In this chapter we have,
I. A particular account of the removals and encampments of the children
of Israel, from their escape out of Egypt to their entrance into
Canaan, forty-two in all, with some remarkable events that happened at
some of those places,
II. A strict command given them to drive out all the inhabitants of the
land of Canaan, which they were not going to conquer and take
So that the former part of the chapter looks back upon their march
through the wilderness, the latter looks forward to their settlement in
|Encampments of the Israelites.
||B. C. 1452.|
1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel, which
went forth out of the land of Egypt with their armies under the
hand of Moses and Aaron.
2 And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys
by the commandment of the LORD: and these are their journeys
according to their goings out.
3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the
fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the
passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the
sight of all the Egyptians.
4 For the Egyptians buried all their firstborn, which the
LORD had smitten among them: upon their gods also the LORD
5 And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and pitched
6 And they departed from Succoth, and pitched in Etham, which
is in the edge of the wilderness.
7 And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto
Pi-hahiroth, which is before Baal-zephon: and they pitched before
8 And they departed from before Pi-hahiroth, and passed through
the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days'
journey in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah.
9 And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim: and in Elim
were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm
trees; and they pitched there.
10 And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red sea.
11 And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the
wilderness of Sin.
12 And they took their journey out of the wilderness of Sin,
and encamped in Dophkah.
13 And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush.
14 And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim, where
was no water for the people to drink.
15 And they departed from Rephidim, and pitched in the
wilderness of Sinai.
16 And they removed from the desert of Sinai, and pitched at
17 And they departed from Kibroth-hattaavah, and encamped at
18 And they departed from Hazeroth, and pitched in Rithmah.
19 And they departed from Rithmah, and pitched at Rimmon-parez.
20 And they departed from Rimmon-parez, and pitched in Libnah.
21 And they removed from Libnah, and pitched at Rissah.
22 And they journeyed from Rissah, and pitched in Kehelathah.
23 And they went from Kehelathah, and pitched in mount Shapher.
24 And they removed from mount Shapher, and encamped in
25 And they removed from Haradah, and pitched in Makheloth.
26 And they removed from Makheloth, and encamped at Tahath.
27 And they departed from Tahath, and pitched at Tarah.
28 And they removed from Tarah, and pitched in Mithcah.
29 And they went from Mithcah, and pitched in Hashmonah.
30 And they departed from Hashmonah, and encamped at Moseroth.
31 And they departed from Moseroth, and pitched in Bene-jaakan.
32 And they removed from Bene-jaakan, and encamped at
33 And they went from Hor-hagidgad, and pitched in Jotbathah.
34 And they removed from Jotbathah, and encamped at Ebronah.
35 And they departed from Ebronah, and encamped at Ezion-gaber.
36 And they removed from Ezion-gaber, and pitched in the
wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh.
37 And they removed from Kadesh, and pitched in mount Hor, in
the edge of the land of Edom.
38 And Aaron the priest went up into mount Hor at the
commandment of the LORD, and died there, in the fortieth year
after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt,
in the first day of the fifth month.
39 And Aaron was an hundred and twenty and three years old
when he died in mount Hor.
40 And king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south in the
land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel.
41 And they departed from mount Hor, and pitched in Zalmonah.
42 And they departed from Zalmonah, and pitched in Punon.
43 And they departed from Punon, and pitched in Oboth.
44 And they departed from Oboth, and pitched in Ije-abarim, in
the border of Moab.
45 And they departed from Iim, and pitched in Dibon-gad.
46 And they removed from Dibon-gad, and encamped in
47 And they removed from Almon-diblathaim, and pitched in the
mountains of Abarim, before Nebo.
48 And they departed from the mountains of Abarim, and pitched
in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
49 And they pitched by Jordan, from Beth-jesimoth even unto
Abel-shittim in the plains of Moab.
This is a review and brief rehearsal of the travels of the children of
Israel through the wilderness. It was a memorable history and well
worthy to be thus abridged, and the abridgment thus preserved, to the
honour of God that led them and for the encouragement of the
generations that followed. Observe here,
I. How the account was kept: Moses wrote their goings out,
When they began this tedious march, God ordered him to keep a journal
or diary, and to insert in it all the remarkable occurrences of their
way, that it might be a satisfaction to himself in the review and an
instruction to others when it should be published. It may be of good
use to private Christians, but especially to those in public stations,
to preserve in writing an account of the providences of God concerning
them, the constant series of mercies they have experienced, especially
those turns and changes which have made some days of their lives more
remarkable. Our memories are deceitful and need this help, that we may
remember all the way which the Lord our God has led us in this
II. What the account itself was. It began with their departure out of
Egypt, continued with their march through the wilderness, and ended in
the plains of Moab, where they now lay encamped.
1. Some things are observed here concerning their departure out of
Egypt, which they are reminded of upon all occasions, as a work of
wonder never to be forgotten.
(1.) That they went forth with their armies
rank and file, as an army with banners.
(2.) Under the hand of Moses and Aaron, their guides, overseers, and
rulers, under God.
(3.) With a high hand, because God's hand was high that wrought
for them, and in the sight of all the Egyptians,
They did not steal away clandestinely
but in defiance of their enemies, to whom God had made them such a
burdensome stone that they neither could, nor would, nor durst, oppose
(4.) They went forth while the Egyptians were burying, or at least
preparing to bury, their first-born,
They had a mind good enough, or rather bad enough, still to have
detained the Israelites their prisoners, but God found them other work
to do. They would have God's first-born buried alive, but God set them
a burying their own first-born.
(5.) To all the plagues of Egypt it is added here that on their gods
also the Lord executed judgments. Their idols which they
worshipped, it is probable, were broken down, as Dagon afterwards
before the ark, so that they could not consult them about this great
affair. To this perhaps there is reference,
The idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence.
2. Concerning their travels towards Canaan. Observe,
(1.) They were continually upon the remove. When they had pitched a
little while in one place they departed from that to another. Such is
our state in this world; we have here no continuing city.
(2.) Most of their way lay through a wilderness, uninhabited,
untracked, unfurnished even with the necessaries of human life, which
magnifies the wisdom and power of God, by whose wonderful conduct and
bounty the thousands of Israel not only subsisted for forty years in
that desolate place, but came out at least as numerous and vigorous as
they went in. At first they pitched in the edge of the
but afterwards in the heart of it; by less difficulties God prepares
his people for greater. We find them in the wilderness of Etham
Our removals in this world are but from one wilderness to another.
(3.) They were led to and fro, forward and backward, as in a maze or
labyrinth, and yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar
of cloud and fire. He led them about
and yet led them the right way,
The way which God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the
best way, though it does not always seem to us the nearest way.
(4.) Some events are mentioned in this journal, as their want of water
the death of Aaron
the insult of Arad
and the very name of Kibroth-hattaavah--the graves of lusts
has a story depending upon it. Thus we ought to keep in mind the
providences of God concerning us and our families, us and our land, and
the many instances of that divine care which has led us, and fed us,
and kept us, all our days hitherto. Shittim, the place where the
people sinned in the matter of Peor
is here called Abel-shittim. Abel signifies mourning (as
and probably this place was so called from the mourning of the good
people of Israel on account of that sin and of God's wrath against them
for it. It was so great a mourning that it gave a name to the
|The Canaanites Doomed.
||B. C. 1452.|
50 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the plains of Moab by
Jordan near Jericho, saying,
51 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When
ye are passed over Jordan into the land of Canaan;
52 Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from
before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their
molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:
53 And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and
dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it.
54 And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among
your families: and to the more ye shall give the more
inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance:
every man's inheritance shall be in the place where his lot
falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall
55 But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land
from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye
let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in
your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.
56 Moreover it shall come to pass, that I shall do unto you,
as I thought to do unto them.
While the children of Israel were in the wilderness their total
separation from all other people kept them out of the way of temptation
to idolatry, and perhaps this was one thing intended by their long
confinement in the wilderness, that thereby the idols of Egypt might be
forgotten, and the people aired (as it were) and purified from that
infection, and the generation that entered Canaan might be such as
never knew those depths of Satan. But now that they were to pass over
Jordan they were entering again into that temptation, and therefore,
1. They are here strictly charged utterly to destroy all remnants of
idolatry. They must not only drive out the inhabitants of the
land, that they may possess their country, but they must deface all
their idolatrous pictures and images, and pull down all their high
They must not preserve any of them, no, not as monuments of antiquity
to gratify the curious, nor as ornaments of their houses, nor toys for
their children to play with, but they must destroy all, both in token
of their abhorrence and detestation of idolatry and to prevent their
being tempted to worship those images, and the false gods represented
by them, or to worship the God of Israel by such images or
2. They were assured that, if they did so, God would by degrees put
them in full possession of the land of promise,
If they would keep themselves pure from the idols of Canaan, God would
enrich them with the wealth of Canaan. Learn not their way, and then
fear not their power.
3. They were threatened that, if they spared either the idols or the
idolaters, they should be beaten with their own rod and their sin would
certainly be their punishment.
(1.) They would foster snakes in their own bosoms,
The remnant of the Canaanites, if they made any league with them,
though it were but a cessation of arms, would be pricks in their
eyes and thorns in their sides, that is, they would be upon all
occasions vexatious to them, insulting them, robbing them, and, to the
utmost of their power, making mischief among them. We must expect
trouble and affliction from that, whatever it is, which we sinfully
indulge; that which we are willing should tempt us we shall find will
(2.) The righteous God would turn that wheel upon the Israelites which
was to have crushed the Canaanites: I shall do to you as I thought
to do unto them,
It was intended that the Canaanites should be dispossessed; but if the
Israelites fell in with them, and learned their way, they should be
dispossessed, for God's displeasure would justly be greater against
them than against the Canaanites themselves. Let us hear this, and
fear. If we do not drive sin out, sin will drive us out; if we be not
the death of our lusts, our lusts will be the death of our souls.