The book derives its name from the fact that it records the enumeration of Israel. Historically, NUMBERS takes up the story where EXODUS left it, and is the book of the wilderness wanderings of the redeemed people consequent upon their failure to enter the land at Kadesh- barnea.
Typically, it is the book of service and walk, and thus completes, with the preceding books, a beautiful moral order: GENESIS, the book of the creation and fall; EXODUS, of redemption; LEVITICUS, of worship and fellowship; and NUMBERS, of that which should follow--service and walk.
It is important to see that nothing was left to self-will. Every servant was numbered, knew his place in the family, and had his own definitely assigned service. The N.T. parallel is 1 Cor. 12.
The second typical lesson is that, tested by wilderness circumstances, Israel utterly failed.
NUMBERS is in five chief divisions:
- The Order of the Host, 1:1-10:10
- From Sinai to Kadesh-barnea, 10:11-12:16,
- Israel at Kadesh-barnea, 13:1-19:22,
- The Wilderness Wanderings, 20:1-33:49,
- Closing Instructions, 33:50-36:13.
The events covered in NUMBERS cover a period of 39 years (Ussher).