Book of Numbers
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The Book of Numbers, (Template:Hebrew, Bamidbar, meaning in the wilderness is the fourth book of the Torah, the Tanakh, and the Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint it is called Arithmoi, or Numbers, because it contains a record of the numbering of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai and later on the plain of Moab.
This book may be divided into three parts:
- The numbering of the people at Sinai, and preparations for resuming their march (1-10:10). The sixth chapter gives an account of the vow of a Nazirite.
- An account of the journey from Sinai to Moab, the sending out of the spies and the report they brought back, and the murmurings (eight times) of the people at the hardships by the way (10:11-21:20).
- The transactions in the plain of Moab before crossing the Jordan River (21:21-36).
The period comprehended in the history extends from the second month of the second year after the Exodus to the beginning of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about thirty-eight years and ten months; a dreary period of wanderings. They were fewer in number at the end of their wanderings than when they left the land of Egypt.
According to tradition, Moses authored all five books of the Torah. According to the documentary hypothesis, Numbers, with its dry style and emphasis on censuses, derives from the priestly source, c. 550-400 BC, and was combined with the other three sources to create the Torah c. 400.