THE FOURTH BOOK OF MOSES, CALLED
THIS book, like all the other books of Moses, takes its name from the Septuagint, or Greek interpreters, being termed by them αριθμοι, arithmoi, NUMBERS. There is, however, this difference: the names of the other four stand in our translation in the words of the original Greek, while this is rendered into English. The reason of the name is evident. The book begins with an account of the numbering or mustering of the people, which was done in the beginning of the second year after they came out of Egypt. It relates also another numbering of them above thirty-eight years after, when not three of the same persons were found alive that were in the former account, so awfully did God fulfil his threatening that, for their rebellion, their carcasses should fall in the wilderness, Numbers 14:29. Still, however, their numbers were so great that the book affords us abundant proof of the accomplishment of God’s promise to Abraham, Thy seed shall be as the stars of heaven for multitude. Here are also several additional laws, relating to matters both civil and religious. Indeed, the book is almost equally divided between histories and laws intermixed: and the historical part comprises the transactions of thirty-eight years, most of which, however, took place in the first and last of those years. An abstract of a great part of this book we have in a few words, Psalm 95:10 : Forty years long was I grieved with this generation; and an application of it to ourselves, Hebrews 4:1 : Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should come short of it.