Book of Numbers

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The Book of Numbers (Greek: Αριθμοί arithmoi meaning "numbers") or Bəmidbar (Hebrew: במדבר, literally "In the desert [of]") is the fourth book of the Hebrew Bible, and the fourth of five books of the Jewish Torah/Pentateuch. This book may be divided into three parts:

In Numbers, the priests are instructed to bless the nation of Israel as follows: “May Yahweh bless you, and keep you. May Yahweh let his face shine on you and be gracious to you. May Yahweh show you his face and bring you peace.”[1] This priestly blessing is regularly performed during Jewish services,[2] on Jewish holidays, and sometimes by parents over their own children before the Friday Shabbat meal.[3]

The period comprehended in the history extends from the second month of the second year, as measured from the Exodus, to the beginning of the eleventh month of the fortieth year, in all about thirty-seven years and nine 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. Today scholars are divided on the issue, with liberal scholars holding to a later date and multiple authors, while conservative scholars hold to an earlier date with a single primary author (possibly Moses).[4]

Contents

Title

The Hebrew title Bəmidbar, short for bəmidbar Sinai ("in the desert of Sinai"), is taken from the first verse, and "serves to foreground the years of testing in the wilderness that make up the central section of the book (chapters 11–21)."[5] The English title Numbers is derived from the Greek of the Septuagint, referencing the numbering of the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai and later on the plain of Moab.

Summary

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