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# Bible Commentaries

### Verse 1

-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 Numbers 1:1. **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, Exodus 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

Verse Numbers 1:2. * 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

Verse Numbers 1:3. * 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

Verse Numbers 1:14. * Eliasaph, the son of Deuel.* — This person is called

*Reuel*, Numbers 2:14. As the ד

*daleth*is very like the ר

*resh*, it was easy to mistake the one for the other. The

*Septuagint*and the

*Syriac*have

*Reuel*in this chapter; and in Numbers 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 Numbers 10:20; we may safely conclude therefore that דעואל

*Deuel*, not רעואל

*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

Verse Numbers 1:16. * 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

Verse Numbers 1:25. * 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 Numbers 1:46.

### Verse 33

Verse Numbers 1:33. **The tribe of Ephraim - forty thousand and five**** *** hundred.* — Ephraim, as he was blessed beyond his eldest brother Manasseh, Genesis 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, Deuteronomy 33:17. And thus the prophecy, Genesis 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

Verse Numbers 1:46. **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, Genesis 46:27, about 215 years before, where latterly they had endured the greatest hardships! But God's promise cannot fail (Genesis 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 Numbers 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 Numbers 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, Numbers 1:0 | 2d census, Numbers 26:0 |

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 | 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 Numbers 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. Numbers 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, Exodus 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 Numbers 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. Genesis 46:15. | |||

REUBEN | Hanoch Phallu Hezron Carmi | | 46,500.Numbers 1:21. |

SIMEON | Jemuel Jamin Ohad Jachin Zohar Shaul | | 59,300. Numbers 1:23. |

LEVI | Gershon | Libni Shemei | 7,500. Numbers 3:22. |

| Kohath | Amram Izehar Hebron Uzziel | 8,600. Numbers 3:26. |

| Merari | Mahli Mushi | 6,200. Numbers 3:34. |

JUDAH | Shelah Pharez Zerah | Hesron Hamul | 74,600. Numbers 1:27. |

ISSACHAR | Tola Phuvah Job Shimron | | 54,400. Numbers 1:29. |

ZEBULUN | Sered Elon Jahleel | | 57,400. Numbers 1:31. |

DINAH | | | |

Children of JACOB by ZILPAH. Genesis 46:18. | |||

GAD | Zilphion Haggai Shuni Ezbon Eri Arodi Areil | | 45,650.Numbers 1:25. |

ASHER | Jimnah Isuah Isui Beriah | Heber Malchiel | 41,500. Numbers 1:41. |

Children of JACOB by RACHEL. Genesis 46:22. | |||

JOSEPH | Manasseh Ephraim | | 32,200 40,500 |

BENJAMIN | Belah Becher Ashbel Gerah Naaman Ehi Rosh Muppim Huppim Ard | | 35,400. Numbers 1:37. |

Children of JACOB by BILHAH. Genesis 46:25. | |||

DAN | Hushim | | 62,700. Numbers 1:39. |

NAPHTALI | Jahzeel Guni Jezer Shillem | | 53,400. Numbers 1:43. |

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 (Numbers 1:46) amounts to .. | 603,550 |

The Levites (Numbers 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 "*Exodus 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.

These files are public domain.

Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Numbers 1". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/

the

*Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29*