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Numbers Chapter 10
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The Trumpets
10:1 God spoke to Moses, saying:
10:2 Make yourself two silver trumpets. Make them out of beaten metal. They shall be used by you to assemble the community and to make the camps break camp for their journeys.
10:3 When [both of the trumpets] are sounded with a long note, the entire community shall assemble at the Communion Tent entrance.
10:4 If a long note is sounded on [only] one of them, the princes, who are leaders of thousands in Israel, shall come together to you.
10:5 When you sound a series of short notes, the camps to the east shall begin the march.
10:6 Then, when you sound a second series of short notes, the camps to the south shall set out.
10:7 However, when the community is to be assembled, [the trumpets] shall be sounded with a long note, and not with a series of short notes.
10:8 The priests who are Aaron's descendants shall be the ones to sound the trumpets. This shall be an eternal law for future generations.
10:9 When you go to war against an enemy who attacks you in your land, you shall sound a staccato on the trumpets. You will then be remembered before God your Lord, and will be delivered from your enemies.
10:10 One your days of rejoicing, on your festivals, and on your new-moon celebrations, you shall sound a note with the trumpets for your burnt offerings and your peace offerings. This shall be a remembrance before your God. I am God your Lord.

The Journey from Sinai
10:11 In the second year [of the Exodus], on the 20th of the second month, the cloud rose from the Tabernacle of Testimony.
10:12 The Israelites thus began their travels, [moving on] from the Sinai Desert [until] the cloud came to rest in the Paran Desert.
10:13 This was the first journey at God's word through Moses.
10:14 The divisions in the banner camp of Judah's descendants set out first. Heading that division was Nachshon son of Aminadav.
10:15 Heading the tribal division of Issachar's descendants was Nethanel son of Tzuar,
10:16 and heading the tribal division of Zebulun's descendants was Eliav son of Chelon.
10:17 The Tabernacle was then dismantled, and the descendants of Gershon and Merari, who carried the Tabernacle, began the march.
10:18 The divisions in the banner camp of Reuben then began to march. Heading that division was Elitzur son of Shedey-ur.
10:19 Heading the tribal division of Simeon's descendants was Shelumiel son of Tzuri-Shaddai,
10:20 and heading the tribal division of Gad's descendants was Elyassaf son of Deuel.
10:21 The Kehothites, who carried the sacred furniture, then began their march. The Tabernacle would be set before they arrived [at the destination].
10:22 The divisions in the banner camp of Ephraim's descendants then began the march. Heading their division was Elishama son of Amihud.
10:23 Heading the tribal division of Manasseh's descendants was Gamliel son of Padah-tzur,
10:24 and heading the tribal division of Benjamin's descendants was Avidan son of Gid'oni.
10:25 Then the divisions in the banner camp of Dan's descendants, the last of the camps, began the march. Heading their division was Achiezer son of Ami-shaddai.
10:26 Heading the tribal division of Asher's descendants was Pagiel son of Akhran,
10:27 and heading the tribal divisions of Naphtali's descendants was Achira son of Eynan.
10:28 When they set out, this was the marching order of the Israelites, according to their divisions.

10:29 Moses said to his father-in-law, Chovev son of Reuel the Midianite, 'We are now on our way to the place that God promised to give us. Come with us and we will let you share the benefit of all the good things that God has promised Israel.'
10:30 'I would rather not go,' replied [Chovev]. 'I wish to return to my land and my birthplace.'
10:31 'Do not abandon us,' said [Moses]. 'After all, you are familiar with the places where we are going to camp in the desert, and you can be our guide.
10:32 If you go with us, we will share with you whatever good God grants us.'
10:33 [The Israelites] marched [the distance of] a three day journey from God's mountain. The Ark of God's covenant traveled three days ahead of them in order to find them a place to settle.
10:34 When they began traveling from the camp by day, God's cloud remained over them.

The Ark Goes Forth
10:35 When the Ark went forth, Moses said, 'Arise, O God, and scatter your enemies! Let your foes flee before You!'
10:36 When it came to rest, he said, 'Return, O God, [to] the myriads of Israel's thousands.'


  Josephus describes them as a little less than one cubit (18') long, a little thicker than an ordinary flute, with a bell-like end (Antiquities 3:12:6).

beaten metal
  See Exodus 25:18,31.


short notes
  (Targum). In the Talmud there is a dispute as to whether the teruah mentioned here was a stacatto note or a series of three short notes (Rosh HaShanah 33b). It is also noted that the series of short notes was preceded and followed by a single long note (Sifri; Rosh HaShanah 34a; Rashi).

the camps to the south...
  The Tabernacle would then move on. See Numbers, 10:17,21. Some say that a third blast would signal the beginning of the march for the western camp, and a fourth for the northern camp (Ramban; Josephus, Antiquities 3:12:6; Septuagint). In other sources, however, this is debated (Sifri).

20th of the second month
  20 Iyyar, 36 days after the Passover.

Paran Desert
  The exact location where they arrived was Kibhroth HaTaavah (Graves of Craving), see Numbers, 11:34, 33:16. This was a three day journey (100 miles) from Sinai (Numbers, 10:33; Sefer HaYashar, p. 215). Some identify Kibhroth HaTaavah with Kadesh Barnea (Ibn Ezra on 33:16). See note on Numbers 13:1.

This was the first...
  (Midrash HaGadol). Or, 'The first rank departed...' (Septuagint).

The divisions...
  The order is that given above in Numbers 2:1-31.

  See Numbers 1:6-15.

began the march
  (Lekach Tov; Ralbag; cf. Ramban). This is a detail not mentioned in Numbers 2:17. Or, 'they would prepare to march' but not march until after Reuben's division (Bareitha deMelekheth HaMishkan 13; quoted in Ramban).

sacred furniture
  (Rashi; Septuagint). Or, 'the ark' (Ibn Ezra).

  (Septuagint). Or, 'gatherer' (Rashi; Chizzkuni).

  Literally, 'Moses.'

  (Rashi; Septuagint). Some identify him with Jethro, mentioned in Exodus 3:1, 18:1 (Rashbam; Ramban). According to others, Chovev was Moses' brother-in-law (Ibn Ezra).

  See Exodus 2:18.

promised to give us
  Literally, 'That God said, 'I will give it to you.' '

benefit of all the good things
  (cf. Saadia).

After all
  See Genesis 18:5, 19:8, 33:10.

and you can be our guide
  (cf. Ibn Ezra). Literally, 'you shall be like eyes for us.' Or, 'you shall be an advisor' (Septuagint). Or, 'You have been our guide' (Rashi; Ibn Ezra).

whatever good...
  Some sources indicate that Chovev eventually agreed to this (Sifri; Rashi). However, some say that he first went home (Sifri; see Exodus 18:27).

three day journey
  100 miles, to Paran as in Numbers 10:12 (Ramban; Ibn Ezra).

Ark of God's covenant
  Some say that there were two arks, and this was the one containing the broken tablets (Sifri; Rashi).

When the Ark...
  In the Torah scroll, this section is preceded and followed by inverted letters Nun. It is said in the synagogue when the Torah is taken from the Ark and returned.

  Saadia. Or, 'Rest Your prescence on...' (Targum). Or, 'O God, let the myriads....of Israel return' (Baaley Tosafoth).

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