BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 25, Day 5: Numbers 31-36

Summary of passages:  Numbers 31:  The Lord orders Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites for the Israelites.  Moses orders 1000 men from each tribe.  Phinehas son of Eleazar accompanied the 12,000 men to blow the trumpets.  The wiped out all men from the tribe.  They captured all the women and children and took all of their animals back to the plains of Moab where the Israelites were encamped.

Moses was mad that the women were allowed to live when they were the ones who enticed the Israelites into sexual sin and brought about the plague.  He orders them to kill all the boys and every woman who has slept with a man.  Only the virgin girls are allowed to live.  Then all who had contact with a dead body or killed anyone in battle must cleanse themselves with water or fire and stay outside the camp for 7 days.

The Lord orders the spoils to be divided between the soldiers who fought and the rest of the community, including shares for the Levites.  Not one Israeli soldier died in the battle so they brought the gold they had taken as plunder as atonement to the Lord.

Numbers 32:  The Reubenites and the Gadites, seeing good land for their flocks where they were, asked Moses if they could stay here and not cross over into the Promised Land.  Moses reminds them the last time they refused to enter the Promised Land, the Lord’s anger burned against His people and He punished them by making them wander the desert for 40 years.  If they disobey again, Moses warns, they will be the cause of their destruction.

The Reubenites and the Gadites said they would fight with their brothers and take the land promised by God but that they wanted to stay here in the land on the east of the Jordan River.  Moses agreed but warned them they must keep their promised and fight.  So Moses gave them (including half of the tribe of Manasseh) the land they wanted.  They rebuilt the cities and drove out the Amorites.

Numbers 33:  Moses records the stages in their journey at the Lord’s command from Egypt to where they sit right now, on the Plains of Moab overlooking the Promised Land.  God says to drive out all of the inhabitants of the land, destroy all of their idols, take possession of the land and settle it, dividing it by lot according to size of the tribes.  God warns to carry out all of His commands or they will suffer what God does to the Canaanites.

Numbers 34:  God assigns the boundaries of the Promised Land for the 9 1/2 tribes on the West side of the Jordan River.  The 2 1/2 tribes on the East already have their inheritance.  The Lord appoints leaders from each tribe to assign the inheritance to the Israelites.

Numbers 35:  God commanded Moses to give the Levites towns to live in and pasturelands around the towns.  Six of the 48 Levite towns will be cities of refuge for those who kill someone to flee to so that they may stand trial and not be afraid of revenge killings.  If the person does not flee to the refuge town, then they open themselves up to be killed by relatives.

Numbers 36:  This solves the problem of what happens to the land given to Zelophehad’s daughters when they marry.  Thus God says Zelophehad’s daughters must marry within the clan of their father and this applies to every  daughter who inherits land for every Israelite must keep the inherited land in their family.  No inheritance may pass from tribe to tribe.


9a)  Yes because the Midianite women were the ones who seduced the Israeli men and introduced other gods for them to worship.  They defiled the land and made it unholy, making it impossible to have God occupy it without atonement (Numbers 35:34).  What atones?  Blood.  Thus, blood had to be shed to make it holy for the Lord.

b)  Whole books have been written on this topic.  Honestly, it’s not for us to know God’s reasons for vengeance.  He says attack, the people attack.  He is God and we don’t question His authority over us.  But as a just God, the penalty for sin must be paid and punished.  Here, the punishment is death which is the punishment for all sin.  It is God’s right to mete it out.  We merely do His will.

Common reasons given for the wars in the OT:  The Promised Land was always in God’s plan.  He promised it to Abraham.  The Canaanites were not innocent people.  They had sinned and as punishment the Canaanites would lose their land (Deut 9:5). We’ve read about their sexual sin and sacrifice of children to false gods.  The Canaanites would contaminate the Israelites and thus had to be completely removed (which didn’t happen because the people disobeyed and the Babylonians would punish them for that).  This was about believers and unbelievers.

10a)  They had very large flocks and herds and wanted to settle in land suitable for the livestock.  I would say they are tired of traveling and ready to settle down.  The land they saw was good and saw no reason (besides obeying God) to continue on.  They were willing to help their brothers take the land so were willing to compromise.  However, they were complacent.  They were content with this land.  Complacency is contagious and leads to stagnation.  We should never be complacent in our growth with God.  Little did they know, but God had greater things for them in the land of Canaan if only they had obeyed.

b)  No.  He chastised them and reminded them about what happened the last time the Israelites refused to enter the Promised Land and basically said they would be the cause of God’s wrath and responsible for their destruction if they did what they proposed to do.

c)  Compromised.  The Reubenites and the Gadites agreed to help the Israelites fight to take the Promised Land and not return to their homes until every Israelite has received his inheritance.  They would not receive their inheritance on that side of the river, preferring these other lands instead.

11a)  So the Israelites will know from whence they came and the power of God who brought them thus far.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Nothing.  My life is uneventful and not of import.  I would say my everyday living speaks for itself.

12)  In the culture of the day, if someone killed someone, their relatives could take revenge and kill you.  Here, God provides cities of refuge so if the killing was accidental, that person could have a fair trial.  This shows that God is the ultimate judge (who gives that authority to the proper authorities) to take a life and He protects His people from needless bloodshed.  God is the giver and the taker of life.  It is His decision.  He is the protector of His people out of His infinite love for us.

Conclusions:  Long lesson and not looking forward to next week where we are assigned to read the majority of Deuteronomy.  Awesome lessons of God reminding His people before they take over the Promised Land of what is important in their lives and just how far they have come.

End Notes:  Numbers 31:  The Israelites enacted vengeance because God told them to do so.  Today, our governments have been given the authority to enact vengeance by God, not us personally.

Note the priests went into battle with them–a sign of God’s blessing.

The custom was to kill the men and take the rest captive.  However, this was against God’s orders.

The male children had to be killed because at this time boys were raised to take revenge against those who had killed their fathers.  Hence, they were a threat to the Israelites.

Things that don’t seem a threat are what us as Christians stumble over.  That’s why it’s important to pray to God and let Him tell you what to do.  We can learn from the Israelites who didn’t eliminate the threat (the women) what can happen.

Purification was important–that’s why we have the Holy Spirit.

Normally the spoil would just be divided up amongst the warriors.  However, God didn’t want the reason for killing to be only about the spoils.  And a portion had to go to the Levites.  God wants givers and not just takers.

Numbers 32:  They were discouraging the others and saying by their example,”The fight was not worth it.  Let’s just be happy here.”  This should remind us of the 10 spies who discouraged the Israelites to not take the Promised Land the first time around.  Again, wholly following the Lord is not contentment with half of what God has for us.  We can accept others’ contentment except when it influences others.

Numbers 33:  Here we can see exactly how much the Israelites moved in 40 years!  For those of us who have moved a lot, this can be punishment in and of itself since it’s no easy task!

God accomplished two goals with the Israelites:  used them to judge the people of Canaan and gave them land promised long ago.

God’s warning will fall on deaf ears as the Canaanites are not completely destroyed and thus over time infiltrate the Israelites and bring about their destruction.

Numbers 34:  This is land given by God, not earned.  Debate over the “Wadi of Egypt” continues today: is this the Nile or some other stream?  Hence, the fight over the Sinai Peninsula continues.

God chose leaders to end any conflict once the land was split.

Numbers 35:  The Levites were distributed proportionately as well so that God’s people would have enough priests.  This reflects Christ as he went to the people and not just the people come to him.

Revenge killing is not bad per se.  It can work–except in the case of accidents.  This is where God steps in to protect His people.  If you murder someone, then yes you should suffer death as well.  However, accidents happen and God provides for that.  The difference between murder and kill here is important.

These cities were evenly distributed with good roads (Deut 19:3).  These cities were open to all and not just to the Israelites.

If found innocent, the man had to stay within the walls of the city until the death of the high priest.  Otherwise, he could still be killed.

The cities of refuge picture Jesus as he is our refuge.

We can murder someone’s reputation as well.

A murderer cannot buy his way out of proper penalty.

Unjudged murderers defile a land.  Unfortunately, a lot get away.  But God knows and they will face ultimate penalty with Him.

Numbers 36:  A picture of no perfect solutions in life.  If a daughter did choose to marry outside the tribe, she’d forfeit her inheritance.  They married their cousins so the land stayed within the family as well as the tribe.

End of Numbers:  We leave the Israelites about to take their final step into the Promised Land. They have come a long way but the last step is what counts.  Sadly, many Christians become lost in the Wilderness and never step into what God has for them.  Faith has brought them this far, but it will take even more faith to finish the journey.

Map showing division of the Promised Land:

Map of Wilderness Journey up to the Jordan River:

BSF Study Questions Matthew Lesson 25, Day 5: Matthew 25

Summary of passage:  In the parable of the Ten Virgins, Jesus tells the story of 10 young virgin women who grabbed lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.  Five were prepared by bringing extra oil and five weren’t.  The five who didn’t bring extra oil went back to town to buy more and while they were gone, the bridegroom arrived.  They went into the wedding banquet with him.  The late-comers, the 5 who went back to town, were not allowed in because the door had already been barred shut.

Jesus tells his disciples another parable.  A master decides to go on a journey so he calls his servants and gives each some property to them.  One servant receives 5 talents, another 2, and another just 1. The man who had received the 5 talents went out and put his talents to work so that he gained 5 more.  The one who received 2 talents went out and gained 2 more as well.  But the man who had only received 1 talent went off and buried his under a tree.

The master returned and settled accounts with his servants.  Because the one with 5 talents had doubled his, the master praised him and put him in charge of many more things.  The same with the man who had doubled his 2 talents.  The one who had received the 1 talent was chastised by the master.  He had his talent stripped from him and given to the man with 10 talents now.

Everyone who has more will be given more.  Those who do not have will have even what they have taken from them and be thrown into the darkness.

The Son of Man will separate all the nations gathered before him.  Those on the right will inherit the kingdom of heaven and eternal life that has been prepared for them since the creation of the world because they took care of Jesus through taking care of others (his sheep).  Those on his left will go to Hell and eternal punishment for they did nothing for him nor others.


13a)  The meaning of the Greek word is “age-long”.  There has been debate on whether this means at some point the “age” will come to an end and the damned will have another chance at redemption.  But to believe this, then you must believe that the righteous “age” will also have an end.  Hence, most scholars agree that heaven and hell are ever-lasting, forever, and without end and once in, you cannot leave.

b)  Matthew 25:10:  It will be a banquet/party

Matthew 25: 21, 23:  You will share your master’s (Lord’s) happiness or joy.

Matthew 25:34:  You will share in the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world–your inheritance and your blessing.

c)  Matthew 25:12:  Jesus will not know you in Hell.

Matthew 25:30:  Hell is dark with weeping and gnashing of teeth and you will be worthless

Matthew 25:41:  The cursed will be departed from God into eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.

14a)  Personal Question.  My answer: [Note:  I think the Sheep and Goats is NOT a parable.  It’s a description of Jesus’ Second coming and the judgment that will happen at that time.  Hence, it is not teaching us anything per se, especially in a clouded way.  Hence, the question should either say two parables or just say in this chapter.]

They are all relating the importance of being prepared for Jesus’ second coming.  Being prepared physically, spiritually, with works, and with talents for His kingdom.  They are all emphasizing how it could be any time.  The groom comes at an unexpected time.  The master returns unannounced.  Jesus divides when he returns which we don’t know.  The importance of individuality here where it focuses on people themselves being prepared.  In other words, don’t worry about what others are doing; worry about what you are doing.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I loved how the kingdom has been prepared for me since the creation of the world.  To think I’m that special to God that He made a place just for me so long ago and He provided Jesus so I could be there.  It’s overwhelming to think about and definitely praise-worthy.  It is encouraging to know I have work to do.  It is encouraging to know my talents are my own and I have a unique commission in this life to fulfill it.  Furthermore, if I do even the littlest of things, even if insignificant to me, for others, it is doing it for Jesus.  Powerful stuff!

Conclusions:  I liked how all the verses we looked up was in this chapter and not elsewhere in the Bible.  A nice break.  I haven’t said this much this year but this is the first lesson I can remember all year that we’ve had a “review” day and studied the chapter as a whole on Day 5.  A filler day, but an important one to reflect on lessons learned.

Only 3 more chapters to go in the Book of Matthew.  Can you believe it?!

BSF Study Questions Genesis Lesson 25, Day 5: Genesis 35:5-36:43

Summary of passage:  No one pursued Jacob and his family when they left Shechem for God sent a terror upon them.  Jacob built an altar at Bethel as instructed by God. Deborah, Rebekah’s nurse, died.  God appeared to Jacob again and re-named him Israel.

God repeats his covenant to Abraham and Isaac to Jacob, saying to be fruitful and multiply for a nation will come from your body and He will give this land to his descendants.  God left and Jacob set up a stone pillar.

Rachel died after they left Bethel giving birth to Benjamin.  She was buried along the route.  Israel moved on and stayed for a bit near Migdal Eder.  Here, Reuben slept with Bilhah.

Jacob’s 12 sons are:  Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, and Asher.

Jacob finally arrived home in Hebron to see Isaac who was still alive.  Isaac died at age 180 and was buried by Jacob and Esau.

Esau moved to a land some distance from Jacob because the land could not support both of their livestocks.  Esau settled in Seir.


11a)  Psalm 51:7:  “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”  “Creat in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

Isaiah 1:16:  “Wash and make yourselves clean.  Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong.”

Hebrews 9:13-14:  The blood of animals offer up spiritual cleanliness.  The blood of Christ cleanses our consciences from acts that lead to death so that we may serve God.

1 John 1:7,9:  You are cleansed from your past sins to have godliness, kindness, and love.

b)  Matthew 3:8:  “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”

Acts 2:38:  Repent, be baptized in the name of Christ for forgiveness of your sins, and receive the Holy Spirit.

James 4:  Come near to God and He will come near to you.  Wash your hands and purify your hearts.  Grieve and humble yourselves and He will lift you up.

c)  1 Corinthians 10:20:  The sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not God.  If you sacrifice to pagans, you cannot partake of the Lord’s table as well (verse 21).

Ephesians 5:5:  Idolaters (immoral, impure, or greedy) do not have an inheritance in the kingdom of God.

1 Thessalonians 1:9:  Turn from idols and serve the Living, True God.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Language, anger

12a)  God sent a terror upon the towns to protect Jacob and his family from retribution after the slaughter of Shechem as they traveled to Bethel.  God re-named Jacob Israel again (Genesis 32).  God bestows the covenant of Abraham and Isaac on Jacob as well, saying to be fruitful and multiply for nations will come from his body and his descendants shall inherit the land.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Not for sure.  I’d like to say I’ve changed but I can’t be for certain.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I’m getting that God spoke to people (and obviously, Jesus) in these verses.  Not sure what I’m supposed to be “blessed” with here.  If you obey, God will love you and come to you and make a home with you as Jesus says in John. God spoke to those who obeyed him.  So, He will speak to us who obey.  He will love us and be with us as in the Holy Spirit.

So obey, listen, and hear.

d)  Esau was blessed with livestock and goods.  He was granted the land of Seir of which he and his descendants ruled.

Conclusions:  You didn’t need the passage to answer Question 11.

God re-naming Jacob Israel again is important despite the fact God had already done so. The first go-around, Jacob had not changed, had not put off his old clothing, and had continued to follow his will instead of God’s.  Here, God reminds Jacob that he must be new and this time Jacob obeys, thus earning the name Israel in God’s eyes.

This is good for us as well.  We need to remember who we are-God’s chosen people-regularly so we don’t slip back into this world.

The same is true for the repetition of the covenant blessing.  God is reminding Jacob who he is and what he has been called to do.  Finally, Jacob listens.  He follows God’s will. And he is blessed for it.

Benjamin means “son of my right hand”.  The right hand or side is highly valued in the Bible.  After all, Jesus sits at the right hand of God.

Poor Rachel.  Both prophecies come true.  Genesis 30:1 “Give me children, or I’ll die!” She dies in childbirth.

Jacob cursed her for the idol debacle in Genesis 31:32.

This passage reveals why Reuben was passed over for the blessing: because of his sin with Bilhah.  So now Reuben, Simeon, and Levi have all committed egregious sins so Judah is next in line for the Messiah.  Interesting as well.

We should not be surprised of this.  This family is the epitome of dysfunctional.  Yet God works through it all.  By His grace alone.

Esau was important enough in God’s eyes to have all of his descendants listed in the Bible.  He was loved despite his sins and blessed beyond what was deserved.  God is faithful even when we aren’t!  Can you imagine the blessings He has in store for those who are faithful?

Interesting facts about Edom:  Edom is mentioned over 130 times in the Bible.

Herod the Great was an Edomite.  He was the one who tried to kill Jesus.

To this day, the land that was Edom remains unoccupied as Obadiah prophesied.

Genesis 36:33 is where some speculate Jobab is the same Job as in the Bible (remember we had a question on this at some point?).  This is speculation.  Among all the list of descendants, most were ungodly.  We must ask ourselves:  would someone as godly as Job come from the line of Esau?

End Note:  One commentary I read suggested comfort as an idol.  That some value living a comfortable life over living a Godly-life.  This was interesting I thought.  For if you think about it, life is never really comfortable.  There are ups and downs, highs and lows, tragedies and triumphs.  And only God can get us through it all.

Map Work:  Good map of Bethel, Bethlehem, and Hebron HERE.

Migdal Eder is just outside of Bethlehem.

BSF Study Questions Acts Lesson 25, Day 5: Ephesians 6:19-24

Summary of passage:  Paul requests prayer from the Ephesians that whenever he opens his mouth that words are given to him so that he can fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel to others.  Tychicus will tell them how Paul is doing and will encourage them.  Peace and grace to all.


10a)  Whenever Paul opens his mouth, words are given to him so that he will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel and declare it fearlessly.

b)  Myself and others.

c)  I would say it is key in converting others.  Prayer is what will soften their hearts and turn to God.  Through prayer God shows up and He is the one who does all the converting, not us.  Your words will have power and not just be empty.  The sword of the Spirit is the word of God and this will slice through non-believers resistances.

When the Bible speaks of spreading the Good News, prayer is never far behind.

Romans 1:9-10:  “…in preaching the gospel of his Son…I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.”

1 Samuel 12:23:  “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you.  And I will teach you the way that is good and right.”

It’s intricately connected, a part of every believer’s life, our life-line to God if you will.  It should accompany conversion. We need all the weapons we can get against Satan.

11a)  To update the Ephesians on how Paul (and others) are doing and to encourage them.

b)  Husband

Conclusions:  I liked how Paul asked for prayer.  A lot of the time we don’t.  We don’t want others to know we are hurting or suffering.  But this is the time we need others.  To help us through this life here on Earth.  Good lesson on asking for prayer.  If Paul needed it, certainly we do!

A good reminder on the power of prayer for conversion.  When we are telling others the Good News, we should pray for them at some point.  Pray for their hearts to become Jesus’.  And continue to pray for them.  And others.

I am texting my husband right now to encourage him!

BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 25, Day 5 Isaiah 56:9-57:21

Summary of passage:  Israel’s watchmen (leaders) are blind, ignorant, mute, lazy, gluttonous, drunks, and self-satifying.  They seek their own way for his own gain.  The righteous suffer at their hands but God will bring them peace.  The watchmen mock the righteous when they themselves have turned to idols, lusting after them, human sacrifices, and pagan symbols.  They have forsaken God and even though abandoning God has wearied them, still they turn to idols.  The watchmen no longer fear God nor remembered Him instead relying on their own works.  When they cry for help, let your idols whom a mere breath of the wind will blow away save them!

But he who makes God his refuge will inherit the land and possess God’s holy mountain.  For God lives in a high and holy place but he also lives with those who are contrite and lowly in spirit.  He will revive such people.  God will not accuse nor be angry forever for He knows the spirit of man will grow faint before Him.  Therefore, God will comfort, guide, heal man, creating praise on man’s lips.  God offers man peace.  But for the wicked there shall be no rest.


10a)  Israel’s watchmen are the leaders of God’s people.  They have disregarded God’s people in favor of drink and gluttony.  They turn their own way and seek their personal gain instead of God’s way.  What’s worse is they are supposed to be looking out for the people whom they have abandoned spiritually.  The watchmen ignored the righteous people but God says they will enter into peace.  The watchmen sneered at the righteous and persecuted them, thinking them better when the watchmen have turned to idol worship and would sacrifice their own children.  They have embraced pagan symbols behind closed doors and worshipped Molech.  Despite receiving nothing in return from these foreign gods, the watchmen do not turn to the One True God.  In essence, the watchmen have committed spiritual adultery.

b)  God says when those with false hearts cry for help, their idols will save them–these same idols that the wind will carry off!  They do not fear God nor remember Him.  They trust in themselves.  No peace will be granted for the wicked.  Yet those who make God their refuge will inherit the land and possess His holy mountain.

11)  Contrite means grieving and penitent for sin or shortcoming.  Lowly in spirit is humble.  Constantly ask God for forgiveness for our sins, to be constantly striving to be better and do better.  To be humble before God and others.  To appreciate God’s great works in our lives.

12)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God will live with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit and revive those person’s spirits.  I think I feel God’s presence more in my life.  I strive to be better more and be like Jesus.  I think I’ve been revived by God shining through me and in His purpose for my life.

Conclusions:  I love how God calls out those who disobey Him and who persecute the righteous.  He rakes His supposed watchmen vehemently; yet, at the same time, He assures his people He will not accuse forever nor be angry.  He understands “for then the spirit of man would grow faint before me–the breath of man that I have created.”  The fact that God himself would love man enough to consider how the human spirit can only take so much blows my mind!

God is multi-dimensional.  He condemns and judges yet always in love and not relentlessly.  He will comfort us, heal us, and offer us peace–things man desperately needs.

The first part of Isaiah was tough for me at least.  It’s hard to hear over and over again how man fails and God judges.  And God knows this!  Yet these last two lessons have been such a breath of fresh air to my soul.  To fully grasp Jesus’s suffering for me.  To have God declare He will be my husband.  To have God promise not to be angry at me.  To read Romans 1:16-17 and know I am righteous through no ability of my own but just because God made me so.  Amazing!

At least for me who has been consumed by the book of Isaiah, it’s good to be reminded that Isaiah is just one book of the Bible.  Just one.  There are many, many more that speak of God’s love for me as well as Isaiah.  And God planned that on purpose.  To know repercussions and consequences; yet, also how everything is from His extreme love for me.