Commentaries on Numbers

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Leviticus  ⇐ ⇒ Deutronomy


For more great commentaries on Numbers, be sure to check:
Commentaries on the Pentateuch
Commentaries on the Whole Old Testament
& Whole Bible Commentaries



Order of Contents

The Best Commentaries  5
More Commentaries  5
The Early Church  2
Jewish  1
On the Majority of Numbers  1
Authenticity of Numbers  1
Balaam  2




The Best Commentaries on Numbers

Medium Level


Attersoll, William – A Commentary upon the Fourth Book of Moses, called Numbers  Ref  1618

** – ‘A stupendous work, well fitted to make a headstone for the author’s grave.  It is so huge that it might have been the work of a lifetime, and yet the same writer has also given us Philemon.  Think of 1271 folio pages on Numbers!’ – Spurgeon



Bush, George – Notes, Critical and Practical on: Numbers

Bush was a Biblical scholar, a professor of oriental literature in New York City University, and initially a presbyterian minister.

*** – ‘Although Bush is indebted to many authors, he is by no means a mere collector; his remarks repay you for consultation, and we hope that in this case they are his own.’

Seaton, W. – Church in the Wilderness, 2 vols.  1821

***‘Of the thoroughly evangelical school, fraught with much experimental truth and sound doctrine soberly discussed.’  ‘Seaton, Wagner, and other writers whom we have placed under Exodus are equally upon Numbers, and should be referred to.’ – Spurgeon

Wagner, George – The Wanderings of the Children of Israel  1862

***‘A book which we have read with great pleasure and profit, and very heartily recommend[ed]’  ‘Seaton, Wagner, and other writers whom we have placed under Exodus are equally upon Numbers, and should be referred to.’ – Spurgeon



Poole, Matthew – Critical Synopsis of the Bible: Numbers  Buy

This is different and much larger than Poole’s Annotations on Scripture.  Here Poole gives something of a history of interpretation (from Jewish writers until Christian interpreters of Poole’s own day) on every verse of the Bible.

‘…you will find in Poole’s Synopsis a marvelous collection of all the wisdom and folly of the critics.  It is a large cyclopedia worthy of the days when theologians could be cyclopean, and had not shrunk from folios to octavos.  Query—a query for which I will not demand an answer—has one of you beaten the dust from the venerable copy of Poole which loads our library shelves?  Yet as Poole spent no less than ten years in compiling it, it should be worthy of your frequent notice—ten years, let me add, spent in Amsterdam in exile for the truth’s sake from his native land.  His work is based on an earlier compilation entitled Critic Sacri, containing the concentrated light of a constellation of learned men who have never been excelled in any age or country.’ – Spurgeon



More Commentaries on Numbers

Practical and Devotional

Blunt, Henry – Family Exposition of the Pentateuch, vol. 3 (Num-Deut)  1844

**  “Intended for families, but not without value for the preacher.” – Spurgeon

Cumming, John – Readings on Numbers  Buy  1855

**‘Good, as usual.’ – Spurgeon

On his work on Deuteronomy:  “And to show that the Old Testament can be preached and is relevant to our lives today, John Cumming (1807-1881), Scottish born preacher and, for many years minister of the National Scottish Church, London, expounds Moses’ last treatises with an unction that was characteristic of all that was best in the era in which he lived.” – Cyril J. Barber

Keddie, Gordon – According to Promise: The Message of the Book of Numbers  Buy  2010  224 pp.

Keddie is a minister in the RPCNA.  This commentary is at a popular level with devotional and contemporary relevance (a great way to get people into the text), but it is not for the student.


Medium Level

Mackintosh, C.H. – Notes on the Book of Numbers  1862

**  “Like the other notes of C.H. M., they need filtering.  Good as they are, their Darbyism [Dispensationalism] gives them an unpleasant and unhealthy savour.” – Spurgeon

Parker, Samuel – Bibliotheca Biblica: being a commentary upon all the books of the Old and New Testament gathered out of the genuine writings of fathers,  ecclesiastical historians and acts of councils down to the year of our Lord 451, vol. 4, Leviticus  1728

Parker was an Anglican.



The Early Church on Numbers


Lienhard, Joseph – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy  Buy 


Individual Father

Origen – Homilies on Numbers  Buy



Jewish Commentary

Greenstone, Julius Hillel – The Holy Scripture with Commentary: Numbers  Buy

‘By a conservative Jewish scholar.  Provides helpful historical details which the expositor will find valuable.’ – Cyril J. Barber



On The Majority of Numbers

De Graaf, S.G. – ‘In the Wilderness’  1977  53 pp. in Promise and Deliverance, vol. 1: From Creation to the Conquest of Canaan, pp. 327-380  De Graff surveys most of Num. 9-36

De Graff is a Dutch Reformed author who focuses on the unfolding of the Covenant through history.  He writes in an easy to read, but insightful style.



The Authenticity of Numbers

Vos, Geerhardus – ‘Internal Evidence of the Mosaic Origin of the Laws in Exodus-Numbers’  1886  12 pp. being ch. 16 of The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuchal Codes

Vos (1862-1949) was one of the last conservative theologians at Old Princeton, and is known as the father of reformed Biblical Theology.




Cox, Samuel – Balaam: An Exposition and a Study  1884  215 pp.

“A careful exposition and study of the life and times of Balaam.  Devotional.” – Cyril J. Barber

Whyte, Alexander – Balaam in Bible Characters, vol. 1  d. 1921 




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