The Book Of Numbers
1. Its Name: We have so far learned that the name of a book usually tells us something about the book itself, and thus the case with Numbers. This title is based on actually two different numbering of the Israelites; The generation of Exodus (Num 1) and the generation that grew up in the wilderness and conquered Canaan. (Num 26) Among ancient titles of this book is one used in present Hebrew Bibles referring to it by the fifth Hebrew word in 1:1 "bemidbar", "IN THE WILDERNESS", which describes its contents better.
2. Its Time Frame: Leviticus covers only one month, but Numbers stretches over almost 39 years.
3. In A Nut Shell: The census is taken - the people organized - the march began to Canaan - God leads - Canaan is in sight -Israel disbelieves and rebels - judgment falls - 40 years of wandering - old generation dies off - new generation is numbered to inherit the Promised Land.
4. Survey of Numbers: The Old Generation Chapters 1-14; The Wandering Chapters 15-20; The New Generation Chapters 21-36
NOTE BY TWOS: Two Generations Chapters 1-14 & 21-36; Two Numberings Chapters 1-4 & 26-27; Two Journeyings Chapters 10-14 & 21-27; Two Instructions Chapters 5-9 & 28-36 In Numbers it becomes necessary for the Nation to go through painful testing and maturation. The forty years of wilderness experience transforms them from ex-slaves into a nation able to take the Promise Land.
The Old Generation Chapter 1-14
1. Preparation for the March Chapter 1-10 A. The Numbering Chapter 1-4 Chapter 1 - Numbering Adult Males Chapter 2 - Arrangement of the Camp Chapter 3 - Numbering of the Levite Males Chapter 4 - Ministry (duties) of the Levites NOTE: The numbering was for military purposes. each of the twelve tribes were numbered and assigned a position around the Tabernacle. The tribe of Levi exempted from secular and war service and were appointed to religious service.
B. Camping Instructions Continued Chapter 5 - 10 The first four chapters dealt with the outward conditions of the camp (1-4). The next five chapters deal with the inward condition of the camp. Maintaining Sanctification through Separation. Chapter 5 - Separation of Unclean Persons in restitution for sin and from suspected infidelity. Verse 3
Chapter 6 - Sanctification through the Nazarite
Vow. Chapter 7 - The Freewill offering of leaders of each tribe. NOTE: All the
events around legislation in Chapters 7-9 connect in order of time with Exodus
40; a month earlier when the Tabernacle had just been completed and dedicated.
Chapter 8 - Describes the Consecration of Levites. Chapter 9 - The Passover is
celebrated and tells of the Santification through Divine Guidance - Pillar of
Cloud by Day and Fire by Night. Chapter 10 - The two silver trumpets giving
guidance for the ear.
C. The Journeying - Chapter 10 ver. 11 - Chapter 14 (Sinai to Kadesh). Chapter 10:11-36 Departure from Mt. Sinai. Chapter 11 - The people complained after 3 days - Moses complains - God provides.
Chapter 12 - Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses' wife. Chapter 13 - The Twelve Spies sent to Canaan. Chapter 14 - This Chapter is the critical turning point, it is where Israel rejects God by refusing to go up and conquer the Promised Land. Thus judgment falls in the form of 40 years of wandering. Chapter 14:22-23
The Wandering in the Wilderness Chapters 15-20
In this section is the transition from the old to the new generation with the exception of Joshua and Caleb. For all those years they wandered and finally came to the same spot where they had started, Kadesh-barnea. God continued to communicate with them trough Moses during this time, supplying their needs such as food, water, clothing, and shoes.
Chapters 16 - 18 Korah rebels against Moses and Aaron where by 15,000 died in earthquakes, fire and plague. Aaron's rod blossoms, showing or approving his office of priest. Chapter 19 - Purification of the Red Heifer. Chapter 20 - Miriam (Aaron & Moses sister) dies. Moses sins by smoting the rock twice rather than speaking to is as God had instructed. Verse 12
Aaron dies, note verse 24.
The Second Generation Chapters 21 - 36
A. A new journey Chapter 21 (To Moab) Verse 5
God sends fiery serpents, then provides a way of salvation (Num. 21:8-9) St. John 3:14-15.
I Corinthians 10:9-10
B. Chapter 22-25 - The Moabites & Balaam. N. T. References II Peter 2:15
C. The New Numbering - Chapters 26 - 27
At the beginning of the 40 years there were about 600,000 men and at the end of the 40 years there about 600,000 men. Chapter 27 - The special laws of inheritance are given (Ver. 1-11). Moses is told of his impending death and Joshua is appointed his successor.
D. Instruction Given to the Second Generation Chapter 28 - 29 Offerings received Chapter 30 Regulations of Vows Chapter 31 Destruction of the Midianites. Chapter 32 Division of the Land East of Jordan. Deut. 3:12-19 Chapter 33 The Children of Israel's journey from Egypt to Canaan reviewed. Chapter 34 Boundaries of their Inheritance given. Chapter 35 "The Cities of Refuge".
How many? Verses 6-8
Their purpose. Verses 9-12
Numbers closes in Chapter 36 with instructions
on how to deal with special problems in securing their Inheritance in Canaan.
1. What are the 2 words used to title this Book?
2. What was the main purpose for numbering of a census?
3. Can you name the 3 things that occurred in Numbers as a result of 2 Generations?
4. Why did they wander 40 years in the Wilderness?
5. Can you name the 3 main sections we focused on in this lesson?
FOR NEXT WEEK Read Deuteronomy