Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Numbers 33:1

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 1-49

This list was written out by Moses at God‘s command Numbers 33:2, doubtless as a memorial of God‘s providential care for His people throughout this long and trying period.

Numbers 33:3-6. For these places, see the marginal reference.

Numbers 33:8

Pi-hahiroth - Hebrew “Hahiroth,” but perhaps only by an error of transcription. However, the omitted “pi” is only a common Egyptian prefix.

Wilderness of Etham - i. e., that part of the great wilderness of Shur which adjoined Etham; compare Exodus 15:22 note.

The list of stations up to that at Sinai agrees with the narrative of Exodus except that we have here mentioned Numbers 33:10 an encampment by the Red Sea, and two others, Dophkah and Alush Numbers 33:12-14, which are there omitted. On these places see Exodus 17:1 note.

Numbers 33:16, Numbers 33:17

See the Numbers 11:35 note.

Numbers 33:18

Rithmah - The name of this station is derived from retem, the broom-plant, the “juniper” of the King James Version. This must be the same encampment as that which is said in Numbers 13:26 to have been at Kadesh.

Numbers 33:19

Rimmon-parez - Or rather Rimmon-perez, i. e., “Rimmon (i. e., the Pomegranate) of the Breach.” It may have been here that the sedition of Korah occurred.

Verse 19-36

The stations named are those visited during the years of penal wandering. The determination of their positions is, in many cases, difficult, because during this period there was no definite line of march pursued. But it is probable that the Israelites during this period did not overstep the boundaries of the wilderness of Paran (as defined in Numbers 10:12), except to pass along the adjoining valley of the Arabah; while the tabernacle and organized camp moved about from place to place among them (compare Numbers 20:1).

Rissah, Haradah, and Tahath are probably the same as Rasa, Aradeh, and Elthi of the Roman tables. The position of Hashmonah (Heshmon in Joshua 15:27) in the Azazimeh mountains points out the road followed by the children of Israel to be that which skirts the southwestern extremity of Jebel Magrah.

Numbers 33:34

Ebronah - i. e, “passage.” This station apparently lay on the shore of the Elanitic gulf, at a point where the ebb of the tide left a ford across. Hence, the later Targum renders the word as “fords.”

Numbers 33:35

Ezion-gaber - “Giant‘s backbone.” The Wady Ghadhyan, a valley running eastward into the Arabah some miles north of the present head of the Elanitic gulf. A salt marsh which here overspreads a portion of the Arabah may be taken as indicating the limit to which the sea anciently reached; and we may thus infer the existence here in former times of an extensive tidal haven, at the head of which the city of Ezion-geber stood. Here it was that from the time of Solomon onward the Jewish navy was constructed 1 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 22:49.

Numbers 33:41-49

Zalmonah and Punon are stations on the Pilgrim‘s road; and the general route is fairly ascertained by a comparison of these verses with Numbers 21:4, etc.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
This is a brief review of the travels of the children of Israel through the wilderness. It is a memorable history. In their travels towards Canaan they were continually on the remove. Such is our state in this world; we have here no continuing city, and all our removes in this world are but from one part a desert to another. They were led to and fro, forward and backward, yet were all the while under the direction of the pillar of cloud and fire. God led them about, yet led them the right way. The way God takes in bringing his people to himself is always the best way, though it does not always seem to us the nearest way. Former events are mentioned. Thus we ought to keep in mind the providences of God concerning us and 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. Few periods of our lives can be thought upon, without reminding us of the Lord's goodness, and our own ingratitude and disobedience: his kindness leaves us without excuse for our sins. We could not wish to travel over again the stages we have passed, unless we could hope, by the grace of God, to shun the sins we then committed, and to embrace such opportunities of doing good as we have let slip. Soon will our wanderings end, and our eternal state be fixed beyond recall; how important then is the present moment! Happy are those whom the Lord now guides with his counsel, and will at length receive to his glory. To this happiness the gospel calls us. Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. Let sinners seize the opportunity, and flee for refuge to the hope set before them. Let us redeem our time, to glorify God and serve our generation; and he will carry us safely through all, to his eternal kingdom.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, 21-2

Pharaoh, horror-stricken at the plagues that had befallen his people, called Moses and Aaron before him in the night and bade them depart from Egypt. He was anxious that they should go without delay; for he and his people feared that unless the curse of God was removed from them, the land would become a vast burial ground. 4T 21.1

The children of Israel were joyful to receive the tidings of their freedom and made haste to leave the scene of their bondage. But the way was toilsome, and at length their courage failed. Their journey led them over barren hills and desolate plains. The third night they found themselves walled in on each side by mountain ranges, while the Red Sea lay before them. They were perplexed and greatly deplored their condition. They blamed Moses for conducting them to this place, for they believed they had taken the wrong course. “This surely,” said they, “is not the way to the wilderness of Sinai, nor to the land of Canaan promised to our fathers. We can go no farther; but must now advance into the waters of the Red Sea, or turn back toward Egypt.” 4T 21.2

Then, as if to complete their misery, behold, the Egyptian host is on their track! The imposing army is led by Pharaoh himself, who has repented that he freed the Hebrews and fears that he has sent them out to become a great nation hostile to himself. What a night of perplexity and distress was this for Israel! What a contrast to that glorious morning when they left the bondage of Egypt and with glad rejoicings took up the line of march into the wilderness! How powerless they felt before that mighty foe! The wailing of the terror-stricken women and children, mingled with the lowing of the frightened cattle and the bleating of the sheep, added to the dismal confusion of the situation. 4T 21.3

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The Route of the Exodus