Book of Numbers
The book of Numbers in the Bible is the fourth book in the Old Testament. It is called a book of Moses because it contains the story of Moses and the Israelites when they wander throughout the wilderness before ending up at Israel (also known as Canaan or Palestine), where God promised they will settle (the promised land).
The book is called Numbers because at the start God ordered a counting of the people (a census) in the twelve tribes of Israel. After counting all the men who are over twenty and fit to fight, the Israelites began to travel in well-ordered divisions, with God in the middle of the Ark of the Covenant.
In Hebrew, the book is called Bmidbar (בַּמִּדְבָּר), which means 'in a desert.' This is because Moses and his friends wandered in a desert for 40 years. When the people found that Israel was filled with strong and powerful people of other races, they became scared and rebelled against God and Moses. Therefore, God punished them by making the Israelites travel forty years before they could settle in Israel, the promised land.
Moses and his friends are escaping Egypt. They travel through Sinai. Some people complain, insult God, insult Moses. God punishes them. They send 12 spies to see what the promised land, Israel is like. Two came back saying it is nice. Ten came back saying it is not nice and filled with "giants". So the Israelites do not go. God becomes angry and punishes them. They have to wander the desert for 40 years.
Moses and the gang set for Moab, on the eastern border of Canaan (the promised land). The Israelites become thirsty and blame Moses for lack of water. God tells Moses to talk to a rock to bring out water. Moses hits the rock with his staff instead. For this wrong act, God tells Moses he can never enter the promised land. God punishes the people by preventing them from entering the promised land. They try to find another way. Aaron dies. The Israelites curse at God. They are then attacked by nasty fiery flying serpents. God tells Moses to make a brass serpent (the Nehushtan) and put it on a pole. Whoever looks at that brass serpent is cured of the bite of the serpents.
The Israelites arrive at Moab. Moses names Joshua the new leader. The land is divided between various tribes.
- Hebrew: בַּמִּדְבָּר, Bamidbar, meaning in the desert
- Book of Numbers article (Jewish Encyclopedia)
Online versions and translationsEdit
- Original language:
- Jewish translations:
- Christian translations: