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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
Numbers 33

 

 

Verses 1-49

This list was written out by Moses at God‘s command Numbers 33:2, doubtless as a memorial of God‘s providential care for His people throughout this long and trying period.

Numbers 33:3-6. For these places, see the marginal reference.

Numbers 33:8

Pi-hahiroth - Hebrew “Hahiroth,” but perhaps only by an error of transcription. However, the omitted “pi” is only a common Egyptian prefix.

Wilderness of Etham - i. e., that part of the great wilderness of Shur which adjoined Etham; compare Exodus 15:22 note.

The list of stations up to that at Sinai agrees with the narrative of Exodus except that we have here mentioned Numbers 33:10 an encampment by the Red Sea, and two others, Dophkah and Alush Numbers 33:12-14, which are there omitted. On these places see Exodus 17:1 note.

Numbers 33:16, Numbers 33:17

See the Numbers 11:35 note.

Numbers 33:18

Rithmah - The name of this station is derived from retem, the broom-plant, the “juniper” of the King James Version. This must be the same encampment as that which is said in Numbers 13:26 to have been at Kadesh.

Numbers 33:19

Rimmon-parez - Or rather Rimmon-perez, i. e., “Rimmon (i. e., the Pomegranate) of the Breach.” It may have been here that the sedition of Korah occurred.

Verse 19-36

The stations named are those visited during the years of penal wandering. The determination of their positions is, in many cases, difficult, because during this period there was no definite line of march pursued. But it is probable that the Israelites during this period did not overstep the boundaries of the wilderness of Paran (as defined in Numbers 10:12), except to pass along the adjoining valley of the Arabah; while the tabernacle and organized camp moved about from place to place among them (compare Numbers 20:1).

Rissah, Haradah, and Tahath are probably the same as Rasa, Aradeh, and Elthi of the Roman tables. The position of Hashmonah (Heshmon in Joshua 15:27) in the Azazimeh mountains points out the road followed by the children of Israel to be that which skirts the southwestern extremity of Jebel Magrah.

Numbers 33:34

Ebronah - i. e, “passage.” This station apparently lay on the shore of the Elanitic gulf, at a point where the ebb of the tide left a ford across. Hence, the later Targum renders the word as “fords.”

Numbers 33:35

Ezion-gaber - “Giant‘s backbone.” The Wady Ghadhyan, a valley running eastward into the Arabah some miles north of the present head of the Elanitic gulf. A salt marsh which here overspreads a portion of the Arabah may be taken as indicating the limit to which the sea anciently reached; and we may thus infer the existence here in former times of an extensive tidal haven, at the head of which the city of Ezion-geber stood. Here it was that from the time of Solomon onward the Jewish navy was constructed 1 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 22:49.

Numbers 33:41-49

Zalmonah and Punon are stations on the Pilgrim‘s road; and the general route is fairly ascertained by a comparison of these verses with Numbers 21:4, etc.


Verses 50-56

The expulsion of the Canaanites and the destruction of their monuments of idolatry had been already enjoined (see the marginal references); and Numbers 33:54 is substantially a repetition from Numbers 33:55-56 is new. A call for it had been furnished by their past transgressions in the matter of Baal-peor, and by their imperfect fulfillment, at the first, of Moses‘ orders in the Midianite war.

 


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Numbers 33:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/numbers-33.html. 1870.

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