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Did God Perform A Miracle On Their Clothing During The Wandering?

 

 

Introduction

 

In order to understand the question, we need to look at some Scriptures on this subject.

 

Deut. 8:4

“Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.”

 

Deut. 29:5

“During the forty years that I led you through the desert, your clothes did not wear out, nor did the sandals on your feet.”

 

Neh. 9:21

“For forty years you sustained them in the desert; they lacked nothing, their clothes did not wear out nor did their feet become swollen.”

 

 

Commentaries

 

40 years of room, board, and clothing. Throughout their 40 years of wandering, the Israelites always had adequate provision for their physical needs. One might think that the dependable refreshments of God’s miraculous care and his promises of “the good land” (Deut. 8:10) would have elicited obedience from God’s people. Israel never had a problem believing God’s Word, but they did have trouble “behaving” it.

[Wilmington's Bible Handbook copyright (c) 1997 by Harold L. Willmington. All Rights Reserved. Database (c) 1998 NavPress Software.]

 

E.M. Zerr

 

“Among the things provided for complete bodily comfort was a supply of clothing. The word “old” means, “worn out”. The actual age in years would not be denied, but they would not be worn out with age. So that their supply of clothing would always be “just like new”.

 

The people had access to materials and did in fact make clothing during the 40 years in the wilderness, and that can be seen in these passages of Scripture:

 

Exodus 28:1-5

“And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons. [2] And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. [3] And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. [4] And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. [5] And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen.”

 

Exodus 35:25-26

“And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. [26] And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats' hair.”

 

 

Josephus

 

In the writing of Josephus in The Antiquities Of The Jews in Book 2, Chapter 14, Section 6, we read these words:

“But when God had signified, that with one plague he would compel the Egyptians to let Hebrews go, he commanded Moses to tell the people that they should have a sacrifice ready, and they should prepare themselves on the tenth day of the month Xanthicus, against the fourteenth, (which month is called by the Egyptians Pharmuth, Nisan by the Hebrews; but the Macedonians call it Xanthicus,) and that he should carry the Hebrews with all they had. Accordingly, he having got the Hebrews ready for their departure, and having sorted the people into tribes, he kept them together in one place: but when the fourteenth day was come, and all were ready to depart they offered the sacrifice, and purified their houses with the blood, using bunches of hyssop for that purpose; and when they had supped, they burnt the remainder of the flesh, as just ready to depart. Whence it is that we do still offer this sacrifice in like manner to this day, and call this festival Pascha which signifies the feast of the passover; because on that day God passed us over, and sent the plague upon the Egyptians; for the destruction of the first-born came upon the Egyptians that night, so that many of the Egyptians who lived near the king’s palace, persuaded Pharaoh to let the Hebrews go. Accordingly he called for Moses, and bid them be gone; as supposing, that if once the Hebrews were gone out of the country, Egypt should be freed from its miseries. They also honored the Hebrews with gifts;27 some, in order to get them to depart quickly, and others on account of their neighborhood, and the friendship they had with them.”

[ Works of Josephus Database c1997 NavPress Software]

 

Exodus 12:35-36

“And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: [36] And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians.”

 

These large presents made to the Israelites were gifts given to them from the Egyptians. God had ordered the Jews to demand these as their pay and reward, during their long and bitter slavery in Egypt, as atonements for the lives of the Egyptians, and as the condition of the Jews’ departure and of the Egyptians’ deliverance from these terrible judgments which had they not now ceased they had soon been all dead men as they themselves confess.

We see from these words that the children of Israel certainly had abundance as they left Egypt and went into the wilderness.

 

George L. Faull

 

In The Law by George L. Faull, Rel. D., on page 37, we read these words:

 

“It is not that their shoes or clothes did not wear out, but God gave them sheep, goats, and cattle and they knew how to spin. (Exodus 35:25) Another example of this is Nehemiah 9:20 “Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.”

God provided for them. The death of the older generation left raiment’s and shoes for the younger. What God is saying is; “you had plenty of material for clothes and shoes, and thus your feet did not swell”.

 

Conclusion

 

To say that they wore the same clothes for 40 years would also show a need for many miracles as shrinkage of clothes to fit the newborn babies and for the clothes to fit them, as they grew older. God certainly could perform miracles such as these but in understanding the Scriptures of our study; the interpretation of them seem to be that of God’s provision for them in the wilderness for 40 years.

Their shoes did not wear out upon their feet; which means they did not have to wear worn out shoes. Their clothes did not wear out, that is God providing for them in the wilderness by means of giving them the available material to make clothing for themselves. The miracle is that God provided for His people in a wilderness for 40 years.