Numbers 33:1-49

The Encampments
Numbers 33:1-49
1 These are the journeys of the children of Israel, who went forth out of the land of Egypt according to their armies under the hand of Moses and Aaron. 2 And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of Jehovah; and these are their journeys according to their goings out.
3 They journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with a high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians. 4 And the Egyptians buried those whom Jehovah had smitten among them, all the firstborn; and upon their gods Jehovah executed judgments. vv.3-4 Ramses (Camp 0). Ramses is where it began: the children of Israel in bondage in Egypt. It was a sovereign work of God to awaken the realization in Israel they they were in bondage, and to obey the voice of Moses. In Ramses Israel saw the ten plagues unfold, culminating in the Passover. It represents the very beginning of the work of God in a soul, when they come to find shelter under the shed blood of Christ.

5 And the children of Israel removed from Rameses, and encamped in Succoth. v.5 Succoth (Camp 1). The first encampment of Israel on their journey from Egypt to Canaan was in Succoth (Ex. 12:37). There are a number of exercises laid before the people at this first encampment which correspond to the exercises laid before a new Christian:

  • The Ordinance of the Passover (Ex. 12:43-50) – corresponds to the believer’s appreciation of the death of Christ, expressed formally by participating in the Lord’s Supper.
  • The Consecration of the Firstborn (Ex. 13:1-2, 11-16) – corresponds to the fact that we belong to Christ, and owe our lives entirely to Him.
  • The Feast of Unleavened Bread (Ex. 13:3-10) – speaks of the holy, separate walk of the believer, which is in response to the work of Christ.
6 And they removed from Succoth and encamped in Etham, which is at the end of the wilderness. v.6 Etham (Camp 2). At Etham Israel was given the pillar of fire and cloud. The lessons of Etham have to do with the Lord’s presence with us, especially as our guide and protection.
7 And they removed from Etham, and turned back to Pi-hahiroth, which is opposite Baal-Zephon, and encamped before Migdol. v.7 Pi-hahiroth (Camp 3). At Pi-hahiroth Israel experienced Jehovah’s deliverance from Egypt at the Red Sea. The lessons of Pi-hahiroth have to do with trusting the Lord for full deliverance, not only from judgment, but also from the power of the enemy. Often in the experience of a young Christian, God will place the believer in a difficult position where they learn the power of God. Moreover, if the Passover speaks of redemption by blood, then the Red Sea speaks of redemption by power, accomplished through the death and resurrection of Christ. Both are required for peace (Rom. 5:1).
8 And they removed from before Hahiroth, and passed through the midst of the sea into the wilderness, and went three days’ journey in the wilderness of Etham, and encamped in Marah. v.8 Marah (Camp 4). At Marah we have the first great lesson of the wilderness: there is nothing in this would that can satisfy and refresh us. At first there was no water, then the water they did find was bitter – impossible to drink. What was the solution? The Lord showed Moses a certain tree, which he cast into the water, and the waters were made sweet. In Gal. 3:13 the apostle Paul relates a tree to the cross of Christ. The eye of flesh will see the trials of the wilderness as bitter waters. When we come to bitter trial in life and we don’t see the Lord’s love in it, we need to look at the cross. It was in the giving of His Son – not in the trials of life – that the love of God was manifested (1 John 4:9). Cast the tree into the water, and they will become sweet. How wonderful to see the sweetness that the cross of Christ brings into our darkest hours. The love of Christ shown out on the cross illuminates the darkest circumstances, and makes us value the very trials that we once saw as bitter (Rom. 5:3-5). The Lord alone is our resource!
9 And they removed from Marah, and came to Elim; and in Elim were twelve springs of water, and seventy palm-trees, and they encamped there. v.9 Elim (Camp 5). Then they come to Elim, and experience an oasis provided by God for their refreshment in the wilderness. The camp at Elim was different from Marah in that there was no test at Elim. The water was fresh and abundant (twelve wells for twelve tribes), and the shade was plentiful and complete (seventy palms). Often after God has tried our faith and proven Himself faithful to meet our needs, He will also provide a time of rest and refreshment in which the soul can reflect and thank God while being refreshed and blessed. There were twelve springs of water that gushed up from an underground aquifer. These springs were the channels, but the source was deep underground. This might speak of those resources which God has provided in the wilderness; gifts given by an ascended Christ (Eph. 4:11). But the order is important; we must have Christ Himself first (the certain tree at Marah) before we can enjoy the springs of water. The seventy palm trees might also picture the support of fellow-believers, as each one is a joint of supply (Eph. 4:16).
10 And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red sea. v.10 The Red Sea (Camp 6). 
11 And they removed from the Red sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin. v.11 The Wilderness of Sin (Camp 7). 
12 And they removed from the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah. v.12 Dophkah (Camp 8). 
13 And they removed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush. v.13 Alush (Camp 9). 
14 And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink. v.14 Rephidim (Camp 10). 
15 And they removed from Rephidim, and encamped in the wilderness of Sinai. v.15 The Wilderness of Sinai (Camp 11).
16 And they removed from the wilderness of Sinai, and encamped at Kibroth-hattaavah. 17 And they removed from Kibroth-hattaavah, and encamped at Hazeroth. 18 And they removed from Hazeroth, and encamped in Rithmah. 19 And they removed from Rithmah, and encamped at Rimmon-perez. 20 And they removed from Rimmon-perez, and encamped in Libnah. 21 And they removed from Libnah, and encamped at Rissah. 22 And they removed from Rissah, and encamped in Kehelathah. 23 And they removed from Kehelathah, and encamped in mount Shapher. 24 And they removed from mount Shapher, and encamped in Haradah. 25 And they removed from Haradah, and encamped in Makheloth. 26 And they removed from Makheloth, and encamped at Tahath. 27 And they removed from Tahath, and encamped at Terah. 28 And they removed from Terah, and encamped in Mithcah. 29 And they removed from Mithcah, and encamped in Hashmonah. 30 And they removed from Hashmonah, and encamped in Moseroth. 31 And they removed from Moseroth, and encamped in Bene-Jaakan. 32 And they removed from Bene-Jaakan, and encamped at Hor-hagidgad. 33 And they removed from Hor-hagidgad, and encamped in Jotbathah. 34 And they removed from Jotbathah, and encamped at Abronah. 35 And they removed from Abronah, and encamped at Ezion-geber. 36 And they removed from Ezion-geber, and encamped in the wilderness of Zin, which is Kadesh. 37 And they removed from Kadesh, and encamped in mount Hor, in the border of the land of Edom. 38 And Aaron the priest went up mount Hor by the commandment of Jehovah, and died there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel came out of the land of Egypt, in the fifth month, on the first of the month. 39 And Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on mount Hor. 40 And the Canaanite, the king of Arad who dwelt in the south in the land of Canaan, heard of the coming of the children of Israel. 41 And they removed from mount Hor, and encamped in Zalmonah. 42 And they removed from Zalmonah, and encamped in Punon. 43 And they removed from Punon, and encamped in Oboth. 44 And they removed from Oboth, and encamped in Ijim-Abarim, in the border of Moab. 45 And they removed from Ijim, and encamped in Dibon-Gad. 46 And they removed from Dibon-Gad, and encamped in Almon-Diblathaim. 47 And they removed from Almon-Diblathaim, and encamped in the mountains of Abarim, before Nebo. 48 And they removed from the mountains of Abarim, and encamped in the plains of Moab by the Jordan of Jericho. 49 And they encamped by the Jordan, from Beth-jeshimoth unto Abel-Shittim, in the plains of Moab.