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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 10

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-36

Numbers 10:2 . Two trumpets, for the two sons of Aaron. We also read that one hundred and twenty priests had each of them a trumpet. 2 Chronicles 5:12.

Numbers 10:10 . Ye shall blow with the trumpets. The first day of every month was a feast. The neomania was observed by the heathen. Vide Macrob. Saturn. Numbers 1:16. They acknowledged the goodness of God in the appointed months of the harvest.

Numbers 10:12 . The wilderness of Paran extends eleven days journey, and limits the borders of ancient Edom on the south.

Numbers 10:18 . The standard. See Numbers 2:2.

Numbers 10:29 . Hobab. His visit to Moses is related, Exodus 18:0. Whether he had staid a year in the camp to learn the ways of the Lord, or whether, as is more probable, he had made another visit on the removal of the camp, is uncertain. His country however was not far distant, for it is allowed that Moses was at Horeb when the Lord called him to emancipate the people; and his flock could not be far off. When Jethro, here called Hobab, first came to the camp, they had not reached Sinai. Reuel, mentioned in Exodus 2:18, is supposed to be the father of Hobab. This good man might die while Israel was in the desert; if not, both he and his family, on farther consideration, accepted the invitation. Judges 1:16. They are called Rechabites, Jeremiah 35:0. and Essenes.

Numbers 10:31 . Instead of eyes. The LXX read, Thou shalt be an elder amongst us.

Numbers 10:35 . Rise up, Lord. Thus Moses, no doubt, after the ancient example, began and ended all his journies and works with devotion.


The priests were instructed to blow the silver trumpets for the removal of the camp; for the celebration of a feast; for preparation to sacrifice; for advancing to war; and assembling the people for instruction and devotion. And for each of these several objects they were trained to give the trumpet a variation of sound, indicating the duty for which the elders or the tribes were called to prepare. The sounding of these trumpets most aptly applies to the alarms and energies of the sacred ministry. If the pastor, negligent of his duty, shall suffer the wicked to slumber and perish in their sins, the Lord will require those souls at the pastor’s hand. Hence he must cry aloud, spare not, lift up his voice like a trumpet, and show the people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. So St. Paul preached Christ; so he warned every man, and taught every man, that he might present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. If ministers merely amuse the wicked, and trifle with the desperate situation of ungodly men, the hand of justice will not spare the faithless in so high an office: for if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself for the battle.

The cloud led the people by the wilderness of Paran; and it was that they might not be assailed with war. We had better do so still in our journey through life. We had better, on many occasions, sacrifice rights, and go a little round about than quarrel with our neighbours.

Moses, leading Israel to inherit the promises, generously invited Hobab to participate in their glory and hope. He had found an asylum under this man’s roof, and now he gratefully wishes him to shelter under the wings of JEHOVAH. But when wishful to induce his father-in-law to emigrate, and take his lot with Israel, he uses no boasting promises, no ostentatious display of future good; he merely holds forth a lot with the better families of Israel, in which the hope of the Messiah was implied to crown the whole. Moses, knowing the benevolence of Hobab, rather suggests the good he would still do to Israel by guiding them in the road. And christians going to the better country, should not be wanting to invite their friends to that happy and everlasting abode. Let us promise to comfort them with the consolations wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. We will assist them in the removal of all their doubts and fears; will weep with them in trouble, and pray with them in affliction. We will endeavour to add to their faith and virtue, and take them by the hand when they go astray; and surely it is no small motive to piety, to suggest a life of doing good. Thou shalt be as eyes to us by the way. How happy to fall in with the circles of religious societies, with whom we may be providentially called or connected: and how happy to unite in benevolent institutions for the aid of the sick, for the instruction of the poor, and the suppression of vice!

When the ark went forth, followed by the several divisions of the camp, Moses entreated the Lord to arise and scatter his enemies, and in the evening he entreated him to return unto his rest with Israel. Just so, in the morning, we should all ask the defence and blessing of God, on the labours, travels, or duties of the day; and in the evening, let us not be wanting to close the day with piety, that we may rest in God, and that He may dwell with us for ever. And, oh how happy is Israel in the guidance, the care, and defence of the Lord!

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 10". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/numbers-10.html. 1835.
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