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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Numbers 33

Verses 1-56


The Journeyings of the Israelites from Egypt to the Plains of Moab

The greater part of this chapter is occupied with a list, drawn up by Moses himself (Numbers 33:2), of the Encampments of the Israelites in their journey from Egypt to Canaan. In all, forty stages are enumerated. Many of the names are otherwise unknown, and in places the stages do not coincide with those mentioned in the books of Exodus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. These differences are, no doubt, due in part to the fact that places change their names in the course of time. At this distance it is exceedingly difficult to identify the route of march, more especially as many of the names were not names of cities or conspicuous landmarks, and therefore very liable to be forgotten.

3-15. Egypt to Sinai. This part of the journey is narrated in Exodus 12:37 to Exodus 19:2 where all the names occur except Dophkah and Alush (Numbers 33:12-13).

16-18. Sinai to Rithmah. Rithmah is not mentioned elsewhere; but, seeing that it is the station after Hazeroth, it is supposed to be the same as Kadesh (cp. Numbers 12:16; Numbers 13:26). Rothem in Hebrew means ’juniper’ or broom, and there is a Wady Abu Retamat, abounding in broom, near the site of Kadesh, so that the identification may be regarded as in all probability correct. This is the first arrival at Kadesh, in the second year of the exodus; the second arrival at the same place in the fortieth year is noted in Numbers 33:36: see on Numbers 13:26; Numbers 20:1.

19-36. Encampments during the thirty-eight years, and return to Kadesh. The names in Numbers 33:19-29 are not mentioned elsewhere and have not been identified. With Numbers 33:30-33 cp. Deuteronomy 10:6, Deuteronomy 10:7. Ezion-geber (Numbers 33:36) is on the sea at the northern extremity of the Gulf of Akaba (cp. 1 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 22:48).

37-49. From Kadesh to the Plains of Moab. The narrative of this journey is contained in Numbers 20, 21. With the names in Numbers 33:11-49 cp. Numbers 21:10-12.

45. lim is the same as Ije-abarim (Numbers 33:44), the second part of this word, which means ’The Heaps, or Ruins, of Abarim,’ being dropped.

50-56. Command to expel all the inhabitants of Canaan and to destroy their idols and places of worship, so that no inducements to idolatry may remain: see on Exodus 23:32, and cp. Numbers 25:16-18; Dt 7. 52. Pictures] RV ’figured stones.’ On the high places see on Numbers 22:41; Leviticus 26:30.

55. Cp. Joshua 23:13; Judges 2:3.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Numbers 33". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/numbers-33.html. 1909.