Connection with Former Books. Genesis tells of Creation, Exodus of redemption, Leviticus of worship and fellowship, and Numbers of service and work. In Leviticus Israel is assigned a lesson and in Numbers she is getting that lesson. In this book as in Exodus and Leviticus Moses is the central figure.
Central Thought. Service which involves journeying, which in turn implies walk as a secondary thought. All the types of the books bear upon this two-fold idea of service and walk.
Key-Phrase. “All that are able to go forth to war” occurs fourteen times in the first chapter. There was fighting ahead and all who could fight must muster in.
The History Covered is a period of a little more than thirty-eight years (Num. 1:1; Deut. 1:3) and is a record (1) of how Israel marched to the border of Canaan, (2) wandered thirty-eight years in the wilderness while the old nation died and a new nation was trained in obedience to God, (3) then returned to the border of the promised land.
I. The Preparation at Sinai, 1:1-10:10.
1. The number and arrangement of the tribes, Chs. 1-2.
2. The choice and assignment of the Levites, Chs. 3-4.
3. Laws for the purity of the camp, Chs. 5-6.
4. Laws concerning the offerings for worship, Chs. 7-8.
5. Laws concerning the passover and cloud, 9:1-14.
6. Signals for marching and assembling 9:15-10:10.
II. The Journey to Moab, 10:11-22:1.
1. From Sinai to Kadesh, 10:11-14 end.
2. From Kadesh to Kadesh (the wilderness wanderings), 19:1-20:21.
3. From Kadesh to Moab, 20:22-22:1.
III. The Sojourn at Moab, 22:2-36 end.
1. Balak and Balaam, 22:2-25 end.
2. The sum of the people, Ch. 26.
3. Joshua. Moses’ successor, Ch. 27.
4. Feasts and offerings, Chs. 28-30.
5. Triumph over Midian, Ch. 31.
6. Two and half tribes given land east of Jordan, Ch. 32.
7. Wilderness journeys enumerated, Ch. 33.
8. Divisions of Canaan and the cities of Refuge, Chs. 34-36.
For Study and Discussion. (1) Make a list of the different times when God came to the relief of Israel, by providing guidance, protection, food, etc. and from them study God’s wonderful resources in caring for his people. (2) Make a list of the different times and occasions when Israel or any individual sinned or rebelled against God or His leaders, and study the result in each case. (3) Make a list of the miracles of the book and give the facts about each. Show which were miracles of judgment and which were miracles of mercy. (4) The story of the spies and the results of the mistake made as seen in all the future history of Israel. (5) The story of Balak and Balaam. (6) God’s punishment of disobedient and sinful nations. (7) Doubt as a source of complaint and discontent. (8) The types of Christ and Christian experience: (a) The Nazarite; (b) Aaron’s Budding Rod, 17:8; Heb 9:4; (c) The Blue Ribband, 15:38; (d) The Red Heifer, 19:2; (e) The Brazen Serpent, 21:9; (f) The cities of refuge, 35:13.