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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4
Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12
Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15 Chapter 16
Chapter 17 Chapter 18 Chapter 19 Chapter 20
Chapter 21 Chapter 22 Chapter 23 Chapter 24
Chapter 25 Chapter 26 Chapter 27 Chapter 28
Chapter 29 Chapter 30 Chapter 31 Chapter 32
Chapter 33 Chapter 34 Chapter 35 Chapter 36

Book Overview - Numbers

by Albert Barnes

Introduction to Numbers

The title commonly given to this book is evidently suggested by the two numberings of the people recorded in Leviticus 27:34, to their mustering in the plains of Moab for actual entry into the land of promise.

The incidents are generally given in their chronological order, except in the third part. The five chapters comprised in this part appear to deal with a long period, from which only isolated episodes are given; and of these the dates can only be conjectured.

Between the two dates “the first day of the second month of the second year after they were come out of Egypt” Numbers 1:1, and the death of Aaron Numbers 33:38, intervene no less than 38 years and 3 months (compare Deuteronomy 2:14), the long and dreary period of tarrying in the wilderness until the disobedient generation had wasted away.

From the death of Aaron to the date given in the opening verses of Deuteronomy Deuteronomy 1:1-3, occurred a space of exactly six months, in which all the events narrated in the fourth part of the Book of Numbers, from Numbers 20:1 to the end, would seem to have occurred, with the probable exception of the defeat of the king of Arad Numbers 21:1-3.

As regards the authorship and date of composition, the notes of time, the tenor of the contents, no less than the direct assertions of the text itself, lead to the conclusion that Moses is properly spoken of as the writer of the Book of Numbers. It is in substance his work; though many portions of it were probably committed to writing many years before the whole was completed; and the concluding chapters were not written until toward the close of the 40th year after the exodus.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 19th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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