Book of Numbers Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Tradition says that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Based on Numbers, do you think this is correct?
- Why is God so wild about counting people? What's the advantage of having an accurate census?
- Why are only men counted in the census?
- How would you describe God in this book? Infinitely merciful and just? Weirdly mean and cruel? Do both descriptions fit?
- Why does God have so many rules about the care and maintenance of the tabernacle?
- In this book everyone gets their job based on their ancestry. Is this fair? Was there a cattle-herder out there somewhere who really wanted to be a priest someday?
- Why would the Israelites want to return to Egypt where they were slaves? What does this say about what the wilderness was like?
- Why would the tabernacle be in the center of camp?
- How is the community of the ancient Israelites different from ours today?
- Were there practical reasons to kick lepers and people who touched dead bodies out of camp? Is this like a quarantine that helps prevent the rest of camp from being infected?
- How does the image of a cloud leading people fit our idea of God?
- How do God's laws help organize and guide the community?
- Why is there so much whining on the journey? Is wandering in the wilderness that tough? Or are the people just that bad?
- If you check out Exodus, you'll notice there's some overlap in the stories that Numbers tells. Why is this?
- Why do the people keep questioning Moses's authority? Do they have a point?
- Why does the story skip over most of what happened during the forty years of wandering? Was it just that boring? Or is there some other reason?
- Do you think the death penalties in the story are overkill? Or are these just a way of maintaining respect for God and the community?
- Numbers is a mix of travel narratives, war stories, poems, songs, and laws. Why is this?
- War looms large in this book. Why do the Israelites fight so much? Do they have a right to these lands?
- Do you think it's okay that the Israelites are planning to take the Promised Land by force? After all, God did give it to them. But they're gonna have to kill a lot of folks to get there.
- Is Joshua the best successor to Moses? Would someone else have been a better leader?
- Why does the story end with such a cliffhanger? No Promised Land! Does it make sense to give that tale its own book?
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