Friday, August 14, 2009

Numbers 5-9

  • Chapter 5 - Laws of Uncleanness, Trespassing and the unfaithful

    • Removal of the "unclean": Because the
      Lord dwelt among the sons of Israel, he ordered Moses to command
      the sons of Israel to purify the camp by sending out those who were
      unclean - "lepers" (the Hebrew word used describes various
      skin diseases) and those defiled by contact with the dead.

    • Restitution: When someone was robbed or wronged,
      they were to confess their sin, make full restitution plus add a
      penalty of 20%. If the wronged person was dead and there were no
      close relatives, the restitution and a ram for atonement went to
      the priest. This was a unique concept for that day.

      The lesson for us to draw from this is that we should not only apologize
      and make amends but that we should go beyond what might
      be expected of us.

    • The trial of jealousy: When a wife committed
      adultery or when her husband became jealous and suspected his wife
      of committing adultery, she was brought before the priest with a
      grain offering and required to drink water with the dust of the
      tabernacle in it; whereupon she would be shown to be guilty her
      "stomach swelled and her thigh wasted away" such that
      she could not get pregnant, or she would be vindicated if nothing
      happened. Suspicion and mistrust will destroy a marriage.

  • Chapter 6 - Law of the Nazirite and the Priestly Blessing:

    • (from the Hebrew root nazar, meaning "to separate")

    • God instituted the Nazirite vow for people who
      wanted to devote some time exclusively to serving him.

    • Parents could take the vow for their young child - such as with

    • The vow included 3 restrictions:

      • He had to abstain from wine or anything else
        from the grapevine (including grape juice and raisins).

      • His hair could not be cut and the beard
        could not be shaved - See story about Samson.

      • Touching a dead body was not allowed - not
        even if a parent or sibling.

      • At the end of the vow, he would bring to the Tabernacle entrance
        the appropriate offerings.

        Then, the Nazirite was to shave his hair and
        put it on the fire beneath the peace-offering sacrifice.

        Acts 18:18,21:24: Paul stayed in Corinth
        for some time after that, then said good-bye to the brothers
        and sisters and went to nearby Cenchrea. There he shaved
        his head
        according to Jewish custom, marking
        the end of a vow
        . Then he set sail for Syria, taking
        Priscilla and Aquila with him...Go with them to the Temple and
        join them in the purification ceremony, paying
        for them to have their heads ritually shaved. Then everyone
        will know that the rumors are all false and that you
        yourself observe the Jewish laws

    • Aaron and his sons were to bless the people of Israel
      with this special blessing:

         ‘May the Lord bless you and protect you.

         May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

         May the Lord show you his favor and give you his

      This blessing was discovered in 1979 on a silver amulet in a Judean
      tomb dating to the 7th or 6th century B.C.

  • Chapter 7 - Offerings of the Twelve Princes of Israel for
    the Dedicating of the Altar:

    • Setting: On the day that Moses finished setting
      up the tabernacle, he anointed and consecrated it, all its furnishings,
      the altar and its utensils.

    • God spoke to Moses from between the two cherubim: When
      Moses entered into the tabernacle "he heard the
      speaking to him from between the two cherubim above
      the Ark’s cover - the place of atonement - that rests on the
      Ark of the Covenant. The Lord spoke to him from there.

      He had access to the mercy-seat and received his directions from
      there, while the place of approach for the people was at the brazen
      altar. BUT, we are called to approach the throne BOLDLY:

      Hebrews 4:16: So let us come boldly
      to the throne
      of our gracious God. There we will receive
      his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

      Exodus 29:42: “These burnt offerings
      are to be made each day from generation to generation. Offer them
      in the Lord’s presence at the Tabernacle entrance;
      there I will meet with you and speak with you.

    • The Chieftains’ Initiatory Gifts: The leaders
      of the tribes of Israel offered six covered carts and twelve oxen
      before the tabernacle which were accepted and given to the sons
      of Gershon and Merari, and Moses demonstrated the unified acceptance
      of the tabernacle through the gifts from the leaders of the twelve

    • Tribal Offerings: The leaders of the tribes of
      Israel, the heads of their fathers’ households, offered six
      covered carts (one for every two leaders) and twelve oxen (one for
      every leader) before the tabernacle.

    • Acceptance of Offerings: Moses daily accepted
      the carts and oxen for twelve days and gave two carts and four oxen
      to the sons of Gershon, four carts and eight oxen to the sons of
      Merari, none to the sons of Kohath since they carried the holy objects
      on their shoulder.

  • Chapter 8 - Light of the Sanctuary and Dedication of the Levites:

    • Lighting the Menorah: The Lord spoke to Moses
      exhorting him to tell Aaron that he is to mount the seven lamps
      on the lampstand so that they would give their light forward - the
      light of the glory of God was in Israel -. the light of His face
      might shine on them as the lampstand shone on the showbread in the

    • Dedication and purification of the Levites: They
      were to shave their entire body and wash their clothing and bring
      their grain and sin offerings. They were then brought to the entrance
      to the tabernacle and the people of Israel laid their hands on them.

    • Purification of the Levitical Order: The Lord
      prescribed through Moses how the Levite work-force (in place of
      the first-born Israelites) was dedicated and purified for their
      work as movers of the tabernacle.

    • The Retirement of the Levites: The Lord commanded
      Moses that the Levites may only do the hard work of erecting, dismantling
      and transporting the tabernacle from ages 25-50
      whereupon, they are to retire and only help the younger men do “guard
      duty”. See 4:1 where those above 30 were counted. Apparently,
      they served as apprentices from 25 to 30.

      Numbers 4:3: List all the men between
      the ages of thirty and fifty
      who are eligible to serve
      in the Tabernacle.

  • Chapter 9 - Passover in the Wilderness; the Cloud as Guide
    of the People:

    • Observance of the First Passover: On the first
      month of the second year after the people had come
      out of Egypt, the Lord commanded Moses to have Israel observe the
      Passover at twilight on the fourteenth day.

    • The Complaint of Those Barred from Participating in the
      Some men who were unclean because they had been
      with a dead person asked Moses why they should not be allowed to
      present their offering to the Lord at the Passover with the sons
      of Israel, and Moses agreed to seek the Lord’s command concerning

    • Observance of the Second Passover at Sinai: On
      the first month of the second year after the people had come out
      of Egypt, the Lord commanded the sons of Israel to observe the Passover
      on the fourteenth day according to its statues and ordinances and
      made provisions for exceptional cases--the defiled, the disobedient,
      and the alien.

    • Clean: If one is clean and not on a journey but
      does not keep the Passover, that one is to be cut off from the people
      and to bear his sin for not presenting his offering to the Lord.

    • If a foreigner is among the sons of Israel and
      observes the Passover according to the statue and ordinance of the
      Passover, he is permitted since there is one statue for both alien
      and the native of the land.

    • The Journey Commences: The Cloud and Silver Trumpets:
      The prescribed means of guidance for the sons of Israel was the
      movement of the cloud over the tabernacle and the sounding of two
      silver trumpets.

    • Leading of the Lord: On the day that the tabernacle
      was erected, the cloud covered the tabernacle by day and in the
      evening it appeared like fire over the tabernacle leading Israel
      from campsite to campsite by going ahead of them and then resting
      on the tabernacle.


Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New Living Translation of the Bible.

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