Bible Book Summaries: Old Testament Books
The book of Numbers begins with God speaking to Moses on Mount Sinai and commanding that he take a census of the Israelites and count the number of males able to go to war within each army.
God appointed the heads of the armies.God instructed the Levites to look over the Tabernacle and act as priests for the Israelites. Moses numbered them separately from the armies and educated the Levites on their duties. God issued various laws, and the Nazarite vow.
The army leaders brought offerings to God over a 12 day period and dedicated them. Next came the details for the dedication of the Levites. Under God’s instruction, the Israelites celebrated the second Passover. God led the Israelites with a cloud above the Tabernacle. At the command of the Lord they either camped or journeyed. God commanded Moses to make two trumpets for directing the people and as a memorial on feast days over their offerings.
Under the Lord’s direction, the Israelites departed Sinai and they complained. God sent fire on them, which Moses prayed away. The Israelites tired of manna and asked for meat and wearied Moses. God appointed 70 elders to assist Moses. God sent quail. As the people ate the quail, He struck them with a plague for yielded to their craving and they died.
Aaron and Mariam spoke against Moses for marrying an Ethiopian and angered God who struck Miriam with leprosy. Moses and Aaron’s prayed for God to heal her. God instructed them to put Miriam out of the camp for seven days and afterwards she was healed.
God told Moses to send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which they did for 40 days. Two men came back with a bad report of giants and a strong fortified people in the land. The people complained to God. He judged them for complaining and killed by plague the two men who issued the bad report. Joshua and Caleb spoke good of the land and said that the Lord will bring them there.
In the book of Numbers, God directs Moses on the details for offerings when the Israelites come into the land. He also instructed on the law of unintentional sin. A man gathered sticks on the Sabbath and the Israelites stoned him. God instructed the Israelites to make tassels on the corners of their garments as a remembrance to do his commandments.
Korah and other men stood up in rebellion against Moses and Aaron and the earth opened and swallowed them up along with their followers and households. Fire consumed 250 men. The people still rebelled and God issued a plague to consume them. Moses interceded with prayer and stopped the plague but 14,700 died. God next chose Aaron by having his rod blossom and instructed him concerning offerings and priestly duties. God ordered the sacrifice of the red heifer for purification.
Moses and Aaron disobeyed God and Moses in his anger struck a rock. God told them they would not lead the Israelites to the promised land. Afterwards Aaron died. The Canaanites started to fight the Israelites and God defeated them. As the people journeyed, they complained and the Lord sent serpents, which bit them. God instructed Moses to make a bronze serpent and put it on a pole. Everyone who was bitten and looked upon it would live. The children of Israel encountered more battles and defeated their enemies and went to Moab. Their king went to the evil prophet Balaam with money and asked him to curse the Israelites. God spoke to Balaam through his donkey and stopped him and he blessed the Israelites on God’s direction.
While in Moab, the Israelites committed harlotry by worshiping Baal. God ordered the judges to hang the offenders out in the sun. In addition, he killed twenty four thousand in a plague. God instructed Moses to take a second census and count those able to go to war. The book of Numbers numbered the armies, which would battle the inhabitants of the promised land. Next the people asked for inheritance laws and God gave them. Afterwards God told Moses that he will die and Joshua will take over from him. God then spoke to Moses and commanded the offerings at feasts, and issued laws concerning vows.
God led the Israelites into war with the Mideonites and Balaam was killed in that battle. God instructed on the plunder from the war. Moses granted the various tribes their request to live east of the Jordan. Moses recorded all of the Israelite’s journeys and reviewed them and laid out the boundaries for Canaan and designated the cities for the Levites and six cities of refuge for manslaughter. The book of Numbers ends with Moses instructing the Israelites on the inheritance of female heirs within the tribes of Israel.