Previously listed as chiefs or leaders, the head of each tribe is could also be referred to as a prince and is referenced as such in this chapter. After Moses anoints the tabernacle—in the first month, 1 year after leaving Egypt—each prince brings a series of offerings to dedicate the tabernacle. Each prince brought a silver platter that weighed 130 shekels and a silver bowl of 70 shekels, both filled with fine flour. They each also brought 1 gold spoon of 10 shekels (full of incense), 1 bull, 1 ram, 1 lamb of the first year (for a burnt offering), and 1 goat kid (for a sin offering). For a peace offering, each prince brought 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 male goats, and 5 lambs of the first year. Together, the princes bring offerings for the Levites: 12 oxen and 6 wagons. Each wagon was pulled by 2 oxen Two of the wagons and 4 oxen are given to the sons of Gershon, while the other 4 wagons and 8 oxen are given to the sons of Merari. The sons of Kohath are not given any wagons or oxen because their services to sanctuary was to be borne on their shoulders, eliminating the need for a wagon.
Numbers 7 is 89 verses long, but it merely repeats the identical items offered by each prince of Israel. Essentially we have the same paragraph 12 times, followed by a summation of those paragraphs. Why did God tell Moses to write all of that down? It doesn't seem that we need so much detail, from a surface level, yet as we think about what we are being told, it becomes obvious why God bragged on the gifts His servants bestowed upon His tabernacle. It shows the amount of wealth these former slaves had amassed by His hand. Think about it, this takes place only one year after they fled captivity. Most American slaves didn't even know they were free one year after they had been emancipated (and weren’t truly granted their freedom even after the emancipation proclamation), let alone amass this type of wealth.
This passage is not to flaunt the wealth of the Israelites per se, but to flaunt the power of God. God kept His promise to raise up a prosperous nation from Abraham's seed, and He didn't hold back. From the moment the Israelites took that first step in sacrificing the passover lamb before the tenth plague of Egypt, God took care of them. Similarly, today, from the moment we take that first step to believe in our eternal Passover Lamb, Jesus, God is taking care of us.
References and Footnotes
- Thomas Nelson Publishers. KJV Study Bible. 1988
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