Chapter 7


Offerings for the Dedication of the Tabernacle

    • The day Moses finished setting up the Tabernacle, he anointed it and all of its furnishings and utensils, setting them apart as holy. Then, the tribal leaders who had registered the troops came and brought their offerings. All together, they brought six covered wagons and 12 oxen (1 cart for every 2 leaders and an ox from each leader).

      • This portion of the book of Numbers is not in chronological order. The events being described actually occurred prior to the events of Numbers 1. The HCSB commentary explains, “The time frame, after the construction of the Tabernacle, is almost a year after the exodus from Egypt- that is, on the first day of the first month in the second year (Exodus 40:17; Numbers 9:15). This indicates that the first part of Numbers is a theological presentation, rather than a chronological sequencing of events. This literary device is called ‘anticipatory explanation,’ a common feature in Hebrew narrative. The dedication ceremony recorded here took place one month prior to the military census of chapter 1. Chapters 7-10 are concerned with celebration and consecration, as the nation prepares for the journey from Mount Sinai to the promised land. This section provides information about the means (covered oxcarts) by which the Gershonites and Merarites (Levites) transported their respective portions of the Tabernacle structure, as outlined in 4:24-28, 31-33.”

    • The Lord told Moses to take these gifts to use in the transportation of the Tabernacle, distributing them to the Levites according to what they needed to transport their allotted part of the Tabernacle. Moses divided them as follows: the Gershonites received two wagons and four oxen, and the Merarites received four wagons and eight oxen. The Kohathites didn’t get any wagons or oxen because they were required to carry the holy objects of the Tabernacle on their shoulders.

    • The Lord told Moses to have the leaders present dedication gifts in front of the altar when it was anointed. Each day one leader was to present his offering for the altar’s dedication.

    • The offering of each leader contained the following: a 3 ¼ lb silver platter; a 1 ¾ lb silver basin filled with grain offerings of fine flour mixed with olive oil; a 4 oz gold bowl filled with incense; a young bull, ram, and one year old lamb for a burnt offering; a male goat for a sin offering; two bulls, five rams, five male goats, and five year old male lambs for a peace offering.

    • This is the order in which the leaders made their presentations:

      • On the first day, Nahshon (Aminadab’s son) from the tribe of Judah.

      • On the second day, Nethanel (Zuar’s son) from the tribe of Issachar.

      • On the third day, Eliab (Helon’s son) from the tribe of Zebulun.

      • On the fourth day, Elizur (Sheduer’s son) from the tribe of Reuben.

      • On the fifth day, Shelumiel (Zurishaddai’s son) from the tribe of Simeon.

      • On the sixth day, Eliasaph (Deuel’s son) from the tribe of Gad.

      • On the seventh day, Elishama (Ammihud’s son) from the tribe of Ephraim.

      • On the eighth day, Gamaliel (Pedahzur’s son) from the tribe of Manasseh.

      • On the ninth day, Abidan (Gideoni’s son) from the tribe of Benjamin.

      • On the tenth day, Ahiezer (Ammishaddai’s son) from the tribe of Dan.

      • On the eleventh day, Pagiel (Ochran’s son) from the tribe of Asher.

      • On the twelfth day, Ahira (Enan’s son) from the tribe of Naphtali.

    • This was the total dedication offering brought by the leaders of Israel: 12, 3 ¼ lb silver platters; 12, 1 ¾ lb silver basins; 12, 4 oz gold incense bowls for a total of 3 lbs; 12 young bulls, 12 rams, and 12 one year old male lambs for burnt offerings along with their grain offerings; 12 male goats for sin offerings; 24 bulls, 60 rams, 60 male goats, and 60 one year old male lambs for peace offerings.

      • These large and costly gifts and sacrifices drew attention to the importance of the altar, the Tabernacle, and the God who was served there. The sacrifices were required by law; the Hebrews presented the special gifts with a generous spirit.” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)

    • Whenever Moses went into the Tabernacle to speak with the Lord, he would hear the Lord’s voice coming from between the two cherubim on the Ark’s cover- the mercy seat on the Ark of the Covenant. That is how the Lord spoke to Moses.

      • Such communication emanated from the Ark of the Covenant between the two cherubim above the Ark’s cover, also known as the ‘mercy seat.’ For the Israelites, this was the special place associated with atonement, even as the Cross has assumed that significance in Christian faith (Hebrews 9-10, especially Hebrews 9:5). God’s voice, as heard by Moses the mediator, fulfilled the expectation established by Exodus 25:22…The Lord’s presence guaranteed the holiness of Israel’s wilderness sanctuary.” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)