Numbers: This book is known in the Hebrew Bible as “in the wilderness” (this phrase occurs in the initial verse.) “In the wilderness” is a better description of the whole book than “Numbers.” The title in the English translation of the Bible comes from the census in the first chapters (counting the people, hence, numbers). However, the book’s main theme is life in the wilderness between the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of the Promised Land. The book of Numbers was written during the time of Moses by unknown author or authors, most likely scribal members of Moses’ staff.
The Book of Numbers can be outlined as follows:
· Numbers 1-10:10 Preparation to depart from the sacred mountain: Sinai.
· Numbers 10:11-12:16 Journey to the oasis at Kadesh
· Numbers 13 – 20 The stay at Kadesh
· Numbers 21 – 36 Failed attempts to enter the land of Canaan.
A vital lesson from this book is that the wilderness is a time for forming, shaping, and deepening of the people’s reliance on a relationship with their God. The writing prophets look back to this time in the wilderness as a time of close fellowship and deep communion with God.