What is the book of Numbers about? 

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Authorship

It has been generally accepted throughout the ages that the books of the Pentateuch (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy) were written by Moses. In Exodus, we have the record of Moses’ early life, his call to ministry, God’s commission, and his leadership. In the book of Numbers, Moses is presented as a great leader.  The hardships which Moses went through with the Israelites made him a tool especially fitted to write down the history of these events. No other writer has ever been known who could have written the Pentateuch.  

Background 

The book of Numbers documents in detail the nomadic period of the history of Israel which is a great narrative that inspires the believers with faith. Through this documentation, we learn about the life of the Hebrew people under the leadership of Moses. This knowledgeable author chose his accounts under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Moses was an eligible narrator of the history and the character of the Hebrew people, as well as a qualified leader, who under God delivered them from Egypt and established their faith and unity as a nation.  

The text of the book is recorded in what are really the old Hebrew characters and represents the text much as it existed around 330 B.C.  

Theme 

The previous books of the Pentateuch tell of the history of Israel’s ancestors from the creation, and continue through the bondage in Egypt and the Exodus to Sinai, where the book of Exodus leaves the Israelites. Numbers starts at Sinai with the census of the adult males and it gives further regulations more than those listed in Leviticus. It tracks down the journey from Sinai, the wanderings in the wilderness, to the coming to the steppes of Moab, and ends with a set of regulations. 

Numbers is a great book that has blessed the spiritual life of people throughout history. Its main goal is the exaltation of God and the revealing of His goodness and care to His people. It also mentions the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, with their wicked plans. And it documents the people’s lack of patience. It also presents Moses, Miriam and Aaron, Balaam, and the sons of Aaron as the religious leaders of the nation. The record closes with the primacy of Moses as God’s appointed leader of the Israelites. 

Numbers tells of God’s continual presence among His people, His merciful plans, the touching stories of great individuals, priests and Levites as God’s appointed ministers to deliver the people from folly.  These historical facts serve as a vivid reminder to the church today of God’s love for His people. 

In His service,
BibleAsk Team 

This answer is also available in: Español

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