Numbers 33:1
These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XXXIII.

(1) These are the journeys of the children of Israel . . . —The word which is rendered journey appears to denote primarily the breaking up of the encampments, which lasted for very different periods, and which, during the protracted wanderings in the wilderness, may have been of the average duration of a twelvemonth. The list of the encampments is expressly said to have been written by Moses, and it served as a permanent memorial, on the one hand, of the sin and rebellion of the nation, and, on the other hand, of the faithfulness and long-suffering of God in leading and sustaining His people throughout their sojourn in the wilderness.

Numbers 33:1-2. These are the journeys of Israel — As the peculiar providence of God remarkably appeared in the protection and miraculous preservation of the Israelites, from the time they left Egypt till they came to the borders of Canaan, so Moses was particularly commissioned to preserve a history of them for the benefit of posterity. In execution of this commission, he wrote their goings out — Kept an account of their journeys, and of all the remarkable occurrences in the way, for his own satisfaction and the instruction of others. And he here recapitulates the principal stages of their long journey, and sets them all before the reader in one view, that those who would take the pains to examine might be satisfied that it was only by a train of unprecedented miracles that such a multitude of people had been fed and preserved every day, for forty years together, in a barren and unhospitable desert, Jeremiah 2:6; Deuteronomy 29:6. These are their journeys — It is to be observed that Moses only mentions those places where they encamped for some time, passing by others where they only halted for a little refreshment.

33:1-49 This is a brief review of the travels of the children of Israel through the wilderness. It is a memorable history. In their travels towards Canaan they were continually on the remove. Such is our state in this world; we have here no continuing city, and all our removes in this world are but from one part a desert to another. They were led to and fro, forward and backward, yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. God led them about, yet led them the right way. The way God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the best way, though it does not always seem to us the nearest way. Former events are mentioned. Thus we ought to keep in mind the providences of God concerning us and families, us and our land, and the many instances of that Divine care which has led us, and fed us, and kept us all our days hitherto. Few periods of our lives can be thought upon, without reminding us of the Lord's goodness, and our own ingratitude and disobedience: his kindness leaves us without excuse for our sins. We could not wish to travel over again the stages we have passed, unless we could hope, by the grace of God, to shun the sins we then committed, and to embrace such opportunities of doing good as we have let slip. Soon will our wanderings end, and our eternal state be fixed beyond recall; how important then is the present moment! Happy are those whom the Lord now guides with his counsel, and will at length receive to his glory. To this happiness the gospel calls us. Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Let sinners seize the opportunity, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them. Let us redeem our time, to glorify God and serve our generation; and he will carry us safely through all, to his eternal kingdom.This list was written out by Moses at God's command Numbers 33:2, doubtless as a memorial of God's providential care for His people throughout this long and trying period.

Numbers 33:3-6. For these places, see the marginal reference.

CHAPTER 33

Nu 33:1-15. Two and Forty Journeys of the Israelites—from Egypt to Sinai.

1. These are the journeys of the children of Israel—This chapter may be said to form the winding up of the history of the travels of the Israelites through the wilderness; for the three following chapters relate to matters connected with the occupation and division of the promised land. As several apparent discrepancies will be discovered on comparing the records here given of the journeyings from Sinai with the detailed accounts of the events narrated in the Book of Exodus and the occasional notices of places that are found in that of Deuteronomy, it is probable that this itinerary comprises a list of only the most important stations in their journeys—those where they formed prolonged encampments, and whence they dispersed their flocks and herds to pasture on the adjacent plains till the surrounding herbage was exhausted. The catalogue extends from their departure out of Egypt to their arrival on the plains of Moab.

went forth … with their armies—that is, a vast multitude marshalled in separate companies, but regular order.A relation of the marches and campings of the Israelites from Egypt to Canaan, Numbers 33:1-49. They are commanded to drive out the Canaanites, and destroy their pictures, molten images, and high places, and to divide the land by lot, Numbers 33:50-54. The Canaanites, if not dispossessed, should trouble and vex them; and God would do to them as he thought to do to the others, Numbers 33:55-56.

With their armies, i.e. in great number and exact order, as armies march, and they did, Exodus 12:37,38 13:18.

These are the journeys of the children of Israel,.... Which are related in this chapter following:

which went forth out of the land of Egypt: whither their fathers went and stayed, and were kept in hard bondage, but in due time were delivered from it, and came out from thence:

with their armies; in great numbers, and in an orderly manner, in rank and file, and like so many squadrons, see Exodus 7:4, under the hand of Moses and Aaron: who were sent to the king of Egypt to require their dismission, and who were the instruments under God of their deliverance, and were the leaders of them; as of them out of Egypt, so through the wilderness, in their, several journeys here recorded.

These are the {a} journeys of the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron.

(a) From which they departed, and where they came.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 1. - These are the journeys. The Hebrew word מַסְעֵי is rendered σταθμοί by the Septuagint, which means "stages" or "stations." It is, however, quite rightly translated "journeys," for it is the act of setting out and marching from such a place to such another which the word properly denotes (cf. Genesis 13:3; Deuteronomy 10:11). Numbers 33:1The first and second verses form the heading: "These are the marches of the children of Israel, which they marched out," i.e., the marches which they made from one place to another, on going out of Egypt. מסּע does not mean a station, but the breaking up of a camp, and then a train, or march (see at Exodus 12:37, and Genesis 13:3). לצבאתם (see Exodus 7:4). בּיד, under the guidance, as in Numbers 4:28, and Exodus 38:21. למסעיהם מוצאיהם, "their goings out (properly, their places of departure) according to their marches," is really equivalent to the clause which follows: "their marches according to their places of departure." The march of the people is not described by the stations, or places of encampment, but by the particular spots from which they set out. Hence the constant repetition of the word ויּסעוּ, "and they broke up." In Numbers 33:3-5, the departure is described according to Exodus 12:17, Exodus 12:37-41. On the judgments of Jehovah upon the gods of Egypt, see at Exodus 12:12. "With an high hand:" as in Exodus 14:8. - The places of encampment from Succoth to the desert of Sinai (Numbers 33:5-15) agree with those in the historical account, except that the stations at the Red Sea (Numbers 33:10) and those at Dophkah and Alush (Numbers 33:13 and Numbers 33:14) are passed over there. For Raemses, see at Exodus 12:37. Succoth and Etham (Exodus 13:20). Pihahiroth (Exodus 14:2). "The wilderness" (Numbers 33:8) is the desert of Shur, according to Exodus 15:22. Marah, see Exodus 15:23. Elim (Exodus 15:27). For the Red Sea and the wilderness of Sin, see Exodus 16:1. For Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, see Exodus 17:1; and for the wilderness of Sinai, Exodus 19:2.
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