freewill-offerings to his praise, more inflamed with holy love and joy, and more engaged in seriousness of thought, and sincerity of intention; having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, let us draw near with a true heart, and in full assurance of faith, worshipping God with so much the more cheerfulness and humble confidence, still saying, Blessed be God for Jesus Christ.
OF THE FOURTH BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED
The titles of the five books of Moses, which we use in our Bibles, are all borrowed from the Greek translation of the Seventy, the most ancient version of the Old Testament that we know of. But the title of this book only we turn into English; in all the rest we retain the Greek word itself; for which difference I know no reason, but that the Latin translators have generally done the same. Otherwise, this book might as well have been called Arithmoi, the Greek title, as the first Genesis, and the second Exodus; or these might as well have been translated and called, the first the Generation, or Original, the second the Out-let, or Escape, as this Numbers.—This book was thus entitled, because of the numbers of the children of Israel, so often mentioned in this book, and so well worthy to give a title to it, because it was the remarkable accomplishment of God's promise to Abraham, that his seed should be as the stars of heaven for multitude. It also relates to two numberings of them, one at mount Sinai, (ch. 1. ) the other in the plains of Moab, thirty-nine years after, ch. 26. And not three men the same in the last account that were in the first. This book is almost equally divided between histories and laws, intermixed.
I. We have here the histories of the numbering and marshalling of the tribes; (ch. 1 . . 4.) the dedication of the altar and Levites; (ch. 7, 8.) their march; (ch. 9, 10.) their murmuring and unbelief, for which they were sentenced to wander forty years in the wilderness; (ch. 11 . . 14.) the rebellion if Korah; (ch. 16, 17. ) the history of the last year of the forty; (ch. 20 . . 26.) the conquest of Midian, and the settlement of the two tribes; (ch. 31, 32.) with an account of their journies, ch. 33.
II. We have divers laws, about the Nazarites, &c.; (ch. 5, 6.) and again, about the priests' charge, &c.; (ch. 18, 19.) feasts, (ch. 28, 29.) and vows; (ch. 30.) and relating to their settlement in Canaan, ch. 27, 34, 35, 36. An abstract of much of this book we have in a few words, (Ps. 95. 10.) Forty years long was I grieved with this generation; and an application of it to ourselves, (Heb. 4. 1. ) Let us fear lest we seem to come short. Many considerable nations were now in being, that dwelt in cities and fortified towns, of which no notice is taken, no account kept, by the sacred history; but very exact records are kept of the affairs of a handful of people, that dwelt in tents, and wandered strangely in a wilderness, because they were the children of the covenant: For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.
Israel was now to be formed into a commonwealth, or a kingdom rather; for the Lord was their King, (1 Sam. 12. 12.) their government a theocracy, and Moses under him was King in Jeshurun, Deut. 33. 5. Now for the right settlement of this holy state, next to the institution of good laws, was necessary the institution of good order; an account therefore must be taken of the subjects of this kingdom, which is done in this chapter; where we have,
I. Orders given to Moses to number the people, v. 1 . . 4. II. Persons nominated to assist him herein, v. 6 . . 16. III. The particular number of each tribe, as it was given in to Moses, v. 17 . . 43. The sum total of all together, v. 44 . . 46. V. An exception of the Levites, v. 47 . . 54.
1.AND the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt saying, 2. Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their poll; 3. From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies. 4. And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every