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From MormonWikiOld Testament is so named because it contains the scriptural history of the Israelites while they traveled in the desert between Mount Sinai and the edge of the Promised Land. The book covers thirty-eight of their forty years in the wilderness and explains why God kept them in the wilderness for so long.
It also is so named because it records the two censuses taken of the people of Israel. Both censuses counted the men who were prepared for battle, since Israel would need to claim the Promised Land only by bloodshed. However, those responsible for the first census failed because of their disobedience. It was not until the second census that Israel was faithful enough to succeed.
Along with instructions that were to be a part of the law of Moses and the order in which the Israelites were to camp and march, the Lord speaks to Moses over 150 times in the book of Numbers. The book is more commonly called 'Bemidbar' in Hebrew, which means "In the wilderness", which describes the setting of the book.
The book of Numbers is divided into three sections: Chapters 1-10 contains instructions and preparations for the march from Sinai; Chapters 11-21 contains the history of Israel's sojourn in the wilderness; and Chapters 22-36 contains an account of what happened on the east side of the Jordan River.
Very significant and inspiring stories are rendered from the book of Numbers; stories which contain murmuring, complaining and rebellion of the children of Israel and even some of Moses' closest friends and family members. When one reads, we find that the Lord was far beyond patient with the children of Israel. He shows time and time again of His unconditional love and His great desire to see the children of Israel obey. The Lord did give the children of Israel the opportunity to enter the land of promise about a year after they left Egypt, but because of their murmuring and rebellion, they lost the opportunity. They had a prophet that spoke for God and numerous times refused to heed his counsel.