Numbers 26


Moses and Eleazar are commanded to take the sum of the

Israelites, in the plains of Moab, 1-4.

Reuben and his posterity, 43,730, ver. 5-11.

Simeon and his posterity, 22,200, ver. 12-14.

Gad and his posterity, 40,500, ver. 15-18.

Judah and his posterity, 76,500, ver. 19-22.

Issachar and his posterity, 64,300, ver. 23-25.

Zebulun and his posterity, 60,500, ver. 26, 27.

Manasseh and his posterity, 52,700, ver. 28-34.

Ephraim and his posterity, 32,500, ver. 35-37.

Benjamin and his posterity, 45,600, ver. 38-41.

Dan and his posterity, 64,400, ver. 42, 43.

Asher and his posterity, 53,400, ver. 44-47.

Naphtali and his posterity, 45,400, ver. 48-50.

Total amount of the twelve tribes, 601,730, ver. 51.

The land is to be divided by lot, and how, 52-56.

The Levites and their families, 57, 58.

Their genealogy, 59-61.

Their number, 23,000, ver. 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, 63-65.


Verse 2. 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 Nu 26:53-56,

and also See Clarke on Nu 1:1.

Verse 10. 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.

Verse 11. The children of Korah died not.] It is difficult to

reconcile this place with Nu 16:27, 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 Nu 16:27, collated with

Nu 16:33. But the text here expressly says,

The children of Korah died not; and on a close inspection of

Nu 16:27 of the above-mentioned chapter, 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 Clarke on Nu 16:30.

Verse 51. 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 Nu 1:2, &c.

Now Before

Reuben 43,730 46,500 2,770 decrease

Simeon 22,200 59,300 37,100 decrease

Gad 40,500 45,650 5,150 decrease

Judah 76,500 74,600 1,900 increase

Issachar 64,300 54,400 9,900 increase

Zebulun 60,500 57,400 3,100 increase

Manasseh 52,700 32,200 20,500 increase

Ephraim 32,500 40,500 8,000 decrease

Benjamin 45,600 35,400 10,200 increase

Dan 64,400 62,700 1,700 increase

Asher 53,400 41,500 11,900 increase

Naphtali 45,400 53,400 8,000 decrease

------- ------- ------

Total 601,730 603,550 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 Nu 26:64, 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


Mr. Ainsworth has a curious remark on the number of families in

the 12 tribes. "Here are 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 Dan 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, Ge 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.

Verse 55. The land shall be divided by lot] The word

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 [Anglo-Saxon] hlot is Anglo-Saxon, from

[Anglo-Saxon] 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," Pr 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, &c.;

hence our word clergy, κληροι, persons appointed by lot to a lot,

portion, or inheritance; see the case of Matthias, Ac 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, Jud 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;" Isa 17:14.

"Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter;" Ac 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;"

Ac 26:18. "Who hath made us meet to be partakers of the

inheritance, κληρου, of the lot) of the saints in light;"

Col 1:12.

"Which is the earnest of our inheritance, (κληρονομιας, of our

allotted portion;") Eph 1:4. "What is the riches of the glory of

his inheritance," (κληρονομιας, allotted portion;) Eph 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.

Copyright information for Clarke