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Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Moses and Eleazar are commanded to take the sum of the Israelites, in the plains of Moab, Numbers 26:1-4. Reuben and his posterity, 43,730, Numbers 26:5-11. Simeon and his posterity, 22,200, Numbers 26:12-14. Gad and his posterity, 40,500, Numbers 26:15-18. Judah and his posterity, 76,500, Numbers 26:19-22. Issachar and his posterity, 64,300, Numbers 26:23-25. Zebulun and his posterity, 60,500, Numbers 26:26, Numbers 26:27. Manasseh and his posterity, 52,700, Numbers 26:28-34. Ephraim and his posterity, 32,500, Numbers 26:35-37. Benjamin and his posterity, 45,600, Numbers 26:38-41. Dan and his posterity, 64,400, Numbers 26:42, Numbers 26:43. Asher and his posterity, 53,400, Numbers 26:44-47. Naphtali and his posterity, 45,400, Numbers 26:48-50. Total amount of the twelve tribes, 601,730, Numbers 26:51. The land is to be divided by lot, and how, Numbers 26:52-56. The Levites and their families, Numbers 26:57, Numbers 26:58. Their genealogy, Numbers 26:59-61. Their number, Numbers 26:23,000, Numbers 26:62. In this census or enumeration not one man was found, save Joshua and Caleb, of all who had been reckoned 38 years before, the rest having died in the wilderness, Numbers 26:63-65.
1And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,
2Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers' house, all that are able to go to war in Israel.
Take the sum of all the congregation - After thirty-eight years God commands a second census of the Israelites to be made, to preserve the distinction in families, and to regulate the tribes previously to their entry into the promised land, and to ascertain the proportion of land which should be allowed to each tribe. For though the whole was divided by lot, yet the portions were so disposed that a numerous tribe did not draw where the lots assigned small inheritances. See Numbers 26:53-56, and also see the note on Numbers 1:1.
3And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
4Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt.
5Reuben, the eldest son of Israel: the children of Reuben; Hanoch, of whom cometh the family of the Hanochites: of Pallu, the family of the Palluites:
6Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites.
7These are the families of the Reubenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty.
8And the sons of Pallu; Eliab.
9And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the LORD:
10And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.
Together with Korah - The Samaritan text does not intimate that Korah was swallowed up, but that he was burnt, as appears in fact to have been the case. And the earth swallowed them up, what time that company died; and the fire devoured Korah with the two hundred and fifty men, who became a sign.
11Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.
The children of Korah died not - It is difficult to reconcile this place with Numbers 16:27, Numbers 16:31-33, where it seems to be intimated that not only the men, but the wives, and the sons, and the little ones of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, were swallowed up by the earthquake; see especially Numbers 16:27, collated with Numbers 16:33. But the text here expressly says, The children of Korah died not; and on a close inspection of Numbers 16:27, we shall find that the sons and the little ones of Dathan and Abiram alone are mentioned. So they gat up from the tabernacle of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, on every side: and Dathan and Abiram came out - and their wives, and their sons, and their little ones. Here is no mention of the children of Korah, they therefore escaped, while it appears those of Dathan and Abiram perished with their fathers. See the note on Numbers 16:30.
12The sons of Simeon after their families: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites: of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites: of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites:
13Of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites: of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites.
14These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.
15The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites:
16Of Ozni, the family of the Oznites: of Eri, the family of the Erites:
17Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites.
18These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred.
19The sons of Judah were Er and Onan: and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.
20And the sons of Judah after their families were; of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites: of Pharez, the family of the Pharzites: of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites.
21And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites.
22These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and sixteen thousand and five hundred.
23Of the sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites: of Pua, the family of the Punites:
24Of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites: of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites.
25These are the families of Issachar according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and four thousand and three hundred.
26Of the sons of Zebulun after their families: of Sered, the family of the Sardites: of Elon, the family of the Elonites: of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites.
27These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those that were numbered of them, threescore thousand and five hundred.
28The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim.
29Of the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat Gilead: of Gilead come the family of the Gileadites.
30These are the sons of Gilead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites: of Helek, the family of the Helekites:
31And of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites: and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites:
32And of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites: and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites.
33And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
34These are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them, fifty and two thousand and seven hundred.
35These are the sons of Ephraim after their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthalhites: of Becher, the family of the Bachrites: of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites.
36And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites.
37These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those that were numbered of them, thirty and two thousand and five hundred. These are the sons of Joseph after their families.
38The sons of Benjamin after their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites: of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites: of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites:
39Of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites: of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites.
40And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites: and of Naaman, the family of the Naamites.
41These are the sons of Benjamin after their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and six hundred.
42These are the sons of Dan after their families: of Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan after their families.
43All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those that were numbered of them, were threescore and four thousand and four hundred.
44Of the children of Asher after their families: of Jimna, the family of the Jimnites: of Jesui, the family of the Jesuites: of Beriah, the family of the Beriites.
45Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites: of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites.
46And the name of the daughter of Asher was Sarah.
47These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those that were numbered of them; who were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.
48Of the sons of Naphtali after their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites: of Guni, the family of the Gunites:
49Of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites: of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites.
50These are the families of Naphtali according to their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and four hundred.
51These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.
These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty - The following comparative statement will show how much some of the tribes had increased, and others had diminished, since the enumeration in Numbers 1.
Tribe Chapter 26 Chapter1 Variation Reuben 43,730 to 46,500 2,770 decrease Simeon 22,200 to 59,300 37,100 decrease Gad 40,500 to 45,650 5,150 decrease Judah 76,500 to 74,600 1,900 increase Issachar 64,300 to 54,400 9,900 increase Zebulun 60,500 to 57,400 3,100 increase Manasseh 52,700 to 32,200 20,500 increase Ephraim 32,500 to 40,500 8,000 decrease Benjamin 45,600 to 35,400 10,200 increase Daniel 64,400 to 62,700 1,700 increase Asher 53,400 to 41,500 11,900 increase Naphtali 45,400 to 53,400 8,000 decrease Total 601,730 to 603,550 1,820 decrease on the whole, in 38 years. Decrease in all, 61,020. Increase in all, 59,200.
Let it be observed,
1. That among these there was not a man of the former census, save Joshua and Caleb, see Numbers 26:64, Numbers 26:65.
2. That though there was an increase in seven tribes of not less than 74,800 men, yet so great was the decrease in the other five tribes, that the balance against the present census is 1,820, as appears above: thus we find that there was an in crease of 601,728 from 603,550 in the space of thirty-eight years.
Notwithstanding the amazing increase in some and decrease in other tribes, the same sort of proportion is preserved in the east, west, north, and south divisions, as before; so as to keep the division of Judah, which was always in the front or van, the largest; and the division of Dan, which was always in the rear, the next in number. But it is worthy of remark that as they are now, properly speaking, to commence their grand military operations, so their front, or advanced division, is increased from 186,400 to 201,300; and their rear from 157,600 to 163,200. The first division is strengthened 14,900 men, and the last division 5,600 men. The reasons for this are sufficiently obvious.
Mr. Ainsworth has a curious remark on the number of families in the 12 tribes.
Number of Families 1. Of Manasseh 8 7. Of Reuben 4 2. Of Benjamin 7 8. Of Issachar 4 3. Of Gad 7 9. Of Ephraim 4 4. Of Simeon 5 10. Of Naphtali 4 5. Of Judah 5 11. Of Zebulun 3 6. Of Asher 5 12. Of Daniel 1
"In all 57; to whom if we add the 12 patriarchs, and Jacob their father, the whole number is 70, the exact number of the souls in Jacob's house that went down to Egypt, Genesis 46:27." In a variety of things in this ancient economy there is a most surprising proportion kept up, which never could have been a fortuitous effect of general causes. But proportion, harmony, and order distinguish all the works of God, both in the natural and moral world.
52And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
53Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.
54To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him.
55Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.
The land shall be divided by lot - The word גורל goral, translated lot, is supposed by some to signify the stone or pebble formerly used for the purpose of what we term casting lots. The word hlot is Anglo-Saxon, from to divide, or portion out, i. e., fortuitously: it answers to the Greek κληρος, which some think comes from κλαω to break; because the lot, being a sort of appeal to God, ("The lot is cast into the lap, but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord," Proverbs 16:33), broke off all contentions and litigations relative to the matter in dispute. From this original division of the promised land by lot to the children of Israel, all portions, appointments, offices, shares, or divisions in spiritual and ecclesiastical matters, were termed lots. So in the New Testament, the word κληρος, lot, is used to signify a portion of spiritual blessedness, and κληρονομια, a division by lot, an inheritance; and κληροι, the lotted or appointed persons to different works, shares, etc.; hence our word clergy, κληροι, persons appointed by lot to a lot, portion, or inheritance; see the case of Matthias, Acts 1:26. Persons thus appointed were by accommodation termed inheritors, because originally, when there could be no claims of exclusive right, all lands where a wandering tribe chose to take up its residence were divided by lot, as the promised land in the case before us. So Judah says to Simeon his brother, Judges 1:3 : "Come up with me into my lot." And as God was ever supposed to be the whole disposer in such matters, whatever fell out in the course of God's providence was called a lot. "This is the lot of them that rob us;" Isaiah 17:14. "Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter;" Acts 8:21. A lot in the promised land was evidently typical of a place in eternal glory. "That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance (κληρον, a lot) among them that are sanctified;" Acts 26:18. "Who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance, κληρου, of the lot) of the saints in light;" Colossians 1:12. "Which is the earnest of our inheritance, (κληρονομιας, of our allotted portion;") Ephesians 1:4. "What is the riches of the glory of his inheritance," (κληρονομιας, allotted portion); Ephesians 1:18. As therefore the promised land was divided by lot to the believing Israelites, God determining the lot as he saw good, none of the people having any claim on or right to it; so the kingdom of heaven is a lot given by the mere good will of God to them that believe and obey him; for as unbelief and disobedience threw 600,000 people out of the inheritance of the promised land; so none who disbelieve God's word, and rebel against his authority, shall ever enter into the kingdom of heaven - See Ainsworth. These things happened unto them for examples: see then, reader, that thou fall not after the same example of unbelief.
56According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.
57And these are they that were numbered of the Levites after their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites: of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites: of Merari, the family of the Merarites.
58These are the families of the Levites: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, the family of the Korathites. And Kohath begat Amram.
59And the name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.
60And unto Aaron was born Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
61And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.
62And those that were numbered of them were twenty and three thousand, all males from a month old and upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel.
63These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
64But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.
65For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.