- What was wrong with the request of Reuben and Gad?
What was the result that Moses feared might arise from it, and on what conditions only could it be granted? Why is this event particularly significant for Israel as it arrives in the promised land, and begins to from itself into a tribal confederacy?
How will its future life as a ‘nation’ differ from all that it has been up to now?
- What great principle with regard to sin and its consequences is expressed in verse 23?
Can you think of instances in Scripture which illustrate its working?
Cf. Gal. 6:7, 8.
Note. Verses 1-5. The tribes of Reuben and Gad understandably thought the land of Jazer and Gilead would suit their large herds of cattle.
But their self-willed choice brought their descendants into constant trouble in later times.
The territory lacked natural frontiers and was somewhat isolated and exposed to attack.
Often in later centuries the other tribes had to come to their rescue.
Cf. 1 Sam. 11; 1 Kgs. 22:3.
- Distinguish between the daily sacrifice throughout the year offered every morning and evening (28:3-8) and the additional sacrifices:
(a) on the Sabbath (28:9, 10);
(b) at the new moon each month (28:11-15);
(c) throughout the feast of unleavened bread and at the Passover itself (28:17-25, see Note below);
(d) at the Feast of Weeks (28:26-31);
(e) at the blowing of trumpets (29:1-6);
(f) on the Day of Atonement (29:7-11);
(g) at the Feast of Tabernacles (29:12-38).
- It was easy for these sacrifices to become mere ritual- so much so that later prophets strongly condemned their misuse.
Amos 5:21-24 and Is. 1:11-18 give a clue as to the purpose of these offerings and to God’s real requirements in and through them. Cf. also Heb. 10:1-18.
Note. 28:24. The meaning is that the sacrifices prescribed above in verses 19-22 are to be offered daily throughout the feast.
- Chapter 25. Why was God’s anger so fierce against the sins of his people?
Cf. 1 Cor. 10:6-12. In this situation what two complementary concerns stirred Phinehas to action?
Who likewise was moved to action on our account by similar concerns?
- Chapter 26. Compare the numbering in chapter 1. This is a new generation. See verses 64, 65. Notice which tribes had increased and which decreased.
What explains the survival of Caleb and Joshua?
Note. 25:1-5. Num. 31:16 and Rev. 2:14 reveal that these developments were due to Balaam’s activities. The Israelites were seduced into idolatry and immorality.
- Two studies are to be given to these chapters. On this occasion concentrate attention on Balaam’s oracles. Mark a list of the statements in them which indicate God’s special purpose for, and care of, the people of Israel.
- Seek to appreciate the full significance of each one of these statements.
What were the grounds of Balaam’s assurance of Israel’s victory and success?
What similar grounds have we for thankfulness and wonder?
Cf. e.g., 1 Pet. 2:9, 10.
Note. 23:10. ‘The righteous’: the word is plural, and refers here to the Israelites.