March 10, 2023
In reading today from chapters 33 and 34 of Numbers two things are prominent: Israel’s journey is laid out and the borders of Canaan are laid out.
Chapter 33 –
Moses maintained a very detailed travel plan of the Israelites on their journey from Egypt to the promised land. Remember they left Egypt quite defiantly while the Egyptians were burying their firstborn. Moses noted the Israelites camped in the wilderness of Zin (that is, Kadesh) which is the name where the nation rebelled and wandered for forty years.
At Mount Hor Aaron the brother of Moses dies. Then we see the Canaanite king opposed the people’s passing and was soundly defeated, then he records their encampment in Abarim range so Moses could see the promised land.
The remainder of the chapter includes Moses’ instructions and exhortations to God’s people about entering the promised land. He emphasizes the total spiritual depravity of the people they would encounter as well as the Lord’s command concerning them.
Once God’s people possessed the land it was to be divided among them. Moses’ message from the Lord then ended with a stern warning: But if you don’t drive out the inhabitants…those you allow to remain will become …thorns in your sides: they will harass you in the land where you will live. And what I have planned to do to them, I will do to you. If you are disobedient then these people will be a snare to you.
Tragically the Israelites would fail to follow the directions given them and they would suffer both military and spiritual defeats in the centuries ahead. Eventually after years of covenant unfaithfulness – and years of the Lord being abundantly patient they would be cast form the land in stages.
Chapter 34 –
Before transitioning from Moses to Joshua the Lord gave specific instructions to Moses about the details of dividing up the land so there would be no confusion. He provided precise boundaries for the land and identified leaders of the tribe who would oversee the distribution.
All borders were identified of the promised land. Each tribe was to receive their land by lot but the process only involved distribution to nine and one half tribes because Rueben and one half Manasseh remained east of the Jordan.