Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. The mansions. These mansions, or journeys of the children of Israel from Egypt to the land of promise, were figures, according to the Fathers, of the steps and degrees by which Christians, leaving sin, are to advance from virtue to virtue, till they come to the heavenly mansions, after this life, to see and enjoy God. (Challoner) — Conduct. Literally, “hand.” Aaron died before they came to the last of these 42 stations, or encampments. (Haydock) — The observance of the law, and the true worship of God, can alone insure us eternal happiness, and enable us to sing Holy, &c. (St. Jerome, ep. ad Fab.) (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Which. Hebrew, “and Moses wrote down their departure and their marches, by the commandment of the Lord; and these are their journeys, according to their going out.” These are the places of any note in that wide and dreary desert, near which the Israelites passed. All the encampments are not intended to be specified. The people marched on slowly, and sought for pasturage, with all diligence. The names of these more remarkable places, have been so differently pronounced, that many of them have been greatly confounded; (Calmet) and interpreters vary so much in their situation, that nothing can be decided with certainty. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Ramesses, a city of great note, about 60 miles from the Red Sea, Exodus i. 11. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Gods. Their idols were thrown down. (St. Jerome, ep. 127.) See Exodus xii. 12. (Menochius)
Ver. 6. Soccoth, the second station. (Haydock) — Etham. Septuagint, “Butham,” the Butum of Herodotus, (ii. 75,) situated in a plain.
Ver. 7. Beelsephon; perhaps the city of Clysma, or Colzan, where the Hebrews crossed the sea.
Ver. 8. Etham, or Sur. Exodus xv. 22. — Mara, 60 miles to the south of the Red Sea. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Elim. “The wood of palm-trees, five days’ journey from Jericho.” (Strabo) See Exodus xv.
Ver. 10. Red Sea. This encampment is not specified before. (Calmet) — It was the seventh in order. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Sin. Farther from the promised land than that of Tsin, (chap. xx. 1,) or Cades-barne.
Ver. 12. Daphca. Septuagint and Eusebius read, Raphca; (Calmet) D and R, in Hebrew, are easily confounded. (Haydock) — This encampment is passed over in Exodus, as well as the following at Alus.
Ver. 14. Raphidim and Sinai. See Exodus xvii., and xix. 1.
Ver. 16. Lust. After three days’ journey, passing by the station of burning, chap. x. 33., and xi. 3.
Ver. 17. Haseroth, near Cades-barne, the same as Aserim, (“the unwalled towns” of the Heveans, extending as far as Gaza) or Asor, called afterwards Esron, on the south of Chanaan, Josue xi. 10. Moses does not specify here the memorable encampment at Cades-barne, where the Israelites arrived, after 11 days’ march from Horeb, Deuteronomy i. 2, 19. It was not far from Asor, on the frontiers of Idumea, (Calmet) in the desert of Pharan, chap. xiii. 1.
Ver. 19. Rethma. The situation of this and the following station, cannot be fixed.
Ver. 21. Lebna. A strong place besieged by Sennacherib, (4 Kings xix. 8.) between Cades and Gaza, Josue x. 29. The Hebrews encamped a long while about Mount Seir, Deuteronomy ii. 1.
Ver. 22. Ressa was in the same neighbourhood. St. Hirarion converted its inhabitants.
Ver. 24. Arada. Herad, Adar, or Barad, are probably the same place, on the southern limits of Chanaan, four miles from Maceloth, the Malatis of Eusebius.
Ver. 30. Hesmona, or Asemona, a city of the tribe of Juda, towards Egypt, chap. xxxiv. 4.
Ver. 32. Gadgad. These three stations are placed in a different order, Deuteronomy x. 6. But some word has been transposed, as Aaron died on Mount Hor, when the Hebrews encamped at Mosera, or Moseroth, a second time. (Calmet)
Ver. 34. Jetebatha. It may be rendered also “Hills of concupiscence,” famous for torrents of water, Deuteronomy x. 7.
Ver. 35. Asiongaber. Some place this station on the Mediterranean, where Strabo fixes the city of Gassion Gaber, the Beto Gabria of Ptolemy. But the Scripture informs us it lay on the Red Sea, 3 Kings ix. 16. Cellarius thinks most probably upon the Elanitic gulph, to the east of that of Suez, or Heroopolis, where Josephus maintains Asiongaber or Bernice stood. The Hebrews came to this station from that of Elat, Deuteronomy ii. 8. (Calmet)
Ver. 36. Sin, or Tsin. Cades is another name of the same desert. Near the city of Cades-barne, the Hebrews encamped a long while, and had plenty of water; but here they murmured for want of it, and Mary departed this life, chap. xx. (Calmet)
Ver. 37. Hor, at a place called Mosera, Deuteronomy x. 6. This was the road from Arabia to Chanaan, and the Hebrews attempted to enter by it, but were repulsed by the king of Arad, though they afterwards defeated him at Horma, chap. xxi. 3.
Ver. 41. Salmona, where it is thought by some that God sent the fiery serpents, chap. xxi. 6. The Israelites being refused a passage by the Idumeans and Moabites, God orders them to measure back their steps towards Asiongaber, and to go round their territories. (Calmet)
Ver. 45. Dibongad, is often called Dibon. Moses observes, (chap. xxi.) that the Hebrews passed by or encamped at various places, before they came to this town. It is sometimes attributed to Ruben, and at other times to Gad, being on the confines of both tribes. (Calmet)
Ver. 49. Moabites. Here they were deluded by wicked women, chap. xxv. (Haydock) — From these 42 stations, the Fathers take occasion to shew, how we must advance in a spiritual life. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 52. Pillars. Hebrew, stones placed on high “to be seen.” Septuagint, “towers of the sentinels.” Chaldean, “where they adore their idols.”
Ver. 53. Land of its old inhabitants, and of the places dedicated to superstitious purposes. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “occupy the land.” Septuagint, “drive out the inhabitants, and dwell there.”
Ver. 55. Nails. Septuagint, “goads,” &c., by which they will force you in a manner to gratify your curiosity, by an imitation of their idol worship; and thus will prove to you more dangerous, than if you had nails piercing your eyes. See Josue xxiii. 13., and Ezechiel xxviii. 24. These abandoned nations must not be spared through a false pity, Deuteronomy xx. 16. (Calmet) — The Israelites, however, proved negligent, and God made use of the remains of these nations to scourge his people, and to train them for war. (Du Hamel)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The mansions or journeys of the children of Israel towards the land of promise.
1 These are the mansions of the children of Israel, who went out of Egypt by their troops, under the conduct of Moses and Aaron,
2 Which Moses wrote down according to the places of their encamping, which they changed by the commandment of the Lord.
3 Now the children of Israel departed from Ramesses the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Phase, with a mighty hand, in the sight of all the Egyptians,
4 Who were burying their first-born, whom the Lord had slain *(for even upon their gods also he had executed vengeance),
5 And they camped in Soccoth.
6 And from Soccoth they came into Etham, which is in the uttermost borders of the wilderness.
7 *Departing from thence, they came over-against Phihahiroth, which looketh towards Beelsephon, and they camped before Magdalum.
8 And departing from Phihahiroth, they passed through the midst of the sea, into the wilderness: *and having marched three days through the desert of Etham, they camped in Mara.
9 *And departing from Mara, they came into Elim, where there were twelve fountains of waters, and seventy palm trees: and there they camped.
10 But departing from thence also, they pitched their tents by the Red Sea. And departing from the Red Sea,
11 They camped in the desert of Sin.
12 And they removed from thence, and came to Daphca.
13 And departing from Daphca, they camped in Alus.
14 And departing from Alus, they pitched their tents in Raphidim, *where the people wanted water to drink.
15 And departing from Raphidim, they camped in the desert of Sinai.
16 But departing also from the desert *of Sinai, they came to the graves of lust.
17 And departing from the graves of lust, they camped in Haseroth.
18 *And from Haseroth they came to Rethma,
19 And departing from Rethma, they camped in Remmonphares.
20 And they departed from thence, and came to Lebna.
21 Removing from Lebna, they camped in Ressa.
22 And departing from Ressa, they came to Ceelatha.
23 And they removed from thence, and camped in the mountain Sepher.
24 Departing from the mountain Sepher, they came to Arada.
25 From thence they went and camped in Maceloth.
26 And departing from Maceloth, they came to Thahath.
27 Removing from Thahath, they camped in Thare.
28 And they departed from thence, and pitched their tents in Methca.
29 And removing from Methca, they camped in Hesmona.
30 And departing from Hesmona, they came to Moseroth.
31 And removing from Moseroth, they camped in Benejaacan.
32 *And departing from Benejaacan, they came to Mount Gadgad.
33 From thence they went and camped in Jetebatha.
34 And from Jetebatha, they came to Hebrona.
35 And departing from Hebrona, they camped in Asiongaber.
36 *They removed from thence, and came into the desert of Sin, which is Cades.
37 And departing from Cades, they camped in Mount Hor, in the uttermost borders of the land of Edom.
38 *And Aaron, the priest, went up into Mount Hor, at the commandment of the Lord: and there he died, in the fortieth year of the coming forth of the children of Israel out of Egypt, **the fifth month, the first day of the month,
39 When he was a hundred and twenty-three years old.
40 And king Arad, the Chanaanite, who dwelt towards the south, heard that the children of Israel were come to the land of Chanaan.
41 And they departed from Mount Her, and camped in Salmona.
42 From whence they removed and came to Phunon.
43 And departing from Phunon, they camped in Oboth.
44 And from Oboth they came to Ijeabarim, which is in the borders of the Moabites.
45 And departing from Ijeabarim, they pitched their tents in Dibongab.
46 From thence they went and camped in Helmondeblathaim.
47 And departing from Helmondeblathaim, they came to the mountains of Abarim, over-against Nabo.
48 And departing from the mountains of Abarim, they passed to the plains of Moab, by the Jordan, over-against Jericho.
49 And there they camped from Bethsimoth, even to Abelsatim in the plains of the Moabites,
50 Where the Lord said to Moses:*
51 Command the children of Israel, and say to them: When you shall have passed over the Jordan, entering into the land of Chanaan,
52 Destroy all the inhabitants of that land: *beat down their pillars, and break in pieces their statues, and waste all their high places,
53 Cleansing the land, and dwelling in it. For I have given it you for a possession.
54 And you shall divide it among you by lot. To the more you shall give a larger part, and to the fewer a lesser. To every one as the lot shall fall, so shall the inheritance be given. The possession shall be divided by the tribes and the families:
55 But if you will not kill the inhabitants of the land: they that remain, shall be unto you as nails in your eyes, and spears in your sides, and they shall be your adversaries in the land of your habitation.
56 And whatsoever I had thought to do to them, I will do to you.
4: Exodus xii. 12.
7: Exodus xiv. 2.
8: Exodus xv. 22.
9: Exodus xv. 27.
14: Exodus xvii. 1.
16: Exodus xix. 2.; Numbers xi. 34.
18: Numbers xiii. 1.
32: Deuteronomy x. 7.
36: Numbers xx. 1.
38: Numbers xx. 25.; Deuteronomy xxxii. 50. — ** Year of the World 2552, Year before Christ 1452.
50: Year of the World 2553.
52: Deuteronomy vii. 5.; Judges ii. 2.