Highlights From Bible Reading ‒ Numbers 26, 27, 28, 29
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Highlights From the Book of Numbers 26-29*** g03 11/8 p. 27 When Loved Ones Do Not Share Your Faith ***
Reasonableness Is Vital
Of course, the Bible warns against bad association, and this influence could come from one’s immediate relatives. (1 Corinthians 15:33) Many faithful servants of God in the past stood up for what is right even though their parents disagreed. This evidently was true of Korah’s sons. (Numbers 16:32, 33; 26:10, 11) True Christians should not compromise their faith to please others, not even their relatives.—Acts 5:29.
In some situations parents or other loved ones vehemently fight against the beliefs of a Christian. Some may even become enemies of true Christianity. In such cases Christians take reasonable steps to protect their spirituality. Jesus aptly said: “A man’s enemies will be persons of his own household. He that has greater affection for father or mother than for me is not worthy of me; and he that has greater affection for son or daughter than for me is not worthy of me.”—Matthew 10:36, 37.
*** g92 10/22 pp. 20-21 What if My Parent Has Disgraced Us? ***
The sons of Korah set a similar example. Prior to the nation of Israel’s entry to the Promised Land, Korah, a prominent Levite, led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. The revolt, however, was quickly squashed when Korah and his followers were executed by an earthquake and by fire from heaven. Interestingly, though, Korah’s sons survived. (Numbers 26:9-11) It seems that they did not side with their father in this rebellion. No doubt these sons of Korah felt disgraced by their father’s wicked course. But Jehovah blessed Korah’s descendants because they stuck to his Law. Among the most beautiful expressions found in the Bible are words penned by the sons of Korah.—See Psalms 45, 48, 84, 85, 87, and 88.
Like Josiah, Hezekiah, and the sons of Korah, many Christian youths today have proved to be different from wayward parents. Consider a teenager we will call Maxwell. His parents were once faithful Witnesses of Jehovah but became apostate opposers of Christianity. On one occasion his parents carried banners and demonstrated outside the grounds of a Christian convention that Maxwell was attending. “It was very embarrassing,” he explains. “Some who didn’t know that they were my parents said to me, ‘Have you seen those stupid apostates outside?’” However, Maxwell did not follow his parents’ rebellious course. And with the support of faithful family members and other Christian associates, he has been able to cope with feelings of embarrassment and shame.
*** w13 6/15 pp. 10-11 pars. 14-15 Appreciate Jehovah’s Qualities to the Full ***
14 The five sisters approached Moses and asked him: “Why should the name of our father be taken away from the midst of his family because he had no son?” They pleaded: “O give us a possession in the midst of our father’s brothers.” Did Moses react by saying, ‘There are no exceptions to the rule’? No, he “presented their case before Jehovah.” (Num. 27:2-5) What was the response? Jehovah told Moses: “The daughters of Zelophehad are speaking right. By all means you should give them the possession of an inheritance in the midst of their father’s brothers, and you must cause their father’s inheritance to pass to them.” Jehovah went further. He turned the exception into a rule, instructing Moses: “In case any man should die without his having a son, you must then cause his inheritance to pass to his daughter.” (Num. 27:6-8; Josh. 17:1-6) From then on, all Israelite women who faced the same plight would be protected.
15 What a kind and impartial decision that was! Jehovah treated these women, who were in a vulnerable position, with dignity, as he did Israelites who had more favorable circumstances. (Ps. 68:5) This is just one of many Bible accounts that illustrate this heartwarming truth: Jehovah treats all of his servants with impartiality.—1 Sam. 16:1-13; Acts 10:30-35, 44-48.
*** w13 2/1 p. 5 Moses—A Man of Humility ***
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS FOR US? We never want to let power, authority, or natural ability go to our head. Remember: In order to be useful to Jehovah, our humility should always exceed our ability. (1 Samuel 15:17) When we are truly humble, we will strive to apply the Bible’s wise advice: “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart and do not lean upon your own understanding.”—Proverbs 3:5, 6.
Moses’ example also teaches us not to place too much importance on our status or authority.
Do we benefit from imitating Moses’ example of humility? Without question! When we cultivate genuine humility, we make life easier for the people around us, endearing ourselves to them. More important, we endear ourselves to Jehovah God, who himself displays this beautiful quality. (Psalm 18:35) “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.” (1 Peter 5:5) What a compelling reason to imitate the humility of Moses!
*** w07 4/1 p. 17 Offering Sacrifices That Please God ***
Offerings and Sacrifices in True Worship
When the nation of Israel was formed, Jehovah gave explicit instructions about the way he wanted the Israelites to worship him, and this included offerings and sacrifices. (Numbers, chapters 28 and 29) Some of the offerings were of the fruit of the earth; others involved sacrificing such animals as bulls, sheep, goats, pigeons, and turtledoves. (Leviticus 1:3, 5, 10, 14; 23:10-18; Numbers 15:1-7; 28:7) There were whole burnt offerings that were to be entirely consumed in fire. (Exodus 29:38-42) There were also communion sacrifices, in which those who offered them participated by eating from that which was sacrificed to God.—Leviticus 19:5-8.
All the offerings and sacrifices that were made to God under the Mosaic Law were a way of worshipping God and recognizing him as the Sovereign of the universe. Through such sacrifices, the Israelites expressed their gratitude to Jehovah for his blessing and protection as well as gained forgiveness for their sins. As long as they were faithful in observing Jehovah’s requirements for worship, they were greatly blessed.—Proverbs 3:9, 10.
*** w07 1/1 pp. 24-25 par. 17 “You Must Become Nothing but Joyful” ***
17 It is noteworthy that during this ancient festival, 70 bulls were offered. (Numbers 29:12-34) The number 70 represents 7 multiplied by 10, numbers that in the Bible represent heavenly and earthly perfection. Hence, the sacrifice of Jesus will benefit faithful ones from all 70 families of mankind that descended from Noah. (Genesis 10:1-29) In harmony with that, in our time the ingathering has widened out to include individuals from all nations who exercise faith in Jesus and have the hope of living on a paradise earth.
*** w78 9/1 p. 14 The Sermon on the Mount—“When Fasting, Grease Your Head” ***
Fasting was not mentioned specifically in God’s law through Moses. But the Law did command that on the Day of Atonement the Israelites “afflict” themselves, which is understood to mean fasting. (Lev. 23:27; Num. 29:7; see also Leviticus 16:29-31, Jerusalem Bible; compare Psalm 35:13; Isaiah 58:3, 5.) Though this was the only public fast required by the Mosaic law, the Israelites observed many others. They fasted publicly on anniversaries of national disasters and during times of drought, scarcity of crops, pestilence and war.—Zech. 7:5; 8:19.
JESUS’ COUNSEL ON FASTING
Jesus began his counsel about abstinence from food by saying: “When you are fasting, stop becoming sad-faced like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that they may appear to men to be fasting.”—Matt. 6:16a.
Jesus never commanded his disciples to fast, and they were known as not doing so on any regular basis. (Matt. 9:14, 15) On the other hand, the Son of God did not direct his followers to avoid the practice altogether. The expression, “when you are fasting,” indicates that some of his disciples would fast on special occasions.—See Acts 13:2, 3; 14:23.
*** it-2 p. 525 Offerings ***
Burnt offerings. Burnt offerings were presented in their entirety to God; no part of the animal being retained by the worshiper. (Compare Jg 11:30, 31, 39, 40.) They constituted an appeal to Jehovah to accept, or to signify acceptance of, the sin offering that sometimes accompanied them. As a “burnt offering” Jesus Christ gave himself wholly, fully.
Occasions for burnt offerings, and their features:
(1) Regular times offered: Every morning and evening (Ex 29:38-42; Le 6:8-13; Nu 28:3-8); every Sabbath day (Nu 28:9, 10); first day of month (Nu 10:10); Passover and seven days of Festival of Unfermented Cakes (Le 23:6-8; Nu 28:16-19, 24); Day of Atonement (Le 16:3, 5, 29, 30; Nu 29:7-11); Pentecost (Le 23:16-18; Nu 28:26-31); each day of Festival of Booths.—Nu 29:12-39.
*** si p. 34 par. 29 Bible Book Number 4—Numbers ***
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.
*** it-1 pp. 358-359 Boundary ***
Israel’s Tribal Boundaries. (MAP, Vol. 1, p. 744) At the time of Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land, the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh had been granted the right to receive their inheritance of land “from the side of the Jordan toward the sunrising.” (Nu 32:1-5, 19, 33-42; 34:14, 15; Jos 13:8-13, 15-32) Following six years of warfare in subduing the Canaanites, the time came for determining the tribal boundaries W of the Jordan for the other nine tribes and the remaining half tribe of Manasseh. Joshua, Eleazar the priest, and one chieftain out of each tribe were appointed by Jehovah to serve as a land committee overseeing the distribution. (Nu 34:13-29; Jos 14:1) The procedure followed was according to God’s earlier command to Moses: “According to the great number you should increase one’s inheritance, and according to the fewness you should reduce one’s inheritance. Each one’s inheritance should be given in proportion to his registered ones. Only by the lot should the land be apportioned.”—Nu 26:52-56; 33:53, 54.
It thus appears that the distribution of the land among the tribes was governed by two factors: the result of the casting of the lot, and the size of the tribe. The lot may have established only the approximate location of the land inheritance each tribe would have, thus designating an inheritance in one section or another of the land, such as to the N or S, E or W, along the coastal plain, or in the mountainous region. The decision of the lot proceeded from Jehovah and hence would serve to prevent jealousy or quarreling among the tribes. (Pr 16:33) By this means God would also guide matters so that the situation of each tribe would fall in accordance with the inspired deathbed prophecy of the patriarch Jacob recorded at Genesis 49:1-33.
After the casting of the lot had determined the geographic location of a tribe, it would then be necessary to determine the extent of its territory on the basis of the second factor: its proportionate size. “You must apportion the land to yourselves as a possession by lot according to your families. To the populous one you should increase his inheritance, and to the sparse one you should reduce his inheritance. To where the lot will come out for him, there it will become his.” (Nu 33:54) The decision of the lot as to the basic geographic location would stand, but adjustment could be made as to the size of the inheritance. Thus, when Judah’s territory was found to be too large, its land area was reduced by assigning portions of it to the tribe of Simeon.—Jos 19:9.
The increasing or decreasing of the inheritance does not seem to have been merely on the basis of land area, for the tribe of Dan, though second most populous, received one of the smaller portions as to actual dimensions. Other factors, such as the number of cities, the type of land, and the quality of the soil, may have been considered.—Compare Jos 17:14-18.
*** w02 12/1 p. 12 What Joshua Remembered ***
Commissioned as Moses’ Successor
When Moses’ death drew near, he asked God to appoint his successor so that Israel might not become “like sheep that have no shepherd.” Jehovah’s response? Joshua, “a man in whom there is spirit,” was to be commissioned before all the assembly. They were to listen to him. What a recommendation! Jehovah had seen Joshua’s faith and ability. Israel’s leadership could not have been entrusted to more qualified hands. (Numbers 27:15-20) Still, Moses knew that Joshua faced enormous challenges. So Moses urged his successor to be “courageous and strong,” for Jehovah would continue with him.—Deuteronomy 31:7, 8.
*** it-2 p. 528 Offerings ***
Drink offerings. Drink offerings were presented along with most of the other offerings, especially after the Israelites had settled in the Promised Land. (Nu 15:2, 5, 8-10) This consisted of wine (“intoxicating liquor”) and was poured out on the altar. (Nu 28:7, 14; compare Ex 30:9; Nu 15:10.)
*** gt chap. 31 Plucking Grain on the Sabbath ***
Providing another example, Jesus says: “Have you not read in the Law that on the sabbaths the priests in the temple treat the sabbath as not sacred and continue guiltless?” Yes, even on the Sabbath the priests carry on butchering and other work at the temple in preparing animal sacrifices! “But I tell you,” Jesus says, “that something greater than the temple is here.”
*** it-2 p. 598 Pentecost ***
There is a slight difference in description of the other offerings (aside from the communion offering) in the account at Numbers 28:27-30. Instead of seven lambs, one young bull, two rams, and one kid of the goats, as at Leviticus 23:18, 19, it calls for seven lambs, two young bulls, one ram, and one kid of the goats. Jewish commentators say that the passage in Leviticus refers to the sacrifice to accompany the wave loaves, and the one in Numbers to the properly appointed sacrifice of the festival, so that both were offered. Supporting this, Josephus, in describing the sacrifices on Pentecost day, first mentions the two lambs of the communion offering, then combines the remaining offerings, enumerating three calves, two rams (evidently a transcriber’s error for three), 14 lambs, and two kids. (Jewish Antiquities, III, 253 [x, 6]) The day was a holy convention, a sabbath day.—Le 23:21; Nu 28:26.
*** it-1 p. 765 Ethanim ***
Ethanim was also a month of festivals. The first day was the “day of the trumpet blast.” (Le 23:24; Nu 29:1) Since each new moon was normally announced with a trumpet blast, this day likely was one of additional or extensive trumpeting. (Nu 10:10)
*** it-1 p. 213 Atonement Day ***
The Atonement Day was a time of holy convention and of fasting, as is indicated by the fact that the people were then to ‘afflict their souls.’ This was the only fast enjoined under the Mosaic Law. It was also a sabbath, a time to abstain from regular labors.—Le 16:29-31; 23:26-32; Nu 29:7; Ac 27:9.
References consulted on: Watchtower Library 2013 CD‒ROM
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