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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 7

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2514. B.C. 1490.

The offerings of the princes upon the dedication of the tabernacle, Numbers 7:1-9 . Upon the dedication of the altar, Numbers 7:10-88 , which God graciously accepts, Numbers 7:89 .

Verse 1

Numbers 7:1. On the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle Which he did on the first day of the first month of the second year after their coming out of Egypt, Exodus 40:17-18. Here we may observe, as in many other places, particularly Genesis 2:4; Genesis 35:3, that day is put for an indefinite time, and on the day is a Hebraism signifying about, or after such a time, (see Numbers 7:84; Numbers 7:88.) Therefore, it might be better rendered, What time Moses had fully set up, &c.; for the offerings here mentioned were made in the second month of the second year after the tabernacle and altar and all other instruments thereof were anointed, as is here expressed; after the Levites were separated to the service of the tabernacle, and appointed to their several works, which was about a month after the tabernacle was erected; after the numbering of the people, (chap. 1,) when the princes here employed in the offerings were first constituted; and after the disposal of the tribes about the tabernacle, the order of which is here observed in the time of their offerings.

Verses 2-3

Numbers 7:2-3. The princes of Israel The heads or chiefs of the several tribes, mentioned Numbers 1:5-16. Offered In the manner, and on the days hereafter mentioned. Before the Lord That is, they were presented to God at the door of the tabernacle, as it follows; six covered wagons Wagons that were covered above, for the convenience of carrying the heavier parts of the tabernacle, and preserving them from the injuries of the weather. They were probably very rich and sumptuous, since two of the great men joined in the present of one wagon.

Verses 5-8

Numbers 7:5-8. According to his service More or fewer, as the nature of their service, and of the things to be carried required. And as the Gershonites had the less burdensome things to carry, (Numbers 4:25,) they had the fewer carriages allowed them. Four wagons to the sons of Merari Proportionable to their great burden, Numbers 4:28; Numbers 4:33.

Under the hand (or inspection) of Ithamar For he had the care both of the Gershonites and Merarites, Numbers 4:28; Numbers 4:33.

Verse 9

Numbers 7:9. Because of the sanctuary, &c. The Seventy translate it more literally, Because they have the service of the holy things, (that is, of the ark, Numbers 4:5; Numbers 4:15.) They shall carry it upon their shoulders This way of carrying the ark was both for greater dignity, on account of the superior holiness and value of it, and its contents and appurtenances, and that the structure of it might not be discomposed, as it might have been by the shaking of a wagon.

Verse 10

Numbers 7:10. For the dedicating of the altar Both of burnt-offerings and of incense, as appears from the matter of the offerings here said to be made. This is not meant of the first dedication of them, for they had been dedicated or consecrated before this time by Moses and Aaron, with solemn ceremonies which lasted seven days; (Exodus 29:37; Leviticus 8:11;) but for a further dedication of them, or the first application of them to their proper uses, these being the first offerings that were made for any particular persons or tribes. In the day That is about the time when it was anointed.

Verse 11

Numbers 7:11. Each prince in his day Thus the dedication continued no less than twelve days, which made it very solemn, and gave to every tribe an opportunity, by its representative, to express their devotion and reverence to God, and to receive tokens of gracious acceptance From him. And in this offering they followed the order of their camp, and not of their birth.

Verses 13-14

Numbers 7:13-14. One silver charger This charger, or broad dish, appears to have been for the use of the altar of burnt-offering in the court of the tabernacle; for all the vessels of the sanctuary were of gold. The use of it seems to have been for receiving the flesh which was offered at the altar, or the fine flour for the meat-offering. Its weight was a hundred and thirty shekels, or about sixty-five ounces. The bowl, again, was for receiving the blood, and it weighed seventy shekels, or about thirty-five ounces. One spoon often shekels of gold Both the metal and what was in it show this spoon to have been for the use of the golden altar.

Verses 15-16

Numbers 7:15-16. One young bullock As these sacrifices were so many, it is probable that the rest of the great men of the tribe of Judah joined with Nahshon in their contributions toward them, and that he offered in their names. And the same is to be observed as to the offerings of the other chiefs. For a burnt-offering This signified their dedicating themselves wholly to God; see on Leviticus 1:3. For a sin-offering As an acknowledgment of their sinfulness before God, and a sign of their application to his mercy for pardon. Though the sin-offering is here mentioned after the burnt-offering, yet it was commonly offered first, it being most fit that men should begin their religious addresses to God with acts of humiliation, and expressions of repentance. See on Leviticus 8:22.

Verse 17

Numbers 7:17. Peace-offerings This sacrifice was the last, and on a part of it the people feasted, in token of communion and reconciliation with God in consequence of their renewed repentance and dedication of themselves, signified by the former sacrifices. See on Leviticus 3:1.

Verse 85

Numbers 7:85. Two thousand and four hundred shekels That is, about twelve hundred Roman ounces, or a hundred pounds troy. The whole weight is thus accurately set down by Moses, that the priests might know exactly how much gold and silver they had received, and that none of it might be sacrilegiously purloined.

Verses 87-88

Numbers 7:87-88. Their meat-offering Which was not mentioned before, because it was sufficiently understood from the law which required it. After it was anointed Which words are very conveniently added to explain in what sense he had so often said that this was done in the day when it was anointed Namely, not exactly, but in a latitude, a little after it was anointed.

Verse 89

Numbers 7:89. To speak with him To consult God upon occasion. The voice of one speaking from off the mercy-seat Which Moses, standing without the veil, could easily hear. And this seems to be added in this place to show that when men had done their part, God was not wanting in the performance of his part and promise. It also explains the manner how God communicated his will to Moses, not by some impression upon his mind in a vision, or by representing things to him in a dream; but by a clear and distinct voice, which he heard of one speaking to him from between the cherubim, though, at the same time, he saw no image or similitude. Thus we are to understand these expressions of God’s speaking from the mercy- seat, (Exodus 25:22; Leviticus 1:1,) and his calling to particular persons, Numbers 12:4-5. And hence it is, that the most holy place, where the ark and mercy-seat were, whence the divine voice proceeded, is called Debir, the oracle, 1 Kings 6:23. We may observe further here, that God’s speaking thus to Moses by an audible voice, as if he had been clothed with a body, was an earnest of the incarnation of the Son of God, when in the fulness of time the Word should be made flesh, and speak in the language of the sons of men. That he who spake to Moses was the Eternal Word, was the belief of many of the ancients. For all God’s communion with man is by his Son, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 7". Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/numbers-7.html. 1857.
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