Lectionary Calendar
Friday, April 12th, 2024
the Second Week after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 33

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-56



Just as, at the judgment seat of Christ, there will be a review of all our history here on earth, so we find now a review of Israel's journey from the time they left Egypt. It is noted that Moses wrote the record of these things at the command of the Lord (v.2) and it is quite evident that Moses was the writer of all of Numbers and also of Deuteronomy except the last chapter, or at least the last nine verses of that chapter.

Israel left Rameses the day after the passover, when Egypt was engaged in the monumental task of burying their firstborn (vs.3-4). They encamped at Succoth first, and then Etham before coming to Pi Hahiroth and Magdol, still within Egypt on the shore of the Red Sea. Then they crossed the Red Sea and began the long journey through the wilderness. It appears they moved and encamped 44 times in these years. This is much more than people usually move from one house to another in a period of forty years. It is amazing that God brought so tremendous a company with their livestock and other possessions through that long period of travel by the hand of one chosen leader! Why did they not disperse and go in whatever direction each one pleased, as people normally would? The only answer is in the overruling power of God.



Since Israel was near the time of entering Canaan, the Lord gave plain directions to Moses that the time of entering Canaan, the Lord gave plain directions to Moses that when Israel crossed the Jordan, they must drive out all the inhabitants of the land, to destroy all their engraved stones -- objects of idolatry -- and molded images, as well as their high places, places of the idol worship (vs.50-53) The land had become saturated with idolatry, the iniquity of the inhabitants was full. It may sound like heartless cruelty to thus totally destroy these people, but God knew they were living in satanic slavery and death in such a case was mercy.

The land was to be divided by lot, in sizes comparative to the size of families, but the locations left to God's decision. For "the lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord" (Proverbs 16:33). The tribes were not to be intermingled, however, but all the individuals to remain within the boundaries of their own tribes (v.54).

Israel is warned, however, that if they failed to drive out the inhabitants of the land, those inhabitants would become "irritants in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall harass you in the land where you dwell" (v.55). Israel might be inclined to show leniency to these people, having a false sense of what is true kindness, but when God had spoken, then disobedience in this way would recoil on their own heads. In fact, God would make Israel suffer in the way He intended to deal with their enemies (v.56). It is a lesson for us. If we allow evil spirits to keep us from the proper enjoyment of the heavenly possession that God has provided for us, we shall suffer in this life as though we were enemies of God. Thank God, this does not involve the question of eternity, but present governmental results of disobedience will be painful. Let us dispossess every enemy who seeks to hinder our practical possession of that which God has ordained to be the possession of those redeemed by the blood of Christ.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Numbers 33". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/numbers-33.html. 1897-1910.
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