Life-Study of Numbers, by Witness Lee


On their journey, the children of Israel had a number of failures. The book of Numbers shows us that the result of those failures was death, not only of the common Israelites but also of Miriam (20:1), Aaron (20:22-29), and Moses (27:12-14). Miriam, Aaron, and Moses were leaders among the people. Miriam was a prophetess, Aaron was the high priest, and Moses was the unique leader. The result of their failures was death. This should be a warning to us today. We should be careful concerning failures, because failures result in death.


A. The Hindrance of Edom

In the further journeying of the children of Israel, there was the hindrance of Edom (20:14-21). Edom consisted of the descendants of Esau, the brother of Jacob. The children of Israel were descendants of Jacob. Thus, there was a close relationship between Israel and Edom. In Numbers 20 Israel tried to get help from Edom. However, Edom refused to offer help to the children of Israel.

In typology, Israel may signify our spirit, and Edom may signify our flesh. Israel’s trying to get help from Edom signifies that we may sometimes try to help our spirit by depending on our flesh. Our flesh, however, will never help our spirit. We should be those who are in the spirit and who do not try to get help from the flesh.

B. Arriving at the Top of Pisgah

Eventually, the children of Israel arrived at the top of Pisgah (21:10-20). Pisgah was the mountain on which Moses was standing when he saw the good land.

1. Passing by the Well of Beer

On their journey to Pisgah, the children of Israel passed by the well of Beer, where Jehovah commanded Moses to gather the people together that He might give them water. This well typifies Christ (John 4:11-12), and the water from this well typifies the Spirit (John 4:13-14; 7:37-39). In Numbers 21, therefore, Christ is typified both by the bronze serpent and by the well. As the bronze serpent Christ is for our replacement, and as the springing well He is for our enjoyment.

2. Israel Singing to the Well

In Numbers 21:17 and 18 Israel sang a song to the well: "Spring up, O well! Sing to it!/The well which the leaders dug,/Which the nobles of the people hollowed out/With the scepter and with their staves." (For a hymn on the spiritual significance of digging the well, see Hymns, #250.) According to this song, the well was dug by the leaders and the nobles. Those today who seek after the Spirit and take the lead to dig the well are noble and are leaders.

(Life-Study of Numbers, Chapter 31, by Witness Lee)