Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Daily Bible Reading - March 3 - Numbers

In Hebrew the title of the Book of Numbers is simply the first few words of the text - "in the wilderness." Our English title comes from the Greek translation, which called this book Arithmoi, "numbers." This title probably stems from the two detailed genealogies in the book (Numbers 1 and 26), which list the tribes and their population.

The Book of Numbers traces Israel's journeys as they make their way from Mount Sinai to the banks of the Jordan River.
  • Numbers 1:1-10:10 describes the final preparations made to organize the nation at the foot of Mount Sinai in preparation for the resumption of their journey.
  • Numbers 10:11-20:13 recounts the travels of the people to Kadesh, including the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness.
  • Numbers 20:14-36:13 records the final leg of the journey, from Kadesh to the Plains of Moab, where the nation was poised to enter the land of Canaan.
It is easy to gloss over the chapters which contain the census records of Israel, but bear in mind that these lists play an important role in the overall story of the Bible. God promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation, with offspring as numerous as the sand and stars. These lists show how God is indeed fulfilling that promise.

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