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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 17

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 2

Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod according to the house of [their] fathers, of all their princes according to the house of their fathers twelve rods: write thou every man’s name upon his rod.

Take of every one of them a rod. — Or, Staff; the ensign of their honour, Numbers 21:18 and of their civil authority; Psalms 110:2 Jeremiah 48:16-17 a suificient witness against them, that the priesthood belonged not to them. Uzziah smarted for invading it. George, prince of Anhalt, was a singular example, qui primus et unus ex omni Principum Germanorum numero, subditos suos ipse et viva voce et scriptis editis de via salutis erudiret, who was the first, and the only German prince, that both by preaching and writing taught his subjects. Melch. Adam.

Verse 5

And it shall come to pass, [that] the man’s rod, whom I shall choose, shall blossom: and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel, whereby they murmur against you.

And I will make to cease. — But then he must do more than work miracles. For such is the habitual hardness of men’s hearts, as neither ministry, nor misery, nor miracle, nor mercy, can possibly mollify. Nothing can do it, but an extraordinary touch from the hand of Heaven.

Verse 8

And it came to pass, that on the morrow Moses went into the tabernacle of witness; and, behold, the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi was budded, and brought forth buds, and bloomed blossoms, and yielded almonds.

And bloomed blossoms. — (1.) For a testimony of Aaron’s calling from God, to the honour of the priesthood; (2) For a type of Christ, the branch growing out of the stem of Jesse; Isaiah 11:1 (3) For a figure of the ministry of the gospel, which although to profane persons it seem a dry, barren, and vanishing voice, yet it bloometh and flourisheth in the hearts of God’s elect; - and surely fruitfulness is the best argument of our election, and that we are called of God, for not only all the plants of his setting, but the very boughs cut off from the body of them will flourish; (4.) For a lively representation of a glorious resurrection. At the French massacre, Aug. 25, 1572, in the churchyard of St Innocent at Paris, a certain bush suddenly bloomed about the middle time of that bloody day, at an unusual time of the year. Epitome Hist. Gallicae, p. 149. The Papists boasted, that God by that miracle showed his good liking of that massacre they had made. But the Protestants took it for a confirmation of their religion, and a testimony of their innocency.

Verse 10

And the LORD said unto Moses, Bring Aaron’s rod again before the testimony, to be kept for a token against the rebels; and thou shalt quite take away their murmurings from me, that they die not.

And thou shalt quite take away their murmurinus. — Which yet would hardly be done. See on Numbers 17:5 . Many men’s lips, like rusty hinges, for want of the oil of grace and gladness, move not without murmuring and complaining.

Verse 13

Whosoever cometh any thing near unto the tabernacle of the LORD shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?

Whosoever cometh anything near. — Let them keep further off then who have no sufficient warrant. Why should they meddle with that belongs not to them? Why should they touch the tabernacle? as the Greek here hath it. The fingers of many triflers itch at this day, to be tampering with that tremendous function, the ministry: which if they forbear to touch, it is but as once Mercury is fain to spare Jupiter’s thunderbolts, which he durst not steal, lest they should roar too loud, or at least burn his fingers.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 17". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/numbers-17.html. 1865-1868.
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