BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 19, Day 4: Numbers 12:1-3

Summary of passage:  Miriam and Aaron, Moses’ siblings, wonder if God has only spoken through him and if God has spoken through them as well.  They talk about Moses’ wife.  God heard them.

Questions:

8a)  Miriam helped save Moses’ life.  Once his mom placed him in the basket and set him afloat (Exodus 2), Miriam watched over the baby until it was found.  She’s the one who suggested to Pharaoh’s daughter if she should get a Hebrew wet nurse for the baby.

Miriam becomes a prophetess (Exodus 15:20) and lead the women in a song of praise to the Lord after their harrowing escape from Egypt.  She’s a leader of the Israelites as well.

b)  Moses’ Cushite wife.  She is jealous and probably looks down on foreigners and believes herself superior.

9a)  He says nothing.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Anger.

Conclusions:  Again we study just the first three verses of the chapter like Day 2.  Short and sweet. We see jealousy here on full display and probably a yearning for power and prestige among the people.  A universal human emotion that gets us all at times.

End Notes:  Scholars believe Miriam is the leader here.  In the Greek, a feminine singular verb is used here.  Also, her name before Aaron’s indicate she is foremost here.  Furthermore, she is one singled out for punishment by the Lord (Numbers 12:10).

Exodus 2:16-22 says that Moses’ wife is from Midian.  This is a contradiction in the Bible and scholars can only guess here.  Was this a possible second wife of Moses’?  Was Zipporah originally from Cush?  Was Zipporah’s family from Cush originally and then they moved to Midian?  All are possible.

Cush is modern-day Ethiopia so Moses’ wife would have had dark skin and would have stood out amongst the olive-complexion of the Israelites.

The real reason God is upset here is that Miriam and Aaron attack Moses’ spiritual authority. This is where God draws the line and says that Moses is special.

God hears everything always.

Since Moses wrote these words, did he call himself the humblest man on earth?  That would be pride, the opposite of humbleness.  Scholars think these words were added later possibly by Joshua who knew Moses so well.

Scholars question the translation of “humble” here.  The origins of the word suggest “meekness” or “afflicted” and elsewhere in the Bible, it is translated as such.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 19, Day 3: Numbers 11:4-35

Summary of passage:  The “rabble” complain now about only having manna to eat.  God is angry and Moses is angry as well.  Moses asks God why did He give them those people to care for.  He tells God the burden of these people is too heavy to bear alone and he wants to die for God doing this to him.  (Moses is complaining as well here).

God agrees to anoint 70 leaders to help Moses with the people.  God also says he will provide meat for the Israelites for 30 days until they will loathe meat because they have so much of it.  Moses lacks faith and asks God how he is going to do such a thing.  God says He will.

God put His spirit upon the 70 elders who now prophesied.  Then God drove quail from the sea for the people to eat.  However, God still being angry, struck the Israelites with a plague.

Questions:

5a)  The fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic they ate there.

b)  That they were slaves.

6a)  He became so exasperated that his faith began to waver in God and he even asked to die rather than deal with these people alone.

b)  No.

c)  He agreed to anoint 70 elders to help Moses with the people and to provide meat for the Israelites so they would stop grumbling.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  With peace that it would all turn out alright.

7a)  God deemed they would have meat for 30 days until the point they loathed it.

b)  Before the people could even taste the meat, he struck them with a plague.

Conclusions:  A couple questions I thought were left hanging and could have been expounded upon more.  I love God’s response!  It’s like “Fine.  I’ll show you!”  Be careful what you ask for!  I picture Moses’ tirade and it isn’t exactly pretty.  While I can understand His frustration, I don’t understand His doubt.

End Notes:  The word “rabble” at the beginning includes the non-Israelites who accompanied them to Egypt.  So everyone is complaining.

The Israelites are traveling with a huge flock of goats and sheep so if they wanted meat, it was freely available as well as any wild game they came across in the desert.  It’s as if they were too lazy to do it themselves and wanted God to provide it, but they went about it in totally the wrong way.

Funny how the Israelites remember the good in Egypt and not the bad–the whippings, the work, etc. They have forgotten God’s promises of the Promised Land ahead in favor of the hardships to get there.  This is true for us today.  God’s best is ahead of us, not behind.

Complaining against what God provides is complaining against Him.  The manna was very nutritious in every way and yet the Israelites were bored.  How sad!

Moses allows the people’s unbelief to infect him and he doubts God as well.  God allowed this to happen to Moses to test him as well.  It’s how God grows our dependence on Him.  Here we see the earliest argument of “If you really loved me, Lord, then why did you do this to me?”.  God’s response:  “Because I love you.”  Great testament for our lives.  We see what God does.  He answers our prayer and then some.  He also brings about judgment as well.  Great lessons here of caution against the negativity of others and how God grows our faith every day in the midsts of our “why me’s?”.

We can also see through Moses him pouring his heart out to God–his anger, his frustrations, his pains, his anxieties.  We need to take it to God more and pour out on Him our troubles–but not question His character nor His goodness.

God did not answer Moses’ request to not “face his own ruin.”  For in our weaknesses, we find God.

God picked Godly men to help Moses and support him.  This is a good lesson for us–we need to not be afraid to ask for help and to accept it in our Christian walk.

Moses could not see how God would provide meat.  This is often the case.  We cannot see how God will do something and frankly we don’t need to see.  All we must do is believe.

The anointing of the men with the Spirit is key here–one cannot do God’s work without His blessing and His heart.  God needed to make sure these men were His to act for Him.

Joshua here is only looking out for Moses.  He is not jealous in any way like Moses suggests.  He (like many others) wasn’t privy to what was going on with the 70 men, so he was merely alerting Moses to what he saw happening.

Quail by the millions migrate over the Sinai Peninsula every year.  Note how the quail landed outside of camp.  We should know that nothing good is outside of God.  If this were to be a blessing, the quail would have landed smack in the middle of camp.  Here we see God’s judgment coming.

This is an important lesson for the Israelites to take to heart:  don’t let your cravings control you or get in the way of your relationship with God.  It’s about the spiritual, not the physical.

Psalm 78:27-31, 106:13-15 speak to this incident.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 19, Day 2: Numbers 11:1-3

Summary of passage:  The people grumbled about their hardships.  The Lord heard them and sent fire to burn the outskirts of the camp.  The people cried out to Moses who prayed to God and the fire died down.

Questions:

3a)  Ungrateful, complaining, not content in Him, lack of faith in God

b)  God heard the people complain and he was angry so he sent fire to burn the outskirts of the Israelites’ camp.

4a)  They cried out to Moses

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  I usually get mad and pout and question God’s ways and I cry out to Him.  I get frustrated and ask why.

c)  Psalm 16:6:  This is a reminder that my inheritance is in heaven and it is a much better place than here.

Psalm 37:7:  This is a reminder to wait patiently on God and His ways and to not worry when men succeed in their wicked ways.  Trust Him.

Philippians 4:11-12:  This is a reminder to be content with what you have and where you are at.  Verse 13 is the famous one:  “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.”  I can endure with Him.

Conclusions:  A very short lesson today and a short reading.  A nice break.  We are not told exactly what the complaints were about (moving all the time, carrying heavy loads, eating the same food day-in and day-out, etc) but whatever it was it made God angry enough to send fire!  We all have the same complaints about our daily hardships.  Still, we must trust–which is much easier said than done.

End Notes:  The Israelites had just been set apart of God, cleansed, separated, and blessed and given Him himself to guide them and He dwells with them and the first thing they do when they set out is complain.  God is very disappointed indeed.

It’s ungrateful and lack of faith in Him for the here and now.

What the complaints were about is unimportant since they are not mentioned; the complaints speak to the state of the Israelites hearts just like our complaints speak to ours.

Fire, the light by which the Israelites see at night, is now the enemy here as it brings justice to God’s people.

Some scholars say the Israelites should have cried out to God directly, but I disagree.  They were so used to Moses speaking for them it was natural for them.  Plus, I’m sure they were afraid and as in all of our readings of the past, when the Israelites are afraid of God, they reach out to Moses (whom God chose to be their intermediary for Him) to speak to God.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 18, Day 5: Numbers 9-10

Summary of passage:  Numbers 9:  We are again in the second year after the Exodus from Egypt.  God instructs Moses in the celebration of the Passover.  A few who were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body asked Moses if they could still celebrate the Passover.  Moses asked God who said yes, they could.  God then said though is someone chooses not to celebrate the Passover than that person will be cut off from his people and bear the consequences of sin.  Aliens could celebrate as well according to the rules.

When the Israelites were encamped, the cloud covered the tabernacle.  At night the cloud looked like fire.  Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites set out.

Numbers 10:  God had Moses make 2 silver trumpets used as communication tools with the Israelites.  When one sounded, the leaders assembled before Moses.  When both sounded, the whole community assembled before Moses.  A blast on the trumpet would be a signal for setting out.  The signals are to be different. The priests alone are to blow the trumpets.  It is to blow during battle as well so the Lord will remember His people and be rescued.  Finally, at festivals the trumpet is to be sounded over the offerings as a memorial to God.

Finally, the Israelites leave Mount Sinai in the second year in the second month, day 20.  The camp of Judah went first followed by the tabernacle.  Reuben went next followed by the holy things.  Then Ephraim.  Then Dan at the end.  Moses asked his father-in-law to accompany them and he said no.  Moses said he knows the desert so they needed him and he promised to give him food if he came.  The ark of the covenant went before them as they marched.

Questions:

11a)  2 years

b)  First, because it had been two years.  Second, the purpose of the Passover was to remember their slavery and exodus from Egypt so many wanted to celebrate God’s goodness and give Him thanks.  Third, because it was ordered by God as a command and as God later says in Numbers 9:13, it is a sin NOT to celebrate it, resulting in dire consequences of being cut off from their people.  Celebrating the Passover was an act of obedience by God’s people.  To not do so was a sin.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Usually not all that eager.  To remember His blessings, His goodness, His sacrifices, His grace, His mercy, and His centrality in my life.

12a)  When the Israelites were encamped, the cloud covered the tabernacle. At night the cloud looked like fire. Whenever the cloud lifted, the Israelites set out.  If the cloud moved, they moved.  If the cloud stayed, they stayed.  Simple directions the Israelites could not mess up.

b)  God had Moses make 2 silver trumpets used as communication tools with the Israelites. When one sounded, the leaders assembled before Moses. When both sounded, the whole community assembled before Moses. A blast on the trumpet would be a signal for setting out. The signals are to be different.

c)  Part Personal Question.  My answer:  Here, we see the Israelites with clear signs of God’s will and guidance:  a cloud they can see and a trumpet they can hear.  God guides us as well just with not quite so easily seen and heard methods.  I feel prayer and His word are the best way to hear God speak and see Him and His character.  Then I see Him guiding me in my life as I read His words and speak to Him.  I feel I hear Him speak as well through others who offer godly advice.  He is everywhere if we would only pay attention.

Conclusions:  12a was the same question as number 11a in Lesson 13 Day 5 where we were even told to read Numbers 9:15-23.  After doing this lesson, not sure why we studied the cloud the same way in Exodus 40 when the cloud was only briefly mentioned in relation to why Moses couldn’t enter the tabernacle.  Seems redundant here to study the same passage twice.

Overall, this was my favorite day of Lesson 18.  All the questions were good and meaningful.  I liked the trumpets.  That was cool.  Gets me ready for Revelation next year.  I liked the eagerness of the Israelites to celebrate the Passover and God’s openness to exceptions.  The lesson of obedience stuck out to me again.

End Notes:  Numbers 9:  Today we remember what Jesus did for us on the cross–sparing us judgment and forgiving us our sins once and for all–when we take communion, which is very similar to the Israelites’ remembrance of Passover every year.

Even the foreigner could partake and must partake of the Passover.  This shows God’s infinite love and how even the Gentiles are included as God’s people.

Some scholars say it is better not to have the visual of the cloud for what would happen if the cloud left?  People would be devastated.  I don’t believe this.  I think more people would believe and more would desire God even more if He left like the Israelites, begging God to stay with them (Exodus 33) and not forsake them when they sinned at the golden calf.

Numbers 10:  God’s people have been prepared:  given the laws, taught the ceremonies, cleansed, and organized for the Promised Land.  Still, the journey would not be easy, but preparation is key to have any hope of completing their journey.

Great example by Moses asking for help.  God provides others for us to help us on our journey as well.

This is one of the most famous of the prayers in the Bible and still applies to us today.  Amazingly, for all of the rebelliousness of the Israelites, they did follow the cloud faithfully.  So must we.  We go when God says go and stay when God says stay and we pray for our enemies to be scattered where we are and for God to be with us wherever we are.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 18, Day 4: Numbers 6:22-8:26

Summary of passage:  The Lord tells Moses how to bless the Israelites.  In Numbers 7, Moses anoints and consecrates the tabernacle and its furnishings.  The leaders of the tribes brought gifts and offerings, which were given to the Levites as they needed them.  God told Moses that each day a leader is to bring an offering for the dedication of the altar.  Each leader brought silver and gold and animals.

Numbers 8:  Lamps were set up.  The Levites were purified, cleansed, and atoned for in order to be set apart as God’s.  They are to replace the firstborn and to do work at the Tent of Meeting so that no plague will strike the Israelites.  The Levite men are to work from the age of 25-50.

Questions:

8 )  Personal Question.  My answer:  This one is too perfect to re-word in my opinion.  The Lord bless you and keep you and may His face shine upon you and receive His grace.  May He forever be watching you and give you peace.  Someone in need or struggling.  This is a great daily prayer for the family as well.

9)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Each brought his best and it was a lot and each tribe brought the same thing.  The Levites took only what was needed to do their tasks assigned by God.  I should give my best for God’s glory and expect no recognition from man, only God.  It is about the heart, not the offering itself.

10a)  They are to do the work at the Tent of Meeting.  They have been given to the Lord in place of the firstborn who has given them to the priests (Aaron and his sons).

b)  First of all, God has the right to do whatever He wants without question from us.  To answer the question, God has taken them in place of the firstborn, which the Lord demanded in Exodus 13:2 during the Exodus from Egypt.  He gave them to Aaron and the priests to help them with the monumental task of administering atonement (think of all those sacrifices) to the Israelite people and so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.  Basically, Aaron’s task is the most important task the Israelites perform and Aaron needed help so God provided it.

c)  Age 25-50

[Numbers 4:3, 4:23, and 4:30 says age 30 begin.  Scholars believe there was a 5 year apprenticeship.]

Conclusions:  Not for sure why we needed to re-invent the wheel on question 8.  It’s hard to mince perfection.  Furthermore, a prayer dictated to man by God is extremely rare.  Scholars say free prayers are best but in terms of a benediction, God gave us this so man wouldn’t corrupt it.  These are God’s words and saying to re-word them to me makes it seem as if they are in some way inadequate.  Aaron had to memorize these words and bless the people with them every day.  In essence, this is God himself blessing us every day with these words.  So much more in the Aaronic blessing to explore that I believe this one question does no justice (see my End Notes for more) for what God is saying to us here.

Didn’t like the tone or wording of 10b.  God can do whatever He wants whenever He wants.  It is merely for us to obey.

End Notes:  Numbers 6:  Note the first thing God wants in the Aaronic blessing is to bless us.  He wants this above all else for us.  Furthermore, we need God’s blessing or everything else we achieve is fruitless.

To have God’s face shine upon us is a blessing–because we are in Jesus and not because we have done anything to deserve Him.

Scholars say the three “Lord” ‘s used here illustrates the Trinity.

Six times the word “you” is repeated.  God’s blessings are for you and not someone else. If every one of us truly believed this, our worlds would change in miraculous ways.

The Hebrew word for peace is “shalom”, which encompasses more than the peace we think of. It is complete and total rest, happiness, satisfaction, holiness, and goodness in our life.

God’s name is written on us, marking us as His, and when God says “I will” all the powers of darkness tremble.  “I will bless them” holds for every believer in Christ.

Numbers 7:  This offering may be out of order.  This may have happened at the end of Exodus when the tabernacle was finished.

The carts given to the Levites to transport the tabernacle at this time in history were scarce. This was a huge gift and a very costly one to the Levites.  This explains why the Kohathites received no carts.  First, they were to carry them by God’s orders (Numbers 4).  Second, they had no carts to spare!  Scholars say this is so the Kohathites wouldn’t disobey God’s orders but there is a practical side that I see here as well.

The offerings brought are very generous.  This is in indication of people who rely on God to provide their needs.  Note how each tribe brought exactly the same thing.  The gift was for God, not for man to brag about how he gave more.  It is about God’s glory, not our own.

Again, the repetition serves a purpose:  all gave the same and all gave.

Moses speaks to God and hears from God.  We need leaders who do the same.  We ourselves need to do the same.

Numbers 8:  The lamps would need to be continually filled with oil to give light.  Revelation 1:20 has lamp stands as the church but Jesus is the light we need.

Leviticus 8 & 9 had the priests being dedication to the Lord.  Here we see the Levites being dedicated to the Lord.

Shaving of all the hair conveyed the idea of being re-born like a newborn babe and beginning anew.

Numbers 4:3, 4:23, and 4:30 shows that the true age of work was age 30.  Scholars believe at age 25 one began an apprenticeship for five years.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 18, Day 3: Numbers 5:1-6:21

Summary of passage:  Numbers 5:  The Lord told Moses to send away those who were unclean with infectious skin disease or otherwise outside camp so they would not defile the camp. Restitution must be made if another man wrongs another says the Lord.  If a man suspects his wife has been unfaithful, he is to bring her to the priest who will perform a ceremony where if she is guilty she will be cursed with barrenness or with miscarriages.  If she is not guilty, she will be free of guilt and will bear children.

Numbers 6:1-21:  If a man or woman wants to make a vow of separation to God, he or she must not drink alcohol, not shave their hair or cut it, and not go near dead bodies.  After his period of separation is over, offerings are made and the hair is shaved off.

Questions:

6a)  He commanded the Israelites to send away anyone with an infectious skin disease, a discharge, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body.

b)  It set God’s people apart from the prevailing cultures around them.  The Egyptians who were famous for embalming and worshipping the dead and the Phoenicians who used sex (discharge) in religious ceremonies.

c) It cleared their name if they were suspect and innocent.  In ancient times, women could be killed if suspected of being unfaithful.  This ensured men could not kill their wives–innocent or guilty–because of adultery.

7a)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Publicly declaring yourself to God.  Visually being different from those around you so others can see your dedication and your testimony to the One, True God.

b)  Personal Question.  My answer:  Every Christian is set apart from others as they walk with the Holy Spirit as their guide.  Yes, as I try to discover God’s will for my life and follow that instead of doing my own thing as prevalent in today’s society.  I try to walk His walk and do His calling.  Currently, my family and I are looking into sponsoring a child through Compassion International.  It’s something I’ve been thinking about since the Compassion Experience recently came to my area a few months ago and after that I felt it was His will for my life to do that.  It’s following God’s promptings in all aspects of your life that set you apart–not the big things but the little things.

Conclusions:  No where is the separateness of God’s people from Him more noticeable than here in the pages of Numbers.  As we see Israel’s struggle to become close to God and still never succeeded, those of us in the here and now on this side of heaven should be falling to our knees, praising God for His son, for His way of finally being with Him.  Jesus is the only way to bridge the gap between God and man.  Sometimes in our culture we take that too casually.  Yes, God is approachable and wants to be with us.  Still, reverence He requires and sometimes I think we are too casual with God.  Here, in Numbers, we are reminded of just how privileged we are to be with Him and we need to remember that when we are with Him–in prayer and every day as we follow the Holy Spirit.

End Notes:  Numbers 5:  God dwelled with His people.  He could not tolerate sin.  Hence, these commands to rid the camp of unclean people.

Numbers 5:11-31 was God’s way of dealing with jealousy in a marriage.  This trial is reflective of other “trials of ordeal” common in the Middle East at this time.  This is the only one in the Bible and there is no Biblical record that this was ever performed.  This ceremony was mostly show and to imbibe a guilty conscience if one was cheating on their spouse.  It does demonstrate how God thinks about jealousy:  enough to initiate a ceremony to combat it.  Jealousy in a marriage ends many.  God knows that and wanted us to know that as well.

Chapter 5 speaks to purity:  of heart and with others.  So make restitution today if you need to and be pure all of your days in relationships.

Numbers 6:1-21:  The Hebrew word for Nazirite means “set apart”.  Death is the consequence of sin; hence, the separation during the Nazirite’s vow so he or she would not be near sin.

Samson’s strength came from his vow of separation.  He did drink and touch dead bodies, but it was when his hair was cut by Delilah that he lost his strength. (Judges)

If the vow was broken, then one had to start all over again.

Famous Nazirites:  Samson, John the Baptist, and Paul.

BSF Study Questions The Life of Moses Lesson 18, Day 2: Numbers 1-4

Introductory Note:  Leviticus dealt exclusively with the Laws given to Moses.  Exodus happens in one year.  Leviticus in one month.  Numbers in 38 years!  Numbers opens with the people still at Mount Sinai, preparing to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

We will be taking a much more in-depth (and hopefully relaxed!) approach to the study of Numbers, taking a full 8 weeks or 2 months to read through it and digest and study it.  The reading should not be quite so overwhelming as in the study of Leviticus.

Summary of passage:  Numbers 1:  God spoke to Moses at the Tabernacle two years after the Israelites left Egypt.  He directs Moses to take a census of the people, divided up into their Tribes.  They also counted those who were eligible to serve in Israel’s army.  The Levites were not included in the census or the draft as they were God’s chosen to care for the Tabernacle.

Numbers 2:  God directs the Israelites to camp around the Tent of Meeting within his own tribe with the Levites and the Tent of Meeting in the center.

Numbers 3:  God gives directions for the tribe of the Levites.  They are to forever care for the Tent of Meeting and the tabernacle.  God has chosen them in place of the firstborn and told Moses to count them.  Each descendant of a son has a different task and items they must care for.  There were more sons than Levite sons (273 more) so the 273 had to be redeemed with 5 shekels for each one and given to Aaron and his sons.

Numbers 4:  God told Moses to specifically take census of the Kohathites of the tribe of Levi who are to care for the most holy things.  The Gershonites of the tribe of Levi are to carry the curtains of the tabernacles.  The merriness are to carry the frames of the tabernacle.  They were counted as well.

Questions:

3a)  To take inventory of the men eligible to serve in the army.

b)  They are God’s chosen to are of the tabernacle and all of its furnishings.

c)  603,550

d)  2 million

e)  God promised Abraham to make his descendants as number as the stars.  He promised to give them the Promised Land and to defeat their enemies.  Having a large army goes a long way towards that.

4a) The Tent of Meeting or the tabernacle

b)  This would be a huge reminder that God (who dwelled in the Tent of Meeting) is to be the center of their lives.

c)  Personal Question.  My answer:  God mostly except when I fall into selfishness.  I hope my family and friends would agree with me.

5a)  Eleazar and Ithamar and Aaron (the high priest)

b)  The tribe of Levi.  “They are to perform duties for him (Aaron) and for the whole community by doing the work of the Tabernacle.  They are to take care of the furnishings.”

c)  At the foot of Mount Sinai when the Israelites had made the golden calf.  They were set apart because they repented at the foot of Mount Sinai and answered Moses call when he asked for those who “is for the Lord to come to him.”  They did as Moses commanded.

d)  Personal Question.  My answer:  That each had a role to play and an assigned task and all contributed to the care of God’s tabernacle and the worship of God in the process.  We all have a role to play; the trick is figuring out that role in your church.

Conclusions:  Good lesson as we see God continue to prepare the Israelites for what they will face ahead (enemies) and what they will do once they arrive in the Promised Land (worship Him).

It’s important for us to take inventory as well–see where we are at in our walk with God and make plans to grow with Him.  God was preparing His people for what was to come as He does us.

Everyone had a role to play in God’s plan.  No one is left out.  Each role is dependent on the others doing their roles as well.  Good passage for us when we question God’s role for us–He does have a plan for each and every one of us.

End Notes:  Numbers 1:  Note how the count is done by families.  From the beginning God emphasized the importance of family.

There are still 12 Tribes of Israel as Joseph was given a double inheritance (Genesis 48:5-6) by Jacob even though the tribe of Levi was exempt as the keepers of the tabernacle.

Note Nahshon (verse 7) is the same as the one in Matthew 1:4–Jesus’ line.

In Numbers 26 at the end of this time in the desert, this census is repeated and the number of men is almost the same.  We’ll see why as we study the book of Numbers.

Numbers 2:  Before the tents were pitched randomly.  Here, God changes all that.

Judah, the tribe of Jesus, is first and closest to the tabernacle on the east.  Their standard (flag) is said to be a lion.  Reuben is closest on the south with their standard said to be a man.  Ephraim was first on the west side, their standard said to be a calf.  Dan was first on the north side, their standard being an eagle.  The Levites in the middle the closest to the tabernacle.  This was the marching order as well.

These are the animals that surround God’s throne in Revelation 4:7.

God is a God of order.  Nothing is arbitrary.  Everything is planned even if we don’t see it.

Numbers 3:  Confusion point:  Only descendants of Aaron could be priests.  There were other Levites who were not descended from Aaron.  We see in this chapter they were assigned other roles in relation to the tabernacle, but they could never become priests.  These Levites were the support that allowed Aaron and his sons to minister to the Israelites–just like in a church today.

Levi’s three sons:  Gershon, Kohath, and Merari are the heads of the Levite tribe.

Aaron and Moses camped on the east side of the tabernacle, closest to the entrance.

There is a discrepancy here in this chapter in the number of Levites, which scholars attribute to a translation error.

The number of firstborns is low; hence, scholars think this is the number of firstborns born since leaving Egypt.

Numbers 4:  Only those between the ages of 30 and 50 did the actual work in the sanctuary. This was considered the prime of a man’s life and God wanted the best.

Aaron and the priests had to pack the furniture itself since it was considered holy before the Kohathites could transport  it.  This is why the ark and things were transported with poles since it was forbidden for non-priests to touch these items.  Eleazar was appointed by God to be in charge of the furnishings of the tabernacle as the now eldest son of Aaron.

Ithamar supervises the coverings of the tabernacle, which is the responsibility of the Gershonites.

Fun Fact:  The Hebrew title of Numbers is “In the Wilderness” as it covers the time the Israelites are In the Wilderness.

Fun Fact:  “The Lord spoke to Moses” is repeated in Numbers over 150 times in 20 different ways.