Book of Numbers in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
The book takes its name from the numberings (Numbers 1 and
Numbers 26). The Hebrew name it from its first word
waedaber, or its first distinctive word Bemidbar. It
narrates Israel's stay in the desert from the law giving at
Sinai (Leviticus 27:34) to their mustering in Moab's plains
before entering Canaan. The parts are four:
(1) Preparations for breaking up the camp at Sinai
to march to Canaan (Numbers 1 - 10:10).
(2) March from Sinai to Canaan's border; repulse by
the Amorites (Numbers 10:11-14:45).
(3) Selected incidents and enactments during the 38
years' penal wandering (Numbers 15:1-19:22).
(4) Last year in the desert, the 40th year after the
Exodus (Numbers 20:1-36;Numbers 20:13).
Israel's first encampment near Kadesh was at Rithmah
(from retem, the "broom") in midsummer, in the second year
after the Exodus; there for 40 days they awaited the spies'
report (Numbers 13:20; Numbers 13:25-26; Numbers 33:18-19,
from verses 20 to 36 are the stages of penal wandering). On
the first month of the 40th year they are at Kadesh once
more. The tabernacle and Moses remained at Kadesh on the
first occasion, while Israel attempted to occupy Canaan too
late (Numbers 14:44). For a long period ("many days") they
stayed still here, after failure, in hope God would yet
remit the sentence (Deuteronomy 1:45-46). Then they
"compassed Mount Seir (the wilderness of Paran) many days,"
until that whole generation died (Deuteronomy 2:1). The 17
stations belong to that dreary period (Numbers 33:19-36).
The people spread about the ridges of Paran, while the
tabernacle and camp moved among them from place to place. At
the second encampment at Kadesh they stayed three or four
months (Numbers 20:1 with Numbers 1:22-28; Numbers 33:38).
Miriam died, and was buried there...