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where, particularly in regard to building the Tabernacle, yet there may be moral considerations amply sufficient to warrant the course pursued. One reason may be, that the Most High is particular to record to the honor of his servants an exact obedience to an exact command. He would, moreover, impressively teach that he is no respecter of persons, that he has the same care of and regard for one as another; that as a common Father he neglects none, but remembers all. He thus removes too all ground of discontent and envy on the score of alleged favoritism. The numbers of the fewest shall be as distinctly and minutely specified as those of the most numerous, and we can easily see that the fulfilment of the divine promise in the multiplication of the peculiar people would engrave itself more deeply on their hearts when each particular tribe was specifically reminded of its own separate increase. A minute recital leads to a more minute contemplation.

45 So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel;

46 Even all they that were? numbered were six hundred

p Ex. 12. 37. 38 26. c. 2. 32. 26. 51. Deut. 10. 22.

V. 44. These are those that were numbered, etc. Heb. lit. "These are the marshalled or mustered which Moses mustered and Aaron and the princes of Israel: twelve men; one man each to the house of his fathers were they." Gr. "One man for one tribe according to the tribe of their fathers' houses were they." Here also we express our preference for the rendering mustered instead of numbered.

Vs. 45, 46. So were all those that were numbered, etc. The rendering of these verses is not happy. The strictness of the letter requires the following:"And they were, all the mustered (ones) of the sons of Israel, to the house of their fathers, from the son of twenty years old and upward, every one that was able to go forth to war in Israel; they were, (I say), all the mustered ones, six hundred thousand, and three thousand, and five hundred and fifty." The increase indicated by the sum total is certainly remarkable, but not such as to require the operation of a miracle. We recognize the effect rather of an extraordinary benediction than of a miraculous generation in the multitudinous progeny of seventy persons during the space of 216 years. The Lord had promised that he would make of the seed of Abraham "a great nation," and the record before us shows that the promise was abundantly fulfilled. This promise was renewed from time to time to the patriarchs for their fuller assur ance and consolation, and the result enumerated here is celebrated in worthy strains, by the Psalmist, Ps. 105: 24. 37, "He increased his people greatly and made them stronger than their enemies. He brought them forth also with silver and gold, and there was not one feeble person among their tribes;" from which we infer, that though the course of nature was not violated, yet its powers were extraordinarily aided

thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.

47 But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them.

48 For the LORD had spoken unto Moses, saying,

q c. 2. 33. c. 3. 4. 1 Chr. 6. & 21, 6.

in accomplishing the result. The grand lesson taught by the history is, that the divine promises will all and always be infallibly performed, as will also the divine threatenings. It was said that Caleb and Joshua alone should enter the land of Canaan, Num. 14:30, and such was the precise fact. All the rest, because of their murmuring, idolatry, and disobedience, perished in the wilderness; some having been slain with the sword, some swallowed up of the earth, some consumed with pestilence, some stung by serpents, and some having died a natural death. Consequently neither their eyes saw, nor their feet trod upon, the goodly land of promise, as the Lord had threatened. To friend and to foe the Lord will be sure to be as good as his word. Analogous to the increase of the natural seed of Israel is that also of the spiritual. The church says in heart, Is. 49:21, "Who hath begotten me these?" The Lord's kingdom began to be preached by the twelve apostles and the seventy disciples, and that immortal seed of the word soon begat "many ten thousands of Jews," Acts 21: 20, and many more of the Gentiles, even an "innumerable multitude," Rev. 7:9.

V. 47. But the Levites, etc. Heb. "But the Levites, according to the tribe of their fathers, were not mustered in the midst of them." This tribe was exempt from military service; accordingly when they were numbered the census included all even from chil

49 Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel:

50 But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the

Ex. 38. 21. c. 3. 6, etc.

dren of one month old. See ch. 3:15. 26: 62. The phrase "after, or according to, the tribe of their fathers" is probably a compendious form of expression denoting in brief what is said at length of all the rest, "by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers," etc.

V. 49. Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them. The truth of our previous remarks on the distinction between numbering and mustering is evident from the language of this verse, in which we cannot suppose that "numbering" and "taking the sum" signify the same thing. The original in the former case is tiphkod, which in its different forms we have generally rendered muster, marshal, etc. for the reasons stated in the note on v. 3. Nothing was to be done towards arranging or marshalling the tribe of Levi together with the others, because they were to be set apart to a peculiar function with which no others were to interfere.

V. 50. But thou shalt appoint the Levites over, etc. Heb. haphkëd, shalt give in charge, or clothe with a visitorial power, from the root pâkad, to visit, and in the causative to make to visit, that is, to set over. The special functions allotted to each of the several families of the Levites are detailed in the third chapter. -¶ Tabernacle of testimony. So called from its being the depository of the Ark of the Covenant, within which were contained the tables of the Law,

vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp' round about the tabernacle.

51 And when the taberna


& ver. 53.

t c. 10. 17-21.

called "tables of testimony," Ex. 31: 18. - Over all things that belong to it. Vulg. "And whatever pertains to the ceremonies." This is perhaps favored by the next clause which is nearly equivalent, and in which "they shall minister unto it" seems to answer to the phrase before us-" they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof, and they shall minister unto it," in effect the same as having charge of the ceremonies connected with it.- -T Shall bear, etc. This service, the burdens of which were appointed by the Lord through Moses, is more particularly specified Num. 4:25. 31. 36. To aid them in it the use of six wagons was allowed to two of the three main Levitical families. Num. 7:7-9.- -T Shall encamp round about the tabernacle. That is, in immediate proximity to it, between it and the stations of the rest of the tribes. The Levites, therefore, may be said to have constituted a kind of sacred legion around the palace of the Great King. Of this arrangement see in what follows, chs. 2 and 3.

V. 51. And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down. Heb. ubinsoa hammishkan, and in the journeying of the tabernacle; i. e, whenever the signal should be given by the motion of the cloudy pillar that the encampment was to be broken up and the tabernacle removed, then it was the business of the Levites to take off and roll up the curtains, to remove the up

cle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.


52 And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every

u c. 18. 22.

right boards from their sockets, to gather together all the component parts of the edifice, with its various utensils, and dispose of them in the most convenient way for travelling. So, on the contrary, when a new resting-place was indicated, the Levites, and they alone, were to attend to the re-erection of the tabernacle, and the putting in order of all its appurtenances.- -¶ The stranger. That is, one who was not of the tribe of Levi. This was their peculiar province, in respect to which every one else was a stranger. So in regard to the priesthood, as distinguished from this inferior ministry or service, both Israelites and Levites were counted "strangers." Thus when Eleazer the priest took the brazen censers which had been profaned by Korah and his company, and made them into plates for covering the altar, it is said that they were "to be for a memorial unto the children of Israel, that no stranger which is not of the seed of Aaron, come near to offer incense before the Lord." This exclusiveness of function is recognized also by David, 1 Chron. 15:2,

Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever." -T Shall be put to death. Heb. yumoth, shall be made to die; without expressly indicating whether directly by the stroke of the divine hand, or by the agency of the magis

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man by his own camp, and | pitch round about the tabernaevery man by his own standard, cle of testimony, that there be throughout their hosts. no wrath" upon the congrega53 But the Levites" shall tion of the children of Israel:

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trate. Targ. Jon. "He shall be killed by fire flaming out from before the Lord." The case of Nadab and Abihu, and of Uzzah, 1 Chron. 13:10, would seem to imply that a special interposition of heaven was to be generally understood by the expression.

V. 52. Every man by his own camp. That is, at his own camping-place, in his own allotted station. Gr. "In his own order," equivalent to Paul's phrase in speaking of the resurrection, 1 Cor. 15: 23, "every man in his own order." The order here referred to is described in the next chapter. Every man by his own standard. Gr. "By his own regiment."


V. 53. That there be no wrath upon the congregation, etc.; as there would be danger of if the discrimination between holy and common were not most rigidly observed. The exterior portion of the encampment was not to press too closely upon the consecrated centre. The reason was the same that dictated the prohibition respecting the body of the people approaching too near the sacred mount from which the Law was delivered. Ex. 19: 12, 13, "And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: there shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live." The order here prescribed was wholly of a representative character, as there is no reason to suppose that the interior states of mind of

z c. 8. 19. 16. 46. 18. 5. 1 Sam. 6. 19.

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the tribe of Levi were distinguished by any higher degree of spirituality or sanctity than those of the rest of the nation. But a ritual or official sanctity pertained to them, which was a sufficient ground for the command here given, and the truth or mystery shadowed forth is to be sought in the true spiritual priesthood of the Christian church, which consists of all those who by the graces of their renewed spirits are brought especially near to the Lord, whether belonging to the ranks of the clergy or the laity. The import of the name Levi is adhesion, and wherever there is such a cleaving to the Lord from the force of an internal attraction, there are spiritual Levites, and in regard to them the above interdict, we learn, is removed under the New Testament dispensation. Is. 56: 3, 6, 7, Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself ( hannilvâh, conjoined himself, as it were, Levi tically) to the Lord, speak, saying, The Lord hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people." Adhesion, in this relation, is but another term for spiritual

and the Levites" shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.

54 And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.

y c. 3. 7, 8. 31. 30, 47. 1 Chr. 23. 32. 2 Chr. 13. 10.

conjunction, which is the effect of love, and all the subjects of genuine love to the Lord and charity to the neighbor are spiritual priests.

V. 54. And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses. His being able thus to refer every thing to a divine command would effectually preclude the charge that Moses designed to elevate and aggrandize his own tribe. The opponents of revelation have always been disposed to accuse Moses of being actuated by mercenary motives, whereas the whole drift of the narrative shows that he was merely an obedient instrument in the Lord's hands for accomplishing his purposes in respect to the chosen people. Heb. 3:5, "Moses verily was faithful in all his house as a servant."

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V. 2. Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard. Heb. al diglo, by his banner. The origin of the Heb. term is not very obvious, though the Arab. has dagal, to veil, to cover. The Gr. renders it by tagma, an orderly band, a cohort. Vulg. turmas, troops. Chald. tiksa, supposed to be derived from the Gr. taxis, order. The idea of a banner, standard, flag, is generally by commentators attached to the word, and this is confirmed by the parallel usage in the following instances: Ps. 20: 5, "We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God will set up our banners (nid-gol)." Cant. 2: 4, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner (diglo) over me was love." Cant. 5:10, "My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest (dágul, a bannered one) among ten thousands." The twelve tribes were arranged into four divisions, three in each, and each of the four was distinguished by a banner. Comp. vs. 3, 18, 25.- - With the ensign of their fathers' house. Heb.


The Ordering of the Encampment. V. 1. And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron. The former order re-be-othoth, in or with the signs. This is specting the mustering was given to Moses alone; the present respecting the arrangement of the camp is given to both Moses and Aaron. The typical bearings of this arrangement had a more important reference to the spiritual order of the church, and therefore Aaron, the high priest, has a prominent part assigned him in the transaction. Moses represents that part of the economy which was more distinctively secular.

usually understood to intimate that not only the several tribes, but also the several families and kindreds had their distinct ensigns or banners. This, however, is doubtful, as the original othoth may refer to the signs or devices figured on each of the above mentioned standards. What these were it is now impossible to determine. Ainsworth supposes that they were particular colors corresponding with those of the pre

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