Order of Contents
The Best Commentaries on Numbers
Attersoll, William – A Commentary upon the Fourth Book of Moses, called Numbers (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 & 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 & 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.
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 & New Testament gathered out of the Genuine Writings of Fathers, Ecclesiastical Historians & Acts of Councils down to the year of our Lord 451, vol. 4, Leviticus (1728)
Parker was an Anglican.
The Early Church on Numbers
* “Darling says, that this is ‘a commentary of profound learning and research;’ but it seems to us to be mainly filled with that archaic learning which is now out of date.” – Spurgeon
Hippolytus of Rome – On Balaam’s Blessings at Patristic Bible Commentary
Hippolytus (c. 170 – c. 235)
Homily 27 on Numbers (ch. 33) in Origen: An Exhortation to Martyrdom, First Principles... trans. Rowan Greer in Classics of Western Spirituality (NY: Paulist Press, 1979), pp. 245-70
Cyril of Alexandria – bk. 12: ‘Numbers’ in Glaphyra on the Pentateuch, vol. 2: Exodus – Deuteronomy in Fathers of the Church, vol. 138 Pre (Catholic University of America Press, 2019), pp. 168-209
Cyril (c. 376 – 444)
Augustine – Questions on Numbers at Patristic Bible Commentary
Theodoret of Cyrus – The Questions on the Octateuch, vol. 2: On Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges & Ruth in Library of Early Christianity Ref (Catholic University of America Press, 2007) 431 pp.
Theodoret (c. AD 393 – c. 458/466)
Josephus – On Numbers at Patristic Bible Commentary
Rashi – On Numbers at Patristic Bible 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 Larger Part of Numbers
De Graaf, S.G. – ‘In the Wilderness’ 1977 53 pp. in Promise & 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.
Chapters in Numbers
Cooper, Thomas – The Exposition upon the 16th Chapter of Numbers in A Brief Exposition of such Chapters of the Old Testament as Usually are Read in the Church at Common Prayer on the Sundays d. 1594 English reformer
Cooper, Thomas – The Exposition upon the 22nd Chapter of Numbers in A Brief Exposition of such Chapters of the Old Testament as Usually are Read in the Church at Common Prayer on the Sundays d. 1594 English reformer
Cooper, Thomas – The Exposition upon the 23rd Chapter of Numbers in A Brief Exposition of such Chapters of the Old Testament as Usually are Read in the Church at Common Prayer on the Sundays d. 1594 English reformer
Cooper, Thomas – The Exposition upon the 25th Chapter of Numbers in A Brief Exposition of such Chapters of the Old Testament as Usually are Read in the Church at Common Prayer on the Sundays d. 1594 English reformer
The Authenticity of Numbers
Vos, Geerhardus – ch. 16, ‘Internal Evidence of the Mosaic Origin of the Laws in Exodus-Numbers’ n The Mosaic Origin of the Pentateuchal Codes (1866)
Vos (1862-1949) was one of the last conservative theologians at Old Princeton, and is known as the father of reformed Biblical Theology.
On Bible Characters in Numbers
Guthrie, Thomas – Caleb the Soldier in Studies of Character from the Old Testament (1872)
Guthrie was a Free Church of Scotland minister.
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)