Genesis Through Joshua- Numbers: The Second Generation Army

Structure of Numbers
1-10 The constituting of the 1st generation army
10-25 The failures of the 1st generation when marching towards the land
26-36 The constitution of the 2nd generation army

The Basic Content of 26-36
The new army is constituted 26-32
A call to conquest 33-36

The New Army 26-32
God is forming the second generation into an army as he did with the first generation

1) Literary Structure
The count
A military census
A new leader
In 28-31 we see the centrality of the tabernacle

2) Similarities and Differences in comparison with the first generation army
The first generation consisted of 603,550 people. The second generation were counted to be 601,730. Why did God have Moses put these numbers in this book? The similarities in these numbers show us that the second generation were to replace the first.

In sections 1 and 3 of Numbers (see structure above) the movement of the narrative is the same. First we read about the census secondly we read about the centrality of the tabernacle.

In the first section of the book Moses talks a lot about God’s presence with the army. In the material of the second generation we read of the inheritance regulations (see 27:12-23 and 32). There is a focus on the inheritance of the land. Why does Moses make these differences? Moses knew that the second generation would take the land.

3) The Meaning of this Content
Numbers 26-32: The new army of Israel is asking questions of itself. Moses is telling them that they are like the old army but with more. God expects the army to inherit the land.
The second generation replace the first generation army and has instructions for the future.

4) The Centrality of the Tabernacle
Burnt offerings were to be given every day (28). This has to do with the structure of Israel round the tabernacle. There are specific tabernacle regulations that Moses gives. Moses is showing his readers that tabernacle should be central to their understanding.

5) The New Leadership
The people are about to see Moses die. The first generation were expecting to follow Moses into the land. Numbers 27:12-23 shows us that Joshua is to lead the people into the land. Moses writes this story to demonstrate that Israel is to have a new leader called Joshua. Joshua is to be followed as Moses was followed.

6) The Inheritance Regulations
See chapter 27. Moses is including one example of inheritance regulations as a symbol telling the second generation to set their eyes on the land (see also chapter 32).

The Call to Conquest 33-36
Moses is saying to Israel that they have been formed as an army and are called to take the land.

1) Literary Structure
The travels of Israel
The call to holy war
The specific inheritances

Moses is emphasising that the second generation must do what the first generation failed to do.

2) A call to war
In chapter 33:50-54 we find a call to war. Israel is to drive out enemies, remove the idols, posses the land distribute it appropriately.

The warning to the second generation is found in 33:55. The holy war we have been given have extensive instructions as well. We cannot rest or be calm or satisfied. We must take the gospel to every nation and person.

3) The Inheritance
In 34:1-12 we see how the land is to be divided. The division of land was to be done by representatives.

4) The Cities of Refuge
35:2 = The Levites had towns within the tribes. They didn’t have a self-contained place for the whole tribe. The Levites owned the cities of refuge. If someone struck someone else by accident this person could run to the city and be safe.

The tribal boundaries are non-negotiable. The inheritance of the land was to be a permanent arrangement for Israel.

5) The meaning of this content
Israel must not fall short of God’s direction in how to deal with the holy law and inheritance.

The Modern Application

Despite the failures of the church in the past God is still faithful to His chosen people. He will not utterly forsake us.
Israel was called to a future warfare that was extensive. Our warfare is extensive covering every area of life.


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