Notes from Numbers - Chapters 26-30

E. L. Lovering, Ilfracombe

Part 7 of 8 of the series Notes from Numbers

Category: Exposition

The concluding chapters 26-36 reiterate Jehovah's promises and plans for His people, and include: Numberings, 26. 1-65; Laws, 27. 1 to 30.16; 36. 1-13; and Instructions, 31. 1 to 35. 34.

Numberings, 26. 1-65. Thirty-eight years previously, Moses and Aaron had taken the first census at Mount Sinai. They were now shortly to enter Ca­naan, and it was necessary to ascertain those with ability to fight, v. 2, and to allot the division of the land among the tribes, vv. 52-56. The Levites were numbered separately because they were the Lord's, 3. 45, and had no inheritance allotted to them. Of six hundred thousand men of war at first, only Caleb and Joshua were to pass over into Canaan, "there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun", 26. 65, and so was fulfilled the prediction of 14. 29-32. In this is seen the catastrophe of unbelief, the con­tinuity of divine purpose and the conquest of faith. The divine commen­tary in Hebrews 3. 7 to 4. 2 is a se­rious warning lest the word should not be mixed with faith, and men should fail to enter into the promised rest.

Laws, 27. 1 to 30. 16; 36. 1-13. The Law of Inheritance . . . The Daughters of Zelophehad, 27. 1-11; 36. 1-13. Zelophehad, of the sons of Manasseh, had died leaving no sons, 26. 33, and his daughters, fearing that they would be left without inheritance, requested that they and their sons should succeed to their father's inheritance and thus perpetuate his name. For this situation there was no existing law, so Moses "brought their cause before the Lord", 27. 5. The Lord judged that "the daughters of Zelophehad speak right" and a new law assured them of the possession, and their faith was re­warded. As to the inheritance of "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus" there is "neither male nor female: ye are all one in Christ Jesus . . . and heirs according to the promise", Gal. 3. 26-29. Lest the inheritance of the daughters should pass to another tribe and confusion arise in the divi­sion of the land, they were commanded to marry within their own tribe. Thus the claims of the fathers and the faith of the daughters were regarded as equally important in the divine pur­pose, Num. 36. 1-13. God's children have been called unto liberty, but that liberty must not be used "for an occasion to the flesh", Gal. 5. 13. Liberty is never a ground for licence. The Loss through Transgression . . . Moses, 27. 12-14. In view of his im­pending death, Moses was called to the mount from which he could behold the land into which he was forbidden to enter on account of his rebellion, 20. 12; Deut. 32. 49. Even God's most faithful servants are not exempt from the consequences of their fai­lures, for the divine government is as unerring as divine grace is abundant. Though shut out from Canaan in his lifetime, Moses was privileged to share with Elijah holy converse with the Son of God, and to witness His excelling glory on the mount of transfiguration, Matt. 17. 3. The law might bring men to the borders of Canaan, to see and greet the promises from afar, Heb. 11. 13, but it could not bring them in. This was to be reserved for another, Joshua, a type of the Lord Jesus.

The Leader, Chosen and Commis­sioned . . . Joshua, 27. 15-23. Instead of indulging in grief and remorse, Moses is concerned for the welfare of the nation. He asks for a leader who shall be a true shepherd, at whose word the people shall go out and come in, v. 17. If the work goes on, he is content that God should bury the workman. Of Timothy, Paul wrote "For I have no man likeminded who will naturally care for your state. For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's", Phil. 2. 20, 21.

Law of Offerings, 28. 1-15. The sacrificial laws, already given at Sinai, had been to a great extent neglected during the wanderings in die wilder­ness. It was, therefore, necessary that they should be repeated before entr­ance into the land of Canaan, especially as the generation to whom they had been given had passed away. It is still the responsibility of the older genera­tion to acquaint the younger with the principles of divine truth.

"My oblation, my food for my offerings made by fire, of a sweet savour unto me, shall ye observe to offer unto me in their due season", v. 2 R.V. These words express the delight which God finds in the pre­sentation of that which speaks of Christ. Every day, week, month and year the fragrance of Christ is precious to God. We should not confine our thoughts to the sin-offering aspect of the cross, that which Christ has done for us, but, in contemplation of the burnt-offering, meal-offering and drink-offerings, appreciate that Christ is continually "a sweet savour of rest" to God.

Law of Feasts, 28. 16 to 29. 40. "These ye shall offer unto the Lord in your set feasts, beside your vows, and your freewill offerings", 29. 39. R.V. Associated with the year were the set feasts. In the spring was the Passover, 28. 16-25, and Pentecost, vv. 26-31, and in autumn, the Trumpets, 29. 1-6, Atonement, vv. 7-11, and Taberna­cles, w. 12-38. See also Lev. 16 and 23. These expressed the Lord's deal­ings with His people throughout then-nation's history. As the periods of time increased, so did the number of the sacrifices offered. One lamb morning and evening each day; weekly on the Sabbath two he-lambs in addition to the continual burnt-offering; monthly two young bullocks, one ram and seven he-lambs again in addition to the continual burnt-offering. We should never begin a day, week, month or year apart from the recognition by faith of the perfect sacrifice of Christ.

Law of Vows, 30. 1-16. Two kinds of vows are enunciated, the one a vow of performance, the other a vow of abstinence. They were both conjugal and parental in their application, relat­ing to man and wife, and father and daughter; they are described as "the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses", v. 16. We shall not explore these vows in detail, but note their importance in the divine intention for the maintenance of family life and the consequent impact upon the life of a nation. In no family could there be two positions of authority, for headship was vested in the husband and father. These principles are projected in the New Testament, and the relative posi­tions of authority in church and family are clearly expounded. In days of so-called "liberalism", the relevant scriptures on this subject might well be pondered with profit, special reference being made to 1 Cor. 11. 3-16 and Eph. 5. 22-33.

There are 14 articles in
ISSUE (1985, Volume 36 Issue 2)

The Birth of the Bible

Distinguishing Words That Differ: The Stranger (Paper 2)

Five Studies on the Holy Spirit (Part 1)

Gospel Work and other Assembly Activities

Jesus and Divorce

Matthew; Presenting Jesus the King

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 26-30

Proverbs: The King’s Wisdom

The Sayings from the Cross, 2

Some Thoughts on Hebrews 11

Status and State

That the World May Know

What about Television?

‘Your Adversary’

There are 3 articles in this series

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 22 - 25

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 26-30

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 31-35

There are 93 articles by this author

The Trials of Persecution and the Wisdom of God

The First Main Division

The Triumph of Redemption and The Work of God

The Teachings of Jehovah and the will of God - Part 1

Revelation of Divine Purpose in Exodus

The Teachings of Jehovah and the will of God - Part 2

Lessons from Leviticus - Introduction and Chapter 1

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapters 6-10

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapters 11-17

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapter 23

Lessons from Leviticus - Chapters 24-25

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 22 - 25

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 26-30

Notes from Numbers - Chapters 31-35

In the Beginning

Trivials or Spirituals?

Patient Perseverance

Restful Resignation

The Flood - Fact or Fiction?

Gifts to the Church - 1 Cor. 12.

Christ and the Bible

Go to Jericho!

Worship: The House Filled (Part 4)

Matter in Miniature

My Beloved

My Beloved ”My Beloved ”

‘My Beloved’ - His Bride (Part 1)

My Beloved

‘My Beloved’ - His Bride (Part 3)



Second Epistle of Peter



The Inspiration of Scripture

Perfect Humanity

Absolute Deity

The Death of Christ

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ

The Ascension and Exaltation of Christ

The Holy Spirit - His Person

The Holy Spirit - His Work

The Holy Spirit and His Work (2)

Spiritual Blessings - Remission

Spiritual Blessings - Redemption

Spiritual Blessing - Atonement

Spiritual Blessings - Justification

Spiritual Blessings - Sanctification

John’s Gospel Chapter 1

John’s Gospel chapter 1

John’s Gospel Chapter 1

John’s Gospel Chapter 1

John’s Gospel Chapter 2

John’s Gospel Chapter 4

John’s Gospel Chapter 5

John’s Gospel Chapter 6

John’s Gospel Chapter 6

John’s Gospel Chapter 9

John’s Gospel Chapter 11

John’s Gospel Chapter 6

John’s Gospel Chapter 8

John’s Gospel Chapter 10

John’s Gospel Chapter 11

John’s Gospel Chapter 13

John’s Gospel Chapter 15

John’s Gospel Chapter 3

John’s Gospel Chapter 4

John Chapter 8

John Chapter 12

John Chapters 13-16

John Chapters 17-19

John Chapters 20 & 21

The Preparation for a Gospel Message

By Galilee

Walking on the Waves, Mark 6. 45-52

Ritual and Reality

Highlights of the Gighway (1)

Highlights of the Highway (2)

The Unclean Spirit, Mark 1. 21-28

The Man with the withered hand, Mark 3. 1-6

Scenes in the Synagogue (3)

Gathering To His Name - Matt. 18. 20

The Lord’s Table And The Lord’s Supper 1 Cor. 10, 15, 23. 11. 20—34


Heroes in History - Joseph

Heroes in History - Joseph (Continued)

Spiritual Blessings - Reconciliation

On Baptism

On Fellowship

Crises in Creation

Crises in Creation (2)

Heroes In History (1) - Abraham

Heroes In History (2, Isaac & 3, Jacob)