Book Review: What the Bible Teaches – Numbers by J. J. Stubbs

J. J. Stubbs has written an outstanding commentary on this fourth book of the Bible. Numbers has not been a frequent subject of Bible teachers. Most commentaries are part of complete sets such as C. H. Mackintosh, Wm. Kelly and J. N. Darby. We heartily recommend the book by J. J. Stubbs to our readers.

My earliest memories of the book of Numbers goes back over seventy years when I sat as a boy in a Sunday School class taught by Mr. Mervyn Paul. I vividly remember his portrayal on a chalk board of the serpent on the pole (Numbers 21). I also remember the consecration of the Nazarite (ch 6); the spies being sent to search out the land (ch 13); the rebellion of Korah (ch 16); The story of the red heifer (ch 19); the water from the rock (ch 20), and Joshua being chosen to replace Moses (ch 27). All of these events are handled with great ability in this book. The author divides the book into three parts:

  1. Direction for the Journey – from Rameses to Sinai – Num 1:1 to 10:10
  2. Delay in the Journey – From Sinai to Kadesh – Num 10:11 to 19:22
  3. Dangers faced in the journey – From Kadesh to Nebo – Num 20:1 to 36:13.

This book contains very precious devotional and practical teaching.

Numbers 5-8 deals with purification. In the introduction to this section, brother Stubbs writes: “In chapter 5, the camp is to be kept pure and there is the trial of jealousy. Chapter 6 is the law of the Nazarite. In chapter 7, the altar is dedicated and the princes bring their offerings. In chapter 8, the Levites are cleansed and dedicated to their work.”

“There is a moral order here. First, our affections must be tested in the wilderness of this world (ch 5). Then, true separation to God should be the result of love to Christ (ch 6). This is followed by the offerings of ch 7. Worship to God is truly acceptable to Him when it comes from those who love Him.Finally, in ch 8, we have reference to the lampstand. All our worship and service must be done in the light of the sanctuary.”

“Israel, as they anticipated entrance into the land, were guided by the cloud (the Spirit of God), the trumpets (the Word of God), and the ark (the Son of God). The Christian needs the guidance of all three in traveling onward to the glory in heaven.”