The Silver Trumpets. 1The LORD said to Moses: 2Make two trumpets of silver, making them of hammered silver, for you to use in summoning the community and in breaking camp. 3When both are blown, the whole community shall gather round you at the entrance of the tent of meeting; 4but when one of them is blown, only the tribal leaders, the heads of the clans of Israel, shall gather round you. 5When you sound the signal, those encamped on the east side shall break camp; 6when you sound a second signal, those encamped on the south side shall break camp; when you sound a third signal, those encamped on the west side shall break camp; when you sound a fourth signal, those encamped on the north side shall break camp. Thus shall the signal be sounded for them to break camp. 7But in calling forth an assembly you are to blow a blast, without sounding the signal.
8The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; this is prescribed forever for you and your descendants. 9a When in your own land you go to war against an enemy that is attacking you, you shall sound the alarm on the trumpets, and you shall be remembered before the LORD, your God, and be saved from your foes. 10And when you rejoice* on your festivals, and your new-moon feasts, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and your communion sacrifices,b so that this serves as a reminder of you before your God. I, the LORD, am your God.
II. DEPARTURE, REBELLION, AND WANDERING IN THE WILDERNESS FOR FORTY YEARS
Departure from Sinai. 11In the second year, on the twentieth day of the second month, the cloud rose from the tabernacle of the covenant, 12and the Israelites moved on from the wilderness of Sinai by stages, until the cloud came to rest in the wilderness of Paran.
13The first time that they broke camp at the direction of the LORD through Moses, 14c the divisional camp of the Judahites, arranged in companies, was the first to set out. Over its whole company was Nahshon, son of Amminadab, 15with Nethanel, son of Zuar, over the company of the tribe of Issacharites, 16and Eliab, son of Helon, over the company of the tribe of Zebulunites. 17Then, after the tabernacle was dismantled, the Gershonites and Merarites who carried the tabernacle set out. 18The divisional camp of the Reubenites, arranged in companies, was the next to set out. Over its whole company was Elizur, son of Shedeur, 19with Shelumiel, son of Zurishaddai, over the company of the tribe of Simeonites, 20and Eliasaph, son of Reuel, over the company of the tribe of Gadites. 21The Kohathites, who carried the sacred objects, then set out. Before their arrival the tabernacle would be erected. 22The divisional camp of the Ephraimites set out next, arranged in companies. Over its whole company was Elishama, son of Ammihud, 23with Gamaliel, son of Pedahzur, over the company of the tribe of Manassites, 24and Abidan, son of Gideoni, over the company of the tribe of Benjaminites. 25Finally, as rear guard for all the camps, the divisional camp of the Danites set out, arranged in companies. Over its whole company was Ahiezer, son of Ammishaddai, 26with Pagiel, son of Ochran, over the company of the tribe of Asherites, 27and Ahira, son of Enan, over the company of the tribe of Naphtalites. 28This was the order of march for the Israelites, company by company, when they set out.
Hobab as Guide. 29Moses said to Hobab,* son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place concerning which the LORD has said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will be generous toward you, for the LORD has promised prosperity to Israel.” 30But he answered, “No, I will not come. I am going instead to the land of my birth.” 31Moses said, “Please, do not leave us; you know where we can camp in the wilderness, and you can serve as our guide. 32If you come with us, we will share with you the prosperity the LORD will bestow on us.”
Into the Wilderness. 33d From the mountain of the LORD* they made a journey of three days, and the ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them for the three-day journey to seek out a resting place for them. 34And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from camp.
35Whenever the ark set out, Moses would say,
“Arise, O LORD, may your enemies be scattered,
and may those who hate you flee before you.”
36And when it came to rest, he would say,
“Bring back, O LORD, the myriads of Israel’s troops!”
* [10:10] When you rejoice: cf. Dt 16:14. Festivals: the great annual feasts of the Passover, Pentecost and Booths described in Lv 23; Nm 28–29.
* [10:29–32] Hobab: one of three names for the father-in-law of Moses (see Ex 2:18; 4:18; 18:6; Jgs 4:11). Here perhaps Hobab’s initial refusal indicates he wished to be coaxed before granting the favor. From Jgs 1:16 it seems probable that he did accede to Moses’ request. However, Ex 18:27 suggests Moses’ father-in-law returned to his own land. Indeed, to the extent Nm 10:29–32 appears to repeat Ex 18:27, it may indicate a resumption of the narrative of Israel’s march through the wilderness after the “digression” formed by the Israelite sojourn at Sinai, Ex 19:1–Nm 10:28.
* [10:33] The mountain of the LORD: Sinai (Horeb), elsewhere always called “the mountain of God.”
a. [10:9] 2 Chr 13:14.
b. [10:10] Nm 29:1; 2 Chr 29:26–28.