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The fourth book of the Pentateuch and of the Old Testament is designated as Numbers (Greek ἀριθμοί), according to the version of. the bible Greek Bible of the Seventy (LXX) and according to the Hebrew Bible it is called Bemidbar (Hebrew במדבר ) meaning. "in the desert" which follows the Jewish tradition of using the first word of the biblical text.

Numbers is the name that describes the two censuses carried out by the Israelites in the desert, the description of the number of chiefs and Jewish tribes, the number of people, the number of livestock for sacrifice, etc. On the other hand, the title Bemidbar further describes the theme of the book, narrating the events experienced by the Hebrew people during their wanderings in the desert before entering the Promised Land.

What does the book of Numbers relate?

The book of Numbers follows Leviticus and is the continuation of the story narrated in the book of Exodus, where the following is related what happened to the Hebrew people in the wildernessafter their departure from Egypt to Moab on the border with Canaan before entering God's Promised Land. This account covers a time span of 40 years, where Moses as leader, guides his people throughout the journey, being the mediator between God and the people as well as the organizer of the journey to Canaan, the land promised by God.

On the other hand, the book of Numbers teaches the difficulties of the Jews as a chosen nation in maintaining the faith and the trust in Godwithout doubting what the Lord wants and expects of them. This time was a hard test for the Hebrews who could not enter the promised land as punishment for their disobedience, rebellions and doubts that broke the Covenant made by God at Sinai.

Moses himself was no stranger to moments of doubt and disobedience, being punished by God for not being able to enter the promised land. It also shows a punishing God before the doubts, hesitations and mistakes of his people, a God who demands absolute fidelity but who also forgives and helps his nation in spite of their mistakes.

At Numbers the life of two generations after the exit of Egypt is described, the first one was the one that comes out of slavery and is liberated by a savior God by the hand of Moses, this generation is given the commandments and is asked for holiness and faith, but they sin and are punished by not being able to enter the land of Canaan. The second generation are the children of the first generation, they follow God's rules, trust in Him, fight for the promised land and inherit it for future generations.

It is traditionally accepted that Moses is the author of this bookThe Bible, like the other texts of the Pentateuch, studies of the Bible and its writings have shown evidence that indicates that it may have been written by several authors at different times. Numbers is a historical book with a great variety of literary styles mixing narrations with laws, poetry or rituals, to describe the journey of the Hebrew people in the desert.

Contents of the Numbers book

The book of Numbers begins with the preparations for continuing the march after receiving The Law or the Commandments at Mount Sinai. It then describes the events that took place during the journey to Moab, and ends with the decisions made by Moses so that Joshua can reach the promised land with the people.

This work can be divided into three sections according to geographic description and time:

  1. Nineteen days on Mount Sinai (1.1-10.10)
  2. Thirty-eight years of marching in the Cadés desert (10.11-21.35)
  3. Eleven months in the plains of Moab (22.1-36.13)

The first section relates to the departure after receiving the Commandments or the Decalogue at Mount Sinai. It describes the first census taken, the rules for camping and marching by the tabernacle and the presence of God among them.

The second partThe company's management is also responsible for the errors, the doubts and lack of faith in God of the people of Israel who is punished to wander in the wilderness for 38 years without entering the promised land.

In the third and last section The following is described in relation to the preparation of the new generation before entering the Promised Land and the second census is taken; Joshua is appointed as Moses' successor and the rules to be followed in conquering the land of Canaan were given.

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