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Names of the Book


English:  Numbers
Hebrew:  בּמדבּר
Transliterated:  Bamidbar
("In the Wilderness")
Other names:  B'midbar, Bemidbar



Wrote the book:  Moses
Are the key people:  Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb, Eleazar, Korah, Balaam
Is it written to:  The people of Israel



The Journey and the trip to the Promised Land Numbers 1:1-10:10)
The Ten Spies and the first entry into the Land (Numbers 10:11-14:45)
The Wandering and the consequence of disobedience (Numbers 15:1-21:35)
The Journey Back and the opportunity for redemption (Numbers 22:1-36:13)



Was it written:  c 1450-1410 BCE
Did the events occur:  c 1475-1436 BCE
Was it canonized:  c 499-100 BCE
(see the Timeline of the Tanakh)



Was it written:  On the plains of Moab near Jericho (Deuteronomy 31:9)
Did the events occur:  Kadesh, the wilderness of Moab, the Land of Canaan



Numbers was written to inform us that:
People rebel against G-d even when He has their best interests at heart.
There is a consequence for rebellion.
There is an opportunity for redemption if we turn back to G-d.
G-d is a G-d of second chances.



The book of Numbers is a narrative history that includes the accounts of two censuses of the nation of Israel.  These are central elements in the book and it is from these events that number the tribes of Israel that the English title "Numbers" is derived. It is the Hebrew title, "In the Wilderness," however, that is more descriptive of the events in the book. Numbers relates how Israel traveled from Mount Sinai to the border of the Promised Land but refused to take possession of the Land out of fear.  As a result, G-d made them wander in the wilderness for forty years.  The central message of the book is that G-d is holy and cannot ignore rebellion or unbelief, but we also find that He faithfully keeps His covenant and patiently provides for His people. Numbers concludes with a new generation of Israelites preparing to enter and conquer the land of Canaan that G-d promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.



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Today is

Yom Sheni, 21 Kislev, 5784

Sunday, December 03, 2023


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