12 He who offered his offering the first day was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah,
*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.
And he that offered his offering the first day The oracular declaration which God made by the mouth of Jacob is well known. "The scepter shall not depart from Judah," etc. (Genesis 49:10.) Non, although the time had not yet arrived when the truth of this prophecy should be manifested by its fulfillment, still it was brought to pass by the admirable counsel of God that certain marks of supremacy should exist in the tribe of Judah; and, by general consent, if not dominion, at least the chief dignity, was always lodged in it. The assignment of the first day to Nahshon was, therefore, a presage of that future kingdom which was at length set up in the person of David. If any should allege the absurdity that the tribe of Reuben, who was the first-born, should be kept back till the fourth day, I reply that the tribes of Zebulun and Issachar were ranked under the banner of Judah; since it will appear in chapter 10. that the twelve tribes were divided into four divisions of three. Thus it was more honorable for the tribe of Reuben to have the fourth day, so as to have the two tribes over which it presided attached to it. But the fathers of the two tribes, which God placed under the banner of Judah, were the two youngest sons of Leah, who followed next after Judah, her fourth son. We see, therefore, that the kingdom was thus obscurely shadowed forth, from which salvation was to be hoped for by the whole people: in order that they might be the more attentive to the promise given them; although this indication of it had but little effect on their sluggish minds.
The several princes make their offerings in the order assigned to the tribes Numbers. 2. It was doubtless the tribes themselves which presented these gifts through their chiefs. The twelve offerings are strictly alike, and were offered on twelve separate days.
And he that offered his offering on the first day,.... Was he whose standard was pitched first, at the east, to the rising sun: and this
was Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah; who was the prince and captain of that tribe, though the title is not here given him, as to the rest of the princes, this being left to be concluded from his offering first; for if they that offered after him were princes, he must needs be one; or it may be this title is omitted, because the chief prince, of the prince of the tribe of Judah, most peculiarly belongs to a greater Personage, even the Messiah, who was to spring, and did spring from that tribe, 1-Chronicles 5:2; and, as Baal Hatturim says, from Nahshon; and who also observes, that Ben Nahshon is the Messiah.
He that offered his offering the first day was Nahshon . . . of the tribe of Judah, &c.--Judah having had the precedence assigned to it, the prince or head of that tribe was the first admitted to offer as its representative; and his offering, as well as that of the others, is thought, from its costliness, to have been furnished not from his own private means, but from the general contributions of each tribe. Some parts of the offering, as the animals for sacrifice, were for the ritual service of the day, the peace offerings being by much the most numerous, as the princes and some of the people joined with the priests afterwards in celebrating the occasion with festive rejoicing. Hence the feast of dedication became afterwards an anniversary festival. Other parts of the offering were intended for permanent use, as utensils necessary in the service of the sanctuary; such as an immense platter and bowl (Exodus 25:29). Being of silver, they were to be employed at the altar of burnt offering, or in the court, not in the holy place, all the furniture of which was of solid or plated gold; and there was a golden spoon, the contents of which show its destination to have been the altar of incense. The word rendered "spoon" means a hollow cup, in the shape of a hand, with which the priests on ordinary occasions might lift a quantity from the incense-box to throw on the altar-fire, or into the censers; but on the ceremonial on the day of the annual atonement no instrument was allowed but the high priest's own hands (Leviticus 16:12).
All the princes brought the same gifts. The order in which the twelve princes, whose names have already been given at Numbers 1:5-15, made their presentation, corresponded to the order of the tribes in the camp (ch. 2), the tribe-prince of Judah taking the lead, and the prince of Naphtali coming last. In the statements as to the weight of the silver kearoth and the golden cappoth, the word shekel is invariably omitted, as in Genesis 20:16, etc. - In Numbers 7:84-86, the dedication gifts are summed up, and the total weight given, viz., twelve silver dishes and twelve silver bowls, weighing together 2400 shekels, and twelve golden spoons, weighing 120 shekels in all. On the sacred shekel, see at Exodus 30:13; and on the probable value of the shekel of gold, at Exodus 38:24-25. The sacrificial animals are added together in the same way in Numbers 7:87, Numbers 7:88.
*More commentary available at chapter level.