Summary of Numbers

Summary of Numbers

Chapter by Chapter:

Numbers 1-2:  Each Tribe is Numbered/ Order and Leaders are Established
Numbers 3-4: Aaron and his sons administer/30+ Years
Numbers 5-6: Sinners/ No Wine of Strong Drink
Numbers 7-8: The Lord Speaks to Moses/ Washed and Consecrated
Numbers 9-10: Commanded to Keep the Passover/ Ark of the Covenant
Numbers 11-12: The 70 Elders of Israel/Speaking to Moses; Mouth to Mouth
Numbers 13-14: Twelve Spies to the Land of Canaan/Israel Murmurs Against Moses
Numbers 15-16: Garments/Israel Murmurs
Numbers 17-18: Almonds= Token Against Rebels/Levites are Called to Service
Numbers 19-20: Sprinking Water = Clean Sin!/ Water from a Rock
Numbers 21-22: Serpent of Brass/Balak Offers Money and Cattle
Numbers 23-24: Balaam Blesses Israel/Vision of Balaam
Numbers 25-26: Worshipping False Gods/The People in Moab
Numbers 27-28: Law of Inheritances/Sacrifices; Morning and Night
Numbers 29-30: Sacrifices During the 7th Month/Law of Vows and Oaths
Numbers 31-32: Moses sends 12,000 Warriors/Conquering of Canaan
Numbers 33-34: Journey from Egypt to Canaan/Borders of Israel
Numbers 35-36: Murderers/Marry in your Tribe

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.

Numbers 35-36

Numbers 35-36

Chapter 35: Murderers

The Lord speaks to Moses and tells him to command the Israelites to give a portion of their inheritance to the Levites. The Israelites are to allocate 48 towns (verse 7). Each land has a place for their flocks. Each Levite town would be” 1 thousand cubits roundabout” (1,500 feet or about 1/3 of a mile). In each Levite town there were pasture lands (in squares, 2000 cubits on each side) OR each pasture land was squared by 1/2 miles.

Each tribe of the Israelites would give a fair/proper portion of their lands. Tribes with more land would give more to the Levites, than a tribe with less land.

Six of the cities given to the Levites (3 on each side of the river Jordan) were designated as “cities of refuge”. If someone accidently murdered someone, they could run to a city of refuge and stay there until the high priest died, to return back to their home. However, if that person came back before the High Priest died and the “avenger” of the person he killed saw him, the “avenger” could kill the “murderer” without consequence of being a “murderer” himself.

The Rules of Murder among the Israelites is set forth in verses 15-34.

If someone accidently kills someone, then they can flee to a city of refuge to avoid the “revenger of blood” – maybe a relative of the person killed?

If however it was not an accident, but a murder. Then the murderer would be put to death.

The end of the chapter leaves us with a warning from God, that we should not pollute the land with blood. Also warns about “defiling the land”, because the Lord dwells among his people. A warning not to pollute, or misuse the land that God has given us? I think so.

Chapter 36: Marry in Your Tribe

The chief fathers of the families of Gilead come to speak before Moses, asking them about inheritances and marrying within or without of your tribe.

Their complaint/worry is that the daughters of Zelophehad (read Numbers 27:1-11) were given their fathers inheritance and they were worried that they would marry outside of the tribe of their fathers. The worry here, is that the name and property (inheritance) would disappear from the clan.

The Lord responds to this, by saying that the daughters of Zelophehad can marry anyone they choose, just as long as they marry within their tribe (verse 6). Zelophehad’s daughters do as they are commanded and marry their father’s, brothers, sons. OR their cousins on their fathers side. This would keep the land and their name in the tribe of their father.

Numbers 33-34

Numbers 33-34

Chapter 33: Journey from Egypt to Canaan

Chapter 33, outlines the trip from Egypt to Canaan. Israel left Egypt under the hand of Moses and Aaron, they departed from Rameses in the first month, in the fifteenth day.

From here, the chapter lists off the different places where the Israelites camped and places they saw during their journey.

At the end of the chapter, the children of Israel make it to the plains of Moab where the Lord gives them instructions. The Lord instructs them by saying:

                “…ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places: And ye shall dispossess the inhabitants of the land, and dwell therein: for I have given you the land to possess it. And ye shall divide the land by lot for an inheritance among your families: and to the more ye shall give the more inheritance, and to the fewer ye shall give the less inheritance: every man’s inheritance shall be in the place where his lot falleth; according to the tribes of your fathers ye shall inherit.” (Numbers 33:52-56)

                He warns them that if they don’t drive out the inhabitants of the land, then they will be smitten themselves. He commands them to do this and divide up the land as their inheritance. Here is a map of the journey and route the Israelites took. As you can see, the Lord had them wandering in circles.

Chapter 34: Borders of Israel

Moses specifies borders of Israel and the inheritances that they will receive in Canaan. Moses names the leader or princes from each tribe that will make this division of land possible.

Numbers 31-32

Numbers 31-32

Chapter 31: Moses sends 12,000 Warriors

At this point in the story, we have learned that Joshua was appointed to succeed Moses as the new leader for the Israelites. Joshua received the priesthood authority. Moses has another task, before he can be gathered completely to his people.

The Lord commands Moses to take vengeance upon the Midianites. Remember Numbers 25? Where the Midianites seduced the Israelites and caused that some of them worshiped their idol gods? Well Moses sends out 12,000 troops to fight the Midianites. This amounts to 1,000 from each tribe. With this group Moses sends Phinehas (the son of Eleazer) who takes some articles from the tabernacle and some trumpets which he uses for signaling.

The Israelites easily defeat the Midianites, killing every single man and taking the women, children and loot for themselves as plunder. They kill the five kings of Midian: Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, Balaam and Reba.

The warriors return with the plunder and everyone except Moses is happy. Moses asks them;  “…Have ye saved all the women alive? Behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against the Lord in the matter of Peor…” (Numbers 31:15-16).  Essentially telling them that the women were the ones who caused the Israelites to sin, so they should have been killed too.

Moses commands them to kill all the boys and all the women who have slept with a man, but save those who had not slept with a man. Anyone who participated in the killing or touched the dead bodies, would have to stay outside of the camp for seven days as part of the cleansing process.

After that, they divide up the spoils between the soldiers and the rest of the Israelites. The Levites are to receive 1 out of every 500 of everything the soldiers receive and 1 out of every 50 items that the rest of the Israelites receive.

The officers of the army report to Moses that they had 0 casualties, they wiped out an entire nation without any loss! They thank the Lord for this victory, by presenting an additional offering of 190 kilograms of gold. OR in today’s standard of Gold to US dollar equals:  $6,118,000!!! That’s right… over 6 MILLION dollars in Gold.

Chapter 32: Conquering of Canaan

The Israelites are about to enter into the Promised Land, what will become “Israel”, the land on the west side of Jordan. Before they cross Jordan, the Reubenites and the Gadites take a look at the surrounding lands on the East side, or the former lands of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Hesbon, Elealeh, Sebam and Beon. The Reubenites and the Gadites see that the land would be good and ask Moses if they can keep these lands instead, because they were favorable in their eyes.

Moses of course gets a little angry, especially since they haven’t made it to the Promised Land that they Lord had planned for them, and they already want something else. Moses speaks to the children of Gad and Reuben, saying: “…Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here? And therefore discourage ye the heart of the children of Israel from going over into the land which the Lord hath given them?” (Numbers 32:6)

                The Lord has prepared the Promised Land for them and wanting something else, is really not putting their trust in the Lord and this causes him to be angry. The children of Reuben and Gad come back to Moses and tell him that they will go with Israel into the Promised Land.

The Lord even reminds them of why they had traveled in the desert for forty years: “And the Lord’s anger was kindled against Israel, and he made them wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation, that had done evil in the sight of the Lord, was consumed” (Numbers 32:13). Essentially we learn about trials and tribulations…

The Lord gives us Trials that we can be strengthened. By “filtering” out the evil in the children of Israel, the Lord through a 40 year process was able to find the strongest and most faithful of the Israelites to live in the Promised Land. This reminds me of a scripture in (Romans 5: 1-6)

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”

                We glory in tribulations… knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope.

Reuben, Gad and half of the tribe of Manasseh receive their inheritances east of Jordan. They covenant to join the other tribes in conquering Canaan.

Numbers 29-30

Numbers 29-30

Chapter 29: Sacrifices During the 7th Month

Feast of Trumpets: On the first day of the seventh month, the Israelites are to have a sacred assembly wherein they are commanded to do none of their “regular” work. They are commanded to sound their trumpets.

In addition to their regular daily and monthly offerings they are to offer the following:

  • A burnt offering of : one young bull, one ram and seven year old male lambs without defect.
  • Grain offering of: 6.5 liters of fine flour mixed with oil for the bull, 4.5 liters for the ram and 2 liters for each lamb.

Day of Atonement: On the 10th day of the seventh month, they were required to hold another “sacred assembly”

In addition to their regular daily and monthly offerings they are to offer the following:

  • A burnt offering of : one young bull, one ram and seven year old male lambs without defect.
  • Grain offering of: 6.5 liters of fine flour mixed with oil for the bull, 4.5 liters for the ram and 2 liters for each lamb.

Feast of Tabernacles: On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, they were required to hold yet another sacred assembly and the usual… no regular work. This was the start of a seven day long festival, on each day they were to offer a variety of different offerings of bulls, rams and lambs. Following the above guide of burnt and grain offerings.

  • Day 1: 13 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
  • Day 2: 12 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
  • Day 3: 11 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
  • Day 4: 10 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
  • Day 5: 9 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
  • Day 6: 8 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
  • Day 7: 7 young bulls, 2 rams, and 14 male lambs
  • Day 8: 1 young bull, 1 ram, and 7 male lambs

 

Chapter 30: Law of Vows and Oaths

  • If a man makes a vow or an oath, he shall not break his word (see verse 2).
  • If a woman (living in her father’s house) make a vow or an oath, then her father can say whether it is valid or not.
  • If a woman (living with her husband) make a vow or an oath, then her husband can say whether it is valid or not.
  • If a woman however is divorced or widowed and make a vow or an oath, then she is bound by it.

Numbers 27-28

Numbers 27-28

Chapter 27: Law of Inheritances

There was a man named Zelophehad, who had no sons, only daughters. The names of the daughters are Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah and Tirzah. The daughters approach Moses and Eleazar and demand to have their father’s inheritance.

Moses approaches the Lord and asks him what he should do, and receives an answer that essentially says; yes Moses give them their inheritance. If the man wouldn’t have had sons or daughters, it would have been given to his brothers. If the man had no brothers then it would be given to his father’s brothers and if his father had no brothers it would be given to the nearest relative in his clan. Essentially this is how inheritances work today.

When the daughters of  Zelophehad reach the promised land they will receive their inheritance.

Moses will see, but not enter into the promised land. The Israelites get very close to the promised land and God instructs Moses to go up into the top of a mountain so that he can see the promised land.

Moses speaks with God and is concerned about the leadership of the Israelites once he is gone. So the Lord instructs Moses to appoint Joshua and give him his authority and power to lead the children of Israel when he is gone.

In verses 21-23 we learn about the laying on of hands to receive the authority. This same act is practiced in the Restored Church, the LDS church.

Chapter 28: Sacrifices; Morning and Night

Daily Offerings: Every day the Israelites are two present two offerings. One in the morning and one at twilight. At each offering, they were to offer: burnt offerings (a year old lamb without defect), grain offering (2 liters of fine flour mixed with 1 liter of olive oil) and drink offering (of wine).

Sabbath Offerings: On the Sabbath, they were to offer the daily offerings + 2 more lambs and more flour with oil.

Monthly Offerings: On the first of every month, or the first of every “new moon” they were to offer: two young bulls, one ram, 7 year old male lambs, 6.5 liters of fine flour mixed with oil for each bull, 4.5 liters of fine flour mixed with oil for each ram, and 2 liters of fine flour mixed with oil for each lamb. 2 liters of wine for each bull, 1.2 liters of wine for each ram and 1 liter of wine for each lamb.

The Passover: On the 14th day of the first month, the Israelites were to begin the celebration of the Passover by holding a “sacred assembly” and doing no work. See Exodus 12 for the origin of the Passover. On the 15th day the Israelites have a festival and for 7 days they were to eat bread made without yeast and on the seventh day they were to have another sacred assembly with no work.

During the Festival (besides their normal daily offering) they were required to offer the same things in the Monthly Offering (see above)

Numbers 25-26

Numbers 25-26

Chapter 25: Worshiping False Gods

While Israel was camped in a place called Shittim, a group of Israelites (about 24,000 of them), begin committing whoredoms with the daughters of Moab. They also started to worship false gods and bowed down to them. The Lord gets very angry with this and commands Moses to slay all of the people who worshiped these false gods in Baal-peor (the idol at peor, a mountain in Moab).

God is very specific when he speaks to Moses, he tells him to slay all the people and hang their heads facing the sun. This would kindle the fire of anger that was building from all the sinning.

Meanwhile the congregation of Israel is gathered at the opening of the Tabernacle, when a man brings a Midianitish woman (in plain view of everyone) to his tent. The congregation is “weeping” at the Tabernacle over the sins of the people, and here comes a man sinning in front of them. So, Phinehas (the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest) runs into the tent and drives a spear through both of them, including an unborn child so that the plague will not continue in Israel.

The Lord is pleased by what Phinehas had done and makes a covenant with him, that his priesthood should be an everlasting one throughout all the generations of his children.

The Lord then commands Israel to treat Moab as an enemy, because by deceiving and seducing the Israelites they too had treated them as enemies.

Chapter 26: The People in Moab

After the plague is over, Moses and Eleazar are commanded to take all the men (20 years and older) and are able to go to war and number them.

  • Reuben: 43,730
  • Simeon: 22,200
  • Gad: 40,500
  • Judah: 76,500
  • Issachar: 64,300
  • Zebulun: 60,500
  • Joseph:
    • Manasseh: 52,700
    • Ephraim: 32,500
    • Benjamin: 45,600
    • Dan: 64,400
    • Asher: 53,400
    • Naphtali: 45,400

This is a total of 610,730, which is very similar number to that of the first census done in Numbers 1: 4-51.

The Levites are not included in this census, they are numbered separately at 23,000 Levites. The reason for this, is that the Levites do not receive the same inheritance.

The Lord then speaks to Moses and explains a little about the inheritance the Israelites will receive:

“Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names. To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him. Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.” (Numbers 26:53-56)