Nu 26:1-51. Israel
1. after the plague—That terrible
visitation had swept away the remnant of the old generation, to whom
God sware in His wrath that they should not enter Canaan (Ps 95:11).
2. Take the sum of all the
congregation—The design of this new census, after a lapse of
thirty-eight years, was primarily to establish the vast multiplication
of the posterity of Abraham in spite of the severe judgments inflicted
upon them; secondarily, it was to preserve the distinction of families
and to make arrangements, preparatory to an entrance into the promised
land, for the distribution of the country according to the relative
population of the tribes.
7. These are the families of the
Reubenites—the principal households, which were subdivided
into numerous smaller families. Reuben had suffered great diminution by
Korah's conspiracy and other outbreaks [Nu 16:1].
10. the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them
up together with Korah—rather, "the things of Korah." (See on
Nu 16:35; compare Ps 106:17).
11. Notwithstanding the children of Korah died
not—Either they were not parties to their father's crime, or
they withdrew from it by timely repentance. His descendants became
famous in the time of David, and are often mentioned in the Psalms
42:1; 44:1; 45:1; 46:1; 47:1; 48:1; 49:1; 84:1; 85:1; 87:1; 88:1], also in 1Ch 6:22, 38.
12. The sons of Simeon—It is supposed
that this tribe had been pre-eminent in the guilt of Baal-peor and had
consequently been greatly reduced in numbers.
Thus God's justice and holiness, as well as His
truth and faithfulness, were strikingly displayed: His justice and
holiness in the sweeping judgments that reduced the ranks of some
tribes; and His truth and faithfulness in the extraordinary increase of
others so that the posterity of Israel continued a numerous people.
53. the land shall be divided according to the
number of names—The portion of each tribe was to be greater
or less, according to its populousness.
54. To many thou shalt give the more
inheritance—that is, to the more numerous tribes a larger
allotment shall be granted.
according to those that were
numbered—the number of persons twenty years old at the time
of the census being made, without taking into account either the
increase of those who might have attained that age, when the land
should be actually distributed, or the diminution from that amount,
occasioned during the war of invasion.
55. the land shall be divided by lot—The
appeal to the lot did not place the matter beyond the control of God;
for it is at His disposal (Pr 16:33),
and He has fixed to all the bounds of their habitation. The manner in
which the lot was taken has not been recorded. But it is evident that
the lot was cast for determining the section of the country in which
each tribe should be located—not the quantity of their
possessions. In other words, when the lot had decided that a particular
tribe was to be settled in the north or the south, the east or the
west, the extent of territory was allocated according to the rule
58. families of the Levites—The census
of this tribe was taken separately, and on a different principle from
the rest. (See Ex 6:16-19).
62. twenty and three thousand—so that
there was an increase of a thousand (Nu 3:39).
males from a month old and upward—(See
on Nu 3:14).
64. among these there was not a man …
numbered … in the wilderness of Sinai—The statement in
this verse must not be considered absolute. For, besides Caleb and
Joshua, there were alive at this time Eleazar and Ithamar, and in all
probability a considerable number of Levites, who had no participation
in the popular defections in the wilderness. The tribe of Levi, having
neither sent a spy into Canaan, nor being included in the enumeration
at Sinai, must be regarded as not coming within the range of the fatal
sentence; and therefore it would exhibit a spectacle not to be
witnessed in the other tribes of many in their ranks above sixty years