Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Visual Numbers

Numbers, so named for the two censuses that are take at the opening and closing of the book, chronicles the events of the Israelites wandering in the wilderness. Having already failed at Sinai by worshipping a golden calf, the people lose faith once again on the borders of the promised land. Twelve spies are sent in to spy out the land, but only two, Joshua and Caleb, have any confidence that an incursion would bear fruit. The people side with the other ten and wish to return to Egypt.

God then judges the Israelites, telling them they will wander for 40 years in the Sinai peninsula until the present generation, excepting Joshua and Caleb, died. The time is marked by rebellion, military conflict, and the continued faithfulness of God, who never abandons His people. Near the end of the forty years the Israelites march into Moab and are ultimatly decieved by falling into idolatry with Moabite women. For this deception, Israel makes war on Moab, completely destroying them. At the end, Israel sits on the border of Canaan, preparing to cross over into the promised land, as Moses gives some instructions on the distribution of land that will eventually occur once Israel is settled.

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