Archive | Numbers

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Tithing. Various nations in ancient times practiced limited kinds of tithing, but Israel led the way in expecting the entire nation to support the priesthood in this way. Though Christians are no longer bound by this law, many today voluntarily give 10 percent or even more.

What is a censer?

What is a censer? A censer (16:17) was a vessel used for burning incense before the Lord. Censers were usually made of stone, but portable ones could be made of bronze. They held live coals for burning the incense.

Exaggerated claims?

Exaggerated claims? The spies’ reports about the size of the people of Canaan were exaggerations calculated to scare the people. However, their report about the size of the cities was true. Canaanite cities of that time were large and heavily defended. The city walls were often built of stone, and some were as thick as […]

Did Moses have a second wife?

Did Moses have a second wife? The “Cushite woman” mentioned in 12:1 was probably Moses’ second wife. “Cush” can refer to Ethiopia or to a much larger portion of Africa, depending on the era in biblical history. The controversy about her may have been due to ethnic prejudice. If so, God’s response indicates that the […]


Bdellium (11:7) has been described as a precious stone similar to a pearl. It has also been described as a pale, yellow tree resin. Ancient history books tell of its being used to make perfumes, which means it was probably a resin.

Ark of the covenant

The ark of the covenant traveled in front of the Israelites as they marched to Kadesh (10:33); like the cloud (11:25), it symbolized God’s presence and his guidance of the people.

The delayed Passover

The delayed Passover (9:6–14) took place one month after the official Passover. It was for those who could not attend the regular Passover due to ceremonial uncleanness. Sharing in the Passover was a high privilege. Not participating in the Passover was grounds for exclusion from the community.

Laying on of hands

Laying on of hands in the OT was used primarily in dealing with sacrificial offerings, usually animals. This act identified the animal as belonging to a particular person. The animal was seen to be taking that person’s place as a sacrifice.