Numbers 1

Verse 46. These are the statutes, and judgments, &c.]

See Clarke on Le 26:15.

This verse appears to be the proper concluding verse

of the whole book; and I rather think that the 27th chapter

originally followed the 25th. As the law was anciently written

upon skins of parchment, sheep or goat skins, pasted or stitched

together, and all rolled up in one roll, the matter being written

in columns, one of those columns might have been very easily

displaced, and thus whole chapters might have been readily

interchanged. -It is likely that this might have been the case

in the present instance. Others endeavour to solve this

difficulty, by supposing that the 27th chapter was added after

the book had been finished; and therefore there is apparently a

double conclusion, one at the end of the 26th and the other at

the end of the 27th chapter. However the above may have been,

all the ancient versions agree in concluding both the chapters in

nearly the same way; yet the 26th chapter must be allowed to be

by far the most natural conclusion of the book.

THE most important points in this chapter have already been

particularly noticed in the notes; and to those on the 15th,

34th, and 44th verses, the reader is especially referred. How

unwilling is God to cast off his people! and yet how sure is

their rejection if they refuse to obey and live to him! No

nation has ever been so signally elected as the Jews; and yet no

nation has ever been so signally and so awfully reprobated.

O Britain, be not high-minded, but fear! Behold here the goodness

and severity of God!

THE FOURTH BOOK OF MOSES

CALLED

NUMBERS

-Year before the common Year of Christ, 1490.

-Julian Period, 3224.

-Cycle of the Sun, 27.

-Dominical Letter, D.

-Cycle of the Moon, 9.

-Indiction, 6.

-Creation from Tisri or September, 2514.

CHAPTER I

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, 1-3.

A chief of each tribe is associated with Moses and Aaron in this

business, 4;

the names of whom are given, 5-16.

Moses assembles the people, who declare their pedigrees

according to their families, 17-19.

The descendants of REUBEN are numbered, and amount to 46,500,

ver. 20, 21.

Those of SIMEON, 59,300, ver. 22, 23.

Those of GAD, 45,650, ver. 24, 25.

Those of JUDAH, 74,600, ver. 26, 27.

Those of ISSACHAR, 54,400, ver. 28, 29.

Those of ZEBULUN, 57,400, ver. 30, 31.

Those of EPHRAIM, 40,500, ver. 32, 33.

Those of MANASSEH, 32,200, ver. 34, 35.

Those of BENJAMIN, 35,400, ver. 36, 37.

Those of DAN, 62,700, ver. 38, 39.

Those of ASHER, 41,500, ver. 40, 41.

Those of NAPHTALI, 53,400, ver. 42, 43.

The amount of all the effective men in Israel, from twenty years

old and upward, was 603,550, ver. 44-46.

The LEVITES are not numbered with the tribes, because they were

dedicated to the service of God. Their particular work is

specified, 47-54.

NOTES ON CHAP. I

Verse 1. 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, Ex 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.

Verse 2. Take ye the sum, &c.] 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, &c., 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 fulness 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 defence, 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.

Verse 3. 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.

Verse 14. Eliasaph, the son of Deuel.] This person is called

Reuel, Nu 2:14.

As the daleth is very like the resh, it was easy to

mistake the one for the other. The Septuagint and the Syriac have

Reuel in this chapter; and in Nu 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 Nu 10:20;

we may safely conclude therefore that Deuel, not

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.

Verse 16. 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:-

1. Reuben |

2. Simeon |

3. Judah |- Sons of Leah.

4. Issachar |

5. Zebulun |

6. Ephraim |

7. Manasseh |- Sons of Rachel.

8. Benjamin |

9. Dan......... 1st son of Bilhah, Rachel's maid

10. Asher....... 2d son of Zilpah, Leah's maid.

11. Gad......... 1st son of Zilpah.

12. Naphtali.... 2d son of Bilhah.

Verse 25. 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 Clarke on Nu 1:46.

Verse 33. The tribe of Ephraim-forty thousand and five

hundred.] Ephraim, as he was blessed beyond his eldest brother

Manasseh, Ge 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, De 33:17. And thus the

prophecy, Ge 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.

Verse 46. 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,

Ge 46:27, about 215 years before, where latterly they had

endured the greatest hardships! But God's promise cannot fail

(Ge 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 Nu 26:1-65,

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 Nu 26:7, 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, 2d census,

ch. i. ch. xxvi.

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 Nu 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 Clarke on Nu 26:51;

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, Ex 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

Nu 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. Ge 46:15.

| Hanoch |

REUBEN...| Phallu |.............46,500. Nu 1:21.

| Hezron |

| Carmi |

| Jemuel |

| Jamin |

SIMEON...| Ohad |.............59,300. Nu 1:23.

| Jachin |

| Zohar |

| Shaul |

LEVI...... Gershon ..| Libni |.....7,500. Nu 3:22.

| Shemei|

| Amram |

| Kohath ...| Izehar |...8,600. Nu 3:26.

LEVI.....| | Hebron |

| | Uzziel|

|

| Merari ....| Mahli |....6,200. Nu 3:34.

| Mushi |

| Shelah |

JUDAH....| Pharez |..| Hesron|...74,600. Nu 1:27.

| Zerah | | Hamul |

| Tola |

ISSACHAR.| Phuvah |.............54,400. Nu 1:29.

| Job |

| Shimron |

| Sered |

ZEBULUN..| Elon |.............57,400. Nu 1:31.

| Jahleel |

DINAH

Children of JACOB by ZILPAH. Ge 46:18.

| Zilphion|

| Haggai |

| Shuni |

GAD......| Ezbon |.............45,650. Nu 1:25.

| Eri |

| Arodi |

| Areil |

| Jimnah |

ASHER....| Isuah |....41,500. Nu 1:41.

| Isui |

| Beriah | Heber |

| Malchiel|

Children of JACOB by RACHEL. Ge 46:22.

JOSEPH....| Manasseh...............32,200

| Ephraim................40,500

| Belah |

| Becher |

| Ashbel |

| Gerah |

BENJAMIN.| Naaman |.............35,400. Nu 1:37.

| Ehi |

| Rosh |

| Muppim |

| Huppim |

| Ard |

Children of JACOB by BILHAH. Ge 46:25.

DAN....... Hushim.................62,700. Nu 1:39.

| Jahzeel|

NAPHTALI.| Guni |..............53,400. Nu 1:43.

| Jezer |

| Shillem|

I.-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............... 4

I. Generation............. 31

II. Ditto.................. 215

III. Ditto.................. 2,583

IV. Ditto.................. 43,917

------

Amount of generations III and IV.. 46,500

II.-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.

III.-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:-

Gershonites Kohathites Merarites

I. Generation.. 2 4 2

II. Ditto....... 33 43 20

III. Ditto....... 500 430 310

IV. Ditto....... 7,000 8,170 5,890

"Amount of generations III. and IV.: Gershonites, 7,500;

Kohathites, 8,600; and Merarites, 6,200-total number of Levites,

22,300.

IV.-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

------

74,600

V.-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.

VI.-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.

VII.-GAD 45,650

"Gad had seven sons.

I. Generation: multiply 3 by 9, and 4 by

10, there will be...................... 67

II. Ditto multiply 61 by 7, and 6 by 8....... 475

III. Ditto multiply 471 by 8, and 4 by 9...... 3,804

IV. Ditto multiply 3,802 by 11, and 2 by 12.. 41,846

------

Amount of generations III and IV.... 45,650

VIII.-ASHER 41,500

"The sons of Asher, Jimnah, Ishua, and Isui, multiplied by 8,

produce for the

I. Generation............................... 24

II. Ditto multiply 24 by 8................... 192

III. Ditto multiply 182 by 11, and 10 by 12... 2,122

IV. Ditto multiply 2,118 by 12, and 4 by 13.. 25,468

------

Amount of generations III and IV.... 27,590

"Heber and Malchiel were sons of Beriah. Now these two

sons multiplied by 5, give us for

I. Generation............................... 10

II. Ditto multiply 10 by 11.................. 110

III. Ditto multiply by 9...................... 990

IV. Ditto multiply by 12..................... 11,880

------

Amount of generations III and IV..... 12,870

"Another son of Beriah had in the

I. Generation............................... 1

II. Ditto multiply by 8...................... 8

III. Ditto multiply by 10..................... 80

IV. Ditto multiply by 12..................... 960

-----

Amount of generations III and IV. 1,040

All these generations added together amount

to............................................. 41,500

IX.-JOSEPH

MANASSEH 32,200

I. Generation............................... 10

II. Ditto multiply 6 by 13, and 4 by 14...... 134

III. Ditto multiply 132 by 12, and 2 by 13.... 1,610

IV. Ditto multiply by 19..................... 30,590

------

Amount of generations III and IV..... 32,200

EPHRAIM 40,500

I. Generation............................... 16

II. Ditto multiply by 10..................... 160

III. Ditto multiply 152 by 12, and 8 by 13.... 1,928

IV. Ditto multiply 1,916 by 20, and 12 by 21. 38,572

------

Amount of generations III and IV..... 40,500

X.-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............................... 98

II. Ditto multiply 95 by 9, and 3 by 10...... 885

III. Ditto multiply by 5...................... 4,425

IV. Ditto multiply by 7...................... 30,975

------

Amount of generations III and IV..... 35,400

XI.-DAN 62,700

I. Generation............................... 11

II. Ditto multiply by 12..................... 132

III. Ditto multiply by 19..................... 2,508

IV. Ditto multiply by 24..................... 60,192

------

Amount of generations III and IV..... 62,700

XII.-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............................... 26

II. Ditto multiply 16 by 11, and 10 by 12.... 296

III. Ditto multiply 288 by 12, and 8 by 13.... 3,560

IV. Ditto multiply by 14..................... 49,840

------

Amount of generations III and IV..... 53,400

Total number of all the tribes

I. Reuben.................. 46,500

II. Simeon.................. 59,300

III. Levi.................... 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. Dan..................... 62,700

XII. Naphtali................ 53,400

-------

Total 625,850

"And indeed, without counting the

Levites, the number of the Israelites

(Nu 1:46) amounts to ................. 603,550

The Levites (Nu 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, See the note at "Ex 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.

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