|New American Bible|
2002 11 11
IntraText - Text
Book of Numbers derives its name from the account of the two censuses of the
Hebrew people taken, one near the beginning and the other toward the end of the
journey in the desert (chapters 1 and 26). It continues the story of that
journey, begun in Exodus, and describes briefly the experiences of the
Israelites for a period of thirty-eight years, from the end of their encampment
at Sinai to their arrival at the border of the Promised Land. Numerous legal
ordinances are interspersed in the account, making the book a combination of
law and history.
The various events described clearly indicate the action of God, who punishes the murmuring of the people by prolonging their stay in the desert, at the same time preparing them by this discipline to be his witnesses among the nations.
In the New Testament Christ and the Apostles derive useful lessons from such events in the Book of Numbers as the brazen serpent (⇒ John 3:14, ⇒ 15), the sedition of Korah and its consequences (⇒ 1 Cor 10:10), the prophecies of Balaam (⇒ 2 Peter 2:15, ⇒ 16), and the water gushing from the rock (⇒ 1 Cor 10:4).
The chief divisions of the Book of Numbers are as follows: