The Israelites Are Counted a Second Time
1After the LORD had stopped the deadly disease from killing the Israelites, he said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron, 2” I want you to find out how many Israelites are in each family. And list every man twenty years and older who is able to serve in Israel’s army.”
Some 38 years earlier, at the beginning of the Book of Numbers, while Israel still camped at Mount Sinai, God commanded them to take a census. The first census was primarily for military organization. If they were to enter into and take possession of the Promised Land, they had to know how many troops they had, and how they should best be organized. This accounting, 38 years later, was again for military purposes.
–David Guzik (and all following comments in green)
3Israel was now camped in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from the town of Jericho. Moses and Eleazar told them 4what the LORD had said about counting the men twenty years and older, just as Moses and their ancestors had done when they left Egypt.
5-7There were 43,730 men from the tribe of Reuben, the oldest son of Jacob. These men were from the clans of Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 8Pallu was the father of Eliab 9and the grandfather of Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the same Dathan and Abiram who had been chosen by the people, but who followed Korah and rebelled against Moses, Aaron, and the LORD. 10That’s when the LORD made the earth open up and swallow Dathan, Abiram, and Korah. At the same time, fire destroyed two hundred fifty men as a warning to the other Israelites. 11But the Korahite clan wasn’t destroyed.
12-14There were 22,200 men from the tribe of Simeon; they were from the clans of Nemuel, Jamin, Jachin, Zerah, and Shaul.
15-18There were 40,500 men from the tribe of Gad; they were from the clans of Zephon, Haggi, Shuni, Ozni, Eri, Arod, and Areli.
19-22There were 76,500 men from the tribe of Judah; they were from the clans of Shelah, Perez, Zerah, Hezron, and Hamul. Judah’s sons Er and Onan had died in Canaan.
(Click on the picture to see it larger.)
Matthew 1:1-6 (NIV)
A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham:
Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth,
Obed the father of Jesse,
and Jesse the father of King David.
HERE is “Once in Royal David’s City” sung by the King’s College Choir of Cambridge. Christmas in July!
- Once in royal David’s city
- Stood a lowly cattle shed,
- Where a mother laid her baby
- In a manger for His bed:
- Mary was that mother mild,
- Jesus Christ her little child.
- He came down to earth from heaven,
- Who is God and Lord of all,
- And His shelter was a stable,
- And His cradle was a stall;
- With the poor, and mean, and lowly,
- Lived on earth our Savior Holy.
- And through all His wondrous childhood
- He would honor and obey,
- Love and watch the lowly Maiden,
- In whose gentle arms He lay:
- Christian children all must be
- Mild, obedient, good as He.
- For He is our childhood’s pattern;
- Day by day, like us He grew;
- He was little, weak and helpless,
- Tears and smiles like us He knew;
- And He feeleth for our sadness,
- And He shareth in our gladness.
- And our eyes at last shall see Him,
- Through His own redeeming love;
- For that Child so dear and gentle
- Is our Lord in heaven above,
- And He leads His children on
- To the place where He is gone.
- Not in that poor lowly stable,
- With the oxen standing by,
- We shall see Him; but in heaven,
- Set at God’s right hand on high;
- Where like stars His children crowned
- All in white shall wait around.
23-25There were 64,300 men from the tribe of Issachar; they were from the clans of Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron.
26-27There were 60,500 men from the tribe of Zebulun; they were from the clans of Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
28-34There were 52,700 men from the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph; they were from the clan of Machir, the clan of Gilead his son, and the clans of his six grandsons: Iezer, Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Shemida, and Hepher. Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons, but he had five daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
35-37There were 32,500 men from the tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph; they were from the clans of Shuthelah, Becher, Tahan, and Eran the son of Shuthelah.
38-41There were 45,600 men from the tribe of Benjamin; they were from the clans of Bela, Ashbel, Ahiram, Shephupham, Hupham, as well as from Ard and Naaman, the two sons of Bela.
42-43There were 64,400 men from the tribe of Dan; they were all from the clan of Shuham.
44-47There were 53,400 men from the tribe of Asher; they were from the clans of Imnah, Ishvi, and Beriah, and from the two clans of Heber and Malchiel, the sons of Beriah. Asher’s daughter was Serah.
48-50There were 45,400 men from the tribe of Naphtali; they were from the clans of Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
51The total number of Israelite men listed was 601,730.
In the first census, Israel counted 603,550 men ready for war; 38 years later, they count 601,730 men – a loss of 1,820 men (.3%). So, the total number of men ready for war during the wilderness stayed virtually the same over the 38 year period, when the generation of unbelief died in the wilderness.
The stagnation of population is reflective of Israel’s spiritual state during these 38 years; we should have expected them to grow, as is normal in the course of generations. Instead, they simply stayed where they were. The 38 years in the wilderness were years of no growth, no advance — just going in circles until the generation of unbelief had died and a generation of faith had arisen, a generation bold enough to take the Promised Land.
52The LORD said to Moses, 53” Divide the land of Canaan among these tribes, according to the number of people in each one, 54so the larger tribes have more land than the smaller ones. 55-56I will show you what land to give each tribe, and they will receive as much land as they need, according to the number of people in it.”
57The tribe of Levi included the clans of the Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites, 58as well as the clans of Libni, Hebron, Mahli, Mushi, and Korah. Kohath the Levite was the father of Amram, 59the husband of Levi’s daughter Jochebed, who was born in Egypt. Amram and Jochebed’s three children were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. 60Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 61But Nadab and Abihu had died when they offered fire that was unacceptable to the LORD. 62In the tribe of Levi there were 23,000 men and boys at least a month old. They were not listed with the other tribes, because they would not receive any land in Canaan.
The Levites were not numbered in either the first or second census, because the men of their tribe were not to go to war. As well, they were to receive no inheritance of land as the other tribes; their inheritance was greater than property — the Lord Himself (Numbers 18:20).
63Moses and Eleazar counted the Israelites while they were camped in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho. 64None of the people that Moses and Aaron had counted in the Sinai Desert were still alive, 65except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. The LORD had said that everyone else would die there in the desert.
1 Corinthians 10:1-6 (NIV)
For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. They all ate the same spiritual food and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.