The English title “Numbers” comes from the two censuses that are central features of this book. However the Hebrew title, “In the Wilderness,” is more descriptive of the book. Numbers tells how God’s people traveled from Mount Sinai to the border of the Promised Land. But when they refused to take possession of the Land, God made them wander in the wilderness for nearly forty years. Throughout the book, God is seen as a holy God who cannot ignore rebellion or unbelief, but also as the one who faithfully keeps his covenant and patiently provides for the needs of his people. Numbers ends with a new generation preparing for the conquest of Canaan. Traditionally, Jews and Christians recognize Moses as the author, writing during the final year of his life. (Num, 2001. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version, Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.)
Num 1.1-16; Story; The LORD commands a census of all the congregation
Num 1.17-46; Story; The resulting numbers counted from the census
Num 1.47-54; Story; The Levites are exempted from the census so they could perform Priestly duties
Num 2.1-2; Story; Instructions for how to camp and how to move as a group
Num 2.3-9; Story; The group on the east side – Judah, Issachar, Zebulun. They set out first.
Num 2.10-16; Story; The group on the south side – Reuben, Simeon, Gad. They set out second.
Num 2.17; Story; The Tent of Meeting with the Levites in the midst of the camp. They set out next.
Num 2.18-24; Story; The group on the west side (the original ‘Westies’) – Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin. They set out third.
Num 2.25-31; Story; The group on the north – Dan, Asher, Naphtali. They set out last.
Num 2.32-34; Story; Summary statement mentioning the Levites in the group.
Num 3.1-4; Story; The generations of Aaron and Moses introduced
Num 3.5-39; Law; Instructions regarding the Priestly duties
Gershon – Guard duty for the tent of meeting
Kohath – Guard duty for the ark, table, lampstand, altars and vessels of the sanctuary
Merari – Guard duty for the frames of the tabernacle, the bars, the pillars, pegs and cords
Moses, Aaron and His sons – Guard duty for the sanctuary
Num 3.40-51; Story; Listing of all the firstborn for redemption and the monies used to finance the Tent of Meeting and Priestly service
Num 4.1-16; Story; Instructions for the Kohathites for carrying the sanctuary and its contents
Num 4.17-49; Story; Continued duties for Gershon, Kohath, Merari, Moses, Aaron and his sons.
Num 5.1-4; Law; Skin diseases, people with skin diseases are to be put out of the camp
Num 5.5-10; Law; Restitution after releasing guilt for wrong
Num 5.11-31; Law; Families, test to see if a woman has committed adultery
Num 6.1-21; Law; Nazirite vow
Num 7.1-11; Story; Setting up the tabernacle
Num 7.12-83; Story; Twelve days of offerings from the tribes of Israel
Num 7.84-88; Story; Summary of all the dedication offerings for the tabernacle
Num 7.89; Story; The LORD speaks to Moses from above the mercy seat
Num 8.1-4; Law; The seven lamps and the lampstand
Num 8.5-13; Law; Levites – cleansing of the levites
Num 8.14-22; Law; Levites – to serve the LORD, instead of the firstborn
Num 8.23-26; Law; Levites – work life is from 25 to 50
Num 9.1-5; Story; The Passover is celebrated
Num 9.6-14; Law; Repeated instructions for Passover, people who have touched dead bodies included
Num 9.15-23; Story; The cloud and the fire of the LORD directing the people
Num 10.1-10; Law; The Silver Trumpets (War and Worship)
Num 10.11-36; Story; Israel leaves Sinai
Num 11.1-6; Story-Sin; The people complain, are lament leaving Egypt, The LORD’s wrath burns
Num 11.7-9; Story; The LORD provides manna like coriander seeds for the people
Num 11.10-15; Story; Moses complains to the LORD about being leader of the people
Num 11.16-17; Story; Elders appointed to help Moses lead the people, they are spiritually anointed
Num 11.18-23; Story-Sin; The LORD gives them more meat than what they want as a punishment
Num 11.24-30; Story; The spiritually anointed prophesy for a short time
Num 11.31-34; Story-Sin; The LORD sends quail and a plague
Num 12.1-16; Story-Sin; Miriam and Aaron oppose Moses and the LORD responds
Num 13.1-20; Story; Spies sent into the land of Canaan from among the tribes
Num 13.21-33; Story-Sin; The spies return and give a mixed report. They say good land and strong people. Caleb and Joshua say let’s go, the remainder are afraid and won’t go.
Num 14.1-12; Story-Sin; The people rebel against Moses and Aaron. The LORD rejects the people.
Num 14.13-19; Story; Moses intercedes with the LORD for the people
Num 14.20-38; Story; The LORD promises judgement. They will not enter his rest.
Num 14.39-45; Story; Israel mourns, presumes to enter the promised land and is defeated in battle.
Num 15.1-21; Law; Worship and sacrifice, Repeated instructions on various offerings
Num 15.22-31; Law; Laws about unintentional sins and deliberate sins
Num 15.32-36; Story-Law; Festivals and holidays, Sabbath breakers to be executed
Num 15.37-41; Law; Clothing, Tassels on garments to remind them of the commands
Num 16.1-15; Story-Sin; Korah and his sons rebel against Moses and Aaron
Num 16.16-35; Story-Sin; The LORD wiped out Korah and his family
Num 16.36-40; Story; Aaron’s sons appointed to serve the LORD
Num 16.41-50; Story-Sin; The remaining congregation rebel. Aaron hastily atones for them.
Num 17.1-13; Story; Aarons staff budded indicating the LORD’s approval of him.
Num 18.1-32; Law; Priesthood, Duties and contributions for the priests and levites
Num 19.1-22; Law; Cleanliness, Laws for purification and for the unclean
Num 20.1 Story; Moses’ wife Miriam does
Num 20.2-13; Story-Sin; Moses strikes the rock at Meribah rather than tell it as instructed
Num 20.14-21; Story; Israel asks to pass through Edoms territory but the refuse
Num 20.22-29; Story; Aaron dies because they rebelled against the LORD’s command
Num 21.1-3; Story; Israel is defeated by Arad, makes a vow to the LORD and then destroys the Canaanites
Num 21.4-9; Story-Sin; Israel grumbled against the LORD and Moses, the LORD sends serpents, the LORD commands Moses to raise up a serpent, so looking at it Israel will be healed
Num 21.10-20; Story; Israel moved around various places. The LORD gives them water.
Num 21.21-30; Story; The Amorites fight against Israel and lose. Israel sings about it.
Num 21.31-35; Story; The king of Bashan attacks Israel and loses.
Num 22.1-6; Story; Balak king of Moab Summons Balaam to curse Israel
Num 22.7-14; Story; Balaks first attempt, Balaam consults the LORD with Balaks request
Num 22.15-21; Story; Balaks second attempt, offers Balaam gold, the LORD forbids Balaam to curse
Num 22.22-35; Story; Balaam follows Balak without the LORD’s direction pursuing gold and has a conversation with his donkey who is protecting him from an angel.
Num 22.36-41; Story; Balaam meets with Balak saying he can only speak the LORD’s words.
Num 23.1-12; Story; Balaam’s first oracle blessing Israel. Balak spits the dummy at Balaam.
Num 23.13-26; Story; Balaam’s second oracle blessing Israel. Balak tells Balaam to shut up.
Num 23.27-24.13; Story; Balaam tries to run away, but the Spirit of the LORD comes on him giving the third oracle blessing Israel. Balak threatens Balaam.
Num 24.14-25; Story; Balaam gives the final oracle blessing Israel and predicting the defeat of her enemies.
Num 25.1-9; Story-Sin; Israel hooks up with foreign women and worships their gods. The LORD sends a plague in punishment. Phinehas kills a couple having sex in the tent of meeting with one strike, thus atoning for Israel’s sin. The plague stopped.
Num 25.10-18; Story; Phinehas is commended as righteous with a covenant of peace. The offending couple are named and shamed.
Num 26.1-51; Story; Second Census of Israel, previous generation died out
Num 26.52-65; Story; Division of the land, numbering the levites, none of past generation entered with exceptions
Num 27.1-11; Law; Amendment to inheritance laws concerning a lack of immediate male descendant
Num 27.12-23; Story; Moses sees the promised land, Joshua is commissioned a next leader
Num 28.1-8; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Daily food (burnt) and drink offerings
Num 28.9-10; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Sabbath offerings
Num 28.11-15; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Monthly offerings
Num 28.16-25; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Passover (feast of unleavened bread) offerings
Num 28.26-31; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Feast of weeks offerings
Num 29.1-6; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Feast of trumpets offerings
Num 29.7-11; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Day of Atonement offerings
Num 29.12-38; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Feast of booths offerings
Num 29.39-40; Law; Worship and sacrifice; Summary statement, Moses exhorts
Num 30.1-16; Law; Vows,
- Men (30.1-2),
- Women under fathers care (30.3-5),
- Women under husbands care (30.6-15),
- Summary statement (30.16)
Num 31.1-12; Story; The LORD commands Moses to send Israel’s armed men and destroy the Midianites
Num 31.13-20; Story; The warriors bring back the women and children. Because of Peor, Moses commands they kill all the women and children except the virgin girls. The warriors are to remain outside the camp and purify themselves.
Num 31.21-47; Story; Dividing up the plunder from the battle
Num 31.48-54; Story; None of the warriors were killed in the battle. They all presented contributions to the LORD.
Num 32.1-5; Story; The tribe of Reuben asks that the land before the Jordan be given them as their possession.
Num 32.6-15; Story; Moses recounts what happened when Israel initially refused to enter the promised land
Num 32.16-42; Story; The tribes of Reuben and Gad agree they will go into the promised land to fight with the rest of Israel.
Num 33.1-2; Story; Moses recounting Israel’s journey and the places they have been to
Num 33.3-4; Story; Recounting – Deliverance from Egyptian slavery
Num 33.5-10; Story; Recounting – Rameses to the Red Sea
Num 33.11; Story; Recounting – Red Sea to the Wilderness of Sin
Num 33.12-15; Story; Recounting – Wilderness of Sin to the Wilderness of Sinai
Num 33.16-37; Story; Recounting – Wilderness of Sinai to Mount Hor
Num 33.38-40; Story; Recounting – The Death of Aaron
Num 33.41-49; Story; Recounting – Mount Hor to the Jordan river near Jericho
Num 33.50-56; Story; The LORD gives instructions for Moses concerning taking the promised land
Num 34.1-15; Story; The LORD sets the boundaries for the promised land
Num 34.16-29; Story; The LORD names the leaders of the tribes who will further divide up the inheritance
Num 35.1-8; Story; The LORD allocates cities for the levites including cities of refuge
Num 35.9-15; Law; Cities of refuge (places where offenders may find refuge for having their case judged)
Num 35.16-21; Law; Definitions for murder and the punishment (death)
Num 35.22-29; Law; Definition for manslayer and avenger of blood, term of punishment specified
Num 35.30-34; Law; Punishments and for murder and manslaughter
Num 36.1-12; Law; Property, Instructions prohibiting the transfer of property into other families
Num 36.13; Story; Summary statement concerning the rules the LORD commanded through Moses