Numbers tells the story of Israel’s wanderings through the wilderness en route to the promised land of Canaan. Numbers begins and ends with Moses counting all the people in the nation, which is how the book gets its name.
At a Glance
NIV Bible Numbers Introduction
The books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers continue the story of how God formed the nation of Israel to play a special role in his plans for the whole world. When the Israelites were enslaved in Egypt, God came to them and worked powerfully through Moses to deliver them. At Mount Sinai, God revealed his laws to Moses, including the Ten Commandments, and confirmed his covenant with the young nation. Israel built a “tabernacle,” or “tent of meeting,” so that God could live among them. The people then traveled through the wilderness to the land of Canaan.
The boundaries between the books of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers are not sharply drawn. The key structure throughout the books relates to the various places the Israelites stopped on their journey. Each location is noted, and the events at each one are described. The key location is Mount Sinai; the second half of Exodus, all of Leviticus, and the beginning of Numbers describe what took place there. Leviticus specifically contains the laws and regulations the Lord gave to Israel. Numbers reports how the people were organized into a fighting force and moved toward the promised land.
Numbers reaches back across Leviticus and Exodus and repeats the phrase that structures Genesis: This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses (Num. 3:1). Appropriately, we hear this phrase for the twelfth time as the twelve tribes are being organized into a nation. Near the end of Numbers the prophet Balaam says to Israel, May those who bless you be blessed and those who curse you be cursed. This recalls God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis, I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse. These references show that together these books tell a single story of the beginning of God’s redemptive work in the world.
2013 Numbers Series
| Life by the Numbers |
| A Modern Nazirite |
| The LORD's Blessing |
| Discerning God's Will |
| Beware of the Rabble |
| Pride and Prejudice |
| Courage like Caleb |
| A Root of Rebellion |
| Budding with Life |
| Watch Your Witness |
| Born Again |
| Beware of Balaam |
| Inheritance |
|Life by the Numbers||Numbers 1-2||04/07/2013||Study Guide|
|A Modern Nazirite||Numbers 3-6:1-21||04/14/2013||Study Guide|
|The LORD's Blessing||Numbers 6:22-27||04/28/2013||Study Guide|
|Discerning God's Will||Numbers 7-9||05/05/2013||Study Guide|
|Beware of the Rabble||Numbers 11||05/19/2013||Study Guide|
|Pride and Prejudice||Numbers 12||05/26/2013||Study Guide|
|Courage like Caleb||Numbers 13-15||06/02/2013||Study Guide|
|A Root of Rebellion||Numbers 16||06/09/2013||Study Guide|
|Budding with Life||Numbers 17||08/04/2013||Study Guide|
|Watch Your Witness||Numbers 18-20||08/11/2013||Study Guide|
|Born Again||Numbers 21||08/18/2013||Study Guide|
|Beware of Balaam||Numbers 22-25||08/25/2013||Study Guide|
|Inheritance||Numbers 26-36||09/01/2013||Study Guide|