Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
1. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
1. Et loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
2. Make thee two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shalt thou make them: that thou mayest use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.
2. Fac tibi duas tubas argenteas: opere ductili facies illas: quae sint tibi ad convocationem coetus, et ad castra movenda.
3. And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
3. Quum clangent illis, congregabuntur ad te omnes coetus ad ostium tabernaculi testimonii.
4. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee.
4. Si vero una clanxerint, congregabuntur ad te principes, capita millium Israelis.
5. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward.
5. Si vero clanxeritis cum jubilatione, proficiscentur castra eorum qui castrametantur ad Orientem.
6. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys.
6. Quum autem clanxeritis cum jubilatione secundo, tum proficiscentur castra eorum qui castrametantur ad meridiem; cum jubilatione clangent in profectionibus suis.
7. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.
7. Quando vero congregabitis coetum, clangetis, sed absque jubila.tione.
8. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow with the trumpets; and they shall be to you for an ordinance for ever throughout your generations.
8. Filii autem Aharon sacerdotes clangent tubis illis, eruntque vobis in statutum perpetuum per aetates vestras.
9. And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresseth you, then ye shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and ye shall be remembered before the LORD your God, and ye shall be saved from your enemies.
9. Et quando venietis ad praelium in terra vestra contra hostem vestrum qui vos affliget, cum jubilatione clangetis tubis illis: et recordatio vestri erit coram Jehova Deo vestro, ut servemini ab hostibus vestris.
10. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.
10. Die quoque laetitiae vestrae, et in solennitatibus vestris, et in principiis mensium vestrorum clangetis tubis illis super holocausta, et super sacrificia prosperitatum vestrarum, ut sint vobis in recordationem coram Deo vestro: ego Jehova Deus vester.
2 Make thee two trumpets of silver. This passage respecting the silver trumpets, which gave the gathering-signal, so that the people should always be attentive to the voice and will of God, is properly annexed to the First Commandment. For God would have the Israelites set in motion by their sound, whithersoever they were to go, so that they should not dare to commence anything either in war or in peace, except under His guidance and auspices, as it were. But their use was threefold, viz., to gather the people or the rulers to public assemblies; to arm them against their enemies; and, thirdly, to announce the sacrifices and festivals. It might seem absurd, and somewhat indecorous, to appoint the priests to be trumpeters, since there was no splendor or dignity in this office; but God would in this way awaken greater reverence in the minds of the people, that the authority of the priests should precede all their actions. For this office, to which they were appointed, was no servile one, as that they should blow the trumpets at the command of others; but rather did God thus set them over public affairs, that the people might not tumultuously call their assemblies in the blindness and precipitation of passion, but rather that modesty, gravity, and moderation should be observed in them. We know how often in earthly affairs God is not regarded, but counsels are confidently discussed without reference to His word. He testified, therefore, by this employment of the priests, that all assemblies, except those in which He should preside, were accursed. Profane nations also had their ceremonies, such as auguries, supplications, soothsayings, victims, 75 because natural reason dictated that nothing could be engaged in successfully without Divine assistance; but God would have His people bound to Him in another way, so that, when called by the sound of the sacred trumpets as by a voice from heaven, they should assemble to holy and pious deliberations. The circumstance of the place also has the same object. The door of the Tabernacle was to them, as if they placed themselves in the sight; of God. We will speak of the wordמועד , mogned 76 elsewhere. Although it signifies an appointed time, or place, and also an assembly of the people, I prefer translating it convention, because God there in a solemn manner, as if before His sacred tribunal, called the people to witness, or, according to appointment, proceeded to make a covenant with them.
He was also unwilling that wars should be undertaken precipitately, or with the desire of vengeance, but that the priests should perform the office of heralds, (feciales,) in order that he might be the originator of them himself. But it was honorable for the priests to be the proclaimers of the festivals, and to cite the people to the sanctuary. Now, since we understand the intention of the Legislator, let us briefly touch upon the words. We have said that the priests, when they sounded, were, as it were, the organs or interpreters of God, that the Israelites might depend upon His voice and commandment. If the princes or heads of thousands only were to be called, they sounded only once; if it was a convocation of the whole people, they doubled the sound. A similar distinction was observed in war, that a different signal should be given, according as the camps of either side were to advance. Some use the fictitious word taratantara, 77 in place of what I have translated “with jubilation:” it is probable that it was a louder and more protracted sound, but blown with intervals. We must, however, observe the promise, which is inserted, that the Israelites “should be remembered before the Lord,” that He should put their enemies to flight; not as if the safety or deliverance of the people was attached to the trumpets, but because they did not go to the battle except in reliance on God’s aid. For the reality itself is conjoined with the external symbol, viz., that they should fight under God, should follow Him as their Leader, and should account all their strength to be in His grace. And that all the saints were guided by this rule appears from Ps 20:7, —
"Some trust in chariots, and some in horses; but we will remember the name of the Lord our God:"
and again, “There is no king saved by the multitude of an host; a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. Behold, the eye of the Lord is upon them that fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy.” (Ps 33:16-18)
10. Also in the day of your gladness. This was as if God should make it manifest that He approved of no festivals, and that no sacrifices pleased Him, except His command should go before them; for it was not lawful for the people to choose this or that day, but the authority for prescribing them was in the hands of the ministers of sacred things. And, indeed, God Himself had appointed the New-moons (Neomenias, vel novilunia) and the other solemnities; but, lest any change should occur, since men are ever daring in their innovations, He would have their lawful observation sanctioned by the sound of the trumpets; as if, by the mouth of the priests, He Himself published the holy assemblies. The sacrifices, which others have translated “of your peace-offerings,” 78 I translate, and not without reason, “of your prosperities.” For this is what שלמיכם, shalmecem, properly means; and it was the name they gave to their supplications and testimonies of thanksgiving, when they had been delivered from some great danger, or were visited by some extraordinary blessing from God. But Moses says that the trumpets were to be “for a memorial before their God;” because when they should have assembled at His command, He would look upon them, and honor them with His paternal favor.
“Comme d’espier le vol des oiseaux, ou de regarder les entrailles des sacrifices, et meme sacrifier, et faire prieres solennelles;” such as observing the flight of birds or examining the entrails of sacrifices, and even sacrificing and offering solemn prayers. — Fr.
“Le mot Hebrieu, que nons avons translate convenance.” — Fr. An heemantic from יעד, to give previous notice, to summon together. W.
Thus Malvenda in Poole’s Syn., “et clangetis taratantara ” The word is used by Ennius “At tuba terribili sonitu taratantara dixit.” — Serv. in, AEn, 4. A.V., “an alarm."
So A.V שלמיכם, Pacificorum vestrorum, is the rendering of SM. To justify rendering this form of the word your prosperities, the vowel-points should be different. Your sacrifices of thanksgiving, is the ordinary interpretation of the lexicographers. — W