3 And they brought their offering [korban - gift] before Yahweh, 6 covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes [Nasiim], and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle [ Mishkan].
The names of the gift offerers are recorded indefinitely. As if to suggest the freewill offerings of all Yahweh's people are remembered perpetually.
11 And Yahweh said unto Moses [Moshe], They shall offer their offering [korban], each prince [Nasi] on his day, for the dedicating of the altar [Mizbe'ach].
In addition to the wagons and oxen, the twelve princes made each an individual offering in connection with the dedication of the altar. There is something remarkable in the way in which this was done, and in the way in which it is recorded.
The princes did not come together and present their offerings as a joint offering; but each prince, commencing with the prince of Judah, came on a particular day one after the other, during twelve days, and presented his offering before the altar; and each prince presented exactly the same collection of articles and beasts: yet though each prince presented exactly the same offering, the articles composing it are minutely and exactly enumerated twelve times over, as each prince made his present on his day: and then all are summarized in a totalling of the twelve. The particulars, in which there is so much repetition, occupy 89 verses.
There must have been a reason for this apparently superfluous repetition of apparently superfluous details. It must have been to give conspicuousness and emphasis to the principle involved. What this principle was we may see if we consider that the princes of the tribes would stand representatively for the tribes themselves, and that the altar at which they prostrated themselves was the symbol of sacrifice as the basis of sinful man's approach to God.
Here is a dramatic proclamation of utter humiliation before God as the kernel principle of national existence. Its repetition twelve times on twelve different days would make the lesson more emphatic, and the identity of the offering in each case would show what Paul declares concerning all men, that
"there is no difference, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God". *
12 And he that offered his offering [korban] the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab [Ben Amminadav], of the tribe of Judah [Yehudah]:
13 And his offering [korban] was one silver charger [bowl], the weight thereof was 130 shekels, one silver bowl of 70 shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary [HaKodesh]; both of them were full of fine flour mingled with oil for a meat offering [minchah]:
The offering in each case was an elaborate one, and covered every aspect of the Mosaic parable embodied in the tabernacle: a silver charger and a bowl piled full of fine flour mingled with oil (the Jew and Gentile, purified and wrought into divine shape by affliction, and filled with life and joy);
14 One spoon [ladle] of 10 shekels of gold [zahav], full of incense [ketoret]:
(perfected faith finding daily exercise in praise and prayer)
15 One young bullock [bull], one ram, one lamb of the first year, for a burnt offering [olah]:
(strength, desire, and obedience absorbed in the incorruptible at the resurrection)
16 One kid of the goats for a sin offering [chattat]:
(the sacrificial condemnation of sin in the flesh)
17 And for a sacrifice of peace offerings [zevach of shelamim], two oxen, five rams, five he goats, five lambs of the first year: this was the offering [korban] of Nahshon the son of Amminadab [Amminadav].
(all strength, executiveness, waywardness, and innocence brought into reconciliation with God and employed in His service). *
26 One golden spoon [ladle] of ten shekels, full of incense [ketoret]:
Pray Always and Faint Not
It is the duty, the safety, and the glory of every believer to pray for the coming of the Lord's Anointed in judgment upon the adversary of his Ecclesia-to pray always, and not to faint; and those who have so little discernment as not to dare to pray for the downfall of the oppressor, the casting out of Satan, the destruction of Babylon, have neither lot nor part in this matter.
Those who will not pray for Christ to come, who feel shocked at the thought of the rending bolt which bears him, and the arrowy shower of lightning which goes before him; those who have not their peace made with him, and are hanging in doubt whether they be his or not; those who love father, mother, brother, sister, or life, more than him; those who love traffic, wealth, goods, estate, more than him; those who are not ready to take wing, like doves to their windows; those who are not, like old Jacob, waiting for their salvation; those who have a divided heart, like Lot's wife - what shall be said of such?
That they shall not enter into his kingdom! Do these words strike home to the quick; to the deepest recesses of the soul? Do they pierce the heart? It is fit they should, that men might be loosed from the fetters that bind them to the craft by which their destroyers are enriched; and that being freed, they may put on the linen vestment and burn incense in the sanctuary, and, without fainting pray always for the appearing and kingdom of the Lord.
Herald of the Kingdom and Age to Come, Feb 1860
87 All the oxen for the burnt offering [olah] were twelve bullocks [bulls], the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year 12, with their meat offering [minchah]: and the kids of the goats for sin offering [chattat] 12.
That a ceremony with such significances should be twelve times repeated before the altar on the commencement of Israel's national existence, and expressly for the dedication of the altar to the daily use of the nation, is more eloquent than tongue can tell, of the nature of the national life as it ought to be, and of the great departure from the true objects of national life, that is visible in the forms of national life now upon earth. *
89 And when Moses[Moshe] was gone into the tabernacle [Ohel - Tent covering] of the congregation [Mo'ed] to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat [kapporet] that was upon the ark of testimony [Aron HaEdut], from between the two cherubims [keruvim]: and he spake unto him.
[In these times of the Gentiles] ...The true aim of life is unknown and unprovided for.
But the day is coming, of which the Mosaic ritual was a prophecy, as well as a law for Israel, when God will be as much taken into account as the sun or the fresh air, and when human life everywhere will converge upon Him as much as the arrangements of Israel's camp converged upon the tabernacle.
"All shall know me", saith He, "from the least even to the greatest." *
*Law of Moses Ch 33