2Make 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 word מועד , 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 Psalms 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.” (Psalms 33:16)