Numbers 33

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Read Numbers 33

Stages in Israel’s Journey

33 Here are the stages in the journey of the Israelites when they came out of Egypt by divisions under the leadership of Moses and Aaron. At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey. This is their journey by stages:

The Israelites set out from Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month, the day after the Passover. They marched out defiantly in full view of all the Egyptians, who were burying all their firstborn, whom the Lordhad struck down among them; for the Lord had brought judgment on their gods.

The Israelites left Rameses and camped at Sukkoth.

They left Sukkoth and camped at Etham, on the edge of the desert.

They left Etham, turned back to Pi Hahiroth, to the east of Baal Zephon,and camped near Migdol.

They left Pi Hahiroth and passed through the sea into the desert, and when they had traveled for three days in the Desert of Etham, they camped at Marah.

They left Marah and went to Elim, where there were twelve springs and seventy palm trees, and they camped there.

10 They left Elim and camped by the Red Sea.

11 They left the Red Sea and camped in the Desert of Sin.

12 They left the Desert of Sin and camped at Dophkah.

13 They left Dophkah and camped at Alush.

14 They left Alush and camped at Rephidim, where there was no water for the people to drink.

15 They left Rephidim and camped in the Desert of Sinai.

16 They left the Desert of Sinai and camped at Kibroth Hattaavah.

17 They left Kibroth Hattaavah and camped at Hazeroth.

18 They left Hazeroth and camped at Rithmah.

19 They left Rithmah and camped at Rimmon Perez.

20 They left Rimmon Perez and camped at Libnah.

21 They left Libnah and camped at Rissah.

22 They left Rissah and camped at Kehelathah.

23 They left Kehelathah and camped at Mount Shepher.

24 They left Mount Shepher and camped at Haradah.

25 They left Haradah and camped at Makheloth.

26 They left Makheloth and camped at Tahath.

27 They left Tahath and camped at Terah.

28 They left Terah and camped at Mithkah.

29 They left Mithkah and camped at Hashmonah.

30 They left Hashmonah and camped at Moseroth.

31 They left Moseroth and camped at Bene Jaakan.

32 They left Bene Jaakan and camped at Hor Haggidgad.

33 They left Hor Haggidgad and camped at Jotbathah.

34 They left Jotbathah and camped at Abronah.

35 They left Abronah and camped at Ezion Geber.

36 They left Ezion Geber and camped at Kadesh, in the Desert of Zin.

37 They left Kadesh and camped at Mount Hor, on the border of Edom.38 At the Lord’s command Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor, where he died on the first day of the fifth month of the fortieth year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. 39 Aaron was a hundred and twenty-three years old when he died on Mount Hor.

40 The Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Negev of Canaan, heard that the Israelites were coming.

41 They left Mount Hor and camped at Zalmonah.

42 They left Zalmonah and camped at Punon.

43 They left Punon and camped at Oboth.

44 They left Oboth and camped at Iye Abarim, on the border of Moab.

45 They left Iye Abarim and camped at Dibon Gad.

46 They left Dibon Gad and camped at Almon Diblathaim.

47 They left Almon Diblathaim and camped in the mountains of Abarim,near Nebo.

48 They left the mountains of Abarim and camped on the plains of Moabby the Jordan across from Jericho. 49 There on the plains of Moab they camped along the Jordan from Beth Jeshimoth to Abel Shittim.

50 On the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho the Lord said to Moses, 51 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you cross the Jordan into Canaan, 52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. 53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess. 54 Distribute the land by lot, according to your clans. To a larger group give a larger inheritance, and to a smaller group a smaller one. Whatever falls to them by lot will be theirs. Distribute it according to your ancestral tribes.

55 “‘But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will give you trouble in the land where you will live. 56 And then I will do to you what I plan to do to them.’”

Go Deeper

At first glance, Numbers 33 reads like an ancient history book recounting the locations  and movements of the nation of Israel. This chapter begins with the note that the Lord wanted Moses to record these movements (v. 2), so Moses did just that. Beginning with their defiant escape from slavery in Egypt (v. 3), Moses goes on to list all the places Israel traveled and set up camp. He even makes special note of where Aaron, his brother and trusted co-leader, passed away on Mount Hor (v. 39). 

Towards the end of this chapter, Israel is presented with its next task: to drive out the Canaanites from the land that had been promised to them (v. 50-56). They weren’t just to assimilate into the culture–they were to destroy the idols and purge the ungodliness from Canaan. God even gives them a warning of what will happen if they don’t do this! 

Pastor David Guzik, author of the Enduring Word commentary, has this note connecting it to us as readers today: 

“The abiding spiritual principle teaches us that it is of no use for the church to succeed in the eyes of man–as Israel had succeeded when they occupied the land and became a legitimate nation, instead of an enslaved people–if it merely allows the corrupt practices and attitudes of the Canaanites to take root among God’s people. If, spiritually speaking, a similar thing happens among God’s people today, they should expect to be eventually driven from their place of apparent success or influence.”

While it’s easy to read this list full of locations that are difficult to pronounce and think they are insignificant, it’s important to remember that these are all real places. This historical narrative is exactly that: history. And each one of these locations was an important part of Israel’s history as they were delivered from the hands of the Egyptians, wandered in the wilderness, and walked in repentance. All of these places had meaning and significance. They all mattered and shaped Israel into the people they had become.

Today, remember where you’ve been and God’s faithfulness in your own life and remember the call God has on your life to be salt and light in a dark world (Matthew 5:13-16). 


  1. What stuck out to you on your first read through this chapter? Why?
  2. Why was it so important for Moses to record this series of events and locations from Israel’s past? Why is it so important to remember?
  3. What does it look like to destroy and demolish the idols in your own life? What is a step you can take today to begin that process?

Did You Know?

By the end of this chapter as the Israelites set up camp on the plains of Moab, they were a few months away from crossing the Jordan and making their way into Canaan after 40 years of wandering. 

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7 thoughts on “Numbers 33”

  1. Numbers 33 reads like a travel log recording geographic places the Israelites camped on the arduous journey to the promised land. Moses gives us bits of information for some of the locations, Elim had 12 springs of water and 70 Palm trees, Rephidim had no water for the people to drink, at Mount Hor Aaron died at the age of 123, and finally at Moab God delivers an ultimatum when they cross over into Canaan. From the very beginning God chose and called the Israelites to be his own special people. He has proven time and again that he is worthy of their trust. He knows what awaits them and will challenge their allegiance to him, so he gives a mandate to drive out, destroy and demolish all traces of evil idol worship as they take possession of the land. Their lives have been established on the commandments of God in Exodus 20:3-5,
    3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
    4 Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
    5 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.”

    Reading this commandment, I’m convicted to examine my own heart. What do I serve and what do I bow down to? Whatever is not of God will surely become a snare, a barb in my eye and a thorn in my side. May we not compromise or coddle anything that would corrupt or relationship with Christ, but cast it aside.

  2. Amen Ella.
    I also thought of how in vs52 drive out all the inhabitants of the land before you. Destroy all their carved images and their cast idols, and demolish all their high places. This seemed to a stumbling block for them, with idols. What and where are your idols? When you have a hard or difficult day, where do you run to? Do you turn to the refrigerator, facebook to vent, or other idols in your toolbox? God’s word says in Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. BUT GOD gives us a way to diffuse our idols. HIM!!! His Word, His solace, His joy, His peace, His mercy, His grace, His love everlasting. I am striving to do this, but it certainly does not happen daily BUT GOD is doing a work. WOOHOO!!!

    God thank You for helping me find my identity in You . Thank You for my turning to You in EVERY need or hard time. God You are my sufficiency, You are my solace. God thank You for joy effervescing from my heart about and for You. Thank You for me remembering to turn to You for ALL my direction today in these minutes of this day in Jesus name amen.
    WOOHOO and WOOHOO!!!! some more

  3. Amen!

    “53 Take possession of the land and settle in it, for I have given you the land to possess.”

    Sometimes, I don’t want to “settle”, but instead am tempted to move on the next, new exciting thing/place. God, help me to settle in the land you have given me to possess.

  4. Diane Frances Rogers

    Amen to both Ella and Amy. The consistency in BRP and how you strive to live life in alignment to God shows your humility and is just a glimpse of your spiritual pilgrimage. In this year of turning 66, I recall growth in Christ, not of my own accord, but of His pursuit of me. As I have worked the steps in Re-gen, I have seen more clearly the idols that have been my stumbling blocks. Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. I am so grateful for the program. So, as I reflect over my spiritual pilgrimage, I see my life moving ahead in obedience to God and faith in Jesus. Abba, Thank You for Your gift of Holy Spirit. Thank You for Your unconditional love. Thank You for Your grace. Keep my thoughts on You. In Jesus name, Amen.

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