Numbers 7:1 ¶ And it came to pass on the day that Moses had fully set up the tabernacle, and had anointed it, and sanctified it, and all the instruments thereof, both the altar and all the vessels thereof, and had anointed them, and sanctified them;

Numbers 7:2 That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered:

Numbers 7:3 And they brought their offering before the LORD, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle.

 

The Hebrew for the word “day” in verse one can be general in reference.  Note that it is not defined as “evening and morning.”

 

Once the tabernacle had been set up according to the LORD’s instructions and everything associated with its function anointed and dedicated for service before the LORD, the princes of Israel, the recognized leaders of each of the tribes, brought an offering before the LORD to the tabernacle.  They brought six covered wagons (a joint gift from two tribes) and twelve oxen (one from each tribe).  This offering was obviously intended for use in transporting the tabernacle and all the items associated with it when they traveled.

 

Numbers 7:4 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

Numbers 7:5 Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service.

Numbers 7:6 And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites.

Numbers 7:7 Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service:

Numbers 7:8 And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

Numbers 7:9 But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders.

 

The LORD then instructed Moses to give the wagons and oxen to the Levites to use in transporting all the parts of the tabernacle and all the accompanying items used in its service.  Moses apportioned the wagons and oxen according to need.  He gave the sons of Gershon two wagons and four oxen.  The sons of Merari were given four wagons and eight oxen.  The sons of Kohath were given no wagons or oxen since they were responsible for transporting the ark, the table of showbread, the candlestick and the altar—all of which were to be carried on their shoulders.

 

Numbers 7:10 ¶ And the princes offered for dedicating of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered their offering before the altar.

Numbers 7:11 And the LORD said unto Moses, They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating of the altar.

 

These verses introduce the following sections of scripture that record the offerings brought from each tribe to dedicate the altar.  The narrative indicates that these offerings were bought on consecutive days.  The offerings from each tribe are identical, so you can’t help but wonder if God had provided specific instruction concerning these offerings.  One should also note that these offerings were intended for the use of both the altar for burnt offerings and the altar of incense.

 

JFB provides the following insights:  “A day was set apart for each, as much for the imposing solemnity and splendor of the ceremony, as for the prevention of disorder and hurry; and it is observable that, in the order of offering, regard was paid to priority not of birth, but of rank and dignity as they were ranked in the camp — beginning at the east, proceeding to the south, then to the west, and closing with the north, according to the course of the sun.”

 

Numbers 7:12 And he that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah:

Numbers 7:13 And his offering was one silver charger, the weight thereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:14 One spoon of ten shekels of gold, full of incense:

Numbers 7:15 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:16 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:17 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nahshon the son of Amminadab.

 

Having already noted that the offering from each tribe was identical, I will only comment on the first one.  Each offering included the following:

Š      One silver charger weighing 130 shekels filled with fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering (reference is to the sanctuary shekel)

Š      One silver bowl weighing 70 shekels filled with fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering

Š      One golden spoon (or dish from the Hebrew) weighing ten shekels filled with incense

Š      One young bull, one ram and one lamb of the first year for a burnt offering

Š      One kid of the goats for a sin offering

Š      Two oxen, five rams, five he goats and five lambs of the first year for a peace offering

 

I liked Guzik’s comment regarding the identical offerings:  “By requiring the same gift from every tribe, God made sure that no tribe or tribal leader glorified himself through his giving. We must resist the tendency to give in order to be seen of men.”

 

(The next comments are after verse 83.)

 

Numbers 7:18 On the second day Nethaneel the son of Zuar, prince of Issachar, did offer:

Numbers 7:19 He offered for his offering one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:20 One spoon of gold of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:21 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:22 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:23 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Nethaneel the son of Zuar.

 

Numbers 7:24 On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, prince of the children of Zebulun, did offer:

Numbers 7:25 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:26 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:27 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:28 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:29 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliab the son of Helon.

 

Numbers 7:30 On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, prince of the children of Reuben, did offer:

Numbers 7:31 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:32 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:33 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:34 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:35 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elizur the son of Shedeur.

 

Numbers 7:36 On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, prince of the children of Simeon, did offer:

Numbers 7:37 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:38 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:39 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:40 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:41 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

 

Numbers 7:42 On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, prince of the children of Gad, offered:

Numbers 7:43 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, a silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:44 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:45 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:46 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:47 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

 

Numbers 7:48 On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, prince of the children of Ephraim, offered:

Numbers 7:49 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:50 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:51 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:52 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:53 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Elishama the son of Ammihud.

 

Numbers 7:54 On the eighth day offered Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, prince of the children of Manasseh:

Numbers 7:55 His offering was one silver charger of the weight of an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:56 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:57 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:58 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:59 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

 

Numbers 7:60 On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, prince of the children of Benjamin, offered:

Numbers 7:61 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:62 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:63 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:64 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:65 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Abidan the son of Gideoni.

 

Numbers 7:66 On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, prince of the children of Dan, offered:

Numbers 7:67 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:68 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:69 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:70 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:71 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

 

Numbers 7:72 On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ocran, prince of the children of Asher, offered:

Numbers 7:73 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:74 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:75 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:76 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:77 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Pagiel the son of Ocran.

 

Numbers 7:78 On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, prince of the children of Naphtali, offered:

Numbers 7:79 His offering was one silver charger, the weight whereof was an hundred and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; both of them full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering:

Numbers 7:80 One golden spoon of ten shekels, full of incense:

Numbers 7:81 One young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering:

Numbers 7:82 One kid of the goats for a sin offering:

Numbers 7:83 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering of Ahira the son of Enan.

 

We know that since it took twelve days for the tribes to present their offerings, that at least one of them had to take place on a Sabbath day.  As noted by many commentators, the Sabbath is to be dedicated to the LORD and the focus of each of these days was to honor the LORD.

 

It is also significant to me that the LORD inspired Moses to make an individual note of each tribe’s gift.  Each tribe’s gift was pleasing to the LORD and acknowledged individually. 

 

That is an important principle that we as Christians need to remember today.  Though our gifts to the LORD are certainly not identical, He makes note of every gift given Him and recognizes the sacrifice and love that each gift represents.  I like this statement from Coffman:  “It is not merely what a church or congregation is doing, but what each one is doing, that counts with God.”

 

Numbers 7:84 This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:

Numbers 7:85 Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:

Numbers 7:86 The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels.

Numbers 7:87 All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve.

Numbers 7:88 And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed.

 

This section makes note of the total number of gifts from the twelve tribes.

Š      Twelve chargers of silver (weighing 130 shekels each) and twelve silver bowls (weighing 70 shekels each) for a total weight of 2400 sanctuary shekels

Š      twelve gold spoons (weighing ten shekels) full of incense for a total weight of 120 shekels

Š      Twelve bulls, twelve rams, and twelve lambs of the first year for a meat offering

Š      Twelve kids of the goats for a sin offering

Š      24 bulls or oxen, 60 rams, 60 he goats and 60 lambs of the first year for peace offerings

 

Numbers 7:89 And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him.

Moses went into the tabernacle to speak with the LORD and heard a voice speaking from off the mercy seat on top of the ark of the covenant, from between the two cherubims.  Moses knew it was the LORD because of what the LORD had told him as recorded in Exodus 25.

 

Exodus 25:21–22 “And thou shalt put the mercy seat above upon the ark; and in the ark thou shalt put the testimony that I shall give thee. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubims which are upon the ark of the testimony, of all things which I will give thee in commandment unto the children of Israel.”