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The book of Numbers continues the story that began in Exodus It describes the experiences of the Israelites during their encampment at Sinai to the arrival.

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Presentation on theme: "The book of Numbers continues the story that began in Exodus It describes the experiences of the Israelites during their encampment at Sinai to the arrival."— Presentation transcript:


2 The book of Numbers continues the story that began in Exodus It describes the experiences of the Israelites during their encampment at Sinai to the arrival at the border of the Promised land (the boarders of Canaan) beginning with a census of the tribes taken before the journey – in other words, it covers the traditional 40 years of wandering in the desert The name “Numbers” comes from the Greek word arithmoi which describes the census in chap. 1 From this point on, all regulations and directives are aimed at a community on the move It is a book of both law and history

3 The leadership of Moses prevailed, but Numbers shows that the struggle to make one nation under Yahweh was not as simple as we sometimes think Whereas Exodus stresses the patience of Yahweh, and who always listens to Israel’s needs and intervenes to help, Numbers (11-21) stresses the people’s constant rebellion leading Yahweh to punish them again and again

4 Ex 14:10 complain Egyptians were about to slay them: parts the Reed Sea Ex 15:23 grumble at Elim about bitter water: Moses cures the water Ex 16:3 grumble at no food in the desert Ex 17:2 no water at Rephidim: God gives water from rock Num1:11 grumble at Taberah: punished with fire Num 11:4 no meat at Kibrothhattaavah. God sends quail-and plague Num:12 Miriam and Aaron rebel against Moses: Miriam gets leprosy Num:14 rebel at desert: extends stay to 40 yrs Num:16 Abriam, Korah, Dathan rebel against Moses: God consumes them in fire Num:20 lack of water: Moses strikes rock Num:21 grumble about food: God sends fiery serpents

5 Counting the tribes-taking a census. The reason for the census was military, not secular. The Israelites were a group of many independent tribes but had an allegiance to a common God-Yahweh. All were obligated to maintain the sanctuary and defend it when a holy war was declared.

6 Tradition indicates that the center of Israel's life in this period was the sanctuary of Kadesh-barnea. Thus, it is not so much “wandering” in the desert, but a life of an association of tribes at a common center Kadesh Barnea

7 After the Babylonian exile, ritual offering of sacrifice was reserved for Aaron’s line Reserving for the line of Aaron –a Levite tribe- the duty of the ritual offering of sacrifice (priestly functions). The other Levites would be restricted to less important sanctuary duties. (In other words, they would assist) What great prophet in the New Testament is from the line of Aaron? His father loses his gift of speech until the child is born. Mary visits his mother when she finds out she is pregnant.

8 Nazirite (Hebrew nazir) means “set apart as sacred, dedicated, vowed.” Chapter 6-The Nazirite vow could be for a limited time, or for life. Those bound abstained from all products of the grapevine, from cutting/shaving their hair, contact w/corpses. They were regarded as men of God like the prophets. Some lifelong nazirites: Sampson, Samuel, John the Baptist Does it make more sense now when we call Christ “Jesus the Nazirine?”

9 The 2 silver trumpets were blown by the priest for 4 purposes: 1. To call together the congregation for assembly 2. To provide a signal to set out from camp. 3. To sound an alarm at the time of war. 4. To call a celebration on the “days of celebration.”

10 Here come the egos!!!! Miriam and Aaron claim authority equal to Moses’. God sets them straight-prophets have dreams/visions of God, but ONLY Moses sees the Lord “face to face” (that is intimately) Because of her sin, Miriam spends a week outside the camp purifying herself. While doing so, the people must stay put and cannot start out again until she is brought back.

11 Some say going to church is not necessary. All that’s needed is faith, prayer, and good deeds. These are necessary, yet the work of Christians is to heal the world – and we cannot do that as individuals To heal the world takes the efforts of a believing, serving community. Israel’s story is about the beginning of the community we (Christians) call the Church The people of Israel could not continue their journey until Miriam was restored. In the same way today, sin hinders the journey of the Church, yet repentance and God’s healing forgiveness get it back on track

12 Read chapter 11-12 Why do Aaron, Miriam, and the young man feel jealous? What is jealousy? What advice would you give the young man, or Aaron or Miriam in chapter 11? The desire to have what someone else possesses-whether is be attention, affection, or object.

13 Every tribe sends one scout It is a land of milk and honey The scouts see the size of the enemy and return and spread despair Joshua and Caleb believe they will have victory

14 The people are punished All those over 20 will not see the promised land (except Joshua and Caleb)

15 Korah, Dathan, Abiram lead a rebellion against Moses’ authority with 250 men It doesn’t go well- the earth swallows them and the rest are destroyed by fire

16 Sometimes innocent people suffer b/c of someone else's actions How has your behavior affected others who were not a part of it? (your parents, friends, siblings, strangers)

17 The priests question Aaron’s authority All the staffs are placed in the tabernacle overnight Aaron’s staff has blossomed This confirms God’s choice

18 Chapter 20 The people want water Moses gathers the assembly together in front of the rock Does he obey God’s command? He strikes the stone instead of speaking He says “WE” bring water. Was it his miracle or God’s?

19 What is Moses’ and Aaron’s punishment? What is the reason for their punishment? The sin of Moses and Aaron was in doubting God’s mercy toward the ever-rebellious people

20 The people continue to gripe. God sends venomous serpents among the people “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he look upon it, shall live.” God will forgive and forget people’s sins, if they repent

21 No one will allow the Israelites through their land. The king of Moab wants Balaam to curse Israel so he is entices with flattery and bribery It backfires and Balaam is forced to bless the Israelites instead

22 Why does Balaam beat his donkey on three separate occasions? “By what right do you beat an animal that has served you so faithfully over the years?” He now sees the angel who says, if not for his donkey, Balaam would have been killed The moral: Balaam’s lust for gold and silver had blinded him to the presence of God

23 The star mentioned in Balaam’s 4 th oracle – probably a reference to David Early leaders of the Church often quoted this as a prophesy of Christ

24 Some scholars propose that in Matthew’s gospel, the mention of the magi following a star to Bethlehem builds upon the Balaam story In both, wise men meet a king with evil designs for Israel. In both, wise men bless Israel There’s no doubt Matthew’s reference to the star and the wise men helped the first Jewish Christians understand that Jesus was the promised one


26 Deuteronomy was composed in the7th century B.C.E. It offered hope to a discouraged 7 th century Israel – A. A new chance to obey God’s Covenant B. God’s punishment is not final This is b/c Gods divine word never fails Deuteronomy was written as a last speech and warning by Moses to the people on how to live in a land they were about to conquer He sets 2 choices before them-one totally right, the other totally wrong If they follow the law the result will be good. If they choose not to, all sorts of tragic events will occur

27 The title “Deuteronomy” comes from Greek deiteros (second) and nomos (word/law). So it is the second giving of the Law. Chapter 5: The 10 Commandments are again listed. Chapter 6: The great commandment referred to by Jesus in the N.T. “You shall love Yahweh your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” This commandment is called the Shema. This was the Jewish declaration on monotheism. This was one belief that set the Hebrews apart from other nations

28 The Sabbath was kept no longer from God’s rest, but b/c the Israelites rested after liberation-slaves are also allowed to rest Emphasize a central location of worship Long life and prosperity are dependent on honoring ones parents Parents reinforce faith The 10 th commandment does not define a wife as property All throughout the day talk about God

29 Most probably, Moses simply died before getting to the Promised Land He looks out over the land of Canaan but never crosses with the Israelites He transfers his authority to Joshua Joshua’s name comes from the same root word as “Jesus.”

30 Joshua leads the Israelites It was Joshua who leads the people into the Promised Land from the plains of Moab

31 The purpose is to enshrine or protect a value. It is expressed in language so it is written down There are 2 terms used to describe law: A. Spirit of the law- the idea or value the law protects B. The letter of the law- the specific language of the law itself. Is it possible to keep the letter of the law (the language) and violate the spirit of the law (the idea behind it)? Friday fast

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