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Numbers and the Theology of the Pentateuch

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‘Numbers underlines the sovereign power of God in history.’ Through multiple trials, including the stubbornness of His own chosen people, God demonstrates that he can keep His promises to Abraham and Moses. ‘God’s sovereignty is great enough that he can use even sinful choices to accomplish his purposes.’ We see an example of salvation through Christ through a ‘raised serpent that brought life out of death (Num 21:4–9; John 3:14, 15).’ Despite the Israelites rebellion, ‘God is characterized by a self-denying faithfulness to his people that is inexplicable in terms of any analogy with features of this world.’

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His call

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Aaron was spokesman for Moses in Egypt

His call

Exodus 4:14–16 ESV
Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses and he said, “Is there not Aaron, your brother, the Levite? I know that he can speak well. Behold, he is coming out to meet you, and when he sees you, he will be glad in his heart. You shall speak to him and put the words in his mouth, and I will be with your mouth and with his mouth and will teach you both what to do. He shall speak for you to the people, and he shall be your mouth, and you shall be as God to him.

Aaron’s authority vindicated

Exodus 5:1 ESV
Afterward Moses and Aaron went and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘Let my people go, that they may hold a feast to me in the wilderness.’ ”
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The command to lead the Israelites out of Egypt

Exodus 6:13 ESV
But the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron and gave them a charge about the people of Israel and about Pharaoh king of Egypt: to bring the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.

Aaron’s staff

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Pharaoh’s hardness of heart

Exodus 11:10 ESV
Moses and Aaron did all these wonders before Pharaoh, and the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he did not let the people of Israel go out of his land.

Subsequent events in Aaron’s life

The Lord’s instructions for the Passover

Exodus 12:43 ESV
And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “This is the statute of the Passover: no foreigner shall eat of it,
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The Israelites grumble against Moses and Aaron


Aaron’s authority vindicated

Numbers 17:8 ESV
On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.
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The Lord prevents Aaron and Moses from entering the promised land


Aaron commemorates the Lord’s provision of manna

Exodus 16:33 ESV
And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar, and put an omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.”

The meeting of Aaron and Jethro

Exodus 18:12 ESV
And Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, brought a burnt offering and sacrifices to God; and Aaron came with all the elders of Israel to eat bread with Moses’ father-in-law before God.

Aaron as census-taker

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Rebellion against Moses and Aaron


Aaron’s jealousy and subsequent repentance

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Aaron makes the people a golden calf

Exodus 32:4 ESV
And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”
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Moses rebukes him

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Rebellion against Moses and Aaron

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The death of Aaron

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