0 Numbers Introduction

This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded ... bring thee a red heifer without spot ... and one shall slay her before his face. 19:2

Trivia: What is the first use of the word "Amen" in the Bible?

Numbers for Skeptics

The moral of Numbers has to be: "Don't whine."

Miriam complains about Moses' Ethiopian wife, and God gives her leprosy. The people complain about their hardships during the Exodus, and God sends a fire to burn them alive. They complain about the food, so God forces them to eat quails until it comes out of their noses (and then sends a them a plague). They complain again, and God sends fiery serpents to bite and kill them. God can't stand a whiner.

But Numbers has a something for everyone. From talking donkeys to the law of jealousies. It's a fun book to read. But if you only have time for one chapter, read chapter 31.

Highlights:

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  • God kills Aaron's sons for offering "strange fire before the Lord." 3:4, 26:61
  • The law of jealousies: What to do if you suspect that your wife has been unfaithful. 5:11-31
  • God burned people to death for complaining. 11:1
  • God made the Israelites eat flesh until it came out their nostrils. 11:19-20
  • "While the flesh was yet between their teeth ... the Lord smote the people with a very great plague." 11:33
  • God gave Miriaml leprosy. 12:9-10
  • God will punish you for the sins of your great-great grandfathers. 14:18
  • God killed the ten spies that gave a discouraging report with a plague. 14:36-37
  • What to do if you "sin through ignorance." 15:27
  • A man is stoned to death for gathering sticks on the Sabbath day. 15:32-36
  • God buries alive Korah and his family. 16:27-35, 26:10
  • God burns to death 250 men. 16:35, 26:10
  • God kills 14,700 with a plague. 16:41-50
  • "The Lord harkened to the voice of Israel, and ... utterly destroyed them and their cities." 21:3
  • God sends "fiery serpents" to bite the people. 21:6
  • Moses's amazing serpent of brass. 21:9
  • God delivers the Amorites into Moses's hands. 21:34-35
  • Balaam's talking ass. 22:28-30
  • God's people will "rise up ... and drink the blood of the slain." 23:24
  • God will "eat up the nations of his enemies, and shall break their bones, and pierce them through with his arrows." 24:8
  • God tells Moses to "take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord." 25:4
  • God's hero (Phinehas) thrusts a javelin through a man and his Midianite wife's belly. 25:7-8
  • God kills 24,000 (23,000 according to 1 Cor.10:8) in a plague. 25:9
  • A woman can't make a vow unless her husband allows it. 30:3-16
  • Moses tells his men to kill all the males and non-virgin women, but to keep all the virgins alive for themselves. 31:14-18

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