8:3 And Aaron did so; he set up the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, as the Lord commanded Moses. 8:4 This is how the lampstand was made: 4 It was beaten work in gold; 5 from its shaft to its flowers it was beaten work. According to the pattern which the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
8:5 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 8:6 “Take the Levites from among the Israelites and purify 6 them. 8:7 And do this 7 to them to purify them: Sprinkle water of purification 8 on them; then have them shave 9 all their body 10 and wash 11 their clothes, and so purify themselves. 12 8:8 Then they are to take a young bull with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with olive oil; and you are to take a second young bull for a purification offering. 13 8:9 You are to bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the entire community of the Israelites. 8:10 Then you are to bring the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on the Levites; 14 8:11 and Aaron is to offer 15 the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the Israelites, that they may do the work 16 of the Lord. 8:12 When 17 the Levites lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, offer 18 the one for a purification offering and the other for a whole burnt offering to the Lord, 19 to make atonement for the Levites. 8:13 You are to have the Levites stand before Aaron 20 and his sons, and then offer them as a wave offering to the Lord. 8:14 And so 21 you are to separate the Levites from among the Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.
8:15 “After this, the Levites will go in 22 to do the work 23 of the tent of meeting. So you must cleanse them 24 and offer them like a wave offering. 25 8:16 For they are entirely given 26 to me from among the Israelites. I have taken them for myself instead of 27 all who open the womb, the firstborn sons of all the Israelites. 8:17 For all the firstborn males among the Israelites are mine, both humans and animals; when I destroyed 28 all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I set them apart for myself. 8:18 So I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn sons among the Israelites. 8:19 I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the Israelites, to do the work for the Israelites in the tent of meeting, and to make atonement for the Israelites, so there will be no plague among the Israelites when the Israelites come near the sanctuary.” 29
8:20 So Moses and Aaron and the entire community of the Israelites did this with the Levites. According to all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, this is what the Israelites did with them. 8:21 The Levites purified themselves 30 and washed their clothing; then Aaron presented them like a wave offering before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to purify them. 8:22 After this, the Levites went in to do their work in the tent of meeting before Aaron and before his sons. As the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did.
8:23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 8:24 “This is what pertains to the Levites: 31 At the age of twenty-five years 32 and upward one may begin to join the company 33 in the work of the tent of meeting, 8:25 and at the age of fifty years they must retire from performing the work and may no longer work. 8:26 They may assist 34 their colleagues 35 in the tent of meeting, to attend to needs, but they must do no work. This is the way you must establish 36 the Levites regarding their duties.”
9:2 “The Israelites are to observe 39 the Passover 40 at its appointed time. 41 9:3 In the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, 42 you are to observe it at its appointed time; you must keep 43 it in accordance with all its statutes and all its customs.” 44 9:4 So Moses instructed 45 the Israelites to observe 46 the Passover. 9:5 And they observed the Passover 47 on the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight in the wilderness of Sinai; in accordance with all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Israelites did.
9:6 It happened that some men 48 who were ceremonially defiled 49 by the dead body of a man 50 could not keep 51 the Passover on that day, so they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day. 9:7 And those men said to him, “We are ceremonially defiled by the dead body of a man; why are we kept back from offering the Lord’s offering at its appointed time among the Israelites?” 9:8 So Moses said to them, “Remain 52 here and I will hear 53 what the Lord will command concerning you.”
9:9 The Lord spoke to Moses: 9:10 “Tell the Israelites, ‘If any 54 of you or of your posterity become ceremonially defiled by touching a dead body, or are on a journey far away, then he may 55 observe the Passover to the Lord. 9:11 They may observe it on the fourteenth day of the second month 56 at twilight; they are to eat it with bread made without yeast and with bitter herbs. 9:12 They must not leave any of it until morning, nor break any of its bones; they must observe it in accordance with every statute of the Passover.
9:13 But 57 the man who is ceremonially clean, and was not on a journey, and fails 58 to keep the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people. 59 Because he did not bring the Lord’s offering at its appointed time, that man must bear his sin. 60 9:14 If a resident foreigner lives 61 among you and wants to keep 62 the Passover to the Lord, he must do so according to the statute of the Passover, and according to its custom. You must have 63 the same 64 statute for the resident foreigner 65 and for the one who was born in the land.’”
9:15 66 On 67 the day that the tabernacle was set up, 68 the cloud 69 covered the tabernacle – the tent of the testimony 70 – and from evening until morning there was 71 a fiery appearance 72 over the tabernacle. 9:16 This is the way it used to be continually: The cloud would cover it by day, 73 and there was a fiery appearance by night. 9:17 Whenever the cloud was taken up 74 from the tabernacle, then after that the Israelites would begin their journey; and in whatever place 75 the cloud settled, there the Israelites would make camp. 9:18 At the commandment 76 of the Lord the Israelites would begin their journey, and at the commandment of the Lord they would make camp; as long as 77 the cloud remained settled over the tabernacle they would camp. 9:19 When the cloud remained over the tabernacle many days, then the Israelites obeyed the instructions 78 of the Lord and did not journey.
9:20 When 79 the cloud remained over the tabernacle a number of days, 80 they remained camped according to the Lord’s commandment, 81 and according to the Lord’s commandment they would journey. 9:21 And when 82 the cloud remained only 83 from evening until morning, when the cloud was taken up 84 the following morning, then they traveled on. Whether by day or by night, when the cloud was taken up they traveled. 9:22 Whether it was for two days, or a month, or a year, 85 that the cloud prolonged its stay 86 over the tabernacle, the Israelites remained camped without traveling; 87 but when it was taken up, they traveled on. 9:23 At the commandment of the Lord they camped, and at the commandment of the Lord they traveled on; they kept the instructions of the Lord according to the commandment of the Lord, by the authority 88 of Moses.
10:1 89 The Lord spoke to Moses: 10:2 “Make 90 two trumpets of silver; you are to make 91 them from a single hammered piece. 92 You will use them 93 for assembling the community and for directing the traveling of the camps. 10:3 When 94 they blow 95 them both, all the community must come 96 to you to the entrance of the tent of meeting.
10:4 “But if they blow with one trumpet, then the leaders, the heads of the thousands of Israel, must come to you. 97 10:5 When you blow an alarm, 98 then the camps that are located 99 on the east side must begin to travel. 100 10:6 And when you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that are located on the south side must begin to travel. 101 An alarm must be sounded 102 for their journeys. 10:7 But when you assemble the community, 103 you must blow, but you must not sound an alarm. 104 10:8 The sons of Aaron, the priests, must blow the trumpets; and they will be to you for an eternal ordinance throughout your generations. 10:9 If you go to war in your land against an adversary who opposes 105 you, then you must sound an alarm with the trumpets, and you will be remembered before the Lord your God, and you will be saved 106 from your enemies.
10:10 “Also in the time when you rejoice, such as 107 on your appointed festivals or 108 at the beginnings of your months, you must blow with your trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings, so that they may 109 become 110 a memorial for you before your God: I am the Lord your God.”
10:11 111 On the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, the cloud was taken up from the tabernacle of the testimony. 112 10:12 So the Israelites set out 113 on their journeys from the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud settled in the wilderness of Paran.
10:15 Over the company of the tribe of Issacharites was Nathanel son of Zuar, 10:16 and over the company of the tribe of the Zebulunites was Elion son of Helon. 10:17 Then the tabernacle was dismantled, and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out, carrying the tabernacle.
10:18 The standard of the camp of Reuben set out according to their companies; over his company was Elizur son of Shedeur. 10:19 Over the company of the tribe of the Simeonites was Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, 10:20 and over the company of the tribe of the Gadites was Eliasaph son of Deuel. 10:21 And the Kohathites set out, carrying the articles for the sanctuary; 117 the tabernacle was to be set up 118 before they arrived. 119 10:22 And the standard of the camp of the Ephraimites set out according to their companies; over his company was Elishama son of Ammihud. 10:23 Over the company of the tribe of the Manassehites was Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, 10:24 and over the company of the tribe of Benjaminites was Abidan son of Gideoni.
10:25 The standard of the camp of the Danites set out, which was the rear guard 120 of all the camps by their companies; over his company was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 10:26 Over the company of the tribe of the Asherites was Pagiel son of Ocran, 10:27 and over the company of the tribe of the Naphtalites was Ahira son of Enan. 10:28 These were the traveling arrangements 121 of the Israelites according to their companies when they traveled. 122
10:29 123 Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel, the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, 124 “We are journeying to the place about which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, 125 for the Lord has promised good things 126 for Israel.” 10:30 But Hobab 127 said to him, “I will not go, but I will go instead to my own land and to my kindred.” 10:31 Moses 128 said, “Do not leave us, 129 because you know places for us to camp in the wilderness, and you could be our guide. 130 10:32 And if you come with us, it is certain 131 that whatever good things the Lord will favor us with, we will share with you as well.”
10:33 So they traveled from the mountain of the Lord three days’ journey; 132 and the ark of the covenant of the Lord was traveling before them during the three days’ journey, to find a resting place for them. 10:34 133 And the cloud of the Lord was over them by day, when they traveled 134 from the camp. 10:35 And when the ark traveled, Moses would say, “Rise up, O Lord! May your enemies be scattered, and may those who hate you flee before you!” 10:36 And when it came to rest he would say, “Return, O Lord, to the many thousands of Israel!” 135
11:1 136 When the people complained, 137 it displeased 138 the Lord. When the Lord heard 139 it, his anger burned, 140 and so 141 the fire of the Lord 142 burned among them and consumed some of the outer parts of the camp. 11:2 When the people cried to Moses, he 143 prayed to the Lord, and the fire died out. 144 11:3 So he called the name of that place Taberah 145 because there the fire of the Lord burned among them.
11:4 146 Now the mixed multitude 147 who were among them craved more desirable foods, 148 and so the Israelites wept again 149 and said, “If only we had meat to eat! 150 11:5 We remember 151 the fish we used to eat 152 freely 153 in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. 11:6 But now we 154 are dried up, 155 and there is nothing at all before us 156 except this manna!” 11:7 (Now the manna was like coriander seed, and its color like the color of bdellium. 11:8 And the people went about and gathered it, and ground it with mills or pounded it in mortars; they baked it in pans and made cakes of it. It tasted like fresh olive oil. 157 11:9 And when the dew came down 158 on the camp in the night, the manna fell 159 with it.)
11:10 160 Moses heard the people weeping 161 throughout their families, everyone at the door of his tent; and when the anger of the Lord was kindled greatly, Moses was also displeased. 162 11:11 And Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you afflicted 163 your servant? Why have I not found favor in your sight, that 164 you lay the burden of this entire people on me? 11:12 Did I conceive this entire people? 165 Did I give birth to 166 them, that you should say to me, ‘Carry them in your arms, as a foster father 167 bears a nursing child,’ to the land which you swore to their fathers? 11:13 From where shall I get 168 meat to give to this entire people, for they cry to me, ‘Give us meat, that we may eat!’ 169 11:14 I am not able to bear this entire people alone, 170 because it 171 is too heavy for me! 11:15 But if you are going to deal 172 with me like this, then kill me immediately. 173 If I have found favor in your sight then do not let me see my trouble.” 174
11:16 175 The Lord said to Moses, “Gather to me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know are elders of the people and officials 176 over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting; let them take their position there with you. 11:17 Then I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take part of the spirit that is on you, and will put it on them, and they will bear some of the burden of the people with you, so that you do not bear it 177 all by yourself.
11:18 “And say to the people, ‘Sanctify yourselves 178 for tomorrow, and you will eat meat, for you have wept in the hearing 179 of the Lord, saying, “Who will give us meat to eat, 180 for life 181 was good for us in Egypt?” Therefore the Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 11:19 You will eat, not just one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 11:20 but a whole month, 182 until it comes out your nostrils and makes you sick, 183 because you have despised 184 the Lord who is among you and have wept before him, saying, “Why 185 did we ever come out of Egypt?”’”
11:21 Moses said, “The people around me 186 are 600,000 on foot; 187 but you say, ‘I will give them meat, 188 that they may eat 189 for a whole month.’ 11:22 Would they have enough if the flocks and herds were slaughtered for them? If all the fish of the sea were caught for them, would they have enough?” 11:23 And the Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s hand shortened? 190 Now you will see whether my word to you will come true 191 or not!”
11:24 So Moses went out and told the people the words of the Lord. He then gathered seventy men of the elders of the people and had them stand around the tabernacle. 11:25 And the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to them, and he took some of the Spirit that was on Moses 192 and put it on the seventy elders. When the Spirit rested on them, 193 they prophesied, 194 but did not do so again. 195
11:26 But two men remained in the camp; one’s name was Eldad, and the other’s name was Medad. And the spirit rested on them. (Now they were among those in the registration, 196 but had not gone to the tabernacle.) So they prophesied in the camp. 11:27 And a 197 young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp!” 11:28 Joshua son of Nun, the servant 198 of Moses, one of his choice young men, 199 said, 200 “My lord Moses, stop them!” 201 11:29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for me? 202 I wish that 203 all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!” 11:30 Then Moses returned to the camp along with the elders of Israel.
11:31 Now a wind 204 went out 205 from the Lord and brought quail 206 from the sea, and let them fall 207 near the camp, about a day’s journey on this side, and about a day’s journey on the other side, all around the camp, and about three feet 208 high on the surface of the ground. 11:32 And the people stayed up 209 all that day, all that night, and all the next day, and gathered the quail. The one who gathered the least gathered ten homers, 210 and they spread them out 211 for themselves all around the camp. 11:33 But while the meat was still between their teeth, before they chewed it, 212 the anger of the Lord burned against the people, and the Lord struck the people with a very great plague.
11:34 So the name of that place was called Kibroth Hattaavah, 213 because there they buried the people that craved different food. 214 11:35 The people traveled from Kibroth Hattaavah to Hazeroth, and they stayed at Hazeroth.
12:1 215 Then Miriam and Aaron spoke against 216 Moses because of the Cushite 217 woman he had married 218 (for he had married an Ethiopian woman). 12:2 They 219 said, “Has the Lord only 220 spoken through Moses? Has he not also spoken through us?” 221 And the Lord heard it. 222
12:4 The Lord spoke immediately to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam: “The three of you come to the tent of meeting.” So the three of them went. 12:5 And the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the tent; he then called Aaron and Miriam, and they both came forward.
12:6 The Lord 224 said, “Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, 225 I the Lord 226 will make myself known to him in a vision; I will speak with him in a dream. 12:7 My servant 227 Moses is not like this; he is faithful 228 in all my house. 12:8 With him I will speak face to face, 229 openly, 230 and not in riddles; and he will see the form 231 of the Lord. Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?” 12:9 The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he departed. 12:10 When 232 the cloud departed from above the tent, Miriam became 233 leprous 234 as snow. Then Aaron looked at 235 Miriam, and she was leprous!
12:11 So Aaron said to Moses, “O my lord, 236 please do not hold this sin against us, in which we have acted foolishly and have sinned! 12:12 Do not let her be like a baby born dead, whose flesh is half-consumed when it comes out of its 237 mother’s womb!”
12:13 Then Moses cried to the Lord, “Heal her now, O God.” 238 12:14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had only spit 239 in her face, would she not have been disgraced for seven days? Shut her out from the camp seven days, and afterward she can be brought back in again.”
12:15 So Miriam was shut outside of the camp for seven days, and the people did not journey on until Miriam was brought back in. 240 12:16 After that the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the wilderness of Paran.
[8:1] 1 sn This chapter has three main sections to it: the lighting of the lamps (vv. 1-4), the separation of the Levites (vv. 5-22), and the work of the Levites (vv. 23-26). Many modern scholars assume that the chapter belongs to P and was added late. But the chapter reiterates some of the Mosaic material concerning the work of the Levites in the new sanctuary. For the chapter to make sense the historical setting must be accepted; if the historical setting is accepted, the chapter is necessary as part of that early legislation. For more reading, see M. Haran, “The Nature of the’ohel mo‘edh in the Pentateuchal Sources,” JSS 5 (1960): 50-65, and “The Priestly Image of the Tabernacle,” HUCA 36 (1965): 191-226; and C. L. Meyers, The Tabernacle Menorah.
[8:2] 2 tn The verb is עָלָה (’alah). The Hiphil infinitive construct functions in a temporal clause. The idea of arranging the lamps on the lampstand certainly involved raising the lamps and placing them on the tops of each shaft and branch. Some have taken the idea to mean cause the flame to go up, or light the lamps.
[8:2] 3 tn The imperfect tense forms part of the instruction, and so the translation has to indicate that. The instruction would seem obvious, but the light was to shine in the area immediately in front of the lampstand, so that it would illumine the way and illumine the table that was across the room (hence, “in front of”).
[8:6] 6 tn The verb טָהַר (tahar) means that Moses was “to purify” or “to make ceremonially clean” the Levites so that they could enter the sanctuary and do the work prescribed for them. Whatever is “unclean” is not permitted in the sanctuary at all.
[8:7] 8 tn The genitive in this expression indicates the purpose of the water – it is for their purification. The expression is literally “the waters of sin.” The word “purification” is the same as for the “sin/purification offering” – חַטָּאת (khatta’at). This water seems to have been taken from the main laver and is contrasted with the complete washing of the priests in Lev 8:6.
[8:7] 9 tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) of sequence. This verb, and those to follow, has the force of a jussive since it comes after the imperative. Here the instruction is for them to remove the hair from their bodies (“flesh”). There is no indication that this was repeated (as the Egyptian priests did every few days). It seems to have been for this special occasion only. A similar requirement was for the leper (Lev 14:7-9).
[8:7] 12 tn The verb is a reflexive (or possibly passive) in this verse, indicating the summary of the process. The ritual steps that have been prescribed will lead to this conclusion. The verb could be treated as a final imperfect (being a perfect with vav [ו] consecutive), and so translated “that they may….” The major difference here is that the ritual made the Levites “clean,” whereas the ritual for the priests made them “holy” or “sanctified” (Lev 8:12).
[8:10] 14 sn The consecration ceremony was to be done in full view of the assembled people. In all probability the laying on of the hands was done through representatives of the tribes, and not all the people. This ritual of the imposition of hands showed that the people were taking part in the consecration, and that the Levites represented them in the service of the
[8:11] 15 tn The Hebrew text actually has “wave the Levites as a wave offering.” The wave offering was part of the ritual of the peace offering and indicated the priest’s portion being presented to God in a lifted, waving motion for all to see. The Levites were going to be in the sanctuary to serve the
[8:12] 17 tn The clause begins with a vav (ו) on the noun “the Levites,” indicating a disjunctive clause. Here it is clearly a subordinate clause prior to the instruction for Moses, and so translated as a circumstantial clause of time.
[8:14] 21 tn The vav (ו) consecutive on the perfect tense not only carries the nuance of instruction forward to this clause, but also marks this clause out as a summary of what has taken place, i.e., by doing all this ritual Moses will have separated the Levites from the people for God’s own possession.
[8:15] 24 tn The two verbs in the rest of this verse are perfect tenses with vav (ו) consecutive constructions, making them equal to the imperfect. Some commentators try to get around the difficulty of repetition by making these future perfects, “and you will have cleansed,” as opposed to a summary statement, “for thus you will cleanse….”
[8:19] 29 sn The firstborn were those that were essentially redeemed from death in Egypt when the blood was put on the doors. So in the very real sense they belonged to God (Exod 13:2,12). The firstborn was one who stood in special relationship to the father, being the successive offspring. Here, the Levites would stand in for the firstborn in that special role and special relationship. God also made it clear that the nation of Israel was his firstborn son (Exod 4:22-23), and so they stood in that relationship before all the nations. The tribe of Reuben was to have been the firstborn tribe, but in view of the presumptuous attempt to take over the leadership through pagan methods (Gen 35:22; 49:3-4), was passed over. The tribes of Levi and Simeon were also put down for their ancestors’ activities, but sanctuary service was still given to Levi.
[8:21] 30 tn The verb is the Hitpael of חָטָּא (khatta’). In this stem the meaning of the root “to sin” is likely to be connected to the noun “sin/purification” offering in a denominative sense, although some would take it as a privative usage, “to remove sin.” The idea is clear enough: They performed all the ritual in order to purify themselves ceremonially.
[8:24] 32 tc The age of twenty-five indicated in v. 24 should be compared with the age of thirty indicated in Num 4:3,23,30. In order to harmonize the numbers given in chapter 4 with the number given in Num 8:24 the LXX (and perhaps its Hebrew Vorlage) has thirty in all of these references. See further G. J. Wenham, Numbers (TOTC 4), 97-98.
[8:26] 34 tn The verb is the Piel perfect of שָׁרַת (sharat, “to serve, minister”). Here the form has the vav (ו) consecutive, and so is equal to the imperfect tense stressing permission. After the Levites reached the age of retirement, they were permitted to assist the others, but were not permitted to do the work themselves.
[9:1] 37 sn The chapter has just the two sections, the observance of the Passover (vv. 1-14) and the cloud that led the Israelites in the wilderness (vv. 15-23). It must be remembered that the material in vv. 7-9 is chronologically earlier than vv. 1-6, as the notices in the text will make clear. The two main discussions here are the last major issues to be reiterated before dealing with the commencement of the journey.
[9:1] 38 tn The temporal clause is formed with the infinitive construct of יָצָא (yatsa’, “to go out; to leave”). This verse indicates that a full year had passed since the exodus and the original Passover; now a second ruling on the Passover is included at the beginning of the second year. This would have occurred immediately after the consecration of the tabernacle, in the month before the census at Sinai.
[9:2] 40 sn For a detailed study note on the Passover, see the discussion with the original institution in Exod 12. The word פֶּסַח (pesakh) – here in pause and with the article – has become the technical name for the spring festival of Israel. In Exod 12 the name is explained by the use of the verb “to pass over” (עָבַר, ’avar), indicating that the angel of death would pass over the house with the blood applied. Many scholarly attempts have been made to supply the etymology of the word, but none has been compelling enough to be accepted by a large number of biblical scholars. For general literature on the Passover, see J. B. Segal, The Hebrew Passover, as well as the Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias.
[9:3] 42 tn The literal Hebrew expression is “between the evenings” (so also in vv. 5, 11). Sunset is certainly one evening; the other may refer to the change in the middle of the afternoon to the late afternoon, or the beginning of dusk. The idea is probably just at twilight, or dusk (see R. B. Allen, TWOT 2:694).
[9:3] 44 tn The two words in this last section are standard “Torah” words. The word חֹק (khoq) is a binding statute, something engraved and monumental. The word מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) means “judgment, decision,” but with a more general idea of “custom” at its core. The verse is making it very clear that the Passover had to follow the custom and form that was legislated in Egypt.
[9:6] 51 tn This clause begins with the vav (ו) conjunction and negative before the perfect tense. Here is the main verb of the sentence: They were not able to observe the Passover. The first part of the verse provides the explanation for their problem.
[9:11] 56 sn The delay of four weeks for such people would have permitted enough time for them to return from their journey, or to recover from any short termed defilement such as is mentioned here. Apart from this provision, the Passover was to be kept precisely at the proper time.
[9:13] 58 tn The verb חָדַל (khadal) means “to cease; to leave off; to fail.” The implication here is that it is a person who simply neglects to do it. It does not indicate that he forgot, but more likely that he made the decision to leave it undone.
[9:13] 59 sn The pronouncement of such a person’s penalty is that his life will be cut off from his people. There are at least three possible interpretations for this: physical death at the hand of the community (G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 84-85), physical and/or spiritual death at the hand of God (J. Milgrom, “A Prolegomenon to Lev 17:11,” JBL 90 : 154-55), or excommunication or separation from the community (R. A. Cole, Exodus [TOTC], 109). The direct intervention of God seem to be the most likely in view of the lack of directions for the community to follow. Excommunication from the camp in the wilderness would have been tantamount to a death sentence by the community, and so there really are just two views.
[9:14] 61 tn The words translated “resident foreigner” and “live” are from the same Hebrew root, גּוּר (gur), traditionally translated “to sojourn.” The “sojourner” who “sojourns” is a foreigner, a resident alien, who lives in the land as a temporary resident with rights of land ownership.
[9:14] 62 tn The verb is the simple perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. It is therefore the equivalent to the imperfect that comes before it. The desiderative imperfect fits this usage well, since the alien is not required to keep the feast, but may indeed desire to do so.
[9:15] 66 sn This section (Num 9:15-23) recapitulates the account in Exod 40:34 but also contains some additional detail about the cloud that signaled Israel’s journeys. Here again material from the book of Exodus is used to explain more of the laws for the camp in motion.
[9:15] 68 tn The construction uses the temporal expression with the Hiphil infinitive construct followed by the object, the tabernacle. “On the day of the setting up of the tabernacle” leaves the subject unstated, and so the entire clause may be expressed in the passive voice.
[9:15] 69 sn The explanation and identification of this cloud has been a subject of much debate. Some commentators have concluded that it was identical with the cloud that led the Israelites away from Egypt and through the sea, but others have made a more compelling case that this is a different phenomenon (see ZPEB 4:796). A number of modern scholars see the description as a retrojection from later, perhaps Solomonic times (see G. H. Davies, IDB 3:817). Others have tried to connect it with Ugaritic terminology, but unconvincingly (see T. W. Mann, “The Pillar of Cloud in the Reed Sea Narrative,” JBL 90 : 15-30; G. E. Mendenhall, The Tenth Generation, 32-66, 209-13; and R. Good, “Cloud Messengers?” UF 10 : 436-37).
[9:15] 71 tn The imperfect tense in this and the next line should be classified as a customary imperfect, stressing incomplete action but in the past time – something that used to happen, or would happen.
[9:17] 75 tn Heb “in the place where it settled there”; the relative clause modifies the noun “place,” and the resumptive adverb completes the related idea – “which it settled there” means “where it settled.”
[9:18] 77 tn Heb “all the days of – that the cloud settled over the tabernacle.” “All” is the adverbial accusative of time telling how long they camped in one spot – all. The word is then qualified by the genitive of the thing measured – “all of the days” – and this in turn is qualified by a noun clause functioning as a genitive after “days of.”
[9:19] 78 tn This is the same Hebrew expression that was used earlier for the Levites “keeping their charge” or more clearly, “fulfilling their obligations” to take care of the needs of the people and the sanctuary. It is a general expression using שָׁמַר (shamar) followed by its cognate noun מִשְׁמֶרֶת (mishmeret).
[9:20] 79 tn The sentence uses וְיֵשׁ (vÿyesh) followed by a noun clause introduced with אֲשֶׁר (’asher) to express an existing situation; it is best translated as an adverbial clause of time: “and it was when the cloud was….”
[9:22] 85 tn The MT has אוֹ־יָמִים (’o-yamim). Most translators use “or a year” to interpret this expression in view of the sequence of words leading up to it, as well as in comparison with passages like Judg 17:10 and 1 Sam 1:3 and 27:7. See also the uses in Gen 40:4 and 1 Kgs 17:15. For the view that it means four months, see F. S. North, “Four Month Season of the Hebrew Bible,” VT 11 (1961): 446-48.
[9:22] 86 tn In the Hebrew text this sentence has a temporal clause using the preposition with the Hiphil infinitive construct of אָרַךְ (’arakh) followed by the subjective genitive, “the cloud.” But this infinitive is followed by the infinitive construct לִשְׁכֹּן (lishkon), the two of them forming a verbal hendiadys: “the cloud made long to stay” becomes “the cloud prolonged its stay.”
[10:2] 92 sn The instructions are not clearly spelled out here. But the trumpets were to be made of silver ingots beaten out into a sheet of silver and then bent to form a trumpet. There is archaeological evidence of silver smelting as early as 3000
[10:5] 98 tn The word for an alarm is תְּרוּעָה (tÿru’ah). The root verb of this word means “to give a blast on the trumpet.” It may also on occasion mean “give a shout” in battle (Josh 6:10). In this passage it must refer to the sound of the trumpet.
[10:6] 101 tc The MT does not mention the departures of the northerly and westerly tribes. The Greek text completes the description by adding them, making a full schedule of the departure of the groups of tribes. The Greek is not likely to be original, however, since it carries all the signs of addition to complete the text, making a smooth, full reading. The MT is to be preferred; it apparently used two of the groups to give the idea.
[10:7] 103 tn There is no expressed subject in the initial temporal clause. It simply says, “and in the assembling the assembly.” But since the next verb is the second person of the verb, that may be taken as the intended subject here.
[10:10] 109 tn The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. After the instruction imperfects, this form could be given the same nuance, or more likely, subordinated as a purpose or result clause.
[10:11] 111 sn This section is somewhat mechanical: It begins with an introduction (vv. 11, 12), and then begins with Judah (vv. 13-17), followed by the rest of the tribes (vv. 18-27), and finally closes with a summary (v. 28). The last few verses (vv. 29-36) treat the departure of Hobab.
[10:11] tn The expression is difficult; it is מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת (mishkan ha’edut). The reference is to the sacred shrine that covered the ark with the commandments inside. NEB renders the expression as “tabernacle of the Token”; NAB has “the dwelling of the commandments.”
[10:14] 116 sn The “standard” (דֶּגֶל, degel) was apparently some kind of a symbol put up on a pole to signify the tribal hosts. R. de Vaux thought it simply referred to a pole or a mast, but that would not distinguish tribes (Ancient Israel, 226-27).
[10:29] 123 sn For additional bibliography for this short section, see W. F. Albright, “Jethro, Hobab, and Reuel in Early Hebrew Tradition,” CBQ 25 (1963): 1-11; G. W. Coats, “Moses in Midian,” JBL 92 (1973): 3-10; B. Mazar, “The Sanctuary of Arad and the Family of Hobab the Kenite,” JNES 24 (1965): 297-303; and T. C. Mitchell, “The Meaning of the Noun h£tn in the Old Testament,” VT 19 (1969): 93-112.
[10:29] 124 sn There is a problem with the identity of Hobab. The MT says that he is the son of Reuel, making him the brother-in-law of Moses. But Judg 4:11 says he is the father-in-law. In Judg 1:16; 4:11 Hobab is traced to the Kenites, but in Exod 3:1 and 18:1 Jethro (Reuel) is priest of Midian. Jethro is identified with Reuel on the basis of Exod 2:18 and 3:1, and so Hobab becomes Moses’ חֹתֵן (khoten), a relative by marriage and perhaps brother-in-law. There is not enough information to decide on the identity and relationships involved here. Some suggest that there is one person with the three names (G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 93); others suggest Hobab is a family name (R. F. Johnson, IDB 2:615), and some suggest that the expression “the son of Reuel the Midianite” had dropped out of the genealogy of Judges, leading to the conflict (J. Crichton, ISBE 2:1055). If Hobab is the same as Jethro, then Exod 18:27 does not make much sense, for Jethro did go home. On this basis many conclude Hobab is a brother-in-law. This would mean that after Jethro returned home, Moses conversed with Hobab, his brother-in-law. For more discussion, see the articles and the commentaries.
[10:29] 125 tn The verb is the Hiphil of the root “to be good” (יָטַב, yatav); it may be translated “treat well, deal favorably, generously with.” Here it is a perfect tense with vav (ו) following the imperative, showing a sequence in the verbal ideas.
[10:31] 130 tn In the Hebrew text the expression is more graphic: “you will be for us for eyes.” Hobab was familiar with the entire Sinai region, and he could certainly direct the people where they were to go. The text does not record Hobab’s response. But the fact that Kenites were in Canaan as allies of Judah (Judg 1:16) would indicate that he gave in and came with Moses. The first refusal may simply be the polite Semitic practice of declining first so that the appeal might be made more urgently.
[10:36] 135 sn These two formulaic prayers were offered by Moses at the beginning and at the end of the journeys. They prayed for the
[11:1] 136 sn The chapter includes the initial general complaints (vv. 1-3), the complaints about food (vv. 4-9), Moses’ own complaint to the
[11:1] 137 tn The temporal clause uses the Hitpoel infinitive construct from אָנַן (’anan). It is a rare word, occurring in Lam 3:39. With this blunt introduction the constant emphasis of obedience to the word of the
[11:1] 138 tn Heb “it was evil in the ears of the
[11:1] 140 tn The common Hebrew expression uses the verb חָרָה (harah, “to be hot, to burn, to be kindled”). The subject is אַפּוֹ (’appo), “his anger” or more literally, his nose, which in this anthropomorphic expression flares in rage. The emphasis is superlative – “his anger raged.”
[11:1] 141 tn The vav (ו) consecutive does not simply show sequence in the verbs, but here expresses the result of the anger of the
[11:1] 142 sn The “fire of the
[11:2] 144 sn Here is the pattern that will become in the wilderness experience so common – the complaining turns to a cry to Moses, which is then interpreted as a prayer to the
[11:3] 145 tn The name תַּבְעֵרָה (tav’erah) is given to the spot as a commemorative of the wilderness experience. It is explained by the formula using the same verbal root, “to burn.” Such naming narratives are found dozens of times in the OT, and most frequently in the Pentateuch. The explanation is seldom an exact etymology, and so in the literature is called a popular etymology. It is best to explain the connection as a figure of speech, a paronomasia, which is a phonetic wordplay that may or may not be etymologically connected. Usually the name is connected to the explanation by a play on the verbal root – here the preterite explaining the noun. The significance of commemorating the place by such a device is to “burn” it into the memory of Israel. The narrative itself would be remembered more easily by the name and its motif. The namings in the wilderness wanderings remind the faithful of unbelief, and warn us all not to murmur as they murmured. See further A. P. Ross, “Paronomasia and Popular Etymologies in the Naming Narrative of the Old Testament,” Ph.D. diss., University of Cambridge, 1982.
[11:4] 146 sn The story of the sending of the quail is a good example of poetic justice, or talionic justice. God had provided for the people, but even in that provision they were not satisfied, for they remembered other foods they had in Egypt. No doubt there was not the variety of foods in the Sinai that might have been available in Egypt, but their life had been bitter bondage there as well. They had cried to the
[11:4] 147 tn The mixed multitude (or “rabble,” so NASB, NIV, NRSV; NLT “foreign rabble”) is the translation of an unusual word, הֲָאסַפְסֻף (ha’safsuf). It occurs in the Hebrew Bible only here. It may mean “a gathering of people” from the verb אָסַף (’asaf), yielding the idea of a mixed multitude (in line with Exod 12:38). But the root is different, and so no clear connection can be established. Many commentators therefore think the word is stronger, showing contempt through a word that would be equivalent to “riff-raff.”
[11:4] 148 tn The Hebrew simply uses the cognate accusative, saying “they craved a craving” (הִתְאַוּוּ תַּאֲוָה, hit’avvu ta’vah), but the context shows that they had this strong craving for food. The verb describes a strong desire, which is not always negative (Ps 132:13-14). But the word is a significant one in the Torah; it was used in the garden story for Eve’s desire for the tree, and it is used in the Decalogue in the warning against coveting (Deut 5:21).
[11:4] 149 tc The Greek and the Latin versions read “and they sat down” for “and they returned,” involving just a change in vocalization (which they did not have). This may reflect the same expression in Judg 20:26. But the change does not improve this verse.
[11:4] tn The Hebrew text uses a verbal hendiadys here, one word serving as an adverb for the other. It literally reads “and they returned and they wept,” which means they wept again. Here the weeping is put for the complaint, showing how emotionally stirred up the people had become by the craving. The words throughout here are metonymies. The craving is a metonymy of cause, for it would have then led to expressions (otherwise the desires would not have been known). And the weeping is either a metonymy of effect, or of adjunct, for the actual complaints follow.
[11:4] 150 tn The Hebrew expresses the strong wish or longing idiomatically: “Who will give us flesh to eat?” It is a rhetorical expression not intended to be taken literally, but merely to give expression to the longing they had. See GKC 476 §151.a.1.
[11:5] sn As with all who complain in such situations, their memory was selective. It was their bitter cries to the
[11:5] 153 tn The adverb “freely” is from the word חָנַן (khanan, “to be gracious”), from which is derived the noun “grace.” The word underscores the idea of “free, without cost, for no reason, gratis.” Here the simple sense is “freely,” without any cost. But there may be more significance in the choice of the words in this passage, showing the ingratitude of the Israelites to God for His deliverance from bondage. To them now the bondage is preferable to the salvation – this is what angered the
[11:10] 160 sn Moses begins to feel the burden of caring for this people, a stubborn and rebellious people. His complaint shows how contagious their complaining has been. It is one thing to cry out to God about the load of ministry, but it is quite another to do it in such a way as to reflect a lack of faith in God’s provision. God has to remind the leader Moses that he, the
[11:11] 164 tn The infinitive construct with the preposition is expressing the result of not finding favor with God (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 12-13, §57). What Moses is claiming is that because he has been given this burden God did not show him favor.
[11:12] 165 sn The questions Moses asks are rhetorical. He is actually affirming that they are not his people, that he did not produce them, but now is to support them. His point is that God produced this nation, but has put the burden of caring for their needs on him.
[11:12] 167 tn The word אֹמֵן (’omen) is often translated “nurse,” but the form is a masculine form and would better be rendered as a “foster parent.” This does not work as well, though, with the יֹנֵק (yoneq), the “sucking child.” The two metaphors are simply designed to portray the duty of a parent to a child as a picture of Moses’ duty for the nation. The idea that it portrays God as a mother pushes it too far (see M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 86-87).
[11:14] 170 tn The word order shows the emphasis: “I am not able, I by myself, to bear all this people.” The infinitive לָשֵׂאת (lase’t) serves as the direct object of the verb. The expression is figurative, for bearing or carrying the people means being responsible for all their needs and cares.
[11:14] 171 tn The subject of the verb “heavy” is unstated; in the context it probably refers to the people, or the burden of caring for the people. This responsibility was turning out to be a heavier responsibility than Moses anticipated. Alone he was totally inadequate.
[11:15] 172 tn The participle expresses the future idea of what God is doing, or what he is going to be doing. Moses would rather be killed than be given a totally impossible duty over a people that were not his.
[11:15] 173 tn The imperative of הָרַג (harag) is followed by the infinitive absolute for emphasis. The point is more that the infinitive adds to the emphasis of the imperative mood, which would be immediate compliance.
[11:15] 174 tn Or “my own ruin” (NIV). The word “trouble” here probably refers to the stress and difficulty of caring for a complaining group of people. The suffix on the noun would be objective, perhaps stressing the indirect object of the noun – trouble for me. The expression “on my trouble” (בְּרָעָתִי, bÿra’ati) is one of the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the original reading in v. 15 was [to look] “on your evil” (בְּרָעָתֶךָ, bÿra’atekha), meaning “the calamity that you bring about” for Israel. However, since such an expression could be mistakenly thought to attribute evil to the Lord, the ancient scribes changed it to the reading found in the MT.
[11:16] 175 sn The
[11:16] 176 tn The “officials” (שֹׁטְּרִים, shottÿrim) were a group of the elders who seem to have had some administrative capacities. The LXX used the word “scribes.” For further discussion, see R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 69-70.
[11:17] 177 tn The imperfect tense here is to be classified as a final imperfect, showing the result of this action by God. Moses would be relieved of some of the responsibility when these others were given the grace to understand and to resolve cases.
[11:18] 178 tn The Hitpael is used to stress that they are to prepare for a holy appearance. The day was going to be special and so required their being set apart for it. But it is a holy day in the sense of the judgment that was to follow.
[11:18] 180 tn Possibly this could be given an optative translation, to reflect the earlier one: “O that someone would give….” But the verb is not the same; here it is the Hiphil of the verb “to eat” – “who will make us eat” (i.e., provide meat for us to eat).
[11:20] 183 tn The expression לְזָרָה (lÿzarah) has been translated “ill” or “loathsome.” It occurs only here in the Hebrew Bible. The Greek text interprets it as “sickness.” It could be nausea or vomiting (so G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 112) from overeating.
[11:20] 184 sn The explanation is the interpretation of their behavior – it is in reality what they have done, even though they would not say they despised the
[11:21] 189 tn The verb is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, carrying the sequence from the preceding imperfect tense. However, this verb may be subordinated to the preceding to express a purpose clause.
[11:23] 190 sn This anthropomorphic expression concerns the power of God. The “hand of the
[11:25] 193 tn The temporal clause is introduced by the temporal indicator וַיְהִי (vayÿhi), which need not be translated. It introduces the time of the infinitive as past time narrative. The infinitive construct is from נוּחַ (nuakh, “to rest”). The figurative expression of the Spirit resting upon them indicates the temporary indwelling and empowering by the Spirit in their lives.
[11:25] 194 tn The text may mean that these men gave ecstatic utterances, much like Saul did when the Spirit came upon him and he made the same prophetic utterances (see 1 Sam 10:10-13). But there is no strong evidence for this (see K. L. Barker, “Zechariah,” EBC 7:605-6). In fact there is no consensus among scholars as to the origin and meaning of the verb “prophesy” or the noun “prophet.” It has something to do with speech, being God’s spokesman or spokeswoman or making predictions or authoritative utterances or ecstatic utterances. It certainly does mean that the same Holy Spirit, the same divine provision that was for Moses to enable him to do the things that God had commanded him to do, was now given to them. It would have included wisdom and power with what they were saying and doing – in a way that was visible and demonstrable to the people! The people needed to know that the same provision was given to these men, authenticating their leadership among the clans. And so it could not simply be a change in their understanding and wisdom.
[11:25] 195 tn The final verb of the clause stresses that this was not repeated: “they did not add” is the literal rendering of וְלֹא יָסָפוּ (vÿlo’ yasafu). It was a one-time spiritual experience associated with their installation.
[11:26] 196 tn The form of the word is the passive participle כְּתֻבִים (kÿtuvim, “written”). It is normally taken to mean “among those registered,” but it is not clear if that means they were to be among the seventy or not. That seems unlikely since there is no mention of the seventy being registered, and vv. 24-25 says all seventy went out and prophesied. The registration may be to eldership, or the role of the officer.
[11:28] 199 tn The verb is בָּחַר (bakhar, “to choose”); here the form is the masculine plural participle with a suffix, serving as the object of the preposition מִן (min). It would therefore mean “[one of] his chosen men,” or “[one of] his choice men.”
[11:28] 201 sn The effort of Joshua is to protect Moses’ prerogative as leader by stopping these men in the camp from prophesying. Joshua did not understand the significance in the
[11:29] 202 tn The Piel participle מְקַנֵּא (mÿqanne’) serves as a verb here in this interrogative sentence. The word means “to be jealous; to be envious.” That can be in a good sense, such as with the translation “zeal,” or it can be in a negative sense as here. Joshua’s apparent “zeal” is questioned by Moses – was he zealous/envious for Moses sake, or for some other reason?
[11:29] 203 tn The optative is expressed by the interrogative clause in Hebrew, “who will give….” Moses expresses here the wish that the whole nation would have that portion of the Spirit. The new covenant, of course, would turn Moses’ wish into a certainty.
[11:31] 204 sn The irony in this chapter is expressed in part by the use of the word רוּחַ (ruakh). In the last episode it clearly meant the Spirit of the
[11:31] 206 sn The “quail” ordinarily cross the Sinai at various times of the year, but what is described here is not the natural phenomenon. Biblical scholars looking for natural explanations usually note that these birds fly at a low height and can be swatted down easily. But the description here is more of a supernatural supply and provision. See J. Gray, “The Desert Sojourn of the Hebrews and the Sinai Horeb Tradition,” VT 4 (1954): 148-54.
[11:32] 211 tn The verb (a preterite) is followed by the infinitive absolute of the same root, to emphasize the action of spreading out the quail. Although it is hard to translate the expression, it indicates that they spread these quail out all over the area. The vision of them spread all over was evidence of God’s abundant provision for their needs.
[11:34] 213 sn The name “the graves of the ones who craved” is again explained by a wordplay, a popular etymology. In Hebrew קִבְרוֹת הַתַּאֲוָה (qivrot hatta’avah) is the technical name. It is the place that the people craved the meat, longing for the meat of Egypt, and basically rebelled against God. The naming marks another station in the wilderness where the people failed to accept God’s good gifts with grace and to pray for their other needs to be met.
[12:1] 215 sn In this short chapter we find a prime example of jealousy among leaders and how God dealt with it. Miriam and Aaron are envious of Moses’ leadership, but they use an occasion – his marriage – to criticize him. Often the immediate criticism is simply a surface issue for a deeper matter. God indicates very clearly he will speak through many people, including them, but Moses is different. Moses is the mediator of the covenant. The chapter is a lesson of what not to do. They should have fulfilled their duties before God and not tried to compete or challenge the leader in this way. There is a touch of divine irony here, for Miriam is turned white with leprosy. The chapter falls easily into the sections of the story: the accusation (vv. 1-3), the
[12:1] 216 tn The preposition bet (בְּ) has the adversative sense here, “[speak] against” (see also its use for hostile speech in 21:5, 7). Speaking against is equal to the murmuring throughout the wilderness period. The verb of the sentence is וַתְּדַבֵּר (vattÿdabber), the feminine form of the verb. This indicates that Miriam was the main speaker for the two, the verb agreeing with the first of the compound subject.
[12:1] sn It may be that Miriam was envious of the Cushite woman Moses married. And, in view of the previous chapter’s content about others being given a portion of the Spirit to share in the leadership role, she may have seen this as her chance finally to become just as important in the nation as her younger brother. After all, she safeguarded his birth and early years (Exod 2). But there are two issues here – the reason she gives (“does the
[12:1] 217 tn The Hebrew text has הַכֻּשִׁית (hakkushit, “the Cushite”) as the modifier of “woman.” The Greek text interpreted this correctly as “Ethiopian.” The word Cush in the Bible can describe the Cassites, east of Babylon of the later period (Gen 10:18), or Ethiopia (Isa 20:3; Nah 3:5; et al). Another suggestion is that it would refer to Cushan of Hab 3:7, perhaps close to Midian, and so the area Moses had been. This would suggest it could be Zipporah – but the Bible does not identify the Cushite as Zipporah. The most natural understanding would be that it refers to an Egyptian/Ethiopian woman. The text does not say when Moses married this woman, or what Miriam’s problem with her was. It is clear that it was a racial issue, by virtue of the use of “Cushite.” Whether she was of darker skin than the Hebrews would be hard to say, since the Bible gives no further detail. Neither does it say if this is a second wife, or a woman Moses married since Zipporah went home (Exod 18:2). These do not seem to be the issues the text wishes to elaborate on; it is simply stating that this woman was the occasion for a deeper challenge.
[12:2] 219 tn Now the text changes to use a plural form of the verb. The indication is that Miriam criticized the marriage, and then the two of them raised questions about his sole leadership of the nation.
[12:2] 221 tn There is irony in the construction in the text. The expression “speak through us” also uses דִּבֵּר + בְּ(dibber + bÿ). They ask if God has not also spoken through them, after they have spoken against Moses. Shortly God will speak against them – their words are prophetic, but not as they imagined.
[12:2] sn The questions are rhetorical. They are affirming that God does not only speak through Moses, but also speaks through them. They see themselves as equal with Moses. The question that was asked of the earlier presumptuous Moses – “Who made you a ruler over us?” – could also be asked of them. God had not placed them as equals with Moses. The passage is relevant for today when so many clamor for equal authority and leadership with those whom God has legitimately called.
[12:3] tn The word עָנָו (’anav) means “humble.” The word may reflect a trustful attitude (as in Pss 25:9, 37:11), but perhaps here the idea of “more tolerant” or “long-suffering.” The point is that Moses is not self-assertive. God singled out Moses and used him in such a way as to show that he was a unique leader. For a suggestion that the word means “miserable,” see C. Rogers, “Moses: Meek or Miserable?” JETS 29 (1986): 257-63.
[12:3] sn Humility is a quality missing today in many leaders. Far too many are self-promoting, or competitive, or even pompous. The statement in this passage would have been difficult for Moses to write – and indeed, it is not impossible that an editor might have added it. One might think that for someone to claim to be humble is an arrogant act. But the statement is one of fact – he was not self-assertive (until Num 20 when he strikes the rock).
[12:6] 225 tn The form of this construction is rare: נְבִיאֲכֶם (nÿvi’akhem) would normally be rendered “your prophet.” The singular noun is suffixed with a plural pronominal suffix. Some commentators think the MT has condensed “a prophet” with “to you.”
[12:6] 226 tn The Hebrew syntax is difficult here. “The Lord” is separated from the verb by two intervening prepositional phrases. Some scholars conclude that this word belongs with the verb at the beginning of v. 6 (“And the Lord spoke”).
[12:7] 227 sn The title “my servant” or “servant of the
[12:7] 228 tn The word “faithful” is נֶאֱמָן (ne’eman), the Niphal participle of the verb אָמַן (’aman). This basic word has the sense of “support, be firm.” In the Niphal it describes something that is firm, reliable, dependable – what can be counted on. It could actually be translated “trustworthy.”
[12:8] 229 tn The emphasis of the line is clear enough – it begins literally “mouth to mouth” I will speak with him. In human communication this would mean equality of rank, but Moses is certainly not equal in rank with the
[12:8] 231 tn The word “form” (תְּמוּנָה, tÿmunah) means “shape, image, form.” The Greek text took it metaphorically and rendered it “the glory of the
[12:10] 233 tn There is no verb “became” in this line. The second half of the line is introduced with the particle הִנֵה (hinneh, “look, behold”) in its archaic sense. This deictic use is intended to make the reader focus on Miriam as well.
[12:10] 234 sn The word “leprosy” and “leprous” covers a wide variety of skin diseases, and need not be limited to the actual disease of leprosy known today as Hansen’s disease. The description of it here has to do with snow, either the whiteness or the wetness. If that is the case then there would be open wounds and sores – like Job’s illness (see M. Noth, Numbers [OTL], 95-96).
[12:12] 237 tc The words “its mother” and “its flesh” are among the so-called tiqqune sopherim, or “emendations of the scribes.” According to this tradition the text originally had here “our mother” and “our flesh,” but the ancient scribes changed these pronouns from the first person to the third person. Apparently they were concerned that the image of Moses’ mother giving birth to a baby with physical defects of the sort described here was somehow inappropriate, given the stature and importance of Moses.