The Silver Trumpets
1Now the Lord said to Moses, 2“Make two trumpets of hammered silver for calling the community to assemble and for signaling the breaking of camp. 3When both trumpets are blown, everyone must gather before you at the entrance of the Tabernacle.*10:3 Hebrew Tent of Meeting. 4But if only one trumpet is blown, then only the leaders—the heads of the clans of Israel—must present themselves to you.
5“When you sound the signal to move on, the tribes camped on the east side of the Tabernacle must break camp and move forward. 6When you sound the signal a second time, the tribes camped on the south will follow. You must sound short blasts as the signal for moving on. 7But when you call the people to an assembly, blow the trumpets with a different signal. 8Only the priests, Aaron’s descendants, are allowed to blow the trumpets. This is a permanent law for you, to be observed from generation to generation.
9“When you arrive in your own land and go to war against your enemies who attack you, sound the alarm with the trumpets. Then the Lord your God will remember you and rescue you from your enemies. 10Blow the trumpets in times of gladness, too, sounding them at your annual festivals and at the beginning of each month. And blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and peace offerings. The trumpets will remind your God of his covenant with you. I am the Lord your God.”
The Israelites Leave Sinai
11In the second year after Israel’s departure from Egypt—on the twentieth day of the second month*10:11a This day in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in late April, May, or early June. —the cloud lifted from the Tabernacle of the Covenant.*10:11b Or Tabernacle of the Testimony. 12So the Israelites set out from the wilderness of Sinai and traveled on from place to place until the cloud stopped in the wilderness of Paran.
13When the people set out for the first time, following the instructions the Lord had given through Moses, 14Judah’s troops led the way. They marched behind their banner, and their leader was Nahshon son of Amminadab. 15They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Issachar, led by Nethanel son of Zuar, 16and the troops of the tribe of Zebulun, led by Eliab son of Helon.
17Then the Tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonite and Merarite divisions of the Levites were next in the line of march, carrying the Tabernacle with them. 18Reuben’s troops went next, marching behind their banner. Their leader was Elizur son of Shedeur. 19They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Simeon, led by Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, 20and the troops of the tribe of Gad, led by Eliasaph son of Deuel.
21Next came the Kohathite division of the Levites, carrying the sacred objects from the Tabernacle. Before they arrived at the next camp, the Tabernacle would already be set up at its new location. 22Ephraim’s troops went next, marching behind their banner. Their leader was Elishama son of Ammihud. 23They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Manasseh, led by Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, 24and the troops of the tribe of Benjamin, led by Abidan son of Gideoni.
25Dan’s troops went last, marching behind their banner and serving as the rear guard for all the tribal camps. Their leader was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 26They were joined by the troops of the tribe of Asher, led by Pagiel son of Ocran, 27and the troops of the tribe of Naphtali, led by Ahira son of Enan.
28This was the order in which the Israelites marched, division by division.
29One day Moses said to his brother-in-law, Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, “We are on our way to the place the Lord promised us, for he said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us and we will treat you well, for the Lord has promised wonderful blessings for Israel!”
30But Hobab replied, “No, I will not go. I must return to my own land and family.”
31“Please don’t leave us,” Moses pleaded. “You know the places in the wilderness where we should camp. Come, be our guide. 32If you do, we’ll share with you all the blessings the Lord gives us.”
33They marched for three days after leaving the mountain of the Lord, with the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant moving ahead of them to show them where to stop and rest. 34As they moved on each day, the cloud of the Lord hovered over them. 35And whenever the Ark set out, Moses would shout, “Arise, O Lord, and let your enemies be scattered! Let them flee before you!” 36And when the Ark was set down, he would say, “Return, O Lord, to the countless thousands of Israel!”