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Title: Our English title for the book comes to us from the Greek and means "pertaining to the Levites." The priests of Israel came from the tribe of Levi and this book is like a manual for their call and function. The Hebrew title for the book comes from the first word of the book, meaning "And He Called" and emphasizes the theme of God's call to holiness (cf. Lev 11:45).
Authorship: The contents of the book was given to Moses in the two month period just after the erection of the Tabernacle at Mt. Sinai. Moses must have written the book between 1489 and 1451 B.C. somewhere between Mt. Sinai and Mt. Nebo, where he died (Deut 34:1). Not only does the first verse (and some 55 other passages in the book) attribute the authorship to Moses, but Jesus quoted from the book and ascribed it to him. Twenty of the chapters begin "and the LORD spake unto Moses."
Purpose: The book of Exodus describes the Tabernacle and the book of Leviticus tells how it was to be used, and the holy sacrifices that were to be offered. Key words in the book are "priests" (189); "holy" (87); "blood" (86); "atonement" (45) and "sacrifice" (42);
The book shows that our holy God has appointed a way by which sinful man can come into His presence by means of sacrificial blood. The relationship is sustained only when the whole life is holy.
In Genesis we see man ruined, in Exodus we see man redeemed, and in Leviticus we see man worshipping.
Key Verse: "Ye shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy," Lev 19:2.
Who Wrote It: The book of Numbers begins "And the Lord spake unto Moses." His name occurs more than 225 times in the book, that is an average of over 6 times per chapter.
Who Received It: The last verse in the book says the content was directed "unto the children of Israel" (Num 36:13).
When and Where Written: The events recorded took place during a period of 38-39 years, or from one year and one month after the exodus from Egypt to the fortieth year and eleventh month (Num 1; Deut 1:3).
The book was written during the wilderness wanderings somewhere between the wilderness of Sinai and the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho (36:13).
Why Written: This fourth book of the Bible is called "Numbers" because of two "numberings" (census takings) of the Israelites (ch. 1 and 26). Perhaps in informing Israel of their numerical strength they are to learn of the inability of man to prosper while doubting or distrusting God. Notice that Israel had come from Egypt to Kedesh-Barnea in some two years, and could have easily entered into Canaan in that time, but doubt, distrust, and such like, surfaced its ugly head, and Israel had to wander some 38 more years in the wilderness.
New Testament Links: Jesus is pictured in the book of Numbers through various types: for example:
Key Words: Warfare, wandering, journeying
Key Persons: Moses, Aaron, Miriam, Joshua, Caleb
Key Thoughts: God's Discipline upon His rebellious children
The title of the last book of the Pentateuch in the English comes from the Greek Deuteronomion, which means "the second law" or "the repeated law."
The book was given just before they entered Canaan in the 40th year after they had come out of Egypt ( 1:3 ). It was given because many of them had not witnessed the transactions at Mt. Sinai, the former generation having all died except Joshua and Caleb. It was given to impress their hearts with a deep sense of their obligation to God, and to prepare them for the inheritance which God had prepared for them.
While Leviticus was addressed to the spiritual leaders of Israel, Deuteronomy was addressed to the common people for every day guidelines for godliness.
The ordinances of Exodus, Leviticus and Numbers had regulated their nomadic life in the wilderness. Now as they were about to settle down in their own land some adjustments were necessary. This book provides these.
Their Charge: "Go in and possess the land which I have given you." (1:8, 21, 39; 2:5, 9, 19).
Contents of the Book: There are five separate discourses of Moses in the book plus a song of Moses and the final chapter containing a record of the death of Moses which is believed to have been written by Joshua. Three "Looks" of the book:
[The five books of Moses are equal to almost a quarter of the Old Testament and as large as the entire New Testament.]
1. The Bible teaches both by precept and example. One can profit from inspired records of the conduct of both sinners and saints. In this lesson, we want to consider Moses, "the servant of the LORD."
2. Moses was born 3,500 years ago, yet today his name is common place. This lesson is concerned in particular with one of the characteristics of Moses that accounts for his greatness, namely, his manly meekness. "Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men that were upon the face of the earth" (Num 12:3).
. . a. The context of the passage is the rebellion of Miriam and Aaron against Moses (Num 12).
The Manly Meekness of Moses
In the hour of discouragement and tragedy, Moses manifested a manly meekness, a remarkable control of his passions. Notice a few of the factors which no doubt helped Moses to attain such manly meekness:
. . 1. Moses believed and revered God.
. . 2. Moses was remarkably unselfish.
. . . . a. He could have possibly become a Pharaoh in Egypt.
. . . . b. He could have made himself a king in the wilderness.
. . . . c. Heb 11:2-24.
. . 3. Moses had disciplined his will power.
. . 4. Moses was a man of prayer.
Two Great Men of Meekness
The two greatest to walk on this earth-- Jesus the Son of God, and Moses, the greatest mere man who ever lived. One of their greatest characteristics and qualities was their meekness.
1) Moses (Num 12:3)
2) Jesus (Mat 11:29)
Meekness is characterized by a willingness to suffer wrong rather than do wrong.
1) Moses Num 12:1-7
2) Jesus-- being crucified.
Meekness is not weakness, nor an indication of spinelessness, but it is "strength under control." Jesus quoted much O.T. Scripture regarding meekness. Pss; Isa 61:1 (Mat 5:5).
Paul entreated meekness and gentleness. 2Cor 10:1; Gal 5:23, 6:1; Eph 4:2; Titus 3:2; 1Pet 3:4.
Conclusion: Jas 1:21 "Receive with meekness the ... "