Book of Numbers

Overview of the book of Numbers

The book of Numbers depicts the time after Israel’s departure from Egypt and before entering into Canaan. The book covers the time period and the people’s journey from Sinai to Kadesh, through the wilderness, and also finally to the plains of Moab from Jericho. Exactly after 1 year God delivered Israel from Egypt and gathered at mount Sinai to receive the instructions regarding the law and Tabernacle.

The Hebrew title of the book of numbers means ” in the wilderness of.” Most of the books in the bible record the history of the Israelites as they wandered for 40 years in the wilderness of Sinai. The books give the history of the Israel people wandering in the wilderness during the 39years.

What is the book of numbers about?

The book of numbers also tells of God preparing His people to learn to walk by faith and also trust in His promises.

What is God’s numbers

It is the minimum number of rotations that are required to complete any given scramble of a Rubik’s cube.

Who wrote the book of numbers

The human author of this book was Moses. It is the fourth book of the Pentateuch. It is also named as the law of Moses. Before reading the book of numbers we need to familiarize ourselves with the previous books like Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus. These books will help with the book of numbers bible study. Numbers in the bible pick up the story right from the Israelites have been at Sinai for a year.

The role of Numbers in the Bible

Numbers in the bible clearly shows us How a holy God dwells among his chosen people. Israel rebelled against God and even Moses disobeyed Him but God is faithful to bring these Israel people to the promised land. He keeps his promises that were made to Abraham in Genesis. He also keeps his promises to bless and punish Israel. The stories in the book of numbers will serve as good examples to us. Even Paul teaches the events that occurred in numbers are recorded for our instruction. Many events of the book were referred to in the new testament

Important characters in Numbers

God( Yahweh): He is the creator of heaven and earth and he chooses Israel as his special nation and dwells in their midst.

Moses: He is the prophet and leader of the nation of Israel. He is the spokesperson for God to his people.

Aaron: He is the brother of Moses and the high priest of Israel.

Eleazar: He is the son of Aaron. He takes the place of his father when Aaron dies.

Balaam: He is chosen by Israel’s enemies to curse God’s people.

Joshua: Moses chose him to spy on the people of Canaan. God selected him to be Moses’ successor.

Outline of Numbers

I. Israel preparing at Sinai, 1:1-10:10

A. The census of the people, 1:1-4:49

  • The population of tribes, 1:1-54
  • The position of tribes in camp and on march,2: 1-34
  • The place of the Levites, 3:1-4:49

B. The sanctification of the people, 5:1-10:10

  • By separation from defiling things, 5:1-31
  • By taking a Nazarite vow, 6:1-27
  • By the offerings of the leaders, 7:1-89
  • By the setting apart of the Levites,8:1-26
  • By observing the first annual Passover, 9:1-14
  • By being led by God, 9:15-10:10

II. Israel Marching to Kadesh- Barnea, 10:11-12:16

A. The March began, 10:11-36

B. The Murmurings Begun, 11:1-12:16

  • The Murmuring of the people, 11:1-35
  • The Murmuring of Miriam and Aaron, 12:1-16

III. Israel at Kadesh- Barnes, 13:1-20:13

A. The defiance of God, 13:1-14:45

  • The reconnaissance and report of the spies, 13:1-33
  • The reaction and judgment of the people, 14:1-45

B. The discipline from God, 15:1-20:1-13

  • Miscellaneous laws concerning offerings, sabbath, garment tassels, 15:1-41
  • The rebellion of Korah, 16:1-50
  • Validation of the Aaronic priesthood, 17:1-13
  • The duties and support of Levites, 18:1-32
  • The red heifer sacrifice, 18:1-32
  • The sin of Moses, 20:1-13

IV. Israel Marching to Moab, 20:14-21:35

  1. The Defiance of Edom, 20:14-22
  2. The death of Aaron, 20:23-29
  3. The defeat of Aras, 21:1-3
  4. The discipline of Israel: the bronze serpent, 21:4-9
  5. The defeat of Sihon and Og, 21:10-35

V. Israel on the plains of Moab, 22:1-36:13

  1. Balak propositions Balam to curse Israel, 22:1-41
  2. Balaam blesses Israel, 23:1-24:25
  3. Israel worships Baal of Peor, 25:1-18
  4. The new generation numbered, 26:1-65
  5. The people Instructed, 27:1-30:16
    • The laws of inheritance, 27:1-11
    • The appointment of Joshua, 27:12-23
    • The orders of offerings and festivals, 28:1-29:40
    • The laws for vows, 30:1-16
  6. The people defeat the Midianites, 31:1-54
  7. Transjordan settled by two and a half tribes, 32:1-42
  8. The journey from Egypt to Moab reviewed, 33:1-49
  9. Instructions for possessing the land, 33:50-56
  10. The division of the land of Canaan, 34:1-36:13
    • The boundaries, 34:1-12
    • The allotment, 34:13-29
    • The cities of the Levites, 35:1-18
    • The cities of refuge, 35:9-34
    • The inheritance of women, 36:1-13

Key themes

They were a lot about weird happenings along the journey of Israel people. The main focus of the book is Israel’s rebellion and God’s repeated mercy on his people.

Human rebellion

The people of Israel rebel against God and Moses several times in the book of numbers. Every time they complain about the food, water, Moses and they will be crushed by their enemies.

Divine punishments

Even though people proved to be rebellious God has extended mercy to them, rather than killing off the whole nation in the wilderness, He waited for the rebellious people to die and preserved the young people. He continued to provide Manna, the mysterious bread from heaven. He also prevented Balaam from cursing his people.

Moses’ leadership

Moses dealing with the pressures of leading a new nation. At one point He was asking God why he had to bear the burden of leading them to Canaan. He also mentions that He cannot carry all these people by himself because it is too heavy for him. God says to the people of Israel that Moses is his chosen prophet and Aaron is his chosen priest. But due to the disobedience of Moses, he is not permitted to enter Canaan.

God’s covenant with Abraham

Back in Genesis, God made a covenant with Abraham saying that one day his descendants will inherit the land of Canaan, and through these people, the whole world will be blessed. God promised Abraham to bless the people who bless Abraham and curse those who curse Him. The name Abraham showed only once in the book of numbers, but if we look closely we will see that God is at work to fulfill his promises to Abraham throughout the summary of the book of numbers.

Book of Numbers summary in the bible

The book of numbers is so named because it contains the two numberings of the people of Israel. The book of numbers summary itself tells of God preparing his people to learn by faith and trust in His promises. It also tells about the gracious provision in meeting all their needs. It also records the unbelief of the people, refusal enters into the promised land, rebellion against leaders, the sin of their leader Moses, idolatrous worship, and many more. We also have summaries of the books of the bible.