Numbers 26

The Second Census

1 After the plague, the Lord said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron the priest,
2 "Take a census of the entire Israelite community by their ancestral houses of those 20 years old or more who can serve in Israel's army."[a]
3 So Moses and Eleazar the priest said to them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan [across from] Jericho,
4 "[Take a census of] those 20 years old or more, as the Lord had commanded Moses and the Israelites who came out of the land of Egypt."[b]
5 Reuben[c] was the firstborn of Israel. Reuben's descendants: the Hanochite clan [from] Hanoch; the Palluite clan from Pallu;
6 the Hezronite clan from Hezron; the Carmite clan from Carmi.
7 These were the Reubenite clans, and their registered men numbered 43,730.
8 The son of Pallu was Eliab.
9 The sons of Eliab were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. (It was Dathan and Abiram, chosen by the community, who fought against Moses and Aaron; they and Korah's followers fought against the Lord.[d]
10 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them with Korah, when his followers died and the fire consumed 250 men.[e] They [serve as] a warning sign.
11 The sons of Korah, however, did not die.)
12 Simeon's descendants by their clans: the Nemuelite clan from Nemuel;[f] the Jaminite clan from Jamin; the Jachinite clan from Jachin;
13 the Zerahite clan from Zerah; the Shaulite clan from Shaul.
14 These were the Simeonite clans, numbering 22,200 men.
15 Gad's descendants by their clans: the Zephonite clan from Zephon; the Haggite clan from Haggi; the Shunite clan from Shuni;
16 the Oznite clan from Ozni; the Erite clan from Eri;
17 the Arodite clan from Arod; the Arelite clan from Areli.
18 These were the Gadite clans [numbered] by their registered men: 40,500.
19 Judah's sons included Er and Onan, but they died in the land of Canaan.[g]
20 Judah's descendants by their clans: the Shelanite clan from Shelah; the Perezite clan from Perez; the Zerahite clan from Zerah.
21 The descendants of Perez: the Hezronite clan from Hezron; the Hamulite clan from Hamul.
22 These were Judah's clans [numbered] by their registered men: 76,500.
23 Issachar's descendants by their clans: the Tolaite clan from Tola; the Punite clan from Puvah;[h]
24 the Jashubite clan from Jashub; the Shimronite clan from Shimron.
25 These were Issachar's clans [numbered] by their registered men: 64,300.
26 Zebulun's descendants by their clans: the Seredite clan from Sered; the Elonite clan from Elon; the Jahleelite clan from Jahleel.
27 These were the Zebulunite clans [numbered] by their registered men: 60,500.
28 Joseph's descendants by their clans [from] Manasseh and Ephraim:
29 Manasseh's descendants: the Machirite clan from Machir. Machir fathered Gilead; the Gileadite clan from Gilead.
30 These were Gilead's descendants: the Iezerite clan [from] Iezer; the Helekite clan from Helek;
31 The Asrielite clan [from] Asriel; the Shechemite clan [from] Shechem;
32 the Shemidaite clan [from] Shemida; the Hepherite clan [from] Hepher;
33 Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons-only daughters. The names of Zelophehad's daughters were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.[i]
34 These were Manasseh's clans, numbered by their registered men: 52,700.
35 These were Ephraim's descendants by their clans: the Shuthelahite clan from Shuthelah; the Becherite clan from Becher; the Tahanite clan from Tahan.
36 These were Shuthelah's descendants: the Eranite clan from Eran.
37 These were the Ephraimite clans [numbered] by their registered men: 32,500. These were Joseph's descendants by their clans.
38 Benjamin's descendants by their clans: the Belaite clan from Bela; the Ashbelite clan from Ashbel; the Ahiramite clan from Ahiram;
39 the Shuphamite clan from Shupham;[j] the Huphamite clan from Hupham.
40 Bela's descendants [from] Ard and Naaman: the Ardite clan [from] Ard; the Naamite clan from Naaman.
41 These were the Benjaminite clans numbered by their registered men: 45,600.
42 These were Dan's descendants by their clans: the Shuhamite clan from Shuham. These were the clans of Dan by their clans.
43 All the Shuhamite clans [numbered] by their registered men were 64,400.
44 Asher's descendants by their clans: the Imnite clan from Imnah; the Ishvite clan from Ishvi; the Beriite clan from Beriah.
45 From Beriah's descendants: the Heberite clan from Heber; the Malchielite clan from Malchiel.
46 And the name of Asher's daughter was Serah.
47 These were the Asherite clans [numbered] by their registered men: 53,400.
48 Naphtali's descendants by their clans: the Jahzeelite clan from Jahzeel; the Gunite clan from Guni;
49 the Jezerite clan from Jezer; the Shillemite clan from Shillem.
50 These were the Naphtali clans numbered by their registered men: 45,400.
51 These registered Israelite men numbered 601,730.
52 The Lord spoke to Moses,
53 "The land is to be divided among them as an inheritance based on the number of names.
54 Increase the inheritance for a large [tribe], and decrease it for a small one. Each is to be given its inheritance according to those who were registered in it.
55 The land must be divided by lot; they will receive an inheritance according to the names of their ancestral tribes.
56 Each inheritance will be divided by lot among the larger and smaller [tribes]."[k]
57 These were the Levites registered by their clans: the Gershonite clan from Gershon; the Kohathite clan from Kohath; the Merarite clan from Merari.
58 These were the Levite family groups: the Libnite clan, the Hebronite clan, the Mahlite clan, the Mushite clan, and the Korahite clan.[l] Kohath was the ancestor of Amram.
59 The name of Amram's wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, born to Levi in Egypt. She bore to Amram: Aaron, Moses, and their sister Miriam.
60 Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar were born to Aaron,
61 but Nadab and Abihu died when they presented unauthorized fire before the Lord.[m]
62 Those registered were 23,000, every male one month old or more; they were not registered among the [other] Israelites, because no inheritance was given to them among the Israelites.
63 These were the ones registered by Moses and Eleazar the priest when they registered the Israelites on the plains of Moab by the Jordan [across from] Jericho.
64 But among them there was not one of those who had been registered by Moses and Aaron the priest when they registered the Israelites in the Wilderness of Sinai.[n]
65 For the Lord had said to them that they would all die in the wilderness. None of them was left except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Numbers 26 Commentary

Chapter 26

Numbering of Israel in the plains of Moab. (1-51) The division of the land. (52-56) Number of the Levites. (57-62) None remaining of the first numbering. (63-65)

Verses 1-51 Moses did not number the people but when God commanded him. We have here the families registered, as well as the tribes. The total was nearly the same as when numbered at mount Sinai. Notice is here taken of the children of Korah; they died not, as the children of Dathan and Abiram; they seem not to have joined even their own father in rebellion. If we partake not of the sins of sinners, we shall not partake of their plagues.

Verses 52-56 In distributing these tribes, the general rule of equity is prescribed; that to many should be given more, and to fewer less. Though it seems left to the prudence of their prince, the matter at last must be settled by the providence of God, with which all must be satisfied.

Verses 57-62 Levi was God's tribe; therefore it was not numbered with the rest, but alone. It came not under the sentence, that none of them should enter Canaan excepting Caleb and Joshua.

Verses 63-65 The execution of the sentence passed on the murmurers, chap. 14:29 , is observable. There was not one man numbered now, who was numbered then, but Caleb and Joshua. Here appeared the righteousness of God, and his faithfulness to his threatenings. Especially observe the truth of God, in performing his promise to Caleb and Joshua. Death makes awful havoc of the human species, and causes surprising changes in families and nations; yet all is appointed in perfect wisdom, justice, and truth, by the Lord himself. This should stir us up to think upon the hateful nature of sin, the cause of all these devastations. We should renew our repentance, seek forgiveness, value the salvation of Christ, remember how frail we are, prepare for the summons of death, and fill up our days in serving our generation according to the will of God.

Footnotes 14

Chapter Summary


In this chapter an order is given to number the people of Israel a second time, Nu 26:1-4 and the account begins with Reuben, the firstborn, and the families that sprung from him, and the number of them, Nu 26:5-7 and Dathan and Abiram being of this tribe, the affair of them and Korah is afresh related, Nu 26:8-11, then the tribe of Simeon, its families and number, Nu 26:12-14, next the tribe of Gad, and their families and number, Nu 26:15-18, after that the tribe of Judah, its families and number, Nu 26:19-22 then follows the tribe of Issachar, its families and number, Nu 26:23-25, next to that the tribe of Zebulun, its families and number, Nu 26:26,27 then the sons of Joseph, and first Manasseh, his families and number, Nu 26:28-34 and then the tribe of Ephraim, its families and number, Nu 26:35-37, after that the tribe of Benjamin, its families and number, Nu 26:38-41 next the tribe of Dan, its families and number, Nu 26:42,43 and which is followed by the tribe of Asher, its families and number, Nu 26:44-47, and the muster is closed with the tribe of Naphtali, its families and number, Nu 26:48-50, and the sum total of all the numbers is given, Nu 26:51 and then follows another order to divide the land of Canaan by lot, when conquered, to the several tribes, according to their names and number, Nu 26:52-56 and an account is given of the number of the Levites and their families, their number being taken not with the other tribes, but by themselves, and which is summed up, Nu 26:57-62 and the chapter is concluded with observing, that it appeared upon this numbering of the people, that there were but two persons living of those that were first numbered among the children of Israel, Nu 26:63-65.

Numbers 26 Commentaries

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