("In the Wilderness")


In An Introduction to the Old Testament, Edward J. Young divided the book of Numbers into three parts as follows:

Part 1
Preparation for the departure from Sinai (1:1-10:10)

Part 2
The journey from Sinai to the plains of Moab (10:11-21:35)

Part 3
Events in the plains of Moab (22:1-36:13)

Lesson 1      Numbering the People, Redeeming the Firstborn, Duties of the Levites

        READ Numbers 1 - 4


1.    From what age up were they numbered?

2.    Was it just men that were numbered, or were both men and women numbered?

3.    Complete the table on the following page, showing the population by tribe, in accordance
       with the numbers given in chapters 1 and 2.

4.    Do the numbers for the respective tribes add up to the total number given in Numbers 1:46?

5.    Did these numbers appear to be rounded?

6.    If so, to what place do most seem to be rounded?

7.    Are there any exceptions?

8.    If so, what does this suggest about the Old Testament practice of rounding numbers,
       if anything?


1.    What tribe is not included in the 603,550?

2.    Why was it not included?

3.    How many of this tribe were there?

Numbering the People
Judah 74,600           
Issachar 54,400           
Zebulun 57,400           
Reuben 46,500           
Simeon 59,300           
Gad 45,650           
Ephraim 40,500           
Manasseh 32,200           
Benjamin 35,400           
Dan 62,700           
Asher 41,500           
Naphtali 53,400           
TOTAL 603,550 603,550           

4.    Complete the table below, showing the population by family, in accordance with the
       numbers given in chapter 3.

Numbering the Levites
family number reference
Gershon 7,500           
Kohath 8,600           
Merari 6,200           
Total 22,300           

5.    Do these numbers appear to be rounded?

6.    Does the sum of the population of the three families equal the number given for the
       adult male population for the whole tribe of Levi in Numbers 3:39?

7.    What does this suggest about the Old Testament practice of rounding numbers, if anything?

8.    What number was used when the Levites were taken by God in place of the first-born
       sons of all Israel?

9.    When they numbered the firstborn males of all Israel, they included all those from what age up?

10.    How many first-born males of all Isreal, one month old and older, were there?

11.    How many of the first-born of Israel were redeemed with money, and what was the
       amount for each individual?


1.    What were the names of Levi's three sons?

2.    What incident is referred to in Numbers 3:4. Cite the passage where this incident is
       most fully described.

3.    What were the names of the sons of Kohath?

4.    Identify the Levitical family that was responsible for carrying each of the following:

        ark of testimony

        table of shewbread


        golden altar of insence

        altar of burnt offering

        curtains of the tabernacle

        hangings of the court

        boards and pillars of the tabernacle
5.    Before the Kohathites could carry the furnishings of the tabernacle, what did the priests
       have to do? Why?

6.    The Levites who served were those in what age bracket?

4.    Complete the table below, showing the population by family of male Levites who were
       between 30 and 50 years of age.

the Levites, age 30 - 50
family number reference
Gershon 2,630           
Kohath 2,750           
Merari 3,200           
Total 8,580

Lesson 2      Defilement, Restitution, The Adultery Test

        READ Numbers 5


1.    Who was to be sent away from the camp?

2.    What was the purpose in sending them away?

3.    What was the potential defilement? Consider the following sources of defilement and
        passages where these are discussed: leprosy (Lev 13:9-17, 45-46), discharge (Lev 15:2,25),
       corpse (Nu 6:12).

4.    Notice the things that would prevent a priest from eating "of the holy gifts" (Lev. 22:1-7).

5.    Consider the following:

In the Old Testament, defilement was not merely a matter of unhealthy practices, nor did it pertain solely to moral impurity, nor was it merely ceremonial. Rather, defilement could involve any, or all of these things. By means of the outward aspects of defilement, God was teaching his people, and mankind, a lesson concerning inward defilement.

    Do you agree, or disagree?


1.    Numbers 5:5ff takes up the case where one sins against "mankind," and yet the one
       who does so is said to have acted unfaithfully against whom?

2.    Compare Leviticus 6:1-5. This passage speaks of one who "acts unfaithfully against
       the LORD" by doing what to whom?

3.    Is a sin against my neighbor always a sin against the LORD? See also 1 John 4:20-5:2.

4.    In Numbers 5:6-7 (see also Lev. 6:4-5), was the required restitution determined on a
       one to one basis?

5.    Was restitution all that was required of the offender? (See Numbers 5:8 and Leviticus 6:5-7)

6.    If one has corrected his sin insofar as his offended neighbor is concerned, does that
       mean that things are right with God?

7.    If I sin against my neighbor, and my neighbor chooses to take no offense, does that
       mean things are right between me and God?

8.    If my brother sins against me, should I be concerned about more than the disruption in
       the relationship between him and me? (Mt 18:15, Gal 6:1, James 5:19-20)
       Do I do him a favor by pretending that he didn't wrong me?


1.    In what circumstance was this test used?

2.    To whom was the man to bring his wife?

3.    The offering which the husband would bring was to be of barley. What do you know
       about the relative value of barley in the Old Testament? (2 Ki 7:1, 1 Ki 4:28).

4.    Compare this offering with that described in Lev. 2:1-2. What differences do you notice.
       Then note that these differences are explained by the phrase, "for it is a grain offering of
       jealousy, a grain offering of a memorial a reminder of iniquity." Any thoughts?

5.    Where would the priest get "holy water"?

6.    What went into the water? What connotation does dust have? (Gen 3:14, Micah 7:17,
       Is. 49:23)

7.    What do you note about the woman's hair, and just as a matter of interest, what
       implications do you see regarding the typical manner in which women of ancient
       Israel wore their hair?

8.    What was to be in the woman's hands?

9.    What oath did was the woman to take?

10.    How was it that the internalizing of this oath was symbolized?

11.    If the woman had indeed committed adultery, what consequences would follow?

12.    If the woman had not committed adultery, what would be the outcome?

Lesson 3      The Nazirite Vow

        READ Numbers 6


1.    Was the Nazirite vow unique to one gender or the other?

2.    All of the foodstuffs from which the Nazirite was to abstain were of what category?

3.    During the days of his vow, what was the Nazirite not to do with respect to his hair?

4.    In the event of the untimely death of a family member, what restriction did the Nazirite have?

5.    At the end of his days of separation, that is, the days of his vow, the Nazirite was to
       come with his offering to what place?

6.    Which of the following things were to be offered to God on this occasion?
        year old male lamb
        red heifer
        year old ewe lamb
        5 shekels
        unleavened cakes made of flour and oil
        unleavened wafers spread with oil
        year old bullock
        grain offering
        the hair shaved from his head

7.    What indication is there that an individual might vow to something in addition to the prescribed

8.    Describe the peace offering (Numbers 6:17-20). Read Leviticus 7:28-34 and determine
       whether or not the peace offering of the Nazirite was a typical peace offering, such as
       would be made by any Israelite.

9.    Again referring to Leviticus 7:28-34, and also considering 1 Cor. 10:14-18, be prepared
       to discuss the significance of the designation "peace offering."

10.    Was the Nazirite vow taken voluntarily? What verse supports your answer?


1.    The circumstance wherein a Nazirite might inadvertently become defiled is considered.
       Describe that circumstance.

2.    On the 7th day after such inadvertent defilement, the Nazirite was to shave his head.
       What was significant about the 7th day after the defilement?

3.    After providing two turtledoves or two young pigeons for a sin offering and a burnt offering
       on the eight day, the one who had inadvertently been defiled was to do what, with respect
       to his head?

4.    In the case where a Nazirite had inadvertently become defiled, what days were to finally
       be recognized as dedicated to the LORD?

5.    The heading of this section refers to "starting over." Can you explain why?

6.    Now that you have studied this passage, in your own words, explain why the Nazirite
       was not to cut his hair.


1.    Was there such a thing as a perpetual Nazirite, that is one who was to be a Nazirite
        for all his life? (Judges 13:2-7)

2.    Explain why Samuel is thought to have been a perpetual Nazirite (1 Samuel 1:11, 28)

3.    Explain why John the Baptist is thought to have been a perpetual Nazirite (Luke 1:8-17, 7:33)

3.    Jesus was not a Nazirite, but a _______________ (Mt. 2:23). What does this mean?


1.    Read Acts 18:18. What evidence is there that Paul took a Nazirite vow?

2.    Read Acts 21:17-26. Do you see evidence of a Nazirite vow in this passage? If so,
       who took it? Also, who covered the cost of the vow, and why?

3.    Discuss the implications of Acts 21:17-26 in connection with such passages as
       Matthew 5:17f, Colossians 2:13-17, and Hebrews 8:13.

Lesson 4      Special Offerings of the Leaders, Levites Cleansed and Offered, Passover, the Cloud

        READ Numbers 7:1 - 10:10


1.    There is an offering described in the first nine verses of chapter seven. Rather than a
       burnt offering, what sort of offering was it?

2.    The carts were distributed to the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari. In view of
       the respective responsibilities of the the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari (see
       lesson 1, "DUTIES OF THE LEVITES," question 4), does it make sense that the sons
       of Merari were given the majority of the carts? Why were none of the carts given to
       the Kohathites?

3.    "Shekel" is a measure of which of the following:

    a.    value
    b.    volume
    c.    weight
    d.    distance

4.    There is a reference to the "shekel of the sanctuary." Was this a different shekel than
       other shekels mentioned in the Old Testament?

5.    Over a period of 12 days, a leader from each tribe came to present an offering for the
       dedication of the altar. Were the offerings given by any of the leaders different from
       what was given by the others?


1.    In the context, when you read the word "Levites," does this include the priests (Aaron
       and his sons) or not? Give scripture to support your answer.

2.    Describe the procedure for cleansing the Levites.

3.    The Levites were then to be offered to the LORD as what kind of an offering?

4.    Describe the offering whereby atonement was made for the Levites.

5.    Again, it is said the Levites are taken by God in place of whom?

6.    And again, reference is made back to what incident in Egypt?

7.    A Levite could was to begin service at what age?

8.    At what age was a Levite to retire?


1.    When the anniversary of the Passover came, God told Moses that Israel was to
       observe it as he had instructed. However, some where unable to participate for what

2.    When these men questioned their being excluded, what did Moses say he would do?

3.    And what was God's response? Specifically, when were these men to observe the Passover?

4.    Who was eligible to observe the Passover at the later time?


1.    What passage in Exodus describes the same things as are described in Numbers 9:15ff?

2.    What was over the tabernacle during the day, and what was over the tabernacle at night?

3.    By what means did God indicate when Israel should stay where they camped and
       when they should move?

4.    For how long might the Israelites stay in one place?


1.    What did it mean if only one trumpet was blown?

2.    What did it mean if two trumpets were blown?

3.    What was to happen when an alarm was first sounded?

4.    What was to happen when the alarm was sounded the second time?

5.    Notice Numbers 10:9 and compare 1 Cor. 14:8.

Lesson 5      The people set out from Sinai, Moses' invitation to Hobab, Unfaithfulness

        READ Numbers 10:11 - 11:35


1.    Chapter 10, verse eleven, marks the time as being "in the second year, in the second
       month, on the twentieth of the month." From when is this reckoned?

2.    Notice how verses 10-12 serve to as the short version of what is subsequently
       described in more detail. Often in the Old Testament, one will find a short version of
       events, maybe just a single verse, serving as either a preface or a conclusion to a more
       detailed account. The section that is summarized begins in 10:13 and continues to
       what chapter and verse?

3.    In 10:13, the NASB has, "So they moved out for the first time...," while the ASV and
       the KJV have "And they first took their journey...." What is the significance of this

4.    In chapter 10, verses 14 through 28 mention each tribe and its leader as the people set
       out, tribe by tribe. Are the leaders mentioned here the same men as those mentioned in
       chapter seven, where the leader of each tribe brought an offering for the dedication of
       the altar?

5.    Which two of the following correctly describes the order in which the people set out?

    a.    Judah, ark of the covenant, Benjamin, tabernacle frame and coverings,
            furnishings, Ephraim, Manasseh, Dan, Asher, Naphtali

    b.    Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, tabernacle coverings, Reuben, furnishings, tabernacle
            frame, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Naphtali

    c.    Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, tabernacle frame and coverings, Reuben, Simeon,
            Gad, furnishings, Ephraim, Manasseh, Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Naphtali

    d.    Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, tabernacle coverings, furnishings, Ephraim, Manasseh,
            Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Naphtali

    e.    Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, two families of the three families of the Levites,
            Reuben, Simeon, Gad, the third family of the Levites, Ephraim, Manasseh,
            Benjamin, Dan, Asher, Naphtali

6.    What purpose was there in having the Gershonites and the Merarites set out well in
       advance of the Kohathites? Cite the verse which gives an answer to this question.

7.    For the most part, were the tribes embarking one by one, or three by three?

8.    What particular responsibility did the tribe of Dan have?

9.    In relation to the rest of the people, where were the priests who carried the ark?

10.    How many days did the people journey on this first march?


1.    Who was Hobab?

2.    According to Exodus 3:1, what was the name of Moses' father-in-law? Compare this
       with the name given in Exodus 2:18. See also Exodus 4:18, 18:12, Numbers 10:29 and
       Judges 4:11.

3.    After Hobab first declined Moses' invitation, Moses explained how Hobab could be
       useful to the Israelites. Explain how that was, and why that was. (Remember where
       Moses was when he saw the burning bush while tending the sheep of his father-in-law.)


1.    In chapter 11, verses 1-3, when the people complained what happened?

2.    What sort of people complained about the lack of meat?

        a.    The Hebrew word used in 11:4, translated "rabble" in the NASB and "mixed
               multitude" in the KJV, is also used in Exodus 12:38. Read Exodus 12:37-38 to
               gain insight into the identity of these people.

        b.    What motivated their complaint?

3.    Was the complaining limited to these of the "mixed multitude"?

4.    Sometimes, when English translations refer to "meat," they mean food in general. In
       other cases, they mean "flesh". Which is meant in this passage?

5.    Comment on the recollection of life in Egypt. (Numbers 11:5, cf. Ex. 1:11-14, 2:23,
       3:7-9, 5:4-19.)

6.    Was there stress associated with serving God and leading His people?

7.    The LORD saw fit to give Moses some help. He also saw fit to give the people meat.
       He said they would eat meat until what would happen?

8.    What aspect of Moses' character is seen in 11:26-30?

9.    How did God provide meat, why did many of the people die?

10.    Find the passage in the Psalm 78 that refers to the events of this chapter.

11.    IMPORTANT LESSON: According to these verses in Psalm 78, what was the
       fundamental failing of the Israelites?

12.    Find the passage in Psalm 106 that refers to the events of this chapter.

13.    Find the verse in 1 Corinthians 10 that refers to the events of this chapter.

Lesson 6      Miriam and Aaron Feel Slighted

        READ Numbers 12

1.    Who spoke out against Moses, and on what grounds?

2.    Was this Moses' first wife?

3.    Where was Cush?

4.    See Exodus 34:12-16 and 1 Kings 11:1-2. Was it wrong for Moses to marry a
       Cushite? Explain.

5.    Miriam and Aaron complained about the Cushite woman, but what seems to have been
       the real sore spot with Moses' siblings? Consider not only what
       they said, but also that to which the LORD responded.

6.    Why does the text at this point tell us how humble Moses was?

7.    To the best of our knowledge, who wrote this statement about Moses' humility? What
       do you think about that? Define "humble," noting in particular how Jesus humbled
       himself (Philippians 2:5-8).

8.    What contrast do you see in verses six through eight?

9.    In what way was Miriam stricken?

Lesson 7      Twelve Spies, 40 years decreed

        READ Numbers 13-14

1.    Whose idea was it to send spies into the land of Canaan?

2.    Twelve spies were selected, one from each tribe. Each of the men was a "leader" (vs.
       2). They were "heads of the sons of Israel" (vs. 3). In any instance, was a man chosen
       to be a spy also a man who was designated as a leader of his tribe in chapter 2 and chapter 7?

3.    No one was selected from the tribe of Levi. Why not? Also, how could there be
       twelve tribes represented without a representative from Levi?

4.    What was the name of the spy selected from Judah?

5.    What was the name of the spy selected from Ephraim?

6.    What did Moses call this man? What did each of these names mean? What familiar
       New Testament character has the same name? (Hint, see Mt. 2:21)

7.    In verse 17, if your Bible uses the word "Negev" determine what this means. If your
       Bible does not use the word "Negev" determine what word in your Bible is so
       translated (transliterated) in other versions.

8.    At what time of year were the spies sent into the land?

9.    Verse 22 mentions the descendants of Anak. Joshua 11:22 mentions the Anakim. What
       is the relationship between these two words. What do you know about the Anakim?
       (Numbers 13:31-33, Deuteronomy 2:10-11; 9:1-2)

10.    What famous man was of the Rephaim, what did the Rephaim have in common with
       the Anakim? (Deuteronomy 3:11, 2:10-11)

11.    After Joshua destroyed the cities of the Anakim, those of them that were left settled in
       what cities?

12.    Later in history, what famous man would hail from one of these cities? (1 Samuel 17:4-7)

13.    After how many days did the spies return from their mission?

14.    What evidence did the bring of the land's fertility?

15.    In Numbers 13:29, Amalek, the Hittites, the Jebusites and the Amorites are all
       distinguished from the Canaanites. Is there a sense in which any or all of these peoples
       could be called Canaanites?

16.    Which of the spies were confidant that the Land could be taken?

17.    How many spies were fearful, and for what reason?

18.    On the whole, the people of Israel believed the spies who were fearful. What did the
       Israelites say about their wives and children?

19.    How did the people propose to escape their supposed doom?

20.    On what basis were Joshua and Caleb confident that the land of Canaan could be conquered?

21.    And what was the response of the people to Joshua and Caleb?

22.    Apparently, what event saved Joshua and Caleb?

23.    What did God propose to do?

24.    What reason did Moses give for not destroying the people "as one man"?

25.    God declared, "just as you have spoken in My hearing, so I will surely do to you."
       What did this mean?

26.    However, in contrast to the earlier words of the people, what did God say about their

27.    Why was the period wandering chosen to be 40 years?

28.    When the people realized and acknowledged their sin, how did some of them suppose
       they could fix things? And what was the result of their effort? What lesson do you
       learn from this?

Lesson 8      Laws for Canaan, Sabbath Violation, Tassels, Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Aaron's Rod

        READ Numbers 15-17


1.    With respect to the burnt offerings and the offerings made in connection with special
       vows, was there to be a difference in how the Israelite and the sojourner would make
       their offerings? What is the significance of Numbers 15:16?

2.    Were offerings required in the event of unintentional sin?

3.    With regard to this circumstance, was there a different requirement for the Israelite and
       the sojourner?

4.    What was the difference in the law concerning the one who sinned unintentionally,
       and the one who sinned willfully? Compare Hebrews 10:26.


1.    In what way did one of the Israelites violate the fourth commandment?

2.    Why was he taken into custody?

3.    Who declared that this man should be put to death?


1.    What purpose were the tassels to serve?

2.    For how long was this practice to be carried out?

3.    Explain the phrase, "and not follow after your own heart and your own eyes, after
       which you played the harlot."

4.    What was wrong with the practice which Jesus mentioned in Matthew 23:5, which had
       apparently grown out of this Old Testament practice?


1.    Korah was of what tribe?

2.    Of what tribe were Dathan, Abiram, and On? (Numbers 16:1, compare 26:5-9,
       Deuteronomy 11:6. ) What did they seek? (Note Numbers 16:10.)

3.    How many of the Israelites allied themselves with these men?

4.    These men argued that "All the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the
       LORD is in their midst." Was this true? Comment on how the fact that these men
       thought this argument was valid suggests something about their own understanding of
       God's expectations.

5.    In verses 8-11, is Moses addressing the priests?

6.    Explain what is meant by, "do the service of the tabernacle of the LORD" (16:9).

7.    What attitude should a Levite have had about doing "the service of the LORD"?

8.    How did Dathan and Abiram respond when Moses called for them?

9.    What did Dathan and Abiram accuse Moses of doing?

10.    Why did they ask, "Would you put out the eyes of these men?"

11.    God warned the congregation to get away from what?

12.    Put verse Numbers 16:29 in your own words.

13.    What became of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram and their families?

14.    What became of their 250 followers?

15.    What became of the censers that had belonged all these men?

16.    How did the congregation react to the deaths of these men?

17.    The plague that came upon the people due to their grumbling was stopped when Aaron
       did what?

18.    How many were killed in this plague?

19.    After all of this, there is a sign from God intended to settle the issue of who would
       serve as priests. Describe this sign.

20.    What was done with Aaron's rod? (Numbers 17:10, cf. Hebrews 9:4)

Lesson 9      Portion due the Priests and the Levites, Ordinance of the Red Heifer

        READ Numbers 18-19


1.    Aaron, his sons, and his father's household would bear the guilt of the sanctuary, and
       Aaron and his sons would bear the guilt of the priesthood. What does "bear the
       guilt" mean?

2.    What is meant by "stranger," or "outsider," in 18:4 and 18:7?

3.    The grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings, the wave offerings and oil, wine,
       and ripe fruits that were offered, were all given to Aaron and his sons. Practically
       speaking, of what value were these to Aaron and his sons? (I'm looking for the obvious answer, here.)

4.    Every firstborn offspring, whether man or beast, also belonged to Aaron and his sons.
       Practically speaking, of what value were these?

5.    What does "redeem" mean?

6.    What firstborn animals were not redeemed?

7.    What does "tithe" mean?

8.    Who benefitted from the tithe of all Israel?

9.    Did the Levites also have to give a tenth, and if so, a tenth of what?


1.    Describe the process of burning the heifer and obtaining the ashes. Note how many
       men were involved in the process.

2.    For what would the ashes be used? (19:9, 14-19)

3.    There is a passage in the book of Haggai that poses a question we need to consider:
       "If a man carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches bread with this
       fold, or cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?" (Haggai
       2:12). Conversely, verse 13 asks, "If one who is unclean from a corpse touches
       any of these, will the latter become unclean?" In other words, does some good make
       acceptable what is evil? Or, on the other hand, does some of what is evil, make
       useless what is good? Discuss these questions in light of Numbers 19:14-22, and
       consider the following modern day aphorism:

"There is good in all churches"

Lesson 10      Beginning of the 40th Year, Miriam's Death, Moses and Aaron Rebel, Edom's rebuff, Aaron's Death

        READ Numbers 20


1.    Do the events described in chapter 20, verses 1-14 seem to follow one another in close
       succession? (Is this always as it seems?)

    a.    Where were the Israelites as of 20:1?

    b.    Where were the Israelites as of 20:14?

    c.    Had the Israelites ever been at this place before the time of Numbers 20? (cf. 13:26)

    d.    Explain how the phrase "come full circle" is applicable here.

2.    In what year did Aaron die? (33:38)

3.    The reference to the month (20:1) without indicating the year is unusual in contexts
       where the year is not known. This suggests the reader is expected to know what year
       it was. If so, what year was it?


1.    By way of review, cite recorded incidents involving Miriam.

2.    What can you say regarding Miriam's age at the time of her death?


1.    In addition to the present text, read Numbers 27:12-14, Deuteronomy 32:48-52, and
       Psalm 106:32-33.

2.    What passage justifies the wording of the heading for this section of the lesson?

3.    By whose authority did Moses take the rod?

4.    When was this rod last mentioned prior to the present text?

5.    From where did Moses retrieve the rod?

6.    According to the 106th Psalm, what was it that Moses did wrong on this occasion?

7.    Who else, besides Moses, was faulted?

8.    To the best of your understanding, what was it that Moses and Aaron did wrong?

9.    What penalty was pronounced as a result of this breach of faith, and upon whom was
       it pronounced?


1.    In Moses' message to the king of Edom, to what hardship (KJV: "travail") did Moses refer?

2.    Why did Moses say, "your brother Israel..."? What was the historical relationship
       between Edom and Israel? (Gen 25:19-26; 32:24-28; 36:8-9, 40-43; Deuteronomy 2:8;
       Malachi 1:1-3; Obadiah 1-10)

3.    How would you describe Moses' message to the King of Edom? Was it belligerent,
       presumptuous, threatening, conciliatory, or what? Explain.

4.    What was Edom's response? For another account of this, read Judges 11:12-18.

5.    Comment on Moses' description of this incident in Deuteronomy 2:29.


1.    Where did Aaron die?

2.    Aaron's garments were put upon whom?

Lesson 11      War with the King of Arad, The Bronze Serpent, its Messianic Significance, its Misuse

        READ Numbers 21


1.    If the translation you use says "Negev" in verse one, find outwhat that means.

2.    Bywhat way were the Israelites coming?

3.    What was Israel's reaction when some of there people were taken captive?

4.    What did "Hormah" mean, and why was it so named?

5.    Remember that we saw Hormah mentioned earlier, in Numbers 14:45. Explain how it
       could have been mentioned in Numbers 14:45 and yet its name came from events
       described in Numbers 21. Compare similar phenomenon concerning "Bethel" in
       Genesis 12:8 and 28:19. (Hint: who wrote these accounts and when?)


1.    What was the complaint of the people this time?

2.    What was the consequence of the complaining this time?

3.    What was the people's response to the consequence this time?

4.    Was a different scenario than in the cases of Numbers 16?

5.    What did the Lord tell Moses to make?

6.    In order to be saved from the bite of the serpents, what were the people to do?


1.    Read John 3:14. Who is compared to the bronze serpent?

2.    What Messianic significance can you see in....

    a.    in the fact that the thing that saved the people was the very likeness of the thing that afflicted them?

    b.    in the fact that the Isrealites were being saved from death?

3.    What does this parallel suggest. Was it merely happenstance, or were the events of Numbers 21:4-9 designed by God to have Messianic significance? HOW DO YOU KNOW?


1.    King Hezekiah's reforms in Judah are described in 2 Kings 18. About how many years passed between the events of Numbers 21 and the events of 2 Kings 18?

2.    The high places, the sacred pillars, and the Asherah were all examples of what?

3.    Along with these, Hezekiah destroyed something Moses had made. What was it?

4.    Why did Hezekiah destroy this?

5.    Was Hezekiah right in destroying this?

Lesson 12      Balaam's prophecies, Sin at Peor

        READ Numbers 22-25, 31

1.    Israel camped in the plains of what land?

2.    According to Numbers 22:3, who was in great fear because of the people?

3.    Who was the son of Lot's oldest daughter, and what people descended from him? (Genesis 19:37)

4.    What other country was involved with Moab in the effort to withstand Israel?

5.    What was the name of the man that the elders of Moab and the elders of Midian wanted to hire?

6.    What did they want this man to do?

7.    What did God first tell this man that his response should be?

8.    When the messengers returned to Balak, having failed in their mission, Balak sent a second entourage, "more numerous and more distinguished than the former." Had the request Balak made of Balaam changed since the first group came?

9.    Had God already told Balaam the appropriate answer to the request? Why do you think Balaam asked the second group of messengers to spend the night and await further communication from God?

10.    What did God say this time? (22:21)

11.    Was God pleased that Balaam went? (22:22)

12.    If this seems confusing, assume that there must be a piece of the story you don't know. Read Numbers 25:1-18, and Numbers 31:1-20 (making particular note of verse 16), 2 Peter 2:15-16, Revelation 2:14, and answer the following questions:

    a.    Why did the angel of the LORD come out as an adversary against Balaam? (Numbers 22:32)

    b.    Did Balaam work to bring about the downfall of God's people? (Cite two references in support of your answer.)

    c.    Was Balaam motivated by greed?
    d.    With all this in mind, what do you think was Balaam's reason for asking Balak's second group of messengers to stay the night and await further word from the Lord?

    e.    What do you think Balaam had in mind when he departed for Moab?

13.    Did the incident with the angel and the donkey have an effect on Balaam?             Did it altogether cause Balaam to cease his attempts to satisfy Balak's request?

14.    In the space below, paraphrase Numbers 23:7-10.

15.    What was Balak's reaction to the words of Balaam recorded in Numbers 23:7-10?

16.    Balak took Balaam to another place from which Balaam could view Israel and asked him to try again to curse them. Give the essence of Balaam's words.

17.    What was Balak's reaction to Balaam's second utterance?

18.    Numbers 24:3-9 is a record of Balaam's third utterance concerning Israel. Compare the three utterances and describe any progression of thought that you see.

19.    Did Balaam speak by inspiration?

20.    Again, read Numbers 25:1-9. How did Moab finally bring great trouble for Israel?

21.    Who had advised this method of harming Israel?

22.    Who was Phinehas, what did he do, and was God pleased with Phinehas' action?

Lesson 13      Numbering the People Again, the Inheritance of Zelophehad, Joshua to Succeed Moses, Various Offerings

        READ Numbers 26 - 30


Numbers 2 Numbers 26 Increase/(Decrease)
Reuben 46,500 43,730 (2,770)
Simeon 59,300 22,200 (37,100)
Gad 45,650 40,500 (5,150)
Judah 74,600 76,500 1,900
Issachar 54,400 64,300 9,900
Zebulun 57,400 60,500 3,100
Manasseh 32,200 52,700 20,500
Ephraim 40,500 32,500 (8,000)
Benjamin 35,400 45,600 10,200
Dan 62,700 64,400 1,700
Asher 41,500 53,400 11,900
Naphtali 53,400 45,400 (8,000)
TOTAL 603,550 601,730 (1,820)
Levi 22,000 23,000 1,000

1.    The table above provides a comparison between the population when the tribes were numbered at the beginning of the 40 years (Numbers 2) and the population when the tribes were numbered at the end of the 40 years (Numbers 26). Overall, is there a decrease or an increase in the population?

2.    Does this surprise you? Why or why not?

3.    When you look at the change for each individual tribe, did most tribes have an increase, or a decrease?

4.    Does this surprise you? Why or why not?

5.    Which tribe stands out as having an unusually large decrease in population?

6.    Who was Jochebed? According to Numbers 26:9, who was Jochebed's father?

7.    Is this consistent with Exodus 6:16-20?

8.    This time, in Numbers 26, there is significance to the order in which the tribes are named. See Numbers 2 and look for the geographical groupings. Which group (north, east, south, west) is mentioned first, second, third, and fourth, respectively?


1.    Numbers 27:1-11 mentions a man named Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh, who had died in the wilderness having had no sons. What did his daughters request?

2.    What stipulation did God make about selling property (Leviticus 25:23)?

3.    Land that was sold was to be returned to the seller at what time? (Leviticus 25:23-28).

4.    At the end of the book of Numbers, we are told of a concern that arose among the tribe of Manasseh with respect to Zelophehad's portion of the land allotted to Manasseh. If his daughters were to receive his portion, and if they should then marry into other tribes, there was a danger that this land that was part of Manasseh's allotment would be transferred to another tribe. The concern was that, at the time of Jubilee, the land would be sold back to the tribe into which one of Zelophehad's daughters had married. What transaction is assumed to take place between the time the land is inherited by the daughter, and the time the land might be sold back to the tribe of her husband?


1.    According to Numbers 27:12, from what vantage point was Moses to view the land? Compare this passage with Numbers 33:47, and give the name of the mountain from which Moses was to view the land.

2.    After viewing the land, what was to happen to Moses, and why?

3.    Was Moses attitude one of bitterness? What request does Moses make that provides a basis for your answer?

4.    Who would inquire of the LORD for Joshua, and by what means?


1.    Correlate the sections of Numbers 28-29, wherein various offerings are discussed, with the list of offerings found in 1 Chronicles 23:30-31.

2.    Correlate the sections of Numbers 28-29, wherein various offerings are discussed, with the list of offerings found in 2 Chronicles 31:3.

3.    Correlate the sections of Numbers 28-29, wherein various offerings are discussed, with the list of offerings found in Numbers 10:33.

4.    Correlate the sections of Numbers 28-29, wherein various offerings are discussed, with the list of offerings found in Colossians 2:16.

5.    Necessarily, what kind of Sabbath is meant in Colossians 2:16, a weekly Sabbath, or some other kind?

Lesson 14    

READ Numbers 26 - 36

Most of the words in this crossword puzzle can be found in Numbers 31-36. Use the clues below to help you solve the puzzle.

Click Here for Solution
1.    While Israel camped in the plains of Moab, across from Jericho, two tribes indicated that they did not wish to cross over the ____________ into Canaan. Instead, they wanted to settle where they were.

6.    Aaron's _________ is given in chapter 33.

7.    When the Israelites entered Canaan, they were to drive out all the inhabitants of the ______________.

10.    The land would be divided among the families of Israel by _______________.

11.    The inheritance desired by the sons of Reuben and the sons of Gad was __________ of the Jordan River.

13.    These two tribes were told they could have their request if they first armed themselves and assisted the rest of the tribes in driving out the inhabitants of the promised land. Moses told them that if they did not thus assist the other tribes, their ______ would find them out. (What did this mean?)

14.    Although, in general, the men who were twenty years old or older when they came out of Egypt died in the wilderness, there were two notable exceptions. One was the son of Jephunneh and the other was the son of __________.

16.    In dividing up the land of Israel, the Israelites were to provide cities for the Levites, rather than one geographical area for the whole tribe. Among the cities, six were to serve as places of _____________ for individuals who accidently cause someone's death.

19.    In Deuteronomy 10:8-9, it is said that, instead of a "portion or inheritance with his brothers," Levi's inheritance was the LORD. In part this consisted of having the responsibility to carry the _________.

21.    Numbers 27:1-11 mentions a man named Zelophehad, of the tribe of Manasseh, who had died in the wilderness having had no sons. His daughters petitioned Moses to allow that the inheritance of Zelophehad

be given to them. Moses was instructed by the LORD to grant this request. Then, at the end of the book of Numbers, we are told of a concern that arose among the tribe of Manasseh with respect to Zelophehad's portion of the land allotted to Manasseh. If his daughters were to receive his portion, and if they should then marry into other tribes, there was a danger that this land that was part of Manasseh's allotment would be transferred to another tribe. The critical time was the _______________, for at that time land that had been sold was to be returned (for a fair price) to the family that had sold it. Although this was intended to insure that land would not be transferred in perpetuity from one family to another, in this particular case, it seems that the concern was the marriage of a daughter of Zelophehad to a man of another tribe would cause the land in question would to revert to the other tribe every fifty years, even if it had at some time been sold. (See Numbers 27:1-11, 36:1-12, and Leviticus 25:8-17; 23-24.)

23.    Included in the land possessed by Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh was the land that had belonged to ___________, king of Bashan.

24.    In addition to the cities of refuge, the Levites were to be given _________-two cities.

25.    Although the inheritance of the land by family was to be determined by lot, the borders of the whole of the land were defined by the _________.


1.    Among the sons of Manasseh was a man named __________. He called the villages he possessed "Havvoth-jair".

2.    He was one of the kings whose land was possessed by the tribes that settled east of the Jordan. He is described elsewhere in the Old Testament as having had a bed, or couch, that measured 9 by 4 cubits (roughly 13½ by 6 feet), apparently due to his great stature. His name was _______.

3.    The tribe of ____________, descended from the oldest son of Jacob, desired to settle east of the Jordan River.

4.    ________ was the father of the man who would eventually succeed Moses.

5.    In the case of a murderer, or in the case of a man who has fled to a city of refuge after inadvertently killing someone, to accept a ransom payment and allow such an individual to go free is to allow the land to be defiled. This is so because ____________ pollutes the land. Can you explain this?

8.    In part, a city of refuge was to serve as a safe haven for one who had killed another, until such time as the congregation could hear the matter and judge between the manslayer and the blood avenger. In cases where the congregation determined the killing to have been unintentional, the congregation was to ___________ the manslayer from the hand of the blood avenger, and the manslayer was to live in the city of refuge.

12.    There were to be _________ cities of refuge on each side of the Jordan River.

15.    The manslayer who was granted refuge in a city of refuge was to remain there until the death of the high _________. If he ventured therefrom prematurely, the blood avenger could kill him with impunity.

17.    _______ was one of the tribes that settled east of the Jordan river.

18.    The Lord told Moses to take vengeance on the Midianites. (For what did Israel take vengeance?) Among the kings of Midian who were killed was __________, who had the same name as one of the men who held up Moses' hands in the battle against Amalek.

20.    Among those named in Numbers 31:8 as having been killed in the vengeance against Midian, the only one who was not a _________ was Balaam.

22.    ___________ and a half tribes settled east of the Jordan. Can you name them?