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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Numbers 17

Introduction

A.M. 2533. B.C. 1471.

The blossoming of Aaron’s rod, Numbers 17:1-9 . It is laid up for a memorial, Numbers 17:10 , Numbers 17:11 . The people are terrified, Numbers 17:12 , Numbers 17:13 .

Verse 2

Numbers 17:2. Take of every one Not of every person, but of every tribe. A rod A twig, or branch, from one and the same almond-tree, as some infer from Numbers 17:8. Or, according to others, the ordinary rods which the princes of the tribes carried in their hands, as tokens of their dignity and authority, Numbers 21:18. And indeed the miracle would appear the greater, if neither Aaron’s rod, nor any of the rest, was of the almond-tree. But the miracle was sufficiently great either way to demonstrate the extraordinary interposition of Providence. Every man’s name Every prince’s: for they being the firstborn, 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, the prince represented all his tribe: so that this was a full decision of the question. And this place seems to confirm the opinion, that not only Korah and the Levites, but also those of other tribes, contended with Moses and Aaron about the priesthood, as that which belonged to all the congregation, they being all holy.

Verse 3

Numbers 17:3. Aaron’s name Rather than Levi’s, 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. One rod 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

Numbers 17:4. Before the testimony That is, before the ark of the testimony, close by the ark. I will meet with you And manifest my mind to you, for the ending of this dispute.

Verse 6

Numbers 17:6. The rod of Aaron was among their rods Was laid up with the rest, being either one of the twelve, as the Hebrews affirm, or the thirteenth, as others think.

Verse 8

Numbers 17:8. Into the tabernacle 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 only once in a year.

Verse 10

Numbers 17:10. To be kept for a token It is probable, the buds, and blossoms, and fruit, (all which could never have grown together, but by miracle,) continued fresh, the same power which produced them in a night, preserving them for ages.

Verses 12-13

Numbers 17:12-13. Behold we die, we perish Words of consternation, arising from the remembrance of these severe and repeated judgments, from the threatening of death upon any succeeding murmurings, and 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. Near Nearer than he should do; an error which we may easily commit. Will God proceed with us according to his strict justice, till all the people be cut off?

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 17". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/numbers-17.html. 1857.