Archive for the ‘Numbers’ Category


Numbers 36 Then the heads of the clans of Gilead—descendants of Makir, son of Manasseh, son of Joseph—came to Moses and the family leaders of Israel with a petition. They said, “Sir, the LORD instructed you to divide the land by sacred lot among the people of Israel. You were told by the LORD to give the grant of land owned by our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. But if they marry men from another tribe, their grants of land will go with them to the tribe into which they marry. In this way, the total area of our tribal land will be reduced. Then when the Year of Jubilee comes, their portion of land will be added to that of the new tribe, causing it to be lost forever to our ancestral tribe.” So Moses gave the Israelites this command from the LORD: “The claim of the men of the tribe of Joseph is legitimate. This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad: Let them marry anyone they like, as long as it is within their own ancestral tribe. None of the territorial land may pass from tribe to tribe, for all the land given to each tribe must remain within the tribe to which it was first allotted. The daughters throughout the tribes of Israel who are in line to inherit property must marry within their tribe, so that all the Israelites will keep their ancestral property. No grant of land may pass from one tribe to another; each tribe of Israel must keep its allotted portion of land.” The daughters of Zelophehad did as the LORD commanded Moses. Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah all married cousins on their father’s side. They married into the clans of Manasseh son of Joseph. Thus, their inheritance of land remained within their ancestral tribe.

The question asked by the sons of Joseph seem legitimate but was the answer appropriate because it restricted daughters of Israel to marry only within their clan? Is there fairness and equity in God’s ways and what might it speak to us today in our lives? (more…)

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Numbers 35 While Israel was camped beside the Jordan on the plains of Moab across from Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, “Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites from their property certain towns to live in, along with the surrounding pasturelands. These towns will be for the Levites to live in, and the surrounding lands will provide pasture for their cattle, flocks, and other livestock… “Six of the towns you give the Levites will be cities of refuge, where a person who has accidentally killed someone can flee for safety… “When you cross the Jordan into the land of Canaan, designate cities of refuge to which people can flee if they have killed someone accidentally. These cities will be places of protection from a dead person’s relatives who want to avenge the death. The slayer must not be put to death before being tried by the community… These cities are for the protection of Israelites, foreigners living among you, and traveling merchants. Anyone who accidentally kills someone may flee there for safety… The community must protect the slayer from the avenger and must escort the slayer back to live in the city of refuge to which he fled. There he must remain until the death of the high priest, who was anointed with the sacred oil… “All murderers must be put to death, but only if evidence is presented by more than one witness. No one may be put to death on the testimony of only one witness. Also, you must never accept a ransom payment for the life of someone judged guilty of murder and subject to execution; murderers must always be put to death. And never accept a ransom payment from someone who has fled to a city of refuge, allowing a slayer to return to his property before the death of the high priest. This will ensure that the land where you live will not be polluted, for murder pollutes the land. And no sacrifice except the execution of the murderer can purify the land from murder. You must not defile the land where you live, for I live there myself. I am the Lord, who lives among the people of Israel.”

Why would a good and just God provide refuge to murderers and have all of Israel know that He has provided such an accommodation? What is behind all this provision for such grievous sin and how does it related to us today? (more…)


Numbers 34 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Give these instructions to the Israelites: When you come into the land of Canaan, which I am giving you as your special possession, these will be the boundaries… Then Moses told the Israelites, “This territory is the homeland you are to divide among yourselves by sacred lot. The Lord has commanded that the land be divided among the nine and a half remaining tribes. The families of the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh have already received their grants of land on the east side of the Jordan River, across from Jericho toward the sunrise.” And the Lord said to Moses, “Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun are the men designated to divide the grants of land among the people. Enlist one leader from each tribe to help them with the task.

The saying ‘never count your chickens before they hatch’ certainly did not matter to this nation that stood at the extremities of the land they were about to divide. This whole division was to take place before they even conquered the land and instead of God choosing military leaders, He chose was who would divide the land in each tribe. What is God speaking to us today through this mysterious story? (more…)


Numbers 33 While they were camped near the Jordan River on the plains of Moab opposite Jericho, the Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: When you cross the Jordan River into the land of Canaan, you must drive out all the people living there. You must destroy all their carved and molten images and demolish all their pagan shrines. Take possession of the land and settle in it, because I have given it to you to occupy. You must distribute the land among the clans by sacred lot and in proportion to their size. A larger portion of land will be allotted to each of the larger clans, and a smaller portion will be allotted to each of the smaller clans. The decision of the sacred lot is final. In this way, the portions of land will be divided among your ancestral tribes. But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. And I will do to you what I had planned to do to them.”

Reading the whole chapter gives us a sense of how long and tiresome this journey was that the Israelites were made to undertake over 40 years and now these instructions on how they were to deal with Jericho and its residents seems a bit harsh, don’t you think? What is God intending in this and how is this speaking into our lives today? (more…)


Numbers 31 (NLT) Then the Lord said to Moses, “On behalf of the people of Israel, take revenge on the Midianites for leading them into idolatry. After that, you will die and join your ancestors”… They attacked Midian as the Lord had commanded Moses, and they killed all the men. All five of the Midianite kings—Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba—died in the battle. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. Then the Israelite army captured the Midianite women and children and seized their cattle and flocks and all their wealth as plunder. They burned all the towns and villages where the Midianites had lived… But Moses was furious with all the generals and captains who had returned from the battle. “Why have you let all the women live?” he demanded. “These are the very ones who followed Balaam’s advice and caused the people of Israel to rebel against the Lord at Mount Peor. They are the ones who caused the plague to strike the Lord’s people. So kill all the boys and all the women who have had intercourse with a man. Only the young girls who are virgins may live; you may keep them for yourselves… “From the army’s portion, first give the Lord his share of the plunder—one of every 500 of the prisoners and of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, and goats. Give this share of the army’s half to Eleazar the priest as an offering to the Lord. From the half that belongs to the people of Israel, take one of every fifty of the prisoners and of the cattle, donkeys, sheep, goats, and other animals. Give this share to the Levites, who are in charge of maintaining the Lord’s Tabernacle.”

Some chapters of the Bible like today’s reading make us as Christians wish they were never recorded because it seems to show God in poor light. What is God speaking to us through this horrendous bloodshed He ordered and was it recorded incorrectly? (more…)

The Weight Of A Promise

Posted: Monday, December 5, 2011 in Numbers, Old Testament

Numbers 30 (NLT) Then Moses summoned the leaders of the tribes of Israel and told them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: A man who makes a vow to the Lord or makes a pledge under oath must never break it. He must do exactly what he said he would do. “If a young woman makes a vow to the Lord or a pledge under oath while she is still living at her father’s home, and her father hears of the vow or pledge and does not object to it, then all her vows and pledges will stand. But if her father refuses to let her fulfill the vow or pledge on the day he hears of it, then all her vows and pledges will become invalid. The Lord will forgive her because her father would not let her fulfill them. “Now suppose a young woman makes a vow or binds herself with an impulsive pledge and later marries. If her husband learns of her vow or pledge and does not object on the day he hears of it, her vows and pledges will stand. But if her husband refuses to accept her vow or impulsive pledge on the day he hears of it, he nullifies her commitments, and the Lord will forgive her… These are the regulations the Lord gave Moses concerning relationships between a man and his wife, and between a father and a young daughter who still lives at home.

With the many rituals God asked the Israelites to follow, this seems to be another one and it seems rather biased towards men. What is God speaking to us through this passage? (more…)


Numbers 29 (NLT) “On the first day of the seventh month hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. It is a day for you to sound the trumpets… On the tenth day of this seventh month hold a sacred assembly… On the fifteenth day of the seventh month, hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work. Celebrate a festival to the LORD for seven days… On the second day offer twelve young bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect… On the third day offer eleven bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect… On the fourth day offer ten bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect… On the fifth day offer nine bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect… On the sixth day offer eight bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect… On the seventh day offer seven bulls, two rams and fourteen male lambs a year old, all without defect… On the eighth day hold a closing special assembly and do no regular work. Present as an aroma pleasing to the LORD a food offering consisting of a burnt offering of one bull, one ram and seven male lambs a year old, all without defect.”

What is most staggering to me is the number of animals that were sacrificed and the rituals that were expected of the Israelites. How is God able to speak to us through all this bloodshed? (more…)