Friday, June 29, 2012

Taking another Census

Numbers 26:1-65

“And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,  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. 

And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, 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.” (Numbers 26:1-4)

While at mount Sinai in Numbers 1, God had directed Moses to take a census of the men of military age and record their lineage.  At that time there had been a total of six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty men, not including the Levites.  It was done in preparation for them to enter the land of Canaan, but they refused to go.  God had said that every man who had refused to go would die in the wilderness.  Forty years later, God told them to take another census, preparatory to going into the land.  This time it was conducted by Moses and Aaron’s son Eleazar.

"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: Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites. These are the families of the Reubenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty.  And the sons of Pallu; Eliab.  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: 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.  Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.” (Numbers 26:5-11)

In Genesis 49:3-4 Jacob had prophesied, “Reuben, thou art my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power: Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.”  It was Reuben’s descendants, the families of Dathan and Abiram who supported Korah in his effort to take over the priesthood in Numbers 16.

“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: Of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites: of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites.  These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.” (Numbers 26:12) 

With only twenty two thousand two hundred men. Simeon was even smaller than the tribe of Levi.

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: Of Ozni, the family of the Oznites: of Eri, the family of the Erites: Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites.  These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred.” (Numbers 26:15-18)

“The sons of Judah were Er and Onan: and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.  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.  And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites.  These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and sixteen thousand and five hundred.” (Numbers 26:10-22)

The deaths of Er and Onan are described in Genesis 38.  Pharez was the result of Judah‘s sexual affair with his daughter-in-law.  Later Judah would become the most powerful tribe, and already they were the largest, with seventy six thousand five hundred men.

“Of the sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites: of Pua, the family of the Punites: Of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites: of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites.  These are the families of Issachar according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and four thousand and three hundred.” (Numbers 26:23-25)

“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.  These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those that were numbered of them, threescore thousand and five hundred.” (Numbers 26:26-27)

“The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim.” (Numbers 26:28) 

The other sons of Jacob each formed one tribe, but Jacob told Joseph that his two sons were to be considered a Jacob’s sons in Genesis 48:5. And now thy two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, which were born unto thee in the land of Egypt before I came unto thee into Egypt, are mine; as Reuben and Simeon, they shall be mine.”  As a result Ephraim and Manasseh each formed their own tribe, giving Joseph a double portion as Jacob promised in Genesis 48:22.  “Moreover I have given to thee one portion above thy brethren, which I took out of the hand of the Amorite with my sword and with my bow.”

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

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.  And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites.  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.” (Numbers 26:35-37)

One of Manasseh’s descendants had no sons but God made special provision in the next chapter to ensure that his descendants got their fair share.

"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: Of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites: of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites.  And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites: and of Naaman, the family of the Naamites.  These are the sons of Benjamin after their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and six hundred.” (Numbers 26:38-41)

“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.  All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those that were numbered of them, were threescore and four thousand and four hundred.” (Numbers 26:42-43) 

“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.  Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites: of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites.  And the name of the daughter of Asher was Sarah.  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.” (Numbers 26:44-47)

This is the only Sarah mentioned in the Bible besides Abraham’s wife.  Nothing more is known about her.

“Of the sons of Naphtali after their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites: of Guni, the family of the Gunites: Of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites: of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites.  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. 

These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.” (Numbers 26:48-51)

The original census had counted six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty.  Forty years later, they had a thousand eight hundred twenty less men of war.  No numbers are give as to how many of the mixed multitude of other races were still with them but it is probable that many had died as no mention of them occurs later.


  1. Thanks as always for the meticulous and insightful exposition of God's Word.
    God bless,

    1. Thanks, Laurie.

      I believe a great deal of the teachings and benefits of the scriptures have been missed in failing to carefully examine all the scripture.