The book of Numbers shows how God dealt faithfully with his people even though they were often unfaithful.  Numbers challenges God’s people to live righteous lives according to the lessons taught to us through the Bible.  The title “Numbers” is based on the two censuses presented in chapters 1 and 26 as well as references to the twelve tribes of Israel.  The Hebrew title of the book is “In the Wilderness”.  Tradition holds that the author of Numbers (and all of the Pentateuch) is Moses.

  1. Israel at Sinai, Preparing to Depart for the Promised Land (1:1—10:10)
    1. The Commands for the Census of the People (chs. 1–4)
      1. The numbers of men from each tribe mustered for war (ch. 1)
      2. The placement of the tribes around the tabernacle and their order for march (ch. 2)
      3. The placement of the Levites around the tabernacle, and the numbers of the Levites and the firstborn of Israel (ch. 3)
      4. The numbers of the Levites in their tabernacle service for the Lord (ch. 4)
    2. The Commands for Purity of the People (5:1—10:10)
      1. The test for purity in the law of jealousy (ch. 5)
      2. The Nazirite vow and the Aaronic benediction (ch. 6)
      3. The offerings of the 12 leaders at the dedication of the tabernacle (ch. 7)
      4. The setting up of the lamps and the separation of the Levites (ch. 8)
      5. The observance of the Passover (9:1–14)
      6. The covering cloud and the silver trumpets (9:15—10:10)
  2. The Journey from Sinai to Kadesh (10:11—12:16)
    1. The Beginning of the Journey (10:11–36)
    2. The Beginning of the Sorrows: Fire and Quail (ch. 11)
    3. The Opposition of Miriam and Aaron (ch. 12)
  3. Israel at Kadesh, the Delay Resulting from Rebellion (13:1—20:13)
    1. The 12 Spies and Their Mixed Report of the Good Land (ch. 13)
    2. The People’s Rebellion against God’s Commission, and Their Defeat (ch. 14)
    3. A Collection of Laws on Offerings, the Sabbath and Tassels on Garments (ch. 15)
    4. The Rebellion of Korah and His Allies (ch. 16)
    5. The Budding of Aaron’s Staff: A Sign for Rebels (ch. 17)
    6. Concerning Priests, Their Duties and Their Support (ch. 18)
    7. The Red Heifer and the Cleansing Water (ch. 19)
    8. The Sin of Moses (20:1–13)
  4. The Journey from Kadesh to the Plains of Moab (20:14—22:1)
    1. The Resistance of Edom (20:14–21)
    2. The Death of Aaron (20:22–29)
    3. The Destruction of Arad (21:1–3)
    4. The Bronze Snake (21:4–9)
    5. The Song of the Well and the Journey to Moab (21:10–20)
    6. The Defeat of Sihon and Og (21:21–35)
    7. Israel Returns to Moab (22:1)
  5. Israel on the Plains of Moab, in Anticipation of Taking the Promised Land (22:2—32:42)
    1. Balak of Moab Hires Balaam to Curse Israel (22:2–41)
    2. Balaam Blesses Israel in Seven Oracles (chs. 23–24)
    3. The Baal of Peor and Israel’s Apostasy (ch. 25)
    4. The Second Census (ch. 26)
    5. Instructions for the New Generation (chs. 27–30)
      1. The inheritance for women (27:1–11)
      2. The successor to Moses (27:12–23)
      3. Commands regarding offerings (28:1–15)
      4. Commands regarding festivals (28:16—29:40)
      5. Commands regarding vows (ch. 30)
    6. The War against Midian (ch. 31)
    7. The Settlement of the Transjordan Tribes (ch. 32)
  6. Appendixes Dealing with Various Matters (chs. 33–36)
    1. The Stages of the Journey (ch. 33)
    2. The Land of Inheritance (chs. 34–35)
    3. The Inheritance for Women (ch. 36)