Book of Numbers in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
I. Title and Contents.
Styled in the Hebrew Bible bemidhbar, "in the wilderness,"
from the 5th word in Nu 1:1, probably because of recording
the fortunes of Israel in the Sinaitic desert. The 4th book
of the Pentateuch (or of the Hexateuch, according to
criticism) was designated Arithmoi in the Septuagint, and
Numeri in the Vulgate, and from this last received its name
"Numbers" in the King James Version, in all 3 evidently
because of its reporting the 2 censuses which were taken,
the one at Sinai at the beginning and the other on the
plains of Moab at the close of the wanderings.
Of the contents the following arrangement will be
(1) Before leaving Sinai, Nu 1:1 through 10:10 (a period of
19 days, from the 1st to the 20th of the 2nd month after the
(a) The numbering and ordering of the people, Numbers 1
(b) The cleansing and blessing of the congregation, Numbers
(c) The princes' offerings and the dedication of the altar,
Numbers 7; 8.
(d) The observance of a second Passover, Nu 9:1-14.
(e) The cloud and the trumpets for the march, Nu 9:15
(2) From Sinai to Kadesh, Nu 10:11 through 14:45 (a period
of 10 days, from the 20th to the 30th of the 2nd month),
(a) The departure from Sinai, Nu 10:11-35.
(b) The events at Taberah and Kibroth-hattaavah, Numbers 11.
(c) The rebellion of Miriam and Aaron, Numbers 12.
(d) The mission of the spies, Numbers 13; 14.
(3) The wanderings in the desert, Numbers 15 through 19 (a
period of 37 years, from the end of the 2nd to the beginning
of the 40th year), recording:
(a) Sundry laws and the punishment of a Sabbath breaker,
(b) The rebellion of Korah, Numbers 16.
(c) The budding of Aaron's rod, Numbers 17.
(d) The duties and revenues of the priests and Levites,
(e) The water of separation for the unclean, Numbers 19.
(4) From Kadesh to Moab, Numbers 20; 21 (a period of 10
months, from the beginning of the 40th year), reciting:
(a) The story of Balaam, Nu 22:2 through 24:25.
(b) The zeal of Phinehas, Numbers 25.
(c) The second census, Nu 26:1-51...