Numbers is the fourth book in the Pentateuch. Numbers is the Greek title taken from the Septuagint translation. The book is called Numbers because within it Israel is numbered twice. That is, a census is taken of all eligible males in preparation for the conquest of Canaan. The title is somewhat misleading because there are more than just the numberings within the book. The theme in Numbers could be termed as, “The grumblings of a nation”. It is filled with accounts of murmurings unbelief and rebellions in Israel. It involves the thirty-eight additional years which they were condemned to spend in the wilderness for these sins. Repeatedly Israel fails to keep the covenant of their God. Yet with faithful continuance, the LORD continues in His purposes. When one generation failed to hearken unto his voice, He set them aside and raised up another willing and more obedient generation. Undoubtedly, teaching men to fear God and keep His commandments is the purpose of this book.
In this book, there also are types and foreshadows of Christ. An admonition to always keep the Lord’s ways is emphasized. It begins in the second year after Israel’s escape from Egypt and ends on the eve before their entry into the Promised Land. There were many hardships and conflicts which still awaited them before they could inherit the land of promise which God had given unto them.
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