Numbers 33–36: Instructions for the Promised Land

Old Testament Seminary Student Study Guide, (2002), 71

Numbers 33–36 contains additional instructions the Lord gave to the Israelites as they camped near the borders of their promised land.Numbers 33 records that the Lord had Moses record forty separate journeys the Israelites had taken to get to Canaan, perhaps to remind the Israelites of how fortunate they had been in their travels. We are not able to geographically identify most of the places on the list. The Lord then commanded the Israelites to completely drive out or destroy the inhabitants of Canaan so they would not be a spiritual plague to them.Numbers 34 tells how the Lord outlined the borders of the land the Israelites were to conquer and how He named the men who would be in charge of dividing the land among the twelve tribes and the families of those tribes.Numbers 35 contains the Lord’s commandment that special cities be created throughout Canaan for the Levites. This would allow the Levites to be among all the tribes and perform ordinances for them. The Lord also named some of these cities as cities of refuge for those who had slain another person. Having these places of refuge would help prevent anyone taking revenge on these people before proper justice could be accomplished.Numbers 36 contains counsel from the Lord concerning marrying within one’s own tribe so that land inheritances might stay within the same tribe.