Numbers 10:31—If God lead Israel by a cloud then why was Hobab needed as a guide?
Problem: Exodus 13:21–22 affirms that God supernaturally lead Israel through the wilderness by a cloud that was illuminated by night. However, Moses asked his father-in-law, Hobab, to come with them “inasmuch as you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you can be our eyes” (Num. 10:31). But why did they need a human guide when they had divine guidance?
Solution: In response, several things should be observed. One is that Moses saw no contradiction between these and even mentions both the usefulness of Hobab (Num. 10:31) and the leadership of the pillar of cloud (Num. 10:34) only three verses later! Furthermore, there is an important difference between the general route to take (and how long to stay) provided by the cloud and specific arrangements for the camp supplied by human wisdom. An experienced person in the way of this wilderness could be invaluable for finding the most advantageous places for pasture, shelter, and other needed supplies. The critic shows a lack of understanding of the principle that God does not do for us what we can do for ourselves.
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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.