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Our Meetings All In One (AIO) ‒ Week Starting July 28

Our Meetings All In One (AIO): References and Scriptures

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ss14 pp. 1-4 Theocratic Ministry School Schedule for 2014
July 28 Bible reading: Numbers 1-3
No. 1: Numbers 3:21-38
No. 2: “All Sorts of Men” Will Be Saved (rs p. 357 ¶2)
No. 3: Accusation—How Were Accusations Handled Under Hebrew and Roman Law? (it-1 p. 39 ¶4-8)

w14 5/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
JULY 28, 2014–AUGUST 3, 2014
Are You Moving Ahead With Jehovah’s Organization?
PAGE 26 • SONGS: 45, 27

ws14 5/15 pp. 1-2 Table of Contents
JULY 28, 2014–AUGUST 3, 2014
Are You Moving Ahead With Jehovah’s Organization?
PAGE 21 • SONGS: 45, 27

All References Week Starting July 28



Theocratic Ministry School

No. 1: Numbers 3:21-38


No. 2: “All Sorts of Men” Will Be Saved (rs p. 357 ¶2)

rs p. 357 ¶2 Salvation
What about texts such as Titus 2:11, which refers to “the salvation of all men,” according to the rendering of RS? Other texts, such as John 12:32, Romans 5:18, and; 1 Timothy 2:3, 4, convey a similar thought in RS, KJ, NE, TEV, etc. The Greek expressions rendered “all” and “everyone” in these verses are inflected forms of the word pas. As shown in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (London, 1962, Vol. I, p. 46), pas can also mean “every kind or variety.” So, in the above verses, instead of “all,” the expression “every kind of” could be used; or “all sorts of,” as is done in NW. Which is correct—“all” or the thought conveyed by “all sorts of”? Well, which rendering is also harmonious with the rest of the Bible? The latter one is. Consider Acts 10:34, 35; Revelation 7:9, 10; 2 Thessalonians 1:9. (Note: Other translators also recognize this sense of the Greek word, as is shown by their renderings of it at Matthew 5:11—“all kinds of,” RS, TEV; “every kind of,” NE; “all manner of,” KJ.)

No. 3: Accusation—How Were Accusations Handled Under Hebrew and Roman Law? (it-1 p. 39 ¶4-8)

it-1 p. 39 ¶4-8 Accusation
One Hebrew word rendered “accusation” (sit•nah′) comes from the root verb sa•tan′, meaning “resist.” (Ezr 4:6; compare Zec 3:1.) The most common Greek word for “accuse” is ka•te•go•re′o, carrying the idea of ‘speaking against’ someone, usually in a judicial or legal sense. (Mr 3:2; Lu 6:7) At Luke 16:1 the Greek word di•a•bal′lo, rendered ‘accuse,’ may also be translated ‘slander.’ (Int) It is related to di•a′bo•los (slanderer), root of the word “Devil.”
The Greek term translated ‘accuse falsely’ in Luke 3:14 (sy•ko•phan•te′o) is rendered ‘extort by false accusation’ in Luke 19:8. It literally means “take by fig-showing.” Of the various explanations of the origin of this word, one is that in ancient Athens the exporting of figs from the province was prohibited. One who denounced others, accusing them of attempting to export figs, was termed a “fig-shower.” The term came to designate a malignant informer, a person who accused others out of a love of gain, a false accuser, a blackmailer.
One might be called to account and charged with wrong, yet be entirely innocent, blameless, the victim of a false accuser. Hebrew law, therefore, set forth the responsibility each one in the nation had to bring to account wrongdoers, and at the same time it adequately provided protection for the accused. A few examples from the Mosaic Law will serve to illustrate these principles. If a person had any knowledge respecting a crime, he had to bring the accusation before the proper authorities. (Le 5:1; 24:11-14) The authorities, in turn, were to “search and investigate and inquire thoroughly” into the accusations to determine their validity before administering punishment. (De 13:12-14) An observer was not to hide wrongdoing or fail to bring an accusation against a guilty one, even if the person was a close relative like a brother, son, daughter, or marriage mate. (De 13:6-8; 21:18-20; Zec 13:3) The testimony of two or three witnesses was required, and not just the word of a single accuser.—Nu 35:30; De 17:6; 19:15; Joh 8:17; Heb 10:28.
The Law of Moses also gave the accused the right to face his accuser before a court of justice in order that the truth of the charges might be fully established. (De 19:16-19; 25:1) A classic instance of this was the case of the two prostitutes who, with a baby, appeared before wise King Solomon for him to decide which one was its mother.—1Ki 3:16-27.
Roman law likewise required the accusers to appear in court. So, when the Roman citizen Paul stood trial before governors Felix and Festus, his accusers were ordered to appear also. (Ac 22:30; 23:30, 35; 24:2, 8, 13, 19; 25:5, 11, 16, 18) Paul’s appearance before Caesar in Rome, however, was on his own appeal that he might win an acquittal, and not that he might accuse his own nation. (Ac 28:19) Not Paul, not even Jesus, but Moses, by his conduct and by what he wrote, accused the Jewish nation of wrongdoing.—Joh 5:45.

Highlights of the Bible

Highlights From the Book of Numbers 1-3


Highlights From the Book of Numbers

FOLLOWING their Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were organized into a nation. Shortly thereafter, they could have entered the Promised Land, but they did not. Instead, they had to wander for some four decades in a “great and fear-inspiring wilderness.” (Deuteronomy 8:15) Why? The historical narrative in the Bible book of Numbers tells us what happened. It should impress upon us the need to obey Jehovah God and respect his representatives.
Written by Moses in the wilderness and on the Plains of Moab, the book of Numbers covers a period of 38 years and 9 months—from 1512 B.C.E. to 1473 B.C.E. (Numbers 1:1; Deuteronomy 1:3) Its name is derived from the two censuses of the Israelites, taken some 38 years apart. (Chapters 1-4, 26) The narrative is divided into three sections. The first part relates events that happened at Mount Sinai. The second covers what took place during Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. And the final section considers events on the Plains of Moab. As you read this account, you may want to ask yourself: ‘What do these incidents teach me? Are there principles in this book that can benefit me today?’

AT MOUNT SINAI

(Numbers 1:1–10:10)
The first of the two numberings takes place while the Israelites are still at the base of Mount Sinai. Males 20 years old and upward, except the Levites, total 603,550. The census is evidently taken for military purposes. The entire camp, including women, children, and the Levites, may amount to over three million people.
Following the census, the Israelites receive instructions regarding the order of march, details concerning the duties of Levites and tabernacle service, commands on quarantine, and laws relating to cases of jealousy and vows made by Nazirites. Chapter 7 contains information about offerings made by tribal chieftains in connection with the inauguration of the altar, and chapter 9 discusses the Passover observance. The assembly is also given instructions about setting up and breaking camp.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

2:1, 2—What were “the signs” around which the three-tribe divisions were to encamp in the wilderness? The Bible does not give a description of what these signs were. However, they were not regarded as sacred symbols or given religious significance. The signs were used for a practical purpose—to help a person find his proper place in the camp.

TMS REVIEW: *** w08 7/1 p. 21 Did You Know? ***
Why is reference generally made to the 12 tribes of Israel when there were actually 13 tribes?
The tribes, or families, of Israel descended from the sons of Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel. This patriarch had 12 sons—Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph, and Benjamin. (Genesis 29:32–30:24; 35:16-18) Eleven of these brothers had tribes named after them, but no tribe was named after Joseph. Instead, two tribes were named after his sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, who received full status as tribal heads. So the number of tribes in Israel amounted to 13. Why, then, does the Bible usually speak of 12 tribes?
Among the Israelites, the men of the tribe of Levi were set apart for service at Jehovah’s tabernacle and later at the temple. Hence, they were exempted from military service. Jehovah told Moses: “Only the tribe of Levi you must not register, and the sum of them you must not take in among the sons of Israel. And you yourself appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony and over all its utensils and over everything that belongs to it.”—Numbers 1:49, 50.
The Levites did not receive a territorial allotment in the Promised Land either. Rather, they were assigned
48 cities scattered throughout the territory of Israel.—Numbers 18:20-24; Joshua 21:41. For these two reasons, the tribe of Levi was not generally included when the tribes were listed. The tribes
of Israel were thus usually numbered as 12.—Numbers 1:1-15.

*** w84 4/15 p. 27 Respect Jehovah, Urges the Book of Numbers ***
The Israelites have been at the base of Mount Sinai for about a year when Jehovah commands Moses to take a census. Except for the Levites, all the males 20 years of age and upward are registered, and their number is 603,550. In place of the firstborn, God takes the Levites for tabernacle service. Instructions are given as to the line of march, in which Judah, the most populous tribe, is to take the lead. At God’s command, the Levites are then registered and assigned sacred duties.—Numbers 1:1–4:49.

*** w02 9/15 p. 21 “Salvation Belongs to Jehovah” ***
Does saluting or kneeling before a flag representing the State really go against giving Jehovah God exclusive devotion? The ancient Israelites did have “signs,” or standards, around which their three-tribe divisions gathered while in the wilderness. (Numbers 2:1, 2) Commenting on the Hebrew words denoting such standards, McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia says: “Neither of them, however, expresses the idea which ‘standard’ conveys to our minds, viz. a flag.” Furthermore, Israel’s standards were not viewed as sacred, nor were any ceremonies associated with their use. They simply served the practical purpose of signs, showing the people where to gather.

*** w94 12/1 p. 9 pars. 4-5 The Rightful Place of Jehovah’s Worship in Our Lives ***
4 If you had had a bird’s-eye view of Israel encamped in the wilderness, what would you have seen? A vast, but orderly, array of tents housing possibly three million or more people, grouped according to three-tribe divisions to the north, south, east, and west. Peering closer, you would also have noticed another grouping nearer the middle of the camp. These four smaller clusters of tents housed the families of the tribe of Levi. At the very center of the camp, in an area cordoned off by a cloth wall, was a unique structure. This was the “tent of meeting,” or tabernacle, which “wise-hearted” Israelites had built according to Jehovah’s plan.—Numbers 1:52, 53; 2:3, 10, 17, 18, 25; Exodus 35:10.
5 At each of about 40 campsites during their wilderness trek, Israel erected the tabernacle, and it became the focus of their encampment. (Numbers, chapter 33) Fittingly, the Bible describes Jehovah as dwelling among his people at the very center of their camp. His glory filled the tabernacle. (Exodus 29:43-46; 40:34; Numbers 5:3; 11:20; 16:3) The book Our Living Bible comments: “This portable shrine was of the utmost importance, since it created a religious rallying-centre for the tribes. It thus kept them united during the long years of wandering in the desert and made concerted action possible.” More than that, the tabernacle served as a constant reminder that the Israelites’ worship of their Creator was central to their lives.

*** w11 6/1 p. 13 Does God Have an Organization? ***
Jehovah God used Moses to organize the Israelites for true worship. Consider just the encampment arrangements during their sojourn in the wilderness of Sinai. Things surely would have been chaotic had every family been allowed to pitch their tent wherever they wanted. Jehovah gave the nation specific instructions as to where each tribe was to set up camp. (Numbers 2:1-34) The Law of Moses also contained precise health and hygiene regulations—for example, regarding the disposal of human waste.—Deuteronomy 23:12, 13.

*** w02 8/1 p. 10 pars. 5-7 Loyally Submit to Godly Authority ***
5 Jehovah made other provisions to care for the spiritual needs of his people. Even before they arrived in the Promised Land, he commanded them to build the tabernacle, the center of true worship.
He also set up a priesthood to teach the Law, to offer animal sacrifices, and to burn the morning and evening incense. God installed Moses’ older brother, Aaron, as Israel’s first high priest and appointed Aaron’s sons to assist their father with his duties.—Exodus 28:1; Numbers 3:10; 2 Chronicles 13:10, 11.
6 Caring for the spiritual needs of several million people was an enormous task, and the priests were relatively few in number. So provision was made for them to be assisted by other members of the tribe of Levi. Jehovah told Moses: “You must give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They are given ones, given to him from the sons of Israel.”—Numbers 3:9, 39.
7 The Levites were well organized. They were divided according to the three families—the Gershonites, the Kohathites, and the Merarites—each with an assignment of work to do. (Numbers 3:14-17, 23-37) Some assignments may have seemed more important than others, but all were essential. The work of the Kohathite Levites brought them into close proximity with the sacred ark of the covenant and the furnishings of the tabernacle. However, every Levite, whether a Kohathite or not, enjoyed marvelous privileges. (Numbers 1:51, 53) Sadly, some did not appreciate their privileges. Rather than loyally submitting to godly authority, they became dissatisfied and gave in to pride, ambition, and jealousy. A Levite named Korah was of that number.

*** w11 9/15 p. 27 par. 11 Are You Known by Jehovah? ***
11 Moses and Korah stand in sharp contrast when it comes to demonstrating respect for Jehovah’s arrangement and his decisions. Their reactions had a bearing on how Jehovah viewed them. Korah was a Kohathite Levite, and he enjoyed many privileges, which likely included seeing the deliverance of the nation through the Red Sea, supporting Jehovah’s judgment against disobedient Israelites at Mount Sinai, and having a role in transporting the ark of the covenant. (Ex. 32:26-29; Num. 3:30, 31) He had evidently been loyal to Jehovah for years and was subsequently looked up to by many in the camp of Israel.

*** w02 5/1 p. 15 par. 7 Jehovah Hates the Course of Treachery ***
7 Centuries before Malachi’s time, Jehovah had assigned the Levites to care for the tabernacle and later the temple and the sacred ministry. They were the teachers in the nation of Israel. Fulfilling their assignment would have meant life and peace for them and the nation. (Numbers 3:5-8) Yet, the Levites lost the fear of God that they initially had. Thus, Jehovah told them: “You have turned aside from the way. You have caused many to stumble in the law. You have ruined the covenant of Levi . . . You were not keeping my ways.” (Malachi 2:8, 9) By their failure to teach the truth and by their poor example, the priests misled many Israelites, so Jehovah was rightly angry with them.

*** w98 2/1 p. 11 par. 13 Jehovah Is a God of Covenants ***
13 What was the standing of such proselytes? When Jehovah made his covenant, it was only with Israel; those of the “vast mixed company,” although present, were not named as participants. (Exodus 12:38; 19:3, 7, 8) Their firstborn were not taken into account when the ransom price for the firstborn of Israel was calculated. (Numbers 3:44-51) Decades later when the land of Canaan was divided between the Israelite tribes, nothing was set aside for non-Israelite believers. (Genesis 12:7; Joshua 13:1-14) Why? Because the Law covenant was not made with proselytes. But proselyte men were circumcised in obedience to the Law. They observed its regulations, and they benefited from its provisions. Proselytes as well as Israelites came under the Law covenant.—Exodus 12:48, 49; Numbers 15:14-16; Romans 3:19.

Service Meeting


Song 89
10 min: Are You Prepared for the New School Year? Discussion. Invite audience to outline some of the challenges Christian youths face at school. Explain how parents can use our Web site and other theocratic tools to prepare their children. (1 Pet. 3:15) Choose one or two common challenges, and relate some of the helpful information provided by the organization. Invite audience to comment on how they were able to give a witness while at school.
10 min: Interview the Secretary. What does caring for your assignment involve? How can group overseers and publishers help you to compile a congregation service report that is accurate and on time? How does an accurate report help the elders, the circuit overseer, and the branch office to provide needed encouragement?
10 min: “Take as a Pattern the Prophets—Zephaniah.” Questions and answers.
Song 70 and Prayer


Song 89. Jehovah’s Warm Appeal: “Be Wise, My Son”

(Proverbs 27:11)
1. Young man and young woman,
do give your heart to me.
My foe who now taunts me
will then be made to see.
Your youth and devotion
to me you freely give;
You show all the world
that for me you really live.
(CHORUS)
Beloved son and precious daughter,
Be wise and make my heart rejoice.
That out of your own heart you serve me,
And furnish praise by your own choice.
2. Rejoice and take pleasure
in giving me your all,
And though you may stumble,
I’ll raise you if you fall.
No matter who fails you
or proves to be untrue,
Take comfort in knowing
I’ll always cherish you.
(CHORUS)
Beloved son and precious daughter,
Be wise and make my heart rejoice.
That out of your own heart you serve me,
And furnish praise by your own choice.
(See also Deut. 6:5; Eccl. 11:9; Isa. 41:13.)

10 min: Are You Prepared for the New School Year?

Discussion. Invite audience to outline some of the challenges Christian youths face at school. Explain how parents can use our Web site and other theocratic tools to prepare their children. (1 Pet. 3:15) Choose one or two common challenges, and relate some of the helpful information provided by the organization. Invite audience to comment on how they were able to give a witness while at school.
^ (1 Pet. 3:15) But sanctify the Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense before everyone who demands of you a reason for the hope you have, but doing so with a mild temper and deep respect.

10 min: Interview the Secretary.

What does caring for your assignment involve? How can group overseers and publishers help you to compile a congregation service report that is accurate and on time? How does an accurate report help the elders, the circuit overseer, and the branch office to provide needed encouragement?

10 min: “Take as a Pattern the Prophets—Zephaniah.”

Questions and answers.

TAKE AS A PATTERN THE PROPHETS—ZEPHANIAH

1. In what setting did Zephaniah serve as a prophet, and how is he a good example for us today?

1 It was the mid-seventh century B.C.E., and Baal worship was being openly practiced in Judah. Bad King Amon had recently been murdered, and now young King Josiah was reigning. (2 Chron. 33:21–34:1) During that time, Jehovah raised up Zephaniah to declare His judgment message. Although Zephaniah may have been a member of Judah’s royal house, he did not water down Jehovah’s message of condemnation to Judah’s leadership. (Zeph. 1:1; 3:1-4) Similarly, we strive to imitate Zephaniah’s courage and avoid allowing family ties to impact our worship of Jehovah in a negative way. (Matt. 10:34-37) What message did Zephaniah declare, and with what results?

^ par. 1 (2 Chron. 33:21-34:1) A′mon was 22 years old when he became king, and he reigned for two years in Jerusalem. 22 And he continued to do what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes, just as his father Ma•nas′seh had done; and A′mon sacrificed to all the graven images that his father Ma•nas′seh had made, and he kept serving them. 23 But he did not humble himself before Jehovah as Ma•nas′seh his father had humbled himself; instead, A′mon greatly increased his guilt. 24 Eventually his servants conspired against him and put him to death in his own house.25 But the people of the land struck down all those who conspired against King A′mon, and they made his son Jo•si′ah king in his place.
34 Jo•si′ah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned for 31 years in Jerusalem.
^ par. 1 (Zeph. 1:1) The word of Jehovah that came to Zeph•a•ni′ah son of Cush′i son of Ged•a•li′ah son of Am•a•ri′ah son of Hez•e•ki′ah in the days of Jo•si′ah son of A′mon the king of Judah:
^ par. 1 (Zeph. 3:1-4) Woe to the rebellious, the polluted, the oppressive city! 2 She has obeyed no voice; she has accepted no discipline. In Jehovah she has not trusted; she has not drawn near to her God. 3 Her princes within her are roaring lions. Her judges are wolves in the night; They do not leave even a bone to gnaw until morning. 4 Her prophets are insolent, treacherous men. Her priests defile what is holy; They do violence to the law.
^ par. 1 (Matt. 10:34-37) Do not think I came to bring peace to the earth; I came to bring, not peace, but a sword. 35 For I came to cause division, with a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. 36 Indeed, a man’s enemies will be those of his own household. 37 Whoever has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and whoever has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me.

2. What action must we take to be concealed in the day of Jehovah’s anger?

2 Seek Jehovah: Only Jehovah can save individuals in the day of his anger. Thus, Zephaniah urged the people of Judah to seek Jehovah, seek righteousness, and seek meekness while time still remained. (Zeph. 2:2, 3) The same is true in our day. Like Zephaniah, we encourage others to seek Jehovah, but we too must act, being determined never to “turn away from following Jehovah.” (Zeph. 1:6) Rather, we seek Jehovah by carefully studying his Word and by praying for his guidance. We seek righteousness by living a morally clean life. We seek meekness by cultivating a submissive attitude and by readily responding to direction from Jehovah’s organization.

^ par. 2 (Zeph. 2:2, 3) Before the decree takes effect, Before the day passes by like chaff, Before the burning anger of Jehovah comes upon you, Before the day of Jehovah’s anger comes upon you, 3 Seek Jehovah, all you meek ones of the earth, Who observe his righteous decrees. Seek righteousness, seek meekness. Probably you will be concealed on the day of Jehovah’s anger.
^ par. 2 (Zeph. 1:6) And those who turn away from following Jehovah And who do not seek Jehovah or inquire of him.”

3. Why should we maintain a positive attitude in the ministry?

3 Positive Results: Zephaniah’s judgment message struck a responsive chord with at least some in Judah but likely most notably with young Josiah, who started to search for Jehovah while he was still a boy. Josiah later carried out a vigorous campaign against idolatry in the land. (2 Chron. 34:2-5) Today, although some Kingdom seed falls alongside the road, on rocky ground, or among the thorns, some also falls on the fine soil and yields fruit. (Matt. 13:18-23) We are confident that Jehovah will continue to bless our efforts as we stay busy spreading Kingdom seed.—Ps. 126:6.

^ par. 3 (2 Chron. 34:2-5) He did what was right in Jehovah’s eyes and walked in the ways of David his forefather, and he did not deviate to the right or to the left. 3 In the 8th year of his reign, while he was still a boy, he started to search for the God of David his forefather; and in the 12th year, he started to cleanse Judah and Jerusalem of the high places and the sacred poles, the graven images, and the metal statues. 4 Further, they tore down the altars of the Ba′als in his presence, and he cut down the incense stands that were up above them. He also broke into pieces the sacred poles, the graven images, and the metal statues and reduced them to powder and sprinkled it over the graves of those who used to sacrifice to them. 5 And he burned the bones of priests on their altars. Thus he cleansed Judah and Jerusalem.
^ par. 3 (Matt. 13:18-23) “Now listen to the illustration of the man who sowed. 19 Where anyone hears the word of the Kingdom but does not get the sense of it, the wicked one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart; this is the one sown alongside the road. 20 As for the one sown on rocky ground, this is the one hearing the word and at once accepting it with joy. 21 Yet, he has no root in himself but continues for a time, and after tribulation or persecution has arisen on account of the word, he is at once stumbled. 22 As for the one sown among the thorns, this is the one hearing the word, but the anxiety of this system of things and the deceptive power of riches choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23 As for the one sown upon the fine soil, this is the one hearing the word and getting the sense of it, who really does bear fruit and produces, this one 100 times more, that one 60, the other 30.”
^ par. 3 (Ps. 126:6) The one who does go out, though weeping, Carrying his bag of seed, Will surely return with a joyful shout, Carrying in his sheaves.

4. Why should we ‘keep ourselves in expectation of Jehovah’?

4 Some in Judah felt that Jehovah would never act. However, Jehovah assured all that his great day was near. (Zeph. 1:12, 14) Salvation would come only to those who took refuge in him. (Zeph. 3:12, 17) As we ‘keep ourselves in expectation of Jehovah,’ may we find delight in serving unitedly with fellow worshippers of our great God!—Zeph. 3:8, 9.

^ par. 4 (Zeph. 1:12) At that time I will carefully search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will call to account the complacent ones, who say in their heart, ‘Jehovah will not do good, and he will not do bad.’
^ par. 4 (Zeph. 1:14) The great day of Jehovah is near! It is near and it is approaching very quickly! The sound of the day of Jehovah is bitter. There a warrior cries out.
^ par. 4 (Zeph. 3:12) I will allow a humble and lowly people to remain in your midst, And they will take refuge in the name of Jehovah.
^ par. 4 (Zeph. 3:17) Jehovah your God is in your midst. As a mighty One, he will save. He will exult over you with great joy. He will become silent in his love. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.
^ par. 4 (Zeph. 3:8, 9) ‘So keep yourselves in expectation of me,’ declares Jehovah, ‘Until the day when I rise up to take plunder, For my judicial decision is to gather nations, to assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them my indignation, all my burning anger; For by the fire of my zeal the whole earth will be consumed. 9 For then I will change the language of the peoples to a pure language, So that all of them may call on the name of Jehovah, To serve him shoulder to shoulder.’

Song 70. “Make Sure of the More Important Things”

(Philippians 1:10)
1. How great our need today for discernment,
To know the things that are true,
To know which things have greater importance,
To know which things we must do!
Love what is good; Hate what is bad.
Make God’s heart glad;
Find all the joy that it brings. Always pray;
Study each day.
Yes, may we do these important things.
2. And what could be of greater importance
Than sharing Kingdom good news,
To find our Father’s lost little sheep,
And to help them his way to choose?
They need to hear; They need to know.
Oh, may we show
Love for our neighbors and help them to see,
Help them get free!
Preaching is such an important thing.
3. If we take care to do what’s important,
Our faith will make us secure.
We’ll know the peace beyond human thinking
And keep our hope ever sure.
True friends we’ll find; True love we’ll know.
This love will grow.
Oh, what rich blessings it brings when we learn,
When we discern,
And when we do the important things!
(See also Ps. 97:10; Matt. 22:37; John 21:15-17; Acts 10:42.)

Congregation Bible Study

Chapter 10. “Become Imitators of God” in Your Use of Power


- 18 -
Colossians 3:23 you are doing, work at it whole-souled as for Jehovah, and not for men,
Mark 12:30 you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.’
- 19 -
Mark 12:30 you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.’
Colossians 3:22 slaves, be obedient in everything to those who are your human masters, not only when they are watching, just to please men, but with sincerity of heart, with fear of Jehovah.
- 20 -
Romans 14:10-12 why do you judge your brother? Or why do you also look down on your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. 11 For it is written: “‘As surely as I live,’ says Jehovah, ‘to me every knee will bend, and every tongue will make open acknowledgment to God.’” 12 So, then, each of us will render an account for himself to God.
- 21 -
Romans 10:13, 14 “everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.” 14 However, how will they call on him if they have not put faith in him? How, in turn, will they put faith in him about whom they have not heard? How, in turn, will they hear without someone to preach?
Psalm 23:4 I walk in the valley of deep shadow,I fear no harm,For you are with me;Your rod and your staff reassure me.

Questions for Meditation


Proverbs 3:9, 10 What “valuable things” do we possess, and how can we use these to honor Jehovah?
Proverbs 3:9, 10 Jehovah with your valuable things,With the firstfruits of all your produce;10 Then your storehouses will be completely filled,And your vats will overflow with new wine.

Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 Why should you use your strength now in a manner that God will approve?
Ecclesiastes 9:5-10 the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten. 6 Also, their love and their hate and their jealousy have already perished, and they no longer have any share in what is done under the sun. 7 Go, eat your food with rejoicing, and drink your wine with a cheerful heart, for already the true God has found pleasure in your works. 8 May your clothing always be white, and do not fail to put oil on your head. 9 Enjoy life with your beloved wife all the days of your futile life, which He has given you under the sun, all the days of your futility, for that is your lot in life and in your hard work at which you toil under the sun. 10 Whatever your hand finds to do, do with all your might, for there is no work nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom in the Grave, where you are going.

Acts 8:9-24 What abuse of power is described here, and how can we avoid giving in to such wrongdoing?
Acts 8:9-24 in the city was a man named Simon, who prior to this had been practicing magical arts and amazing the nation of Sa•mar′i•a, claiming that he was somebody great. 10 All of them, from the least to the greatest, would pay attention to him and say: “This man is the Power of God, which is called Great.” 11 So they would pay attention to him because he had amazed them for quite a while by his magical arts. 12 But when they believed Philip, who was declaring the good news of the Kingdom of God and of the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were getting baptized. 13 Simon himself also became a believer, and after being baptized, he continued with Philip; and he was amazed at seeing the signs and great powerful works taking place. 14 When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Sa•mar′i•a had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them; 15 and these went down and prayed for them to get holy spirit. 16 For it had not yet come upon any one of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them, and they began to receive holy spirit. 18 Now when Simon saw that the spirit was given through the laying on of the hands of the apostles, he offered them money, 19 saying: “Give me this authority also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive holy spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him: “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could acquire the free gift of God with money. 21 You have neither part nor share in this matter, for your heart is not straight in the sight of God. 22 So repent of this badness of yours, and supplicate Jehovah that, if possible, the wicked intention of your heart may be forgiven you; 23 for I see you are a bitter poison and a slave of unrighteousness.” 24 In answer Simon said to them: “Make supplication for me to Jehovah that none of the things you have said may come upon me.”

Acts 20:29-38 What might those with responsible positions in the congregation learn from Paul’s example?
Acts 20:29-38 know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, 30 and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves. 31 “Therefore keep awake, and bear in mind that for three years, night and day, I never stopped admonishing each one of you with tears. 32 And now I entrust you to God and to the word of his undeserved kindness, which word can build you up and give you the inheritance among all the sanctified ones. 33 I have desired no man’s silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands have provided for my own needs and the needs of those with me. 35 I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way, you must assist those who are weak and must keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus, when he himself said: ‘There is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.’” 36 And when he had said these things, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 Indeed, quite a bit of weeping broke out among them all, and they embraced Paul and affectionately kissed him, 38 for they were especially pained at the word he had spoken that they would not see his face anymore. Then they accompanied him to the ship.

Mark 12:30 you must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind and with your whole strength.’

“Watchtower” Study

THE WATCHTOWER (STUDY EDITION) MAY 2014

Are You Moving Ahead With Jehovah’s Organization?

“The eyes of Jehovah are on the righteous.”—1 PET. 3:12.

HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND?

• How will Jehovah respond to satanic efforts to destroy his servants?
• What are some things that God requires of us as his people?
• Why must we keep on moving ahead with Jehovah’s organization?

Only References and Scriptures


Luke 21:20-21;2 Timothy 3:1;Matthew 24:3,21;Revelation 17:3-5,16;Ezekiel 38:1-2,9-12;Zechariah 2:8;Revelation 16:14,16;Jeremiah 25:31-33;1 Peter 3:12;Revelation 7:9,14;Matthew 24:14;1 Corinthians 3:5-7;Isaiah 43:10-12;Isaiah 60:22;Galatians 6:16;Isaiah 48:17-18;Exodus 20:14;Leviticus 19:18,35-37;Deuteronomy 6:6-9;1 John 5:3;Titus 1:13;Proverbs 4:18;Hebrews 10:24-25;Exodus 23:15-16;Nehemiah 8:9-18;Titus 2:2;Romans 15:16;1 Corinthians 3:9;1 Peter 1:15;1 Timothy 1:11;Deuteronomy 30:19-20;Acts 21:17-20;Hebrews 10:5-10;Romans 8:16-17;2 Peter 3:13;Psalms 37:11;Isaiah 65:21-22;Psalms 72:13-16;Revelation 18:8,21;Isaiah 25:8;Acts 24:15;Psalms 27:4;
28/7-3/8/2014 (w 15/5/2014)

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(Luke 21:20-21) “However, when you see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating of her has drawn near. 21Then let those in Ju•de′a begin fleeing to the mountains, let those in the midst of her leave, and let those in the countryside not enter into her,
(2 Timothy 3:1) But know this, that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.
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(Matthew 24:3,21) While he was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples approached him privately, saying: “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?” 21for then there will be great tribulation such as has not occurred since the world’s beginning until now, no, nor will occur again.
(Revelation 17:3-5,16) And he carried me away in the power of the spirit into a wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and she was adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, and she had in her hand a golden cup that was full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her sexual immorality. 5On her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the Great, the mother of the prostitutes and of the disgusting things of the earth.” 16And the ten horns that you saw and the wild beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her devastated and naked, and they will eat up her flesh and completely burn her with fire.
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(Ezekiel 38:1-2,9-12) The word of Jehovah again came to me, saying: 2“Son of man, set your face against Gog of the land of Ma′gog, the head chieftain of Me′shech and Tu′bal, and prophesy against him. 9You will come against them like a storm, and you will cover the land like clouds, you and all your troops and many peoples with you.”’ 10“This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah says: ‘In that day thoughts will come into your heart, and you will devise an evil plan. 11You will say: “I will invade the land of unprotected settlements. I will come against those living in security, without disturbance, all of them living in settlements unprotected by walls, bars, or gates.” 12It will be to take much spoil and plunder, to attack the devastated places that are now inhabited and a people regathered from the nations, who are accumulating wealth and property, those who are living in the center of the earth.
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(Zechariah 2:8) For this is what Jehovah of armies says, who after being glorified has sent me to the nations that were plundering you: ‘Whoever touches you touches the pupil of my eye.
(Revelation 16:14,16) They are, in fact, expressions inspired by demons and they perform signs, and they go out to the kings of the entire inhabited earth, to gather them together to the war of the great day of God the Almighty. 16And they gathered them together to the place that is called in Hebrew Armageddon.
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(Jeremiah 25:31-33) ‘A noise will resound to the ends of the earth, For Jehovah has a controversy with the nations. He will personally pass judgment on all humans. And he will put the wicked to the sword,’ declares Jehovah. 32This is what Jehovah of armies says: ‘Look! A calamity is spreading from nation to nation, And a great tempest will be unleashed from the remotest parts of the earth. 33“‘And those slain by Jehovah in that day will be from one end of the earth clear to the other end of the earth. They will not be mourned, nor will they be gathered up or buried. They will become like manure on the surface of the ground.’
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(1 Peter 3:12) For the eyes of Jehovah are on the righteous, and his ears listen to their supplication, but the face of Jehovah is against those doing bad things.”
(Revelation 7:9,14) After this I saw, and look! a great crowd, which no man was able to number, out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes; and there were palm branches in their hands. 14So right away I said to him: “My lord, you are the one who knows.” And he said to me: “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
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(Matthew 24:14) And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.
(1 Corinthians 3:5-7) What, then, is A•pol′los? Yes, what is Paul? Ministers through whom you became believers, just as the Lord granted each one. 6I planted, A•pol′los watered, but God kept making it grow, 7so that neither is the one who plants anything nor is the one who waters, but God who makes it grow.
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(Isaiah 43:10-12) “You are my witnesses,” declares Jehovah, “Yes, my servant whom I have chosen, So that you may know and have faith in me And understand that I am the same One. Before me no God was formed, And after me there has been none. 11I—I am Jehovah, and besides me there is no savior.” 12“I am the One who declared and saved and made known When there was no foreign god among you. So you are my witnesses,” declares Jehovah, “and I am God.
(Isaiah 60:22) The little one will become a thousand And the small one a mighty nation. I myself, Jehovah, will speed it up in its own time.”
(Galatians 6:16) As for all those who walk orderly by this rule of conduct, peace and mercy be upon them, yes, upon the Israel of God.
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(Isaiah 48:17-18) This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: “I, Jehovah, am your God, The One teaching you to benefit yourself, The One guiding you in the way you should walk. 18If only you would pay attention to my commandments! Then your peace would become just like a river And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.
(Exodus 20:14) “You must not commit adultery.
(Leviticus 19:18,35-37) “‘You must not take vengeance nor hold a grudge against the sons of your people, and you must love your fellow man as yourself. I am Jehovah. 35“‘You must not use dishonest standards in measuring length, weight, or volume. 36You should use accurate scales, accurate weights, an accurate dry measure, and an accurate liquid measure. I am Jehovah your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37So you must keep all my statutes and all my judicial decisions, and you must follow them. I am Jehovah.’”
(Deuteronomy 6:6-9) These words that I am commanding you today must be on your heart, 7and you must inculcate them in your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. 8Tie them as a reminder on your hand, and they must be like a headband on your forehead. 9Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
(1 John 5:3) For this is what the love of God means, that we observe his commandments; and yet his commandments are not burdensome,
(Titus 1:13) This witness is true. For this very reason, keep on reproving them with severity so that they may be healthy in the faith,
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(Proverbs 4:18) But the path of the righteous is like the bright morning light That grows brighter and brighter until full daylight.
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(Hebrews 10:24-25) And let us consider one another so as to incite to love and fine works, 25not forsaking our meeting together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you see the day drawing near.
(Exodus 23:15-16) You will observe the Festival of Unleavened Bread. You will eat unleavened bread for seven days, just as I have commanded you, at the appointed time in the month of A′bib, for at that time you came out of Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. 16Also, you are to observe the Festival of Harvest of the first ripe fruits of your labors, of what you sow in the field; and the Festival of Ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the results of your labors.
(Nehemiah 8:9-18) And Ne•he•mi′ah, who was then the governor, Ez′ra the priest and copyist, and the Levites who were instructing the people said to all the people: “This day is holy to Jehovah your God. Do not mourn or weep.” For all the people were weeping as they heard the words of the Law. 10He said to them: “Go, eat the choice things and drink what is sweet, and send portions of food to those who have nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord, and do not feel sad, for the joy of Jehovah is your stronghold.” 11And the Levites were calming all the people, saying: “Be quiet! for this day is holy, and do not feel sad.” 12So all the people went away to eat and to drink and to send out portions of food and to carry on a great rejoicing, for they understood the words that had been made known to them. 13And on the second day, the heads of the paternal houses of all the people, the priests, and the Levites gathered around Ez′ra the copyist to gain further insight into the words of the Law. 14Then they found written in the Law that Jehovah had commanded through Moses that the Israelites should dwell in booths during the festival in the seventh month, 15and that they should make proclamation and announce throughout all their cities and throughout Jerusalem, saying: “Go out to the mountainous region and bring in leafy branches from olive trees, oil trees, myrtle and palm trees, and the leafy branches of other trees to make booths, according to what is written.” 16So the people went out and brought them in to make booths for themselves, each one on his roof, as well as in their courtyards, in the courtyards of the house of the true God, in the public square of the Water Gate, and in the public square of the Gate of E′phra•im. 17Thus all those of the congregation who had come back from the captivity made booths and were dwelling in the booths, for the Israelites had not done it this way from the days of Joshua the son of Nun until that day, so that there was very great rejoicing. 18And day by day there was a reading from the book of the Law of the true God, from the first day until the last day. And they held the festival for seven days, and there was a solemn assembly on the eighth day, as was required.
(Titus 2:2) Let the older men be moderate in habits, serious, sound in mind, healthy in faith, in love, in endurance.
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(Romans 15:16) for me to be a public servant of Christ Jesus to the nations. I am engaging in the holy work of the good news of God, so that these nations might be an acceptable offering, sanctified with holy spirit.
(1 Corinthians 3:9) For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field under cultivation, God’s building.
(1 Peter 1:15) but like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all your conduct,
(1 Timothy 1:11) according to the glorious good news of the happy God, with which I was entrusted.
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(Deuteronomy 30:19-20) I take the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you today that I have put life and death before you, the blessing and the curse; and you must choose life so that you may live, you and your descendants, 20by loving Jehovah your God, by listening to his voice, and by sticking to him, for he is your life and by him you will endure a long time in the land that Jehovah swore to give to your forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”
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(Acts 21:17-20) When we got to Jerusalem, the brothers welcomed us gladly. 18But on the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. 19And he greeted them and began giving a detailed account of the things God did among the nations through his ministry. 20After hearing this, they began to glorify God, but they said to him: “You see, brother, how many thousands of believers there are among the Jews, and they are all zealous for the Law.
(Hebrews 10:5-10) So when he comes into the world, he says: “‘Sacrifice and offering you did not want, but you prepared a body for me. 6You did not approve of whole burnt offerings and sin offerings.’ 7Then I said: ‘Look! I have come (in the scroll it is written about me) to do your will, O God.’” 8After first saying: “You did not want nor did you approve of sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin offerings”—sacrifices that are offered according to the Law— 9then he says: “Look! I have come to do your will.” He does away with what is first in order to establish what is second. 10By this “will” we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all time.
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(Romans 8:16-17) The spirit itself bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children. 17If, then, we are children, we are also heirs—heirs indeed of God, but joint heirs with Christ—provided we suffer together so that we may also be glorified together.
(2 Peter 3:13) But there are new heavens and a new earth that we are awaiting according to his promise, and in these righteousness is to dwell.
(Psalms 37:11) But the meek will possess the earth, And they will find exquisite delight in the abundance of peace.
(Isaiah 65:21-22) They will build houses and live in them, And they will plant vineyards and eat their fruitage. 22They will not build for someone else to inhabit, Nor will they plant for others to eat. For the days of my people will be like the days of a tree, And the work of their hands my chosen ones will enjoy to the full.
(Psalms 72:13-16) He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, And the lives of the poor he will save. 14From oppression and from violence he will rescue them, And their blood will be precious in his eyes. 15May he live and be given the gold of She′ba. May prayers be said for him continually, And may he be blessed all day long. 16There will be an abundance of grain on the earth; On the top of the mountains it will overflow. His fruit will flourish as in Leb′a•non, And in the cities people will blossom like the vegetation of the earth.
(Revelation 18:8,21) That is why in one day her plagues will come, death and mourning and famine, and she will be completely burned with fire, because Jehovah God, who judged her, is strong. 21And a strong angel lifted up a stone like a great millstone and hurled it into the sea, saying: “Thus with a swift pitch will Babylon the great city be hurled down, and she will never be found again.
(Isaiah 25:8) He will swallow up death forever, And the Sovereign Lord Jehovah will wipe away the tears from all faces. The reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, For Jehovah himself has spoken it.
(Acts 24:15) And I have hope toward God, which hope these men also look forward to, that there is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.
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(Psalms 27:4) One thing I have asked from Jehovah —It is what I will look for— That I may dwell in the house of Jehovah all the days of my life, To gaze upon the pleasantness of Jehovah And to look with appreciation upon his temple.

References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD‒ROM

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Numbers - highlights from the book of Numbers

Highlights of the Bible in Numbers - texts explained and practical lessons

Highlights From Bible Reading ‒ Numbers

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Numbers ‒ Historical context

NUMBERS, BOOK OF

The fourth book of the Pentateuch. It derives its English name from the two numberings of the sons of Israel mentioned therein. It relates events that took place in the region of Mount Sinai, in the wilderness during the course of Israel’s wandering, and on the Plains of Moab. The narrative primarily covers a period of 38 years and 9 months, from 1512 to 1473 B.C.E. (Nu 1:1; De 1:3, 4) Although occurring earlier than the events in the surrounding material, the happenings narrated at Numbers 7:1-88 and 9:1-15 provide background information that forms an essential part of the book.
Writership. The writership of the book of Numbers has from ancient times been attributed to Moses. Ample evidence in the book itself confirms this. There is no hint of any other life than that experienced by Israel in Egypt and then in the wilderness. In commenting about the time Hebron was built, the writer used the Egyptian city of Zoan as a reference point. (Nu 13:22) The age of Zoan would reasonably be common knowledge to a man like Moses, who “was instructed in all the wisdom of the Egyptians.”—Ac 7:22.
Certain commands recorded in the book of Numbers are unique to the circumstances of a nation on the move. These include the prescribed tribal encampments (Nu 1:52, 53), the order of march (2:9, 16, 17, 24, 31), and the trumpet signals for convening the assembly and for breaking camp (10:2-6). Also, the law concerning quarantine is worded to fit camp life. (5:2-4) Various other commands are stated in such a way as to call for a future application when the Israelites would be residing in the Promised Land. Among these are: the use of trumpets for sounding war calls (10:9), the setting aside of 48 cities for the Levites (35:2-8), the action to be taken against idolatry and the inhabitants of Canaan (33:50-56), the selection of six cities of refuge, instructions for handling cases of persons claiming to be accidental manslayers (35:9-33), and laws involving inheritance and marriage of heiresses (27:8-11; 36:5-9).
Additionally, the recording of the Israelite encampments is definitely ascribed to Moses (Nu 33:2), and the concluding words of the book of Numbers also point to him as the writer of the account.—36:13.
Authenticity. The authenticity of the book is established beyond any doubt. Outstanding is its candor. Wrong conduct and defeat are not concealed. (Nu 11:1-5, 10, 32-35; 14:2, 11, 45) Even the transgressions of Moses himself, his brother Aaron, his sister Miriam, and his nephews Nadab and Abihu are exposed. (3:3, 4; 12:1-15; 20:2-13) Repeatedly, happenings recorded in the book are recounted in the Psalms (78:14-41; 95:7-11; 105:40, 41; 106:13-33; 135:10, 11; 136:16-20). By their allusions to major events and other details in Numbers, Joshua (4:12; 14:2), Jeremiah (2Ki 18:4), Nehemiah (9:19-22), David (Ps 95:7-11), Isaiah (48:21), Ezekiel (20:13-24), Hosea (9:10), Amos (5:25), Micah (6:5), the Christian martyr Stephen (Ac 7:36), the apostles Paul (1Co 10:1-11) and Peter (2Pe 2:15, 16), the disciple Jude (vs 11), and the Son of God (Joh 3:14; Re 2:14) showed that they accepted this record as part of God’s inspired Word. There is also Balaam’s prophecy regarding the star that would step forth out of Jacob, which had its initial fulfillment when David became king and thereafter subdued the Moabites and Edomites.—Nu 24:15-19; 2Sa 8:2, 13, 14.
Value. The book of Numbers forcefully illustrates the importance of obedience to Jehovah, respect for him and his servants, the need for faith and guarding against ungodly men (Nu 13:25–14:38; 22:7, 8, 22; 26:9, 10; Heb 3:7–4:11; 2Pe 2:12-16; Jude 11; Re 2:14), not faithlessly putting Jehovah to the test (Nu 21:5, 6; 1Co 10:9), as well as refraining from murmuring (Nu 14:2, 36, 37; 16:1-3, 41; 17:5, 10; 1Co 10:10, 11) and sexual immorality (Nu 25:1-9; 31:16; 1Co 10:6, 8). Jehovah’s dealings with Israel give evidence of his great power, mercy, and loving-kindness, as well as his being slow to anger, though not withholding punishment when deserving. (Nu 14:17-20) Further, the position and ministry of Moses (Nu 12:7; Heb 3:2-6), the miraculous provision of water from the rock-mass (Nu 20:7-11; 1Co 10:4), the lifting up of the copper serpent (Nu 21:8, 9; Joh 3:14, 15), and the water of cleansing (Nu 19:2-22; Heb 9:13, 14) provided prophetic pictures that were fulfilled in Christ Jesus.
The account provides background material that illuminates other scriptures. It shows on what basis Judean King Hezekiah was able to arrange the Passover on Ziv (Iyyar) 14, instead of Nisan (Abib) 14. (Nu 9:10, 11; 2Ch 30:15) The full discussion of Naziriteship (Nu 6:2-21) explains why Samson and Samuel were not to have their hair cut (Jg 13:4, 5; 1Sa 1:11) and why John the Baptizer was not to drink intoxicating beverages. (Lu 1:15) For additional examples, compare Numbers 2:18-23 and Psalm 80:2; Numbers 15:38 and Matthew 23:5; Numbers 17:8-10 and Hebrews 9:4; Numbers 18:26 and Hebrews 7:5-9; Numbers 18:31 and 1 Corinthians 9:13, 14; Numbers 28:9, 10 and Matthew 12:5.

Bible Book Number 4—Numbers

Writer: Moses
Place Written: Wilderness and Plains of Moab
Writing Completed: 1473 B.C.E.
Time Covered: 1512-1473 B.C.E.

THE events of the Israelites’ wilderness trek have been recorded in the Bible for our benefit today. As the apostle Paul said: “Now these things became our examples, for us not to be persons desiring injurious things.” (1 Cor. 10:6) The vivid record in Numbers impresses upon us that survival depends on sanctifying Jehovah’s name, obeying him under all circumstances, and showing respect for his representatives. His favor does not come because of any goodness or merit in his people but out of his great mercy and undeserved kindness.
2 The name Numbers has reference to the numbering of the people that took place first at Mount Sinai and later on the Plains of Moab, as recorded in chapters 1-4 and 26. This name has been carried over from the title Numeri in the Latin Vulgate and is derived from A•rith•moi′ in the Greek Septuagint. However, the Jews more fittingly call the book Bemidh•bar′, which means “In the Wilderness.” The Hebrew word midh•bar′ indicates an open place, empty of cities and towns. It was in the wilderness to the south and to the east of Canaan that the events of Numbers took place.
3 Numbers was evidently part of the original fivefold volume that included the books from Genesis to Deuteronomy. Its first verse opens with the conjunction “and,” tying it in with what went before. Thus, it must have been written by Moses, the writer of the preceding records. This is also clear from the statement in the book that “Moses kept recording,” and by the colophon, “These are the commandments and the judicial decisions that Jehovah commanded by means of Moses.”—Num. 33:2; 36:13.
4 The Israelites had departed from Egypt a little more than a year previously. Taking up the account in the second month of the second year after the Exodus, Numbers covers the next 38 years and nine months, from 1512 to 1473 B.C.E. (Num. 1:1; Deut. 1:3) Though not fitting into this time period, the events related at Numbers 7:1-88 and 9:1-15 are included as background information. The earlier portions of the book were no doubt written as the events occurred, but it is evident that Moses could not have completed Numbers until toward the end of the 40th year in the wilderness, early in the calendar year 1473 B.C.E.
5 There can be no doubt as to the authenticity of the account. Of the generally arid land in which they journeyed, Moses said that it was a “great and fear-inspiring wilderness,” and it is true even today that the scattered inhabitants are constantly on the move in search of pastures and water. (Deut. 1:19) Furthermore, the detailed instructions concerning encampment of the nation, the order of march, and the trumpet signals to govern camp affairs testify that the account was indeed written “in the wilderness.”—Num. 1:1.
6 Even the fearful report of the spies when they returned from their expedition into Canaan, to the effect that “the fortified cities are very great,” is borne out by archaeology. (13:28) Modern-day discoveries have shown that the inhabitants of Canaan at that time had consolidated their hold by a series of forts stretching across the country in several places, from the Low Plain of Jezreel in the north to Gerar in the south. Not only were the cities fortified but they were usually built on the tops of hills, with towers rising above their walls, making them most impressive to people like the Israelites, who had lived for generations in the flat land of Egypt.
7 Nations of the world are prone to whitewash their failures and magnify their conquests, but with an honesty that bespeaks historical truth, the Numbers account tells that Israel was completely routed by the Amalekites and by the Canaanites. (14:45) It straightforwardly confesses that the people proved faithless and treated God without respect. (14:11) With remarkable candor, God’s prophet Moses exposes the sins of the nation, of his nephews, and of his own brother and sister. Nor does he spare himself, for he tells of the time that he failed to sanctify Jehovah when water was provided at Meribah, so that he forfeited the privilege of entering the Promised Land.—3:4; 12:1-15; 20:7-13.
8 That the account is a genuine part of the Scriptures that are inspired by God and beneficial is borne out by the fact that nearly all its major events, as well as many other details, are directly referred to by other Bible writers, many of whom highlight their significance. For example, Joshua (Josh. 4:12; 14:2), Jeremiah (2 Ki. 18:4), Nehemiah (Neh. 9:19-22), Asaph (Ps. 78:14-41), David (Ps. 95:7-11), Isaiah (Isa. 48:21), Ezekiel (Ezek. 20:13-24), Hosea (Hos. 9:10), Amos (Amos 5:25), Micah (Mic. 6:5), Luke in his record of Stephen’s discourse (Acts 7:36), Paul (1 Cor. 10:1-11), Peter (2 Pet. 2:15, 16), Jude (Jude 11), and John in recording Jesus’ words to the Pergamum congregation (Rev. 2:14), all draw on the record in Numbers, as did Jesus Christ himself.—John 3:14.
9 What purpose, then, does Numbers serve? Truly its account is of more than historical value. Numbers emphasizes that Jehovah is the God of order, requiring exclusive devotion of his creatures. This is vividly impressed on the reader’s mind as he observes the numbering, testing, and sifting of Israel and sees how the nation’s disobedient and rebellious course is used to emphasize the vital need to obey Jehovah.
10 The record was preserved for the benefit of the generations to come, just as Asaph explained, “that they might set their confidence in God himself and not forget the practices of God but observe his own commandments” and that “they should not become like their forefathers, a generation stubborn and rebellious, a generation who had not prepared their heart and whose spirit was not trustworthy with God.” (Ps. 78:7, 8) Over and over again, the events of Numbers were recounted in the psalms, which were sacred songs among the Jews and so were often repeated as being beneficial to the nation.—Psalms 78, 95, 105, 106, 135, 136.

Numbers ‒ Overview and structure

NUMBERS:  OUTLINE OF CONTENTS

1
Registration of men for the army (1-46)
The Levites exempted from the army (47-51)
Orderly arrangement of the camp (52-54)
2
Camp organized into three-tribe divisions (1-34)
Judah’s division toward the east (3-9)
Reuben’s division toward the south (10-16)
Levi’s camp in the middle (17)
Ephraim’s division toward the west (18-24)
Dan’s division toward the north (25-31)
Total number of registered males (32-34)
3
Aaron’s sons (1-4)
The Levites chosen to minister (5-39)
Redemption of the firstborn (40-51)
4
Service of the Kohathites (1-20)
Service of the Gershonites (21-28)
Service of the Merarites (29-33)
Summary of the census (34-49)
5
Quarantine of the unclean (1-4)
Confession and compensation (5-10)
Water test for suspected adultery (11-31)
6
Vow of Naziriteship (1-21)
Priestly blessing (22-27)
7
Tabernacle inauguration offerings (1-89)
8
Aaron lights the seven lamps (1-4)
Levites cleansed, begin to serve (5-22)
Age restrictions for Levitical service (23-26)
9
Provision for late Passover (1-14)
Cloud and fire above the tabernacle (15-23)
10
The silver trumpets (1-10)
Departure from Sinai (11-13)
Order of marching (14-28)
Hobab asked to guide Israel (29-34)
Moses’ prayer when breaking camp (35, 36)
11
Complaining brings fire from God (1-3)
People cry for meat (4-9)
Moses’ feelings of inadequacy (10-15)
Jehovah gives spirit to 70 elders (16-25)
Eldad and Medad; Joshua jealous for Moses (26-30)
Quail sent; people punished for greed (31-35)
12
Miriam and Aaron oppose Moses (1-3)
Moses the meekest of all (3)
Jehovah defends Moses (4-8)
Miriam struck with leprosy (9-16)
13
The 12 spies sent into Canaan (1-24)
Bad report from ten spies (25-33)
14
People want to return to Egypt (1-10)
Joshua and Caleb’s good report (6-9)
Jehovah angry; Moses intercedes (11-19)
Punishment: 40 years in the wilderness (20-38)
Israel defeated by the Amalekites (39-45)
15
Laws about offerings (1-21)
Same law for natives and foreign residents (15, 16)
Offerings for unintentional sins (22-29)
Punishment for deliberate sins (30, 31)
A Sabbathbreaker put to death (32-36)
Garments to have fringed edges (37-41)
16
Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (1-19)
Judgment on the rebels (20-50)
17
Aaron’s budded rod a sign (1-13)
18
Duties of priests and Levites (1-7)
Priestly allowances (8-19)
Covenant of salt (19)
Levites to receive and to give a tenth (20-32)
19
The red cow and the cleansing water (1-22)
20
Miriam dies at Kadesh (1)
Moses strikes the rock and sins (2-13)
Edom denies Israel passage (14-21)
The death of Aaron (22-29)
21
King of Arad defeated (1-3)
Copper serpent (4-9)
Israel’s march around Moab (10-20)
Amorite King Sihon defeated (21-30)
Amorite King Og defeated (31-35)
22
Balak hires Balaam (1-21)
Balaam’s donkey speaks (22-41)
23
Balaam’s 1st proverbial saying (1-12)
Balaam’s 2nd proverbial saying (13-30)
24
Balaam’s 3rd proverbial saying (1-11)
Balaam’s 4th proverbial saying (12-25)
25
Israel’s sin with Moabite women (1-5)
Phinehas takes action (6-18)
26
Second census of Israel’s tribes (1-65)
27
Daughters of Zelophehad (1-11)
Joshua commissioned to succeed Moses (12-23)
28
Procedures for various offerings (1-31)
Daily offerings (1-8)
For the Sabbath (9, 10)
Monthly offerings (11-15)
For the Passover (16-25)
For the Festival of Weeks (26-31)
29
Procedures for various offerings (1-40)
Day of trumpet blast (1-6)
Day of Atonement (7-11)
Festival of Booths (12-38)
30
Vows of men (1, 2)
Vows of women and daughters (3-16)
31
Vengeance on Midian (1-12)
Balaam killed (8)
Instruction for spoils of war (13-54)
32
Settlements east of the Jordan (1-42)
33
Stages of Israel’s wilderness journey (1-49)
Instructions for conquering Canaan (50-56)
34
Boundaries of Canaan (1-15)
Men assigned to divide the land (16-29)
35
Cities for the Levites (1-8)
Cities of refuge (9-34)
36
Law on marriage of female heirs (1-13)


HIGHLIGHTS OF NUMBERS

A historical narrative that demonstrates how vital it is to obey Jehovah under all circumstances and to respect his representatives
Covers events during most of the time Israel was in the wilderness en route to the Promised Land
The tribes of Israel are registered and organized
About a year after the Exodus from Egypt, all Israelite males 20 years old and over are registered, with the exception of the Levites (1:1-49)
Each three-tribe division is assigned a place to camp and a position in the order of march (2:1-34)
The Levites are set apart to assist the priests; all Levites over a month old are registered; they are taken by Jehovah in exchange for the firstborn of the other tribes (3:1-51)
The male offspring of Kohath, Gershon, and Merari, the three sons of Levi, from 30 to 50 years of age are numbered and given service assignments (4:1-49)
Another census is taken of the Israelites shortly before they enter the Promised Land (26:1-65)
Israelites receive divine commands regarding their worship and their dealings with one another
Requirements are set out for Nazirites (6:1-21)
The Passover is observed; provision is made so that anyone unclean or on a distant journey can observe it a month after Nisan 14 (9:1-14)
Various regulations are given involving the duties and the privileges of priests and Levites, including the preparation of the water for cleansing and its uses (18:1–19:22)
The offerings are listed that must be presented each day, each Sabbath, at the start of each month, during festivals, and during the seventh month (28:1–29:40)
Jehovah’s commands governing vows are recorded (30:1-16)
Guilty ones must confess and compensate the wronged party (5:5-8)
A procedure is established for handling cases when a wife is suspected of secret adultery (5:11-31)
Arrangements are made for six cities of refuge (35:9-34)
Israelites manifest a lack of appreciation for Jehovah’s provisions, and they disobey his commands
The people complain about eating manna and long for meat; when Jehovah provides quail, many act with extreme greed and are punished with death (11:4-34)
They believe the bad report of the ten fearful spies and want to return to Egypt; Moses has to intercede for them (13:1–14:19)
When that rebellious generation is sentenced to wander and die in the wilderness, the people attempt to enter the Promised Land without Jehovah’s blessing, and they suffer a military defeat (14:26-45)
There is a failure to respect Jehovah’s visible representatives
Miriam and Aaron speak out against Moses; Jehovah strikes Miriam with leprosy (12:1-15)
Korah, Dathan, Abiram, On, and 250 chieftains range themselves against Moses and Aaron; Jehovah executes the rebels, and this gives rise to further murmuring; 14,700 more die (16:1-50)
At Kadesh, the Israelites complain bitterly against Moses and Aaron because of a water shortage; when Jehovah miraculously supplies water, Moses and Aaron fail to sanctify Jehovah’s name and thus lose the privilege of entering the Promised Land (20:1-13)
The Israelites tire out and speak against Jehovah and Moses; they are plagued by serpents, and many die; Moses intercedes for the people, and anyone bitten can be saved by gazing at a copper serpent (21:4-9)
Jehovah blesses Israel but insists on exclusive devotion as the nation prepares to enter Canaan
Jehovah gives Israel victory over the king of Arad (21:1-3)
Israel defeats Sihon and Og, taking possession of their land (21:21-35)
Balak hires Balaam to curse the Israelites; Jehovah forces him to bless Israel instead (22:2–24:25)
Moabite women lure Israelite men into idolatry and fornication; 24,000 are killed for thus falling into apostasy; Jehovah relents when Phinehas tolerates no rivalry toward Him (25:1-18)

CONTENTS OF NUMBERS

11 Numbers logically falls into three parts. The first of these, concluding at chapter 10, verse 10, covers events taking place while the Israelites were still encamped at Mount Sinai. The next part, concluding with chapter 21, tells what happened during the next 38 years and a month or two more, while they were in the wilderness and until they arrived at the Plains of Moab. The final part, through chapter 36, is concerned with events on the Plains of Moab as the Israelites prepared for their entry into the Promised Land.
12 Events at Mount Sinai (1:1–10:10). The Israelites have already been in the mountainous region of Sinai for about a year. Here they have been molded into a closely knit organization. At Jehovah’s command a census is now taken of all the men 20 years old and upward. The tribes are found to range in size from 32,200 able-bodied men in Manasseh up to 74,600 in Judah, making a total of 603,550 men qualified to serve in the army of Israel, besides the Levites and the women and children—a camp perhaps numbering three million or more. The tent of meeting is situated, along with the Levites, in the center of the camp. In assigned places on each side are camped the other Israelites, in three-tribe divisions, each tribe having instructions as to the order of march when the camp is to move. Jehovah issues the instructions, and the record says: “The sons of Israel proceeded to do according to all that Jehovah had commanded Moses.” (2:34) They obey Jehovah and show respect for Moses, God’s visible representative.
13 The Levites are then set apart for Jehovah’s service, as a ransom for the firstborn of Israel. They are divided into three groups, according to their descent from the three sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Locations in the camp and service responsibilities are determined on the basis of this division. From 30 years of age on, they are to do the heavy work of transporting the tabernacle. To get the lighter work done, provision is made for others to serve, starting at 25 years of age. (This was reduced in David’s time to 20 years of age.)—1 Chron. 23:24-32; Ezra 3:8.
14 That the camp may be kept pure, instructions are given for quarantining those who become diseased, for making atonement for acts of unfaithfulness, for resolving cases in which a man might become suspicious of the conduct of his wife, and for assuring right conduct on the part of those set apart by vow to live as Nazirites to Jehovah. Since the people are to have the name of their God upon them, they must deport themselves in accord with his commandments.
15 Filling in some details from the previous month (Num. 7:1, 10; Ex. 40:17), Moses next tells of the contributions of materials made by the 12 chieftains of the people over a period of 12 days from the time of the inauguration of the altar. There was no competition or seeking of self-glory in it; each one contributed exactly what the others did. All must now keep in mind that over these chieftains, and over Moses himself, there is Jehovah God, who speaks instructions to Moses. They must never forget their relationship to Jehovah. The Passover is to remind them of Jehovah’s wondrous deliverance from Egypt, and they celebrate it here in the wilderness at the appointed time, one year after leaving Egypt.
16 In the same way that he had directed Israel’s movement out of Egypt, Jehovah continues to lead the nation in its travels by a cloud that covers the tabernacle of the tent of the Testimony by day and by the appearance of fire there by night. When the cloud moves, the nation moves. When the cloud remains over the tabernacle, the nation remains encamped, whether for a few days or a month or longer, for the account tells us: “At the order of Jehovah they would encamp, and at the order of Jehovah they would pull away. They kept their obligation to Jehovah at the order of Jehovah by means of Moses.” (Num. 9:23) As the time for departure from Sinai draws near, trumpet signals are arranged both to assemble the people and to direct the various divisions of the encampment on their wilderness trek.
17 Events in the wilderness (10:11–21:35). At last, on the 20th day of the second month, Jehovah lifts the cloud from over the tabernacle, thus signaling Israel’s departure from the region of Sinai. With the ark of Jehovah’s covenant in their midst, they set out for Kadesh-barnea, some 150 miles [240 km] to the north. As they march by day, Jehovah’s cloud is over them. Each time the Ark goes out, Moses prays to Jehovah to arise and scatter his enemies, and each time it comes to rest, he prays for Jehovah to return “to the myriads of thousands of Israel.”—10:36.
18 However, trouble arises in the camp. On the trip north to Kadesh-barnea, there are at least three occasions of complaining. To quell the first outbreak, Jehovah sends a fire to consume some of the people. Then “the mixed crowd” set Israel to bemoaning that they no longer have as food the fish, cucumbers, watermelons, leeks, onions, and garlic of Egypt, but only manna. (11:4) Moses becomes so distressed that he asks Jehovah to kill him off rather than let him continue as male nurse to all this people. Considerately, Jehovah takes away some of the spirit from Moses and puts it upon 70 of the older men, who proceed to assist Moses as prophets in the camp. Then meat comes in abundance. As had happened once before, a wind from Jehovah drives in quail from the sea, and the people greedily seize great supplies, selfishly hoarding them. Jehovah’s anger blazes against the people, striking down many because of their selfish craving.—Ex. 16:2, 3, 13.
19 The troubles continue. Failing properly to view their younger brother, Moses, as Jehovah’s representative, Miriam and Aaron find fault with him over his wife, who has recently come into the camp. They demand more authority, comparable to that of Moses, though “the man Moses was by far the meekest of all the men who were upon the surface of the ground.” (Num. 12:3) Jehovah himself sets the matter straight and lets it be known that Moses occupies a special position, striking Miriam, who was likely the instigator of the complaint, with leprosy. Only by Moses’ intercession is she later healed.
20 Arriving at Kadesh, Israel camps at the threshold of the Promised Land. Jehovah now instructs Moses to send spies to scout out the land. Entering from the south, they travel north clear to “the entering in of Hamath,” walking hundreds of miles in 40 days. (13:21) When they return with some of the rich fruitage of Canaan, ten of the spies faithlessly argue that it would be foolish to go up against so strong a people and such great fortified cities. Caleb tries to quiet the assembly with a favorable report, but without success. The rebellious spies strike fear into the Israelites’ hearts, claiming the land to be one that “eats up its inhabitants” and saying, “All the people whom we saw in the midst of it are men of extraordinary size.” As murmurings of rebellion sweep through the camp, Joshua and Caleb plead, “Jehovah is with us. Do not fear them.” (13:32; 14:9) However, the assembly begins to talk of pelting them with stones.
21 Then Jehovah intervenes directly, saying to Moses: “How long will this people treat me without respect, and how long will they not put faith in me for all the signs that I performed in among them?” (14:11) Moses implores him not to destroy the nation, as Jehovah’s name and fame are involved. Jehovah therefore decrees that Israel must continue to wander in the wilderness until all those registered among the people, from 20 years old and up, have died off. Of the registered males, only Caleb and Joshua will be permitted to enter the Land of Promise. In vain the people try to go up on their own initiative, only to suffer a terrible defeat meted out by the Amalekites and the Canaanites. What a high price the people pay for their disrespect of Jehovah and his loyal representatives!
22 Truly, they have much to learn in the way of obedience. Fittingly, Jehovah gives them additional laws highlighting this need. He lets them know that when they come into the Promised Land, atonement must be made for mistakes, but the deliberately disobedient must be cut off without fail. Thus, when a man is found gathering wood in violation of the Sabbath law, Jehovah commands: “Without fail the man should be put to death.” (15:35) As a reminder of the commandments of Jehovah and the importance of obeying them, Jehovah instructs that the people wear fringes on the skirts of their garments.
23 Nevertheless, rebellion breaks out again. Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and 250 prominent men of the assembly gather in opposition to the authority of Moses and Aaron. Moses puts the issue to Jehovah, saying to the rebels: ‘Take fire holders and incense and present them before Jehovah, and let him choose.’ (16:6, 7) Jehovah’s glory now appears to all the assembly. Swiftly he executes judgment, causing the earth to split apart to swallow up the households of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, and sending out a fire to consume the 250 men, including Korah, offering the incense. The very next day, the people begin to condemn Moses and Aaron for what Jehovah did, and again He scourges them, wiping out 14,700 complainers.
24 In view of these events, Jehovah commands that each tribe present a rod before him, including a rod with Aaron’s name for the tribe of Levi. The next day Aaron is shown to be Jehovah’s choice for the priesthood, for his rod alone is found to be in full bloom and bearing ripe almonds. It is to be preserved in the ark of the covenant “for a sign to the sons of rebelliousness.” (Num. 17:10; Heb. 9:4) After further instructions for the support of the priesthood by means of tithes and concerning the use of cleansing water with the ashes of a red cow, the account returns us to Kadesh. Here Miriam dies and is buried.
25 Again at the threshold of the Land of Promise the assembly gets to quarreling with Moses because of the lack of water. Jehovah counts it as quarreling with Him, and He appears in His glory, commanding Moses to take the rod and bring out water from the crag. Do Moses and Aaron now sanctify Jehovah? Instead, Moses twice strikes the crag in anger. The people and their livestock get water to drink, but Moses and Aaron fail to give the credit to Jehovah. Though the heartbreaking wilderness journey is almost over, they both incur Jehovah’s displeasure and are told they will not enter the Land of Promise. Aaron dies later on Mount Hor, and his son Eleazar takes over the duties of high priest.
26 Israel turns to the east and seeks to go through the land of Edom but is rebuffed. While making a long detour around Edom, the people get into trouble again as they complain against God and Moses. They are tired of the manna, and they are thirsty. Because of their rebelliousness Jehovah sends poisonous serpents among them, so that many die. At last, when Moses intercedes, Jehovah instructs him to make a fiery copper serpent and place it on a signal pole. Those who have been bitten but who gaze at the copper serpent are spared alive. Heading north, the Israelites are impeded, in turn, by the belligerent kings Sihon of the Amorites and Og of Bashan. Israel defeats both of these in battle, and Israel occupies their territories to the east of the Rift Valley.
27 Events on the Plains of Moab (22:1–36:13). In eager anticipation of their entry into Canaan, the Israelites now gather on the desert plains of Moab, north of the Dead Sea and to the east of the Jordan across from Jericho. Seeing this vast encampment spread out before them, the Moabites feel a sickening dread. Their king Balak, in consultation with the Midianites, sends for Balaam to use divination and put a curse on Israel. Although God directly tells Balaam, “You must not go with them,” he wants to go. (22:12) He wants the reward. Finally he does go, only to be stopped by an angel and to have his own she-ass miraculously speak to rebuke him. When at last Balaam gets around to making pronouncements about Israel, God’s spirit impels him, so that his four proverbial utterances prophesy only blessings for God’s nation, even foretelling that a star would step forth out of Jacob and a scepter would rise out of Israel to subdue and destroy.
28 Having infuriated Balak by his failure to curse Israel, Balaam now seeks the king’s good graces by suggesting that the Moabites use their own females in enticing the men of Israel to share in the lewd rites involved in the worship of Baal. (31:15, 16) Here, right on the border of the Promised Land, the Israelites begin to fall away to gross immorality and the worship of false gods. As Jehovah’s anger blazes forth in a scourge, Moses calls for drastic punishment of the wrongdoers. When Phinehas, son of the high priest, sees the son of a chieftain bring a Midianite woman into his tent right inside the camp, he goes after them and kills them, striking the woman through her genital parts. At this, the scourge is halted, but not before 24,000 die from it.
29 Jehovah now commands Moses and Eleazar to take a census of the people again, as had been done nearly 39 years earlier at Mount Sinai. The final count shows that there has been no increase in their ranks. On the contrary, there are 1,820 fewer men registered. None remain that had been registered at Sinai for army service, except Joshua and Caleb. As Jehovah had indicated would happen, all of them had died in the wilderness. Jehovah next gives instructions concerning the division of the land as an inheritance. He repeats that Moses will not enter the Land of Promise because of his failure to sanctify Jehovah at the waters of Meribah. (20:13; 27:14, footnotes) Joshua is commissioned as successor to Moses.
30 Through Moses, Jehovah next reminds Israel of the importance of His laws concerning sacrifices and feasts and of the seriousness of vows. He also has Moses settle the account with the Midianites because of their part in seducing Israel over Baal of Peor. All the Midianite males are slain in battle, along with Balaam, and only virgin girls are spared, 32,000 of these being taken captive along with plunder that includes 808,000 animals. Not one Israelite is reported missing in battle. The sons of Reuben and of Gad, who raise livestock, ask to settle in the territory east of the Jordan, and after they agree to help in conquering the Promised Land, the request is granted, so that these two tribes, together with half the tribe of Manasseh, are given this rich tableland as their possession.
31 After a review of the stopping places on the 40-year journey, the record again focuses attention on the need for obedience to Jehovah. God is giving them the land, but they must become His executioners, driving out the depraved, demon-worshiping inhabitants and destroying every last trace of their idolatrous religion. The detailed boundaries of their God-given land are stated. It is to be divided among them by lot. The Levites, who have no tribal inheritance, are to be given 48 cities with their pasture grounds, 6 of these to be cities of refuge for the unintentional manslayer. Territory must remain within the tribe, never being transferred to another tribe by marriage. If there is no male heir, then the daughters who receive an inheritance—for example, the daughters of Zelophehad—must marry within their own tribe. (27:1-11; 36:1-11) Numbers concludes with these commandments of Jehovah through Moses and with the sons of Israel poised at last to enter the Land of Promise.

Highlights of Numbers

Respect Jehovah, Urges the Book of Numbers

JEHOVAH GOD deserves the wholehearted respect of his worshipers. They must obey him and loyally cooperate with his appointed servants. How well this is stressed in the Bible book of Numbers!
This book’s name is based on the two censuses, or numberings, of the Israelites recorded in chapters 1 through 4 and 26. Numbers was written by Moses on the plains of Moab in 1473 B.C.E. and primarily covers 38 years and 9 months, reaching back to 1512 B.C.E.—Numbers 1:1; Deuteronomy 1:3.
Recorded in the three sections of Numbers are events at Mount Sinai (1:1–10:10), later in the wilderness (10:11–21:35) and on the plains of Moab (22:1–36:13). But what can these incidents teach us? Are there principles in Numbers that can benefit Jehovah’s Witnesses today?
Contents Promote Respect for God
The Israelites have been at the base of Mount Sinai for about a year when Jehovah commands Moses to take a census. Except for the Levites, all the males 20 years of age and upward are registered, and their number is 603,550. In place of the firstborn, God takes the Levites for tabernacle service. Instructions are given as to the line of march, in which Judah, the most populous tribe, is to take the lead. At God’s command, the Levites are then registered and assigned sacred duties.—Numbers 1:1–4:49.
Jehovah’s commands on quarantine are followed by his giving laws such as those pertaining to cases of jealousy as to wifely faithfulness and vows made by Nazirites. Then some details are given concerning tabernacle service. At the erection of the tabernacle and the inauguration of the altar, tribal chieftains had made valuable offerings. After the pattern given in a vision from Jehovah, Moses had a lampstand made. When its lamps were lit and the Levites were cleansed, they could begin serving.—Numbers 5:1–8:26.
Instructions on the Passover are reviewed. The making and breaking of camp is directed by a miraculous cloud over the tabernacle. The people encamp and pull away “at the order of Jehovah.” For convening the assembly and other purposes, two silver trumpets are to be used.—Numbers 9:1–10:10.
On the 20th day of the second month in the second year after the departure from Egypt, the cloud above the tabernacle begins to move and Israel is on the march. Cases of unjustified complaint occur. One of these is a cry for meat, but greediness manifests itself when Jehovah supplies quail. Miriam and Aaron complain against their brother Moses, and as punishment Miriam is temporarily stricken with leprosy. How this should prompt us to show respect for God-given authority!—Numbers 10:11–12:16.
Twelve spies are sent into the Promised Land and return with luscious fruits 40 days later. But ten spies make so much of the inhabitants’ size and of their fortified cities that the discouraged Israelites want to return to Egypt. In vain the faithful spies Joshua and Caleb urge them to exercise faith in Jehovah. When the people talk of stoning Moses, Aaron, Joshua and Caleb, God says that he will strike and drive away the entire nation. But Moses intercedes and Jehovah decrees that the people will wander in the wilderness for 40 years, until all those 20 years of age and older have died. The only exceptions are to be Joshua, Caleb and the tribe of Levi. Next, the Israelites try to invade the Promised Land, only to suffer a disheartening defeat.—Numbers 13:1–14:45.
Various laws involving offerings, Sabbath violation and the use of fringes on garments are given next. Then Korah, Dathan, Abiram, On and 250 chieftains speak against Moses and Aaron. The result of this gross disrespect? Jehovah destroys Korah and the 250 by fire, whereas the other rebels perish when the earth opens up, swallowing them along with their families and possessions. The very next day the Israelites murmur against Moses and Aaron, and for this lack of respect 14,700 die in a scourge from Jehovah. To end the murmuring and show that he has chosen Aaron of the tribe of Levi, God causes Aaron’s rod to bud. This is followed by regulations involving the duties of priests and Levites and the cleansing of the people from defilement.—Numbers 15:1–19:22.
At Kadesh there is a cry for water. Because Moses and Aaron do not sanctify Jehovah for miraculously providing it, they are told that they will not enter the Promised Land. Leaving Kadesh, the people arrive at Mount Hor, where Aaron dies and his son Eleazar is made the high priest. The Israelites next defeat the king of Arad. Later, they speak against God and Moses, and this time Jehovah sends poisonous serpents among them as a punishment. Those bitten are cured only by gazing at a copper serpent that God tells Moses to make and set upon a pole. Thereafter, Israel defeats Amorite King Sihon and Og the king of Bashan, taking possession of their lands.—Numbers 20:1–21:35.
Events on the plains of Moab are related next. Moabite King Balak hires Balaam to curse the Israelites, but three times he blesses them instead. Balaam is instrumental in causing Baal-worshiping women to lead Israel into sexual immorality and idolatry. Jehovah destroys 24,000 wrongdoers before Phinehas stops the plague by executing an immoral Israelite man and a Midianitess.—Numbers 22:1–25:18; 31:15, 16.
After another census is taken and a precedent is set as to the inheritance rights of daughters, Moses views the Promised Land and commissions Joshua as his successor. Instructions are provided on daily, weekly, monthly and yearly offerings, as well as on the making of vows. Then vengeance is taken on the Midianites for their part in causing the Israelites to sin against God.—Numbers 26:1–31:54.
The tribes of Reuben, Gad and Manasseh are granted inheritances east of the Jordan but on condition that they share in conquering the land west of that river. Next, there is a list of Israel’s many encampments from Egypt to the plains of Moab. The Israelites then receive commands related to residence in the Promised Land. Among other things, they are to destroy the appendages of false religion and drive out the inhabitants. Boundaries of the land are defined, chieftains are designated to help Joshua and Eleazar to apportion it, and 48 cities are assigned to the Levites. Six refuge cities are set aside and instructions are provided on handling cases involving unintentional manslaughter and murder. Finally, laws are given on the marriage of heiresses.—Numbers 32:1–36:13.
As you read Numbers, you may well be impressed by its emphasis on showing respect for Jehovah and those appointed to carry responsibility among his people. But you may wonder about some points. So the following questions and answers may be of interest.

Events at Mount Sinai

• 5:11-31—What actually happened to a wife guilty of adultery?
No affliction was brought on by the water itself. But it was drunk before Jehovah, who knew whether the woman was guilty of adultery. If she was, he would make her belly swell and her thigh fall away. Evidently the thigh is used here euphemistically for the procreative organs. (Compare Genesis 46:26.) “Fall away” suggests that these organs atrophied, making conception impossible. This would harmonize with the fact that if the woman was innocent her husband was to make her pregnant.
• 8:25, 26—Does the principle of the law on Levite retirement apply to Jehovah’s people today?
The priests were assisted by all the qualified males of the three main Levite families. In time, the Levites would become numerous, but the number of service openings at the sanctuary was limited. Doubtless, then, both out of consideration for age and to prevent overcrowding of such offices, Jehovah instructed that male Levites reaching 50 should be retired from obligatory service, although they could still assist voluntarily. However, this establishes no rule for spiritual Israelites and their companions because they are not under the Law. (Romans 6:14; Ephesians 2:11-16) If old age should incapacitate a Christian for a certain responsibility, he may be shifted to a form of service that he can perform. For Jehovah’s Witnesses there is no retirement from preaching the good news of the Kingdom.

Wandering From Place to Place

• 12:1—Why did Miriam and Aaron speak against Moses because of his Cushite wife?
This was more than an objection to the wife of Moses. The actual motive was a desire for greater power, especially on Miriam’s part. Moses’ wife, Zipporah, had been away but had rejoined him, and Miriam feared being replaced as first lady in the camp. (Exodus 18:1-5) So she got Aaron to join her in criticizing Moses for marrying a Cushite and in challenging his unique position before God. For this, Jehovah castigated both Miriam and Aaron, but the fact that only she was stricken with leprosy may suggest that she was the instigator. Aaron’s right attitude was shown by his confession and plea in behalf of leprous Miriam. (Numbers 12:10-13) As for Zipporah, she was the daughter of Reuel the Midianite. (Genesis 25:1, 2; Numbers 10:29) At Habakkuk 3:7 “the land of Midian” is paralleled with Cushan, which evidently is another name for Midian or relates to a neighboring country. Moreover, certain Arabic tribes were called Kusi or Kushim. So it seems that “Cushite” was not limited to descendants of Ham through Cush but was also applied to some inhabitants of Midian. Therefore, Zipporah could be called a Cushite.
• 21:14, 15—What was “the book of the Wars of Jehovah”?
Undoubtedly, this was a reliable historical record of the wars of Jehovah’s people. It may have begun with Abraham’s successful action against the four kings who had captured Lot and his family. (Genesis 14:1-16) The Scriptures refer to various uninspired writings, some of which were used as source material by inspired Bible writers.—Joshua 10:12, 13; 1 Kings 11:41; 14:19, 29.

On the Plains of Moab

• 22:20-22—Since Jehovah told Balaam to go with Balak’s men, why was He angry when that prophet went with them?
Jehovah told Balaam that he could not curse the Israelites, but the greedy prophet went with the intention of doing so in order to be rewarded by Moabite King Balak. (2 Peter 2:15, 16; Jude 11) For that reason God’s anger blazed against Balaam. Of course, Jehovah disapproved of any cursing of Israel. But Balaam, like Cain, was headstrong in disregarding God’s will. (Genesis 4:6-8) After Jehovah changed each intended malediction into a blessing, Balaam’s perversity moved him to suggest that Balak use women of Moab and Midian to seduce the Israelites and involve them in Baal worship. (Deuteronomy 23:5; Numbers 31:15, 16; Revelation 2:14) This brought God’s wrath upon Israel and resulted in the death of 24,000. Later, greedy Balaam died at the hands of those he sought to curse. (Numbers 25:1-9; 31:8) What a warning against greed!
• 25:10-13—How was this promise regarding the priesthood fulfilled?
The high priesthood seems to have continued in the line of Phinehas until the time of High Priest Eli, a descendant of Ithamar. This change probably was made because of a temporary disqualification in Phinehas’ line. But King Solomon replaced Ithamar’s descendant Abiathar with High Priest Zadok, who descended from Phinehas. (1 Kings 1:1-14; 2:26, 27, 35) As far as the historical record shows, apparently the line of Phinehas thereafter continued in the high priesthood for many years.
• 30:6-8—Can a Christian woman’s husband set aside her vows?
No, for Jesus’ followers are not under the Law. Jehovah now deals with persons individually with regard to vows, and a Christian husband is not authorized to cancel or forbid them. Of course, a Christian wife should not make vows that conflict with God’s Word or her Scriptural duties toward her husband.—Ecclesiastes 5:2-6.

Of Great Value to Us

A valuable link in the record leading to the establishment of God’s Kingdom is provided by the book of Numbers. It also points to Jesus Christ. For instance, the animal sacrifices and use of the red-cow ashes pointed to the far greater provision for cleansing through Jesus’ sacrifice. (Numbers 19:2-9; Hebrews 9:13, 14) The incident involving the copper serpent foreshadowed Jehovah’s grand provision for eternal life through Christ.—Numbers 21:8, 9; John 3:14, 15.
The book of Numbers can help us to avoid idolatry and sexual immorality. It alerts us to the danger of murmuring against God, his appointees and his provisions. And surely this thrilling account should move us to show utmost respect for our loving God, Jehovah.

Jehovah’s Word Is Alive

Highlights From the Book of Numbers

FOLLOWING their Exodus from Egypt, the Israelites were organized into a nation. Shortly thereafter, they could have entered the Promised Land, but they did not. Instead, they had to wander for some four decades in a “great and fear-inspiring wilderness.” (Deuteronomy 8:15) Why? The historical narrative in the Bible book of Numbers tells us what happened. It should impress upon us the need to obey Jehovah God and respect his representatives.
Written by Moses in the wilderness and on the Plains of Moab, the book of Numbers covers a period of 38 years and 9 months—from 1512 B.C.E. to 1473 B.C.E. (Numbers 1:1; Deuteronomy 1:3) Its name is derived from the two censuses of the Israelites, taken some 38 years apart. (Chapters 1-4, 26) The narrative is divided into three sections. The first part relates events that happened at Mount Sinai. The second covers what took place during Israel’s wandering in the wilderness. And the final section considers events on the Plains of Moab. As you read this account, you may want to ask yourself: ‘What do these incidents teach me? Are there principles in this book that can benefit me today?’

AT MOUNT SINAI

(Numbers 1:1–10:10)
The first of the two numberings takes place while the Israelites are still at the base of Mount Sinai. Males 20 years old and upward, except the Levites, total 603,550. The census is evidently taken for military purposes. The entire camp, including women, children, and the Levites, may amount to over three million people.
Following the census, the Israelites receive instructions regarding the order of march, details concerning the duties of Levites and tabernacle service, commands on quarantine, and laws relating to cases of jealousy and vows made by Nazirites. Chapter 7 contains information about offerings made by tribal chieftains in connection with the inauguration of the altar, and chapter 9 discusses the Passover observance. The assembly is also given instructions about setting up and breaking camp.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

2:1, 2—What were “the signs” around which the three-tribe divisions were to encamp in the wilderness? The Bible does not give a description of what these signs were. However, they were not regarded as sacred symbols or given religious significance. The signs were used for a practical purpose—to help a person find his proper place in the camp.
5:27—What is meant by the ‘falling away of the thigh’ of a wife guilty of adultery? The term “thigh” is used here to denote the procreative organs. (Genesis 46:26) The ‘falling away’ of it suggests the degeneration of these organs, so that conception would be impossible.

Lessons for Us:

6:1-7. Nazirites were to abstain from the product of the vine and all intoxicating beverages, requiring self-denial. They were to let their hair grow long—a sign of submission to Jehovah, just as women were to be in subjection to their husbands or fathers. The Nazirites were to remain clean by staying away from any dead body, even that of a close relative. Full-time servants today show a spirit of self-sacrifice when it comes to self-denial and submission to Jehovah and his arrangement. Some assignments may involve going to a distant land, which may even make it difficult or impossible to return home for the funeral of a close family member.
8:25, 26. To fill the positions of the Levite service properly, and out of consideration for their age, older men were commanded to retire from compulsory service. However, they could volunteer to assist other Levites. While there is no retirement from being a Kingdom proclaimer today, the principle of this law teaches a valuable lesson. If because of advanced age a Christian cannot fulfill certain obligations, he may engage in a form of service that is within his power to perform.

FROM PLACE TO PLACE IN THE WILDERNESS

(Numbers 10:11–21:35)
When the cloud above the tabernacle eventually rises, the Israelites begin a march that will bring them to the desert plains of Moab 38 years and one or two months later. You may find it beneficial to follow their route on the map on page 9 of the brochure “See the Good Land,” published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.
On the way to Kadesh, in the Wilderness of Paran, there are at least three cases of complaint. The first one is quelled when Jehovah sends a fire to consume some of the people. Then the Israelites cry out for meat, and Jehovah supplies quail. Miriam and Aaron’s complaint against Moses results in Miriam being temporarily stricken with leprosy.
While camping at Kadesh, Moses sends out 12 men to spy out the Promised Land. They return 40 days later. Believing the bad report of ten of the spies, the people want to stone Moses, Aaron, and the faithful spies Joshua and Caleb. Jehovah proposes to strike the people with pestilence, but Moses intercedes, and God declares that they will become wanderers in the wilderness for 40 years—until those numbered have died.
Jehovah gives additional regulations. Korah and others rebel against Moses and Aaron, but the rebels are destroyed by fire or are swallowed up by the earth. The following day the entire assembly murmurs against Moses and Aaron. As a result, 14,700 die in a scourge from Jehovah. To make his selection of high priest known, God causes Aaron’s rod to bud. Jehovah then gives further laws pertaining to Levite obligations and the cleansing of the people. The use of red-cow ashes prefigures the cleansing through Jesus’ sacrifice.—Hebrews 9:13, 14.
The sons of Israel return to Kadesh, where Miriam dies. The assembly again complains against Moses and Aaron. Their reason? Lack of water. Because Moses and Aaron fail to sanctify Jehovah’s name when miraculously providing water, they lose out on entering the Promised Land. Israel pulls away from Kadesh, and Aaron dies at Mount Hor. While going around Edom, the Israelites tire out and speak against God and Moses. Jehovah sends poisonous serpents to punish them. Moses once again intercedes, and God instructs him to make a copper serpent and set it upon a pole so that those bitten are cured by gazing at it. The serpent foreshadows the impalement of Jesus Christ for our eternal benefit. (John 3:14, 15) Israel defeats Amorite Kings Sihon and Og and takes possession of their lands.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

12:1—Why did Miriam and Aaron complain against Moses? The real reason for their complaint was apparently Miriam’s desire for greater power. When Moses’ wife, Zipporah, rejoined him in the wilderness, Miriam might have feared that she would no longer be viewed as leading lady in the camp.—Exodus 18:1-5.
12:9-11—Why was only Miriam stricken with leprosy? Very likely, she was the one who instigated the complaint and persuaded Aaron to join her. Aaron displayed a right attitude by confessing his wrong.
21:14, 15—What was the book mentioned here? The Scriptures refer to various books that the Bible writers used as source material. (Joshua 10:12, 13; 1 Kings 11:41; 14:19, 29) “The book of the Wars of Jehovah” was such a writing. It contained a historical account of the wars of Jehovah’s people.

Lessons for Us:

11:27-29. Moses provides an excellent example regarding how we should respond when others receive privileges in Jehovah’s service. Rather than jealously seeking glory for himself, Moses was happy when Eldad and Medad began acting as prophets.
12:2, 9, 10; 16:1-3, 12-14, 31-35, 41, 46-50. Jehovah expects his worshipers to show respect for God-given authority.
14:24. A key to resisting worldly pressures toward wrongdoing is to develop “a different spirit,” or mental attitude. It must be one that is not like that of the world.
15:37-41. The unique fringe of the Israelites’ dress was intended to remind them that they were a people set apart to worship God and to obey his commandments. Should we not also live by God’s standards and stand out as different from the world?

ON THE PLAINS OF MOAB

(Numbers 22:1–36:13)
As the sons of Israel encamp on the desert plains of Moab, the Moabites feel a sickening dread of them. Moab’s King Balak, therefore, hires Balaam to curse the Israelites. But Jehovah forces Balaam to bless them. Moabite and Midianite women are then used to lure Israelite men into immorality and idolatry. As a result, Jehovah destroys 24,000 wrongdoers. The scourge finally ends when Phinehas demonstrates that he tolerates no rivalry toward Jehovah.
The second census reveals that none of the men counted in the first are still alive, except for Joshua and Caleb. Joshua is commissioned to be Moses’ successor. The Israelites receive procedures for various offerings and instructions on the making of vows. The people of Israel also take vengeance upon the Midianites. Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh settle east of the Jordan River. Israel is given instructions on crossing the Jordan and taking possession of the land. Detailed boundaries of the land are defined. The inheritance is to be decided by lot. Levites are assigned 48 cities, and 6 of these are to serve as cities of refuge.

Scriptural Questions Answered:

22:20-22—Why did Jehovah’s anger blaze against Balaam? Jehovah had told the prophet Balaam that he should not curse the Israelites. (Numbers 22:12) However, the prophet went with Balak’s men with the full intention of cursing Israel. Balaam wanted to please the Moabite king and receive a reward from him. (2 Peter 2:15, 16; Jude 11) Even when Balaam was forced to bless rather than curse Israel, he sought the king’s favor by suggesting that Baal-worshiping women be used to seduce Israelite men. (Numbers 31:15, 16) Thus, the reason for God’s anger against Balaam was the prophet’s unscrupulous greed.
30:6-8—Can a Christian man set aside his wife’s vows? With regard to vows, Jehovah now deals with his worshipers individually. For example, dedication to Jehovah is a personal vow. (Galatians 6:5) A husband does not have the authority to set aside or cancel such a vow. A wife, though, should avoid making a vow that conflicts with God’s Word or her duties toward her husband.

Lessons for Us:

25:11. What an example of zeal for Jehovah’s worship Phinehas set for us! Should not the desire to keep the congregation clean move us to report any knowledge of gross immorality to Christian elders?
35:9-29. The fact that an unintentional manslayer had to leave his home and flee to a city of refuge for a period of time teaches us that life is sacred and that we must have respect for it.
35:33. The earth polluted by the spilled blood of the innocent can be atoned for only by the blood of those spilling it. How appropriate that Jehovah will destroy the wicked before the earth is transformed into a paradise!—Proverbs 2:21, 22; Daniel 2:44.
God’s Word Exerts Power
We must show respect for Jehovah and for those appointed to positions of responsibility among his people. The book of Numbers makes this truth ever clearer. What an important lesson for maintaining peace and unity in the congregation today!
The incidents related in Numbers show how easily those who neglect their spirituality can fall into wrongdoing, such as murmuring, immorality, and idolatry. Some of the examples and lessons from this Bible book can serve as a basis for local needs parts on the Service Meeting at congregations of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Indeed, “the word of God is alive and exerts power” in our life.—Hebrews 4:12.

Numbers ‒ Importance and benefits

WHY BENEFICIAL

32 Jesus referred to Numbers on several occasions, and his apostles and other Bible writers clearly demonstrate how meaningful and beneficial its record is. The apostle Paul specifically compared Jesus’ faithful service to that of Moses, which is largely recorded in Numbers. (Heb. 3:1-6) In the animal sacrifices and in the sprinkling of the ashes of the young red cow of Numbers 19:2-9, we again see pictured the far grander provision for cleansing through the sacrifice of Christ.—Heb. 9:13, 14.
33 Similarly, Paul showed that the bringing forth of water from the rock in the wilderness is full of meaning for us, saying: “They used to drink from the spiritual rock-mass that followed them, and that rock-mass meant the Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4; Num. 20:7-11) Fittingly, it was Christ himself who said: “Whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty at all, but the water that I will give him will become in him a fountain of water bubbling up to impart everlasting life.”—John 4:14.
34 Jesus also made direct reference to an incident recorded in Numbers that foreshadowed the marvelous provision that God was making through him. “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” he said, “so the Son of man must be lifted up, that everyone believing in him may have everlasting life.”—John 3:14, 15; Num. 21:8, 9.
35 Why were the Israelites sentenced to wander 40 years in the wilderness? For lack of faith. The apostle Paul gave powerful admonition on this point: “Beware, brothers, for fear there should ever develop in any one of you a wicked heart lacking faith by drawing away from the living God; but keep on exhorting one another each day.” Because of their disobedience and because of their faithlessness, those Israelites died in the wilderness. “Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into [God’s] rest, for fear anyone should fall in the same pattern of disobedience.” (Heb. 3:7–4:11; Num. 13:25–14:38) In warning against ungodly men who speak abusively of holy things, Jude referred to Balaam’s greed for reward and to Korah’s rebellious talk against Jehovah’s servant Moses. (Jude 11; Num. 22:7, 8, 22; 26:9, 10) Balaam was also referred to by Peter as one “who loved the reward of wrongdoing,” and by the glorified Jesus in his revelation through John as one who ‘put before Israel a stumbling block of idolatry and fornication.’ Certainly the Christian congregation today should be warned against such unholy ones.—2 Pet. 2:12-16; Rev. 2:14.
36 When immorality arose in the Corinthian congregation, Paul wrote them about “desiring injurious things,” referring specifically to Numbers. He admonished: “Neither let us practice fornication, as some of them committed fornication, only to fall, twenty-three thousand of them in one day.” (1 Cor. 10:6, 8; Num. 25:1-9; 31:16) What about the occasion when the people complained that obeying God’s commands entailed personal hardship and that they were dissatisfied with Jehovah’s provision of the manna? Concerning this, Paul says: “Neither let us put Jehovah to the test, as some of them put him to the test, only to perish by the serpents.” (1 Cor. 10:9; Num. 21:5, 6) Then Paul continues: “Neither be murmurers, just as some of them murmured, only to perish by the destroyer.” How bitter the experiences of Israel as a result of their murmuring against Jehovah, his representatives, and his provisions! These things that “went on befalling them as examples” should stand forth as a clear warning to all of us today, so that we may go on serving Jehovah in the fullness of faith.—1 Cor. 10:10, 11; Num. 14:2, 36, 37; 16:1-3, 41; 17:5, 10.
37 Numbers also provides the background against which many other Bible passages can be better understood.—Num. 28:9, 10—Matt. 12:5; Num. 15:38—Matt. 23:5; Num. 6:2-4—Luke 1:15; Num. 4:3—Luke 3:23; Num. 18:31—1 Cor. 9:13, 14; Num. 18:26—Heb. 7:5-9; Num. 17:8-10—Heb. 9:4.
38 What is recorded in Numbers is indeed inspired of God, and it is beneficial in teaching us the importance of obedience to Jehovah and respect for those whom he has made overseers among his people. By example, it reproves wrongdoing, and by happenings with prophetic import, it directs our attention to the One whom Jehovah has provided as the Savior and Leader of His people today. It provides an essential and instructive link in the record leading to the establishment of Jehovah’s righteous Kingdom in the hands of Jesus Christ, the one He appointed as Mediator and High Priest.

References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD-ROM

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