Chronicling a journey, as seen in ch. 33, was a form of record keeping employed widely in ancient times. These detailed records were a valuable resource for later historians. The detailed records in the Bible, in particular, help to confirm its historical accuracy.
Amorites. The Amorites inhabited the land west of the Euphrates River, which included Canaan. In fact, the name “Amorite” means “westerner.” They spoke a dialect similar to both the Canaanites and the Hebrews and were often considered to be a Canaanite tribe. However, many of the Canaanites considered the Amorites to be barbaric and uncivilized. […]
Sharing the plunder. Soldiers in ancient times were regularly paid through the spoils of war. Contracts were often signed to guarantee that commanders would not interfere when it came time for their soldiers to “claim their pay.” In 31:25–47, Israelite soldiers are instructed to share the plunder.
During the Feast of Booths, the Israelites were to live in temporary dwellings (“booths”) as a reminder of their life in the wilderness. The large number of sacrifices offered during the eight days shows the importance of this feast. The Feast of Booths was celebrated in October, at the end of the agricultural year. It […]
How wealthy would the Israelites become? The sacrifices described in chs. 28–29 called for a total of 113 bulls, 1,086 lambs, more than a ton of flour, and 1,000 bottles of oil and wine. Israel would have had to become a successful agricultural society after reaching the Promised Land in order to meet the requirements […]
Wild oxen (24:8) are believed to be the ancestors of domestic cattle. In the OT, the wild ox was a symbol of strength.
Aram. The pagan prophet Balaam described himself as being from Aram. Aram was a confederation of small towns in present-day Syria. It was named for Aram, the son of Shem and grandson of Noah. It was in this region that the Aramaic language developed.
Balaam remembered. Evidence for Balaam’s existence can be seen on an eighth-century b.c. inscription found in Jordan. It begins with, “Inscription of Balaam the son of Beor, the man who was seer of the gods.”
The bronze serpent. When the people of Israel looked upon the serpent in order to live (21:9), it was a prophetic picture of the day when believers would look to the crucified Christ for salvation (John 3:14–15).
The King’s Highway (20:17) is the main trade route from Damascus to Arabia. It runs north to south, east of the Jordan River and Dead Sea. The King’s Highway has been in continuous use for more than 3,000 years.