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  • ADAM CLARKE'S BIBLE COMMENTARY -
    NUMBERS 36

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    CHAPTER XXXVI

    The inconveniences which might be produced by daughters, inheritances, marrying out of their own tribe, remedied on the recommendation of certain chiefs of the tribe of Joseph, who stated the case of the daughters of Zelophehad, 1-4. The daughters of Zelophehad are commanded to marry in their own tribe, 5, 6; which is to be an ordinance in all similar circumstances, 7-9. The daughters of Zelophehad marry their father's brother's sons, and thus their inheritance is preserved in their own tribe, 10-12. The conclusion of the commandments given by the Lord to the Israelites in the plains of Moab, 13.

    NOTES ON CHAP. XXXVI

    Verse 2. "To give the inheritance of Zelophehad-unto his daughters." - See this case spoken of at large on chap. 27.

    Either the first eleven verses of chap. 27. should come in before this chapter, or this chapter should come in immediately after those eleven verses; they certainly both make parts of the same subject.

    Here Moses determines that heiresses should marry in their own tribe, that no part of the ancient inheritance might be alienated from the original family.

    Verse 6. "Let them marry to whom they think best" - Here was latitude sufficient, and yet a salutary and reasonable restraint, which prevented a vexatious mixture of property and possession.

    Verse 8. "Every daughter that possesseth an inheritance" - This law affected none but heiresses; all others were at liberty to marry into any of the other tribes. The priests and Levites, who could have no inheritance, were exempt from the operation of this law. Jehoiada had the king of Judah's daughter to wife, 2 Chronicles xxii. 11. And another priest had for wife one of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite, Ezra ii. 61. "By reason of such marriages," says Mr. Ainsworth, "there might be kindred between Elisabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, who was of the daughters of Aaron, and Mary the virgin, the mother of our Lord, who was of the lineage of David, and tribe of Judah;" Luke i. 5, 36; Luke iii. 23-31.

    Verse 11. "Mahlah, Tirza, &c." - For a curious account of these names, see the notes on "chap. xxvii. 7".

    Verse 12. "And their inheritance remained in-the family" - "By this example, and the law of inheritances in the Holy Land, the people of God," says Ainsworth, "are taught to hold fast their inheritance in his promises, and their right in Christ, which they hold by faith; that as the Father hath made them meet to be partakers of the inheritance among the saints in light, Col. i. 12, so they may keep the faith and grace which they have received to the end."

    Verse 13. "These are the commandments, &c." - See these different terms analyzed and explained, "Lev. xxvi. 15".

    THUS ends the book of Numbers, containing a series of astonishing providences and events. Scarcely any piece of history in the sacred writings is better calculated to impress the mind of a serious reader with a sense of the goodness and severity of God. In every transaction his holiness and justice appear in closest union with his benevolence and mercy. From such a Being what have the wicked not to fear! From such a Father and Friend what have the upright not to hope! His justice requires him to punish iniquity, but his mercy inclines him to pardon all who truly repent and believe in the Son of his love.

    The journeyings of this people, from the time they left Egypt, exhibit a series of providential wonders. Every where, and in every circumstance, God appears: and yet there is no circumstance or occasion that does not justify those signal displays of his GRACE and his JUSTICE. The genuine history of God's providence must be sought for in this book alone; and as every occurrence happened as an example, we have authority to conclude that in every case where his own glory and the salvation of man are interested, he will interfere and give the fullest proofs that he is the same to-day that he was yesterday, and will continue unchangeable for ever and ever. Reader, are these matters ensamples to thee? Art thou, like the Israelites, come into the plains of Moab, on the very verge of the promised land? Jordan alone separates thee from the promised inheritance. O, watch and pray, that thou come not short of the glory of God. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death; see then that the sting of death, which is sin, be extracted from thy soul, that, being justified by Christ's blood, thou mayest be made an heir according to the hope of an eternal life. Amen, amen.

    "I will bring you into the WILDERNESS of the people, and there will I plead with you face to face, like as I pleaded with your fathers in the WILDERNESS of the land of Egypt. And I will cause you to pass under the rod, and bring you into the bond of the covenant," Ezek. xx. 35-37.

    "He (Christ) is the Mediator of the New Testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance," Heb. ix. 15.

    SECTIONS In the Book of Numbers, carried on from Leviticus, which ends with the THIRTY-THIRD.

    The THIRTY-FOURTH, called rbdmb bemidbar, begins chap. i. 1, and ends chap. iv. 20.

    The THIRTY-FIFTH, called an nasa, begins chap. iv. 21, and ends chap.vii. 89.

    The THIRTY-SIXTH, called tl[hb behaalothecha, begins chap. viii. 1, and ends chap. xii. 16.

    The THIRTY-SEVENTH, called jl shelach, begins chap. xiii. 1, and ends chap. xv. 41.

    The THIRTY-EIGHTH, called jrq korach, begins chap. xvi. 1, and ends chap. xviii. 32.

    The THIRTY-NINTH, called tqj chukkath, begins chap. xix. 1, and ends chap. xxii. 1.

    The FORTIETH, called qlb balak, begins chap. xxii. 2, and ends chap. xxv. 9.

    The FORTY-FIRST, called sjnyp pinechas, begins chap. xxv. 10, and ends chap. xxx. 1.

    The FORTY-SECOND, called twfm mattoth, begins chap. xxx. 2, and ends chap. xxxii. 42.

    The FORTY-THIRD, called y[sm masey, begins chap. xxxiii. 1, and ends chap. xxxvi. 13.

    MASORETIC Notes on NUMBERS.

    The number of verses in this book is 1, 288, of which jpra is the symbol: for a aleph stands for 1, 000, r , resh for 200, p phe for 80, and j cheth for 8.

    The middle verse is the 20th of chap. 17. And the man's rod whom I shall choose shall blossom. (N. B. In our English Bibles this is ver. 5 of chap. 17.) Its pareshioth, or larger sections, are 10, expressed by the letters of the word ddb badad, alone: The Lord ALONE did lead him, Deut. xxxii. 12. d daleth stands for 4, repeated here, 8, and b beth for 2.

    Its sedarim, or Masoretic sections, are 32, expressed by the word bl leb, heart, Psa. li. 12: Create in me a clean HEART, O God; in which word b beth stands for 2, and l lamed for 30.

    Its chapters are 36, expressed by the word wl lu, O! Deuteronomy xxxii. x19: O that they were wise! in which word l lamed stands for 30, and w vau for 6.

    The number of its open sections is 92; its close or shut sections, 66; together 158; expressed in the memorial word qlj chelkecha: I am THY PORTION; in which word q koph stands for 100, l lamed for 30, caph for 20, and j , cheth for 8.

    Though this sort of notations may appear trifling to some, yet to an upright Jew they were of much consequence. The very technical words used in such cases put him always in mind of something in which the glory of God and the happiness and salvation of his own soul were concerned. See the note at the end of Genesis, and see the concluding notes on the Book of Deuteronomy. Revised and corrected for a new edition, August 4th, 1827. - A.CLARKE.

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