Ministry of the Word
  Numbers... Fr Lester.


Fr. Lester Vas
10th Aug 08
0. Introduction.                                                                      Also ref notes
Our study of slavery, we have seen Exo. Sinai. At the beginning of the #s they are at Sinai at the end at Moab book is called the book of the journey & murmuring. We too are a pilgrim people on the way to the promised land.
0.1.          The name of the Book #s comes from Gk Arithmoi, describing the census in Ch 1.
0.2.     The structure of the Book. The structure marks A CHANGE FROM THE Books of Leviticus where the term directives / & regulations. Now they are on the move, yet there is a continuity where we can compare to Lev. Repeating & elaborating of laws / sacrifices / vows / feast days etc. We see alternation between instruction & movement.
0.3.            (i) We see incorporation of archaic poetic lines & frozen expressions originated at the times of judges (Balaams Oracles)
(ii) Poems found in # 21:17-18 most ancient text in the OT
(iii) Song of the well 6:22-27. Lament of Heshbon
0.4.          Refer Notes.
0.5.            The Murmuring / Rebellion Theme in Numbers.
The book of Exo. Stresses the patience of Yahweh, but #s stresses the peoples constant rebellion, & Yahweh has to punish them again & again. However after each times he softens his anger & heals the victims. Mostly the murmuring is at the starvation conditions of the desert & some were also directed at Moses. This represents the struggle for leadership & superiority. May be some of them joined the Exodus along the way. Which means all the tribes originated from Egypt & some of them joined along the way. These who joined had accepted Yahweh but still struggled for leadership.
0.6.          The division of the Book. Refer notes Pg 2.
I. Preparation for Departure from Mt.Sinai. 1:1 – 10:10.
The section has no unity of material & makes giving titles difficult.
à Organization 1:1 – 4:49
à Purity & other Regulations 5:1 – 9:23.
à More Organization 10:1-10.
1.1.   Two Censuses 1:3 to go to war, they needed to know who were above the age of 20 yrs. Ist. Census was at Sinai; IInd. Was at Moab. 2:33 Levi is not the censist in the Ist consist & the enrolled.
1.2.                     Why is Levi special, because they belong to the Lord, & they took the place of the first born of Israel 3:11-13.; 8:16-18. The role to be in charge of the Tabernacle & everything pertaining to it services. All had specific duties 3:21.     
4:34 – 37. Census between the age of 30 yrs & 50 yrs. 30 yrs because they had to look after the Temple duties
1.3                      The Ark is in the central position of the Yahweh & the journey… Ref notes.
1.4                       Status of Women 5:11-31. comment no test for man.
1.5                       The Nazrite 6:1-21. Under stringent conditions, they had to abstain from every thing connected with vine, (even skin of grapes) pips, needed to be unshaven, could not touch a corpse & need to sacrifice for the whole period.
In each of our lives we are always at a junction of 2 cross roads, where we either give in or give up.
1.6. The Priestly Blessing 6:24-26 
1.7. The Cloud Compare #s 9:15-23 & Ex 40:34 -38. Clouds represent the abiding presence of God.
II. Journey from Mt.Sinai to Kadesh 10:11 – 12:16.
10:11 Intro. Is this the 2nd year after they left Egypt or was it 2nd yr at Sinai. Ch. 10:11.    
2.1. An assistant for Moses 10:31 but Lord who led the people 10:33-34. God uses human instruments, assisted by Hobab, son , b.i.l 10:31. Moses or Hobab, God is leading the people. He is the Lord who leads us thro. Human instruments.
2.2. Moses’ leadership challenged Ch 11-12.
2.2.1. The people complained (Quails & Manna) Ch 11.
2.2.2. Miriam & Aaron Qs Moses’ role as prophet Ch 12.
2.2.3. Why is Mariam punished though Aaron was equally guilty. Probably Aaron was also punished in the original E tradition because both the P tradition & the final editors exalt Abraham = Moses. White as snow à Is 1:1. Snow is used as a comparison to whiteness, it also could be used for moist & wet, Snow could also used for an ulcer Lev 13. flesh half consumed Vs 12.
III. At Kadesh 13:1 – 20:21.
Ch 13 -14. Critical (Crises ) chapters.
Turning point in ones life, anything that follows the crises, could be better or for worse.
3.1. Check notes: The report stories first J & E are written & P is woven into it.
J & E stories are less ambitious. 12 men one representing each tribe is set for Kadesh & go as far as Hebron – Vale, Eschol. They return with a bunch of grapes (end July)         
à Fruitful but giants à Caleb would enter the land , failed attacks on the Amelakites.    
P is dramatic, spies sent to the wilderness of Paran, to spy the whole country& penetrate it to the entrance of Hameth. They bring a bad account of the country, except Joshua. Caleb & Joshua can enter the promised land.
3.1. The majority report, 10/12 land flowing with milk & honey were supposed to be fond of Gods like nectar. We find different types of people Amalekites nomad tribes who raided from the south of cannan, they were there long before the Hebrew crushed only by David. However 1 Cronicles 4:42 ff a few Amalekites were there among the Edomites / Hezekiah a band of simeonites destroyed at the time of Hezekiah. Hitkites one of the 7 nations of Cannan in the recent times it was found out that they were once nation complete with Egypt. It was strongest in 1380 Bc in Asia Minor, their power declined in 1200Bc. Hitkites this group was a remnant nation.Jebusite (judges 1:8) (later idealization) 2 Sam 5:5-9. Judges 1:8 much later idealization. Amorites they are the original inhabitants of Cannan. The early court of Law were the Amorites. Cannonites were on the coastal plains Vs 33. Nephilim this occurs twice aborigines of Cannan Gen 6:4. Grass hoppers not only the size but also the locust at the hopper stage lev 11:22. They will make mince meat out of us. The minority 2/12 13:30; 14:6-9.
1. Caleb à overcome in 
2. 14:6-9 Joshua & Caleb  
3. Vs 9 They are bred for us
4. Their protection is removed from them Is 32:20.
5. The Lord is with us , do not fear.
3.2. The unbelief of the people 14:1-14.
14:2 through their words.                                 à priest/ prophet & king 1 Peter 5:9.
Words 14:2ff complained
Behavior 14:1 they cried all night. Result 14:39-45 failure because the Lord was not with them.
1.          In conclusion. From this incident we reflect Gods will is not always discerned by the majority (Daniel Ch 13)  
2.          2. Because of unbelief they were deprived from the Joys of entering the promised land
3.3. Korah’s rebellion Ch 16.
This is the 3rd. challenge (out line) to Moses leadership (3.1 Ist) (3.2 IInd)
They Questioned Moses’ authority. Korah was from the tribe of Levi Dathan , Abiram & Reuben. 16:2 well known. Moses response 16:4 un parallel.
With the universal call to holiness, there is a place for the priesthood of Aaron there is a universal priesthood, within this there is a ministerial
3.4. The story of Aarons rod. Ch 17. Check notes 17:13-14.
3.5. Priests & Levites Duties & their privileges Ch 18. The Amorites were firmly established. Vs 12-13. Is intro to the next chapter, it is further to exalt the duties & privileges of the priests. Tithing, the tribes had to contribute to the Levites 18:21 – 32. 25ff.
3.6. Death of Miriam 20:1
3.7. Ch 20. How were they were unfaithful ? Incident of the water from the rock. What wrong did Moses do 20:10-11. God said speak, Moses hit the Rock twice Vs 12.
Explanation 1. Some translation shall we bring H2o from the rock, showing his doubt , unwillingness
2. Struck the Rock twice, either showing loss of Temper or loss of faith Ps 106:32-33. People make Moses bitter & he spoke words that were rash
3. He had to do what he was told. Speak / struck. Jesus was the Rock.
Any leader who has lost his faith in his people / flock has already lost the battle.
Speak take the lord in prayer
4. Deut 1:37, 3:26, 4:21 God was angry with Moses because the people refused after the report.
3.8. Unsucce4ssful attempt through Edom 20:14-21.
IV. From Kadesh to Moab 20:22 – 21:35.
4.1. Death of Aaron on Hor 20:22-29 Deut 32:48-52.
5.4. Death of Moses
There is a strong possibility
Pentateuch starts with the creation & ends with the death of Moses. The narrator does not end #s with the death of Moses. Therefore #s 31:2 Apologetic. The best news is probably to be found in the amalgamation of Deut. D C & P traditions which came late, which required the death to be postponed.
4.2. God continues to protect Ch 21 deadly serpants, kings of Arad, Og & Sihon Ps 135:11
V. On the plains of Moab 22:1 – 36:13.
5.1. Balaams 4 Oracles. Ch 22-24. God shown as a protector of his people
Balaam hired to curse Israel 22:1-21. Israel is blessed. Blessing 4 oracles 23-24.
  1. Oracles at Bamoth baal Ch 23.
  2.                  Mt Pissah
  3.                  Mt Poer     Ch 24.
  4.                  Mt Poer
5.2.Betrayal – Idolatry at Moab. Worshipping other Gods
Ch 25:1-5 They bowed down to other Gods.
Ps 106:28-31 pertaining to the book of #s
25:16-18 Midinites , the enemy of Israel
Ch31 Holy war against Midinites
5.3. Ch 27-36 The statue of women Cross ref cfr (confir) 5:11-31
Daughter of Zelophebad
Vs 27:3 who inherits
Vs 4 ask for their property
27:5-11 Moses plays down the priorities of inheritance
Dausghters, deceased brothers, deceased. Only if there are no sons.
36:1-2 If they daughters married outside the tribes, marry inside the tribe.
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