“So they set out from Adonai’s mountain and traveled for three days. Ahead of them on this three-day journey went the ark of Adonai’s covenant, searching for a new place to stop. The cloud of Adonai was over them during the day as they set out from the camp.”-Numbers 10:33-34
Let’s go over a couple of logistical matters here in our study of Numbers Chapter 10.
As we come to the final verses of this chapter, we’re told that the first part of Israel’s journey into the Wilderness took about three days.
Now although Scripture says the Israelites travelled for “3 days“, the truth is they didn’t reeeeeaaaaaaaaaally travel for “3 days“.
I know it sounds downright ridiculous.
But here’s the thing.
In those days distance was expressed in time.
And if you think about it, we kinda do the same thing today as well.
Like per the following dialogue:
“Hey bro, how far is the nearest Burger King from here?!
“I’d say it’s about a 30-minute walk from here bro.”
“Dang bro, that’s out in the boondocks man, let me borrow your wheels”.
See what I mean?
The truth is it probably took the Israelites more than three days to cover the 3-day journey since they were venturing through uncharted territory.
I’d say we’re talking about a distance of about 25-30 miles.
Let’s move on.
We’re told that Israel followed the fire-cloud of Adonai.
One point I want to make clear, every time Israel stopped and took an overnight pause in their journey does not mean that each and every time they went about the difficult and tiring process of setting up the Wilderness Tabernacle.
They only set up the Tabernacle when the Scripture says the fire-cloud “rested” indicating a longer stay than just a one-night stay over.
We also need to keep in mind that the Israelites were not experienced travelers and they had a substantial amount of children and elderly with them.
This was stressful stuff man and will go along way towards explaining the grumbling and rebellion of the Israelites we’ll encounter later on in the Book of Numbers.