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LESSON 1 DESERT JOURNEY STUDIES IN NUMBERS AND DEUTERONOMY

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May God richly bless you as you proceed.
Your Instructor
Harold Smith

Used by permission from R.E. Harlow. Everyday Publications Inc. 421 Nugget Avenue, Unit 2 Scarborough, ON, Canada M1S 4L8 Copyright 1974 by R. E. Harlow


LESSON 1: NUMBERS AND DEUTERONOMY

NUMBERS

1.   At Sinai - Chapters 1 -6
      The people of Israel were counted for the first time, Chapter 1
      Order for the camp and for the journey, Chapter 2
      The Levites, Chapter 3
      Instructions for moving the Tabernacle, Chapter 4
      God commanded the people to be holy, Chapter 5
      Nazirites, Chapter 6

2.    Sinai to Kadesh - Chapters 7 - 12
      The priests began to use the Tabernacle, Chapters 7, 8
      The journey to Kadesh, chapters 9 - 12
      The second Passover, 9.1-14
      The cloud, 9.15-23
      The silver trumpets, 10. 1 - 10
      The first part of the journey, 10.11-36
      The people of Israel complained against God, Chapter 11
Aaron and Miriam were jealous of Moses, Chapter 12

3.   Israel rebelled at Kadesh-barnea - Chapters 13-19
      Moses sent men to explore the land, Chapter 13
     The people of Israel rebelled against God, Chapter 14
     Rules for those who would enter the land, Chapter 15
     Korah rebelled against God, Chapter 16
     Aaron's stick sprouted leaves and flowers, Chapter 17
     The portion of the Levites, Chapter 18
     Water for religious purification, Chapter 19

4.  Kadesh to Canaan - Chapters 20- 25
      Back at Kadesh, Chapter 20
      Journeys and war, Chapter 21
      Balak called Balaam, Chapter 22
      Balaam's first prophecy, 23.1 - 12
      Balaam's second prophecy, 23.13-25
      Balaam's third prophecy, 23.26-24.9
      Balaam's fourth prophecy, 24.10-25
      Balaam's success, Chapter 25

5. Commands for Israel in the land of Canaan - Chapters 26 - 36
    The people of Israel were counted a second time, Chapter 26
    Women can own property, 27.1-11
    Joshua is appointed to take Moses' place, 27.12-23
    Sacrifices to be offered at certain times of the year, Chapters 28, 29
    Vows of women, Chapter 30
   The Midianites are punished, 31.1-20
    Things taken from the enemy after the battle, 31.21-54 The request of Reuben & Gad, Chapter 32
  Journeys from Egypt to Jordan, Chapter 33
   Borders of the land of Canaan, Chapter 34
 Cities of refuge, Chapter 35
  More about the daughters of Zelophehad, Chapter 36
What does the book of Numbers teach us?

LESSON 1:    DESERT JOURNEY - NUMBERS

AT SINAI

Numbers is the fourth book of the Bible. It comes after Exodus and Leviticus and before Deuteronomy and Joshua.

In Exodus, the Lord told Israel to keep the feast of the Passover, then He led them out of Egypt. At Mount Sinai God gave them His law, and told them to build the Tabernacle, the Tent of God.

In Leviticus God gave His people many more laws and rules while they were at Mount Sinai.

In Numbers 1-9, the people of Israel were still at Mount Sinai and they kept the second Passover feast there. This was one year after they left Egypt - And they kept the pass over on the fourteenth day of the first month at even in the wilderness of Sinai: according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did the children of Israel. Numbers 9:5 (King James Version). Then they travelled for 38 years through the desert and finally arrived at the edge of the land of Canaan.

Deuteronomy contains a record of what Moses said to the people of Israel, and in Joshua, God brought them into the land He had promised them.

Moses wrote the book of Numbers, - And Moses wrote their goings out according to their journeys by the commandment of the Lord: and these are their journeys according to their goings out. Numbers 33:2 (King James Version).

The Lord Jesus told about the snake of brass that Moses had put up on a pole, -  And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived. Numbers 21:9 (King James Version); and And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: John 3:14 (King James Version).

This shows that these things really happened and we can be sure the book of Numbers is the Word of God.

The fourth book of Moses is called NUMBERS because it tells us that the people of Israel were counted twice: before they started their journey through the desert, chapter 1, and again before they entered the land of Canaan, chapter 26.

In this book, we read about the journeys of the people of Israel from Mount Sinai to the border of the land of Canaan. When we come to the end of chapter 12, we see that the people had reached the desert of Paran at the southern border of the land and stayed for a while at Kadesh, - And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel, unto the wilderness of Paran, to Kadesh; and brought back word unto them, and unto all the congregation, and shewed them the fruit of the land. Numbers 13:26 (King James Version).

Moses then sent twelve men to see what the land was like, but the people refused to go in, chapter 14. God had promised to give the land of Canaan to the people of Israel, and He was angry with them when they did not believe that He would fulfil His promise. He punished them by making them walk around in the desert for 38 more years, - And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness. Numbers 14:33 (King James Version).

Finally, they returned again to Kadesh, - Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there. Numbers 20:1 (King James Version), and were ready to enter the land.

So we can divide the book of Numbers into three parts:

1.From Mount Sinai to Kadesh, chapters 1-12
2. From Kadesh through the desert and back to Kadesh, chp 13-19
3.  From Kadesh to Canaan, chapters 20-36

The people of Israel travelled part of the time and part of the time they wandered. These two things are not the same. It was God's will that Israel should travel through the desert to the land of Canaan, the land of promise.

In the book of Numbers God told them where the men of each tribe should put their tents in the camp, chapter 2, and in what order they should march through the desert, chapter 3. A cloud protected them day and night. God provided everything they needed. When they obeyed God, He helped them to overcome their enemies. When they disobeyed, God judged them and made them wander in the desert for 38 years. It was not easy to wander around like this. They did not try to get to any special place, and these hard years were completely wasted. They went from place to place, but got no nearer to the land, which God had promised to give them.

In the New Testament, Christians are called strangers and travellers, - Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 1 Peter 2:11 (King James Version).

As strangers, we are not at home in this world, but look forward to getting to our Father's house in heaven, - In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 (King James Version).

As travellers, we know where we want to go. It is never God's will for His people to live without any definite purpose or aim.

We have already seen that Numbers is the fourth book in the Bible. In the Scriptures, four is the number, which speaks of this world. In Genesis, we read about the beginning of everything and in Exodus, we see that the people of God were delivered out of Egypt. In Leviticus, we see how they should worship God and in Numbers, how they travelled through this world.

FROM SINAI TO KADESH, Numbers chapters 1-12

What do we read about in the first part of Numbers, chapters 1-12?

The people were numbered or counted for the first time, Chapter 1.
God told them how the different tribes should travel, Chapters 2-4.
Rules for special offerings, Chapters 5,6.
Aaron and the Levites begin their service in the Tabernacle, chapters 7, 8.
The people went to Kadesh-barnea, chapters 9-12.
The people of Israel were counted the first time, Chapter 9-12.

One whole year and one month had passed since the people of Israel had left Egypt. On the first day of the second month, God told Moses to count how many soldiers there were among them. He wanted one man from each tribe, the leader of the tribe, to help Moses in this work, - And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies. And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers. And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur. Of Simeon; Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. Of Judah; Nahshon the son of Amminadab. Of Issachar; Nethaneel the son of Zuar. Of Zebulun; Eliab the son of Helon. Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim; Elishama the son of Ammihud: of Manasseh; Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.  Of Benjamin; Abidan the son of Gideoni. Of Dan; Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. 13 Of Asher; Pagiel the son of Ocran. Of Gad; Eliasaph the son of Deuel. Of Naphtali; Ahira the son of Enan. 16 These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel. Numbers 1:1-16 (King James Version).

On the very same day, Moses and these leaders called all the people together and counted the soldiers among them, - And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:  And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls. As the Lord commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai. And the children of Reuben, Israel's eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Reuben, were forty and six thousand and five hundred. Of the children of Simeon, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred. Of the children of Gad, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty. Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred. Of the children of Issachar, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred. Of the children of Zebulun, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred. Of the children of Joseph, namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred. Of the children of Manasseh, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred. Of the children of Benjamin, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred. Of the children of Dan, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Dan, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred. Of the children of Asher, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred. Of the children of Naphtali, throughout their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war; Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred. These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers. So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel; Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty. But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them. Numbers 1:17-47 (King James Version).

They had to be at least 20 years old and be able to go to war. Jacob (Israel) had twelve sons, but in this chapter, the Levites were not counted, and the two sons of Joseph were counted as two different tribes. in Chapter 2, we will see the names of the chiefs of the different tribes and the number of soldiers in each tribe:
 


tribe

chief

soldiers

reuben

elizur, son of cheater

46,000

simeon

shelumiel, son of zurishaddai

59,300

judah

nahshon, son of amminadab

74,600

issahar

nethaneel, son of zuar

54,400

zebulun

eliab, son of helon

57,400

ephraim

elishama, son of ammihud

40,500

manasseh

gamaliel, son of pedahzur

32,200

benjamin

abidan, son of gideoni

35,400

dan

ahiezer, son of ammishaddai

62,700

asher

pagiel, son of ocran

41,500

gad

eliasaph, son of reuel

45,650

naphthali

ahira, son of enan

53,400

 
We note that Judah was the largest tribe, but it did not become the most important tribe until the time of David.

Joshua was of the tribe of Ephraim, And Joshua the son of Nun…” Numbers 11:28 and Of the tribe of Ephraim, Oshea the son of Nun.” Numbers 13:8 (King James Version).

In the times of Joshua and the Judges, the tribe of Ephraim was the most powerful of the twelve tribes.

The Levites were not counted with the soldiers of the other tribes. God gave them a better work, - For the Lord had spoken unto Moses, saying, Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel: But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle. And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts. But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony. And the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they. Numbers 1:48-54 (King James Version).

They were able to serve in the Tabernacle from the time they were 30 years old until they were 50, - From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 4:3 (King James Version).

There were 8,580 Levites between the ages of 30 and 50, and 22,000 more who were at least one month old,  - Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore, Numbers 4:48 and But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. Numbers 3:38 (King James Version). 

In Exodus 12:37 - And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children,-  we learned that there were about 600,000 men in Israel.

The total given in Numbers 1.46 in 603,550. - Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty. Numbers 1:46 (King James Version).

This is the same number as in Exodus 38.26 where the men each paid a half shekel of silver for the work of the Tabernacle. - A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men. Exodus 38:26 (King James Version).

Moses did not count the men until the first day of the second month, but the money had been collected before then. The lesson of this chapter is that the Lord knows those who are His people. They are all counted and written in His book. The Good Shepherd knows His sheep and calls the by name, - To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. John 10:3; and I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. John 10:14 (King James Version). All are important to Him. He know everything that happens to them and none of them can ever be lost.

Order for the camp and for the journey, Chapter 2.

God told Moses where He wanted the people of each tribe set up their tents around the Tabernacle, -  And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Every man of the children of Israel shall pitch by his own standard, with the ensign of their father's house: far off about the tabernacle of the congregation shall they pitch. Numbers 2:1-2 (King James Version).

He also told him the order in which He wanted them to travel through the desert. The tribe of Judah and two smaller tribes, Issachar and Zebulun were east of the Tabernacle.

We also see the name of the captain of each tribe and the number of soldiers in the tribe, - And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be captain of the children of Judah. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred. And those that do pitch next unto him shall be the tribe of Issachar: and Nethaneel the son of Zuar shall be captain of the children of Issachar. And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred. Then the tribe of Zebulun: and Eliab the son of Helon shall be captain of the children of Zebulun. 8 And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred. All that were numbered in the camp of Judah were an hundred thousand and fourscore thousand and six thousand and four hundred, throughout their armies. These shall first set forth. Numbers 2:3-9 (King James Version).

 The tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad were south of the Tabernacle, -  On the south side shall be the standard of the camp of Reuben according to their armies: and the captain of the children of Reuben shall be Elizur the son of Shedeur. And his host, and those that were numbered thereof, were forty and six thousand and five hundred. And those which pitch by him shall be the tribe of Simeon: and the captain of the children of Simeon shall be Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred. Then the tribe of Gad: and the captain of the sons of Gad shall be Eliasaph the son of Reuel. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty and five thousand and six hundred and fifty. All that were numbered in the camp of Reuben were an hundred thousand and fifty and one thousand and four hundred and fifty, throughout their armies. And they shall set forth in the second rank. Numbers 2:10-16 (King James Version).

Ephraim, Manasseh and Benjamin were on the west side, -  On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies: and the captain of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty thousand and five hundred. And by him shall be the tribe of Manasseh: and the captain of the children of Manasseh shall be Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred. Then the tribe of Benjamin: and the captain of the sons of Benjamin shall be Abidan the son of Gideoni. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred. All that were numbered of the camp of Ephraim were an hundred thousand and eight thousand and an hundred, throughout their armies. And they shall go forward in the third rank. Numbers 2:18-24 (King James Version),

And on the north side Dan, Asher a Naphtali, - The standard of the camp of Dan shall be on the north side by their armies: and the captain of the children of Dan shall be Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred. And those that encamp by him shall be the tribe of Asher: and the captain of the children of Asher shall be Pagiel the son of Ocran. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were forty and one thousand and five hundred. Then the tribe of Naphtali: and the captain of the children of Naphtali shall be Ahira the son of Enan. And his host, and those that were numbered of them, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred. All they that were numbered in the camp of Dan were an hundred thousand and fifty and seven thousand and six hundred. They shall go hindmost with their standards. These are those which were numbered of the children of Israel by the house of their fathers: all those that were numbered of the camps throughout their hosts were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty. Numbers 2:25-32 (King James Version).

This Chapter also shows us the order in which God want the tribes to travel through the desert, -

All that were numbered in the camp of Judah were an hundred thousand and fourscore thousand and six thousand and four hundred, throughout their armies. These shall first set forth. Numbers 2:9 (King James Version);

All that were numbered in the camp of Reuben were an hundred thousand and fifty and one thousand and four hundred and fifty, throughout their armies. And they shall set forth in the second rank. Numbers 2:16 (King James Version);

All that were numbered of the camp of Ephraim were an hundred thousand and eight thousand and an hundred, throughout their armies. And they shall go forward in the third rank. Numbers 2:24 (King James Version);

All they that were numbered in the camp of Dan were an hundred thousand and fifty and seven thousand and six hundred. They shall go hindmost with their standards. Numbers 2:31 (King James Version).

The Levites put their tents right around the Tabernacle in the middle of the camp, -
The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward. Numbers 3:23 (King James Version);

The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward. Numbers 3:29 (King James Version);

And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail: these shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward. Numbers 3:35 (King James Version);

But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. Numbers 3:38 (King James Version).

In verses 17 and 21 of Numbers chapter 10, we will see which tribes went ahead of the Levites when the people of Israel travelled.

And the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set forward, bearing the tabernacle Numbers 10:17 (King James Version);

And the Kohathites set forward, bearing the sanctuary: and the other did set up the tabernacle against they came. Numbers 10:21 (King James Version).

These instructions show us that God wanted His people to walk in an orderly way through the desert. We can see this same truth in the New Testament. God wants His people to do everything in on orderly way. It is important that we should do things the way He has shown us in His Word and not the way we think is best. The New Testament tells us how to be saved. It also teaches us how Christians should walk in this world. Every Christian should be very careful to follow God's order in all things. Groups of Christians should do the same when they meet together to worship and serve God. A road may seem right to a man, yet may end as the way to death, Proverbs 14.12.

The Levites, chapter 3

Aaron had four sons, but two of them died when they offered the wrong thing to the Lord, - And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the Lord, which he commanded them not. 2 And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord. Leviticus 10:1-2 (King James Version).

Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests with Aaron their father, - These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the Lord spake with Moses in mount Sinai. And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office. And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father. Number 3:1-4 (King James Version).

God gave the whole tribe of Levi to Aaron to help in the work of the Tabernacle. Their work was to serve Aaron by looking after the Tabernacle, - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. Numbers 3:5-10 (King James Version).

The Lord took the Levites instead of the oldest son in every family, - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the Lord. Numbers 3:11-13 (King James Version).

When the people of Israel were still in Egypt, God had said that the oldest son in every family belonged to Him. They did not have to die, if blood had been put over the door of their houses, but still they belonged to God. God wanted these men to serve Him and look after the Tabernacle. He told Israel that He would take the men of Levi to do this instead of the oldest son of each family. Now the Lord commanded Moses to count the men in the tribe of Levi, - And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them. And Moses numbered them according to the word of the Lord, as he was commanded. Numbers 3:14-16 (King James Version).

Levi had three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, - And these were the sons of Levi by their names; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari. Numbers 3:17 (King James Version).

These three men had eight sons, - And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families; Libni, and Shimei. And the sons of Kohath by their families; Amram, and Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel. And the sons of Merari by their families; Mahli, and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to the house of their fathers. Numbers 3:18-20 (King James Version).

There were 7,500 men in the family of the Gershonites. Their chief was Eliasaph, the son of Lael, and their work was to look after the covers and the curtains or hangings of the Tabernacle. They put up their tents on the west side of the Tabernacle, - Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites. Those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those that were numbered of them were seven thousand and five hundred. The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward. And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael. And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, And the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof. Numbers 3:21-26 (King James Version).

In the families of Kohath, there were 8,600 men and their chief was Elizaphan, the son of Uzziel. They had to look after the furniture of the Tabernacle and the main curtain or veil. They put up their tents south of the Tabernacle.

Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was over all the Levites and their chiefs, - And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, and the family of the Izeharites, and the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites. In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary. The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward. And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof. And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary. Numbers 3:27-32 (King James Version).

There were 6,200 men in the families of Merari. Zuriel, the son of Abihail, was their chief and they put up their tents north of the Tabernacle. Their work was to care for the boards, bars, posts and supports that made up the walls of the Tabernacle, - Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari. And those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were six thousand and two hundred. And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail: these shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward. And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serveth thereto, And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords. Numbers 3:33-37 (King James Version).

Moses, Aaron and Aaron's two sons put up their tents on the east side of the Tabernacle, - But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. Numbers 3:38 (King James Version).

Moses counted all the oldest sons in Israel and found there were 22,273, - All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand. And the Lord said unto Moses, Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names. And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the Lord) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel. And Moses numbered, as the Lord commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel. And all the firstborn males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those that were numbered of them, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and threescore and thirteen. Numbers 3:39-43 (King James Version).

The 22,000 men in the tribe of Levi took the place of 22,000 of the firstborn sons of the other tribes of Israel, and the people had to pay five shekels to redeem each of the other 273 men. God told Moses to give this money to Aaron and his sons, - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord. And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites; Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:) And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons. And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites: Of the firstborn of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses. Numbers 3:44-51 (King James Version).

We were slaves, slaves of sin, and under the judgment of death, like the oldest sons in Israel. We too have been delivered by blood, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, - Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1 Peter 1:18-19 (King James Version), and we belong to God.

Now God wants, us to serve Him with our whole lives, as the Levite did, - For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's. 1 Corinthians 6:20 (King James Version).

Instructions for moving the Tabernacle, Numbers Chapter 4

We already read in chapter 3 about the work of the three families of the Levites. In chapter 4, we learn more details about their work. Those who did this work had to be at least 30 years old and could not be older than 50, - And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers, From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 4:1-3 (King James Version).

When the cloud moved, God showed that He wanted the people to continue their journey, - And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: Exodus 40:36 (King James Version).

Then the priest alone would go into the Tabernacle and cover the furniture. First the priest covered the ark with the Veil. Over this, they put a covering of the skin of seals or porpoises. Then on top, they laid a blue or violet cloth, - This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things: And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it: And shall put thereon the covering of badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof. Numbers 4:4-6 (King James Version).

They covered the table with a blue cloth and put the Bread and the dishes on the blue cloth; then they put a bright red cloth on top, then a sealskin cover, -  And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon: And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof. Numbers 4:7-8 (King James Version).

The priests put a blue cloth and a seal skin cover on the lamp-stand, the gold altar, and other articles, - And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it: 10 And they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put it upon a bar. And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put to the staves thereof: And they shall take all the instruments of ministry, wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put them on a bar: Numbers 4:9-12 (King James Version).

The Kohathites carried all these things on wooden poles which were covered with gold,  -  And thou shalt make staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. Exodus 25:13 (King James Version); And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, that the table may be borne with them. Exodus 25:28 (King James Version; And he made the staves of shittim wood, and overlaid them with gold. Exodus 37:28 (King James Version).

Outside the tent there were two objects made of brass: the altar for burnt sacrifices and a large basin or laver. You can learn more about these in Exodus 27.1-8; 30.18-21.

The altar of burnt offering with its vessels
And thou shalt make an altar of shittim wood, five cubits long, and five cubits broad; the altar shall be foursquare: and the height thereof shall be three cubits. And thou shalt make the horns of it upon the four corners thereof: his horns shall be of the same: and thou shalt overlay it with brass. And thou shalt make his pans to receive his ashes, and his shovels, and his basons, and his fleshhooks, and his firepans: all the vessels thereof thou shalt make of brass. And thou shalt make for it a grate of network of brass; and upon the net shalt thou make four brasen rings in the four corners thereof. And thou shalt put it under the compass of the altar beneath, that the net may be even to the midst of the altar. And thou shalt make staves for the altar, staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with brass. And the staves shall be put into the rings, and the staves shall be upon the two sides of the altar, to bear it. Hollow with boards shalt thou make it: as it was shewed thee in the mount, so shall they make it. Exodus 27:1-8 (King James Version)

The brasen laver
And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,  Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations. Exodus 30:17-21 (King James Version)

Here we read that the priest cleaned the altar and put a purple cloth on it, then laid the altar equipment on the cloth, and a sealskin covering on top, - And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon: And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the flesh hooks, and the shovels, and the basons, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it. Numbers 4:13-14 (King James Version).

We do not read about the basin or laver, but probably the priests covered it and the Kohathites carried it in the same way on poles. When the priests had covered all these things, the Kohathites carried them as the people travelled. Eleazar was over all the Levites, - And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary. Numbers 3:32 (King James Version)

And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof. Numbers 4:16 (King James Version)

The Kohathites were not allowed to see the holy things of the Tabernacle, but they could carry them without sinning, - And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites: But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden: But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die. Numbers 4:17-20 (King James Version).

The Gershonites carried the curtains, coverings, hangings, and instruments of the Tabernacle. The priests directed them in this service, -  And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon, throughout the houses of their fathers, by their families; From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation. This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens: And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, And the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve. At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens. This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. Numbers 4:21-28 (King James Version).

The families of Merari carried the boards, posts, supports, stands, pins and instruments. Ithamar, the son of Aaron, was over the work of the Gershonites and the Merarites, - As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers; From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation. And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof, And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden. This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. Numbers 4:29-33 (King James Version).

The thick curtains were very heavy to carry, and so were the boards covered with gold and the furniture of the Tabernacle. However, there were thousands of men who could do this work, Kohathites 2,750 to carry the furniture Gershonites 2,630 to carry the hangings and curtains Merarites 3,200 to carry the boards and posts 8,580. For long journeys, they put the boards and curtains on carts, which were pulled by oxen. However, the Kohathites had to carry the furniture on their shoulders.

And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers, From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation: And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty. These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses. And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and by the house of their fathers, From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation, Even those that were numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty. These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the Lord. And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation, Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred. These be those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses. All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers, From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation, Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore. According to the commandment of the Lord they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the Lord commanded Moses. Numbers 4:34-49 (King James Version).

God had given very exact instructions as to how His people should make the Tabernacle and how they should serve Him in it. He also told them just how they should move it from place to place. The tribes travelled through the desert in the right order as God had commanded them and they carried the Tabernacle with them in the way He told them. Many years later King David told his men to put the ark on a cart in order to move it to another place, but God showed His anger very quickly, 2 Samuel 6. This world is like a desert and we Christians are travelling to our home in heaven. Let us try very hard to obey the commands of the Lord and to do exactly as He tells us to do. Let us please the Lord by following the Word of God instead of the ideas and customs of men.

God commanded the people to be holy, Numbers chapter 5
In the book of Numbers, we see that God is a God of order. He told the different tribes where to put their tents in the camp and in what order they should travel. Now we read about lepers and people with open sores; they were called unclean, - All the days wherein the plague shall be in him he shall be defiled; he is unclean: he shall dwell alone; without the camp shall his habitation be. Leviticus 13:46 (King James Version). Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean. Leviticus 15:2 (King James Version)
Others were unclean because they touched a dead body, - And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: Leviticus 21:1 and He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days. Numbers 19:11 (King James Version).They could not worship with all the people until they became clean again.

Now the Lord, commanded the Israelites to put these unclean people outside the camp, - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp: as the Lord spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel. Numbers 5:1-4 (King James Version)

The Lord had given instructions for the guilt offering in Leviticus 6.1-7.  - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,  If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbour; Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein: Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found, Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, and give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering. And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the Lord: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein. Leviticus 6:1-7 (King James Version).

A man had to pay back what he had taken, and fifth of the amount as well. Now we learn that this must be paid back even if the other man had died; the nearest relative would get it, - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed. But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him. Numbers 5:5-8 (King James Version).

However, every sacrifice for the Lord belongs to the priest, - And every offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they bring unto the priest, shall be his. 10 And every man's hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man giveth the priest, it shall be his. Numbers 5:9-10 (King James Version).

How to test a woman if her husband thought she had committed sin, -  And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord: And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water: And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar: And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law. Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity. Numbers 5:11-31 (King James Version).

A man could bring an offering if thought that his wife had not been faithful to him. The purpose the offering was to tell if the woman was innocent or guilty. The offering was three pints of barley meal without oil or incense, -  Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. Numbers 5:15 (King James Version).

The priest prepared bitter water for the test; he took dust from the floor of the Tabernacle and put it in clean water in a clay pot. The woman stood before the Lord with her head uncovered and the barley meal in her hands. The priest told her that the bitter water would not hurt her if she was innocent, but if she had sinned, the Lord would make her suffer so everyone would know. The bitter water would affect her body and this would show that she was guilty. The woman said "Amen" to show that she agreed with what the priest had said, - And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord: 17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: 18 And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: 19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: 20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: 21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; 22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. Numbers 5:16-22 (King James Version).

Then the priest wrote these curses in a book and washed them out with a little bitter water, - And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:  Numbers 5:23 (King James Version).

The woman had to drink some of the water, - And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. Numbers 5:24 (King James Version)

Then the priest took the meal offering and burned a handful of it on the altar, and made the woman drink more of the water, - Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar: And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. Numbers 5:25-26 (King James Version).

If the woman was innocent, she would be able to have children even after drinking the bitter water. If she was guilty, everyone would know it and the people would use her name as a curse, - And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. Numbers 5:27 (King James Version)

Why did God give this law? He wanted to keep His people from committing this sin of adultery, but if a woman was innocent, her husband should not be jealous of her, - if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. Numbers 5:28 (King James Version).

Why do we read only about the woman here and not the man'? The man was the head of the home and it was his duty to see that the members of his family lived the way they should. He must find out the truth if he thought his wife had sinned. No family can be happy if the husband or wife is jealous of the other, or thinks the other is guilty of immorality. If a person is guilty, God will punish him or her. But if the person is not guilty, there should be no jealousy among the members of the family to spoil their happiness. In Israel, the Lord provided this test so that a man would not think his wife was guilty if she was innocent, and so that her sin would not be hidden if she was really guilty.  
There is another reason for mentioning only the wife here. This reason is that the wife is a picture of the Church, the Bride of Christ. Of course, our Lord and Master never sinned and He knows everything. We should remember this; it will keep us from thinking or saying or doing anything that would make Him unhappy.

Nazirites, Numbers Chapter 6
God gave His law to the people of Israel. In this law, He commanded them to bring certain offerings and to give to the Lord one part out of ten of everything they received. God also said that anyone could bring other offerings just because he loved the Lord. He might bring peace offerings or burnt offerings just because he himself wanted to, not because the Law said, he must do so. A believer might be sick and promise to give something to the Lord if he got well again. This might be something he owned, a animal or someone in his family; or he might promise to give himself to the Lord. You can read more about these things in Leviticus 27. Some people promised God to become Nazirites. They promised to give a number of weeks or months to Jehovah. During this time, the Nazirite stopped doing his own work and put himself apart to serve God, - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite, to separate themselves unto the Lord: Numbers 6:1-2 and All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord. Numbers 6:8 (King James Version).

He could not drink wine nor eat the fruit of the vine, - He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried. All the days of his separation shall he eat nothing that is made of the vine tree, from the kernels even to the husk. Numbers 6:3-4 (King James Version).

He had to let his hair grow long to show that he had set himself apart for God, - All the days of the vow of his separation there shall no razor come upon his head: until the days be fulfilled, in the which he separateth himself unto the Lord, he shall be holy, and shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. Numbers 6:5 (King James Version).

Lots of hair is usually disgraceful for a man, - Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 1 Corinthians 11:14 (King James Version).

The Nazirite could not touch a dead person; he could not help to bury anyone, even someone who belonged to his own family. He was holy to the Lord in a very special way, -  All the days that he separateth himself unto the Lord he shall come at no dead body. He shall not make himself unclean for his father, or for his mother, for his brother, or for his sister, when they die: because the consecration of his God is upon his head. All the days of his separation he is holy unto the Lord. Numbers 6:6-8 (King James Version).

If someone suddenly died beside him, he had to shave the hair off his head wait for seven days and then shave it again. The following day he had to bring two birds for a sin offering and a burnt offering, and a lamb for a guilt offering. Then he had to start again from t beginning and keep the full number of days, which he promised, to God, - And if any man die very suddenly by him, and he hath defiled the head of his consecration; then he shall shave his head in the day of his cleansing, on the seventh day shall he shave it. And on the eighth day he shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons, to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, and make an atonement for him, for that he sinned by the dead, and shall hallow his head that same day. And he shall consecrate unto the Lord the days of his separation, and shall bring a lamb of the first year for a trespass offering: but the days that were before shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. Numbers 6:9-12 (King James Version).
 
When this time was finished, the Nazirite brought his offering to the Lord: a male lamb one year old for a burnt offering, female lamb one year old for a sin offering, together with the meal and drink offerings according to the Law. For a peace offering brought a male goat and a basket full of bread made without yeast, - And this is the law of the Nazarite, when the days of his separation are fulfilled: he shall be brought unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation: And he shall offer his offering unto the Lord, one he lamb of the first year without blemish for a burnt offering, and one ewe lamb of the first year without blemish for a sin offering, and one ram without blemish for peace offerings, And a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mingled with oil, and wafers of unleavened bread anointed with oil, and their meat offering, and their drink offerings. And the priest shall bring them before the Lord, and shall offer his sin offering, and his burnt offering: And he shall offer the ram for a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord, with the basket of unleavened bread: the priest shall offer also his meat offering, and his drink offering. Numbers 6:13-17 (King James Version).

At the door of the Tabernacle, the Nazirite shaved his head and burned the hair in the fire. At the same time, the priest burned parts of his peace offering, but the rest of the peace offering was for the priest himself. When the Nazirite had finished all these things, he could drink wine again and live a normal life, - And the Nazarite shall shave the head of his separation at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall take the hair of the head of his separation, and put it in the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offerings. And the priest shall take the sodden shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them upon the hands of the Nazarite, after the hair of his separation is shaven: And the priest shall wave them for a wave offering before the Lord: this is holy for the priest, with the wave breast and heave shoulder: and after that the Nazarite may drink wine. Numbers 6:18-20 (King James Version).

The Nazirite brought all these offerings according to the Law; he could bring others also if he wanted to, but he must bring these at least, - This is the law of the Nazarite who hath vowed, and of his offering unto the Lord for his separation, beside that that his hand shall get: according to the vow which he vowed, so he must do after the law of his separation. Numbers 6:21 (King James Version).

Why did these things please God? Because they pointed, forward to His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord set Himself completely apart for God. He lived His whole life here on earth humbly and sacrificially and entirely separate from all sin and everything, which was unclean. We read about Samson's parents who set him apart to God to be a Nazirite from the day he was born, - For, lo, thou shalt conceive, and bear a son; and no razor shall come on his head: for the child shall be a Nazarite unto God from the womb: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines. Judges 13:5 (King James Version);  but Samson was weak and he did not live the way a Nazirite should, - That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother's womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man. Judges 16:17 (King James Version).

Later the people of Jerusalem rejected God and gave wine to the Nazirites, - But ye gave the Nazarites wine to drink; and commanded the prophets, saying, Prophesy not. Amos 2:12 (King James Version).

So the Nazirites did not do all that God had commanded them to do because their own people stopped them. In the time of the prophet Jeremiah, the enemies of Judah took the city of Jerusalem. They prevented the people for a while from worshipping Jehovah and they persecuted the Nazirites, - Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire: Their visage is blacker than a coal; they are not known in the streets: their skin cleaveth to their bones; it is withered, it is become like a stick. Lamentations 4:7-8 (King James Version).

At that time, the enemies kept the Nazirites from doing what they should have done. The Lord Jesus did not have a sinful nature and He was never weak like Samson, so weakness never kept Him from doing what is right. His own people and His enemies persecuted Him, but He always did everything that God wanted Him to do. Today all true Christians are Nazirites. We should not try to live like rich and proud people but should give our lives completely to the Lord. Many young people use their school vacation to serve the Lord. Others take one or two years of their lives and give themselves wholly to the work of the Lord for that time. After that, some return to their work again and live as they did before, but others continue to use all their time to serve God. The Holy Spirit wants us to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice to God, set apart to serve and to please Him, - I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1 (King James Version).

Then the Lord told Moses how Aaron should bless the people of Israel, - And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, 24 The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: 25 The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: 26 The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. 27 And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:22-27 (King James Version).

Aaron was to pray in these words:
"The Lord bless you" - this gives in short form everything else in the prayer.
"The Lord watch and keep you" - so you will not get away from Him, or sin against Him, or start following the enemy.
"The Lord make His face shine on you" - this means the same as "the Lord look kindly on you." Both mean "the Lord be gracious to you."
"and give you peace" - peace with God, peace in the camp,  peace with your enemies.

The Lord showed that the people of Israel were His people when He put His own name on them and promised to bless them - And they shall put my name upon the children of Israel; and I will bless them. Numbers 6:27 (King James Version).

In the New Testament, we read - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: Ephesians 1:3 (King James Version).

The apostle Paul prayed for the saints according to the will of God, - That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. Ephesians 1:16-23 (King James Version).

This shows us a little of how the Lord Jesus, our Great High Priest, is praying for us. In John 17, the Lord Jesus gave us an example of how He prays for us. We pray for other believers or the Lord's servants and this makes us like Him who lives forever to pray for us, - Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 (King James Version).


TEST PAGE OF LESSON 1 FROM THE DEUTERONOMY AND NUMBERS BIBLE STUDY

DESERT JOURNEY - AT SINAI Numbers 1-6

Write a X next to the correct answer in the box provided:

1. In the book of Numbers we read about -
a) the people of Israel being numbered twice. ...........
b) the people entering the land of Canaan. ...........
c) the people building the Tabernacle. ...........

2. The people of Israel kept the second Passover -
a) when they got to the edge of the land of Canaan. ...........
b) while they were still at Mount Sinai. ...........
c) two years after the first one. ...........

3. They were ready to enter the land of Canaan -
a) three years after they left Egypt. ...........
b) six months after they left Egypt. ...........
c) after wandering in the desert for 38 years. ...........

4.God -
a) did not care where the different tribes set up their tents in the camp. ...........
b)commanded each tribe to set up their tents in a certain place around ...........
c) told the tribe of Benjamin to put their tents right next to the Tabernacle. ...........

5. A Nazirite -
a) was a person born in Nazareth. ...........
b) was a person who set himself apart for God for a certain number of weeks or months. ...........
c) did not have to bring God any sacrifices. ...........

Write TRUE or FALSE on the line after each question.

6. Moses wrote the book of Numbers - TRUE ........... FALSE ...........
7. God wanted the tribes to travel through the desert in a certain order - TRUE ........... FALSE ...........
8. God took the Levites in the place of the firstborn sons of the other tribes to serve Him in the Tabernacle - TRUE ........... FALSE ...........
9. The tribes of Judah and Reuben could also serve in the Tabernacle - TRUE ........... FALSE ...........
10. The Kohathites were allowed to see the holy things of the Tabernacle - TRUE ....... FALSE ...........


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