Numbers 1

** This book is called NUMBERS from the several numberings of

the people contained in it. It extends from the giving of the

law at Sinai, till their arrival in the plains of Jordan. An

account is given of their murmuring and unbelief, for which they

were sentenced to wander in the wilderness nearly forty years;

also some laws, both, moral and ceremonial. Their trials greatly

tended to distinguish the wicked and hypocrites from the

faithful and true servants of God, who served him with a pure


* The numbering of the Israelites. (1-43) The number of the

people. (44-46) The Levites not numbered with the rest. (47-54)

1-43 The people were numbered to show God's faithfulness in

thus increasing the seed of Jacob, that they might be the better

trained for the wars and conquest of Canaan, and to ascertain

their families in order to the division of the land. It is said

of each tribe, that those were numbered who were able to go

forth to war; they had wars before them, though now they met

with no opposition. Let the believer be prepared to withstand

the enemies of his soul, though all may appear to be peace.
44-46 We have here the sum total. How much was required to

maintain all these in the wilderness! They were all provided for

by God every day. When we observe the faithfulness of God,

however unlikely the performance of his promise may appear, we

may take courage as to those which yet remain to be fulfilled to

the church of God.
47-54 Care is here taken to distinguish the tribe of Levi,

which, in the matter of the golden calf, had distinguished

itself. Singular services shall be recompensed by singular

honours. It was to the honour of the Levites, that to them was

committed the care of the tabernacle and its treasures, in their

camps and in their marches. It was for the honour of the holy

things that none should see them, or touch them, but those who

were called of God to the service. We all are unfit and unworthy

to have fellowship with God, till called by his grace into the

fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and so, being the

spiritual seed of that great High Priest, we are made priests to

our God. Great care must be taken to prevent sin, for preventing

sin is preventing wrath. Being a holy tribe, they were not

reckoned among other Israelites. They that minister about holy

things, should neither entangle themselves, nor be entangled, in

worldly affairs. And let every believer seek to do what the Lord

has commanded.
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