Numbers 26

1 After the plague God said to Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron the priest,
2 "Number the entire community of Israel by families - count every person who is twenty years and older who is able to serve in the army of Israel."
3 Obeying God's command, Moses and Eleazar the priest addressed them on the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho:
4 "Count off from age twenty and older." The People of Israel who came out of the land of Egypt:
5 Reuben, Israel's firstborn. The sons of Reuben were: Hanoch and the Hanochite clan, Pallu and the Palluite clan,
6 Hezron and the Hezronite clan, Carmi and the Carmite clan.
7 These made up the Reubenite clans. They numbered 43,730.
8 The son of Pallu: Eliab.
9 The sons of Eliab: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. (These were the same Dathan and Abiram, community leaders from Korah's gang, who rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the Korah Rebellion against God.
10 The Earth opened its jaws and swallowed them along with Korah's gang who died when the fire ate them up, all 250 of them. After all these years, they're still a warning sign.
11 But the line of Korah did not die out.)
12 The sons of Simeon by clans: Nemuel and the Nemuelite clan, Jamin and the Jaminite clan, Jakin and the Jakinite clan,
13 Zerah and the Zerahite clan, Shaul and the Shaulite clan.
14 These were the clans of Simeon. They numbered 22,200 men.
15 The sons of Gad by clans: Zephon and the Zephonite clan, Haggi and the Haggite clan, Shuni and the Shunite clan,
16 Ozni and the Oznite clan, Eri and the Erite clan,
17 Arodi and the Arodite clan, Areli and the Arelite clan.
18 These were the clans of Gad. They numbered 40,500 men.
19 Er and Onan were sons of Judah who died early on in Canaan.
20 The sons of Judah by clans: Shelah and the Shelanite clan, Perez and the Perezite clan, Zerah and the Zerahite clan.
21 The sons of Perez: Hezron and the Hezronite clan, Hamul and the Hamulite clan.
22 These were the clans of Judah. They numbered 76,500.
23 The sons of Issachar by clans: Tola and the Tolaite clan, Puah and the Puite clan,
24 Jashub and the Jashubite clan, Shimron and the Shimronite clan.
25 These were the clans of Issachar. They numbered 64,300.
26 The sons of Zebulun by clans: Sered and the Seredite clan, Elon and the Elonite clan, Jahleel and the Jahleelite clan.
27 These were the clans of Zebulun. They numbered 60,500.
28 The sons of Joseph by clans through Manasseh and Ephraim. Through Manasseh:
29 Makir and the Makirite clan (now Makir was the father of Gilead), Gilead and the Gileadite clan.
30 The sons of Gilead: Iezer and the Iezerite clan, Helek and the Helekite clan,
31 Asriel and the Asrielite clan, Shechem and the Shechemite clan,
32 Shemida and the Shemidaite clan, Hepher and the Hepherite clan.
33 Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons, only daughters. Their names were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
34 These were the clans of Manasseh. They numbered 52,700.
35 The sons of Ephraim by clans: Shuthelah and the Shuthelahite clan, Beker and the Bekerite clan, Tahan and the Tahanite clan.
36 The sons of Shuthelah: Eran and the Eranite clan.
37 These were the clans of Ephraim. They numbered 32,500. These are all the sons of Joseph by their clans.
38 The sons of Benjamin by clans: Bela and the Belaite clan, Ashbel and the Ashbelite clan, Ahiram and the Ahiramite clan,
39 Shupham and the Shuphamite clan, Hupham and the Huphamite clan.
40 The sons of Bela through Ard and Naaman: Ard and the Ardite clan, Naaman and the Naamite clan.
41 These were the clans of Benjamin. They numbered 45,600.
42 The sons of Dan by clan: Shuham and the Shuhamite clan.
43 all Shuhamite clans. They numbered 64,400.
44 The sons of Asher by clan: Imnah and the Imnite clan, Ishvi and the Ishvite clan, Beriah and the Beriite clan.
45 The sons of Beriah: Heber and the Heberite clan, Malkiel and the Malkielite clan.
46 Asher also had a daughter, Serah.
47 These were the clans of Asher. They numbered 53,400.
48 The sons of Naphtali by clans: Jahzeel and the Jahzeelite clan, Guni and the Gunite clan,
49 Jezer and the Jezerite clan, Shillem and the Shillemite clan.
50 These were the clans of Naphtali. They numbered 45,400.
51 The total number of the People of Israel: 601,730.
52 God spoke to Moses:
53 "Divide up the inheritance of the land based on population.
54 A larger group gets a larger inheritance; a smaller group gets a smaller inheritance - each gets its inheritance based on the population count.
55 "Make sure that the land is assigned by lot.
56 "Each group's inheritance is based on population, the number of names listed in its ancestral tribe, divided among the many and the few by lot."
57 These are the numberings of the Levites by clan: Gershon and the Gershonite clan, Kohath and the Kohathite clan, Merari and the Merarite clan.
58 The Levite clans also included: the Libnite clan, the Hebronite clan, the Mahlite clan, the Mushite clan, the Korahite clan.
59 Amram's wife was Jochebed, a descendant of Levi, born into the Levite family during the Egyptian years. Jochebed bore Aaron, Moses, and their sister Miriam to Amram.
60 Aaron was the father of Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar;
61 however, Nadab and Abihu died when they offered unauthorized sacrifice in the presence of God.
62 The numbering of Levite males one month and older came to 23,000. They hadn't been counted in with the rest of the People of Israel because they didn't inherit any land.
63 These are the ones numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, the People of Israel counted in the Plains of Moab at Jordan-Jericho.
64 Not one of them had been among those counted by Moses and Aaron the priest in the census of the People of Israel taken in the Wilderness of Sinai.
65 For God had said of them, "They'll die, die in the wilderness - not one of them will be left except for 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.

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

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.