Numbers 1-20: A New Translation (Anchor Bible Series, Vol. 4A)

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9780385156516: Numbers 1-20: A New Translation (Anchor Bible Series, Vol. 4A)

Baruch A. Levine has written a masterful study of  the first half of the Book of  Numbers for the Anchor Bible Commentaries.  The Book of Numbers--from the numbering  or census of the people in the opening  chapters--is a much-neglected part of the Torah, the five  books of Moses, which constitutes the heart of Holy  Scriptures for Jews, while also forming an integral  part of the Bible for  Christians.

The Book of Numbers is an account  of the young would-be nation of Israel's wanderings  in the Wilderness after the magnificent event at  Sinai, where Moses speaks with God face-to-face and  receives the Ten Commandments. Throughout this  time of trial, the people complain, sensing the  contrast between the relative security of slavery in  Egypt, from which they have fled, and the  precarious insecurity of freedom in the  Wilderness.

Numbers is a book filled  with power struggles, raising questions about who  speaks for God, along with personal and communal  crises of faith and rumors of revolt. Yet despite  the people's blindness and rebelliousness, God  remains faithful to the promises made to Israel's  ancestors--Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and now Moses--and  remains at Israel's side, guiding her slowly but  surely to the Promised Land. In all,  Numbers describes a terrific journey of  discipline and dependence upon the God who liberated  the Hebrews from bondage in Egypt: a journey to  strengthen Israel for the challenge of a new and  wondrous land and the battles she wifl have to fight  in order to claim and keep  it.

Despite the importance of The Book of  Numbers, its rich collection of stories is  not easily assimilated, even by the most  conscientious of readers. As such, it requires the help of  an expert guide to thread one's way through this  mixture of interesting episodes and anecdotes on the  one hand, and the many lists, prescriptive rules,  ritual regulations, and repeated admonitions on  the other. Professor Levine shows us the way into  this difficult and sometimes forbidding book of the  Bible, and we can be confident of our guide, and  secure in the knowledge that the one who led us  into the thicket will lead us out again into a broad  and fair land.

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