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Exodus 15:27 –  twelve springs and seventy palm trees

12-05-2020 - Posted by Andre Piet

Then they came to Elim, there were twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees there. So they encamped there by the waters.

Elim is one of the first stopping places that the people of Israel visited during the desert journey. And then we find this highly peculiar statement. Both the number of water sources and the number of palm trees that were there are listed. Historically completely unimportant. But why then this communication? That must have a reason, right?

Twelve is the number of the sons of Israel in the Bible. Seventy, on the other hand, is the number of the world of nations in Scripture. For example, the table of nations in Genesis 10 has seventy ancestors. Anyway, in Elim seventy palm trees were grouped around twelve water sources. That refers to the peoples world arranged around Israel. Depends also on Israel, as the palm trees are fed from the water sources. Water sources in Scripture always speak of the living words of God. Words of God entrusted to the people of Israel, as Paul says (Rom. 3: 2). And then end up with the nations through Israel.

Such a seemingly redundant statement about Elim tells exactly what Israel may mean for the nations. God chose the twelve tribes to provide the whole world with his living word!