Sunday, October 4, 2009

NUMBERS: Chapter 26

Chapter 26
Summary:After the plague, God spoke to Moses and Eleazar, telling them to take another census of all of the men of Israel from twenty years and older that are able to go to war, along with which tribe and clan that they come from.

In the plains of Moab by the Jordan River near Jericho, Moses and Eleazar approached the leaders of Israel and told them to take the census of all men twenty years and older

The following table shows the tribes of Israel, their clans, and the number of men twenty years and older fit for war counted in the census:
TribeClansTotal Men
  • Hanochites
  • Palluites
    • Eliabites*
  • Hezronites
  • Carmites
  • Nemu-elites
  • Jaminites
  • Jachinites
  • Zerahites
  • Shaulites
  • Zephonites
  • Haggites
  • Shunites
  • Oznites
  • Erites
  • Arodites
  • Arelites
  • Shelanites
  • Perezites
    • Hezronites
    • Hamulites
  • Zerahites
  • Tolaites
  • Punites
  • Jashubites
  • Shimronites
  • Seredites
  • Elonites
  • Jahleelites
(son of Joseph)
  • Machirites
    • Gileadites
      • Jezerites
      • Helekites
      • Asrielites
      • Shechemites
      • Shemidaites
      • Hepherites*
(son of Joseph)
  • Shuthelahites
    • Eranites
  • Becherites
  • Tahanites
  • Bela-ites
    • Ardites
    • Naamites
    • Ashbelites
    • Ahiramites
    • Shuphamites
    • Huphamites
  • Imnites
  • Ishvites
  • Beriites
    • Heberites
    • Malchi-elites
  • Jahzeelites
  • Gunites
  • Jezerites
  • Shillemites
Grand Total:601,730
God then told Moses to divide the land among the tribes in proportion to their population. The larger tribes are to be given more land, and the smaller tribes are to be given less land.

The land is to be divided "by lot" (a lottery) according to the names of the tribes. According to the draw, the possession thereof is to be divided between the many and the few.

The following clans of the Levites counted in the census:Gershonites, Kohathites, and Merarites.

The following familes composed the Levites: Libnites, Hebronites, Mahlites, Mushites, and Korahites.

Kohath was the name of Moses' grandfather, and Amram was the name of Moses' father. The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, who was born to Levi in Egypt. Jochebed gave birth to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. Aaron's children were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar (Nadab and Abihu were killed by God when they offered "strange fire" to God).

The total number of Levites counted in the census numbered 22,300, counting all males one month and older - as the Levites were not to be counted with the rest of the Israelites as they were not to inherit land.

No-one counted in this census had been counted in the previous census taken while in Mount Sinai - as all had since died in the wilderness except Caleb and Joshua.
Notes:1.) In the clan of Eliab were the familes of Nemu-el, Abiram, and Dathan. Dathan and Abiram were the two leaders who conspired with Korah in Numbers: Chapter 16. It is also mentioned here that Korah's children did not die from God's retribution towards the rebellion.
2.) Hepher's son Zelophedad had no sons. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
3.) Asher also had a daughter named Serah.
Thoughts:This chapter features yet another census that God has Moses and Eleazar take to count the number of men twenty years and older that are fit to go to war. The census also takes note of all the various clans (and several sub-clans) belonging to each tribe of Israel.

Although the grand total of 601,730 has gone down slightly since the last census (which totalled 603,500) which took place almost forty years prior, we are told that no-one counted in the first census has survived to be counted in this new census (with the exception of Caleb and Joshua).

God then tells Moses that the "promised land" is to be divided up amongst the tribes in proportion to their population - meaning the larger tribes will receive larger portions of land, and the smaller tribes will receive smaller portions of land. However the land itself is to be given away by a lottery system.

The chapter then lists all the Levite tribes and clans and totals them up at 22,300 - which basically asserts that the Levite population has remained unchanged over the past 40 years, which is quite a remarkable feat.

Also quite a remarkable feat is Moses' family tree, which is glossed over in the chapter. Moses' mother Jochebed is claimed here to be the daughter of Levi, and the aunt of her husband Amram.

The Levites however were not to be counted along with the rest of the Israelites, as they are not to inherit land due to their association and employ in the priesthood.

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