The Book of Numbers is so named because it records several occasions where the people were counted or numbered (chaps. 1, 3, 4, 26). The Hebrew title (the first word in the Hebew text) means "in the wilderness," and appropriately gives the setting for the events in this book. The Book of Numbers relates the earliest experiences of Israel under the theocracy. When the people were obedient to God, they enjoyed His blessing and protection (Num 21:21 -35), but their disobedience brought His judgment (Num. 21:4 -9). Despite the wonders that God performed on Israel's behalf, the people were ready to return to Egypt on several occasions (Num. 11:4 -6; 14:2 -4; 20:4, 5; 21:5) because of their unbelief - it was easier to get Israel out of Egypt than to get Egypt out of the Israelites!
A large portion of the forty years that Israel spent in the wilderness is covered in this Book. During this time God removed the generation that failed to trust Him (all but Joshua and Caleb, Num. 14:30) and molded the new generation into a unified nation, prepared to conquer the land He had promised them. [Source for Introduction of chapter: Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible KJV edited by Spiros Zodhiates, Th.D
Brief Notes using KJV:
Num 2:2 Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch.
Num 1:51-53 The "Stranger" coming near the tabernacle would be put to death, Israelites to set up camp at a far distance (Num 2:2); but Levites around it. The Levites being in between the tabernacle and the camp for the people's protection. Compare this with Num 16:48 and 8:19. But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.
Why were all but the Levites told to reside far away from the Tabernacle. Could it be that nothing unclean is to come near God? Or was it for their protection? Remember in Num 16:48 And he (Aaron) stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed. Aaron put himself between God and the people for their protection!
When they entered the Tabernacle they were on holy ground and certain conduct was required of them. Remember their human excrement had to be buried outside the camp.
Did you notice in 3:12; 3:41, 49 the first born were for God? Similar to the first of the harvest etc of Leviticus instructions. The first fruits etc always belongs to God. It began in Gen 4:4 before there was a person or nation called Israel and continues into the New Testament. God and His instructions to the human race are the same yesterday, today and forever. You will see in Jos 7:21 a man is punished for violating the first fruit instruction. This way of holy living applies to God's people. The instruction given in Num 4:15 is later broken in 2Sam 6:6 and Uzzah is punished; unlike the heathen who touched the Ark. Why? Or the man in 15:32 for gathering sticks on a certain day when the heathen gather sticks on that day and are not apparently punished in this world. Num 5:1-3 the unclean put out of the camp. Can the unclean sinner of today, those transgressing God’s Law, be allowed into His new heaven and earth? The account of 5:19+ reminds me of Luk 8:17 “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad”. The bitter water had no power in itself, except that God’s directives were followed in order for the result to come true. This is the same with cleansing of the Levites in 8:6+. As Paul says in Heb 10:4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins. Nor should looking on a fiery serpent give life, except that God says it would. Therefore, whatever God prescribes for gaining His forgiveness, we should do and continue to do unless He expressly and clearly says to stop. Whatever days He says are holy convocations, we should keep.
Num 6 is what Samson was. Compare the significance and timing of Ex 12:2,6,46; Num 9:2,5,12 ; Lev 23:5 and Mat 26:2; John 19:36; 1 Cor 5:7 which the deceiver has changed to Easter in honour of pagan goddess Ishtar.
Num 11:4 the “mixed multitude” caused lusting and led the Israelites astray. Pressure on Moses of v14 did not save him from punishment of not going into the promised land. V25 is a common sign of Holy spirit throughout scripture including with Saul. Num 14:22 the miracles did not convince them to believe in God similar to Jesus’ saying in Luk 16:31. Hence we should be cautious about judging signs and wonders as a legitimate sign of God’s presence. Num 15:39 is a sign of God’s people. I know not of any other biblical identification. Num 22:20 “And God came unto Balaam at night, and said unto him, If the men come to call thee, rise up, and go with them; but yet the word which I shall say unto thee, that shalt thou do”. The word “if” is left out of the NIV. Balaam went on his own before the men came to him (v21-22). When Balaam could not get the Israelites through cursing them, he set a trap by persuading the pagan women to set up camp near the Israelites to temp the men (Num 25 and 31:16). Could 33:55 be the cause of today’s land dispute of Israel’s promised land?
The main two things I wish you to notice is God instructed the people to be numbered twice in the book of Numbers. Yet when David did the same thing in 2Sam 24:10 the people were punished, why? Is it because we are to do things when and in the manner God says, not on the day we wish as if every day or time is the same to God even though the action we are doing may be the same? People were numbered from 20 yrs old 14:29 and those are the ones that did not enter the promised land.
Secondly note the words “day” and “daily” in Num 28 and 29. You will need them to better understand the prophesy of Dan 8:11, 14 as to what was taken away and how long before it was restored and the sanctuary cleansed. Dan 8:11 Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily8548 (Hebrew numerical word reference) sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down.
Dan 8:14 And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days;6153, 1242 then shall the sanctuary be cleansed.
In Dan 8:14 the Hebrew words translated as “days” consist of two Hebrew words
H6153 ערב ‛ereb, used 132 times in the bible and to mean evening or night time (the start of the day Gen 1:5).
H1242בּקר bôqer used 205 times in the bible and to mean morning or early (latter part of the day Gen 1:8). There is a denomination who teach an interpretation of Dan 8 as concocted by a non Hebrew speaking or reading man of the 1840’s. He took the word to mean a 24hr day, used a day for a year principle to get 2300 years. Came up with a year for Jesus’ return and the end of the world to be 2300yrs from the rebuilding of the Jerusalem temple. When this prophecy failed to come true the denomination settled on a heavenly occurrence that no one can prove happened. As for the daily event of Dan 8:11, they also have a weird theory only believed by them. The Hebrew word used for “daily” is H8548 תּמיד tâmîyd
and occurs 103 times in the bible to mean a continual, always, perpetual event associated with the daily morning and afternoon sacrifices. Sometimes it is translated as “daily” and others “continual”, the same description given to this particular sacrificial event ordained by God.
There are other Hebrew words that Daniel could have used if he meant a period of time compared to a name of a regular event as women “monthly”. There are two main Hebrew words used H3117 יום yôm, mostly meaning day or days but also translated as “daily” as in a regular thing; separate to the temple evening and morning sacrifices. H3119 יומם yômâm, also meaning day. You should note the words day is used to denote a length of time, whereas daily is used as a noun such as the word “monthly” is used as a name for a woman’s menstrual cycle.
Here are some extracts to show H8548 is used to relate to the evening and morning daily (continuous) sacrifice of the priests in the Temple. Whereas H3117 is used for other daily or day things.
Num 4:16 And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense,4 and the daily8548 meat offering,3 and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all5 that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof. Num 28:3 And thou shalt say unto them, This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the LORD; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day,3117 for a continual8548 burnt offering.
Num 28:9 And on the sabbath day3117 two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: Num 28:24 After this manner ye shall offer daily,3117 throughout the seven days,3117 the meat of the sacrifice made by fire, of a sweet savoir unto the LORD: it shall be offered beside the continual8548 burnt offering, and his drink offering. Num 29:6 Beside the burnt offering of the month, and his meat offering, and the daily8548 burnt offering, and his meat offering, and their