The first reading from Numbers and the thirty-fourth reading the from “Bible Study in a year” begins with a census of the tribes of Israel and the Levitical families just prior to the departure from Sinai. We think of this as simply a census, but as Christians we need to understand that this is the counting of the birth of the church that we teach isn’t mentioned in the Old Testament! This is our example of being one community and one body! This is the model that we are to look like under the headship of our High Priest! This is the key to fixing ourselves first, then our households, communities and country and changing the future of our children’s generation!
The Hebrew name of the fourth book of the Pentateuch (also the name of the first reading) is “In the wilderness” or in Hebrew Bamidbar- (במדבר). It comes from the first words of the first verse, which say, “Then the LORD (translated from “YHVH”) spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai” (Numbers 1:1). The English title of the book is “Numbers,” which is derived from the Greek Septuagint (LXX) version of the Pentateuch. The book of Numbers tells the story of Israel’s trek through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, their failure at the edge of the land and the subsequent forty years of wandering. It concludes with the story of the second generation’s triumphs over the first Canaanite resistance. The book ends with the Israelites poised on the edge of Canaan, ready to take their inheritance. Woven in the midst of these narratives is a significant amount of legal material.
- Pentateuch: Numbers 1:1-4:20
- Prophets: Hosea 2:1-22
- Writings: 2 Kings 17
- Gospels: Luke 16:1-17:10, Matthew 3:1-2, Mark 1:8
- Letters: 1 Corinthians 12:12-31, Romans 9-11
- Acts: Acts 26
- Revelation: Revelation 7, 12 and 14
- Numbers 1:1 | The First Census of Israel
- Numbers 2:1 | The Order of Encampment and Marching
- Numbers 3:1 | The Sons of Aaron
- Numbers 3:5 | The Duties of the Levites
- Numbers 3:14 | A Census of the Levites
- Numbers 3:40 | The Redemption of the Firstborn
- Numbers 4:1 | The Kohathites
- Hos 2:2 | Israel’s Infidelity, Punishment, and Redemption
- 2 Kings 17 | The 12 Tribes are divided and dispersed
- Luke 16:1-17:10, Matthew 3:1-2, Mark 1:8| Baptism in the wilderness
- Acts 17 | Paul discusses with Agrippa regarding the 12 Tribes’ promises
- Romans 9-11 | The instructions are also for those grafted in to the 12 Tribes
- Revelation 7, 12, 14 | Commandments of God + Faith in Jesus
Old Testament resources for kids
For deeper learning
- Hebrew for Christians Alphabet
- Download Bible Study for Romans 9
- Download Bible Study for Romans 10
- Download Bible Study for Romans 11
Descriptive Images for This Week’s Bible Study
- The Patriarchs that make up the camps.
- The wilderness camp layout.
- The encampment compared to the 4 creatures and new Jerusalem.
- The encampment allotment in the promised land.
Questions: Why are only the men counted? Why are the Levites counted separately? Why are the tribes listed and grouped together in this way? Why is the total number repeated?