This Post is NOT about Balaam’s Donkey


In the book of Numbers, God is presented as a military commander with the people of the covenant as his army.  First, God commands Moses to take inventory of military assets, that is, the people.  Having taken stock of the resources at hand, the members of the army are assigned designated areas within the military camp according to their divisions, battalions, and companies or their tribes, clans, and families.

God’s presence is represented by a cloud that hovers over the tabernacle.  When this cloud moves, the people of the covenant pack up their gear and move out following the cloud.  This is a clear image of a military commander, and specifically a valiant military commander as God goes moves in front of the people rather than behind.

At one point, spies are sent to search out a new territory (the land of promise) in order to gauge the strength and number of the inhabitants, the viability of the land for produce, and the fortification of the cities.  Those spies who returned with a report that stirred up rebellion were executed by God.

And speaking of rebellion, Korah, Dathan, Abiram and those under their command rebelled against their superior officers, that is, Moses, Aaron, and the priests.  God’s response was one of zero toleration, killing not only the leaders of the rebellion, but all participants.  Following this, others began to rebel in response to God’s killing of the first rebels.  These, too, were put down.

Then, and perhaps most obviously, the people of the covenant engaged in military conquest of Arad, king Sihon, and king Og.  After being met with aggression, the people of the covenant decimated their opponents, taking their lives and their land.

While in Exodus and Leviticus, God is portrayed more as king and judge, clearly in Numbers God is portrayed as warrior general.

Oh, alright.  Here are some posts on Balaam and his donkey:

A Jewish perspective

A Christian perspective