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Summary: Synopsis of the Book of Numbers

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A Jet Tour Thru Numbers

I. The NAME of the Book - Number

A. Gr. - ARITHMOI - numbers; because of the census taken in the beginning of the book (ch. 1 - 3) and at the end (ch. 26)

B. Heb. - BE-MIDBAR - in the wilderness [desert] (1:1)

II. The AUTHOR of the Book - Moses

A. Stated clearly in 33:2: & 36:13

B. Repeatedly claimed to be what the Lord said to Moses (1:1; 2:1; 3:11: 4:1)

C. Its’ content equated with Moses by Jesus (John 3:14-15)

III. The RECIPIENTS of the Book

A. Generally - the children of Israel (6:2; 15:2); given to record for their posterity the events of the wilderness journey.

B. Specifically — Aaron (8:2); to instruct him in his activity as High Priest.

IV. The DATE of the Book

A. Approximately B.C. 1401

B. Covers about 39 years of wilderness experience (1:1; 36:13)

V. The KEYS to the Book

A. Key verses: 14:28-34

B. Key Words: wilderness - 45 times

VI. The PURPOSE of the Book

A. To resume the narrative of events involving Israel’s journey from Egypt to Canaan (Ex. 40:17; Num. 1:1)

B. To record the two censuses taken while in the wilderness (ch. 1 & 3; 26)

C. To emphasize the most significant events of Israel’s wilderness wanderings.

D. To illustrate the “severity” and “goodness” of God. (Rom. 11:22)

E. To warn against the sin of presumption (1 Cor. 10:1-12).

F. To warn against the sin of unbelief (Heb. 3:7-19).

VII. The OUTLINE of the Book (Adapted from J Sidlow Baxter’s Explore The Book)

A .The Old Generation (ch. 1-14)

1. The Numbering (ch. 1-4)

Ch 1 – 1st Census

Ch 2 – Tribes Arranged

Ch 3 – Census & Duties of the Levites

Ch 4 – Levitical Service

2. The Instructing (ch. 5-10)

Ch 5 – Separation from Things that Defile

Ch 6 – Nazarite Vow

Ch 7 – Offerings

Ch 8 – Consecration of the Levites

Ch 9 – Passover Observance

Ch 10 – Silver Trumpets

3. The Journeying (ch. 10-14)

Ch 10 – Marching to The Promised Land

Ch 11 – Complaining about Food

Ch 12 – Miriam’s Leprosy

Ch 13 – Spy Report

Ch 14 – Discouraged People

B. The Transition (ch. 15-20)

Ch 15 – Laws for Living

Ch 16 – Rebellion against Moses & Aaron

Ch 17 – Aaron’s Rod

Ch 18 – Responsibility, Accountability & Provisions for Levites

Ch 19 – The Red Heifer

Ch 20 – Moses Strikes the Rock (2nd Time)

C. The New Generation (ch. 21-36)

1. The Journeying (ch. 21-25)

Ch 21 – Brazen Serpent

Ch 22 – Balak & Balaam

Ch 23 – Balaam’s Prophecy

Ch 24 – Balaam Blesses Israel

Ch 25 – Balaam’s Secrete Plan

2. The Numbering (ch. 26-27)

Ch 26 – 2nd Census

Ch 27 – Joshua, Moses Successor

3. The Instructing (ch. 28-36)

Ch 28 – Instruction for the New Generation (Offerings)

Ch 29 – Instruction for the New Generation (Continued)

Ch 30 – Vows

Ch 31 – Defeat of the Midianites

Ch 32 – Reuben & Gad – East of the Jordan

Ch 33 – Review of the Journey

Ch 34 – Borders

Ch 35 – Cities of Refuge

Ch 36 – Equal Rights for Daughters

VIII. The PRESENTATION of Christ in Numbers

A. The Redemptive Silver (3:44-SI)

B. The Red Heifer (ch. 19)

C. The Brazen Serpent (ch. 21)

D. The Star out of Jacob (24:17)

E. The Cities of Refuge (ch. 35)

IX. Practical Lessons from Numbers

A. Complaining is Contagious

1. The people complained about food (ch. 11)


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