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book of the Bible, fourth of the five books of the Law (the Pentateuch or Torah) ascribed by tradition to Moses. Numbers begins at Sinai and ends in Moab on the eve of the Hebrews' entry into Palestine. It continues Exodus' narrative of the journey of the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land. (Leviticus does not advance the story.) Kadesh is the scene of a number of revolts against Moses' authority. Nevertheless, out of dissension comes a greater sense of solidarity and unity. The geographical detail of the journey is bare, and only the main lines can be discerned. The book contains incidental legislation. Its events include two censuses, whence the title; the sending of spies to reconnoiter the Promised Land; the emergence of Joshua and Caleb as leaders; the rebellion of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram; the curse of Balaam turned into a blessing; and the apostasy at Shittim in which Phinehas played an exemplary role.


See G. W. Coats, Rebellion in the Wilderness (1968); P. Budd, Numbers (1984). See also bibliography under Old TestamentOld Testament,
Christian name for the Hebrew Bible, which serves as the first division of the Christian Bible (see New Testament). The designations "Old" and "New" seem to have been adopted after c.A.D.
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What does it mean when you dream about numbers?

Numbers pervade our experience of the world, so they can have a complex range of different meanings. The number one, for example, can represent everything from oneness to aloneness. Two can represent both togetherness and opposition. A dream about numbers that does not emphasize a particular number can be alluding to the meaning of any one of a number of different idioms: “your number is up,” “a numbers game,” “crunching numbers,” or “to have someone’s number.” (See also Seven, Six, Sixteen).


(Scientific computation) Output from a computation that may not be significant but at least indicates that the program is running. Numbers may be used to placate management, grant sponsors, etc. "Making numbers" means running a program because output - any output, not necessarily meaningful output - is needed as a demonstration of progress.

See pretty pictures, math-out, social science number.


In a computer, numbers can be stored in several forms. Although they are all coded as binary digits (bits), BCD and packed decimal numbers retain the decimal relationship of a number, whereas fixed and floating point do not.

Binary Coded Decimal (BCD)

BCD encodes each decimal digit in a single byte. The number 7100 would take four bytes. A variation, called "packed decimal," encodes two digits in one byte.

Binary Fixed Point

This method converts the entire decimal number into a binary number, placing it in a fixed unit of storage. The number 7100 would require at least two bytes. Binary numbers are calculated faster than decimal (BCD) numbers.

Bytes  Bits   Values
        1      8      0 to 255
        2      16     0 to 65,535
        4      32     0 to 4,294,967,295

Binary Floating Point

Floating point allows very small fractions and very large numbers to be maintained and calculated quickly. Both the mantissa (significant digits) and the exponent (power to which the base is raised) are converted into binary numbers. See floating point.