The Israelites’ journey from the country called Egypt to the country called Moab

Chapter 33

The Israelites’ journey from the country called Egypt to the country called Moab – Numbers 33:1-49

v1-2 Moses and Aaron led the *Israelites out of the country called Egypt. Moses recorded the places where they went. The *LORD had told him to do this. This is a record of their journey.

v3-4 The *Israelites left the city called Rameses (in Egypt) on the 15th day of the first month. This was the day after the first *Passover. The *LORD had allowed the *first-born sons in every *Egyptian family to die. He did this to show that the *Egyptians’ gods were false. The *Egyptians were burying their dead sons’ bodies. And they saw the *Israelites march out boldly in front of them. Then the *Israelites left Egypt.

v5 After the *Israelites left the city called Rameses, they camped at Succoth. v6 They left Succoth and they camped at Etham. Etham was on the edge of the *desert. v7 Then they went back to Pi Hahiroth, to the east of Baal Zephon. They camped near Migdol.

v8 They left Pi Hahiroth and they walked through the sea into the *desert. They travelled through Etham *desert for 3 days. Then they camped at Marah.

v9 Then they went to Elim and they camped there. At Elim, there were 12 springs (places where water comes out of the ground). Also, there were 70 palm trees. (A palm is a type of tree that has fruit.)

v10 They left Elim and they camped near the Red Sea. v11 After this, they camped in the *desert called Sin.

v12 Their next camp was at Dophkah. v13 After this, they camped at Alush. v14 Then they camped at Rephidim. But there was no water to drink there.

v1537 They left Rephidim and they travelled to Hor mountain. On the way, they camped in the Sinai *desert. Then they camped at Kibroth Hattaavah, Hazeroth, Rithmah, Rimmon Perez, Libnah, Rissah, Kehelathah and Shepher mountain. Then they camped at Haradah, Makheloth, Tahath, Terah, Mithkah and Hashmonah. Then they camped at Moseroth, Bene Jaakan, Hor Haggidgad, Jotbathah, Abronah, Eziongeber and Kadesh in the Zin *desert. They arrived at Hor mountain, which is on the border of the country called Edom.

v3839 Then the *LORD ordered Aaron the priest to climb to the top of Hor mountain. Aaron obeyed. And Aaron died there. He was 123 years old when he died. It was the first day of the 5th month. It was the 40th year after the *Israelites had left the country called Egypt.

v40 Then, the king of the country called Arad heard that the *Israelites were coming. The king lived in the southern *desert of the country called Canaan. v4147 The *Israelites left Hor mountain. They travelled towards the country called Moab. On the way, they camped at Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth and Iye Abarim, which is on the border of Moab. Then they camped at Dibon Gad, Almon Diblathaim and in the Abarim mountains, near Nebo mountain. v48 Finally, they camped on the plains of Moab. The city called Jericho was opposite their camp, on the other side of the Jordan river. v49 Their camp was between Beth Jeshimoth and Shittim valley. So they camped on the plains of Moab. The camp was by the Jordan river.

Verses 1-49 This passage mentions 40 places where the *Israelites camped on their journey from Egypt to Moab. It does not include all the places that the Book of Exodus describes.

But this passage is more than just a list of places. It reminded the *Israelites that God had guided them on their journey. They had escaped from Egypt. The journey had lasted for 40 years. But in the end, they arrived at the *Promised Land because that was God’s plan for them. He had provided what they needed. He had protected them from their enemies. So this passage reminded the *Israelites that God was with them always.

The *LORD gives instructions to the *Israelites before they cross the Jordan river – Numbers 33:50-56

v50 The *Israelites were camping on the plains of the country called Moab. The city called Jericho was opposite their camp, on the other side of the Jordan river.

The *LORD spoke to Moses. v51 He told Moses to give these instructions to the *Israelites. He told them what to do after they had crossed the Jordan river. He ordered them to do these things when they had entered the country called Canaan.

v52 ‘You must force all the people who live there to leave. Destroy all their *idols, which they have made from wood and metal. Destroy all their *altars. v53 Then *settle in their land. It belongs to you because I have given it to you.

v54 Divide the land between the *tribes and *clans. You must use *lots to do this. You must give larger pieces of land to the larger *tribes. You must give smaller pieces of land to the smaller *tribes. Each *tribe will have its own land. v55 If you do not force the inhabitants of Canaan to leave, they will cause trouble. They will be like a sharp stick in your eyes and in your sides. They will fight against you always. v56 And then I will do to you what I intended to do to them.’

Verses 50-56 The *Israelites were camping on the border of the *Promised Land. They were preparing to enter it and to *settle there. God gave exact instructions to Moses about how to do this.

He ordered the *Israelites to force the inhabitants of Canaan to leave. Also, the *Israelites had to destroy completely all the *idols in Canaan. The inhabitants of Canaan built *altars to their gods on the hills. The *Israelites had to destroy these *altars, too. This was so that the *Israelites would remain loyal to God. Already, the *Moabites had persuaded the *Israelites to *worship their gods (Numbers 25:1-18). God did not want this to happen again in Canaan. Therefore, the people there had to leave. And the *Israelites had to remove all traces of their religion. Then, the *Israelites had to divide the land between them, as God had ordered them (Numbers 26:52-56).

However, the *Israelites did not obey God completely. They did not force all the inhabitants of Canaan to leave. And those people persuaded the *Israelites to *worship their false gods. Many centuries later, God punished the *Israelites. He allowed their enemies to take them as prisoners far away, to the country called Babylon.