Author: Moses (date of writing: c.1440-1400 B.C.).
Period: c.1440-1400 B.C.
Title: The English title is taken from the Latin translation (Numeri) of the Greek word Arithmoi, the title given to this book in the Septuagint. The traditional Hebrew title, bemidbar (“In the wilderness . . .”), is taken from the opening phrase of the book.
Summary: Numbers is the fourth book of the Pentateuch. It is a historical book, and it Greek and Latin names reflect the fact that two censuses of the Israelites are recorded in Numbers. The Hebrew title more closely reflects the contents of the book, which primarily tells of the rebellion of the Israelites in the wilderness after the exodus from their bondage in Egypt. Because of this rebellion, only two of the adults leaving Egypt were to enter into the promised land of Canaan. The book covers a thirty-eight-year period.
Preparation in the wilderness: Chapter 1:1 – 10:10
- Census of warriors: 1:1-54
- Order of worshippers: 2:1-34
- Service of workers: 3:1 – 4:49
- The camp cleansed from defilement: 5:1-31
- Separated to God: 6:1-27
- Cooperating with God: 7:1-88
- God with His people: 7:89 – 10:10
Provocation in the wilderness: Chapter 10:11 – 19:22
- Journeying at God’s command: 10:11-36
- Murmuring and discontent: 11:1 – 12:16
- Lack of faith and rejection: 13:1 – 14:45
- Instructions for the next generation: 15:1-41
- Revolt against God’s appointments: 16:1 – 19:22
Vindication in the wilderness: Chapter 20:1 – 36:13
- The fortieth year: from Kadesh to Hor: 20:1 – 21:3
- To Moab via Ezion-Geber: 21:4 – 22:1
- Balaam’s curse turned into a blessing: 22:2 – 25:18
- Preparations to enter the land: 26:1 – 36:13