Lesson 9

Numbers 1–36


The following assignments include various learning activities, such as questions, lists, essays, charts, comparisons, contrasts, and surveys. To receive credit for this lesson, you must complete the number of assignments indicated below and submit them to your institute instructor or administrator. You may submit your work either electronically or on paper, handwritten or typed.

Each lesson should take approximately 60–90 minutes to complete, the same amount of time you would typically spend in a weekly institute class. Since reading the scripture block listed in the lesson heading is expected of all institute students prior to class, the estimated time for each assignment does not include the time you need to spend reading the scripture block.

Complete assignments 2, 4, and any two of the other assignments:

1.  Numbers 1, 26. Why Is This Book Called “Numbers”?

Read the chapter summaries for Numbers 1 and 26 and the institute student manual introduction to Numbers 1–12 (p. 197). Then answer the following questions in writing:

  • Why do you think this book carries the title of “Numbers”?
  • What time period of Israel’s history does Numbers cover?
  • How many males 20 years of age and older were there at the beginning of the children of Israel’s sojourn into the wilderness? How many were there after 40 years in the wilderness?
  • Why do you think after 40 years of bearing children in the wilderness, the population of the males 20 years and older was actually less? Consider this question as you move through this lesson.

2.  Numbers 3; 8; 18. Change of Policy in the Kingdom of God

Assume that you have a nonmember friend who does not understand why in 1978 the Church changed the policy of who could receive the priesthood. Read Numbers 3:5–12; 8:5–16; 18:1–2 and Bible Dictionary, “Aaronic Priesthood” (599–600); “Levites” (724). Write one or two paragraphs about how these scriptures might help explain why and how changes sometimes occur in the kingdom of God. Be sure to include the source of these changes and through whom the changes come as found in Numbers 3:5.

Write a comparative statement about the similarities in the wording of Numbers 3:5–12 and Official Declaration—2.

Read Numbers 8:6, 14; Isaiah 52:11; 3 Nephi 10:41; Doctrine and Covenants 121:34–36, 41–42. Make a written comparison between the requirements for those holding the priesthood then and now. Explain in writing the meaning of the word separate in Numbers 8:14 and how it applies to priesthood holders today.

3.  Numbers 6. Nazarite Vows

Read Numbers 6:2–6, 14, 18; Judges 13:5, 24; 1 Samuel 1:11, 19–20, 28; Luke 1:13–15 as well as the Bible Dictionary entry for “Nazarite” (p. 737) and the student manual commentary for Numbers 6:1–21, “What Was a Nazarite?” (p. 199). Then answer the following questions in writing:

  • What were the requirements of a Nazarite?
  • Who were some famous Nazarites from scripture?

Read Alma 5:57. Then write a paragraph about how the Lord wants Latter–day Saints to live differently from the world today.

4. Numbers 11–12, 14. Murmuring

Read Numbers 11:1–20; 12:1–14; 14:1–12, 26–39. As you read, write a short paragraph answering the following questions:

  • What impact did the murmuring have on Moses?
  • What impact did the murmuring have on the Lord?
  • What impact did murmuring have on the people?
  • How do Nephi’s words in 1 Nephi 16:2 apply here?

Describe in writing how Moses acted as a mediator on behalf of the people in Numbers 11:1–2, 24–25; 14:13–20.

Read the student manual commentary for Numbers 12:1–11, “Why Did Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses?” (pp. 201–2) and the Points to Ponder section (p. 202). Then write a paragraph answering either question 10 or 12 from “Points to Ponder.”

5.  Numbers 21. The Brazen Serpent

Read Numbers 21:4–9 and the student manual Points to Ponder section (p. 212). Then answer the following questions in writing:

  • What did the children of Israel do that resulted in the curse of the “fiery serpents”?
  • In what ways are people today sometimes like unto the children of Israel anciently? (see also 1 Nephi 17:45).
  • According to Alma 33:18–22, what did the brazen serpent symbolize?
  • How does one “look to” Jesus Christ for healing?
  • Aside from physical healings, how can “looking to” the Savior heal a person in other ways?
  • Where else do people sometimes turn for healing other than the Savior?
  • What are simple things in the gospel of Jesus Christ that can heal us?
  • How have you experienced the healing power of the Atonement in your life?

6.  Numbers 22–24. Balak and Balaam

Read Numbers 22:2–14 and the student manual commentary for Numbers 22–24, “The Story of Balaam” (pp. 209–10). Describe in writing what Balak wanted Balaam to do and how Balaam felt about it. Include in your paragraph a note about how the enticements of the world sometimes tempt people today.

Whose company was Balaam still keeping in Numbers 23:1–3, 25–30; 24:12? Make a list from these verses of the ways that Balak tried to influence Balaam. Why do you think Balaam continued to entertain Balak and his officers?

Write a summary paragraph about what these verses teach about the power of temptation if we allow ourselves to be continually exposed to it. Read Numbers 31:7–8; 2 Peter 2:14–15; Revelation 2:14. Identify who Israel destroyed and write the name of the man who was living with them at the time. Write a sentence or two describing what sins Balaam was eventually guilty of.

7.  Numbers 27. How Is the Priesthood Given?

Read Numbers 27:18–23. Write a brief description of how the Lord called a new prophet to lead Israel and how it compares to the way prophets are called today.

Read Alma 6:1; Acts 6:5–6; 1 Timothy 5:22. Write a short comparison of similarities found in these scriptures of how the authority of the Lord is passed from person to person.

Write a paragraph about the blessings you have in your life today as a result of the restored priesthood of Jesus Christ.