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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 17

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations



God confirming Aaron’s calling by the budding and the blossoming of his rod, Numbers 17:1-9, commandeth it to be laid up for a memorial and terror to rebels, Numbers 17:10.

The people being terrified thereby, seek to Moses for succour, Num 11-13.

Verse 2

Speak unto the children of Israel, that I may fully and finally satisfy all their scruples, and take away all pretence and cause of murmuring.

Of every one of them; not of every person, but of every tribe, as it follows.

A rod; either an ordinary walking staff; or rather, that staff or rod which the princes carried in their hand as tokens of their dignity and authority, as may be gathered from Numbers 21:18, compared with Psalms 110:2; Jeremiah 48:16,Jeremiah 48:17.

According to the house of their fathers, i.e. according to each family proceeding from the patriarch or father of that tribe.

Every man’s name, i.e. every prince’s; for they being the first-born, and the chief of their tribes, might above all others pretend to the priesthood, if it was communicable to any of their tribes, and besides each prince represented and acted for all his tribe; so that this was a full decision of the whole question. And this plate seems to confirm what was before observed, that not only Korah and the Levites, but also those of other tribes, contested with Moses and Aaron about the priesthood, as that which belonged to all the congregation, they being all holy, as they said, Numbers 16:3.

Verse 3

Aaron’s rather than Levi’s name, for that would have left the controversy undecided between Aaron and the other Levites, whereas this would justify the appropriation of the priesthood to Aaron’s family.

For the head of the house of their fathers; i.e. there shall be in this, as there is in all the other tribes, only one rod, and that for the head of their tribe, who is Aaron in this tribe; whereas it might have been expected that there should have been two rods, one for Aaron, and another for his competitors of the same tribe. But Aaron’s name was sufficient to determine both the tribe, and that branch or family of the tribe, to whom this dignity should be affixed.

Verse 4

Before the testimony, i.e. before the ark of the testimony; either mediately, close by the veil behind which the ark stood; or rather immediately, within the veil in the most holy place, close by the ark, as may be gathered by comparing this place with Numbers 17:10, and with Hebrews 9:4.

I will meet with you, and manifest my mind to you for the ending of this dispute.

Verse 6

i.e. Was laid up with the rest, being either one of the twelve, as the Hebrews affirm, or the thirteenth, as others think.

Verse 8

Into the tabernacle of witness; into the most holy place, which he might safely do under the protection of God’s command, though otherwise none but the high priest might enter there, and that once in a year.

Yielded almonds; this being, as Josephus with great probability affirms, a staff of an almond tree, as the rest also were.

Verse 10

For if after all these warnings and prohibitions, backed with such miracles and judgments, they shall usurp the priesthood, they shall assuredly die for it.

Verse 12

Words of consternation arising, partly, from the remembrance of these severe and repeated judgments; partly, from the threatening of death upon ally succeeding murmurings; partly, from the sense of their own guilt and weakness, which made them fear lest they should relapse into the same miscarriages, and thereby bring the vengeance of God upon themselves.

Verse 13

Any thing near, i.e. nearer than he should do; an error which we may easily commit.

Shall we be consumed? will God proceed with us in these severe courses, according to his strict justice? will he show us no mercy nor pity, till all the people be cut off and destroyed with dying one after another.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Numbers 17". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/numbers-17.html. 1685.
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