Numbers 7 This was the dedication offering for the altar on the day when it was anointed

From Numbers 7

04 Numbers thumbThe tabernacle is dedicated to the LORD. During the ceremony we see large amounts of offerings given to support the ministry of worship that will happen there. After the dedication the LORD speaks to Moses. In the gospel, people dedicate themselves to the LORD with some amazing results. Have you dedicated yourself to Jesus?

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Today’s chapter reading describes the offerings the tribes of Israel made for the tabernacle.

The process of altar dedication takes twelve days, and offerings by a leader representing each of the tribes are made on each of these sacred days. The offerings proceed like this;

Num 7.12 Day 1 Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah
Num 7.18 Day 2 Nethanel the son of Zuar, the chief of Issachar
Num 7.24 Day 3 Eliab the son of Helon, the chief of the people of Zebulun
Num 7.30 Day 4 Elizur the son of Shedeur, the chief of the people of Reuben
Num 7.36 Day 5 Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, the chief of the people of Simeon
Num 7.42 Day 6 Eliasaph the son of Deuel, the chief of the people of Gad
Num 7.48 Day 7 Elishama the son of Ammihud, the chief of the people of Ephraim
Num 7.54 Day 8 Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, the chief of the people of Manasseh
Num 7.60 Day 9 Abidan the son of Gideoni, the chief of the people of Benjamin
Num 7.66 Day 10 Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, the chief of the people of Dan
Num 7.72 Day 11 Pagiel the son of Ochran, the chief of the people of Asher
Num 7.78 Day 12 Ahira the son of Enan, the chief of the people of Naphtali

The leaders who make the offerings are the same as those who assist with the census in Num 1:5–15, but there is a distinct order of offering.

In Num 1:5–15 the sons of Leah are listed first (Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun) and then the sons of Rachel (Joseph [Ephraim and Manasseh] and Benjamin). The remaining four were born to maids of the matriarchs (Dan, Asher, Gad, and Naphtali).

Here in Num 7:1–88 the order of offering is influenced by the order of encampment given in Num 2:1–34.

Israelite Encampment
Israelite Encampment

The content of each daily offering is the same and they draw on earlier instructions:

  • the grain offering (Lev 2:1–16),
  • the preparation of incense (Exod 30:34–38),
  • the burnt offering (Lev 1:1–17),
  • the sin offering (Lev 4:1–5:13), and
  • the well-being offering (Lev 3:1–17).

Near the end of the chapter we pick up today’s passage.

84 This was the dedication offering for the altar on the day when it was anointed, from the chiefs of Israel: twelve silver plates, twelve silver basins, twelve golden dishes, 85 each silver plate weighing 130 shekels and each basin 70, all the silver of the vessels 2,400 shekels according to the shekel of the sanctuary, 86 the twelve golden dishes, full of incense, weighing 10 shekels apiece according to the shekel of the sanctuary, all the gold of the dishes being 120 shekels; 87 all the cattle for the burnt offering twelve bulls, twelve rams, twelve male lambs a year old, with their grain offering; and twelve male goats for a sin offering; 88 and all the cattle for the sacrifice of peace offerings twenty-four bulls, the rams sixty, the male goats sixty, the male lambs a year old sixty. This was the dedication offering for the altar after it was anointed. (Num 7.84-88)

The chapter ends with a large summary of all the offerings and donations given for the tabernacle.  Plates, basins, dishes, bulls, rams, lambs, grain offerings, goats.

The tabernacle itself is anointed when it is dedicated.

89 And when Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the testimony, from between the two cherubim; and it spoke to him. (Num 7.89)

Once it was dedicated, Moses entered the tent of meeting and the LORD spoke to him from the mercy seat.

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.

Dedication is the single minded devoting of a person, object or action to the honour of God.

In Israel’s history dedication was associated with the worship and service to God. Individuals were dedicated to the LORD. So was property, livestock and most importantly the priesthood.

In today’s passage we have seen the tabernacle being dedicated to the LORD. This would have included all its furnishings and contents. The temple of the LORD was likewise dedicated to the LORD.

Story of Jesus

In the gospel and afterwards we see that dedication is more usually applied to people than things.

27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Mt 19.27-29)

The disciples dedicated themselves to follow Jesus. Jesus anticipated that many others would do the same. Jesus promises that everyone who gives up this world, their belongings, even their families will receive much more in return and will inherit eternal life.

What good deed must you do to inherit eternal life? Dedicate yourself to Jesus.

Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2016. All Rights Reserved.