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The daily summaries are written by Wayne D. Turner, Pastor of Fayette Bible Church in Fayetteville, Georgia

This is the March 28 reading. Select here for a new reading date:


BibleTrack Summary: March 28
<< Num 25

For New King James text and comment, click here.

Numbers 26-27     Listen Podcast

 

Hey! Can somebody give us an accurate count! (Numbers 26)

The command to count

1 And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,
2 Take 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.
3 And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
4 Take 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.

The count at the beginning of the 40-year stay in the wilderness is found in Numbers 1 (see notes). Verse 1 refers to the plague that killed 23,000 in Numbers 25 (see notes). We are told in that chapter that a man named Zimri, son of Salu, a leader among the Simeonites, was the one killed by Phinehas when he brought back the pagan-worshipping gal to camp. For this discussion, you may want to click here to see the positioning of the tribes around the tabernacle. It is likely that the plague of Numbers 25 began spreading on the south side of the tabernacle where the Simeonites were encamped. As a matter of fact, notice the diminished numbers of all three tribes that lived on the south side of the tabernacle below the Kohathites. This is also the area of the camp where the rebellion of Korah (Numbers 16, see notes) originated with the leaders of the Tribe of Reuben. Reuben's immediate neighbors on the south side were Simeon and Gad. Their numbers were reduced by 45,020 (approximately 30%) over those 38 years. Look at the huge hit in numbers Simeon alone took. That rebellion gets mentioned in verses 9-11, but notice particularly verse 11, "Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not." So, the families of the Reubenites, Simeonites and Gadites were killed in that rebellion, but not Korah's children, who were Levites.

Tribe
Year 2 Census
Year 40 Census
Difference
Reuben
46,500
43,730
-2,770
Simeon
59,300
22,200
-37,100
Gad
45,650
40,500
-5,150
Judah
74,600
76,500
+1,900
Issachar
54,400
64,300
+9,900
Zebulun
57,400
60,500
+3,100
Manasseh
32,200
52,700
+20,500
Ephraim
40,500
32,500
-8,000
Benjamin
35,400
45,600
+10,200
Dan
62,700
64,400
+1,700
Asher
41,500
53,400
+11,900
Naphtali
53,400
45,400
-8,000
Totals
603,550
601,730
-1,820

Reuben

5 Reuben, 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:
6 Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites.
7 These are the families of the Reubenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty.
8 And the sons of Pallu; Eliab.
9 And 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:
10 And 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.
11 Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.

Reuben's tribe took a hit in numbers between the first and second census. The reason is seen in verses 9-11; it was the rebellion that caused some massive deaths among the tribes on the south side of the tabernacle (Numbers 16, see notes). Reuben's numbers diminished to 43,730 from 46,500 since the original census, a loss of 2,770.

Simeon

12 The 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:
13 Of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites: of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites.
14 These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.

Simeon's tribe was located on the south side of the tabernacle along with Reuben. That's where the rebellion of Numbers 16 (see notes) took place. As a matter of fact, Simeon suffered the biggest loss in population, now only numbering 22,200 - down from 59,300, a loss of 37,100.

Gad

15 The 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:
16 Of Ozni, the family of the Oznites: of Eri, the family of the Erites:
17 Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites.
18 These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred.

Gad's tribe, located on the south side of the tabernacle along with Reuben and Simeon, also suffered a net loss in population between the first census and the second census. This was undoubtedly as a result of the rebellion of Numbers 16 (see notes). They diminished by 5,150 - from 45,650 to 40,500.

Judah

19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan: and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.
20 And 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.
21 And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites.
22 These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and sixteen thousand and five hundred.

Judah increased from 74,600 to 76,500, a gain of 1,900. The death of Er and Onan in Genesis 38 (see notes) is also noted there. Incidentally, the descendants of Shelah had some Canaanite heritage through Judah's wife, Shuah, also seen in Genesis 38.

Issachar

23 Of the sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites: of Pua, the family of the Punites:
24 Of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites: of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites.
25 These are the families of Issachar according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and four thousand and three hundred.

Issachar's tribe increased from 54,400 to 64,300, a gain of 9,900.

Zebulun

26 Of 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.
27 These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those that were numbered of them, threescore thousand and five hundred.

Zebulun's tribe increased from 57,400 to 60,500, a gain of 3,100.

Joseph gets honorable mention

28 The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim.

Joseph's two sons were adopted by Jacob in Genesis 48:5-22 (see notes). They become the substitute for Joseph among the Tribes of Israel. Since the Levites are not numbered, the number of tribes still rounds out to an even twelve.

Manasseh

29 Of the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat Gilead: of Gilead come the family of the Gileadites.
30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites: of Helek, the family of the Helekites:
31 And of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites: and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites:
32 And of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites: and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites.
33 And 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.
34 These are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them, fifty and two thousand and seven hundred.

Manasseh was the son of Joseph. His numbers increased from 32,200 to 52,700, a big gain of 20,500.

Ephraim

35 These 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.
36 And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites.
37 These 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.

Ephraim was also the son of Joseph. His numbers decreased from 40,500 to 32,500, a significant loss of 8,000. We are not told what brought about their loss in population. Incidentally, this was Joshua's tribe.

Benjamin

38 The 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:
39 Of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites: of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites.
40 And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites: and of Naaman, the family of the Naamites.
41 These are the sons of Benjamin after their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and six hundred.

Benjamin's numbers significantly increased by 10,200, from 35,400 to 45,600.

Dan

42 These are the sons of Dan after their families: of Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan after their families.
43 All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those that were numbered of them, were threescore and four thousand and four hundred.

Dan's numbers increased somewhat (1,700) from 62,700 to 64,400.

Asher

44 Of 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.
45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites: of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites.
46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Sarah.
47 These 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.

Asher began with 41,500 and significantly increased (by 11,900) to 53,400.

Naphtali

48 Of the sons of Naphtali after their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites: of Guni, the family of the Gunites:
49 Of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites: of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites.
50 These are the families of Naphtali according to their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and four hundred.

Naphtali lost 8,000 over the years, from 53,400 to 45,400. We do not know why.

And the grand total is 601,730

51 These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.

Overall, the twelve tribes diminished in population over the 40 years from 603,550 to 601,730, a loss of 1,820. Keep in mind, these numbers include no Levite men.

Instructions for dividing the land

52 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
53 Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.
54 To 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.
55 Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.
56 According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.

Numbering the Levites

57 And 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.
58 These 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.
59 And 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.
60 And unto Aaron was born Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.
62 And 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.

Of non-Levite men, only Joshua and Caleb were left from 40 years ago

63 These 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.
64 But 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.
65 For 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.

The Levites were numbered from one month old upward - only males. Their number in the 40th year according to verse 62 was 23,000. They weren't numbered above because they were separated out and received no inheritance of land for their tribe. The Levites lived among the other twelve tribes upon arrival into Canaan.

You will recall that when the Hebrews wanted to stone Moses and Aaron after the spies came back in Numbers 14 (see notes), God made a decree which kept them in the wilderness for another 38+ years. Remember his words in Numbers 14:29-30, "Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me, Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun."

Now notice the comment made regarding this fortieth-year census in Numbers 26:64-65, "But 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. For 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."

Here's an interesting aspect of this count. Who is now the High Priest succeeding Aaron and going on into Canaan with Israel? If you said Eleazar, you are correct. However, Eleazar was serving as a priest under his father Aaron back before the spies were sent out, so obviously he was an adult at that point in time, and if we follow the service age of the priests in Numbers 4 (see notes), he was at least 30 years old. Yet, he did not die before reaching Canaan. Therefore, one can confidently deduct that the Levites were exempt from the judgment on the adult men of Numbers 14:29-30 (see notes). Refer to the window to the right of this screen for a full development of the wilderness decree or click here to read it in a separate window.

Hey! That ain't fair! (Numbers 27:1-11)

1 Then came the daughters of Zelophehad, the son of Hepher, the son of Gilead, the son of Machir, the son of Manasseh, of the families of Manasseh the son of Joseph: and these are the names of his daughters; Mahlah, Noah, and Hoglah, and Milcah, and Tirzah.
2 And they stood before Moses, and before Eleazar the priest, and before the princes and all the congregation, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, saying,
3 Our father died in the wilderness, and he was not in the company of them that gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah; but died in his own sin, and had no sons.
4 Why should the name of our father be done away from among his family, because he hath no son? Give unto us therefore a possession among the brethren of our father.
5 And Moses brought their cause before the LORD.
6 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
7 The daughters of Zelophehad speak right: thou shalt surely give them a possession of an inheritance among their father’s brethren; and thou shalt cause the inheritance of their father to pass unto them.
8 And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a man die, and have no son, then ye shall cause his inheritance to pass unto his daughter.
9 And if he have no daughter, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his brethren.
10 And if he have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his father’s brethren.
11 And if his father have no brethren, then ye shall give his inheritance unto his kinsman that is next to him of his family, and he shall possess it: and it shall be unto the children of Israel a statute of judgment, as the LORD commanded Moses.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil. These women (daughters of Zelophehad of the Tribe of Manasseh) approach Moses with their problem. Because their father had died in the wilderness since they left Egypt, current inheritance laws leave them with nothing when they arrive in Canaan. Hmmm...big Law revision is in view here; Moses consults God himself on the issue. Subsequently, God commands Moses to make some you-won't-be-left-out legislation to take care of the situation for them as well as others who may fall into that category.

Moses on Mount Abarim

This issue comes up again in Numbers 36:1-13 (see notes) where it gets amended. They receive their inheritance in Joshua 17:1-18 (see notes).

Joshua gets the promotion of his life (Numbers 27:12-23)

12 And the LORD said unto Moses, Get thee up into this mount Abarim, and see the land which I have given unto the children of Israel.
13 And when thou hast seen it, thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people, as Aaron thy brother was gathered.
14 For ye rebelled against my commandment in the desert of Zin, in the strife of the congregation, to sanctify me at the water before their eyes: that is the water of Meribah in Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.
15 And Moses spake unto the LORD, saying,
16 Let the LORD, the God of the spirits of all flesh, set a man over the congregation,
17 Which may go out before them, and which may go in before them, and which may lead them out, and which may bring them in; that the congregation of the LORD be not as sheep which have no shepherd.
18 And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him;
19 And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight.
20 And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient.
21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation.
22 And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation:
23 And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.

That's right; Joshua gets the big job. Moses had gotten the word from God that, because of his fit of rage in Numbers 20:1–13 (see notes) regarding the water-from-the-rock incident, he won't be going on over into Canaan with his people. However, we do see the concept of eternal life in verse 13 when God tells Moses, "thou also shalt be gathered unto thy people." They hold a swearing-in ceremony before the people for Joshua where Eleazar (the High Priest) "gives him a charge in their sight." Meet your new leader: Joshua!

Incidentally, Joshua had all the right credentials for the job. As a matter of fact, Joshua ascended the mountain with Moses in Exodus 24:13 (see notes) when God gave the plan for the tabernacle to Moses. Joshua was with Moses when they descended from the mountain in Exodus 32:17 (see notes) to find that Aaron had constructed a golden calf. Since there are only two non-Levite men who were with Moses out of Egypt (Joshua and Caleb), it just makes sense that Joshua is God's man to lead Israel.


For commentary on another passage, click here.


Copyright 2003-2011 by Wayne D. Turner