9. The Encampments in the Wilderness
1. The first stage: From Egypt to Sinai (Numbers 33:1-15)
2. The second stage: From Sinai to Kadesh (Numbers 33:16-17)
3. The third stage: From Rithmah to Kadesh-- The 38 years wandering (Numbers 33:18-36)
4. The fourth stage: From Kadesh to the plain of Moab-- The fortieth year (Numbers 33:37-49)
The chapter shows most blessedly how the eye of God follows the journeys and wanderings of His people and how He keeps record of them. Nothing escapes His watchful eye. And He leads His people in spite of their failures to the promised goal. Notice the long list of encampments of their wanderings with no history. Many lessons must be written here which God’s people have not been able to understand. The Hebrew names given in this long list of stations shed much light on what may have taken place.
10. Instructions Concerning the Conquest and the Boundaries of the Land
1. Command to drive out the inhabitants of the land (Numbers 33:50-56)
2. The division of the land (Numbers 34:1-15)
3. The names of the men who shall divide the land (Numbers 34:16-29)
The extermination of the Canaanites is first of all demanded. Everything of idolatry was to be destroyed. The land was to belong to a holy people who belong to Jehovah, therefore the Canaanite with his abominations had to be driven out of the land. “If ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, those that ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes and thorns in your sides and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. Moreover, it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you as I thought to do unto them” (Numbers 33:55-56). The same warning was repeated by Joshua in his last address (Joshua 23:13). They did not drive them out as they were commanded, and they had to suffer in consequence of their disobedience.
The land of Canaan does not typify heaven, but our heavenly portion in Christ. In the annotations of the book of Joshua we hope to follow this more fully. The enemies in the land typify the wicked spirits, Satan and his powers. With these is our warfare, and we are commanded, like Israel, to conquer them. The boundaries of the land are given, and we find at the close of the chapter the names of the men who were to divide the inheritance unto the children of Israel. Notice the difference which is in the boundaries here as compared with Genesis 15:18. The promise given to Abraham and to his seed was under the covenant of grace, but Israel entered into the land under the law-covenant. If they had kept the law-covenant and had been obedient to Jehovah, they would have received the whole land. This they could not do. The original promise made to Abraham and his seed will be fulfilled in the future when the Lord will bring Israel back to possess the land. This will be in the millennium. The land will then be divided in a new way, revealed in the closing two chapters of Ezekiel.
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Numbers 33". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Sunday after Easter