Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents

About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand.  In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form. 

The book of Numbers

This book was written in 1444-1405 BC. The name comes from the census when Moses counted the people.  It tells about the Israelites' wandering in the wilderness for 39 years.  It starts when the Israelites are at Mt. Sinai.  It tells about their travels through the wilderness. It ends in the plains of Moab just before the Israelites enter Canaan. 

The book of Numbers tells about 2 generations of Israelites. The 1st generation did not obey God. They could not enter Canaan. The 2nd generation obeyed God. They were allowed to go into Canaan. 

Please visit this page to see where the book of Numbers fits into the whole Bible. 


Numbers 19 - 21
Miriam and Aaron die
Moses hits a rock to get water, and God punishes him
The Iraelites continue to travel and have wars with other people.

Numbers 19

Ashes from a red cow

God talked to Moses and Aaron. He gave them a new law. The Israelites should bring a red cow to Eleazar the priest.  The cow should be perfect.  The cow should not have anything wrong with it.  The cow should have never worn a yoke.  A yoke is the collar that animals wear when they work on a farm.  Eleazar should take the cow outside the camp. Someone should kill the cow, and Eleazar should watch. 
[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
[2] This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD hath commanded, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, that they bring thee a red heifer without spot, wherein is no blemish, and upon which never came yoke:
[3] And ye shall give her unto Eleazar the priest, that he may bring her forth without the camp, and one shall slay her before his face:

Eleazar should put his finger in the cow's blood. Then he should point his finger toward the tabernacle. He should sprinkle (shake on the ground) the blood 7 times.  
[4] And Eleazar the priest shall take of her blood with his finger, and sprinkle of her blood directly before the tabernacle of the congregation seven times:

Another person should burn the cow. They should burn all parts of it. The priest should put some wood from a cedar tree in the fire.  He should also put hyssop (a plant) and scarlet (red dye) in the fire.
[5] And one shall burn the heifer in his sight; her skin, and her flesh, and her blood, with her dung, shall he burn:
[6] And the priest shall take cedar wood, and hyssop, and scarlet, and cast it into the midst of the burning of the heifer.

Then the priest should wash his clothes and take a bath.  He should go back into the camp. He is unclean until the evening. 
(Click here to learn more about clean and unclean)
[7] Then the priest shall wash his clothes, and he shall bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp, and the priest shall be unclean until the even.

The person who burned the cow should also wash his clothes and take a bath. He is unclean until the evening.
[8] And he that burneth her shall wash his clothes in water, and bathe his flesh in water, and shall be unclean until the even.

Another man who is clean should get the cow's ashes.  He should put them in a clean place outside the camp. The Israelites will mix these ashes with water. They will use the ash and water mixture later.  They will use it in ceremonies to take away sin. 
[9] And a man that is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer, and lay them up without the camp in a clean place, and it shall be kept for the congregation of the children of Israel for a water of separation: it is a purification for sin.

The person who got the cow's ashes should wash his clothes. He will be unclean until evening. These are some more rules for the Israelites and the people who live with them:
[10] And he that gathereth the ashes of the heifer shall wash his clothes, and be unclean until the even: and it shall be unto the children of Israel, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among them, for a statute for ever.

A person who touches a dead person is unclean.  He is unclean for 7 days. After 3 days, he should use the special water mixed with ashes. The water will purify him (make him clean). On Day 7, he is clean again.
[11] He that toucheth the dead body of any man shall be unclean seven days.
[12] He shall purify himself with it on the third day, and on the seventh day he shall be clean: but if he purify not himself the third day, then the seventh day he shall not be clean.

A person touches a dead body. But he does not use the special water. He is not clean. He makes the tabernacle unclean. He must leave. He cannot be one of God's people. 
[13] Whosoever toucheth the dead body of any man that is dead, and purifieth not himself, defileth the tabernacle of the LORD; and that soul shall be cut off from Israel: because the water of separation was not sprinkled upon him, he shall be unclean; his uncleanness is yet upon him.

A man dies in a tent. People come into the tent. All of the people are unclean for 7 days.  There are pots in the tent with no tops on them. The pots are unclean, too. 
[14] This is the law, when a man dieth in a tent: all that come into the tent, and all that is in the tent, shall be unclean seven days.
[15] And every open vessel, which hath no covering bound upon it, is unclean.

A person dies outside because someone stabbed him with a sword.  Or a person dies naturally from being sick.  If anyone touches them, he is unclean. If a person touches a dead person's bone or grave, he is unclean. 
[16] And whosoever toucheth one that is slain with a sword in the open fields, or a dead body, or a bone of a man, or a grave, shall be unclean seven days.

This is what an unclean person should do. He should get some of the ashes from the burned cow.  He should mix them with water in a jar. Someone who is clean should help him. The clean person should dip some hyssop in the water. Then he should  shake the water on the tent.  He should shake the water on the jars and pots. He should shake the water on people in the tent. He should shake the water on the person who touched a dead person.  
[17] And for an unclean person they shall take of the ashes of the burnt heifer of purification for sin, and running water shall be put thereto in a vessel:
[18] And a clean person shall take hyssop, and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it upon the tent, and upon all the vessels, and upon the persons that were there, and upon him that touched a bone, or one slain, or one dead, or a grave:

The clean person should shake the water on the unclean person on day 3 and on day 7.  On day 7, the unclean person should wash his clothes and take a bath. He will be clean again in the evening. 
[19] And the clean person shall sprinkle upon the unclean on the third day, and on the seventh day: and on the seventh day he shall purify himself, and wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water, and shall be clean at even.

If an unclean person does not purify (clean) himself, he must leave. He cannot be one of God's special people.  He has made the tabernacle unclean. He did not use the special water. He continues to be unclean.
[20] But the man that shall be unclean, and shall not purify himself, that soul shall be cut off from among the congregation, because he hath defiled the sanctuary of the LORD: the water of separation hath not been sprinkled upon him; he is unclean.

The clean person who shook the special water must wash his clothes.  Anyone who touched the special water will be unclean until the evening.
[21] And it shall be a perpetual statute unto them, that he that sprinkleth the water of separation shall wash his clothes; and he that toucheth the water of separation shall be unclean until even.

The unclean person touched things.  Those things are unclean.  Another person touches the same unclean things. He is also unclean until that evening.
[22] And whatsoever the unclean person toucheth shall be unclean; and the soul that toucheth it shall be unclean until even.

Numbers 20

Moses sins and hits the rock to get water

It was the 1st month of Year 40. The Israelites traveled. They went in the desert called Zin. They stayed in the place called Kadesh.  Moses' sister Miriam died. They buried Miriam in this place.
[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.

There was no water, and the people complained about Moses and Aaron. 
[2] And there was no water for the congregation: and they gathered themselves together against Moses and against Aaron.

The people talked badly to Moses. They said they wished they had died earlier.  
[3] And the people chode with Moses, and spake, saying, Would God that we had died when our brethren died before the LORD!

They asked Moses why he took them out of Egypt. They asked why they came to this area. They said they would die there, and their cows would die there, too. They said this area was evil and bad. There was no water there. There were no plants growing like figs, grapes, or pomegranates (a fruit).

[4] And why have ye brought up the congregation of the LORD into this wilderness, that we and our cattle should die there?
[5] And wherefore have ye made us to come up out of Egypt, to bring us in unto this evil place? it is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates; neither is there any water to drink.

Moses and Aaron left the people and went to the tabernacle door. They fell down and prayed. Then they saw God's bright light. God talked to Moses.  God gave Moses a rod (stick).  He told Moses to bring everyone together.  Aaron should come, too.  God told Moses to talk to the rock. He should tell the rock to make water come out.  Then all of the people and animals can drink the water.
[6] And Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and they fell upon their faces: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto them.
[7] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
[8] 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.

Moses took the rod.  He and Aaron called all of the people to come together. They stood by the rock.  Moses told the people they were rebels (people who fight against their leaders).  Moses said he and Aaron would get water for them. The water would come out of the rock. But Moses said they didn't deserve the miracle water because they complained too much.
[9] And Moses took the rod from before the LORD, as he commanded him.
[10] And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?


"Moses Brings Water From the Rock"
The Story of the Bible by Charles Foster,  (Illustrations by F.B. Schell and others)

Digitized by Ted Kuik of

Moses hit the rock 2 times with the stick. Water came out of the rock.  All of the people and all of the animals drank the water. 
[11] And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.

But God was angry at Moses and Aaron. God told Moses to talk to the rock and make the water come out. Then the Israelites would see God's great power. But Moses did not do that. He did not believe God enough. He hit the rock with the stick.  If Moses had talked to the rock only, the Israelites would have seen God's power better. God said that Moses and Aaron would be punished. They would not be allowed to go into Canaan with the other Israelites.  
[12] And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed me not, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this congregation into the land which I have given them.

God said the name of this water place was Meribah.  Meribah means "complaining". God showed His power here at Meribah.
[13] This is the water of Meribah; because the children of Israel strove with the LORD, and he was sanctified in them.

Map by Stan Griffin

 The Israelites ask if they can travel through the Edomites' land

Back in the book of Genesis, Isaac had 2 sons--Jacob and Esau.  Jacob was the ancestor of the Israelites. Esau was the ancestor of the Edomites. The Edomites were the Israelites' cousins. 

The Israelites continued to travel to Canaan. They were at a place called Kadesh. They needed to travel through the Edomites' land.  Moses sent an Israelite messenger to talk to the king of Edom.  The messenger told the king of Edom about Israel's history. He talked about how the Israelites lived in Egypt. The Egyptians were not good to the Israelites. The Israelites prayed to God. God heard the Israelites' prayers. He sent an angel. The Israelites went out of Egypt. Now they are at Kadesh.  They need to travel through the Edomite land.   
[14] And Moses sent messengers from Kadesh unto the king of Edom, Thus saith thy brother Israel, Thou knowest all the travail that hath befallen us:
[15] How our fathers went down into Egypt, and we have dwelt in Egypt a long time; and the Egyptians vexed us, and our fathers:
[16] And when we cried unto the LORD, he heard our voice, and sent an angel, and hath brought us forth out of Egypt: and, behold, we are in Kadesh, a city in the uttermost of thy border:

The Israelites asked for permission to travel through the Edomite land. Moses said the Israelites would stay on the roads. They would not go into the Edomites' farms or vineyards (farms where grapes grow). They will not drink the Edomites' water. 
[17] Let us pass, I pray thee, through thy country: we will not pass through the fields, or through the vineyards, neither will we drink of the water of the wells: we will go by the king's highway, we will not turn to the right hand nor to the left, until we have passed thy borders.

The king of Edom said no. The Israelites could not travel through his land. If the Israelites go into the Edomite land, the army will attack them with swords. 
[18] And Edom said unto him, Thou shalt not pass by me, lest I come out against thee with the sword.

The Israelites asked again. They promised to stay on the main road. If their cows drink any water, they will pay for the water.  But the king said no again. The Edomite army came out. It was a strong army with many people. 
[19] And the children of Israel said unto him, We will go by the high way: and if I and my cattle drink of thy water, then I will pay for it: I will only, without doing any thing else, go through on my feet.
[20] And he said, Thou shalt not go through. And Edom came out against him with much people, and with a strong hand.

The king of Edom refused to let the Israelites walk through his land. So, the Israelites turned around and traveled a different way.

[21] Thus Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border: wherefore Israel turned away from him.

Aaron dies

The Israelites traveled again. They left Kadesh and arrived at Mount Hor.
[22] And the children of Israel, even the whole congregation, journeyed from Kadesh, and came unto mount Hor.

God talked to Moses and Aaron. God said that Aaron would die here at Mount Hor.  Moses and Aaron cannot enter Canaan.  God was angry about Moses hitting the rock at Meribah.  Moses and Aaron were being punished because they did not obey God.
[23] And the LORD spake unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying,
[24] Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.

Moses, Aaron, and Eleazar should go up on top of Mount Hor. They should take the priest's clothes off Aaron. They should put the priest's clothes on Eleazar. Aaron will die. Eleazar will be the new priest. 
[25] Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:
[26] And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.

Moses, Aaron, and Eleazar did what God told them to do. They went up on top of Mount Hor. All of the other Israelites watched them go up.
[27] And Moses did as the LORD commanded: and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation.

Moses took the priest's clothes off Aaron. He put the clothes on Eleazar. Aaron died there on top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came back down.
[28] And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.

All of the Israelites were sad that Aaron died. They mourned for him (cried and felt sad) for 30 days. 

[29] And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

Numbers 21

The Israelites fight with some of the Canaanite people.

A king in Canaan was named Arad.  He lived in the southern part of Canaan.  He heard that the Israelites were coming to Canaan. He sent some soldiers to fight with them.  The soldiers took some of the Israelite people. The people were prisoners. 

[1] And when king Arad the Canaanite, which dwelt in the south, heard tell that Israel came by the way of the spies; then he fought against Israel, and took some of them prisoners.

The Israelites prayed to God. They asked God to help them bring the prisoners out.  If God helped them, they promised to fight Arad's people.  They promised to destroy Arad's cities.
[2] And Israel vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou wilt indeed deliver this people into my hand, then I will utterly destroy their cities.

God heard the Israelites' prayers.  God helped the Israelites. The Israelites fought with the Canaanites. The Israelites destroyed Arad's people and Arad's cities.  The place was called Hormah.  The name Hormah means "destroyed place".
[3] And the LORD hearkened to the voice of Israel, and delivered up the Canaanites; and they utterly destroyed them and their cities: and he called the name of the place Hormah.

God sends poisonous snakes

The Israelites continued traveling. They left Mount Hor.  They traveled by the Red Sea. The Edomite king said they could not travel through his land. They had to go around the land of the Edomites. 
[4] And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way.

The people started to complain again. They complained about God, and they complained about Moses. They asked why God and Moses brought them out of Egypt. They said they would die in the desert. They said there was no food or water in the desert. They were tired of eating the manna (click here to learn more about manna).
[5] And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread.

God sent snakes. The snakes were poisonous. They snakes bit many of the Israelite people.  Many of the people died. 

[6] And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

The people came to talk to Moses. They were sorry that they complained. They said they had sinned. It was sin to complain about God.  They wanted Moses to pray to God. They wanted God to take away the poisonous snakes. So Moses prayed to God.

[7] 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.


"Moses Lifts Up the Serpent of Brass"
The Story of the Bible by Charles Foster,  (Illustrations by F.B. Schell and others)

Digitized by Ted Kuik of

God told Moses what to do. God told Moses to make a bronze (metal) snake. He should put the metal snake up on a pole.  When a live snake bit a person, the person should look at the metal snake on the pole. Then the person would not die. 
[8] And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live.

Moses obeyed God. He made a metal snake and put it on a pole. Then if a live snake bit a person, the person looked at the metal snake. The person did not die.
[9] And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

The Israelites continue to travel

The Israelites continued to travel.  They  camped in  Oboth.  Then they traveled to Ije-abarim.  Ije-abarim is east of Moab.
[10] And the children of Israel set forward, and pitched in Oboth.
[11] And they journeyed from Oboth, and pitched at Ije-abarim, in the wilderness which is before Moab, toward the sunrising.

Then they travled to Zared.  After that, they traveled across the Arnon River.  This was near the land of the Amorites.

[12] From thence they removed, and pitched in the valley of Zared.
[13] From thence they removed, and pitched on the other side of Arnon, which is in the wilderness that cometh out of the coasts of the Amorites: for Arnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites.

No one is exactly sure about "the book of the wars of the Lord". It might have been a book of songs that the Israelites wrote.  In the book, there were stories that talked about these places--the Red Sea, the Arnon River, the river that goes to Ar, and Moab.
[14] Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the LORD, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon,
[15] And at the stream of the brooks that goeth down to the dwelling of Ar, and lieth upon the border of Moab.

Then the Israelites traveled to Beer.  There was a well at Beer. God told Moses to get water for the people.
[16] And from thence they went to Beer: that is the well whereof the LORD spake unto Moses, Gather the people together, and I will give them water.

The Israelites sang a song about this place. They sang about how Moses told them where to dig. Then the leaders dug the well.
[17] Then Israel sang this song, Spring up, O well; sing ye unto it:
[18] The princes digged the well, the nobles of the people digged it, by the direction of the lawgiver, with their staves. And from the wilderness they went to Mattanah:

The Israelites continued to travel.  They went through these places:  Mattanah, Nahaliel, Bamoth, and Pisgah,

[19] And from Mattanah to Nahaliel: and from Nahaliel to Bamoth:
[20] And from Bamoth in the valley, that is in the country of Moab, to the top of Pisgah, which looketh toward Jeshimon.

The Israelites take the Amorites' land

The Israelites traveled to the land where the Amorite people lived. The king of the Amorites was named Sihon.  They asked King Sihon for permission to travel through his land.  The Israelites promised that they would stay on the road. They would not walk on the Amorites' farms or vineyards (a farm for grapes).  They promised they would not drink any water from the Amorites' wells.

[21] And Israel sent messengers unto Sihon king of the Amorites, saying,
[22] Let me pass through thy land: we will not turn into the fields, or into the vineyards; we will not drink of the waters of the well: but we will go along by the king's high way, until we be past thy borders.

King Sihon refused.  He said the Israelites could not travel through his land.  King Sihon sent his army to fight with the Israelites. They had a war at the place called Jahaz.
[23] And Sihon would not suffer Israel to pass through his border: but Sihon gathered all his people together, and went out against Israel into the wilderness: and he came to Jahaz, and fought against Israel.

The Israelites won the war. They defeated King Sihon.  The Iraelites took the Amorites' land.  They took the Amorites' land that started at the Arnon River and went to the line of the Ammonites' land.  The Ammonites were another group of people. They were very strong. Many soldiers guarded the boundary of their land (the line around their land). No one could go into the Ammonites' land.
[24] And Israel smote him with the edge of the sword, and possessed his land from Arnon unto Jabbok, even unto the children of Ammon: for the border of the children of Ammon was strong.

The Israelites moved into the cities in the Amorites' land.  The city where King Sihon lived was called Heshbon.  The Israelites moved into Heshbon. 
[25] And Israel took all these cities: and Israel dwelt in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all the villages thereof.

Before the Amories lived in this area, the group of people called the Moabites lived here. In the past, King Sihon had a war with the Moabite king. King Sihon won the war and took the land.  So the land belonged to the Moabites, then the Amorites, and now the Israelites.
[26] For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab, and taken all his land out of his hand, even unto Arnon.

In the past, the Amorites took the land from the Moabites. At that time, the Amorite people sang a song. This is the song:  "Come to the city of Heshbon. Build a city for King Sihon.  Sihon's armies burned the Moabite cities.  The Moabites' god was Chemosh. Chemosh did not help the Amorites. Sihon took the Moabite men and women and made them prisoners.  The Amorites took over the cities of Dibon, Nophah, and Medeba. "
[27] Wherefore they that speak in proverbs say, Come into Heshbon, let the city of Sihon be built and prepared:
[28] For there is a fire gone out of Heshbon, a flame from the city of Sihon: it hath consumed Ar of Moab, and the lords of the high places of Arnon.
[29] Woe to thee, Moab! thou art undone, O people of Chemosh: he hath given his sons that escaped, and his daughters, into captivity unto Sihon king of the Amorites.
[30] We have shot at them; Heshbon is perished even unto Dibon, and we have laid them waste even unto Nophah, which reacheth unto Medeba.

Now, the Israelites took the land from the Amorites.  Moses sent some men to spy on the area of Jaazer. Then the Israelites made the Amorites in Jaazer leave.

[31] Thus Israel dwelt in the land of the Amorites.
[32] And Moses sent to spy out Jaazer, and they took the villages thereof, and drove out the Amorites that were there.

The Israelites take the land from King Og

The Israelites continued to travel. They went to the area of Bashan. The king of Bashan was named Og.  King Og sent an army to fight the Israelites.  They had a war at the place called Edrei.  God told Moses not to be afraid.  God told Moses that the Israelites would win the war.  The Israelites would  win the war the same as they won the war against King Sihon.  The Israelites would take King Og's people and his land.

[33] And they turned and went up by the way of Bashan: and Og the king of Bashan went out against them, he, and all his people, to the battle at Edrei.
[34] And the LORD said unto Moses, Fear him not: for I have delivered him into thy hand, and all his people, and his land; and thou shalt do to him as thou didst unto Sihon king of the Amorites, which dwelt at Heshbon.

The Israelites won the war.  They defeated King Og, his sons, and all of his people.  All of King Og's people died. The Israelites took all of King Og's land.
[35] So they smote him, and his sons, and all his people, until there was none left him alive: and they possessed his land.


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