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Book of Numbers
In the Septuagint version it is called “Numbers,” and this name is now the usual title of the book. It is so called because it contains a record of the numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai (1-4), and of their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab (26).
This book is of special historical interest as furnishing us with details as to the route of the Israelites in the wilderness and their principal encampments. It may be divided into 3 parts:
The period comprehended in the history extends from the 2nd month of the 2nd year after the Exodus to the beginning of the 11th month of the 40th year, in all about 38 years and 10 months; a dreary period of wanderings, during which that disobedient generation all died in the wilderness. They were fewer in number at the end of their wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt.
We see in this history, on the one hand, the unceasing care of the Almighty over his chosen people during their wanderings; and, on the other hand, the murmurings and rebellions by which they offended their heavenly Protector, drew down repeated marks of his displeasure, and provoked him to say that they should “not enter into his rest” because of their unbelief (Hebrews 3:19).
The expression “the book of the wars of the Lord,” occurring in 21:14, has given rise to much discussion. But, after all, “what this book was is uncertain, whether some writing of Israel not now extant, or some writing of the Amorites which contained songs and triumphs of their King Sihon's victories, out of which Moses may cite this testimony, as Paul sometimes does out of heathen poets (Acts 17:28; Titus 1:12).”
Article Version: September 9, 2017