The Free-Will Offering of the Princes
Numbers 7:1-88
And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it…

The completion of the tabernacle was celebrated by offerings of the princes, as representatives of the tribes. Lessons may be derived from two points noted, viz. -



1. The princes had already given offerings towards the erection of the tabernacle (Exodus 35:27, 28), and now they bring further offerings for its conveyance (verse 3) and for its complete furnishing (verses 10-17). The power and will to give are a "grace" bestowed (2 Corinthians 8:7), and the more we give the more of the grace of giving we may enjoy (Matthew 13:12).

2. If regarded simply as a duty, it was right that the princes should take the lead, as now it is a duty for men in authority and men of wealth, pastors and officers in Christ's Church, to be "zealous for good works."

3. But the chief excellence of these and similar gifts was the "willing mind" (2 Corinthians 8:12). Under the law of Moses much was left to spontaneity (cf. Exodus 35:5; Leviticus 1:3, etc.), how much more under the law of Christ (Matthew 10:8; 2 Corinthians 9:7). The absence of willinghood may change the fine gold into base metal in the sight of God.


1. The uniformity of the gifts might possibly have been the result of fashion; Nahshon, of the tribe of Judah, setting the fashion, and the other princes following it. The "fashion" of generous giving may well be set and followed, that the illiberal may be shamed out of their mean devices. But,

2. The uniformity here was probably the result of previous arrangement, and the sign of an honourable emulation. This God approves (Hebrews 10:24), and St. Paul seeks to employ (2 Corinthians 8:1-7: 9:1-5). With this object public benefactions (subscription-lists, etc.)are acceptable to God if the spirit of the precept (Matthew 6:3, 4) is not violated. The details here published for posterity remind us that every particular of our gifts and services is recorded before God. E.g., a coin and its value, absolute and relative (Mark 12:41-44). A jewel, a family heirloom, and how much it cost to give it up (2 Samuel 24:15).

3. The uniformity was a sign that each tribe had an equal share in the altar and its blessings; even as different families, races, and individuals, have in the world-wide redemption of Christ (Romans 10:11-13). - P.

Parallel Verses
KJV: And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;

WEB: It happened on the day that Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle, and had anointed it and sanctified it, with all its furniture, and the altar with all its vessels, and had anointed and sanctified them;

Suitable Offerings for God's House
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