New International Version
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
King James Bible
And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
Darby Bible Translation
And Jehovah spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
World English Bible
Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,
Young's Literal Translation
And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, and unto Aaron, saying,
Numbers 2:1 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
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, 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, 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 - Ch. 1 2d Census - Ch. 26 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 Total 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. See on Numbers 26 (note); 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 Simeon Levi Judah Issachar Zebulun Dinah Hanoch Jemuel Gershon - Libni - Shimei7,500 - Numbers 3:22 Shelah Tola Sered Phallu Jamin Kohath - Amram - Izehar - Hebron - Uzziel8,600 - Numbers 3:26 Pharez Phuvah Elon Hezron Ohad Merari - Mahli - Mushi6,200 - Numbers 3:34 Zerah Job Jahleel Carmi Jachin Hazron Shimron Zohar Hamul Shaul 46,500Num 1:2159,300Num 1:2322,300Num 3:22, Numbers 3:26, Numbers 3:600Num Numbers 1:400Num Numbers 1:400Num Numbers 1:31 by Zilpah - Genesis 46:18 Gad Asher Ziphion Jimnah Haggai Ishuah Shuni Isui Ezbon Beriah - Heber - Malchial Eri Arodi Areli 45,650Num 1:2541,500Num 1:41 by Rachel - Genesis 46:22 Joseph Benjamin Manasseh 32,200 Belah Ephraim 40,500 Becher Ashbel Gerah Naaman Ehi Rosh Muppim Huppim Ard 72,700 35,400Num 1:37 by Bilhah - Genesis 46:25 Dan Naphtali Hushim Jahzeel Guni Jezer Shillem 62,700Num 1:3953,400Num 1:43
1. 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 I. Generation 31 II. Generation 215 III. Generation 2,583 IV. Generation 43,917 Amount of generations III and IV. 46,500
2. 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.
3. 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: -
Generations Gershonites Kohathites Merarites I 2 4 2 II 33 43 20 III 500 430 310 IV 7,000 8,170 5,890 Amount of generations III and IV 7,500 8,600 6,200 Total number of Levites - 22,300.
4. 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.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
Like the last part of Exodus, and the whole of Leviticus, the first part of Numbers, i.-x. 28--so called, rather inappropriately, from the census in i., iii., (iv.), xxvi.--is unmistakably priestly in its interests and language. Beginning with a census of the men of war (i.) and the order of the camp (ii.), it devotes specific attention to the Levites, their numbers and duties (iii., iv.). Then follow laws for the exclusion of the unclean, v. 1-4, for determining the manner and amount of restitution …
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament
The Israelites did all this just as the LORD commanded Moses.
"The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family."
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