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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Preface to the Book of Numbers
This, which is the fourth book in order of the Pentateuch, has been called Numbers, from its containing an account of the numbering and marshalling the Israelites in their journey through the wilderness to the promised land. Its English name is derived from the title it bears in the Vulgate Latin, Numeri, which is a literal translation of the Greek word Αριθμοι, its title in the Septuagint; and from both, our Saxon ancestors called it numeration, "because in this the children of Israel were numbered," This title, however, does not properly apply to more than the three first chapters, and the 26th. This book, like the preceding, takes its name among the Hebrews from a distinguishing word in the commencement. It is frequently called וידבר Vaidabber, and he spoke, from its initial word; but in most Hebrew Bibles its running title is במדבר Bemidbar, in the wilderness, which is the fifth word in the first verse.
The contents of the book of Numbers are briefly the following: On the first day of the first month of the second year after the departure from Egypt, the tabernacle being erected, and it and the priests consecrated, Moses is commanded to make a census or enumeration of the people, the Levites excepted, who were appointed to watch over, guard, pitch, and carry the tabernacle and its holy furniture; Numbers 1.
To form the vast mass of the people into a regular camp, each tribe by itself under its own captain or chief, known by his proper standard, and occupying an assigned place in reference to the tabernacle; Numbers 2.
Moses is commanded to separate the Levites to the service of the tabernacle, whom God chooses to take, instead of the first-born of every family, which he claimed as his own. When these were selected in their families, etc., the sum amounted to 22,273; Numbers 3.
All this tribe is appointed to serve the tabernacle in a variety of offices, each person from the age of thirty till fifty, after which he was excused from farther service; Numbers 4.
When these points were settled, God commands them to purify the camp by the expulsion of every unclean person, and establishes the trial of the suspected adulteress by the waters of jealousy; Numbers 5.
He next institutes the laws relative to Nazarites; and lays down the form according to which the people shall be blessed; Numbers 6.
Then follows a particular account of the offerings made to the tabernacle by the princes, or chiefs of the twelve tribes, and the amount of those offerings; Numbers 7.
When this work was finished, the Levites were consecrated to their respective services, and the duration of the service of each ascertained; Numbers 8.
The passover is commanded to be kept, and the first one is celebrated in the wilderness on the 14th of the first month of the second year after their departure from Egypt; Numbers 9.
Moses is commanded to make two silver trumpets; he is informed of their use, in what order the different tribes shall march, with the ceremonies at fixing and removing the tabernacle and the departure of the people from the wilderness of Sinai on the twentieth day of the second month of the second year of their exodus from Egypt; Numbers 10.
The people murmuring, the fire of the Lord consumes many of them; it ceases on the intercession of Moses: they murmur again, quails are sent, and they are smitten with a great plague; Numbers 11.
Miriam and her brother Aaron rise up seditiously against Moses, having conceived some dislike against his Cushite wife, and supposing that he assumed too great an authority over the people: at this sedition the Lord is displeased, and smites Miriam with the leprosy; Numbers 12.
Twelve spies are sent to examine the promised land; they pass through the whole, return at the end of forty days, and by bringing an evil report, dishearten the people; Numbers 13.
In consequence of this the whole congregation meditate a return to Egypt: God is displeased, and pronounces that all of them, from twenty years old and upwards, shall die in the wilderness. They repent, attack the Amalekites contrary to the commandment of God, and are discomfited; Numbers 14.
A number of ordinances and directions are given relative to the manner of conducting the worship of God in the promised land: different laws are repeated, and a Sabbath-breaker stoned to death; Numbers 15.
Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their associates, form an insurrection against Moses: they are swallowed up by an earthquake: the congregation murmur, and 14,700 of them are cut off; Numbers 16.
As a proof that God had called Aaron and his family to the priesthood, his rod, or staff, buds, and miraculously brings forth blossoms and fruit, and is commanded to be laid up before the testimony; Numbers 17:1-13.
The charges of the priests and Levites, and the portions they were to have of the Lord's offerings, for their support in the work; Numbers 18.
The ordinances of the red heifer; the water of purification, and its uses; Numbers 19.
The death of Miriam; the waters of Meribah. The Lord tells Moses that because he did not sanctify him in the eyes of the congregation, he shall not bring the people into the promised land. The king of Edom refuses the Israelites a passage through his territories. Aaron is stripped of his sacerdotal vestments on Mount Hor, and they are put on Eleazar, his son, who is to be a high priest in his stead. Aaron dies, and the people mourn for him thirty days; Numbers 20.
Arad, one of the Canaanitish kings, attacks Israel, and he and his people are utterly destroyed. The people murmur for lack of bread and water; fiery serpents are sent among them, they repent; are healed by looking at a brazen serpent. They journey and come to Beer, where they find water; Sihon, king of the Amorites, attacks them, and is defeated; so is likewise Og, king of Bashan, and the people possess the lands of both; Numbers 21.
Balak, king of Moab, sends for Balaam to curse Israel; he departs, is opposed by an angel, and reproved by his ass, whom God, for the purpose, miraculously endued with the gift of speech. He comes to Balak, king of Moab, and shows him that Jehovah had limited his power; Numbers 22.
Balak offers sacrifices, and Balaam, under the influence of God, prophesies good concerning Israel; Numbers 23.
Continuing to foretell the prosperity of Israel, and the destruction of their enemies, the king of Moab dismisses Balaam in great wrath; Numbers 24.
The Israelites, seduced by the women of Moab and Midian, commit fornication and idolatry - the chiefs are hanged - bold act of Phinehas; Numbers 25.
A second census or enumeration of the people takes place, and the amount is 601,730, among whom not one of those of the first census was now found except Joshua and Caleb; Numbers 26.
From the case of the daughters of Zelophehad a law is made to enable daughters to inherit. Moses ascends Mount Abarim, sees the promised land, and constitutes Joshua his successor; Numbers 27.
A repetition of the laws relative to burnt-offerings, the Sabbath, the passover, first-fruits, etc.; Numbers 28.
The three solemnities of the seventh month are commanded to be held on the first, tenth, and fourteenth days of the month; Numbers 29.
Several laws and ordinances concerning vows of different kinds, made by various persons; when they should be confirmed, and in what cases annulled; Numbers 30.
Twelve thousand Israelites go against the people of Midian and slay them, their five kings, and Balaam their prophet; and the Israelites take immense booty in persons, cattle, gold, silver, and precious stones, of which they make a great offering to the Lord, because in this contest they lost not one man; Numbers 31.
The children of Reuben and Gad, and the half tribe of Manasseh, request to receive for their inheritance the territories of Sihon and Og on the east side of Jordan; their desire is granted on the condition of their going over armed with their brethren, to assist them in conquering the land; Numbers 32.
A circumstantial account of the forty-two journeys of the Israelites from their departure from Rameses till their arrival at Jordan. They are commanded to expel all the ancient inhabitants; Numbers 33.
The borders of the land are described, and the persons appointed by God, who should assist Joshua in dividing the land among the nine tribes and half; Numbers 34.
Forty-eight cities are to be assigned to the Levites, out of the twelve tribes, for their goods and for their cattle: and out of these they were to appoint six cities of refuge for the person who had unawares slain his neighbor; to one of which cities the manslayer was to escape, and tarry there till the death of the high priest; Numbers 35.
A law established that the daughters to whom the paternal inheritance descends, shall not marry out of their own tribes, lest their inheritances should become alienated and lost by being blended with those of other tribes; Numbers 36:1-13. See the case of Zelophehad's daughters, Numbers 27.
In this book, which comprehends the history of between thirty-eight and thirty-nine years, we have in one word a distinct account of the several stages of the Israelites' journey in the wilderness, the various occurrences on the way, their trials, rebellions, punishments, deliverances, conquests, etc., with several laws and ordinances not mentioned in the preceding books, together with a repetition and explanation of some others which had been previously delivered; the whole forming a most interesting history of the justice, mercy, and providence of God.
On the first day of the second month of the second year after Israel came out of Egypt, God commands Moses to number all the males of the people from twenty years and upward, who were effective men and able to go to war, Numbers 1:1-3. A chief of each tribe is associated with Moses and Aaron in this business, Numbers 1:4; the names of whom are given, Numbers 1:5-16. Moses assembles the people, who declare their pedigrees according to their families, Numbers 1:17-19. The descendants of Reuben are numbered, and amount to 46,500, Numbers 1:20, Numbers 1:21. Those of Simeon, 59,300, Numbers 1:22, Numbers 1:23. Those of Gad, 45,650, Numbers 1:24, Numbers 1:25. Those of Judah, 74,600, Numbers 1:26, Numbers 1:27. Those of Issachar, 54,400, Numbers 1:28, Numbers 1:29. Those of Zebulun, 57,400, Numbers 1:30, Numbers 1:31. Those of Ephraim, 40,500, Numbers 1:32, Numbers 1:33. Those of Manasseh, 32,200, Numbers 1:34, Numbers 1:35. Those of Benjamin, 35,400, Numbers 1:36, Numbers 1:37. Those of Dan, 62,700, Numbers 1:38, Numbers 1:39. Those of Asher, 41,500, Numbers 1:40, Numbers 1:41. Those of Naphtali, 53,400, Numbers 1:42, Numbers 1:43. The amount of all the effective men in Israel, from twenty years old and upward, was 603,550, Numbers 1:44-46. The Levites are not numbered with the tribes, because they were dedicated to the service of God. Their particular work is specified, Numbers 1:47-54.
1And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
The Lord spake unto Moses - on the first day of the second month - As the tabernacle was erected upon the first day of the first month, in the second year after their coming out of Egypt, Exodus 40:17; and this muster of the people was made on the first day of the second month, in the same year; it is evident that the transactions related in the preceding book must all have taken place in the space of one month, and during the time the Israelites were encamped at Mount Sinai, before they had begun their Journey to the promised land.
2Take ye the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls;
Take ye the sum, etc. - God, having established the commonwealth of Israel by just and equitable laws, ordained every thing relative to the due performance of his own worship, erected his tabernacle, which was his throne, and the place of his residence among the people, and consecrated his priests who were to minister before him; he now orders his subjects to be mustered,
1. That they might see he had not forgotten his promise to Abraham, but was multiplying his posterity.
2. That they might observe due order in their march toward the promised land.
3. That the tribes and families might be properly distinguished; that all litigations concerning property, inheritance, etc., might, in all future times, be prevented.
4. That the promise concerning the Messiah might be known to have its due accomplishment, when in the fullness of time God should send him from the seed of Abraham through the house of David. And,
5. That they might know their strength for war; for although they should ever consider God as their protector and defense, yet it was necessary that they should be assured of their own fitness, naturally speaking, to cope with any ordinary enemy, or to surmount any common difficulties.
3From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
From twenty years old and upward - In this census no women were reckoned, nor children, nor strangers, nor the Levites, nor old men, which, collectively, must have formed an immense multitude; the Levites alone amounted to 22,300. True-born Israelites only are reckoned; such as were able to carry arms, and were expert for war.
4And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers.
5And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.
6Of Simeon; Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
7Of Judah; Nahshon the son of Amminadab.
8Of Issachar; Nethaneel the son of Zuar.
9Of Zebulun; Eliab the son of Helon.
10Of the children of Joseph: of Ephraim; Elishama the son of Ammihud: of Manasseh; Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
11Of Benjamin; Abidan the son of Gideoni.
12Of Dan; Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.
13Of Asher; Pagiel the son of Ocran.
14Of Gad; Eliasaph the son of Deuel.
Eliasaph, the son of Deuel - This person is called Reuel, Numbers 2:14. As the ד daleth is very like the ר resh, it was easy to mistake the one for the other. The Septuagint and the Syriac have Reuel in this chapter; and in Numbers 2:14, the Vulgate, the Samaritan, and the Arabic have Deuel instead of Reuel, with which reading a vast number of MSS. concur; and this reading is supported by Numbers 10:20; we may safely conclude therefore that דעואל Deuel, not רעואל Reuel, was the original reading. See Kennicott. An ancient Jewish rabbin pretends to solve every difficulty by saying that "Eliasaph was a proselyte; that before he embraced the true faith he was called the son of Reuel, but that after his conversion he was called the son of Deuel." As Reuel may be translated the breach of God, and Deuel the knowledge of God, I suppose the rabbin grounded his supposition on the different meanings of the two words.
15Of Naphtali; Ahira the son of Enan.
16These were the renowned of the congregation, princes of the tribes of their fathers, heads of thousands in Israel.
These were the renowned - Literally, the called, of the congregation - those who were summoned by name to attend. The order of the tribes In the above enumeration may be viewed thus: -
Sons of Leah
Sons of Rachel
1st son of Bilhah, Rachel's maid
2d son of Zilpah, Leah's maid
1st son of Zilpah.
2d son of Bilhah.
17And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:
18And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.
19As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.
20And the children of Reuben, Israel's eldest son, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
21Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Reuben, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.
22Of the children of Simeon, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, those that were numbered of them, according to the number of the names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
23Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Simeon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.
24Of the children of Gad, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
25Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty.
Forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty - Mr. Ainsworth has remarked that Gad, the handmaid's son, is the only one of all the tribes whose number ends with fifty, all the others are by thousands, and end with hundreds; which shows God's admirable providence and blessing in multiplying them so, that no odd or broken number was among all the tribes. But see on Numbers 1:46 (note).
26Of the children of Judah, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
27Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Judah, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.
28Of the children of Issachar, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
29Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Issachar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.
30Of the children of Zebulun, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
31Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Zebulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.
32Of the children of Joseph, namely, of the children of Ephraim, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
33Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Ephraim, were forty thousand and five hundred.
The tribe of Ephraim - forty thousand and five hundred - Ephraim, as he was blessed beyond his eldest brother Manasseh, Genesis 48:20, so here he is increased by thousands more than Manasseh, and more than the whole tribe of Benjamin, and his blessing continued above his brother, Deuteronomy 33:17. And thus the prophecy, Genesis 48:19, was fulfilled: His younger brother (Ephraim) shall be greater than he, (Manasseh). No word of God can possibly fall to the ground: he alone sees the end from the beginning; his infinite wisdom embraces all occurrences, and it is his province alone to determine what is right, and to predict what himself has purposed to accomplish.
34Of the children of Manasseh, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
35Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Manasseh, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.
36Of the children of Benjamin, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
37Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Benjamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.
38Of the children of Dan, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
39Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Dan, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.
40Of the children of Asher, by their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
41Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.
42Of the children of Naphtali, throughout their generations, after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;
43Those that were numbered of them, even of the tribe of Naphtali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.
44These are those that were numbered, which Moses and Aaron numbered, and the princes of Israel, being twelve men: each one was for the house of his fathers.
45So were all those that were numbered of the children of Israel, by the house of their fathers, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Israel;
46Even all they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.
All they that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty - What an astonishing increase from seventy souls that went down into Egypt, Genesis 46:27, about 215 years before, where latterly they had endured the greatest hardships! But God's promise cannot fail (Genesis 16:5); and who can resist his will, and bring to naught his counsel? That a comparative view may be easily taken of the state of the tribes, I shall produce them here from the first census mentioned in the first chapter of this book, in their decreasing proportion, beginning with the greatest and proceeding to the least; and in the second census, mentioned Numbers 26, where the increase of some and the decrease of others may be seen in one point of view. It may be just remarked, that except in the case of Gad in this chapter, and Reuben in Numbers 26, all the numbers are what may be called whole or round numbers, beginning with thousands, and ending with hundreds, Gad and Reuben alone ending with tens; but the Scripture generally uses round numbers, units and fractions being almost constantly disregarded.
1st Census - Ch. 1 2d Census - Ch. 26 1. Judah 74,600 76,500 2. Dan 62,700 64,400 3. Simeon 59,300 22,200 4. Zebulun 57,400 60,500 5. Issachar 54,400 64,300 6. Naphtali 53,400 45,400 7. Reuben 46,500 43,730 8. Gad 45,650 40,500 9. Asher 41,500 53,400 10. Ephraim 40,500 32,500 11. Benjamin 35,400 45,600 12. Manasseh 32,200 52,700 Total 603,550 Total 601,730
Thus we find Judah, the most populous tribe, and Manasseh the least so; the difference between them being so great as 42,400, for which no very satisfactory reason can be assigned. In the second census, mentioned Numbers 26:34, Judah still has the pre-eminency; and Simeon, the third in number before, is become the least. Now we see also that the little tribe of Manasseh occupies the seventh place for number. Seven of the tribes had an increase; five a decrease. Manasseh had an increase of 20,500; Judah, 1,900; Issachar, 9,900; Zebulun, 3,100; Benjamin, 10,200; Dan, 1,700; Asher, 11,900. On the contrary there was a decrease in Reuben of 2,770; in Simeon, 37,100; Gad, 5,150; Ephraim, 8,000; Naphtali, 8,000. Decrease in the whole, 61,020 effective men. See on Numbers 26 (note); but balanced with the increase, the decrease was upon the whole 1,820. On the subject of these enumerations, and the manner in which this vast multitude sprang in about four generations from seventy-five persons, Scheuchzer has some valuable calculations, though liable to some objections, which I shall take the liberty to insert, as they tend to throw considerable light upon the subject. "We find in the writings of Moses three enumerations of the Jewish people, that follow each other pretty closely: - The first, which was made at their departure from Egypt, Exodus 12:37, amounted to 600,000 One year after, to 603,550 On entering the land of Canaan, to 601,730 If we add to the number 603,550 that of the Levites given us in Numbers 3:39, and which amounted to 22,000 - We shall have for the sum total - 625,550 "We find the same number, on adding that of each tribe given us in detail, which is the best proof of the exactness of the calculation. "I think I shall afford the reader some degree of pleasure by presenting him, in this place, the number of each tribe separately, beginning at their earliest ancestors. We shall see, by this means, how faithfully God fulfilled the promise he had made to Abraham, as well as the great utility of the mathematics for the right understanding of the Holy Scriptures. I shall begin with a Genealogical Table of that family which God so wonderfully blessed; and to it I shall afterward add each separate tribe, following the calculation of Reyher, (Math. Mos., p. 222). And we shall see that the fourth generation, taken with the third, produces the very number mentioned in the text
Children of Jacob by Leah - Genesis 46:15. Reuben Simeon Levi Judah Issachar Zebulun Dinah Hanoch Jemuel Gershon - Libni - Shimei7,500 - Numbers 3:22 Shelah Tola Sered Phallu Jamin Kohath - Amram - Izehar - Hebron - Uzziel8,600 - Numbers 3:26 Pharez Phuvah Elon Hezron Ohad Merari - Mahli - Mushi6,200 - Numbers 3:34 Zerah Job Jahleel Carmi Jachin Hazron Shimron Zohar Hamul Shaul 46,500Num 1:2159,300Num 1:2322,300Num 3:22, Numbers 3:26, Numbers 3:600Num Numbers 1:400Num Numbers 1:400Num Numbers 1:31 by Zilpah - Genesis 46:18 Gad Asher Ziphion Jimnah Haggai Ishuah Shuni Isui Ezbon Beriah - Heber - Malchial Eri Arodi Areli 45,650Num 1:2541,500Num 1:41 by Rachel - Genesis 46:22 Joseph Benjamin Manasseh 32,200 Belah Ephraim 40,500 Becher Ashbel Gerah Naaman Ehi Rosh Muppim Huppim Ard 72,700 35,400Num 1:37 by Bilhah - Genesis 46:25 Dan Naphtali Hushim Jahzeel Guni Jezer Shillem 62,700Num 1:3953,400Num 1:43
1. Reuben - 46,500
"Let us now descend to the particular enumeration of each tribe. Reuben had four sons: now if we suppose that one of these four sons had seven, and that each of the other three had eight, we shall find the number 31 for the first Egyptian generation. If we afterward suppose that each of these 31 sons had five sons, the second generation will amount to 155, which, multiplied by 15, will produce 2,325 for the third generation; and these, multiplied by 19, will make 44,175 for the fourth; so that the third, together with the fourth, will make 46,500. We shall have the same product if the given sum, 46,500, be divided by the most probable number of children, for example, by the number 19; we shall then have 2,447 for the third generation; which sum being deducted from the sum total, there will remain 44,053 for the fourth generation, which is exactly the number that is produced in multiplying 2,440 of the third generation by 18, and the other 7 by 19. If we wish to make the same calculation with respect to the preceding generations, i. e., divide them by the most probable number of children, we shall have the following sums: -
Sons of Reuben I. Generation 31 II. Generation 215 III. Generation 2,583 IV. Generation 43,917 Amount of generations III and IV. 46,500
2. Simeon - 59,300
"Simeon had six sons. Let us suppose that each of the three first had six children, and each of the three others seven, we shall have thirty-nine for the first generation. If we multiply 31 of this number by 9, and 8 by 10, we shall have for the second generation 359; of which number, if we multiply 355 by 11, and 4 by 12, the third generation will give us 3,953. Let us then multiply 3,948 of these by 14, and 5 of them by 15, and we shall have for the fourth 55,347. The third and fourth, added together, will make 59,300.
3. Levi - 22,300
"Gershon, Levi's eldest son, had two children: let us give to one of these 16 children, and to the other 17, and we shall have 33 for the second generation; 28 of which, multiplied by 15, and 5 by 16, will produce 500 for the third. Multiply each by 14, and these will produce 7,000; and the third and fourth together, 7,500. "Kohath, Levi's second son, had four sons, which form the first line. Give to one of them 10 sons, and 11 to each of the other three, for the second generation there will be 43. Multiply them by 10, there will be 430 for the third; these, multiplied by 19 for the fourth, will produce the number of 8,170. The third and fourth added together make 8,600. "Merari, the third son of Levi, had two sons. Give 10 children to each of them, there will then be 20 for the second generation. Now if we say that 10 of these 20 had each 15 sons, and each of the others 16, we shall have 310, which, multiplied by 19, will give us 5,890 for the fourth; and the two last together, 6,200. This may be seen by the following example: -
Generations Gershonites Kohathites Merarites I 2 4 2 II 33 43 20 III 500 430 310 IV 7,000 8,170 5,890 Amount of generations III and IV 7,500 8,600 6,200 Total number of Levites - 22,300.
4. Judah - 74,600
"The sons of Judah were Shelah, Pharez, and Zerah. His grandsons by Pharez were Hezron and Hamul. Hezron had two sons. Suppose each of them had six children, which will make 12 for the first generation; to eight of whom allow eight children, and nine to each of the others, and there will be 100 for the second generation. To 92 of these then give 18 children, and 19 to the eight others; this will produce for the third generation 1,808. If we then suppose that 1,800 of these had each 18 children, and that each of the other eight had 19, the fourth generation will be 32,552, which, added to the product of the third, will make the descendants of Hezron amount to 34,360. "Hamul had two sons, who, multiplied by 10, produce the number of 20 for the second generation: these, multiplied by 20, will make 400 for the third, and these again by 25 will produce 10,000 for the fourth. And thus the two last generations will amount together to the number of 10,400.
"If we allow five sons to Shelah, and six to Zerah, we shall have 11 for the first generation. To three of whom allow 10 children and 11 to the other eight, this will give us 118 for the second. To 113 of these give 14, and 15 to the other five, and 1,657 will be produced for the third. Give 17 to 1,643, and 18 to the 14 remaining, and for the fourth there will be 28,183. The third and fourth added together will produce the number of 29,840. "According to this calculation, all these generations will amount to the following numbers: -
Hezronites 34,360 Hamulites. 10,400 Shelanites and Zarhites 29,840 Total 74,600 5. Issachar - 54,400
"Issachar had five sons. Suppose that three of them had each five children, and the other two, six, we shall have 27 for the first generation. If we then imagine that of these 19 had each nine sons, and each of the other eight 10, the second generation will be 251. Now 241 of these, multiplied by 12, will produce 2,892, and the 10 others, multiplied by 13, will make 130; consequently the third generation will amount to 3,022. If 3,018 of these had each 17 sons, and each of the other four had 18, the fourth generation will be 51,378; the third and fourth generations, then, will produce a number of 54,400.
6. Zebulun - 57,400
"Zebulun had three sons. If we suppose that two of them had in all fourteen children, and the third, six, here will be 20 for the first generation. The second will produce 143, on multiplying 17 by 7, and 3 by 8. If we multiply 135 by 16, and 8 by 17, the third will amount to 2,296. By multiplying the third by 24, the fourth will give us 55,104. The two last will produce, together, 57,400.
7. Gad - 45,650
"Gad had seven sons.
Generations of Gad I. Generation multiply 3 by 9, and 4 by 10 equals 67 II. Generation multiply 61 by 7, and 6 by 8 equals 475 III. Generation multiply 471 by 8, and 4 by 9 equals 3,804 IV. Generation multiply 3,802 by 11, and 2 by 12 equals 41,846 Amount of generations III and IV equals 45,650 7. Asher - 41,500
"The sons of Asher, Jimnah, Ishua, and Isui, multiplied by 8, produce for the
I. Generation equals 24 II. Generation multiply 24 by 8 equals 192 III. Generation multiply 182 by 11, and 10 by 12 equals 2,122 IV. Generation multiply 2,118 by 12, and 4 by 13 equals 25,468 Amount of generations III and IV equals 27,590
"Heber and Malchiel were sons of Beriah. Now these two sons multiplied by 5, give us for
I. Generation equals 10 II. Generation multiply 10 by 11 equals 110 III. Generation multiply by 9 equals 990 IV. Generation multiply by 12 equals 11,880 Amount of generations III and IV equals 12,870
"Another son of Beriah had in the
I. Generation equals 1 II. Generation multiply by 8 equals 8 III. Generation multiply by 10 equals 80 IV. Generation multiply by 12 equals 960 Amount of generations III and IV equals 1,040
All these generations added together amount to 41,500
Manasseh - 32,200
I. Generation equals 10 II. Generation multiply 6 by 13, and 4 by 14 equals 134 III. Generation multiply 132 by 12, and 2 by 13 equals 1,610 IV. Generation multiply by 19 equals 30,590 Amount of generations III and IV equals 32,200
Ephraim - 40,500
I. Generation equals 16 II. Generation multiply by 10 equals 160 III. Generation multiply 152 by 12, and 8 by 13 equals 1,928 IV. Generation multiply 1916 by 20, and 12 by 21 equals 38,572 Amount of generations III and IV equals 32,200
10. Benjamin - 35,400
"He had 10 sons; two of whom, multiplied by 9, and the other 8 by 10, will give for the
I. Generation equals 98 II. Generation multiply 95 by 9, and 3 by 10 equals 885 III. Generation multiply by 5 equals 4,425 IV. Generation multiply by 7 equals 30,975 Amount of generations III and IV equals 35,400
11. Dan - 62,700
I. Generation equals 11 II. Generation multiply by 12 equals 132 III. Generation multiply by 19 equals 2508 IV. Generation multiply by 24 equals 60,192 Amount of generations III and IV equals 62,700
12. Naphtali - 53,400
"He had 4 sons, the half of whom, multiplied by 7, and the other half by 6, give us for the
I. Generation equals 26 II. Generation multiply 16 by 11, and 10 by 12 equals 296 III. Generation multiply 288 by 12, and 8 by 13 equals 3,560 IV. Generation multiply by 14 equals 49,840 Amount of generations III and IV equals 53,400
Total Number of All the Tribes
I. Reuben 46,500 II. Simeon 59,300 III. Leviticus 22,300 IV. Judah 74,600 V. Issachar 54,400 VI. Zebulun 57,400 VII. Gad 45,650 VIII. Asher 41,500 IX. Manasseh 32,200 Ephraim 40,500 X. Benjamin 35,400 XI. Daniel 62,700 XII. Naphtali 53,400 Total 625,850
"And indeed, without counting the Levites, the number of the Israelites (Numbers 1:46) amounts to 603,550 The Levites (Numbers 3:39) amount to 22,300. The whole number together, as above 625,850" In the above calculations, Scheuchzer and Reyher take for granted,
1. That from the going down to Egypt to the exodus there were four generations.
2. That the first two generations had died in Egypt.
3. That the promise of God in multiplying them as the stars of heaven, had taken place particularly in the two last generations.
4. That these two last generations alone form the aggregate sums given in the sacred text.
5. That their method of accounting for this aggregate through the four generations, is not only perfectly natural and mathematical, but strictly accordant with the promises made by God to them, as the sum of each tribe sufficiently proves.
6. That the whole account shows the truth of the Divine promise, the great accuracy of the Jewish lawgiver, and a proof of the inspiration of the sacred writings.
But even to these calculations and deductions there may be objections, e. g. "Scheuchzer gives to 2,508 families of Dan, 24 male children, each above the age of 20: we may fairly allow an equal number of females, and add 5 more under 20, as in the note under "Exo 12:37, and we have 53 children on the average through all the families of a tribe; whilst to 4,425 families of Benjamin are allotted 7 males aged 20, and adding 7 females at 5 children, we have 19 children in each family; a tolerable number; but apparently more reasonable than the other." - Anon.
47But the Levites after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them.
48For the LORD had spoken unto Moses, saying,
49Only thou shalt not number the tribe of Levi, neither take the sum of them among the children of Israel:
50But thou shalt appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of testimony, and over all the vessels thereof, and over all things that belong to it: they shall bear the tabernacle, and all the vessels thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the tabernacle.
51And when the tabernacle setteth forward, the Levites shall take it down: and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
52And the children of Israel shall pitch their tents, every man by his own camp, and every man by his own standard, throughout their hosts.
53But the Levites shall pitch round about the tabernacle of testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of the children of Israel: and the Levites shall keep the charge of the tabernacle of testimony.
54And the children of Israel did according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so did they.