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The Israelites spent many years in the desert.


The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Bible. It tells the story of the 40 years which the Israelites spent in the desert before they came to the promised land of Canaan. It also contains a census recounting the 'numbers' of men available to fight in the coming war.

All quotations from the Bible are taken from the Authorised King James Version.
The Book of Numbers begins with God ordering Moses to count up the number of men available for battle. All men over what age were included in this census?
18 years old
19 years old
20 years old
21 years old
All men over the age of 20 were expected to fight. God said to Moses:

Numbers 1:2-3
"Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls; from twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies"
To feed the Israelites God supplied manna, but the people desired more than this. What food did God give those who complained?
God gave the people quail, as they wished. But God knew that quail would spoil in the heat of the desert. That is why He gave manna instead.

Numbers 11:31-34
"And there went forth a wind from the Lord, and brought quails from the sea, and let them fall by the camp, as it were a day’s journey on this side, and as it were a day’s journey on the other side, round about the camp, and as it were two cubits high upon the face of the earth. And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp. And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague. And he called the name of that place Kibroth-hattaavah: because there they buried the people that lusted"
When the Israelites arrived on the borders of Canaan, God told Moses to send out spies to search the land. How many spies were sent?
3 spies were sent
7 spies were sent
9 spies were sent
12 spies were sent
God told Moses to send one man from each of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Numbers 13:1-3
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Send thou men, that they may search the land of Canaan, which I give unto the children of Israel: of every tribe of their fathers shall ye send a man, every one a ruler among them. And Moses by the commandment of the Lord sent them from the wilderness of Paran: all those men were heads of the children of Israel."

10 of the spies brought back frightening reports of the enemy which filled the hearts of the Israelites with dread. Because of this God ruled that they must wander for 40 years and that none over the age of 20 will live to enter the promised land, save for Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who brought back encouraging reports about the enemy
The Israelites returned to a life of wandering in the desert and one of the women, Miriam, died. Who was Miriam?
Miriam was Moses' wife
Miriam was Moses' sister
Miriam was Moses' daughter
Miriam was Moses' mother
Miriam was Moses' elder sister. She had watched over him when he had been placed in the river as a child, to keep him safe. She died before the Israelites entered the promised land.

Numbers 20:1
"Then came the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, into the desert of Zin in the first month: and the people abode in Kadesh; and Miriam died there, and was buried there"
At the place where Miriam had died the Israelites became very thirsty. How did God quench their thirst?
He led them to a well
He brought water from the sand
He led them to an oasis
He brought water from a rock
Numbers 20:7-9
"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink. And Moses took the rod from before the Lord, as he commanded him."

But Moses did not do exactly as God had commanded. He struck the rock with his staff and claimed credit for himself, so God forbade Moses from entering the promised land
The Israelites journeyed to Mount Hor where Moses' brother Aaron died. For how long did the people of Israel mourn Aaron?
They mourned him for 3 days
They mourned him for 30 days
They mourned him for 300 days
They mourned him for 3 years
Numbers 20:29
"And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel."

Aaron was not allowed to enter into the promised land because he had rebelled against God along with Moses. Aaron's duties as High Priest were passed down to his son, Eleazar
The Israelites continued to complain to Moses because of their desire for food and water. God punished the complainants by sending what to torment them?
Fiery serpents
Fiery locusts
Fiery scorpions
Fiery dragons
Numbers 21:6-7
"And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people."

God had Moses make a brass serpent which saved all who looked on it. This is mentioned in the Book of John in the New Testament

John 3:14-15
"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life"
Balaam's donkey would not go where Balaam wished because the Angel of the Lord stood in its way. Balaam could not see the Angel and so he struck his donkey. What power did God give to the donkey to stop Balaam from hitting it?
God gave the donkey the power of writing
God gave the donkey the power of flight
God gave the donkey the power of speech
God gave the donkey the power of an elephant
Numbers 22:28-32
"And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times? And Balaam said unto the ass, Because thou hast mocked me: I would there were a sword in mine hand, for now would I kill thee. And the ass said unto Balaam, Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day? was I ever wont to do so unto thee? And he said, Nay. Then the Lord opened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and he bowed down his head, and fell flat on his face. And the angel of the Lord said unto him, Wherefore hast thou smitten thine ass these three times? behold, I went out to withstand thee, because thy way is perverse before me."

The donkey had actually saved Balaam's life by refusing to go on. If it had, the Angel of the Lord would have slain Balaam
When the Israelites came to the land of Moab they began to partake in the worship of pagan gods. God punished them with a plague which killed how many?
6,000 were killed
12,000 were killed
18,000 were killed
24,000 were killed
Numbers 25:9
"And those that died in the plague were twenty and four thousand."

God had mercy on the Israelites after Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, killed Zimri, who sinned before the eyes of the congregation
Moses knew that he would die before the Israelites entered the promised land and so he asked God to name a new leader for the people. Who did God choose for the task?
Numbers 27:18-21
"And the Lord said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the Lord: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation."

Joshua was to lead his people into the promised land


Author:  Graeme Haw

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