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Bible Commentaries

Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Numbers 7

Verses 1-9

NUMBERS-CHAPTER SEVEN

Verses 1-9:

The leaders of Israel’s tribes, named in Nu 1:5-15, brought special offerings to be used in the service of the Tabernacle. These consisted of six "wagons," agalah, "cart, chariot, wagon," and twelve oxen, a yoke for each wagon. The purpose: to transport the Tabernacle and its furnishings. Two wagons and two yokes of oxen were for the Gershonites, to transport those articles assigned to their care, Nu 3:25, 26; 4:24-28. Four wagons and four yokes of oxen were for the Merarites, to transport the bulkier and more numerous articles, Nu 3:36, 37; 4:31-33. None was given to the Kohathites, who were in charge of the furniture of the Tabernacle. The reason: they carried these articles on their shoulders.

This offering took place following the anointing of the Tabernacle. Comparing Le 8:10 with Ex 40:35, it appears Moses did not anoint the Tabernacle on the same day it was set up. The anointing was the last act in the erection of the Tabernacle, thus the events were spoken of as one, as though they occurred on the same day.

Verses 10-11

Verses 10, 11:

The offerings noted in this text are in addition to the wagons and oxen of the preceding verses. They are described in the following verses. These offerings by the "princes" of Israel were expensive and elaborate. The following verses show that they were not all offered on the same day, but that they were made on succeeding days.

Verses 12-17

Verses 12-17:

The first to bring his offering was Nahshon of the tribe of Judah. The order in which these offerings are listed is the order of the tribes as they traveled.

Each prince’s sacrifice consisted of four offerings;

1. Meat (food) Offering, Leviticus chapter 2.

"Charger," qearah, "a deep dish." This was a silver vessel, weighing 130 shekels, about 38 pounds troy. Its value is about $6,800 in today’s terms.

"Bowl," mizraq, "sprinkling pan," a shallow basin. This was also a silver vessel, weighing 70 shekels, or about 20.4 pounds troy. Its value is about $3,600 in today’s terms.

Both silver vessels were filled with fine flour, mixed with olive oil for a food offering.

"Spoon," kaph, "a small dish or cup with a handle." This was a gold vessel, weighing about 3.5 pounds troy. Its value in today’s terms is about $12,100.00. It was filled with incense, for use in the Meat Offering.

2. A Burnt Offering, Leviticus chapter 1. This consisted of a bullock, a ram, and a lamb.

3. A Sin Offering, Leviticus chapter 4. This consisted of a kid of, the goats.

4. A Peace Offering, Leviticus chapter 3. This consisted of two oxen, five rams, five he goats, and five lambs of the first year.

Each of the princes’ offerings is identical, removing any cause for boasting and jealousy.

Verses 18-23

Verses 18-23:

Nethaneel, prince of Issachar, brought his offering on the second day. The language describing it is precisely the same as the other eleven, with the single exception of one phrase in verse 19: "He offered for his offering," instead of, "His offering was . . ."

Issachar was in the encampment group of which Judah was the head. He was the second in the line of march as Israel traveled, Nu 2:5.

Verses 24-29

Verses 24-29:

Eliab prince of Zebulon brought his offering on the third day. It was identical to the others.

Zebulon was in the group of Judah in Israel’s encampment, to the east of the Tabernacle, and was the third in the line of march, Nu 2:7.

Verses 30-35

Verses 30-35:

The fourth day’s offering was that of Elizur, prince of Reuben. The tribe of Reuben headed the group encamped to the south of the Tabernacle, and was the fourth in the line of march, Nu 2:10.

Verses 36-41

Verses 36-41:

Shelumiel, prince of Simeon, presented his offering on the fifth day. Simeon was in the group under the banner of Reuben, camped to the south of the Tabernacle. This was the fifth tribe in the line of march, Nu 2:12.

Verses 42-47

Verses 42-47:

On the sixth day, Eliasaph prince of Gad brought his offering. The tribe of Gad was in the group headed by Reuben, and was sixth in the line of march, Nu 2:14.

Verses 48-53

Verses 48-53:

Elishama prince of Ephraim offered on the seventh day. This was not necessarily the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath. It was the seventh consecutive day of the series of offerings. If the offerings did proceed in an unbroken series, one of them did indeed fall on the Sabbath.

Ephraim headed the third group of Israel, encamped to the west of the Tabernacle. This was the seventh tribe in the line of march, directly following the Tabernacle, see Nu 2:18.

Verses 54-59

Verses 54-59:

Gamaliel prince of Manasseh offered on the eighth day.

Manasseh was in the group headed by Ephraim, and was eighth in the line of march, Nu 2:20.

Verses 60-65

Verses 60-65:

On the ninth day, Gideoni prince of Benjamin, brought his offering. Benjamin was the ninth in line of march, and was numbered with Ephraim, Nu 2:22.

Verses 66-71

Verses 66-71:

Ahiezer prince of Dan brought his offering on the tenth day. Dan was the standard-bearer of the group which camped to the north of the Tabernacle, and was tenth in the line of march, Nu 2:25.

Verses 72-77

Verses 72-77:

On the eleventh day, Pagiel prince of Asher brought his offering. Asher was in the group of Dan, and was eleventh in line of march, Nu 2:27.

Verses 78-83

Verses 78-83:

The twelfth and final offering was that of Ahira prince of Naphtali. This tribe was in the group of Dan, and was the twelfth and last in the line of march, Nu 2:29.

Verses 84-89

Verses 84-89:

This text lists the totals of the offerings made by the twelve princes, at the dedication of the altar. It was not a lavish offering, when compared with that which Solomon offered at the dedication of the Temple. However, for a group of pilgrims in the Sinai desert, it was a substantial one.

The amount of silver in the vessels: 2,400 shekels, approximately 700 pounds troy. In today’s currency, this would be about $126,000.00.

The amount of gold in the spoons: 120 shekels, approximately 420 ounces or 35 pounds troy. The value today: about $145,000.00.

When the twelfth offering was complete, Moses entered the Tabernacle. There he heard the voice of God clearly and distinctly, from the darkness behind the veil, speaking from the Mercy Seat, between the cherubim, over the Ark of the Testimony. Chapter 8 records what God said.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Blessed Hope Foundation and the Baptist Training Center.
Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Numbers 7". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/numbers-7.html. 1985.