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The Book of


Book of Numbers

The following are summaries and outlines for the Book of Numbers.

Book of Numbers Summary

Numbers gives the history of the accounts during the 39 years of wandering in the wilderness as well as various laws and instructions. Detailed geneologies of Aaron and the families are also recorded.

God commands Moses to "take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families ..." The text also records the journey of Israel through the desert from Mount Sinai to the plains of Moab (on the east bank of the Jordan River), poised for conquest.

The Bible - Numbers


The English title “Numbers” comes from the Greek (LXX) and Latin versions. It's name comes from Moses having to get two numberings of the children of Israel.

The Hebrew title for this book is “In the Wilderness,” which is quite descriptive of the contents.


Author and Date of Writing

The agreed upon author was Moses and it is assumed he wrote Numbers and the rest of the Pentateuch after Israel's exodus between 1446 to c. 1406 B.C.
Numbers was written in the final year of Moses’ life. The events from Num. 20:1 to the end occur in the 40th year after the Exodus.
He very likely wrote all of the books of the Pentateuch after his call to lead the people out of Egypt, as recounted in Exodus 3. This would have been in his last 40 years of life, during the wilderness wanderings.

Numbers Outline

I. Israel in the wilderness 1:1—22:1

A. The first census in the wilderness of Sinai 1:1—4:49

  1. Census of Israel’s fighting men Num. 1:1–54
  2. Arrangement of the camp Num. 2:1–34
  3. Priestly function of Aaron’s sons Num. 3:1–4
  4. Charge and census of Levites Num. 3:5–39
  5. Census of firstborn males Num. 3:40–51
  6. Census of Levitical working force, and their duties Num. 4:1–49

B. The first priestly scroll (Numbers 5:1—10:10)

  1. Separation of the unclean, Num. 5:1–4
  2. Compensation for offenses, and priestly honorarium, Num. 5:5–10
  3. A trial of jealousy, Num. 5:11–31
  4. Law of the Nazarite, Num. 6:1–21
  5. The priests’ blessing, Num. 6:22–27
  6. Offerings of the tribal princes, Num. 7:1–89
  7. Setting up the Lamps, Num. 8:1–4
  8. The setting apart of the Levites 8:5–26
  9. The Passover, Num. 9:1–14
  10. The cloud over the tabernacle, Num. 9:15–23
  11. The two silver trumpets, Num. 10:1–10

C. From the wilderness of Sinai to the wilderness of Paran 10:11—14:45

  1. Departure from Sinai, Num. 10:11–36
    1. Order of the march, Num. 10:11–28
    2. Hobab invited to be the guide, Num. 10:29–32
    3. The ark of the covenant, Num. 10:33–36
  2. Taberah and Kibroth-hattaavah, Num. 11:1–35
    1. Taberah, Num. 11:1–3
    2. Manna provided, Num. 11:4–9
    3. Moses’ 70 elders as officers, Num. 11:10–30
    4. Punishment by quails of Kibroth-hattaavah, Num. 11:31–35
  3. Rebellion of Miriam and Aaron, Num. 12:1–16
  4. The story of the spies, Num. 13:1—14:45
    1. The spies, their mission and report, Num. 13:1–33
    2. People disheartened and rebellious, Num. 14:1–10
    3. Moses’ intercession, Num. 14:11–39
    4. Futile invasion attempt at Hormah, Num. 14:40–45

D. The second priestly scroll 15:1—19:22

  1. Ceremonial details, Num. 15:1–41
    1. Quantities of meal offerings and libations, Num. 15:1–16
    2. Cake offerings of the firstfruits, Num.15:17–21
    3. Offerings for sins of ignorance, Num. 15:22–31
    4. Punishment of Sabbath-breaker, Num. 15:32–36
    5. Tassels, Num. 15:37–41
  2. The rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Num.16:1–35
  3. Incidents vindicating the Aaronic priesthood, Num. 16:36—17:13
  4. Duties and revenues of priests and Levites, Num. 18:1–32
  5. The water of purification for those defiled by the dead, Num. 19:1–22

E. From the wilderness of Zin to the steppes of Moab 20:1—22:1

  1. Wilderness of Zin, Num. 20:1–21
    1. Sin of Moses, Num. 20:1–13
    2. Request to go through Edom, Num. 20:14–21
  2. The area of Mount Hor, Num. 20:22—21:3
    1. Death of Aaron, Num. 20:22–29
    2. Arad the Canaanite defeated at Hormah, Num. 21:1–3
  3. The journey to the steppes of Moab, Num. 21:4—22:1
    1. Rebellion on the journey around Edom, Num. 21:4–9
    2. Places passed on the march from the Arabah 21:10–20
    3. Defeat of the Amorites, Num. 21:21–32
    4. Defeat of Og, king of Bashan, Num. 21:33–35
    5. Arrival in the plains of Moab, Num. 22:1

II. Foreign intrigue against Israel 22:2—25:18

A. Balak’s failure to turn the Lord from Israel 22:2—24:25

  1. Balaam summoned by Balak 22:2–40
  2. The oracles of Balaam 22:41—24:25

B. Balak’s success in turning Israel from the Lord 25:1–18

  1. The Baal-peor sin 25:1–5
  2. Zeal of Phinehas 25:6–18

III. Preparation for entering the land 26:1—36:13

A.The second census, in the plains of Moab 26:1–65

  1. The Second Census, Num. 26:1-65

B. The law of inheritance 27:1–11

  1. Zelophehad’s Daughters, Num.. 27:1-11

C. Appointment of Moses’ successor 27:12–23

  1. Joshua to Succeed Moses, Num. 27:12-23

D. The third priestly scroll 28:1—29:40

  1. Introduction, Num. 28:1, 2
  2. Daily offerings, Num. 28:3–8
  3. Sabbath offerings, Num. 28:9, 10
  4. Monthly offerings, Num. 28:11–15
  5. Yearly offerings, Num. 28:16—29:40
    1. Feast of Unleavened Bread, Num. 28:16–25
    2. Feast of Weeks, Num. 28:26–31
    3. Feast of Trumpets, Num. 29:1–6
    4. Day of Atonement, Num. 29:7–11
    5. Feast of Tabernacles, Num. 29:12–40

E. The validity of women’s vows, Num. 30:1–16

  1. Vows, Num. 30:1-16

F. The war with Midian, 31:1–54

  1. Destruction of Midian, Num. 31:1–18
  2. Purification of warriors, Num. 31:19–24
  3. Dividing the spoils of war, Num. 31:25–54

G. The settlement of two and one-half tribes in Trans-Jordan, 32:1–42

  1. Moses’ response to Gad and Reuben’s request, Num.  32:1–33
  2. Cities rebuilt by Reuben and Gad, Num. 32:34–38
  3. Gilead taken by Manassites, Num. 32:39–42

H. The route from Egypt to Jordan, 33:1–49

  1. Stages in Israel’s Journey, Num. 33:1-49

I. Directions for settlement in Canaan, 33:50—35:34

  1. Expulsion of inhabitants, setting of boundaries, division of land, Num.  33:50—34:29
  2. Levitical cities and cities of refuge, Num. 35:1–34

J. Marriage of heiresses, 36:1–13

  1. Marriage of Heiresses, Num. 36:1-13
Adapted from: King James Study Bible Notes, Copyright ©2011 by Thomas Nelson