Numbers, book of

Numbers, book of
The fourth book in the OT; the title derives from the census (1:1–46). The literary sources J, E, and P are all found in Num., and behind them were numerous local traditions which they assimilated. Probably the book as finally edited has conflated a variety of tribal memories into a unity, accepted as its own by the whole nation. The book therefore represents Israel's interpretation of her past.
The historical narrative of Numbers, round which other literary types have been collected, takes the progress of the Israelites from the entrance into the wilderness, through the wilderness from Sinai to Trans-jordan; it records conquests in that region, and finally the approach to Canaan. These events cannot be regarded as strictly historical reminiscences since Num. in something like its present form was probably compiled much later, about 550 BCE.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • NUMBERS, BOOK OF — (Heb. בְּמִדְבַּר; in the wilderness ), the fourth book of the Pentateuch. Like the other books of the Pentateuch, its name in Hebrew is taken from the first significant word in the book (the fifth word in chapter 1), which also reflects its… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Numbers, Book of —    The fourth of the books of the Pentateuch, called in the Hebrew be midbar, i.e., in the wilderness. In the LXX. version it is called Numbers, and this name is now the usual title of the book. It is so called because it contains a record of the …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • NUMBERS, BOOK OF —    the fourth book of the Pentateuch, and so called from the two numberings of the people, one at the beginning and the other at the close of the period it embraces; it embraces a period of 38 years, and continues the narrative from the departure …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • NUMBERS RABBAH — NUMBERS RABBAH, aggadic Midrash to the Book of Numbers, also called Va Yedabber Rabbah in medieval literature. (For the name Rabbah see ruth rabbah .) Structure The book is divided into 23 sections. The Midrash on chapters 1–8 of the book of… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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  • Book of Wisdom —     Book of Wisdom     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Book of Wisdom     One of the deutero canonical writings of the Old Testament, placed in the Vulgate between the Canticle of Canticles and Ecclesiasticus.     I. TITLE     The oldest headings… …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Book of Tobias —     Tobias     † Catholic Encyclopedia ► Tobias     We shall first enumerate the various Biblical persons and then treat the book of this name.     I. PERSONS     A. Tobias (II Par., xvii, 8). Heb. tobyyahu Yahweh is good ; Sept. Tobias, one …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Numbers — Num bers, prop. n. pl. of {Number}. The fourth book of the Pentateuch, containing the census of the Hebrews. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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