04 Numbers 1-10a – Organizing the NationLeviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy - Life in the Desert
All written materials for this series will be posted on this website, http://servingandsharing.com/, under the category, “Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy – Life in the Desert.” Here is my video presentation introducing this series – https://youtu.be/Lynx51p0tJA.
Watch this specific class presentation here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKKB1uvyHFM. The entire series will be added to this playlist as they are recorded: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKKB1uvyHFM&list=PL7JRppjEn33bCHyqZFRQ2JDiJnGRnOYyR. Please use the “Contact” button to request corresponding handouts and outlines.
Please forward this post to anyone that you think would benefit from this study and invite others to subscribe.
Named for two censuses (Num 1; 26). But …
Time frame: almost 39 years (c. 1444–1405 BC). From the last twenty days at Mt. Sinai, the wanderings round Kadesh Barnea, and finally the arrival in the plains of Moab in the 40th year.
Two generations (1-14, 21-36), two journeys (10-14, 21-27), two sets of instructions (5-9, 28-36).
Numbers: Three Stages
1:1-10:10 Sinai: Preparation to Enter Land
Time: 20 days (Cf. 1:1; 10:11)
10:11-21:35 From Sinai to Moab: Failure
Time: 38 years, 3 months, 10 days
22:1-36:13 Moab Plains: Preparing 2nd Generation
Time: c. 5 months
1-4 Census. Camps arranged. Levites and priests.
6 Nazirite vow; “The LORD bless you and keep you.”
11 Complaint; manna; 70 elders; quail; plague.
12 Miriam and Aaron; Moses’ uniqueness.
13 Spies’ surveillance and report. Joshua, Caleb.
16-17 Korah’s rebellion; Aaron’s staff buds.
20 Meribah; Moses strikes the rock. Note 20:12.
21 The bronze serpent. Cf. John 3:14-15.
22-25 Balak and Balaam; the talking donkey.
27 Joshua to be Moses’ successor.
30 Men, women, and vows.
33 Review of Israel’s journey.
35 Cities of refuge.
Note: Numbers was written for us. 1 Cor 10:1-14
1:1-46 First Census – Warriors Ages 20 and Up
Num 1:45 So all the numbered men of the sons of Israel … fathers’ households, from twenty years old and upward, whoever was able to go out to war in Israel, 46 even all the numbered men were 603,550.
1:47-54 Levites’ Exemption and Responsibilities
Not to be counted in the military census or to serve in the military.
Rather to set up, take down, carry, and guard the tabernacle.
Biological Levites could not “identify” as part of any tribe they chose.
They could not choose their tribe, gender, physical traits, etc.
2:1-34 Israel’s Camp and Marching Arrangement
Tabernacle in the center, surrounded by Levites.
One lead tribe and two others to camp on each side.
East: Judah (lead tribe), with Issachar and Zebulun.
South: Reuben (lead tribe), with Gad and Simeon.
West: Ephraim (lead tribe), with Benjamin and Manasseh.
North: Dan (lead tribe), with Asher and Naphtali.
Not counting the Levites, how could Israel still have twelve tribes?
Check the list. “Joseph” is replaced by his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
3:1-13 Consecration of Levites for Sanctuary Service
Aaron’s sons: Nadab and Abihu (Lev 10), Eleazar and Ithamar.
All Levites given to serve Aaron, his sons, and the congregation.
Instead of Israel’s firstborn, whom God had spared and consecrated.
3:14-39 Numeration of Levites and List of Duties
Levites numbered separately. Males, one month old and up. 22,000.
Levi’s three sons (clans): Gershon(ites), Kohath(ites), Merari(tes).
3:40-51 Redemption of Israel’s Firstborn
22,000 Levites redeemed 22,000 of Israel’s 22,273 firstborn males.
Remaining 273 “bought back” for five shekels each (1/2-year wages).
Levites’ Duties, Second Census (ages 30-50)
4:1-20 The Kohathites’ Responsibilities
Holiest items: ark, table, lampstand, altars. Carried via poles.
4:21-28 The Gershonites’ Responsibilities
Curtains of the tabernacle. Transported in two oxcarts.
4:29-33 The Merarites’ Responsibilities
Heavier items: planks, poles, bases, etc. Required four oxcarts.
4:34-49 The Results of the Second Census
Ages 30 to 50: total 8,580, just over a third of all 22,000 (3:39).
5:1-4 Removal of the Ritually Unclean
5:5-10 Atonement for Perjury
Confession and 120% restitution, else it goes to the priest.
5:11-31 Test of Suspected Adultery
If the husband suspects, but no witnesses.
Elaborate, public trial. She offers sacrifice, takes an oath, and drinks water with dust from tabernacle floor and the washed-off ink used for the curse. She agrees that her womb will swell and her thigh fall away if she is guilty. Perhaps miscarriage and childlessness.
6:1-21 Rules for Nazirites
6:1-6 Definition of a Nazirite
Heb. nezer to separate. Male, female. Voluntary. Temporary. Not to cut hair, eat grape products, or contact a dead body.
6:7-12 Nazirites and Uncleanness
If defiled: present sin, burnt, and guilt offerings. Then start the period of the vow all over again.
6:13-20 Completion of a Nazirite Vow
6:22-27 The Priestly Blessing
“The LORD bless you and keep you …”
7:1-88 Tribes’ Offerings for the Tabernacle
“On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle” would be a month before those described in chs. 1-6 (Ex 40:2; Num 1:1).
First, Num 3-4 describes duties of priests and Levites. Then, Num 7 describes how the other tribes were to support them.
The 12 tribal chiefs brought 6 wagons, 12 oxen.
Then each tribe gave the same donation, day by day, for 12 days: one silver plate and one silver basin, each filled with flour mixed with oil. They also offered one golden dish full of incense. Then they gave various animals to keep the regular sacrifices going.
7:89 Moses’ Intercession with Yahweh
8:1-4 The Lampstand
Shining on the Table of the Presence (bread).
8:5-22 The Cleansing of the Levites
Being sprinkled with the water of purification, shaving the whole body, and washing clothes.
8:23-26 The Age Limits of the Levites
Levites were to retire at age 50 from the duty of the service (i.e., transporting the tabernacle) because of the difficulty of the task.
9:1-5 The Second Passover
Second year, first month, 14th day.
9:6-14 The Delayed Passover
For those ritually unclean on the appointed day.
Second year, second month, 14th day.
9:15-23 The Cloud of God’s Presence
When it remained or moved, so did the people.
Ex 24:16; 40:34-38; 1 Kg 8:11; Ezek 10:4; Lk 9:34-35; 21:27.
10:1-10 The Silver Trumpets
Slender straight clarions with flared mouth.
To gather the leaders or all the people.
To break camp and set out.
To sound when going to war.
To celebrate appointed feasts.
Depicted in the Arch of Titus in Rome (next).
We’ll pick up with Numbers 10:11 in our next class session.