As the former Chapter contained an account of the numbering of Israel; so in this, here is the divine appointment for the arranging the people into distinct and separate battalions, and tribes.
Even in this appointment, where we might least expect to find the Lord Jesus, methinks among the standards of Israel, I discern him who is said to be set up as the Lord's standard to the people. Isaiah 49:22. And is not Jesus that very standard, which the Holy Ghost, it is said, shall lift up, when the enemy cometh in like a flood? Isaiah 59:19. But, Reader! do not overlook in this place, that the Israelites were to pitch the standard far off: while we, blessed be God, are now brought nigh by the blood of Christ. Oh! the happy, happy privilege of the gospel state! Ephesians 2:13.
Doth not the warlike state of Israel, in this appointment, represent the warlike condition of all true soldiers of Jesus! Hence the church is represented as terrible as an army with banners. Song 1-8. I think it more than probable, that the usage among warriors in the subsequent ages of the world, of having standards with devices put upon them, took its rise from this circumstance of the divine appointment. But alas! how hath it degenerated! Let my banner be the lion of the tribe of Judah, and Jehovah nissi for the motto. Revelation 5:5; Exodus 17:15. I would have the Reader remark with me, that in precedency Judah takes the lead. If we would know wherefore, see Hebrews 7:14. See another instance, Judges 20:18. It is truly interesting to behold how in all things Jesus is typified as having the pre-eminence. Colossians 1:18.
I only beg to detain the Reader, with general observations on those verses, because the leading doctrine of each belongs equally to all. The order observed in those appointments, manifests the Lord to be a God of order. And as it is he which hath fixed the bounds of our habitation, what a precious thought it is, in particular hours, when the mind is full of fear, lest being found out of the way, that, as Job saith, he knoweth the way that I take. Job 23:10. Let the Reader, who contemplates in this view of Israel, the privilege of the Lord's people, in having their standards near the tabernacle, contemplate at the same time, the greater privilege of those around whom the Lord himself encampeth, and defendeth them. Psalms 34:7.
If the Reader would know the reason of this detachment of the Levites, let him consult Joshua 18:7.
SEE, my soul, thy God and Saviour is himself thy standard, ensign, and banner! Behold how he is lifted up to draw thee unto him! Lord give me grace and a discerning eye, to view thee in thy person character, and office as the standard of my Father's house! Let me behold thee in thy faithfulness, in thy love, and in everything that may tend to endear thee to my heart. Let me see thee set forth in type, in all the Old Testament shadows; and realized in all the New Testament sub stance. And, O my God, give me power in thy strength, to fight under thy banner, against sin, death, and Satan, and all the enemies of my salvation. And dearest Jesus! do thou go before me through all the warfare, that I may feel in my own experience, that glorious promise of my God and Father fulfilled, wherein he saith, Behold I have given him for a witness, a leader, and commander to the people. Even so, Amen.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Numbers 2". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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