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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Numbers 1

 

 

Verse 1

Numbers 1:1 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,

Ver. 1. In the wilderness of Sinai.] Here God held his people well nigh a year. Here they received the law, both moral and ceremonial: the moral drove them to the ceremonial, which was then Christ in figure; as it doth now drive us to Christ in truth. The ceremonial law, saith one, was their gospel. We must also pass by Sinai to Sion, unless we like rather to be carnally secured than soundly comforted. {See Trapp on "Exodus 19:1"}


Verse 2

Numbers 1:2 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 polls;

Ver. 2. Take ye the sum.] Hence this book is named in the Greek, Numbers.


Verse 3

Numbers 1:3 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.

Ver. 3. All that are able.] The people perceiving how many hundred thousand strong they were, might go on with more courage against their enemies. It is an ancient custom in Scotland, in cases of importance, to command the fire cross to be carried; that is, two fire brands to be set in fashion of a cross, and pitched upon the point of a spear, and proclamation is thereupon made, that all men, above sixteen years of age and under sixty, shall come into the field to advance against the common enemy. (a)


Verse 4

Numbers 1:4 And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers.

Ver. 4. A man of every tribe.] These were men of renown. [Numbers 1:16] To "do worthily in Ephrata," is the way to be "famous in Bethlehem." [Ruth 4:11] It is said of a great statesman, in Queen Elizabeth’s days, that he was in the number of those few that both lived and died with glory. (a)


Verse 16

Numbers 1:16 These [were] the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.

Ver. 16. Princes of the tribes.] These were those officers over them in Egypt, saith a Hebrew doctor, that had been beaten for them. [Exodus 5:14] Now they are raised to great preferment. Sic per angusta ad augustum, per spinas ad rosas, per motum ad quietem, per crucem ad coelum contendimus.


Verse 17

Numbers 1:17 And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by [their] names:

Ver. 17. Which are expressed by their names.] And they are all excellent good names and very significant; hereby is testified to posterity that they forgat not the name of their God when they were in the iron furnace, but could say, as Psalms 44:17, "All this is come upon us, yet have we not forgotten thee; though thou hast sore broken us, in the place of dragons," &c.


Verse 18

Numbers 1:18 And they assembled all the congregation together on the first [day] of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

Ver. 18. And they declared their pedigrees.] Which those that could not do, [Ezra 2:62] were cut out of the roll, capite diminuti, cashiered.


Verse 19

Numbers 1:19 As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.

Ver. 19. So he numbered them.] {See Trapp on "Exodus 30:12"} At every general muster they paid poll money. [Exodus 30:16] Such a taxation was first granted in this kingdom to Edward III but in the next reign proved of ill consequence; the exactors receiving from the people no less sums of curses than of coin; whereupon, also, followed the first and greatest popular insurrection that ever was seen in this kingdom. (a)


Verse 47

Numbers 1:47 But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them.

Ver. 47. Were not numbered.] Because, by special privilege exempted from secular and military employments, that they may wholly devote themselves to the service of the sanctuary. Peter, in like sort, must put up his sword; and Timothy "not entangle himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please Him who hath chosen him to be a soldier" of another nature. [2 Timothy 2:4] But Timotheus Herulus, that warlike bishop of Alexandria, A.D. 467, was a gallant fellow in his generation. And some of Peter’s pretended successors were viri biliosi et bellicosi; cast the keys into Tiber, and took up St Paul’s sword, (a) and the imperial clothes. So have various of their dear sons done; as Philip, bishop of Beauvieu, in France, who, being taken in battle by our Richard I, in a skirmish, had his armour he was taken in sent to the Pope, with these words engraven thereon, Vide utrum filii tui tunica sit, vel non, See whether this be thy son’s coat or not.


Verse 53

Numbers 1:53 But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.

Ver. 53. Shall pitch round about.] As the living creatures (the ministers) are between the four and twenty eiders, the congregation of the faithful, and the throne. [Revelation 4:4]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Numbers 1:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/numbers-1.html. 1865-1868.

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