We have an idea of how these trumpets appeared from the historian Josephus and images on ancient coins. There are four reasons that the trumpets were to be sounded. One was to call the Israelite or their leaders together. Another was to give the signal when it was time for the Israelites to set out. The third reason was to ask God for help in battle and the last reason was to call the Israelites together for their festivals.
The priest would make different sounds with the trumpets for different occasions. It may be that they made long sounds to call the people together and short sounds to signal to set out and ask God for help. The trumpets were used for their festivals and also in times of war and peace.
In verse 10 God states that the trumpets were a reminder to the people of God. God is willing to help His people but His help must be asked for and the trumpets were used for that purpose. The trumpets also reminded the people that God had helped them before. Most notably God had helped the Israelites escape from the Egyptians and He would help them again against their enemies. But they must remember to ask Him.
Today when we need God to help us we must approach Him in prayer. God wants to help us but we must talk to Him first. It is the same as we talk to our friends and associates when trying times come upon us. If we ask other people for help, then it is only right that we should ask God for help.
For nearly a year the Israelites had been in the Sinai desert. The cloud over God’s Tent had lifted and the Israelites moved out according to the order of march in chapter 2. The tribes of Levite carried the Ark in front of the Israelite army to show that God was the leader of the nation. The clans of Levi marched separately so God’s Tent could be put up and ready to receive the sacred objects.
Moses invited Hobab to come with them to the land of Canaan even though he was not an Israelite. Hobab was a Midianite that lived in the desert next to Canaan and the desert was not strange to him. This was valuable to the Israelite nation as Hobab could give them good intelligence and practical information such as where to find water.
God guides His people by the power of the Holy Spirit but He also uses people to aid His people as well. We must allow the people that God places in our life to give us help. In this Scripture we do not see a definite answer from Hobab but we know that he went with the Israelite nation to Canaan. Hobab’s descendants are mentioned in the book of Judges. (Judges 1:16; Judges 4:11)
Whenever the cloud moved Moses prayed for God to protect them. Whenever the cloud stopped Moses would pray that God would come to live with them. Every time the Israelites would move or rest Moses would pray. Moses knew that God was in control and that He was the commander of the Israelite army. The Israelite’s moved under the protection of God from their enemies and Israel had many. They realized their dependence upon God.
This dependence upon God is true for us also. If we commit our trust to God He will provide for us. As Christians, we are in a constant battle against evil spiritual forces and are in need of His provision.
This chapter has ended with the Israelites beginning their journey to the Promised Land.