February 12, 2010

Num 1-2: Introduction to Numbers

Posted in Outline tagged , , , , at 8:58 pm by Steve

PURPOSES OF THE BOOK OF NUMBERS

  • A. To fill-in the historical period from the Exodus and Sinai revelation to the preparations in Moab to enter the Promised Land
  • B.  To explain that the 38 year period in the wilderness was a consequence for the unbelief of the older generation (Dt 1:35ff)
  • C.  To demonstrate God’s faithfulness and forbearance against the backdrop of Israel’s unfaithfulness, rebellion, apostasy and frustration
  • D.  To present laws as case studies which do not have a precedent in what has been spoken thus far.
  • E.  To narrate the preparation of Israel for entry into the Promise Land by describing the journey from Sinai to the region beyond Jordan, and the legal decisions made in the wilderness

 

Hill and Walton offer the following timetable for events after the Exodus:

Exodus from Egypt 15th day of 1st month Exod. 12:2, 5; Num. 33:3
Arrival at Mount Sinai 1st day of 3d month Exod. 19:1
Yahweh reveals himself at Sinai 3d day of 3d month Exod. 19:16
Completion of tabernacle 1st day of 1st month of 2d year Exod. 40:1, 16
Command to number Israel 1st day of 2d month of 2d year Num. 1:1
Departure from Sinai 20th day of 2d month of 2d year Num. 10:11
Arrival at Kadesh 1st month of 40th year? Num. 20:1
Death of Miriam 1st month of 40th year? Num. 20:1
Death of Aaron and thirty days of mourning 1st day of 5th month of 40th year Num. 20:29
Departure for Moab 1st day of 6th month of 40th year? Num 20:22; 21:4
Moses Addresses Israel in Moab 1st day of 11th month of 40th year Deut. 1:2-3
Death of Moses and thirty days of mourning         ? Deut. 34:8
Joshua and Israel enter Canaan 10th day of 1st month of 41st year Josh. 1:19

Two censuses are taken in Numbers (1; 26)

  • 1. The first census was taken in the second month of the second year after the Exodus (Num 1:1) numbering the first generation of post-Exodus Israelites
  • 2. The second census was taken in the fortieth year after the Exodus numbering the second generation of post-Exodus Israelites (Num 20:1, 22-29; 33:38)
  • 3. Both census were taken of Israelite men who were of fighting age (twenty years of age and older)  Num 1:1-4; 26:1-4.

Census Figures in Numbers 1 and 26

Tribe Reference Figures Reference Figures
Reuben 1:20-21 46,500 26:5-11 43,730
Simeon 1:22-23 59,300 26:12-14 22,200
Gad 1:24-25 45,650 26:15-18 40,500
Judah 1:26-27 74,600 26:19-22 76,500
Issachar 1:28-29 54,400 26:23-25 64,300
Zebulun 1:30-31 57,400 26:26-27 60,500
Ephraim 1:32-33 40,500 26:35-37 32,500
Manasseh 1:34-35 32,200 26:28-34 52,700
Benjamin 1:36-37 35,400 26:38-41 45,600
Dan 1:38-39 62,700 36:42-43 64,400
Asher 1:40-41 41,500 36:44-47 53,400
Naphatali 1:42-43 53,400 26:48-50 45,400
Totals   603,550   601,730
Average   50,296   50,144
High   74,600   76,500
Low   32,200   22,200
  Greatest increase:  Manasseh (20,500)
  Greatest decrease:  Simeon (37,100)
             

Significance of the Numbers in the Census

  • 1. If one understands the numbers to be literal and the men to represent about one-fourth of the population, then the number of the Israelites ranges from two to three million people
  • 2. A literal understanding of the numbers in the census is in congruence with Pharaoh’s fear of the rapidly increasing Hebrews overrunning Egypt (Ex 1:7-12), the promises made to Abraham about becoming a great nation (Gen 12:2; 17:5-6), the earlier census taken during the first year in the wilderness (Exod 30:12–16; 38:26), and other traditions about the numbers of adult males who left Egypt (Ex 12:37; Num 11:21)
  • C. Some argue that the numbers cannot be literal for the following reasons:
  • 1. The Sinai wilderness did not have the ability to sustain such a large number of people and animals
  • 2. Israel was unable to subdue and displace the Canaanites

Exodus to Numbers

  • Egypt (Ex 1–13),
  • Sinai (Ex 19–Num 10),
  • Kadesh (Num 13-20),
  • Plains of Moab (Num 22-36)

Journeys

Red Seat to Sinai Sinai to Kadesh Kadesh to Moab
Led by cloud Ex 13:21 = Nu 10:11ff  
Victory over Egypt  14   cf. 21:21-35
Victory song 15:1-18  cf 10:35f     21:14-15
Miriam  15:20-21 = 12 = 20:1
People complain 15:23-24 = 11:1 = 21:5
Moses’ intercession 15:25 = 11:2 = 21:7
Well  15:27   = 21:16
Mana and quails 16 = 11:4-5   
Water from rock 17:1-7   = 20:2-13
Victory over Amalek 17:8-16   cf. 21:1-3
Jethro 18:1-12 cf. 10:29-32  

 

Stops

Topic Sinai Kadesh

Moab

Divine promises Ex 19:5-6; 23:23ff. Nu 12:2 22:24
40 days 24:28 13:25  —
Rebellion 32:1-8 14:1ff 25:1-3
Moses’ intercession 32:11-13 14:13-19   —
Judgment 32:34 14:20-35 25:4
Plague 32:35 14:37 25:8-9
Law of sacrifice 34:18ff; Lv. 1-7 etc. 15:1-31 28-29
Trial Lv.24:10-23 15:32-36 27:1-11
Rebellion against Priests Lv. 10:1-3 16:1-35   —
Atonement through priests and Levites Ex 32:26-29 16:36-50 25:7-13
Priestly prerogatives Lv. 6-7; 22 17-18 31:28-30; 35:1-8
Impurity rules Lv. 11-16; Nu.9:6-14 19 31:35-9ff.
Census Nu. 1-4   — 26
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