Blaine Robison, M.A.
Delivered 22 June 2019
Blow the Trumpets!
9 And when you go to war in your land against the
enemy who oppresses you, then you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets,
and you will be remembered before ADONAI
your God, and you will be saved from your enemies. 10 And in the day
of your gladness and in your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your
months, and you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over
the sacrifices of your peace offerings; and they shall be for you a memorial
before your God. I am ADONAI your
God." (Num 10:9-10 BR)
For a complete exegesis
of this passage see my commentary
At the beginning of this chapter God told Moses to make two trumpets of
silver. Josephus says
that the trumpet was about a cubit in length and composed of a narrow tube,
somewhat thicker than a flute, and it ended in the form of a bell." The
construction of the trumpets was probably based on a heavenly pattern as
were other articles used in the Tabernacle. In fact, the Greek word for
trumpet used in Revelation for the trumpets blown by the seven archangels is
the same word used in the LXX to translate the Hebrew word here for trumpet.
God imposed a restriction that
the silver trumpets were only to be blown by priests. The trumpets were
not given to the priests so they could "toot their own horn" as the saying
goes or take pride in the possession, "I'm special because I have a silver
trumpet." At the time only two trumpets were made because Aaron had only two
sons who would use them. In the time of David seven trumpets are mentioned,
but in the time of King Solomon 120 trumpets had been made and blown for the
dedication of the temple.
The trumpets had two general functions, one practical and one religious. The
practical use was threefold: First, calling for assembly of leaders or the
congregation at the tent of meeting; Second, signaling the tribes to set out
when moving the encampment to a new location, and third, sounding an alarm
when attacked by an enemy force.
The religious use was to blow the trumpets on any day of special
celebration, during the annual festivals of Pesach, Shavuot, Rosh Hashanah
and Sukkot, on the monthly Rosh Chodesh, and daily for burnt offerings and
peace offerings. The majority of the mentions of these trumpets in the
Tanakh is for the religious use.
As with a lot of other requirements in the Torah God did not explain the
significance of the silver trumpets. Defining the function of the trumpets
is not the same as telling why the priests should blow the trumpets, but we
may make some inferences based on Scripture.
The trumpets were a priestly
instrument, but God intended for Israel to be a kingdom of priests and
according to Kefa, we, the people of God constitute a holy priesthood.
The trumpet required breath to make a sound. Moses
may have had a craftsman produce the trumpet, but God provided the breath.
So, when the priest blew his breath into the trumpet, the instrument became
an extension of the priest's mouth giving glory to God. Similarly, our
mouths function as trumpets and the psalms frequently called upon
Israelites to shout for joy.
In the two verses of our
text the use of the trumpets is connected to remembering. In verse 9 God is
the one remembering and in verse 10 it is the Israelites. In verse 9 the
trumpet call represents desperation, and an urgent need for God to rescue
from danger. To be remembered by God means for Him to extend His favor and
help. God frequently prevents bad things from happening to us, but at the
same time He expects us to acknowledge our dependency on Him and cry out to
Him in urgent situations. We are to pray persistently until God answers.
The priestly use of the
trumpets in verse 10 is tantamount to calling on the Israelites to stop and
consider why they are doing these things. The blast of the trumpet was a
call to remember. Too often in Israel's history the people forgot their God.
Without reminders we too might forget the great things God has done for each
of us. Think about the events God mentioned.
The annual festivals were
(and are) memorials that testify of God's grace and deliverance in the past
and point to the Messiah who would provide universal atonement, empowerment
of the Spirit to live by the Torah and the promise of God dwelling in the
midst of His people. The daily burnt offering was a reminder that sin
pollutes but God provided a permanent means of cleansing and purifying His
people every day. The peace offering is a reminder that by the faithfulness
of Yeshua we can have shalom with God and be reconciled to one another.
Just consider that on the
day Yeshua hung between heaven and earth the trumpets resounded in the
Temple. The trumpets echoed Yeshua's declaration, "It is finished!" Glory to
God! Someday the trumpets will sound again, next time by the angels. Six of
those trumpets will announce judgment on the world, but at the last trumpet
God will resurrect the dead, Yeshua will return in power and glory and the
reign of our King will begin on the earth. On that day we will shout with
all the people of God in heaven and earth, "Hallelujah! Salvation and glory
and power belong to our God!" [Rev 19:1].
Copyright © 2019 by
Blaine Robison. All rights reserved.