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David Guzik :: Study Guide for Numbers 7

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The Gifts of the Twelve Tribes

A. The giving of the first gifts.

1. (Num 7:1-3) Six carts and twelve oxen offered at the conclusion of the building of the tabernacle.

Now it came to pass, when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle, that he anointed it and consecrated it and all its furnishings, and the altar and all its utensils; so he anointed them and consecrated them. Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of their fathers' houses, who were the leaders of the tribes and over those who were numbered, made an offering. And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered carts and twelve oxen, a cart for every two of the leaders, and for each one an ox; and they presented them before the tabernacle.

a. When Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle: Seemingly, the book of Numbers is out of chronological order here. This special offering may have happened before the events of Numbers 1.

b. And they brought their offering before the LORD: The leaders of each tribe bring a total of six carts (a cart for every two of the leaders) and twelve oxen (each one an ox), given to transport the tabernacle through the wilderness.

c. Six covered carts and twelve oxen: At this time, such carts were a great luxury - and no doubt, a significant offering from the tribes.

2. (Num 7:4-9) The distribution of the carts and oxen.

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Accept these from them, that they may be used in doing the work of the tabernacle of meeting; and you shall give them to the Levites, to every man according to his service." So Moses took the carts and the oxen, and gave them to the Levites. Two carts and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon, according to their service; and four carts and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari, according to their service, under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But to the sons of Kohath he gave none, because theirs was the service of the holy things, which they carried on their shoulders.

a. Two carts and four oxen he gave to the sons of Gershon: The family of Gershon received two carts with their four oxen; they had the responsibility of transporting the fabrics of the tabernacle (Numbers 4:25-26).

b. Four carts and eight oxen he gave to the sons of Merari: The family of Merari received four carts with their eight oxen; they had the job of transporting the boards and pillars of the tabernacle (Numbers 4:31-32).

c. But to the sons of Kohath he gave none: The family of Koath received no carts, and no oxen; they were to carry the holy furniture of the tabernacle (Numbers 4:4), and were to carry all things on their shoulders - so, to remove the temptation to disobey, Moses gave them no carts!

B. The second giving of gifts.

1. (Num 7:10-11) Twelve leaders of the twelve tribes to bring dedication gifts to the tabernacle, one on each day for twelve days.

Now the leaders offered the dedication offering for the altar when it was anointed; so the leaders offered their offering before the altar. For the LORD said to Moses, "They shall offer their offering, one leader each day, for the dedication of the altar."

2. (Num 7:12-88) The giving of the dedication offerings over twelve days.

And the one who offered his offering on the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, from the tribe of Judah. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and for the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

On the second day Nethanel the son of Zuar, leader of Issachar, presented an offering. For his offering he offered one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Nethanel the son of Zuar.

On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, leader of the children of Zebulun, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and for the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Eliab the son of Helon.

On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, leader of the children of Reuben, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Elizur the son of Shedeur.

On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, leader of the children of Simeon, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, leader of the children of Gad, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, leader of the children of Ephraim, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Elishama the son of Ammihud.

On the eighth day Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, leader of the children of Manasseh, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, leader of the children of Benjamin, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Abidan the son of Gideoni.

On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, leader of the children of Dan, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, leader of the children of Asher, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.

On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, leader of the children of Naphtali, presented an offering. His offering was one silver platter, the weight of which was one hundred and thirty shekels, and one silver bowl of seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, both of them full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; one gold pan of ten shekels, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and one male lamb in its first year, as a burnt offering; one kid of the goats as a sin offering; and as the sacrifice of peace offerings: two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs in their first year. This was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan.

This was the dedication offering for the altar from the leaders of Israel, when it was anointed: twelve silver platters, twelve silver bowls, and twelve gold pans. Each silver platter weighed one hundred and thirty shekels and each bowl seventy shekels. All the silver of the vessels weighed two thousand four hundred shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. The twelve gold pans full of incense weighed ten shekels apiece, according to the shekel of the sanctuary; all the gold of the pans weighed one hundred and twenty shekels. All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve young bulls, the rams twelve, the male lambs in their first year twelve, with their grain offering, and the kids of the goats as a sin offering twelve. And all the oxen for the sacrifice of peace offerings were twenty-four bulls, the rams sixty, the male goats sixty, and the lambs in their first year sixty. This was the dedication offering for the altar after it was anointed.

a. His offering was one silver platter: Each leader brought a silver platter and a silver platter, each full of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering; a gold pan with incense, a bull, a ram, a male lamb, a young goat, two oxen, five rams, five adult goats, and five more lambs.

i. Each silver plate weighed about three pounds, each silver bowl about two pounds, and a gold shovel about four ounces.

ii. Clearly, this was generous giving. God must show Promised Land people how to be givers - one of the best measures of one who has moved from a slave mind-set to a Promised Land mind-set. The slave by nature is a taker, because he is often unsure of provision. Promised land people are generous, because they trust in a God who promised to meet all their needs.

b. His offering was one silver platter: Each tribal leader brought exactly the same offering over the twelve days.

i. Clearly, this was humble giving. By requiring the same gift from every tribe, God made sure that no tribe or tribal leader glorified himself through his giving. We must resist the tendency to give in order to be seen of men. Promised land people care about God's glory, not their own.

c. This was the dedication offering for the altar from the leaders of Israel: Each offering is recorded exactly the same way - seemingly, "wasting" space in the Scriptures. God's purpose is to draw attention to each tribes offering, though they were all the same.

i. Clearly, godly giving is always noticed by God, even if it is the same or less than many other gifts. God sees and "records" every gift given in a right heart, even if it is only worth two mites (Mark 12:42-44). Every gift from a promised-land kind of heart is noticed by God.

3. (Num 7:89) Moses meets with God, and hears His voice.

Now when Moses went into the tabernacle of meeting to speak with Him, he heard the voice of One speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the Testimony, from between the two cherubim; thus He spoke to him.

a. Promised land people need leadership, and they need leadership that hears from God and knows His voice.

© 2004 David Guzik - No distribution beyond personal use without permission

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.

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