March 1

Numbers 25-27

A Time of Discipline…the People Wandering Numbers 20:14-31, cont’d.

Numbers 25 The Alternate Curse

Numbers 25:1-18-They have camped at Shittim. This is the last stop before they crossed the Jordan River. The local god was Baal of Peor...part of the worship to him included sexual rites. The word "they" in v.2 is feminine, referring to the women of Moab. This led to the people offering sacrifices to Baal. Balaam had counseled them to do this (cf. 31:16). Since he could not curse the people, but he still wanted the payment...he found an alternative method. God commanded that the leaders of this activity be executed (:4). In the middle of all of this (:6-while they were weeping), one of the Israelite men (:14-Zimri) showed up with a Midianite woman (:15-Cozbi)...perhaps as an intentional act of spite. When Phinehas, the son of Eleazar (the son of Aaron) saw this he became "jealous for his God" (:11,13-means to be zealous for, or intensely committed to God). He followed the couple into a tent and ran a spear through both of them. Because of the sins of the people a plague had broken out, killing 24,000 (:9), but it stopped with the action of Phinehas. God said that he had done the right thing and blessed him by saying that the Priesthood would perpetually be in his family (:13). God told Moses to "be hostile" to the Midianites because they had tried to deceive them.

Numbers 26 The Second Numbering

Numbers 26:1-51-God instructs Moses to take a census of all men 20-years-old and up...who can go to war. They are camped in the plains of Moab next to the Jordan River...across from Jericho. This had previously been done in Numbers 12...so I have placed the numbers side by side for comparison (Numbers 26/Numbers 12) here:
Numbers 26 Numbers 12
Reuben 43,730 46,500
Simeon 22,200 59,300
Gad 40,500 45,650
Judah 76,500 74,600
Isaachar 64,300 54,400
Zebulun 60,500 51,400
Joseph (Manasseh) 52,700 32,200
Joseph (Ephraim) 32,500 40,500
Benjamin 45,600 35,400
Dan 64,400 62,700
Asher 53,400 41,500
Naphtali 45,400 53,400
TOTAL 601,730 603,550
(The total number of adult males had decreased by 1,820 (v. 51; cf. 1:46), and during the years of wandering 1,200,000 people had died.)
Levites 23,000 (not included in the total above...every male 1 month old and up)
26:52-65-God instructs Moses to divide the land up according to the size of the tribes. The actual location of the land given to each tribe was assigned by lot (this demonstrated their trust that God would lead in the assigNumbersent). After numbering all of the men, the only men who had been among the previous numbering by Moses and Aaron (14:26-35) were Caleb and Joshua.
Numbers 26:59-Moses’ parents were Amram and Jochebed.

Numbers 27-30 The People Instructed

Numbers 27:1-11-The daughters of Zelophehad (Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, Tirzah…he had no sons, cf. 26:33) ask about the inheritance of their father’s property. This led to God's decree about property inheritance within a family.
Numbers 27:12-14-God tells Moses to go to the top of the Abarim mountain range (located on the east side of the Jordan River and overlooking the Jordan valley and the Dead Sea). Moses is told that he is going to die there.
Numbers 27:15-22-Moses asks God to assign someone to take over as the leader of the people. God identifies Joshua to be his successor. However, He also says that He will communicate His decisions to Joshua through the Urim, rather than directly to Joshua as he had done with Moses.

For an explanation of the Urim see:
https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=IT0009024
https://www.blueletterbible.org/search/Dictionary/viewTopic.cfm?topic=BT0004329
For an interesting Jewish explanation see:
https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/urimthummim.html
https://www.ou.org/torah/parsha/shnayim-mikra/tetzaveh_-_sheini/

Prayer: Lord, help me to be zealous for You. Let my life be completely and totally dedicated to You. Let my worship for You be pure and undefiled. Don’t ever let me be deceived into allowing any false form or attitude of worship to enter into my heart.

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