Numbers | Bible Book Overview

Who? | Author & Audience

Moses wrote Numbers for and about the Israelites.

When? | Dates

Numbers covers the timeline of 1527BC-1405BC, but focused on the events right before the Israelites entered the Promised Land.

Where? | Setting

The Israelites were wandering the wilderness right before entering the Promised Land.

What & Why? | Outline & Purpose

  1. Census of 1st generation in the wilderness (Num. 1-25)

  2. 1st generation census (Num. 1-2)

  3. Choosing of the Levites (Num. 3-4)

  4. Cleansing and blessing of the people (Num. 5-6)

  5. Preparing for departure to Promised Land (Num. 7-10)

  6. Rebellious complaining and discipline of the Israelites while wandering in the wilderness (Num. 11-25)

  7. Mount Sinai to Kadesh (Num. 11-15)

  8. Rebellion against priesthood (Num. 16-19)

  9. Kadesh to plains of Moab (Num. 20-25)

  10. Census of 2nd generation entering the Promised Land (Num. 26-36)

  11. 2nd generation census (Num. 26)

  12. Laws for the land (Num. 27)

  13. Instructions to the new generation (Num. 28-30)

  14. Vengeance on the Midianites (Num. 31)

  15. Settlement East of the Jordan (Num. 32)

  16. Summary of Journey from Egypt to Canaan (Num. 33)

  17. Boundaries of Canaan and distribution of the land (Num. 34-36)

How? | Application

  • The fourth book of the Pentateuch; the books of Moses.

  • Accounts for the gradual fulfillment of promises made to Abraham regarding his descendants being the people of God and occupying Canaan.

  • Displays the reality of God’s presence with the Israelites and their constant doubt, unbelief and grumbling that costs many lives and the delay of entering Canaan by 40 years.

  • Underscores the importance of obedience in the life of Christians and reminds us of the value of learning from the ways in which God has worked in the past.

  • Highlights God’s discipline when His people choose to disobey.

  • Becomes a warning and encouragement to trust God’s plans for His people no matter what.

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Numbers Overview
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