Ever wondered why there are two censuses in the book of Numbers? The answer lies in the theme of the book. God was being faithful to keep his land promise to the people, however the people were unfaithful to God. This didn’t prevent God from fulfilling his purpose & keeping his promise. This only excluded the older generation of Israel from being a part of the fulfillment of the promise. Thus, the 2nd census was necessary because the 2nd generation was going into the promise land.
Here are so more details about the book of Numbers to help you in your reading.
Theme: Faithful Yahweh keeps his covenant & prepares fickle Israel through wilderness wanderings. God is keeping is covenant land promise to Israel despite their faithlessness.
1. Preparation for the Land at Sinai (1-10)
2. Banishment from the Land in the Wilderness (11-25)
3. New Preparation for Land in the Plains of Moab.
NOTE: Numbers reminds us that our faithlessness doesn’t prevent God from keeping his covenant; it only prevents us from being a part of it. (cf. 1 Cor 10:11)
11 The grumblings of Israel and Moses; the provision of God
12 Miriam’s rebellion is punished by leprosy; Moses intercedes for her
13 The journey and return of the 12 spies into Canaan
14 Older generation banned from land as punishment for rebellion
16 Korah’s rebellion
20 Moses Strike the rock and is punished
22-25 Balaam, Balak, and the talking donkey
6:24-26 Aaronic Blessing
16:31-35 God’s destruction of Korah
21:4-9 Bronze serpent as God’s means for healing. (cf. John 3:14, 15)
Numbers covers a period of 39 years (1444 – 1405 B.C.)