help the people on this arduous journey.The reality of the Christian life is that God often uses human means to accomplish his purposes. Why do we evangelize other people? Yes, it is to be obedient to the call of God, but God may also be using us to bring another person to salvation. God decrees not only the ends of a matter, but also the means of its accomplishment. Why do we pray for another? For the same reasons—we are to be obedient, but God may also be using our prayers to bring about his good purposes. Again, God not only foreordains the end, but he foreordains the means.

Merrill - There is no need to interpret Moses’s recruitment of Hobab as a lack of trust in God’s leadership; looking to the leadership of the apostles did not signify that to the early church, and the continued leadership of pastors and elders today similarly signifies no lack of trust. The Bible frequently incorporates what Milgrom (1989:79) labels “double causality,” giving the following examples: “Jacob’s prosperity is attributed to both his cunning (Gen 30:32ff) and God’s directives (Ge 31:10–12); Joseph’s enslavement is attributed to his brother’s designs (Ge 37:18ff) and divine design (45:5–8; 50:20).” (CBC)

Brian Bell - Hobab did Israel good, & Israel brought good to him. (Judges 1:16; 4:11) What a sweet blessing in vs.32.

Numbers 10:32 Our Daily Homily F B Meyer

What good so ever the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee. (r.v.)

Hobab was a Gentile by race, but he was invited to fellowship with Israel in all the blessings of their covenant. Moses reckoned that Israel was called to a stewardship of the manifold blessings of their lot. Whatever good was entrusted to them, they were called upon to distribute and pass on. As the Lord did them good, they would do Hobab good; making him, Gentile though he were, a fellow-heir, a fellow-member of the body, and a fellow-partaker of the promises of God (see note Ephesians 3:6).

We get by giving. — If the river-bed were to hoard up its waters, they would become stagnant and noisome. It is only in parting with them that it receives constant supplies from the crystal fountainhead. So, if we keep God’s good things to ourselves, we make it impossible to receive more. You cannot put more water into a full glass. But as we part with them we get more and better. Distribute five loaves, and you have twelve baskets of fragments.

We learn by teaching. — To stay in a class till you shall feel fully educated, is to miss one prime means of education. There is no way of discovering what we do not know, and getting grounded in what we do, like that of imparting what we have learned to others. Would you learn, teach. Would you grow in grace, tell of the grace which has saved you.

We keep what we give away. — Hoard your money, and you lose it. Give it away, and it is caught in bags that wax not old, and stored beyond the reach of moth or thief. “There is that scattereth, and increaseth yet more; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth only to want” (Proverbs 11:24). This is folly to the worldling, but sober fact to the child of the King.

James Hastings - Hobab - 

1. When the Israelites were about to leave Sinai, Moses invited Hobab, the son of Reuel, the Midianite, to become their guide: “As thou knowest how we are to encamp in the wilderness, and thou shalt be to us instead of eyes. And it shall be, if thou go with us, yea, it shall be, that what good soever the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.” In this way the permanent alliance between Israel and the Kenites was made.

2. The Kenites, an Arab tribe belonging to the region of Midian, and sometimes called Midianites, sometimes Amalekites, were already in close and friendly relation with Israel. Moses, when he went first to Midian, had married a daughter of their chief, Jethro; and, as we learn from Exod. 18, this patriarch, with his daughter Zipporah, and the two sons she had borne to Moses, came to the camp of Israel at the mount of God. The meeting was an occasion of great rejoicing; and Jethro, as priest of his tribe, having congratulated the Hebrews on the deliverance Jehovah had wrought for them, “took a burnt offering and sacrifices for God,” and was joined by Moses, Aaron, and all the elders of Israel in the sacrificial feast. A union was thus established between Kenites and Israelites of the most solemn and binding kind. The peoples were sworn to continual friendship. While Jethro remained in the camp his counsel was given in regard to the manner of administering justice. In accordance with it, rulers of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens were chosen, “able men, such as feared God, men of truth, hating covetousness”; and to them matters of minor importance were referred for judgment, only the hard causes being brought before Moses. The sagacity of one long experienced in the details of government came in to supplement the intellectual power and the inspiration of the Hebrew leader. It does not appear that any attempt was made to attach Jethro and the whole of his tribe to the fortunes of Israel. The small company of the Kenites could travel far more swiftly than a great host, and, if they desired, could easily overtake the march. Moses, we are told, let his father-in-law depart, and he went to his own place. But now that the long stay of the Israelites at Sinai is over, and they are about to advance to Canaan, the visit of a portion of the Kenite tribe is made the occasion of an appeal to their leader to cast in his lot with the people of God.

3. There is some confusion in regard to the relationship of Hobab. The word translated “father in law” (Num. 10:29) means a relative by marriage. Whatever was the tie between Hobab and Moses, it was at all events so close, and the Kenite had so much sympathy with Israel, that it was natural to make the appeal to him: “Come thou with us, and we will do thee good.” Himself assured of the result of the enterprise, anticipating with enthusiasm the high destiny of the tribes of Israel, Moses endeavours to persuade these children of the desert to take the way to Canaan.

¶ In E (Exod. 3:1, 4:18, 18:1, 2 f.f) the father-in-law of Moses is uniformly named Jethro. But Num. 10:29 (J) speaks of “Hobab, the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father in law” (hōthēn). It is uncertain how this should be punctuated, and whether Hobab or Reuel was Moses’ father-in-law. The former view is found in Judg. 4:11 (cf. 1:16), the latter in Exod. 2:18. The R.V. in Judg. 1:16, 4:11 attempts to harmonize the two by rendering hōthēn “brother-in-law.” But this harmonization is doubtful, for (1) though it is true that in Aramaic and Arabic the cognate word can be used rather loosely to describe a wife’s relations, there is no evidence that it is ever so used in Hebrew; and it would be strange to find the father and the brother of the same man’s wife described by the same term; (2) Exod. 2:16 appears to imply that the priest of Midian had no sons. It is probable that the name Reuel was added in 5:18 by one who misunderstood Num. 10:29. The suggestion that “Hobab the son of” has accidentally dropped out before Reuel is very improbable. Thus Jethro (E) and Hobab (J) are the names of Moses’ father-in-law, and Reuel is Hobab’s father. A Mohammedan tradition identifies Sho’aib (perhaps a corruption of Hobab), a prophet sent to the Midianites, with Moses’ father-in-law.

4. The narrative of the incident is only fragmentary, for the account of Hobab’s arrival at Sinai is omitted, and also the answer which he made to Moses’ entreaty. It may be gathered, however, from Judg. 1:16, 4:11, that he yielded and went with them. For there we find traces of the presence of Hobab’s descendants as incorporated among the people of Israel. One of them came to be somebody—the Jael who struck the tent-peg through the temples of the sleeping Sisera, for she is called “the wife of Heber the Kenite.” Probably, then, in some sense Hobab must have become a worshipper of Jehovah, and have cast in his lot with his son-in-law and his people.

5. Maclaren finds three things taught by this “long-forgotten and unimportant life.”

(1) It was a venture of faith. Hobab had nothing in the world to trust to except Moses’ word and Moses’ report of God’s word. “We will do you good: God has said that He will do good to us, and you shall have your share in it.” It was a grave thing, and, in many circumstances, would have been a supremely foolish thing, credulous to the verge of insanity, to risk all upon the mere promise of one in Moses’ position, who had so little in his own power with which to fulfil the promise, and who referred him to an unseen Divinity, somewhere or other, and so drew bills upon heaven and futurity, and did not feel himself at all bound to pay them when they fell due, unless God should give him the cash to do it with. But Hobab took the plunge, he ventured all upon these two promises—Moses’ word, and God’s word that underlay it.

¶ Be content good Neighbours, and go along with me.
What! said Obstinate, and leave our Friends and our comforts behind us!
Yes, said Christian (for that was his name), because, that all, which you shall forsake, is not worthy to be compared with a little of that that I am seeking to enjoy; and if you will go along with me, and hold it, you shall fare as I my self; for there where I go, is enough and to spare; come away, and prove my words.
Obs. What are the things you seek, since you leave all the world to find them?
Chr. I seek an “inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away”; and it is laid up in Heaven, and safe there, to be bestowed, at the time appointed, on them that diligently seek it.

(2) Because he was stirred by the impulse of reliance on Moses and his promise, and perhaps by some germ of reliance on Moses’ God, Hobab finally said, “The die is cast. I choose my side. I will break with the past. I turn my back on kindred and home. Here I draw a broad line across the page, and begin over again in an altogether new kind of life. I identify myself with these wanderers; sharing their fortunes, hoping to share their prosperity, and taking their God for my God.” He had perhaps not been a nomad before, for there are still permanent settlements as well as nomad encampments in Arabia, as there were in those days, and he and his relatives, from the few facts that we know of them, seem to have had a fixed home, with a very narrow zone of wandering round it. So Hobab makes up his mind to begin a new career.

¶ “I remember well,” says Mrs. Booth, “when the General decided finally to give up the evangelistic life and to devote himself to the salvation of the East-Enders. He had come home from the meeting one night, tired out as usual. It was between eleven and twelve o’clock. Flinging himself into an easy-chair, he said to me, ‘Oh! Kate, as I passed by the doors of the flaming gin-palaces to-night, I seemed to hear a voice sounding in my ears, Where can you go and find such heathen as these, and where is there so great a need for your labours? And I felt as though I ought at every cost to stop and preach to these East End multitudes.’
“I remember the emotion that this produced in my soul. I sat gazing into the fire, and the devil whispered to me, ‘This means another new departure—another start in life.’
“The question of our support constituted a serious difficulty. Hitherto we had been able to meet our expenses by the collections which we had made from our more respectable audiences. But it was impossible to suppose that we could do so among the poverty-stricken East-Enders. We had not then the measure of light upon this subject which subsequent events afforded, and we were afraid even to ask for a collection in such a locality.
“Nevertheless, I did not answer discouragingly. After a momentary pause for thought and prayer, I replied, ‘Well, if you feel you ought to stay, stay. We have trusted the Lord once for our support, and we can trust Him again!’ There was not in our minds, at the time we came to this decision, the remotest idea of the marvellous work which has since sprung into existence.”

(3) “Come with us,” says Moses; “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.… What goodness the Lord shall do unto us, the same will we do unto thee.” He went; and neither he nor Moses ever saw the land, or at least ever set their feet on it. Moses saw it from Pisgah, but probably Hobab did not get even so much as that. So he had all his tramping through the wilderness, and all his work for nothing, had he? Had he not better have gone back to Midian, and made use of the present reality, than followed a will-o’-the-wisp that led him into a bog, if he got none of the good that he set out expecting to get? Did he make a mistake, then? Would he have been a wiser man if he had stuck to his first refusal? Surely not. The very fact of this great promise being given to this old—dare I call Hobab a “saint”?—to this old saint, and never being fulfilled at all in this world, compels us to believe that there was some gleam of hope, and of certainty, of a future life, even in these earliest days of dim and partial revelation.

¶ Life is a very complicated engagement, and among the many motives to noble deeds, that of reward plays no mean part. Since good conduct, and still more good character, is so very difficult to achieve, we cannot afford to discard any of its incentives; and it were wiser to take our stand on the simple human ground of Shakespeare’s Cymbeline:

         Fear no more the heat o’ the sun,
           Nor the furious winter’s rages;
         Thou thy worldly task hast done,
           Home art gone, and ta’en thy wages.

Yet those who are least inclined to agree with Stevenson in his view of reward may still appreciate and admire the spirit of which it is the outcome. It can do none of us any harm to have our attention recalled at times from the future to the present, and to be told emphatically that energetic living is good enough in itself without a bribe. As for immortality, while there are passages in which his objection to serving for hire leads him to discount it, there are many other passages in which it is presupposed and accepted as that to which life leads on its travellers. His general attitude to the whole question is summed up in one memorable sentence of his Memories and Portraits, “To believe in immortality is one thing, but it is first needful to believe in life.”

         Lord of the howling wastes of life,
           Where evils watch for prey,
         And many a sacred gleam of good
           In shadow dies away,
         Borne on by Thee in paths unknown,
         Well may we trust Thy hand alone,
         And suffer angels of Thy own
           To shield us as they may.

         Revealer of a heaven encamped
           Where’er Thy servants go,
         By ministries of love to each,
           That none beside may know,—
         By wings at many a pass outspread,
           By winning joy and warning dread,
         We learn the word which Thou hast said,
           The truth which Thou wilt show.

Numbers 10:33  Thus they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey, with the ark of the covenant of the LORD journeying in front of them for the three days, to seek out a resting place for them.

NET  Numbers 10:33 So they traveled from the mountain of the LORD three days' journey; and the ark of the covenant of the LORD was traveling before them during the three days' journey, to find a resting place for them.

NLT  Numbers 10:33 They marched for three days after leaving the mountain of the LORD, with the Ark of the LORD's Covenant moving ahead of them to show them where to stop and rest.

ESV  Numbers 10:33 So they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey. And the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them three days' journey, to seek out a resting place for them.

NIV  Numbers 10:33 So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.

KJV  Numbers 10:33 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.

  • the mount: Ex 3:1 19:3 24:17,18 
  • the ark: Dt 9:9 Dt 31:26 Jos 4:7 Jdg 20:27 1Sa 4:3 Jer 3:16 Heb 13:20 
  • in front of them: Ex 33:14,15 De 1:33 Jos 3:2-6,11-17 Jer 31:8,9 Eze 20:6 
  • a resting place: Ps 95:11 Isa 28:12 66:1 Jer 6:16 Mt 11:28-30 Heb 4:3-11 

Ark of the Covenant


Brian Bell subtitles vv33-36 "Prayer: Coming & Going!" Wherever God’s finger points, His hand will clear a way! Moses prayed to God when the people marched & when God told them to stop. Good example for us to follow as we move through each day.. Prayer ought to begin & end our every day, every meal, every enterprise, every journey, every going out & every coming in! Going out - asking for His guidance & guardian care. We are traveling through hostile lands. Where foes seek to rob us, wound us, & even destroy us. Can we do w/o God once we reach our resting place? Q: Don’t we need our Gods help inside the walls of our homes, as we do outside in our world? Coming in - His presence is our security, our treasure, our glory, our joy. Well, Israel appeared quite capable of moving on to achieve the conquest of the Promise Land. They were organized; had civil & religious leadership; God was with them (most vital asset) Only they could stop their March to glory,...which is exactly what happened!

Thus they set out from the mount of the LORD three days' journey - They depart Mount Sinai (also called "the mountain of God" - Ex 3:1, 4:27) where they have been for about 11 months. The first journey was short, but sadly would proof "too long" for Israel who would begin to complain in Numbers 11!  

HCSB - A three-day journey would mean a distance of about 35 to 45 miles, based on travel rates mentioned in military annals of the pharaohs of Egypt. 

WIth the ark of the covenant of the LORD journeying in front of them for the three days - See the marching order above with Ark leading the way, in front of the tribe of Judah.  And remember that the pillar of cloud was over the Ark as it led Israel in the wilderness journey. So Jehovah Himself was leading the people. They functioned almost like a "scout party" in the old west which would go ahead of the main wagon train. 

Gilbrant - The Ark of the Covenant above all else symbolized the presence of God. When Joshua crossed the Jordan, the Ark went before them to the middle of the riverbed and stopped there until all Israel had crossed, then it was brought out on the other side (Josh. 3:14-4:11). But it was not an idol. The Israelites did not worship it.

to seek out a resting place for them - When God seeks a resting place it is the best! This reminds me of Jesus' invitation...

Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS." (Mt 11:29+)

Merrill comments that "The Ark was scouting out temporary resting places that would do until the nation finally came to rest in the Promised Land (Deut 12:9; Ps 95:11). And this rest would come not just because the weary march had ended for a time, but because the Lord would “return … to the countless thousands of Israel,” settling down to dwell among his people (10:36; cf. Pss 6:4; 90:13; 126:4; Isa 44:22; Hos 14:1). This foreshadowed the rest in the Promised Land (e.g., Deut 12:9; Ps 95:11), the Ark’s resting place in the Temple (Ps 132:8–18), and the eschatological rest for God’s people (Isa 32:18; Matt 11:28; Heb 4:9)." (CBC)

Resting place (04496)(menuchah) means resting place (where repose and rest from tiredness, with a focus on the space occupied) or quiet and is used in several ways to denote places where peace, quiet, and trust are present. The Hebrew root signifies not only absence of movement but being settled in a particular place. It often refers to security. The Septuagint translates the Hebrew with anapausis which describes rest or inner tranquility (same word is used by Jesus "you will find rest for your souls." - Mt 11:29+).

Related Resources:

Norman Geisler -   NUMBERS 10:33—Was the Ark placed in the middle of the camp or in front of it?

PROBLEM: In this text, we read that “the ark of the covenant of the Lord went before them.” Yet, earlier the tabernacle (with its ark) are said to be “in the middle of the camps” (Num. 2:17).

SOLUTIONS: Some scholars claim there were two arks, one made by Moses which was carried in front of the camp and which the Philistines later captured. The other was made by Bezaleel, containing the tables of the law, which stayed in the middle of the camp.

Other scholars believe that the ark was generally in the middle of the camp but that on certain occasions, as the three day journey (Num. 10:33), it was taken out in front of the camp.

Still others believe that the phrase “went before them” (Num. 10:33) does not imply locality but leadership. Just as a general “went before” his army (that is, led them) and yet was surrounded by troops protecting them, even so the ark lead Israel, even though it was in the middle of them.

Finally, it is possible that the ark was only in the middle of the people while they were camped (Num. 2). But that as they broke camp, the ark then went out before them to lead them to their next destination. Any one of these suggestions would resolve the difficulty.  (When Critics Ask)

Streams in the Desert - Numbers 10:33 - 

GOD does give us impressions, but not that we should act on them as impressions. If the impression be from God, He will Himself give sufficient evidence to establish it beyond the possibility of a doubt.

How beautiful is the story of Jeremiah, of the impression that came to him respecting the purchase of the field of Anathoth. But Jeremiah did not act upon this impression until after the following day, when his uncle’s son came to him and brought him external evidence by making a proposal for the purchase. Then Jeremiah said: “I knew this was the word of the Lord.”

He waited until God seconded the impression by a providence, and then he acted in full view of the open facts, which could bring conviction unto others as well as to himself. God wants us to act according to His mind. We are not to ignore the Shepherd’s personal voice but, like Paul and his companions at Troas, we are to listen to all the voices that speak and “gather” from all the circumstances, as they did, the full mind of the Lord.—Dr. Simpson.

“Where God’s finger points, there God’s hand will make the way.”

Do not say in thine heart what thou wilt or wilt not do, but wait upon God until He makes known His way. So long as that way is hidden it is clear that there is no need of action, and that He accounts Himself responsible for all the results of keeping thee where thou art.—Selected.
“For God through ways we have not known, Will lead His own.”

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose - THE ARK OF THE COVENANT Numbers 10:33–36

It is of the Lord’s mercy that we should have any visible token of His great spiritual presence with His people. Look at its—
1. Character. It was—

1. AN ARK. A small box, roughly speaking about four feet long, two feet wide, and two feet deep, made of shittim wood (incorruptible), and overlaid with pure gold. Type of Christ in His twofold nature, incorruptible humanity and pure divinity. The ark, like Christ, kept the law and covered up all its requirements. Its lid, like the work of Christ, forming a seat of mercy for Jehovah in His dealings with the people.
2. THE ARK OF THE COVENANT. Because the law, God’s covenant with the people, which they had broken, was here safely kept and greatly honoured. Then His covenant with them was in the ark, how His covenant with us is in Christ. All have sinned, but all that the Father hath given Him shall come to Him. The honour of God is safe in the keeping of His beloved Son.

2. Position. “It went before them.” While it rested it stood right in the midst of the camp, when it moved it went before them. The Good Shepherd goeth before His sheep (John 10:3, 4). He hath gone before us through death into resurrection, “a three days’ journey,” from the mount of the broken law into the resurrection life. “The ark went before them in a three days’ journey.” The first day—yielding up all to God. The second day—death of self. The third day—rising in newness of life. 1. Consecration. 2. Crucifixion. 3. Resurrection.

3. Purpose. “To search out a resting place.” Divine wisdom was needed to search out a resting place for man. Man by searching could never find this out. Christ’s great self-sacrificing work was the searching out and the finding of a place where we can rest in peace before God. A resting place is man’s great need. Weary, heavy-laden soul, here is a place where ye can be relieved of your burdens, the place called Calvary. Come unto Me, and I will give you rest. Enter into My rest (Heb. 4:5). Where the ark rested they rested. Where Christ has rested in the Father’s word and will here also we can find rest unto our souls.

4. Power. “When the ark set forward Moses said, Rise up, Lord. When it rested he said, Return O Lord” (vs. 35, 36). The ark was the symbol of—

1. THE PRESENCE OF GOD. Without His presence it was only so much dead weight. What are all our forms of worship without the power? (Heb. 13:5, 6).
2. VICTORY. “Let thine enemies be scattered.” When Christ, the ark of His strength, is with us the power of the enemy is broken. Greater is He that is with us than all that can be against us.
3. BLESSING. “There I will commune with you” (Exod. 25:22). Resting where He rested means fellowship with Him and with one another. “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.” Abiding with the ark the pillar of cloud overshadowed them (v. 34). Blessed with protection and with provision, for the manna accompanied the cloud. In His presence is fulness of joy, both now and evermore.

Numbers 10:34  The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.

NET  Numbers 10:34 And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day, when they traveled from the camp.

NLT  Numbers 10:34 As they moved on each day, the cloud of the LORD hovered over them.

ESV  Numbers 10:34 And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day, whenever they set out from the camp.

NIV  Numbers 10:34 The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.

KJV  Numbers 10:34 And the cloud of the LORD was upon them by day, when they went out of the camp.

YLT  Numbers 10:34 and the cloud of Jehovah is on them by day, in their journeying from the camp.

  • Ex 13:21,22 Ne 9:12,19 Ps 105:39 


The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp - What is over them? This is presumably the pillar of cloud just over the Ark, not the entire marching nation. 

Numbers 10:35  Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, "Rise up, O LORD! And let Your enemies be scattered, And let those who hate You flee before You."

NET  Numbers 10:35 And when the ark traveled, Moses would say, "Rise up, O LORD! May your enemies be scattered, and may those who hate you flee before you!"

NLT  Numbers 10:35 And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, "Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!"

ESV  Numbers 10:35 And whenever the ark set out, Moses said, "Arise, O LORD, and let your enemies be scattered, and let those who hate you flee before you."

NIV  Numbers 10:35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses said, "Rise up, O LORD! May your enemies be scattered; may your foes flee before you."

KJV  Numbers 10:35 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.

  • Lord: Ps 68:1,2 132:8 Isa 51:9 

Related Passages:

Psalm 68:1; 2  For the choir director. A Psalm of David. A Song. Let God arise, let His enemies be scattered, And let those who hate Him flee before Him. 2 As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; As wax melts before the fire, So let the wicked perish before God. 

Spurgeon - In some such words Moses spake when the cloud moved onward, and the ark was carried forward. The ark would have been a poor leader if the Lord had not been present with the symbol. Before we move, we should always desire to see the Lord lead the way. The words suppose the Lord to have been passive for awhile, suffering his enemies to rage, but restraining his power. Israel beseeches him to "arise, "as elsewhere to "awake, ""gird on his sword, "and other similar expressions. We, also, may thus importunately cry unto the Lord, that he would be pleased to make bare his arm, and plead his own cause.

Rise Up O LORD!


Verses 35-36 have been the "Song of the Ark" or the "Battle Song of the Ark."

Then it came about when the ark set out that Moses said, "Rise up, O LORD! - Observe that Yahweh is clearly linked to the presence of the Ark.  Thus Moses did not say "rise up O ark."

Guzik - As they begin the journey to the Promised Land, they were guided by God’s presence—and not by themselves. They followed the cloud no matter where God led them. If they were to camp in a rough place, they did it. If they were told to go on from a comfortable place, they did it. They allowed themselves to be guided by God, not by their own desire for comfort and ease.

Guzik on rise up - The idea was simple: “God, go before us and take care of our enemies. It’s too dangerous ahead unless You do so!” What a fitting prayer for every believer to pray! God has things before us, places to lead us—shouldn’t we pray this same prayer? Isn’t this a fitting prayer also by which to remember the glory and strength of our resurrected Lord? When Jesus rose up, were not all His enemies scattered? Who dared oppose Him? Is not all our victory found in His risen glory?

Merrill writes that Arise "is a frequent battle cry (von Rad 1966b:109–15, 123), picturing the Lord as seated on his throne/chariot, the Ark, and arising to ride it into battle. (CBC)

Harrison - Moses uttered this prayer on the first leg of the journey from Sinai. It became a classic prayer, used, it seems, each time the ark went out (cf. Ps 68:1; 132:8; II Chr 6:41, 42).Moses also spoke for (in behalf of) the time of its resting (Num 10:36). The prayer eloquently teaches the effective working relationship between God and the Church Militant. He goes before her, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against her. He abides in her midst and she is strengthened and becomes a great host. (Ibid) 

Merrill - The first leg of the journey from Sinai lasted three days. The travel was undertaken only in the daylight hours; at night the cloud and the ark rested along with the people. As an indication of the warlike nature of the journey, a foretaste no doubt of the military conquest which lay ahead, Moses would lead the people in a battle cry in which the presence and conquering power of the LORD were invoked (v. 35; cf. Ps. 68:1). When the day’s march was over he would entreat the LORD to abide among His people through the night. (BKC)

NET Note - These two formulaic prayers were offered by Moses at the beginning and at the end of the journeys. They prayed for the LORD to fight ahead of the nation when it was on the move, and to protect them when they camped. The theme of the first is found in Ps 68:1. The prayers reflect the true mentality of holy war, that it was the LORD who fought for Israel and defended her. The prayers have been included in the prayer book for synagogue services.

And let Your enemies be scattered - Spurgeon writes "Our glorious Captain of the vanguard clears the way readily, however many may seek to obstruct it; he has but to arise, and they flee, he has easily over thrown his foes in days of yore, and will do so all through the ages to come. Sin, death, and hell know the terror of his arm; their ranks are broken at his approach. Our enemies are his enemies, and in this is our confidence of victory."

And let those who hate You flee before You - Spurgeon writes "To hate the infinitely good God is infamous, and the worst punishment is not too severe. Hatred of God is impotent. His proudest foes can do him no injury. Alarmed beyond measure, they shall flee before it comes to blows. Long before the army of Israel can come into the fray, the haters of God shall flee before HIM who is the champion of his chosen. He comes, he sees, he conquers. How fitting a prayer is this for the commencement of a revival! How it suggests the true mode of conducting one: --the Lord leads the way, his people follow, the enemies flee.

Numbers 10:36  When it came to rest, he said, "Return, O LORD, To the myriad thousands of Israel."

NET  Numbers 10:36 And when it came to rest he would say, "Return, O LORD, to the many thousands of Israel!"

NLT  Numbers 10:36 And when the Ark was set down, he would say, "Return, O LORD, to the countless thousands of Israel!"

ESV  Numbers 10:36 And when it rested, he said, "Return, O LORD, to the ten thousand thousands of Israel."

NIV  Numbers 10:36 Whenever it came to rest, he said, "Return, O LORD, to the countless thousands of Israel."

KJV  Numbers 10:36 And when it rested, he said, Return, O LORD, unto the many thousands of Israel.

YLT  Numbers 10:36 And in its resting he saith, 'Return, O Jehovah, to the myriads, the thousands of Israel.'

  • O Lord: Ps 90:13-17 
  • thousands of Israel: Heb. ten thousand thousands, Ge 24:60 De 1:10 

When it came to rest, he said, "Return, O LORD, To the myriad thousands of Israel - Note that Moses prays to Yahweh when the ark sets out and when it came to rest which is a good example for each of us to follow as we journey through our life. 

Constable makes a good point that "The end of chapter 10 is the high point of the Book of Numbers spiritually. The beginning of chapter 11 records the beginning of the spiritual decline of Israel that resulted in God’s judging the nation. He postponed the fulfillment of His promise to bring her into the Promised Land." 

Guzik - God sometimes tells us to move on, sometimes tells us to “camp out”—either is fine when we are guided by His presence.

Spurgeon - “Will you and I go home and pray this prayer by ourselves, fervently laying hold upon the horns of God’s altar? I charge you, my brethren in Christ, do not neglect this private duty. Go, each of you, to your chambers; shut to your doors; cry to him who hears in secret, and let this be the burden of your cry—‘Rise up, Lord; and let thine enemies be scattered.’