The Book of Numbers describes Israel’s journey from Mt. Sinai to the brink of the Promised Land.

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 0506, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36

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The Septuagint calls this book “Arithmoi,” which means “Numbers.”

That is fitting since the book contains population figures, the totals of the priests and Levites, and other numerical data.

In Hebrew, the name of the book is “b’midbar.” That is the fifth word in the book. It means “in the desert of.”


Universal Jewish and Christian tradition attributes the Book of Numbers, along with the rest of the Pentateuch, to Moses.

But in modern days, critical scholars insist that Exodus was compiled from various sources. This seems to be the product of rationalistic skepticism.


The last verse in the Book of Numbers states:

Numbers 36:13. These are the commands and regulations the Lord gave through Moses to the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho.”

This suggests the journey through the wilderness had been completed, and Israel was about to cross the Jordan River and enter the land of Canaan.

The Exodus took place in 1446 BC. Crossing the Jordan River occurred 40 years after the Exodus. So the Book of Numbers is dated 1406 BC.

The death of Moses is also dated in 1446 BC. So Moses would have written the Book of Numbers prior to his death.


The Book of Numbers describes the LORD God’s expectations, and Israel’s reactions, over the nearly 40-year period from the giving of the Law at Sinai until the eve of the conquest of the Promised Land.

The expectations of the LORD God fall into three categories:

  • How the nation is to order itself while journeying
  • How the priests and Levites were to function while journeying
  • How to prepare for their conquest of the Promised Land and their settled lives there.

As for Israel’s reactions, they both succeeded and failed at keeping those expectations.





The order of the tribes

Numbers 1:1-3. The first census of Israel

Numbers 1:4-19. Those to assist Moses

Numbers 1:20-46. The census results

Numbers 1:47-54. The Levites were omitted

Numbers 2:1-2. Organizing the camp

Numbers 2:3-9. To the east of the Tent of Meeting

Numbers 2:10-17. To the south of the Tent of Meeting

Numbers 2:18-24. To the west of the Tent of Meeting

Numbers 2:25-34. To the north of the Tent of Meeting

Instructions to the Levites

Numbers 3:1-4. The sons of Aaron

Numbers 3:5-13. The Levites serve under Aaron

Numbers 3:14-39. The census of the Levites

Numbers 3:40-51. Redeeming the firstborn sons

Numbers 4:1-20. Duties of the sons of Kohath

Numbers 4:21-28. Duties of the sons of Gershon

Numbers 4:29-33. Duties of the sons of Merari

Numbers 4:34-49. Summary of the census

Cleansing and consecration

Numbers 5:1-4. Expel “unclean” people

Numbers 5:5-10. Make restitution for sin

Numbers 5:11-31. A jealous husband

Numbers 6:1-21. The Nazirite Vow

Numbers 6:22-27. The Aaronic Blessing

Tabernacle service

Numbers 7:1-83. Offerings from each of the tribes

Numbers 7:84-88. Summary

Numbers 7:89. The Voice

Numbers 8:1-4. Preparing the seven Lamps

Numbers 8:5-22. Dedication of the Levites

Numbers 8:23-26. The age range for Levitical ministry

Passover instructions

Numbers 9:1-14. The Passover in Sinai

The accompaniment of the LORD

Numbers 9:15-23. The Pillar of Cloud and the Pillar of Fire


The departure from Sinai

Numbers 10:1-10. The two Shofars

Numbers 10:11-28. They depart from Sinai

Numbers 10:29-32. Hobab will guide them

Numbers 10:33-36. They depart into the desert

The rebellion of the people

Numbers 11:1-15. Complaining in the desert

Numbers 11:16-23. The Seventy Elders

Numbers 11:24-29. The Spirit is sent

Numbers 11:30-35. They eat quail

The rebellion of Miriam and Aaron

Numbers 12:1-9. Aaron and Mirian complain about Moses

Numbers 12:10-16. Only Miriam is punished

Spying out the Promised Land

Numbers 13:1-24. Twelve spies explore the Promised Land

Numbers 13:25-33. The spies return


The rehearsal of the covenant statutes

Numbers 15

The rebellion of Korah

Numbers 16

The vindication of Aaron

Numbers 17

The roles and privileges of the priests and Levites

Numbers 18

The laws of purification

Numbers  19

The journey in the Desert of Zin

Numbers 20

The journey to Moab

Numbers 21:1-22:1


The plight of Moab

Numbers 22:2-4a

The invitation to Balaam

Numbers 22:4b-20

The journey of Balaam

Numbers 22:21-35

The oracles of Balaam

Numbers 22:36-24:25

The idolatry of Israel

Numbers chap. 25


The provisions for inheritance

Numbers 26:1-27:11

Succession to Moses

Numbers 27:12-23

Laws concerning offerings

Numbers 28-29

Laws concerning vows

Numbers 30

God’s judgment on the Midianites

Numbers 31

The inheritance of the Eastern tribes

Numbers 32

Résumé of the journey from Egypt

Numbers 33:1-49

Final instructions about conquest and inheritance

Numbers 33:50-36:13




Numbers 7:89. When Moses went into the Tent of Meeting to speak with the LORD, he heard his voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was on the ark of the Testimony, from between the two cherubim; and he spoke to him.

Numbers 12:3. Now the man Moses was very humble, more than all the men who were on the surface of the earth.

Numbers 12:6. He said, “Now hear my words. If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, will make myself known to him in a vision. I will speak with him in a dream.

Numbers 23:19. God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?” (KJV translation)

Great verses to memorize from the entire Bible



CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 0506, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize