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Book of Numbers

Book of Numbers

Book of Numbers Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. Tradition says that Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible. Based on Numbers, do you think this is correct?
  2. Why is God so wild about counting people? What's the advantage of having an accurate census?
  3. Why are only men counted in the census?
  4. How would you describe God in this book? Infinitely merciful and just? Weirdly mean and cruel? Do both descriptions fit?
  5. Why does God have so many rules about the care and maintenance of the tabernacle?
  6. 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?
  7. Why would the Israelites want to return to Egypt where they were slaves? What does this say about what the wilderness was like?
  8. Why would the tabernacle be in the center of camp?
  9. How is the community of the ancient Israelites different from ours today?
  10. 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?
  11. How does the image of a cloud leading people fit our idea of God?
  12. How do God's laws help organize and guide the community?
  13. Why is there so much whining on the journey? Is wandering in the wilderness that tough? Or are the people just that bad?
  14. If you check out Exodus, you'll notice there's some overlap in the stories that Numbers tells. Why is this?
  15. Why do the people keep questioning Moses's authority? Do they have a point?
  16. 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?
  17. 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?
  18. Numbers is a mix of travel narratives, war stories, poems, songs, and laws. Why is this?
  19. War looms large in this book. Why do the Israelites fight so much? Do they have a right to these lands?
  20. 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.
  21. Is Joshua the best successor to Moses? Would someone else have been a better leader?
  22. 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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