Summary of Numbers
Chapter by Chapter:
Summary of Numbers:
God, in the wilderness of Sinai, commands Moses to get an accounting of all men twenty years and older, who are able to bear arms. Moses appoints princes over each tribe and finds that 603,550 Israelites are fit for warfare. Everyone is required to serve in the military, except the tribe of Levi, who are exempt because of their service in the Tabernacle. The Levites are divided into three families, the Merarites, Gershonites and Kohathites who are all headed by Eleazer (the son of Aaron) and the High Priest. The Levites are commanded to build/take care of the Tabernacle, then to prepare for the march into the Promised Land.
While marching towards the promised land the children of Israel start to murmur, those who murmured are consumed by fire. Moses goes to God and asks him for help, because he cannot bear being the leader anymore. So God gives him the authority to call 70 Elders of Israel who can assist him in the duties of the Lord. Miriam and Aaron insult Moses at Hazeroth, which angers God and punishes Miriam with Leprosy (according to Israelite Law, banishing Miriam from the camp for 7 days).
In the Desert of Paran, twelve spies are sent out to Canaan and come back to report to Moses. Two of the spies say that the land is fit for the taking, describing it as “flowing with milk and honey”, while the other spies tell of giant humans who dwell there. The Israelites refuse to enter into the land, and for their lack of faith, the Lord causes them to wander in the desert for 40 years.
Moses is commanded to make plates to cover the altar with the 250 censers (containers to burn incense) left after the destruction of the band of Korah. The Children of Israel, again murmur. God causes a plague to come down on them and 14,700 perish.
Miriam dies at Kadesh Barnea, and the Israelites set out for Moab (which is on the western border of the land of Canaan). While in this area, the Israelites start to moan about the lack of water. They blame Moses for being a poor leader and believe that they would have been better off as slaves in Egypt than to perish in the desert.
As a solution to the water, God commands Moses to speak to a rock, when Moses disobeys… the Lord tells him that he will not enter into the Promised Land. The Israelites continue their journey, asking the king of Edom for permission to pass through his land. The king of Edom refuses, so they go around his land. While on this journey, Aaron dies on the mount of Hor. For speaking out against Moses and God, the children of Israel are plagued with Fiery flying serpents, a bronze serpent however is constructed to horde-off these serpents.
When the congregation of Israel arrive in the plains of Moab, they gather a new census of males 20 years+ who are fit for war. The new number is 601,730; 1,820 less than the first census taken almost one generation before. The Levites are again not included in this census, but counted separately at 23,000. Zelophehad, having only daughters are to receive his inheritance. The laws of Inheritances are also given.
Joshua is called as the successor to Moses and is given the authority by the laying on of hands, by the power from God. God commands the Israelites to kill all of the people of Midian, and they do it. The land east of the Jordan River is divided by Lots among the tribes of Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh.
Moses explains why they had to wander for 40 years in the desert and gives command to exterminate all the Canaanites and their idols (because they caused them to sin). The land of Canaan is to be divided under the supervision of Eleazer, Joshua and the twelve appointed princes of the twelve tribes of Israel.