You blinked, and almost forty years has passed in the last twelve chapters. In chapter 26 the book of Numbers hits the Reset button – compiling the census of a new generation. The warriors of each tribe are numbered, just as in chapter 1. For a conversation on the different interpretations of the census numbers, look back to the Daily Reader for Day 43.
Only Joshua, Caleb, and Moses remain from the generation who left Egypt as adults. The slave generation has died in the desert, and questions of transition and inheritance now become important.
The first of these questions is brought in chapter 27 by the daughters of a man named Zelophehad. Their father has died in the Wilderness, though his daughters point out that he definitely did not die during one of the rebellions. Their concern was valid for the time: traditionally, males could be counted as heirs, but not females. The LORD settles this question by again stepping out of traditional bounds and setting Israel apart among their contemporaries.
Inheritance questions have often driven our story, ever since Abraham first left his own inheritance behind to follow the promise of a greater one. One important question that must be settled is who – if anyone – will inherit Moses’ role as they near the borders of Canaan. Listen to Moses’ concern for his flock as he asks the LORD to name a leader so Israel will not be “as sheep without a shepherd.”
Another part of resetting the story is recounting for the people of Israel the statutes they are to observe in their new land. The Israelites are reminded to bring flour and grain and wine along with their animals for sacrifice. There is promise here: someday, soon, you will own land in which you can sow and reap.
Our verse for this week is 1 Corinthians 10:4: “And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.”
Numbers chapters 26 through 28. Now let’s read it!
and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.