The Book of Numbers is integral to the other 5 Books of the Law. The events overlap a great deal with what is written in Leviticus. In Hebrew, this book is most appropriately named Bemidbar, which loosely translated, means “in the desert – or wilderness.” The key events for chapters 1 through 10:10 are as follows:
Census and Levite Instructions
- Chapter 1 – God commanded Moses to take a census in the Sinai wilderness of all of the people of Israel; and specifically exempted the Levites from this census, appointing them care over the tabernacle and its furnishings – including responsibility for taking it down and setting it back up when camp is moved (Numbers 1:47-51).
- Chapter 2 – The Lord reveals the arrangement of the tribes when encamped around the Tabernacle.
- Chapter 3 – The Lord gives Moses commandments about the Levites; claiming Levites for His own to be priests in Israel, and redeeming all of the first born of the tribes (Numbers 3:44-51).
- Chapter 4 – The Lord orders a census of the Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites, and spells out the duties for the sons of Kohath in Numbers 4:4-15, the sons of Gershon in Numbers 4:24-28, and the sons of Merari in Numbers 4:31-33.
Cleansing of the camp
- Isolation of the unclean, atonement, and adultery – Numbers 5:1-31
- Nazirite definition, rules and vows – Numbers 6:1-21
- The priestly blessing of Aaron and sons – Numbers 6:22-27
Completion of the tabernacle
- The lampstand – Numbers 8:1-4
- Dedication of the Levites – Numbers 8:5-26
- The second Passover – Numbers 9:1-14
- The cloud covering the Tabernacle – Numbers 9:15-23
- The silver trumpets – Numbers 10:1-10
image © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers
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