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Numbers Chapter 33
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Exodus
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Deuteronomy

Journeys: The Exodus to Aaron's Death
33:1 These are the journeys of the Israelites, who had left Egypt in organized groups under the leadership of Moses and Aaron.
33:2 Moses recorded their stops along the way at God's command. These were their stops along the way:
33:3 [The Israelites] left Ra'meses on the 15th of the first month. On the day after the Passover [sacrifice] the Israelites left triumphantly before the eyes of the Egyptians.
33:4 Egypt was still burying all their first-born, who had been killed by God, and God had destroyed their idols.
33:5 The Israelites left Ra'meses and camped in Sukkoth.
33:6 They left Sukkoth, and camped in Etham at the edge of the desert.
33:7 They left Etham, and returned to Freedom Valley facing Lord-of-the-North, camping near Tower.
33:8 They left Freedom Valley and crossed the Red Sea toward the desert. They then traveled for three days in the Etham Desert and camped in Marah.
33:9 They left Marah and came to Elim. In Elim there were twelve water springs and seventy palms, and they camped there.
33:10 They left Elim and camped near the Red Sea.
33:11 They left the Red Sea and camped in the Sin Desert.
33:12 They left the Sin Desert and camped in Dofkah.
33:13 They left Dofkah and camped in Alush.
33:14 They left Alush and camped in Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.
33:15 They left Rephidim and camped in the Sinai Desert.
33:16 They left the Sinai Desert and camped in Graves-of-Craving.
33:17 They left Graves-of-Craving and camped in Chatzeroth.
33:18 They left Chatzeroth and camped in Rithmah.
33:19 They left Rithmah and camped in Rimmon Peretz.
33:20 They left Rimmon Peretz and camped in Livnah.
33:21 They left Livnah and camped in Rissah.
33:22 They left Rissah and camped in Kehelathah.
33:23 They left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shefer.
33:24 They left Mount Shefer and camped in Charadah.
33:25 They left Charadah and camped in Mak'heloth.
33:26 They left Mak'heloth and camped in Tachath.
33:27 They left Tachath and camped in Terach.
33:28 They left Terach and camped in Mithkah.
33:29 They left Mithkah and camped in Chashmonah.
33:30 They left Chashmonah and camped in Moseroth.
33:31 They left Moseroth and camped in Beney Yaakan.
33:32 They left Beney Yaakan and camped in Chor HaGidgad.
33:33 They left Chor HaGidgad and camped in Yatvathah.
33:34 They left Yatvathah and camped in Avronah.
33:35 They left Avronah and camped in Etzyon Gever.
33:36 They left Etzyon Gever and camped in Kadesh in the Tzin Desert.
33:37 They left Kadesh and camped at Hor Mountain at the edge of the land of Edom.
33:38 Aaron the priest climbed Hor Mountain at God's command, and he died there on the first day of the fifth month, in the 40th year of the Israelites' exodus from Egypt.
33:39 When he died on Hor Mountain, Aaron was 123 years old.

Final Journeys
33:40 The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev in the land of Canaan, heard that the Israelites had arrived.
33:41 They left Hor Mountain and camped in Tzalmonah.
33:42 They left Tzalmonah and camped in Punon.
33:43 They left Punon and camped in Ovoth.
33:44 They left Ovoth and camped in the Desolate Passes on Moab's borders.
33:45 They left the passes and camped in Divon Gad.
33:46 They left Divon Gad and camped in Almon Divlathaymah.
33:47 They left Almon Divlathaymah and camped in the Avarim mountains in front of Nebo.
33:48 They left the Avarim mountains and camped in the West Plains of Moab on the Jericho Jordan.
33:49 There they camped along the Jordan from Beth HaYeshimoth to Avel Shittim on the West Plains of Moab.

Occupying the Land
33:50 God spoke to Moses in the West Plains of Moab on the Jericho Jordan, telling him to
33:51 speak to the Israelites and say to them:

When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan,

33:52 you must drive out the land's inhabitants ahead of you. You must destroy all their carved stones and demolish all their cast metal idols and high altars.
33:53 Clear out the land and live in it, since it is to you that I am giving the land to occupy.
33:54 It is by a lottery system that you shall distribute the land to your families. To a large [family] give a large portion; to a smaller one, give a smaller portion. Distribute the land to the paternal tribes, and each one shall have what the lottery system dictates.
33:55 If you do not drive out the land's inhabitants before you, those who remain shall be barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, causing you troubles in the land that you settle.
33:56 I will then do to you what I originally planned to do to them.



Commentary:

organized groups
  See Exodus 12:51. Also see Exodus 6:26, 7:4, 12:1, 12:17.

stops
  Or, 'starting points,' literally, 'goings out' (Targum; Ibn Ezra; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah). Or, 'events,' 'these are the events along the way' (Radak, Sherashim; HaKethav VeHaKabbalah; cf. Joshua 2:23). Since most of the place names here occur nowhere else in the Bible, it appears that they were given by the Israelites to commemorate specific events (Abarbanel).

left Ra'meses
  See Exodus 12.37

15th of the first month
  15 Nissan. See Exodus 12:6. This was 15 Nissan, 2448, or, according to Jewish tradition, March 25,1313 b.c.e.

Passover sacrifice
  (cf. Yerushalmi, Challah 2:1). See Leviticus 23:4, Numbers 28:16.

left triumphantly
  Exodus 14:8.

burying all their first-born
  Exodus 12:29.

had destroyed their idols
  Exodus 12:12, 18:11, Isaiah 19:1.

Sukkoth
  'Shelters;' Exodus 12:37. It was there that they were first protected by the Clouds of Glory (Targum Yonathan).

Etham
  Exodus 13:20.

Freedom Valley...
  See Exodus 14:1. From here we see that they actually camped at Migdal (Tower).

crossed the Red Sea
  Exodus 14:22. This was on 21 Nissan, 2448. (March 31, 1313 b.c.e.)

Etham Desert
  See Numbers 33:6. Apparently the Etham Desert encompassed both sides of the northern Red Sea.

Marah
  Exodus 15:23. This was 24 Nissan, 2448 (April 3, 1313 b.c.e)

Elim
  Exodus 16:27.

near
  On the shore of ... (Targum Yonathan).

Red Sea
  See Exodus 15:27. However, some say that the Israelites actually returned to the place where they had crossed the Red Sea (see HaKethav VeHaKabbalah).

Sin Desert
  Exodus 16:1.

Dofkah
  Not mentioned in Exodus; see note on Exodus 17:1. This is possibly Serabith el-Khadim, an oasis south of the ridge that runs across the Sinai.

Alush
  Not mentioned in Exodus; see note on Exodus 17:1. Some say that this is where the manna began to fall; see note on Exodus 16:1 (Bereshith Rabbah 48:12; Sh'moth Rabbah 25:5). The Israelites therefore arrived there on 15 Iyyar, 2448 (April 24, 1313 b.c.e.). It was therefore in Alush that they were given the first Sabbath (Exodus 16:29; Yerushalmi, Betza 2:1, 9b).

Some sources translate Alush as 'powerful city' (Targum Yonathan). The Talmud notes that it was built by Sheshai, one of the giants of Hebron (Numbers, 13:22; Yoma 10a).

Rephidim
  Exodus 17:1. They arrived in Rephidim on Sunday, 23 Iyyar, 2448 (May 3, 1313 b.c.e.; Seder Olam 5).

Sinai Desert
  Exodus 19:1. They arrived on 1 Sivan, 2448 (May 9, 1313 b.c.e.), and remained almost a year, until 20 Iyyar, 2449 (May 17, 1312 b.c.e.); Numbers, 10:11 (Seder Olam 8).

Graves-of-Craving
  Kivroth HaTaavah; Numbers 11:34.

Chatzeroth
  'Courtyard.' Numbers, 11:35. This is where Miriam was struck (Numbers, 12:16). Some say that it also was where Korach rebelled (Rashi on Deuteronomy 1:1; see Numbers 33:22). They arrived in Chatzeroth on 22 Sivan, 2449 (June 17, 1312 b.c.e.; Taanith 29a).

Rithmah
  This is Kadesh Barnea, the place from which the spies were sent; see note on Numbers 13:3 (Rashi; Midrash Aggadah; Baal HaTurim cf. Psalms 120:4). Some say that this was a place where many broom (rothem) trees grew (Targum Yonathan; cf. 1 Kings 19:4, Job 30:4). The Israelites arrived here on 29 Sivan, 2449 (June 14, 1312 b.c.e.; see note on Numbers 12:16).

Some say that they remained here for 19 years (Seder Olam 8, from Deuteronomy 1:46, according to Ramban on 20:1; Chizzkuni). See Numbers, 33:36. They were thus in Rithmah until 2468 (1293 b.c.e.).

Rimmon Peretz
  Or Rimmon Paretz (Septuagint). 'Spreading Pomegranate Tree,' or 'Heavy-fruited Pomegranate' (Targum Yonathan). They arrived here in 2468 (1293 b.c.e.); see note on Numbers 33:18. They were now heading south toward the Gulf of Aqaba (see Numbers 14:25, 33:35); circumscribing the Seir Mountains (Deuteronomy 2:1). The Israelites were therefore most probably traveling east of the mountains in the Negev. It may be possible to identify Rimmon Peretz with Mount Ramon in the Negev. Some say that they traveled through the Moab Desert (Sefer HaYashar, Sh'lach).

Livnah
  'Bricks;' a place where the boundaries were marked with building bricks (Targum Yonathan). See Deuteronomy 1:1.

Rissah
  Or, 'Beth Rissah' (Targum Yonathan); 'Ressan' (Septuagint). In Arabic, 'rissah' denotes a well stopped up with stones.

Kehalathah
  Or, 'Mak'helath' (Targum Yonathan; Septuagint; see Numbers 33:25. See Ketoreth HaSamim). Some say that this was the place of Korach's rebellion (Numbers 16:1; Targum Yonathan; Baal HaTurim). Since there were 18 stops between Rithmah and Kadesh, the Israelites spent on the average of one year at each stop (see Numbers 33:18,36). Therefore, this occurred approximately in 2471 (1290 b.c.e.).

Mount Shefer
  Or, 'Shafer' (cf. Septuagint). Literally, 'beautiful mountain.' Some say that it was a mountain with beautiful fruit (Targum Yonathan).

Charadah
  'Trembling.' This is where they trembled because of the plague (Numbers 17:12; Targum Yonathan).

Mak'heloth
  This is said to be a place of assembly (Targum Yonathan), possibly where the miracle of Aaron's rod occurred (Numbers 17:17, 17:24). It might have also been a place of praising God (cf. Psalms 68:27, 26:12). Some say that it was the place where a demonstration occurred (Baal HaTurim; cf. Numbers 16:3, 20:2).

Tachath
  (Targum). Identified with 'Kataath' (Septuagint). Some say that tachath is an improper noun, denoting the lowlands of Mak'heloth (Targum Yonathan). It is possibly the area south of Mount Karkom or Ram el-Parudi in the Sinai.

Terach
  Or Tarach. This was the name of Abraham's father (Genesis 11:25). Following Semitic cognates, terach denotes a kind of ibex, and this was possibly a place where such animals were found.

Mithkah
  'Sweetness.' This was a place with good fresh water (Targum Yonathan). Possibly Beer el-Mayin or Beer Bedah in the Sinai.

Chashmonah
  See Psalms 68:32, Joshua 15:27. The Chashmonian family, which included Mattathias, may have had their origins here (cf. Middoth 1:6, Shabbath 21b). In Psalms 68:32, the Septuagint translates chashman as 'ambassador.' Chashmonah is identified with Selmonah (Septuagint).

Moseroth
  From the word mussar, 'chastisement.' It is thus seen as a place of chastisement or rebellion (Targum Yonathan; see Targum on 1 Samuel 20:30). In Deuteronomy 10:6 we find the Israelites going from Beney Yaakan to Moserah; and according to tradition, the Israelites returned as far as Moserah after Aaron's death. This was an act of rebellion, and a large number of Israelites were killed (Yerushalmi, Yoma 2:2, 2a; see note on Numbers 26:12). Some say that Aaron was buried in Moserah (Malbim on 20:29).

Beney Yaakan
  Beeroth Beney Yaakan, 'Wells of the Sons of Yaakan' in Deuteronomy 10:6; Banaea in Septuagint. Yaakan was a Horite; see Genesis 36:27, 1 Chronicles 1:42. Others render this, 'wells of distress' (Targum Yonathan), or 'wells of the narrow pass' (Commentary on Targum Yonathan). Possibly Beeroth Oded in the Sinai.

Chor HaGidgad
  'Hole of Gidgad,' or 'Clefts of Gidgad' (Targum Yonathan). Gudgad in Deuteronomy 10:7. The Septuagint had 'Gadgad Mountain.'

Yatvathah
  Yatbah in Deuteronomy 10:7, a place described as having flowing brooks. It is rendered, 'a good, calm place' (Targum Yonathan).

Avronah
  This is translated as a 'river crossing' or 'ford,' megisathah in Aramaic (Targum Yonathan; cf. Targum on 21:11, Jeremiah 22:20). This may be where they crossed the Aravah wadi on the way to Elath (cf. Deuteronomy 2:8).

Etzyon Gever
  'Rooster's Crow!' K'rakh Tarngul in Aramaic (Targum Yonathan; Commentary ad loc.) or, 'Rooster City.' It is a town on the Gulf of Aqaba (cf. 1 Kings 22:49, 2 Chronicles 8:17), some 2 miles east of Elath (cf. Deuteronomy 2:8, 1 Kings 9:26). The Israelites therefore had headed south from Kadesh Barnea to the shore of the Gulf of Aqaba.

Kadesh...
  This is where Miriam died (Numbers 20:1). They arrived there on 1 Nissan, 2484 (March 17, 1273 b.c.e.), or according to some, 10 Nissan (March 26), see note on Numbers 20:1. According to some, however, it was in this Kadesh that they remained for 19 years (Ibn Ezra on Numbers 20:1). Therefore they would have arrived here in 2468. The Israelites were now heading north again.

Hor Mountain
  See Numbers 20:22,26, 21:4. Also see Numbers, 34:6.

first day of the fifth month
  1 Av, 2448 (July 13, 1273 b.c.e.). See Deuteronomy 10:6, 32:50.

123 years old
  He was three years older than Moses (Exodus 7:7; Abarbanel).

king of Arad
  See Numbers 21:1.

Tzalmonah
  This is where the people began complaining again (Numbers 21:5; Targum Yonathan). They were again heading south toward the Gulf of Aqaba (Numbers 21:4, Ibn Ezra, Chizzkuni ad loc.).

Punon
  This is where the people were bitten by poison snakes (Numbers 21:6; Targum Yonathan; cf. Ramban).

Ovoth
  See Numbers 21:10.

Desolate Passes
  See Numbers 21:11. Or, 'crossing fords' (Targum), or, 'desolate mounds' (Rashi).

Divon Gad
  This is seen as a place of good fortune (Targum Yonathan; see Genesis 30:11). Some say that this was on the Zered Brook (see notes on Numbers 21:12), which is where the decree that the Israelites would die in the desert for 40 years came to an end (Deuteronomy 2:14). According to tradition, this was on 15 Av, 2488 (July 27, 1273 b.c.e.; Taanith 30b), two weeks after Aaron's death (Numbers 33:38).

Some identify Divon Gad with Vahev (see Numbers 21:14) and Matanah (Numbers 21:18; Adereth Eliahu). Some say that it is on Nachaliel, as stream some 11 miles north of the Arnon (Lekach Tov on Numbers 21:19).

Almon Divlathaymah
  Some say that this is also on the Zered Brook (Ramban). Others identify it with Matanah (Ibn Ezra), where Eshed Nachal, Beer, Matanah and Nachaliel are all in the Almon Divlathaymah area (Ibn Ezra on Numbers 21:18). Others say that it is on Nachaliel (Lekach Tov on Numbers 21:19), or the far side of the Arnon in Numbers 21:13 (Chizzkuni). It may be related to Almon in Joshua 21:18, Beth Divlathayim in Jeremiah 48:22, or Divlah in Ezekiel 6:14.

Avarim Mountains...
  See Numbers 27:12. Some identify this with Matanah (Numbers 21:18; Chizzkuni) or Bamoth (Lekach Tov on Numbers 21:18).

Nebo
  N'vo in Hebrew. This is where Moses died (Deuteronomy 32:49, 34:1). Also see Numbers, 32:3, 32:38.

West Plains of Moab...
  Aravoth Moab. See Numbers 22:1

Beth HaYeshimoth
  Some identify it with the Wasteland (yeshimon) in Numbers 21:19 (Chizzkuni) or with Hagai (Ibn Ezra). Others say that it is the stream running down from the Wasteland (Abarbanel). It is thought to be an area some 3 miles north of the Dead Sea's northeast corner, possibly on the Abu Arabah stream, which might be Nachaliel. Some note that Nachaliel, Bamoth and Hagai might all be in this area (Chizzkuni). See next note.

Avel Shittim
  Shittim Plain (Targum; Saadia; Rashi). Some say that an avel is a desolate plain (Ramban on Genesis 14:6). This is Shittim mentioned in 25:1; and was the last stop before crossing the Jordan (Joshua 2:1, 3:1). It may be related to Avel Mitzraim in Genesis 50:11.

The Talmud notes that Avel Shittim is 12 miles from Beth HaYeshimoth (Eruvin 55b; Yerushalmi, Shevi'ith 6:1; Rashi). It would therefore appear that the Israelites were camped between the Ujemi Brook, just north of the Dead Sea, and the Abu Araba stream, some 5 miles to the north. The plain between the Jordan and the Aravah mountains there is approximately 12 miles wide.

carved stones
  Maskith in Hebrew; see Leviticus 26:1 (Ibn Ezra). Or, 'temples' (Targum; Rashi).

Clear out
  Or, 'occupy.' Some see this as a commandment for the Israelites to conquer the Holy Land (Ramban, here and on Sefer HaMitzvoth, Additional Positive Commandment 4; Tur).

lottery system
  See Numbers, 26:55.





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