Abstract and Keywords
Numbers describes the building of an Israelite collective in the wilderness. A fledgling people struggle mightily to form themselves into a unity but are overcome by their own complaints, desires for a past they leave behind in Egypt and doubts of their ability to conquer the promised land. Several stories highlight the dramatic pressures both internal (how they saw themselves) and external (how they imagined others saw them) that influence the successes and failures of a unified Israel. Yet the self-critique embedded in the tale of the journey leads a new generation to replace dissatisfaction and dissent with a shared determination. A tale of struggles overcome gives the children of Israel a chance to reach for a different future, imagined but not yet fulfilled.
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