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Who wrote the book of Numbers? Who was the author of Numbers?

author of Numbers

The book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Torah. It was written by Moses.

The book of Numbers derives its name from a census Moses conducted on the people of Israel, specifically targeting “the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war” (Numbers 1:2, NLT). Beyond the census, the book delves into various themes, recording instances of Israel’s rebellion, divine judgment, and godly mercy that Jesus referenced in the New Testament (Numbers 21:4–9; John 3:14–15). The book of Numbers can pose interpretive challenges for modern Christians, yet it contains crucial insights that enhance our understanding of the gospel and Christian living. Here we see the consequences of rebellion, the courage of faithfulness, the justice of God, and His mercy in response to repentance.

Both Jewish and Christian traditions attribute the books of the Pentateuch to Moses, a claim supported by references elsewhere in Scripture. The New Testament attributes the five books of the law to Moses (see John 5:45–47; 7:19; Romans 10:5; 1 Corinthians 9:9; 2 Corinthians 3:15), as does the Old Testament (Joshua 8:32; 2 Chronicles 34:14; Malachi 4:4; Nehemiah 4:4).

Mosaic authorship of Numbers doesn’t necessarily mean Moses personally wrote every single word. For example, Numbers 12:3 says that “Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.” This remark may have been added by a scribe. Of course, there is nothing improper about Moses writing such a comment about himself, since the influence of the Holy Spirit ensured objectivity in his writing. But it’s also possible that the parenthetical accolade was bestowed later by some unknown writer. Some have suggested Ezra or one of the later prophets as the one who added the comment—still under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Bolstering the fact that Moses wrote Numbers are two passages in the book that indicate Moses was the one producing the written record. Numbers 33:2 says, “At the Lord’s command Moses recorded the stages in their journey.” And the book ends with this information: “These are the commands and regulations the Lord gave through Moses to the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan across from Jericho” (Numbers 36:13). So, God spoke the words, and Moses wrote them down.

Despite critics who say otherwise, the Mosaic authorship of Numbers remains well attested. To reject the Mosaic authorship of the Torah raises doubt about Jesus’ veracity, since Jesus stated that Moses penned these books.

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Who wrote the book of Numbers? Who was the author of Numbers?
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This page last updated: February 27, 2024