Chapter 4.


When a right relationship with God on the basis of redemption, and the principles of holiness flowing from that are entered into, we are then ready, not before, to take up the wilderness walk. This is the general theme of the fourth book; its number speaks of the earth, as the third does of the sanctuary. It speaks of to stings to which we are all subjected upon earth, and alas, of failure wherever the grace of God is not counted upon to uphold.

The book of Numbers therefore gives us the wilderness walk of Israel, after the legal covenant at Sinai had been confirmed and, most suggestively, after the elements of mercy had been added consequent upon the failure and apostasy at Horeb. The sacrificial features of the tabernacle service were emphasized in the book of Leviticus, as we have seen. In fitting accord with this, Israel's relation to the sanctuary is taken up, in the opening of the present book. This will appear as we proceed.

Division 1. (Num. 1 to 10:10).

The camp gathered in order about the Tabernacle. We read that when the people came out of Egypt, a mixed multitude (literally, "a great mixture") followed them, composed, no doubt, of Egyptians or half-breed Israelites. It was these who fell a lusting, and very likely started those murmurings which brought God's chastening upon the people. In this book we see that such a mixture is not contemplated in God's thought. Provision is not made for them. If the wilderness journey is to be taken aright, there are two great features which must control. First, there must be a divine centre, about which the people are gathered in order and subjection; second, there must be a separation from all that would be inconsistent with such a Presence. Therefore our walk through the world is to be governed by these two principles: our individual and collective relationship to God's centre, and our corresponding separation from the world.

The first of these is given in chapters one and two, and supplemented by chapters three and four. The full census of the people is taken according to their tribes and their families. A prince of each tribe is selected who presides over the enumeration of that tribe. This enumeration is to include only the men of war, for it is in view of the dangers and trials of the journey that the census is taken. We have here, then, at the very outset, the thought of order emphasized. Not one Israelite warrior is to be omitted, but he finds his place in subjection to his tribal prince, while all are ranged as will be later seen, with reference to the tabernacle. This grouping around the sanctuary is most interesting. Space will permit only the briefest glance at that which down to its minutest details furnishes most suggestive instruction.

The twelve tribes are divided into four camps, each composed of three tribes with their respective leaders. The prominent tribe in each camp gives its name to the group, and these are stationed one on each side about the tabernacle. The tribe of Levi, set apart to the service of the tabernacle, is not included in this allotment. Its place is made up by the dividing of the tribe of Joseph into Ephraim and Manasseh.

We must condense what we have to say about the significance of these various camps, their position and their march, within the compass of a few words, which will, we trust, stimulate the interest of the reader to seek for the full orderly detail which can be found elsewhere.*

{*See the Notes in Numerical Bible on this portion.}

The camp of Judah was stationed in the front, toward the east. There are two words for the east — "that which opposes," and "sun-rising," typical of what meets us in our wilderness journey, the opposition in the world, and the blessed hope of the coming day of the morning without clouds.

Judah means "praise." The prince is Nahshon, the son of Amminadab. Nahshon means "a diviner;" Amminadab, "the people of the willing giver." Associated with Judah are Issachar and Zebulon, whose princes are respectively Nethaneel, the son of Zuar, and Eliab, the son of Helon. Issachar means "hire," and his prince Nethaneel, "the gift of God," whose father is "little." Zebulon means "dwelling," and his prince Eliab, "God is a Father," the son of Helon, possibly "the mighty one."

Here then we have the suggestion of the power which is to meet the opposition in the world and lead God's people victoriously onward to the coming day. The spirit of praise must be first — praise which comes from a knowledge of all the grace that has been shown and will be continued. Here, as ever, the singers are to be in the forefront of the battle. This is the true spirit of divination in the right sense, for he who knows God can foretell the future: "He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?" From Judah, too, He has come who is the true diviner, our Lord Jesus, the leader of our praises, the captain of the Lord's host. Truly, we are "the people of the willing giver," who has given us thus His blessed Son.

Associated with the spirit of praise, is the sense of responsibility suggested by Issachar, "hire," reward for faithfulness; yet his captain suggests also that which is to control the thought of reward; it is Nethaneel, "the gift of God," the son of Zuar, "little." Truly, there must ever be the sense of our littleness, and that the very grace to make us faithful is God's gift. So Paul could say "Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given."

In like manner, Zebulon, "dwelling," speaks of abiding communion with God, which must be present if the spirit of true praise is to continue and the sense of responsibility to be kept in its rightful place. His captain, Eliab, "God is Father," the son of Helon, "the mighty one," speaks of that Spirit of adoption which is at once the power and the pledge of an abiding communion. "I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty."

Thus the camp in front of the tabernacle is established and sets out first in the order of march, leading the way for the hosts of the Lord to follow on.

Reuben — "See, a Son" — leads the camp stationed on the south, "the right hand." Although displaced from the leadership because of his instability (see Gen. 49:4), he has here the place of dignity and responsibility beautifully maintained, not by a fleshly energy which fails, but by divine stability through true sonship. His captain is Elizur, "my God is a rock," the son of Shedeur, "the Almighty is fire." Associated with Reuben, are Simeon, "obedience," whose prince Shelumiel, "at peace with God," the son of Zurishaddai, "my rock is the Almighty," emphasizes the same truth; and Gad, "increase," whose captain Eliasaph, "God hath added," the son of Reuel, "known of God," shows the principle of true increase: "The Lord knoweth them that are His" and "The Lord added daily to the Church," etc. Thus the camp on the south which sets forth second is established, furnishing stability and the assurance of increase in connection with the spirit of obedience.

The tabernacle with its attendant Levites comes next in the order of march. We will glance, however, at the two remaining camps before speaking of the Levites.

Westward, Ephraim accompanied by Manasseh and Benjamin, the children of Rachel, are grouped. The west, the opposite of the east, is "toward the sea," the place of storm, but also of refreshing showers from it. Here Ephraim, "fruitfulness," has his place, characterized by his captain, Elishama, "God hath heard," the son of Ammihud, "the people of majesty" — fruitfulness comes from God. Manasseh, "forgetting," whose prince Gamaliel, "God is a rewarder," the son of Pedahzur, "the rock hath redeemed," encourages us to forget the things that are behind and to seek our fruitfulness from the Rock who hath redeemed us. Benjamin, "the son of my right hand," tells of the dignity of our position which is to be characterized by the prince Abidan, "my father is judge," the son of Gideoni, "the feller, or cutter down," where we have the sense of adoption and that godly fear which will remove pride from us. This is the true spirit of fruitfulness, which can gather out of the very trials of the way material for spiritual increase.

Lastly, on the north, and forming the rearguard on the march, we have the camp of Dan; associated with him are the tribes of Asher and Naphtali. There is a military ring about some of these names appropriate to the place they occupy; for those who bring up the rear must guard against stragglers and such sudden assaults as, for instance, that of Amalek, who inflicted loss upon the rearward of the children of Israel.

Dan, "judge," his prince Ahiezer, "the brother of help," the son of Ammishaddai, "the people of the Almighty:" these names combine the thoughts suggested of alertness, power and helpfulness. Associated with him is Asher, "happy," whose prince, "Pagiel," the event of God," son of Ocran, "afflicted," shows us the paradox which grace alone can interpret, that affliction under the stroke of God produces a happiness which is not that of the world, but is a fitted safeguard against assaults from the rear. With him is Naphtali, "the wrestler," another militant name, characterized by his prince Ahira, "brother for evil," the son of Enan, "open-eyed," suggesting that "Brother born for adversity," whose eyes are ever watchful against the foe. Thus the camp is duly ordered and prepared for the march. The tabernacle,whether the people are at rest or on their journey, is surrounded by these men of war, all in due order.

It still remains to note briefly the place of the ministering tribe of Levi, who occupied positions immediately about the tabernacle, between the armies and the sacred dwelling (Num. 3, 4). In front, is Moses and the priestly family of Aaron, thus in immediate relationship with the tribe of Judah. Priesthood and praise go together. Levi takes the place of the firstborn of all the tribes spared in Egypt. They are "joined" to the priesthood as a connecting link between worship and warfare, suggesting the ministry which links these two together. Their service was connected with the tabernacle and had to do with the care and carrying of its different parts through the wilderness. The tribe was divided into three families, of Gershon, "stranger;" Kohath, "assembly;" Merari, "bitterness:" their care respectively was the curtains; the holy vessels; and the boards, sockets and pillars of the tabernacle. Their places in the camp were, Gershon on the west associated with Ephraim, the ministry of Christ in His separation from the world; Kohath was on the south, the objective ministry of Christ as seen in the holy vessels; Merari on the north, the ministry of the truth of His people's completeness in Him and standing upon Him with the responsibilities flowing out of this.

Thus the whole camp is ordered. As we have seen, all gathers about the centre, the dwelling-place of God, which we need hardly say is the fullest type of Christ, in and through whom we draw near to God.

The second thought, of separation from evil, is brought out in the following chapters. Evil must be put out (Num. 5) and holiness maintained, while Numbers 6 gives us in the familiar type of the Nazarite that separation which is to mark the peple of God in their wilderness journey. We need to remember that Christ is the only true Nazarite, and it is only as His Spirit controls us that we shall be actually separated unto God.

The last part of this first division gathers up details which show how complete the provision is for the way. An exceedingly interesting chapter (Num. 7) is devoted to the gifts of the twelve princes, which they offered on successive days at the dedication of the altar. How beautiful to see that all this clusters about the work of Christ! These gifts were identical in the case of each prince, but they are described in extenso. When we see the significance of the gifts, we are not surprised at the repetition of their enumeration as well as the total sum given at the close of the chapter. All here speaks of Christ in some one of His many aspects. There was one silver charger and a silver bowl. These suggest redemption price (see Ex. 30), and both were filled with fine flour for the meat offering, reminding us that the apprehension of Christ's person is immediately connected with the truth of redemption by His blood. The golden spoon reminds us of our Lord's deity, and this appropriately is filled with the incense, for there can be no true worship of Christ which ignores His divinity.

The sacrifices speak of the various aspects of our Lord's work. The burnt offering of one bullock, one ram, one lamb, speak of the perfection of the one offering of Himself to God in death. The sin offering is present, but a single kid shows, we may say, the comparatively subordinate place which it occupies in God's thoughts of Christ. Truly sin is put away, but the devotedness of Christ far outshines this effect of His death; while in the full complement of the peace offering with its numbers two and five, we see how God longs for communion with His people.

The chapter fittingly and beautifully closes, after this record of the perfections of Christ of which God never grows weary, with Moses going into the tabernacle and hearing the Voice speaking to him. That Voice (Num. 8) reminds him that the light of the candlestick must be undimmed in order that the beauties of the candlestick may ever be displayed. It is as though God would say to Moses and to us, "See to it that nothing dims your apprehension of the perfections of My beloved Son! "

In Numbers 8 we see how the Levites are set apart for their special service of ministry. All is connected with sacrifice and purification.

Numbers 9 is interesting as showing the provision for the Passover to be kept by those who through defilement were prevented from observing it at its proper season. By such, it was to be kept in the second month, as we see it was done in Hezekiah's time. We may be assured that whenever we allow defilement to relegate the redemption of our blessed Lord to a secondary place, even in His recovering grace God must show us that we have done so. Thus, the very grace which restores to God's thoughts reminds us of our failure.

Lastly, the presence of God is seen throughout the entire journey. The cloud was to lead them and the silver trumpets were to declare the will of God for every stage. Thus there is full provision for the way.

Division 2. (Num. 10:11 — 16:35).

Moral separation and departure from God manifested in the people's history. This portion is in sad contrast with the order and the grace emphasized in the first division. There, Christ was the centre and the supreme object, and all grouped in order about Him. Here we have the actual history of the people. At the very outset of the journey, although set forth after the due order, Moses himself fails to realize the sufficiency of the Lord as a true leader. He asks Hobab to be eyes for them in the wilderness, apparently forgetting that God was their leader. Jehovah, in grace, silently rebukes this thought by letting the ark of His presence go before them in three days' journey to seek out a resting place. The ark and the cloud are the true and only leaders through the wilderness (Num. 10).

If the leader fails, we need not be surprised that the people, instigated by the mixed multitude, begin to murmur. The sweet, wholesome manna becomes wearisome to these, just as Christ in His infinite perfections palls upon the worldling, and the food of Egypt growing rankly in the mud from the river Nile, its leeks, onions, garlic, its melons and cucumbers, together with the fish from the river, eclipse in their thoughts "light bread" which God supplied. The lesson is solemn and obvious. If our journey through this world is to be for God, there must be feeding upon His food, Christ. The food of Egypt will never make pilgrims or warriors. God interposes through the spirit of prophecy, and in patient grace spreads a table for the people in the wilderness: the quails are sent, but He sends also leanness into their souls, and the graves of those who lusted show how lust after the food of this world brings low those who refuse to feed upon Christ.

Next (Num. 12) we have, more dreadful yet, the failure of Miriam and Aaron; moved by envy at the association of a Gentile bride with Moses they speak against him. This is a foreshadow of the subsequent rebellion so soon to be noted when the people openly apostatize from Jehovah's leader. God marks His judgment upon Miriam with the plague of leprosy. She and Aaron, however, repent and are restored.

In Numbers 13 and 14, we have the great refusal of the people to enter into their inheritance. The spies are sent up and bring back an evil report, while admitting the wondrous fertility and desirability of the land. Caleb and Joshua alone stand out for God. Caleb, "wholehearted," a type of complete devotion, and Joshua as the subsequent leader of the people, a type of Christ in them, alone urge the people to go into the land; and these alone, of all that company, enter forty years later. The people in their hearts turn back into Egypt, and thus show the unfitness of that generation to take up their God-given privileges and responsibilities.

The next chapter (Num. 15), by the very abruptness of its contrast to the wretched failure of unbelief, shows the unrepenting grace of God and the secret of true overcoming in the face of unbelief. It is the provision for the meat and drink offerings which are proportioned to the various classes of burnt offerings. "When ye be come into the land" shows that, in spite of Israel's unbelief, God will bring His people into their inheritance, and this will be due to no power of theirs, but to the sacrifice of Him whose perfect life recorded no such failure as that of the people here. This chapter thus makes full provision for failure and for sin, while in the stoning of the open defier of God, we see judgment which is withheld only for those who avail themselves of the grace of God. These latter, too, are to be marked by the tassels of blue, reminding them of their heavenly character and destiny.

The narrative now returns to the people and we see the culmination of their unbelief in the rebellion of Korah, Dathan and Abiram (Num. 16:35). In Korah, of the tribe of Levi, we see the intrusion of those who had been granted a place of nearness in ministry, into the unique prerogatives of the high priest. This is a complete denial of the necessity of the priesthood of Christ, fittingly associated with open rebellion against His authority, as in Dathan and Abiram of the dispossessed tribe of Reuben. Nothing but judgment, instant and final, can be meted out to such wickedness. So, too, in the day that is coming, will God cause the Antichrist, the false prophet who would usurp the place of Christ, to be cast into the lake of fire.

Division 3. (Num. 16:36 — 24).

Priestly power in resurrection. Again in this portion God turns us from the weakness, failure and rebellion of the flesh, to His perfect provision for His feeble people. This is mingled with the history of judgment inflicted upon them to bring them to a sense of their own nothingness and of God's supremacy. The censers in which the Levites had sought to show their priesthood, but had found only the fire of judgment, were put as a perpetual memorial upon the altar of burnt offering, emphasizing the fact that Christ alone is Priest. In Aaron's rod that budded, this is shown from the side of divine power. All the tribes present each their rod, a stick cut down and dead. Among them all Aaron's alone buds and bears blossoms and almonds, a type of the resurrection of Christ which proclaims His eternal priesthood (Num. 18). Thus, His supremacy in priestly grace is maintained.

The prerogatives and responsibilities of this priesthood are dwelt upon in the rest of the chapter (Num. 18), while Num. 19 shows the priestly functions carried out now in maintaining the people in communion with God through the water of separation, with the ashes of the red heifer. This reminds us of the gracious advocacy of our blessed Priest.

Following this (Num. 20, 21), the journey is resumed; but again we are reminded that no confidence can be placed in man. Miriam dies, and again the people murmur for lack of water; and here, solemn indeed, Moses himself breaks down utterly at the crucial moment. He, too, fails to sanctify Jehovah by presenting the testimony of Christ undimmed. In smiting the rock twice with the priestly rod, he denies at once the previous smiting, type of the one sacrifice of Christ which is eternally sufficient to secure the supply of every wilderness need, and mars the perfections of the risen Lord by using the rod with its fruit and blossoms in a way not intended. For this, he is governmentally debarred from entering the land.

The wearisome journey around Mount Edom shows that we cannot overcome the flesh, but must flee from its lusts which war against the soul. How often does the opposition of the flesh occasion a long digression in what should be a straight course from earth to heaven.

Next, Aaron passes away; his priestly garments of glory and beauty are transferred to his son Eleazar, who is a type of Christ in resurrection, the only power for true priesthood. It is the risen Lord who is our Priest.

In the brazen serpent, we have perhaps the last record of these failures. The weariness of the journey around Mount Edom frets the people again to murmuring against God, and the fiery serpents speak of the power of Satan which assails through turning away from God. In the serpent of brass lifted up, we have the well known gospel of the uplifted Son of Man upon the cross, the remedy for all Satan's blight, the pledge of forgiveness of every sin.

Fittingly following this, we draw near the confines of the land and a little song, unheard since the triumphant celebration of Moses at the Red Sea, again breaks forth. It celebrates the faithfulness of God in the very supply of the water which their murmurings had previously doubted. The enemy is then overthrown, and the victory begins on the east side of Jordan.

This division closes with the futile attempt of Balak, king of Moab (Num. 22 — 24) to bring a curse upon Israel through the false prophet Balaam. This lover of rewards is willing enough to curse, but is restrained by a power which he dare not defy. God's ways with Balaam are a striking illustration of how He would throw every restraint upon evil to win man to obedience, and how, when the heart is fully set upon its own course, He overrules its purposes. Balaam beholds the people from three points, first from Bamoth Baal, "the heights of Baal," where he beholds them at a distance. Here, however, in the presence of the seven altars, bearing witness of the perfect sacrifice of Christ, he has to declare that the people stand unique before God, and instead of a curse, he must pronounce a blessing. The people are looked upon from the top of the rocks. Who can curse those whom God ever beholds from the top of the rocks? — "That Rock was Christ."

Next, Balaam looks upon them from the field of Zophim in the top of Pisgah, where a more complete view of the people is obtained. Here, however, he can but confirm his previous testimony. God cannot repent. He has brought a people out of Egypt, and the shout of a king is amongst them.

The third point of view is Peor, with its sinister associations soon to be noticed. "Toward the wilderness" would suggest that the people of God even in this present world have an order and a place which God would not allow to be permanently disturbed. Here, Balaam is again forced to pronounce a blessing. "Blessed is he that blesseth thee, and cursed is he that curseth thee." Balaam closes with the pronouncing of judgment upon the enemies of Israel in connection with the coming Star out of Jacob, looking forward of course to the coming reign of Christ.

Division 4. (Num. 25 — 27).

Israel's breakdown. How utterly worthless is the flesh! God has borne with the people time and again, recovering them from their wanderings, bearing them on eagles' wings, refusing to allow the enemy to pronounce the slightest curse upon them, and yet, when left to themselves, they go on in worse shame and dishonor, if possible, than ever before.

Balaam having signally failed in his efforts to curse, makes the suggestion to Balak to attempt to corrupt the people. This succeeds in an awful way, and the illicit link with Moab shows again the terrible character of that which God speaks of throughout His word as spiritual adultery. Again the priesthood, as we have found throughout this entire wilderness book, shines forth. Phinehas, "the mouth of brass," in the execution of judgment gains an abiding priesthood for himself. Our great Priest, in His inflexible judgment of the evil into which His people fall, shows His perfection and sufficiency for His glorious office.

The remainder of this division fittingly concludes the narrative of the wilderness experience by giving a second enumeration of the people at the close of their journey. A comparison of the numbers of the various tribes offers many suggestions as to the varying effect of the passage through this world upon different persons. This enumeration is, however, with reference to the coming inheritance. There is a solemn connection between the wilderness walk and the measure of capacity for the eternal inheritance. Each one will inherit all that he is capable of enjoying, but capacities are formed in this present world. The daughters of Zelophehad are appointed a portion in Israel, although their father left no sons. Faith knows neither male nor female, and feebleness is no barrier, sometimes the opposite, to entering into the portion God allots us.

Division 5. (Num. 28-36).

Closing instructions and lessons. The close of the wilderness journey is at last drawing near; the people's faces are set forward, with their backs to the desert. This closing division therefore, as is common, partakes largely of the character of Deuteronomy, being indeed a Deuteronomic section to the wilderness book.

We have first (Num. 28, 29), a delightful detail of the various sacrifices appropriate to the set feasts of Jehovah. The details here are exceedingly interesting, but with the light already gathered need not much enlargement, for which we have not space here, and they can be found elsewhere. It will be noticed, however, that the burnt offering predominates here. It is the normal, characteristic offering of all, having in itself the elements in a certain measure of all the others. Closely connected with it is the meat offering. The person of Christ must never be separated from His work, and we get in the burnt offering the highest apprehension of that work in its aspect Godward. This includes the fact that it is for sin, in that death must come in, and that we share with God in it from the fact that it is we who present the offering.

Thus, throughout these feasts, it is the burnt offering which predominates. This was to be offered daily, morning and evening, to be doubled on the Sabbath, and at the beginning of each month to be multiplied, as well as on the Passover and other stated occasions. In the feast of tabernacles, at the close of the year, this multiplication of the burnt offering is emphasized in a Marked way. How precious must Christ be to God when the Spirit thus dwells again and again upon the individual perfections of that sacrifice which went up as a sweet savor unto Him! In the light of that sacrifice, how petty are all legal vows! Well may we bless God that, under grace, such vows have been annulled. The only One competent to make them is He who has fulfilled His vows and has paid them in the presence of the Lord's people (Ps. 116:14-18).

Next (Num. 31), in the conquest of the Midianites, we have a foreshadow of the victories in Canaan, an intimation also of the judgment that shall fall upon all corrupters of the people of God as well as upon His open enemies. Phinehas, the former executor of judgment, is fittingly here the leader of the avenging host. Balaam, the false prophet, falls here with the enemies whom he had advised in their corruption of Israel. How empty is the prayer of the wicked, while going on in sin and unbelief: "Let me die the death of the righteous." The spoil is divided. What a wealth accrues to the saints of God in connection with the judgment upon their enemies

The inheritance of the two and a half tribes on the east side of Jordan offers matter for sober reflection. Significantly, the tribes of Reuben and his associate, Gad, choose their inheritance on the east side of Jordan. Reuben, as having been displaced from his rights as firstborn, suggests a coming short of the full purposes of God in the calling of His people. Manasseh, "forgetting," may remind us of the same. Half of that tribe also finds its lot eastward. It will be noticed that it is the cattle of the two tribes which keep them thus east of Jordan, on the wilderness side; we might say, bordering closely on the world. How often do business and earthly interests hold the children of God from entering fully and practically into their heavenly calling!

On the other hand, faith can lay hold of even the present life, using this world as not abusing it, and there is not an absolute condemnation of these tribes for choosing their portion thus. The ideal, as expressed in the millennium, was a portion on both sides the river, and this indeed Manasseh has, half the tribe being in the land and the other half in Gilead. The very fact, however, that the desire of these tribes raises questions both with Moses, and later on with the whole congregation, indicates the danger connected with such a position. Wherever one's interests raise questions amongst the people of God, they should be carefully scrutinized. Moses guards, as far as possible, against any future rupture between the tribes, or failure on the part of these of whom we speak to enter into the reality of the oneness of their inheritance with the rest of Israel, by demanding that they shall bear their full share of the warfare, and only enter upon the actual enjoyment of their eastward possessions after the rest of Israel is installed in the land.

(Numbers 33.) We have next Israel's itinerary from the beginning in Egypt to the borders of the land by Jordan. A whole volume might be written from this retrospective chapter. Every name doubtless has a special meaning which, together with the associations of many, would recall the whole wilderness journey. What a day will it be when at the judgment seat of Christ, He will review all our pathway with us, pointing out our failures and His faithfulness!
"Through scenes of strife, by graves of lust,
Our desert path hath been;
But here, O Lord, we've learned to trust
And love Thee, though unseen."

Looking forward now into the land, we have (Num. 34) a still further Deuteronomic strain in the command to destroy all evidences of idolatry. The land thus purged is described in its borders, north, south, east and west. Here again each name conveys a thought which helps to mark out the grand lines of demarcation between the inheritance of the people of God and that which this world has as its portion.

The inheritance having been described, the portion of the Levites, who as a tribe have no territory, is allotted to them in the forty-two cities scattered throughout Israel, which is at once an illustration of the inflexible judgment of God, "I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel," and of His grace which rejoices over judgment and turns it into a means of blessing; for the Levites thus scattered through the land and linked with God's centre at the tabernacle would answer to the significance of their name; and, as "joined" to all the tribes, unite them into one whole.

In addition to the forty-two cities of their inheritance, there were six cities of refuge, three east and three west of the Jordan, and these emphasize the same truth,with the added thought of redemption. Thus, throughout the entire inheritance, the people were reminded by these cities of refuge that they were a sheltered people, and that their whole land was thus marked by redemption defence. In view of their future guilt, already foreseen by God, in procuring our Lord's death, how wondrous is the grace which by that very death provides shelter for those who were guilty of it!

One further provision closes the book (Num. 36). The inheritance assured to the daughters of Zelophehad must not pass from the tribe of of Manasseh to which they belong. Otherwise, the boundaries and integrity of that tribe would be affected. Thus, God assures the perpetuity of the portion of every one of His people and the integrity of their possession. Blessed close indeed to the shameful record of our wanderings in the wilderness, our manifold departures, our waywardness and unbelief! Ever onward, and faithfully, leads our blessed God to that inheritance, incorruptible, undefiled and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation.