Numbers introduction


Greetings!  The book of Numbers is often misunderstood.  Yes, it includes many statistics about the Israelites but there is much more to it than that.  The book records many things that happened in the desert and gives guidance about how the Israelites are to live after they get out of the desert.  It also includes this famous blessing:

The Priestly Blessing

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them:

24 ““‘The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26 the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”’

27 “So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”

Moses is generally considered the author, and he is certainly a central figure in the book.

The book covers roughly 40 years, from roughly a year after the Exodus from Egypt until just before they enter the promised land. 

God is not soft on sin.  He is very patient, but his patience should not be confused with his approval.

The Israelites wandered in the desert for 40 years after failing to enter the Promised Land the first time due to their fears.  A whole generation died off during that time.  There was a rebellion against Moses’ leadership and 14,000 died as a results of that.  God gave them guidelines on how to live.   There are the descriptions of the bronze snake and of Balaam and his donkey.

The lessons in Numbers weren’t just for the Jews, they contain many lessons and warnings for us as well.  Paul refers to them in 1 Corinthians 10:1-12:

For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.

6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: “The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry.” 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did—and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did—and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did—and were killed by the destroying angel.

11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!   


All this and more is covered in the Book of Numbers!


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