Numbers 7:7
Two wagons and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to their service:
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7:1-9 The offering of the princes to the service of the tabernacle was not made till it was fully set up. Necessary observances must always take place of free-will offerings. The more any are advanced, the greater opportunity they have of serving God and their generation. No sooner was the tabernacle set up, than provision is made for the removal of it. Even when but just settled in the world, we must be preparing for changes and removes, especially for the great change.To the Gershonites, who had to transport the hangings and coverings of the tabernacle, two wagons are assigned: to the Merarites, who had the charge of the solid parts of the tabernacle, four wagons. The furniture and vessels the Kohathites were to carry on their own shoulders. Compare Numbers 3:25-26, Numbers 3:31, Numbers 3:36-37. 6-9. Moses took the wagons and the oxen—The Hebrew word seems to be fairly rendered by the word "wagons." Wheel carriages of some kind are certainly intended; and as they were covered, the best idea we can form of them is, that they bore some resemblance to our covered wagons. That wheel carriages were anciently used in Egypt, and in what is now Asiatic Turkey, is attested, not only by history, but by existing sculptures and paintings. Some of these the Israelites might have brought with them at their departure; and others, the skilful artisans, who did the mechanical work of the tabernacle, could easily have constructed, according to models with which they had been familiar. Each wagon was drawn by two oxen, and a greater number does not seem to have been employed on any of the different occasions mentioned in Scripture. Oxen seem to have been generally used for draught in ancient times among other nations as well as the Hebrews; and they continue still to be employed in dragging the few carts which are in use in some parts of Western Asia [Kitto].

gave them unto the Levites—The principle of distribution was natural and judicious. The Merarites had twice the number of wagons and oxen appropriated to them that the Gershonites had, obviously because, while the latter had charge only of the coverings and hangings (the light but precious and richly-embroidered drapery, [Nu 4:24-26]) the former were appointed to transport all the heavy and bulky materials (the boards, bars, pillars, and sockets) in short, all the larger articles of furniture [Nu 4:31, 32]. Whoever thinks only of the enormous weight of metal, the gold, silver, brass, &c., that were on the bases, chapiters, and pillars, &c., will probably come to the conclusion that four wagons and eight oxen were not nearly sufficient for the conveyance of so vast a load. Besides, the Merarites were not very numerous, as they amounted only to thirty-two hundred men from thirty years and upward [Nu 4:44]; and, therefore, there is reason to suppose that a much greater number of wagons would afterwards be found necessary, and be furnished, than were given on this occasion [Calmet]. Others, who consider the full number of wagons and oxen to be stated in the sacred record, suppose that the Merarites may have carried many of the smaller things in their hands—the sockets, for instance, which being each a talent weight, was one man's burden (2Ki 5:23). The Kohathites had neither wheeled vehicles nor beasts of burden assigned them, because, being charged with the transport of the furniture belonging to the holy place, the sacred worth and character of the vessels entrusted to them (see on [64]Nu 4:15) demanded a more honorable mode of conveyance. These were carried by those Levites shoulder high. Even in this minute arrangement every reflecting reader will perceive the evidence of divine wisdom and holiness; and a deviation from the prescribed rule of duty led, in one recorded instance, to a manifestation of holy displeasure, calculated to make a salutary and solemn impression (2Sa 6:6-13).

No text from Poole on this verse. Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon,.... The eldest son of Levi:

according to their service; which was to bear and take care of the curtains, coverings, hangings and rails of the tabernacle; and which, when carrying from place to place, it was proper they should be covered from being exposed to rain and dust; and being so many as they were, must be heavy, burdensome, and cumbersome, and therefore two wagons, with two yoke of oxen, were given them, to ease them.

Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, {c} according to their service:

(c) For their use to carry with.

7–9. The transport duties of each of the Levitical families are laid down in ch. 4.Presentation of Dedicatory Gifts by the Princes of the Tribes. - Numbers 7:1. This presentation took place at the time (יום) when Moses, after having completed the erection of the tabernacle, anointed and sanctified the dwelling and the altar, together with their furniture (Leviticus 8:10-11). Chronologically considered, this ought to have been noticed after Leviticus 8:10. But in order to avoid interrupting the connection of the Sinaitic laws, it is introduced for the first time at this point, and placed at the head of the events which immediately preceded the departure of the people from Sinai, because these gifts consisted in part of materials that were indispensably necessary for the transport of the tabernacle during the march through the desert. Moreover, there was only an interval of at the most forty days between the anointing of the tabernacle, which commenced after the first day of the first month (cf. Exodus 40:16 and Leviticus 8:10), and lasted eight days, and the departure from Sinai, on the twentieth day of the second month (Numbers 10:11), and from this we have to deduct six days for the Passover, which took place before their departure (Numbers 9:1.); and it was within this period that the laws and ordinances from Leviticus 11 to Numbers 6 had to be published, and the dedicatory offerings to be presented. Now, as the presentation itself was distributed, according to Numbers 7:11., over twelve or thirteen days, we may very well assume that it did not entirely precede the publication of the laws referred to, but was carried on in part contemporaneously with it. The presentation of the dedicatory gifts of one tribe-prince might possibly occupy only a few hours of the day appointed for the purpose; and the rest of the day, therefore, might very conveniently be made use of by Moses for publishing the laws. In this case the short space of a month and a few days would be amply sufficient for everything that took place.
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