Bible Commentary: Numbers 7

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Numbers 7

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The Dedication of the Tabernacle 

In Exodus 40 we read of the dedication of the tabernacle on the first day of the first month and the glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle. The first day of the first month, spoken of here as the day Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, is a significant day, as there are other historical occurrences of this date mentioned in Scripture: when Hezekiah cleaned up the temple and restored it (2 Chronicles 29:17); the day Ezra left Babylon (Ezra 7:9); and the day Ezra had the returned captives put away their foreign wives (Ezra 10:17). And after Jesus Christ returns, we will witness the cleansing of the sanctuary once again on this first day of the first month (Ezekiel 45:18).

In Numbers 7 we also read some of the details of the tremendous offerings of the leaders of Israel that were brought on that day to the temple to dedicate the altar in the day when it was anointed (verse 84). In chapter 1 we saw that the census was conducted by these leaders, each head of the house of his father's tribe. Now we see their offerings, literally by the wagonloads, of precious gifts brought to the tabernacle. Note, however, that the sons of Kohath had no wagons, as the holy things of the sanctuary, such as the Ark of the Covenant, were to be carried by poles on their shoulders (verse 9). The order of the names of the leaders, with their offerings, varies from chapter 1, yet they are the same men. The leaders of Israel brought their offerings "before the Lord"—yet actually presenting them to Moses, who gave them to the Levites (verses 3, 5).