B’mid’bar (In the Wilderness)

B’mid’bar (In the Wilderness)


This week’s lesson will be a little different as the book of Numbers is not all that easy to condense into a bite size lesson…

Approximate Timeline

1446 b.c.: The Exodus, Law given
1443 b.c.: Kadesh-barnea, wilderness wandering begins
1406 b.c.: Israel enters Canaan



Perhaps the clearest portrait of Christ in Numbers is the bronze serpent on the stake, a picture of the Crucifixion (21:4–9): “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up” (John 3:14). The rock that quenches the thirst of the multitudes is also a type of Christ: “they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:4). The daily manna pictures the Bread of Life who later comes down from heaven (John 6:31–33).

Balaam foresees the rulership of Christ: “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” (24:17). The guidance and presence of Christ is seen in the pillar of cloud and fire, and the sinner’s refuge in Christ may be seen in the six cities of refuge. The red heifer sacrifice (Num. 19) is also considered a type of Christ.


Key Word:

Wanderings—Numbers records the failure of Israel to believe in the promise of God and the resulting judgment of wandering in the wilderness for forty years.

Key Verses:

Numbers 14:22, 23; 20:12—“Because all these men who have seen My glory and the signs which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have put Me to the test now these ten times, and have not heeded My voice, they certainly shall not see the land of which I swore to their fathers, nor shall any of those who rejected Me see it” (14:22, 23).

“Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, ‘Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them’” (20:12).

Key Chapter:

Numbers 14—The critical turning point of Numbers may be seen in Numbers 14 when Israel rejects God by refusing to go up and conquer the Promised Land. God judges Israel “according to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, for each day you shall bear your guilt one year, namely forty years, and you shall know My rejection” (14:34).

The Tragic Transition (10:11–25:18): Israel follows God step-by-step until Canaan is in sight. Then in the crucial moment at Kadesh they draw back in unbelief. Their murmurings had already become incessant, “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it” (11:1). But their unbelief after sending out the twelve spies at Kadesh Barnea is something God will not tolerate. Their rebellion at Kadesh marks the pivotal point of the book. The generation of the Exodus will not be the generation of the conquest.

Unbelief brings discipline and hinders God’s blessing. The old generation is doomed to literally kill time for forty years of wilderness wanderings—one year for every day spent by the twelve spies in inspecting the land. They are judged by disinheritance and death as their journey changes from one of anticipation to one of aimlessness. Only Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who believed God, enter Canaan. Almost nothing is recorded about these transitional years.



  1. ISRAEL AT SINAI: PREPARATION (Numbers 1:1-10:10)
  2. A census of the people (Numbers 1)
  3. Assigning campsites around the Tabernacle (Numbers 2)
  4. Census of Levites, their duties assigned (Numbers 3-4)
  5. Stan2 Nazirites (Numbers 6)
  6. Offerings for the Tabernacle from Israel’s leaders (Numbers 7)
  7. Dedication of the Levites (Numbers 8)
  8. Fiery cloud, silver trumpets (Numbers 9:1-10:10)
  • FROM SINAI TO KADESH: FRUSTRATION (Numbers 10:11-20:13)
  1. Departure from Sinai (Numbers 10:11-36)
  2. Complaints and solutions (Numbers 11)
  3. Miriam and Aaron criticize Moses (Numbers 12)
  4. Rebellion at Kadesh-barnea (Numbers 13-14)
  5. Additional laws (Numbers 15)
  6. Rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram (Numbers 16)
  7. Aaron’s staff buds (Numbers 17)
  8. Duties of Levites (Numbers 18)
  9. Purification by the ashes of a red heifer (Numbers 19)
  10. Moses strikes the rock (Numbers 20:1-13)
  • FROM KADESH TO MOAB: ANTICIPATION (Numbers 20:14-36:13)
  1. Edom denies passage to Israel (Numbers 20:14-21)
  2. Death of Aaron (Numbers 20:22-29)
  3. Bronze serpent (Numbers 21:1-9)
  4. Israel defeats Sihon and Og (Numbers 21:10-35)
  5. Balak and Balaam (Numbers 22-24)
  6. Israelites seduced by Moabites (Numbers 25)
  7. Second census of the people (Numbers 26)
  8. Joshua to succeed Moses (Numbers 27)
  9. Regulations for worship and vows (Numbers 28-29)
  10. Regulations for vows (Numbers 30)
  11. Israel defeats the Midianites (Numbers 31)
  12. Settlement of Transjordan tribes (Numbers 32)
  13. Review of the wilderness journey (Numbers 33)
  14. Settlement of Canaan described (Numbers 34-36)


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