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Numbers 26:1-65

Context
A Second Census Required

26:1 1 After the plague the Lord said to Moses and to Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, 2  26:2 “Take a census of the whole community of Israelites, from twenty years old and upward, by their clans, 3  everyone who can serve in the army of Israel.” 4  26:3 So Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab, by the Jordan River 5  across from Jericho. 6  They said, 26:4 “Number the people 7  from twenty years old and upward, just as the Lord commanded Moses and the Israelites who went out from the land of Egypt.”

Reuben

26:5 Reuben was the firstborn of Israel. The Reubenites: from 8  Hanoch, the family of the Hanochites; from Pallu, the family of the Palluites; 26:6 from Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; from Carmi, the family of the Carmites. 26:7 These were the families of the Reubenites; and those numbered of them were 43,730. 9  26:8 Pallu’s descendant 10  was Eliab. 26:9 Eliab’s descendants were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. It was Dathan and Abiram who as leaders of the community rebelled against Moses and Aaron with the followers 11  of Korah when they rebelled against the Lord. 26:10 The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them and Korah at the time that company died, when the fire consumed 250 men. So they became a warning. 26:11 But the descendants of Korah did not die.

Simeon

26:12 The Simeonites by their families: from Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites; from Jamin, the family of the Jaminites; from Jakin, the family of the Jakinites; 26:13 from Zerah, 12  the family of the Zerahites; and from Shaul, the family of the Shaulites. 26:14 These were the families of the Simeonites, 22,200. 13 

Gad

26:15 The Gadites by their families: from Zephon, the family of the Zephonites; from Haggi, the family of the Haggites; from Shuni, the family of the Shunites; 26:16 from Ozni, 14  the family of the Oznites; from Eri, 15  the family of the Erites; 26:17 from Arod, 16  the family of the Arodites, and from Areli, the family of the Arelites. 26:18 These were the families of the Gadites according to those numbered of them, 40,500. 17 

Judah

26:19 The descendants of Judah were Er and Onan, but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. 26:20 And the Judahites by their families were: from Shelah, the family of the Shelahites; from Perez, the family of the Perezites; and from Zerah, the family of the Zerahites. 26:21 And the Perezites were: from Hezron, the family of the Hezronites; from Hamul, 18  the family of the Hamulites. 26:22 These were the families of Judah according to those numbered of them, 76,500. 19 

Issachar

26:23 The Issacharites by their families: from Tola, the family of the Tolaites; from Puah, the family of the Puites; 26:24 from Jashub, the family of the Jashubites; and from Shimron, the family of the Shimronites. 26:25 These were the families of Issachar, according to those numbered of them, 64,300. 20 

Zebulun

26:26 The Zebulunites by their families: from Sered, the family of the Sardites; from Elon, the family of the Elonites; from Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites. 26:27 These were the families of the Zebulunites, according to those numbered of them, 60,500. 21 

Manasseh

26:28 The descendants of Joseph by their families: Manasseh and Ephraim. 26:29 The Manassehites: from Machir, the family of the Machirites (now Machir became the father of Gilead); from Gilead, the family of the Gileadites. 26:30 These were the Gileadites: from Iezer, the family of the Iezerites; from Helek, the family of the Helekites; 26:31 from Asriel, the family of the Asrielites; from Shechem, the family of the Shechemites; 26:32 from Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites; from Hepher, the family of the Hepherites. 26:33 Now Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons, but only daughters; and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 26:34 These were the families of Manasseh; those numbered of them were 52,700. 22 

Ephraim

26:35 These are the Ephraimites by their families: from Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthelahites; from Beker, the family of the Bekerites; from Tahan, the family of the Tahanites. 26:36 Now these were the Shuthelahites: from Eran, the family of the Eranites. 26:37 These were the families of the Ephraimites, according to those numbered of them, 32,500. 23  These were the descendants of Joseph by their families.

Benjamin

26:38 The Benjaminites by their families: from Bela, the family of the Belaites; from Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites; from Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites; 26:39 from Shupham, 24  the family of the Shuphamites; from Hupham, the family of the Huphamites. 26:40 The descendants of Bela were Ard 25  and Naaman. From Ard, 26  the family of the Ardites; from Naaman, the family of the Naamanites. 26:41 These are the Benjaminites, according to their families, and according to those numbered of them, 45,600. 27 

Dan

26:42 These are the Danites by their families: from Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These were the families of Dan, according to their families. 26:43 All the families of the Shuhahites according to those numbered of them were 64,400. 28 

Asher

26:44 The Asherites by their families: from Imnah, the family of the Imnahites; from Ishvi, the family of the Ishvites; from Beriah, the family of the Beriahites. 26:45 From the Beriahites: from Heber, the family of the Heberites; from Malkiel, the family of the Malkielites. 26:46 Now the name of the daughter of Asher was Serah. 29  26:47 These are the families of the Asherites, according to those numbered of them, 53,400. 30 

Naphtali

26:48 The Naphtalites by their families: from Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites; from Guni, the family of the Gunites; 26:49 from Jezer, the family of the Jezerites; from Shillem, the family of the Shillemites. 26:50 These were the families of Naphtali according to their families; and those numbered of them were 45,400. 31 

Total Number and Division of the Land

26:51 These were those numbered of the Israelites, 601,730. 32 

26:52 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 26:53 “To these the land must be divided as an inheritance according to the number of the names. 26:54 To a larger group you will give a larger inheritance, 33  and to a smaller group you will give a smaller inheritance. 34  To each one its inheritance must be given according to the number of people in it. 35  26:55 The land must be divided by lot; and they will inherit in accordance with the names of their ancestral tribes. 26:56 Their inheritance must be apportioned 36  by lot among the larger and smaller groups.

26:57 And these are the Levites who were numbered according to their families: from Gershon, the family of the Gershonites; of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites; from Merari, the family of the Merarites. 26:58 These are the families of the Levites: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, the family of the Korahites. Kohath became the father of Amram. 26:59 Now the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, daughter of Levi, who was born 37  to Levi in Egypt. And to Amram she bore Aaron, Moses, and Miriam their sister. 26:60 And to Aaron were born Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. 26:61 But Nadab and Abihu died when they offered strange fire 38  before the Lord. 26:62 Those of them who were numbered were 23,000, all males from a month old and upward, for they were not numbered among the Israelites; no inheritance was given to them among the Israelites.

26:63 These are those who were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the Israelites in the plains of Moab along the Jordan River opposite Jericho. 39  26:64 But there was not a man among these who had been 40  among those numbered by Moses and Aaron the priest when they numbered the Israelites in the wilderness of Sinai. 26:65 For the Lord had said of them, “They will surely die in the wilderness.” And there was not left a single man of them, except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

1 sn The breakdown of ch. 26 for outlining purposes will be essentially according to the tribes of Israel. The format and structure is similar to the first census, and so less comment is necessary here.

2 tc The MT has also “saying.”

3 tn Heb “house of their fathers.”

4 tn Heb “everyone who goes out in the army in Israel.”

5 tn The word “River” is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied in the translation for clarity (also in v. 62).

6 map For the location of Jericho see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

7 tn “Number the people” is added here to the text for a smooth reading.

8 tc The Hebrew text has no preposition here, but one has been supplied in the translation for clarity. Cf. vv. 23, 30, 31, 32.

9 sn The Reubenites had decreased from 46,500 to 43,730.

10 tc The MT has “and the sons of Pallu.”

11 tn Or “company” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV); Heb “congregation.”

12 tc This is “Zohar” in Exod 6:15 and Gen 46:10.

13 sn Before entering Sinai the tribe numbered 59,300, the third largest. Now it was about one-third its original size.

14 tc The MT of Gen 46:16 reads this as “Ezbon.”

15 tc The Greek version and Smr have “Ad[d]i,” probably by confusion of letters.

16 tc Gen 46:16 and the LXX here read “Arodi.”

17 sn The Gadites decreased from 45,650 to 40,500.

18 tc Smr and the Greek version have “Hamuel.”

19 sn The Judahites increased from 74,600 to 76,500.

20 sn The Issacharites increased from 54,400 to 64,300.

21 sn The Zebulunites showed a slight increase from 57,400 to 60,500.

22 sn The Manassehites increased from 32,200 to 52,700.

23 sn This is a significant reduction from the first count of 40,500.

24 tc With the exception of a few manuscripts the MT has Shephupham. The spelling in the translation above is supported by Smr and the ancient versions.

25 tc The LXX has Adar. Cf. 1 Chr 8:3.

26 tc “From Ard” is not in the Hebrew text.

27 sn The Benjaminites increased from 35,400 to 45,600. The Greek version has here 35,500.

28 sn The Danites increased from 62,700 to 64,400.

29 tn Also mentioned in 1 Chr 7:30.

30 sn The Asherites increased from 41,500 to 53,400.

31 sn The Naphtalites decreased from 53,400 to 45,400.

32 sn This number shows only a slightly smaller total in the second census; the first was 603,550.

33 tn Heb “to many you will multiply his inheritance.”

34 tn Heb “to a few you will lessen his inheritance.”

35 tn Heb “according to those that were numbered of him,” meaning, in accordance with the number of people in his clan.

36 tn Heb “divided.”

37 tn Heb “who she bore him to Levi.” The verb has no expressed subject. Either one could be supplied, such as “her mother,” or it could be treated as a passive.

38 tn The expression אֵשׁ זָרָה (’esh zarah, “strange fire”) seems imprecise and has been interpreted numerous ways (see the helpful summary in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC 4], 132-33). The infraction may have involved any of the following or a combination thereof: (1) using coals from some place other than the burnt offering altar (i.e., “unauthorized coals” according to J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:598; cf. Lev 16:12 and cf. “unauthorized person” [אִישׁ זָר, ’ish zar] in Num 16:40 [17:5 HT], NASB “layman”), (2) using the wrong kind of incense (cf. the Exod 30:9 regulation against “strange incense” [קְטֹרֶת זָרָה, qÿtoret zarah] on the incense altar and the possible connection to Exod 30:34-38), (3) performing an incense offering at an unprescribed time (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 59), or (4) entering the Holy of Holies at an inappropriate time (Lev 16:1-2).

sn This event is narrated in Lev 10:1-7.

39 map For the location of Jericho see Map5 B2; Map6 E1; Map7 E1; Map8 E3; Map10 A2; Map11 A1.

40 tn “who had been” is added to clarify the text.



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