Book of Numbers in Easton's Bible Dictionary
the fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the
be-midbar, i.e., "in the wilderness." In the LXX.
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
numbering of the people in the wilderness of Sinai
(1-4), and of
their numbering afterwards on the plain of Moab
This book is of special historical interest as
with details as to the route of the Israelites in
and their principal encampments. It may be divided
1. The numbering of the people at Sinai, and
their resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth
chapter gives an
account of the vow of a Nazarite.
2. An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the
out of the spies and the report they brought back,
murmurings (eight times) of the people at the
hardships by the
3. The transactions in the plain of Moab before
Jordan (21:21-ch. 36).
The period comprehended in the history extends from
month of the second year after the Exodus to the
the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all
thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period
wanderings, during which that disobedient generation
all died in
the wilderness. They were fewer in number at the end
wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt. We
see in this
history, on the one hand, the unceasing care of the
over his chosen people during their wanderings; and,
other hand, the murmurings and rebellions by which
their heavenly Protector, drew down repeated marks
displeasure, and provoked him to say that they
should "not enter
into his rest" because of their unbelief (Heb.
This, like the other books of the Pentateuch, bears
of having been written by Moses.
The expression "the book of the wars of the Lord,"
in 21:14, has given rise to much discussion. But,
"what this book was is uncertain, whether some
writing of Israel
not now extant, or some writing of the Amorites
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)."
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