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Numbers (Bemidbar) Introduction

Numbers - (Bamidbar)

Name: The oldest name for the fourth book of Moshe’s writing is ‘the Fifth of the Musterings“; i.e. that one of the five books of Moshe which describes the numbering of the Israelites. Later it became known by the fifth word in the opening sentence – Bemidbar, “in the wilderness” — a name that lends a unity of time and place to the varied happenings and laws in the Book. The current English designation “Numbers” is derived from the Septuagint. (Hertz, JH. Pentateuch & Haftorahs Sconcino Press London 1994 P567)

Numbers ChaptersParsharoitCopyright
Bamidbar – Numbers 1.1-4:20
Halftorah: Hos 1.10-2.20 (2.1-22)
Brit: Rom. 9.22-33
Naso – Numbers 4.21-7:89
Halftorah: Jud 13.2-25
Brit: Jn 12.20-36
Beha’alotcha – Numbers 8.1-12:16
Halftorah: Zech 2.10 (14) – 4.7
Brit: Rev 11.1-19
Shelach – Numbers 13:1-15:41
Halftorah: Josh.2.1-24
Brit: Heb 3.7-4.11
Korach – Numbers 16:1-18:32
Halftorah: 1 Sam 11.14-12.22
Brit: Heb 3.7-4.11
Chukat – Numbers 19:1-22:1
Halftorah: Jdg 11.1-33
Brit:Jn. 3.1-21
Balak – Numbers 22:2-25:9
Halftorah: Mic. 5.7(6) – 6.8
Brit: Rom 11.25-32
Pinchas – Numbers 25:10-30:1
Halftorah: 1 Ki 18.46 – 19.21
Brit: Rev. 19.11-21
Matot – Numbers 30:2 – 32:42
Halftorah: Jer 1.1 – 2.3
Brit: Acts 9.1-22.
Masei – Numbers 33:1-36:13
Halftorah: Jer 2.4-28; 3.4; 4.1-2
Brit: James 4.1-10
KJV – Public Domain
1917 JPS – Public Domain

Understanding Numbers (B’midbar):

Coming Soon

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Numbers (B’midbar) Stats:

Traditionally and normally, it is called the fourth book of Torah. However, when dealing with the Hebrew text Numbers (B’midbar) can also be called the fifth and sixth book of Torah. See Explanation “Backward / Upside Down Nuns” in “Hebrew Anomaly” for more information.

KJV English Stats 1

Letter Count: ?
Word Count: 32, 902
Verse Count: 1,288

Additional English Translation Stats:
36 Chapters
59 Questions
? verses of history
42 verses of fulfilled prophecy(?)
15 verses of fulfilled prophecy(?)
72 separate message from God

The source for all the English stats are from my Dake’s Bible. I understand that controversy around this Bible but for now this is the best that I have and when I find better sources I will correct this data.

Hebrew Stats 2

Parashot: 10
Letter Count: 7,338
Word Count: 1,823
Verse Count: 3: 1,288
Double Count: 4 20
Shortest Parsha: See Chart Below
Longest Parsha: See Chart Below

Unique Hebrew Stats:
Scribal Practices 5: 5

  • Enlarged: 4 (13.31; 14.17; 24.5; 27.5)
  • Diminished: 1 (25.11)
  • Dotted: 1 (3.39)
  • Raised (erect): 0
  • Others: 2 – Upside Down Nuns (10:34,35) | Broken vav (25:12)

Number of Mitzvot: 34 | 42

  • Positive: 20 | 19
  • Negative: 14 | 23

Source for these stats

בְּמִדְבַּ֥ר — Parashot Bemidbar
Bemidbar Torah Stats
#HebrewEnglish# of Letters# of Words# of P’sukim
# of Lines in
Torah Scroll

The source of these stats: Akhlah: The Jewish Children Learning Network

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Numbers (B’midbar) Outline:

none yet!

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Numbers (B’midbar) Scribal Practices

The Hebrew anomalies in the Torah scroll of Numbers (Bemidbar) includes enlarged and diminished letters. It also contains a unique appearance of the letter nun and a broken vav, they do not appear in any other place in all the Scriptures. NOTE: This is not a complete list of the anomalies in the Torah scroll of Numbers (Bemidbar) only the ones I have discovered starting with chapter 25.

Scribal Stats in Numbers
Enl – enlarged letters – 4 appearances in Numbers
Dim – diminished letters – 1 appearance in Numbers
10 Torah Portions – Only 4 Torah portions contain scribal markings.

Dotted – 1 appearance in Numbers 3.39 “and Aaron”

LetterNameEnlDim HebrewTransLocation Parsha
י Yod100be great 14.17Shelach
יYod010Pinchas 25.11Pinchas
מ Mem100how24.5Balak
ס Samech100stilled13.31Shelach
ן Nun Sofit100cause27.5Pinchas

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Backward / Upside Down Nuns

In Numbers (B’midbar) 10:34,35 there are two backward / upside-down nuns. See the picture below. Like most things dealing with the Hebrew text, there are several explanations for this anomaly. Some Rabbis teach these two verses are a Torah “book” unto itself making this the fifth book of Moses.The sixth book begins in 10:36. Now that would make Deuteronomy (Devarim) the seventh book of Torah.

Backward Nuns / Upside Nuns

Enlarged Yod

In Numbers (B’midbar) 14:17 there is a enlarged yod. The verse reads, “And now, I beseech thee, let the power of my lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying,”. “Be great” יִגְדַּל begins with an Enlarged Yod. For a referance point count eleven letters to the left of the highlight yod to a regular size yod, in the picture below.

Numbers 14:17 Enlarged

Broken Vav

In Numbers (B’midbar) 25:12 there is a broken vav. The broken vav appears in the word “shalom”. Where G-d says, “Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace” I read on a thread, there are twenty different Rabbinical teaching explaining the broken vav. In the image below you can count two letters to the left of the broken vav and see a regular vav.

Numbers 25:12 Broken Vav

Enlarged Nun Sofit

In Numbers 27:5 we have the only place in the Scriptures where there appears an enlarged nun sofit.KJV reads, “And Moses brought their cause before the Lord.” “Their cause” is the translation of mishpat. In the picture below you can see a regular size nun sofit directly above it. Can you see the difference?

Numbers 27: 5 Enlarged Nun Sofit

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Numbers (Bemidbar) Resources:

The Schocken Bible: Volume 1, The Five Books of Moses | Schocken Books | Everett Fox
The Steinsaltz Humash | Koren Publishers | Rabbi Adin Even-Israel Steinsaltz
The Pentateuch & Haftorahs | The Soncino Press | Dr. J.H. Hertz
The Living Torah | Maznaim Publishing | Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan

The Parsha with Rabbi Juravel: Sefer Bamidbar | MC Publications | Rabbi M. Feinzeig
Covenant & Conversation Numbers: The Wilderness Years | OU Press | Rabbi Johnathan Sacks
The Anchor Bible: Numbers 1-20 | Doubleday | Baruch A. Levine
The Anchor Bible: Numbers 21-36 | Doubleday | Baruch A. Levine
The JPS Torah Commentary: Numbers | Jewish Publication Society | Jacob Milgrom

Hebrew Language Resources
The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon

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Tabs | Understanding Numbers | Stats | Outline | Scribal Practices | Resources | Next Steps

Next Steps:

Since you have finished reading all the background information about Numbers. Let’s dive into reading the text. Click your preferred chapter link below.


  1. KJV English Stats are taken from the Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible. Finnis Jennings Dake . © 1961 . Lawrenceville
  2. Hebrew Stats are pulled from various sources: Kefirah of the Week, Wikipedia, and other sources. Provided here are the total numbers. The specific numbers may be found on each parsha post. See the Parsha List for links to each post.
  3. Verses In the Hebrew text are called “pesukim”. Translated it means “sentences“.
  4. Hebrew Double Stats: “In the Hebrew, words are sometimes found duplicated. It is often the end of one sentence bumped up against the beginning of the next. E.g. “… was Noah. Noah began to…”.

    In any other language or philosophy, such doubling would go unnoticed. But Chabad philosophy seeks meaning in every detail, so they include this in their statistics,” says David Negley (member of a closed Messianic group on Facebook) Each double word instance has several teachings related to them. (1.4, 44; 3.9,47; 4:19,49; 5.12,22; 7.86; 8.16; 9.10; 12.14; 14.7,34; 17.17,28; 28.21,29; 29.10; 35.26)

  5. Scribal Practices: Are unique to the Hebrew language and are something that can’t be translated. They are enlarged letters, diminished letters, dotted letters, raised, and other unique features of the Hebrew language. Although they have practical applications additional meaning have been given to each of these instances. Much of the following information had been gathered from the Jewish Encyclopedia