Israel’s travel itinerary
Moses’ travel log1 This is a record of where the Israelites traveled—one camp after another—when Moses and Aaron led them out of Egypt. 2 Moses kept a detailed log of the trip because the LORD told him to. This is his record about where they went. 3 The Israelites left the Egyptian city of Rameses in the spring, on the fifteenth day of the first month. That was the day after the first Passover meal. Egyptians watched them leave. 4 At the time, Egyptians were already burying their dead. The night before, the LORD killed every firstborn person in each Egyptian family. In the process, the LORD showed the Egyptians how powerless their gods are.
From camp to camp5 The Israelites left Rameses and made camp at Succoth. 6 From Succoth, they went to Etham at the edge of the desert. 7 From Etham, they doubled back toward Pi-hahiroth, which faces Baal-zephon. They camped there, near Midgol. 8 After Pi-hahiroth, they crossed the Reed Sea, and went into the desert badlands. They traveled three days in the Etham Desert, before camping at Marah. 9 From Marah, they went to Elim. They camped there under 70 palm trees, at an oasis with a dozen springs of water. 10 After Elim, they camped alongside the Reed Sea. 11 They left the Reed Sea area and camped in the Sin Desert. 12 After the Sin Desert, they camped at Dophkah. 13 Then it was Dophkah to Alush. 14 Alush to Rephidim, a camp without water. 15 Rephidim to the Sinai Desert. 16 The Sinai Desert to Kibroth-hattaavah. 17 Kibroth-hattaavah to Hazeroth. 18 Hazeroth to Rithmah. 19 Rithmah to Rimmon-perez. 20 Rimmon-perez to Libnah. 21 Libnah to Rissah. 22 Rissah to Kehelathah. 23 Kehelathah to Mount Shepher. 24 Mount Shepher to Haradah. 25 Haradah to Makheloth. 26 Makheloth to Tahath. 27 Tahath to Terah. 28 Terah to Mithkah. 29 Mithkah to Hashmonah. 30 Hashmonah to Moseroth. 31 Moseroth to Bene-jaakan. 32 Bene-jaakan to Hor-haggidgad. 33 Hor-haggidgad to Jotbathah. 34 Jotbathah to Abronah. 35 Abronah to Ezion-geber. 36 Ezion-geber to Kadesh, in the Zin Desert. 37 Kadesh to Mount Hor, on Edom’s border.
Aaron dies on Mount Hor38 Aaron the priest died there on Mount Hor. The LORD told him to climb the mountain. Aaron died there in the summer, on the first day of the fifth month, 40 years after leaving Egypt. 39 Aaron was 123 years old when he died on Mount Hor. 40 The king of Arad, a city in the Negev part of Canaan, heard the Israelites were headed his way.
From Mount Hor to Moab’s plains41 The Israelites left Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah. 42 Then it was Zalmonah to Punon. 43 Punon to Oboth. 44 Oboth to Iye-abarim, along Moab’s border. 45 Iye-abarim to Dibon-gad. 46 Dibon-gad to Almon-diblathaim. 47 Almon-diblathaim to the Abarim mountains, near Nebo. 48 The Abarim mountains to the Moab plains, alongside the Jordan River, across from Jericho. 49 Their camp by the river stretched from Beth-jeshimoth to Acacia Grove.
Camped a few miles from Jericho50 There in the Moab plains, on the opposite side of the Jordan River from Jericho, the LORD told Moses: 51 Tell this to the Israelite people:
“When you cross the Jordan River and invade the land of Canaan, 52 I want you to drive out all the people living there. Destroy the statues they’ve built as idols they can worship. Get rid of all their metal figurines. Tear down their mountaintop shrines and worship centers. 53 Take the land away from those people. This is your land now because I’ve given it to you. Live there. 54 Divide the land among yourselves. The bigger the family, the more land they get. The smaller the family, the less land they get. Take turns picking the land. Throw dice to decide who goes first, second, and so on. The land you choose will become the land your descendants inherit.
Clear the land of local folks55 If you don’t get rid of the people who live there now, you’ll regret it. They’ll cause you trouble all the time, like a piece of dirt in your eye or a splinter in your fanny. 56 If you don’t do as I say, I’ll do to you what I plan to do to them.”
Some scholars say this chapter is the work of someone who compiled the list from other chapters in Numbers along with excerpts from Exodus and Deuteronomy. Yet this is the only material in Numbers that claims Moses wrote it.
Nisan is the name of the first Jewish month of the year. It’s when Jews celebrate one of their most revered holidays: Passover. The month falls around Eastertime, in March or April. Jesus went to Jerusalem to observe Passover when he was arrested and crucified. The Israelites followed a lunar calendar, with every month starting at the first tiny crescent after the new moon. A new moon is when the moon is hidden behind earth’s shadow for one day. The sun, moon, and earth are aligned, with earth in the middle.
There are 42 sites listed in this report. The location of most sites is unknown. Seventeen sites are mentioned nowhere else in the Bible but here in Numbers 33. Even the location of Mount Sinai at what Egyptians call Jebel Musa (Mountain Moses) is based only on an ancient tradition.
Many Bibles say “Red Sea.” But the Hebrew words are yam suph, “sea reeds.” Later in the story, Moses and the Israelite refugees will escape through a path God makes in this body of water. Scholars usually track Moses and the Hebrews escaping Egypt by walking southeast, out of the Nile Delta fields and toward the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula. They would have passed through lake regions along what is now the Suez Canal, which connects the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. These lakes and ponds reportedly had reeds growing along the banks, like the ones the Bible says grew along the Nile River and helped anchor Baby Moses in a basket (Exodus 2:3).
It’s unclear where Mount Hor was. There’s a long tradition that connects it to Jebel Nabi Harun (Mountain of Prophet Aaron), roughly a day’s walk south of Edom’s capital city of Petra. Some scholars say that mountain was well inside the country of Edom, which is where the Israelites were forbidden to go. Another contender is Jebel Madurah. It was about a two-day walk northwest of Petra. The mountain is southwest of the Dead Sea, along what would have been the border of the Promised Land and Edom.
July or August.
The name in Hebrew is Abel-shittim, which church folks wouldn’t want to read out loud in a worship service. It literally means “field of acacia trees,” or an acacia grove. Hence, “Acacia Grove.” You’re welcome.
More literally, they were to throw or draw “lots.” The “lots” may have been stones or animal bones marked in a way that produced random outcomes for “yes” or “no” answers, or for determining who goes first in a group. The idea is like throwing dice, with the high number going first. It’s also a little like “heads” or “tails” from a coin toss.
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