King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Numbers 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)

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Numbering of Israel in the plains of Moab

1 And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,

2 Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel.

3 And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,

4 Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the LORD commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt.

5 Reuben, the eldest son of Israel: the children of Reuben; Hanoch, of whom cometh the family of the Hanochites: of Pallu, the family of the Palluites:

6 Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites.

7 These are the families of the Reubenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty.

8 And the sons of Pallu; Eliab.

9 And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the LORD:

10 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.

11 Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.

12 The sons of Simeon after their families: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites: of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites: of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites:

13 Of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites: of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites.

14 These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.

15 The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites:

16 Of Ozni, the family of the Oznites: of Eri, the family of the Erites:

17 Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites.

18 These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred.

19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan: and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.

20 And the sons of Judah after their families were; of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites: of Pharez, the family of the Pharzites: of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites.

21 And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites.

22 These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and sixteen thousand and five hundred.

23 Of the sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites: of Pua, the family of the Punites:

24 Of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites: of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites.

25 These are the families of Issachar according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and four thousand and three hundred.

26 Of the sons of Zebulun after their families: of Sered, the family of the Sardites: of Elon, the family of the Elonites: of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites.

27 These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those that were numbered of them, threescore thousand and five hundred.

28 The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim.

29 Of the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat Gilead: of Gilead come the family of the Gileadites.

30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites: of Helek, the family of the Helekites:

31 And of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites: and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites:

32 And of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites: and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites.

33 And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

34 These are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them, fifty and two thousand and seven hundred.

35 These are the sons of Ephraim after their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthalhites: of Becher, the family of the Bachrites: of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites.

36 And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites.

37 These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those that were numbered of them, thirty and two thousand and five hundred. These are the sons of Joseph after their families.

38 The sons of Benjamin after their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites: of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites: of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites:

39 Of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites: of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites.

40 And the sons of Bela were ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites: and of Naaman, the family of the Naamites.

41 These are the sons of Benjamin after their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and six hundred.

42 These are the sons of Dan after their families: of Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan after their families.

43 All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those that were numbered of them, were threescore and four thousand and four hundred.

44 Of the children of Asher after their families: of Jimna, the family of the Jimnites: of Jesui, the family of the Jesuites: of Beriah, the family of the Beriites.

45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites: of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites.

46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Sarah.

47 These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those that were numbered of them; who were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.

48 Of the sons of Naphtali after their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites: of Guni, the family of the Gunites:

49 Of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites: of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites.

50 These are the families of Naphtali according to their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and four hundred.

51 These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.

The division of the land

52 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

53 Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.

54 To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him.

55 Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.

56 According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.

Number of the Levites

57 And these are they that were numbered of the Levites after their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites: of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites: of Merari, the family of the Merarites.

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 Korathites. And Kohath begat Amram.

59 And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.

60 And unto Aaron was born Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.

62 And those that were numbered of them were twenty and three thousand, all males from a month old and upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel.

None remaining of the first numbering

63 These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.

64 But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.

65 For the LORD had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Shed. Heb. and Sept. “after the plague,” which destroyed so many. Chal. After all who had murmured were cut off, the new progeny is numbered. S. Jerom. W.

Ver. 2. Number. This was done that the general might know what forces he could muster to attack the nations of Chanaan on the west side of the Jordan, and also in order that the lands might be properly distributed. The war lasted seven years, and the distribution of lands was not completed till some time afterwards. It is not clear that those who were not enrolled at this time, as being 20 years of age, would have any portion, except that of their fathers, allotted to them; but it seems, however, rational that those who were arrived at that age when the distribution was made, would have their share like the rest. There were 1820 people fewer than in the register which was taken before, (C. i.,) thirteen months after the departure from Egypt. The Levites seem not to have been numbered with the utmost exactitude, as only five families are mentioned, (v. 58, Jans.) though there were many more, 1 Par. xxiii. 6, &c. Their numbers amount to only 23,000. C. — They had rather increased in the desert during 38 years; (see C. iii. 39,) as had also the tribes of Juda, Issachar, and Zabulon, which lay to the east; of Manasses (who perhaps on that account precedes Ephraim) and Benjamin to the west; Dan and Aser to the north. Nephtali proved deficient; so did likewise the tribes of Ruben, Simeon, and Gad, who were stationed to the south of the tabernacle. When they were numbered the first and the second time, (Ex. xxxviii. 25, and Num. i. 46,) they amounted to 603,550, exclusively of the Levites. Now they could only count 601,730 men fit for war. Considering their frequent disasters, it is even a matter of surprise that their ranks were not thinned still more, particularly as we are assured that all who had been numbered before, except Josue and Caleb, the Levites, and such as had kept themselves free from murmuring, had perished, v. 64. H. — In the particular accounts of the tribes, and in the names of persons, the Sept. frequently differ from the Hebrew. But the total amount agrees.

Ver. 4. Them. Heb. “commanded Moses and the children of Israel, who came forth out of the land of Egypt.” The same plan was now to be pursued as formerly.

Ver. 7. Thirty. They had lost therefore 2870 men. C. i. 21.

Ver. 9. Princes. Heb. “men of name in the congregation,” senators. Vatab. C. xvi. 2.

Ver. 10. Miracle. Heb. “they became a sign,” of reproach, and a memorial of God’s just judgments, who caused the earth to swallow up Core and his companions alive, by a most disgraceful kind of death, to which the faithless vestal virgins were condemned at Rome, being buried alive; while those who had offered incense were consumed by fire. Many of the ancients assert that Core was also burnt, meaning perhaps by the fire of hell; to which he descended. Josep. iv. 3. — Others have thought that the children of Core were swallowed up with their father. But this is not true, with respect to some of them at least, (H.) who by a miracle of divine grace and goodness, were preserved from joining in his sedition; (C.) while Core, his wife and servants, all concurred to shew them such a pernicious example. H. — Lyran. and the Rabbins tell us, that the children stopped to intreat their father to repent; and while the earth opened under them, God supported them in the air, and gave them the spirit of prophecy; so that they sung, (Ps. xlv.) God is our refuge, &c., or, according to others, the Ps. xli. which has their name in the title. But these accounts are to be received with caution. The Samaritan text, fuerunt in fugam, (C.) may be translated, “out of this world they fled away, (11) and the sons of Core did not perish.”

Ver. 12. Namuel. N has been substituted for i, in the name of Iamuel, as it is read elsewhere, and in the Syriac, both here and 1 Par. iv. 24, where Ahod is by mistake written with r, instead of d. See also the Arab. Ken. H.

Ver. 14. Families. Ahod is not mentioned, as he, probably, died without children. See Gen. xlvi. 10. M. — Hundred. Their numbers were the most reduced. See C. xxv. 9. H.

Ver. 18. Hundred. Sept. add, “4000.” This tribe had formerly 45,650. It had lost 5100.

Ver. 22. Hundred. Juda had increased 1900.

Ver. 25. Issachar had also 9900 more.

Ver. 27. Zabulon was more numerous by 3100; so that this division had an additional strength of 13,100, while the former was diminished by 45,070 men. H.

Ver. 29. Machir: 1 Par. vii. 20, we find Ezriel also mentioned. See C. xxxi. 39.

Ver. 30. Jezer, who is called Abihezer. Jos. xvii. 2. and Paral.

Ver. 34. Hundred. Manasses had increased his numbers by 20,500, while

Ver. 37. Ephraim had lost 8000. H.

Ver. 38. Bela was the father of two families, v. 40. The other five children of Benjamin probably left no issue. Gen. xlvi. 21. D.

Ver. 41. Benjamin had 10,200 added to his former number. Hence this division of the army, though hurt by Ephraim, (v. 37,) had an increase of 22,700.

Ver. 43. Suhamites. Their father is called Huthim in Genesis, and also by the Sept. This branch of Dan was more numerous than formerly by 1700 soldiers.

Ver. 47. Aser had an addition of 11,900; and, both together, 13,600. But they were let down by

Ver. 50. Nephtali, who had lost 8000; so that this division had only 5600 more. H.

Ver. 54. A less. God introduced among his people that equality, which was so much desired by Lycurgus, Solon, &c. The fertility of the land assigned to Benjamin, compensated for the smallness of its quantity.

Ver. 55. Lot. Josue appointed commissioners, who measured the land, and divided it according to its fertility; and the portions assigned to each of the tribes by lot, corresponded with the predications of Jacob and of Moses; God so regulating the lots by his allwise Providence, in order that the people might be more convinced of the truth of the prophecies, and that no undue favour was shewn to any one by Josue, Eleazar, or by the other men in authority. He took the whole upon himself, that none might complain of their rulers. C. — Masius supposes that the different divisions of the land were written down, and placed in an urn, and that the heads of the tribes drew according to their birth. Jos. xv. 1. — The heads of families, such as Henoch, &c., (v. 5.) probably also drew lots, to know what part of territory allotted to the tribe, should fall to their share; (H.) and they parcelled out their land among their children. M.

Ver. 58. Core. Three other families are mentioned. Ex. vi. 17, &c. They were not going out to war. D.

Ver. 59. Levi. Sept. “who bore these (Lobni, &c.) to Levi, in Egypt; and she bore to Amram, Aaron,” &c. as if Jochabed had been wife both of Levi and of Amram, which is very improbable. It is more likely that the wives of these two bore the same name. The Heb. may agree very well with the Vulg. See Ex. ii. 1. C. — It was afterwards forbidden for a person to marry his aunt. Lev. xviii. W.

Ver. 64. Sinai, if we except the Levites. M. See C. xiv. 23. — Origen (hom. 21.) makes a very good remark on this subject. This circumcised, but rebellious people, conducted by Moses into the desert, clearly points out the Hebrews, who come to the frontiers of the promised land, but are not suffered to cross the Jordan. The uncircumcised are introduced into the land flowing with milk and honey, not by Moses, but by Josue, the figure of our Saviour, who opens heaven to true believers. “The first people is rejected, which had received circumcision, and the second is introduced, which is gathered from the Gentiles; and it is the people which obtains its father’s inheritance…If Moses give any inheritance, it is not within the Jordan…it is a land fit for cattle…he does not distribute it by lot…nor can he know the merits of each. This is done by Jesus only, to whom his Father has given all judgment.” H.