Numbers 1 Ė 5

 

Last week we did a general overview of the book of numbers tonight we are going to take closer a look at the individual chapters. Lets begin in,

 

Numbers 1:1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying:2 "Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male individually,3 "from twenty years old and above -- all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies.4 "And with you there shall be a man from every tribe, each one the head of his father's house.

 

God commands Moses and Aaron to take a census of the men only that were 20 years and older. This does not include the women, children or strangers that were traveling around with them. We also learn that there was to be one man to be the head of every tribe.Verses 5 -15 reveals who these 12 men are and the tribe the represent.

 

Numbers 1:16 These were chosen from the congregation, leaders of their fathers' tribes, heads of the divisions in Israel.17 Then Moses and Aaron took these men who had been mentioned by name,18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month; and they recited their ancestry by families, by their fathers' houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, each one individually.19 As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the Wilderness of Sinai.

 

Moses and Aaron obey Gods command and they number these men. I just wonder how long this would have taken. I am sure it took several day to accomplish this huge task. Lets take a look at one example.

 

20 Now the children of Reuben, Israel's oldest son, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers' house, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war:21 those who were numbered of the tribe of Reuben were forty-six thousand five hundred.

 

22-44 covers the other 11 tribes showing how many were numbered in each one of these tribes.

 

Numbers 1:44 These are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each one representing his father's house.45 So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers' houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel --46 all who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty.

Thatís a pretty significant army and just thing that is just the men 20 years old and older. By the time to factor in the women, children and strangers there could have been around 2 to 2 1\2 million people there. Its been a long time since at looked at the numbers for Oklahoma but the last time I looked the entire population of the state was about the same as the number of the children of Israel.I have hard time comprehending how much space they would have to have just to live. It hard for me to comprehend how well they were able to organize themselves with only the word of mouth. It truly amazes me.

 

Numbers 1:47 But the Levites were not numbered among them by their fathers' tribe;48 for the LORD had spoken to Moses, saying:49 "Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel;

 

The Levites were not counted during this census and that means that none of the Levites would be fighting in any of the wars. God continues on and explains what the Levites would be responsible for.

 

50 "but you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle.51 "And when the tabernacle is to go forward, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall set it up. The outsider who comes near shall be put to death.52 "The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, everyone by his own camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies;53 "but the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the Testimony, that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the children of Israel; and the Levites shall keep charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony."54 Thus the children of Israel did; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so they did.

 

The Levites responsibility was taking care of all aspects of the tabernacle. God didnít want strangers coming close to the tabernacle at this time and if the did they wouldlose their life. As they traveled and the pitch their tents only the Leviteswere to pitch their tents around the tabernacle.

 

This Chapter gives us the detail on how each tribe was to camp and to break camp. These tribes would basically camp out on all sides of the tabernacle. Common sense would tell that this would be a smart way to do this so that they would be protected from enemy attackon all sides. This chapter also tells which tribe was to break camp first and this was determined by the size of the tribe.

 

Chapter 3 we learn more about the Levites

 

Numbers 3:3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, whom he consecrated to minister as priests.4 Nadab and Abihu had died before the LORD when they offered profane fire before the LORD in the Wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests in the presence of Aaron their father.

Aaron had4 sons but 2 them died because of their disobedience to God. So his other 2 son would be a part of the high priest hood and only those through Aaronís blood line could be high priest.

 

Numbers 3:5 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:6 "Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him.7 "And they shall attend to his needs and the needs of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of meeting, to do the work of the tabernacle.8 "Also they shall attend to all the furnishings of the tabernacle of meeting, and to the needs of the children of Israel, to do the work of the tabernacle.9 "And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are given entirely to him from among the children of Israel.10 "So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall attend to their priesthood; but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death."

 

So, all the Levites were responsible for serving Aaron and his sons by helping with all things associated with the tabernacle and again we see the warning of death to outsider who comes near to the tabernacle.

 

I think this next passage is interesting.

 

Numbers 3:12 "Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore the Levites shall be Mine,13 "because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the LORD."

 

All the firstborn belonged to God but he allowed the Levites to be his in place of all the first born of the children and he used the first born of the animals of the Levites as his as well. This concept is given in more detail staring in:

 

Numbers 3:44-Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:45 "Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. The Levites shall be Mine: I am the LORD.46 "And for the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the number of the Levites,47 "you shall take five shekels for each one individually; you shall take them in the currency of the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel of twenty gerahs.48 "And you shall give the money, with which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and his sons."49 So Moses took the redemption money from those who were over and above those who were redeemed by the Levites.50 From the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money, one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.51 And Moses gave their redemption money to Aaron and his sons, according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.

 

I find it interesting that we are given the exact number of shekels that were gathered giving us a very detailed account of this event.

 

Another interesting verse in this chapter is has to do with the counting of the Levites.

 

Numbers 3:14 Then the LORD spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, saying:15 "Number the children of Levi by their fathers' houses, by their families; you shall number every male from a month old and above."16 So Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, as he was commanded.

 

Did you notice how this was different from the census done on the other tribes? Remember the other tribes were numbered by those 20 years and older but the Levites were numbered by those 1 month and older and we learn from verse43 that there were

22,273 male Levites and this number does not include the women.

 

Vrs 19 -39 The Levites are broken down in to families and we get glimpse of the specific duties that they are take care of in the tabernacle.

 

Chapter 4 goes intogreat detail about the different dutiesof the Levites. Were not going to read them all but I wants us take look at one example.

 

Numbers 4: 21 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying:22 "Also take a census of the sons of Gershon, by their fathers' house, by their families.23 "From thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, you shall number them, all who enter to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of meeting.24 "This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, in serving and carrying:25 "They shall carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the tabernacle of meeting with its covering, the covering of badger skins that is on it, the screen for the door of the tabernacle of meeting,26 "the screen for the door of the gate of the court, the hangings of the court which are around the tabernacle and altar, and their cords, all the furnishings for their service and all that is made for these things: so shall they serve.27 "Aaron and his sons shall assign all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, all their tasks and all their service. And you shall appoint to them all their tasks as their duty.28 "This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of meeting. And their duties shall be under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

 

One thing is for sure they certainly should not of been confused on exactly what they were to do. God did not make up all these details just for the fun of it. He wanted everything done in certain way and certain order. The same thing is true when it comes to the NT Christian. God has laid out for us in detail on how to become a Christian and how to live a faithful life until to your death. Just as a God expected these Levites to follow his word he want us to follow his word today. Now lets pick up at the end of this chapter.

 

 

Numbers 4:46 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of Israel numbered, by their families and by their fathers' houses,47 from thirty years old and above, even to fifty years old, everyone who came to do the work of service and the work of bearing burdens in the tabernacle of meeting --48 those who were numbered were eight thousand five hundred and eighty.49 According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, each according to his service and according to his task; thus were they numbered by him, as the LORD commanded Moses.

 

One other interesting point that I see is that only those that were 30 years of age and older carried out the different services for the lord. There was a lot of work to be done for God and there is still a lot of work to do for the Lord today. So, donít think that everything is taking care and there isnothing for you do because there always something that we can do for the Lord.

 

Chapter 5 is very unique chapter in determining if a wife has been unfaithful. In verses 1-4 The children of Israel are commanded to put the lepers outside the camp.

Vrs 5-10 has to do with confessing you sin and restitution.

 

Numbers 5: 6 "Speak to the children of Israel: 'When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit in unfaithfulness against the LORD, and that person is guilty,7 'then he shall confess the sin which he has committed. He shall make restitution for his trespass in full, plus one-fifth of it, and give it to the one he has wronged.

 

For example if stole some money from you neighbor you would have to give them back all their money plus one-fifth.

 

Now starting in verse number 11 we focus in on the wives and the jealously of the husband. Now this going to be a long read but I donít know of any better way to present this than to read it right of the Bible.

 

Numbers 5:11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,12 "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'If any man's wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully toward him,13 'and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and it is concealed that she has defiled herself, and there was no witness against her, nor was she caught --14 'if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself --15 'then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. He shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an EPHAH of barley meal; he shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering, for bringing iniquity to remembrance.16 ' And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD.17 'The priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water.18 'Then the priest shall stand the woman before the LORD, uncover the woman's head, and put the offering for remembering in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy. And the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that brings a curse.19 'And the priest shall put her under oath, and say to the woman, "If no man has lain with you, and if you have not gone astray to uncleanness while under your husband's authority, be free from this bitter water that brings a curse.20 "But if you have gone astray while under your husband's authority, and if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has lain with you" --21 'then the priest shall put the woman under the oath of the curse, and he shall say to the woman -- "the LORD make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the LORD makes your thigh rot and your belly swell;22 "and may this water that causes the curse go into your stomach, and make your belly swell and your thigh rot." Then the woman shall say, "Amen, so be it."23 ' Then the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall scrape them off into the bitter water.24 'And he shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter her to become bitter.25 'Then the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman's hand, shall wave the offering before the LORD, and bring it to the altar;26 'and the priest shall take a handful of the offering, as its memorial portion, burn it on the altar, and afterward make the woman drink the water.27 'When he has made her drink the water, then it shall be, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, that the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter, and her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people.28 'But if the woman has not defiled herself, and is clean, then she shall be free and may conceive children.29 ' This is the law of jealousy, when a wife, while under her husband's authority, goes astray and defiles herself,30 'or when the spirit of jealousy comes upon a man, and he becomes jealous of his wife; then he shall stand the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute all this law upon her.31 'Then the man shall be free from iniquity, but that woman shall bear her guilt.' "

 

All this is a very strange way determine weather the womanwas innocent and guilty this method came from God and he obviously would be in control. Unlike mankind who cannot read the thoughts of others God can. He knows our every thought and we cannot hide anything from him. So when these women would drink this bitter drink if they were innocent God would not allow this drink to affect them. Could you image having a law like that today? That covers the first 5 chapters of Numbers I hope youhave foundit interesting.