Numbers 7:1
On the day Moses finished setting up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it and all its furnishings, along with the altar and all its utensils.
Prayer as a Gauge of LiberalityNumbers 7:1-4
Princely LiberalityGrattan Guinness.Numbers 7:1-4
Princely Solicitude in Regard to DutyNumbers 7:1-4
Suitable Offerings for God's HouseBp. Babington.Numbers 7:1-4
The Offering of the PrincesW. Attersoll.Numbers 7:1-4
The Wagons for the LevitesD. Young Numbers 7:1-9
The Free-Will Offering of the PrincesE.S. Prout Numbers 7:1-88
The Princes and Their Princely OfferingW. Binnie Numbers 7:1-89

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.

The princes of Israel... brought their offering.
The offering of the princes is set out by certain circumstances, of the time when they offered, when Moses had fully set up the tabernacle and had sanctified it, &c., of the persons which offered, the princes of the tribes, the heads of the house of their fathers, and of the place where they are offered, it was before the Lord. Then their offering is described by the particulars that were offered, which is performed jointly or severally. The doctrine from hence is this, that a good work begun, especially furthering God's worship, is not to be intermitted until it be brought to perfection. We see this in Ezra 5:1, 2; Ezra 6:14. The like zeal and forwardness we see in Nehemiah 4:3, 4, &c. The apostle persuading the Corinthians to liberality toward the saints, willeth them readily to perform that which they had willingly begun. The reasons are plain.

1. The God of heaven will prosper weak beginnings if there be a readiness and cheerfulness in us. This should be a great encouragement unto us, as it was to Nehemiah (Nehemiah 2:20).

2. If we look back we are not apt to God's kingdom (Luke 9:62). If we give over we lose our labour, we miss our reward.

3. It is better not to begin than, having begun, not to proceed; better never to lay the first stone in the building than, having laid a good foundation, not to make an end, because it will be said to our reproach (Luke 14:30).

1. This serves, first, to reprove such as give over their profession, resting in a good work begun and in weak and small beginnings.

2. Secondly, it reproveth such as stand at a stay, such as neither go forward nor backward, but are always the same men, and look where you left them, there you shall be sure to find them. These are earthly minded and savour only of the earth.

3. Thirdly, such deserve to be reproved who hate those that go before and beyond them in the duties of piety, in gifts of knowledge and understanding.

4. Fourthly, it is our duty to proceed in sanctification, and labour to bring forth fruit evermore in old age (Psalm 92:15).

(W. Attersoll.)

Why do they offer chariots, and oxen to draw them? Because these things were fit and good for the use of the tabernacle, to carry at removes such things as were to be carried, and to carry them dry. Learn by it that good hearts to Godward do not only give, but they give fit things, such as are most requisite for the service of God, the comeliness of His Church, the use of the minister, and the benefit of the whole congregation; yea, they to this end cast their heads, and observe what is wanting; what would do wall if it were had, what is now unseemly, and what would be more seemly for the reverence of God's house, giving themselves no rest till either by themselves, at their own private charge, or by the parish at their public charge, such things be prepared. They are affected to God's houses, as others are to their own, who are ever decking them with all necessaries till they are to their liking. Such a virtue as I may boldly say, God would sooner cease to be God, which we know is impossible, than forget to reward it. Do we remember in our own houses who gave us this and who gave us that, of plate, of household, of ornaments, or whatsoever, and will God forget in His house who gave anything for the necessary use, or greater beautifying it? We cannot think it, and our consciences tell us it cannot be. But even a thousand times more will God respect such love than any man can do. Make use of it then, I beg of you, and so show your heart to God in adorning His house and advancing His service, as living and dying He may fill your heart with His sweet comforts for it, bless you, and bless your friends after you, which He will do, even as He is God.

(Bp. Babington.)

— A wealthy European monarch has been fired with enthusiasm for Africa. When I visited King Leopold I asked him, "What makes you so earnest about Africa?" I was touched with his reply. He said, "You know God took away from me my son, my only son, and then He laid Africa upon my heart. I am not spending the revenue of Belgium on it, but my own private resources, and I have made arrangements that when I die this civilising and evangelising work in Africa shall still go on." At the present time the king is expending £80,000 a year in Africa out of his private purse.

(Grattan Guinness.)

During the illness of King Edward the Sixth, who died in the sixteenth year of his age, Ridley, in a sermon which he preached before him, much commended works of charity, and showed that they were enjoined on all men, especially on those in higher stations. The same day, after dinner, the king sent for the doctor into the gallery, made him sit in a chair by him, and would not suffer him to be uncovered. After thanking him for his sermon, he repeated the chief points of it, and added, "I took myself to be chiefly touched by your discourse; for as in the kingdom I am next under God, so must I most nearly approach to Him in goodness and mercy. As our miseries stand most in the need of help from Him, so are we the greatest debtors. And therefore, as you have given me this general exhortation, direct me, I entreat you, by what particular act I may best discharge my duty."

A gentleman canvassing for an important benevolent enterprise was about to call on a certain wealthy professor of religion who was more devout than generous. Ignorant of this fact, he asked his last contributor how much he thought the man would give. "I don't know," was the reply; "if you could hear him pray you'd think he would give all he is worth." The collector called on the rich man, and to his surprise received a flat refusal. As he was taking his leave, it occurred to him to repeat what he had been told. "I asked a man," said he, "how much you would probably give, and he replied, 'If you could hear that man pray, you'd think he would give all he is worth.'" The rich man's head dropped, and his eyes filled with tears. He took out his pocket-book, and handed his visitor a liberal contribution.

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