Chapter 26

NUMBERS CHAPTER 26

The Second Census

    • After the plague, the Lord instructed Moses and Eleazar to take a census of the Israelites according to their families counting all aged 20 years and above who were able to serve in Israel’s army. According to the Lord, the purpose of this census was to determine the amount of land allotted to each tribe. The land would be also be distributed by lot. The larger tribes were to receive more land and the smaller tribes would receive less based on the number of men registered. Moses and Eleazar relayed these instructions to the leaders of Israel while they were still there on the plains of Moab beside the Jordan River across from the city of Jericho. The following is the record of all the descendants of the Israel who came out of Egypt:

        • The HCSB notes, “The instructions are to divide the land proportionally and also to distribute it by lot. Critics have viewed these as mutually exclusive and incompatible procedures, yet both are mentioned in several contexts. Numbers 33:53-54 emphasizes the proportional aspect, while Joshua 15-19 focuses on the distribution by lot. Eleazar could have used lots, such as the Urim and the Thummim, to determine the general region of the allocation and then Moses determined the actual extent of territory with the tribal proportions in view.”

      • The following are the clans descended from Reuben, Jacob’s oldest son (Israel’s firstborn), which totaled 43,730 men:

        • The Hanochite clan named after Hanoch.

        • The Palluite clan named after Pallu.

        • Pallu’s son was named Eliab, and Eliab’s sons were Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. This Dathan and Abiram were the two Israelite leaders who joined Korah’s rebellion, opposing Moses and Aaron and defying the Lord. The earth opened up and swallowed them with Korah and the other 250 followers were killed by fire. They served as a warning to the rest of the Israelites. Korah’s sons, however, were not killed.

        • The Hezronite clan named after Hezron.

        • The Carmite clan named after Carmi.

      • The following are the clans descended from Simeon which totaled 22,200 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The census of the five Simeonite clans reflects the most significant decrease from the first census, a loss of 37,100- more than 60% fewer men of military age and capability.”

        • The Nemuelite clan named after Nemuel (some translations read Jemuel).

        • The Jaminite clan named after Jamin.

        • The Jachinite clan named after Jachin.

        • The Zerahite clan named after Zerah.

        • The Shaulite clan named after Shaul.

      • The following are the clans descended from Gad which totaled 40,500 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The Gadite militia decreased by 12%; their seven clans would be granted a territorial inheritance in Gilead, this side (east) of the Jordan (32:1-38).”

      • The Zephonite clan named after Zephon.

        • The Haggite clan named after Haggi.

        • The Shunite clan named after Shuni.

        • The Oznite clan named after Ozni.

        • The Erite clan named after Eri.

        • The Arodite clan named after Arod.

        • The Arelite clan named after Areli.

      • The following are the clans descended from Judah’s surviving sons (two of his sons, Er and Onan, had died in Canaan) which totaled 76,500 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The militia from the four Judahite clans experienced a slight increase of 900.”

        • The Shelanite clan named after Shelah.

        • The Perezite clan named after Perez.

        • The following are subclans descended from Perez:

          • The Hezronite clan named for Hezron.

          • The Hamulite clan named for Hamul.

        • The Zerahite clan named after Zerah.

      • The following are the clans descended from Issachar which totaled 64,300 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The four clans of Issachar’s militia increased a significant 18% during the wilderness sojourn.”

        • The Tolaite clan named for Tola.

        • The Punite clan named for Puvah (The Vulgate, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Syriac translations read “the Puite clan from Puah” which is how the listing reads later in 1 Chronicles 7:1).

        • The Jashubite clan named for Jashub.

        • The Shimronite clan named for Shimron.

      • The following are the clans descended from Zebulun which totaled 60,500 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “Zebulun’s three clans increased by about 5% from 57,400 to 60,500.”

        • The Seredite clan named for Sered.

        • The Elonite clan named for Elon.

        • The Jahleelite clan named for Jahleel.

      • Two sets of clans were descended from Joseph, representing each of his sons- Manasseh and Ephraim:

      • The following are the clans descended from Manasseh which totaled 52,700 men:

            • The HCSB notes, “The dramatic increase of 63% in the militia of Manasseh and its six clans- from 32,200 to 52,700- would motivate their request for additional territory on the east side of the Jordan River. The Machirite clan followed the lead of the Reubenites and Gadites and requested land in Gilead for their inheritance, and Moses granted their request once they had pledged their support for the Cisjordan tribes in the conquest of Canaan.”

        • The Machirite clan named for Machir.

        • The Gileadite clan named for Gilead.

          • The following are the subclans descended from Gilead (Gilead was Machir’s son):

            • The Iezerite clan named for Iezer.

            • The Helekite clan named for Helek.

            • The Asrielite clan named for Asriel.

              • The Shechemite clan named for Shechem.

              • The Shemidaite clan named for Shemida.

              • The Hepherite clan named for Hepher.

              • Hepher’s son Zelophehad didn’t have any sons, but the names of his daughters were as follows: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.

      • The following are the clans descended from Ephraim which totaled 32,500 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The three Ephraimite clans decreased by 8,000 (20%) from the original census of 40,500.”

        • The Shuthelahite clan named for Shuthelah.

          • The subclan descended from Shuthelah was the Eranite clan named for Eran.

          • The Becherite clan named for Becher.

          • The Tahanite clan named for Tahan.

      • The following are the clans descended from Benjamin which totaled 45,600 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The six Benjamite clans showed a significant increase of 28.8% from 35,400 to 45,600. Later, the Benjamites would become Israel’s smallest tribal group, almost to the point of extinction (Judges 20-21).”

        • The Belaite clan named for Bela.

          • The following are the subclans descended from the Belaites:

            • The Ardites named for Ard. (The Masoretic text leaves out that the Ardites were named for Ard, but the phrase is included in the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Vulgate, and some Greek manuscripts.)

            • The Naamite clan named for Namaan.

        • The Ashbelite clan named for Ashbel.

        • The Ahiramite clan named for Ahiram.

        • The Shuphamite clan named for Shupham. (some Masoretic manuscripts as well as the Samaritan Pentateuch, Vulgate, Syriac, and the Septuagint read “Shupham,” however most Masoretic manuscripts read “Shephupham.”)

        • The Huphamite clan named for Hupham.

      • The following are the clans descended from Dan which totaled 64,400 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “Only the Shuhamite clan of Dan is noted, with a slight increase of 1,700 (2.7%). The text mentions ‘clans’ (pl.) of Shuhamites, but they were not listed as were the subclans of Manasseh and Asher. The size of the Danite militia is second only to that of Judah, yet the Danites could not control their territory because of the power of the Philistines; eventually they migrated northward (Judges 18:1-31).”

        • The Shuhamite clan named for Shuham.

      • The following are the clans descended from Asher which totaled 53,400 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The Asherites grew significantly during the wilderness period, increasing their military capability by nearly 22% to 53,400.”

        • The Imnite clan named for Imnah.

        • The Ishvite clan named for Ishvi.

        • The Beriite clan named for Beriah.

          • The following subclans were descended from the Beriites:

            • The Heberite clan named for Heber.

            • The Malchielite clan named for Malchiel.

        • Asher also had a daughter named Serah.

          • The allusion to Asher’s daughter Serah remains a mystery, unless she received an allocation in the manner of Zelophehad’s daughters.” (HCSB)

      • The following are the clans descended from Naphtali which totaled 45,400 men:

          • The HCSB notes, “The four clans of Naphtali experience a moderate loss of 15% to 45,400. The Greek Septuagint version records an even greater 44% loss, down to 30,300.”

        • The Jahzeelite clan named for Jahzeel.

        • The Gunite clan named for Guni.

        • The Jezerite clan named for Jezer.

        • The Shillemite clan named for Shillem.

    • The total number of Israelite men registered as troops was 601,730.

      • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “In spite of warfare, plagues, and punishments, God had been faithful to Israel. The number of male warriors had shrunk by 1,820 compared to the first registration (2:32), a difference of 0.3%.”

via RTB Bible Study
    • The following is the record of the Levites aged one month old and above as they were registered by clan for a total of 23,000. The Levites were registered separate from the other Israelite tribes because they were not allotted an inheritance among them:

        • The HCSB notes, “As in the first census, the Levites were not numbered among the militia, but were counted in the manner of 3:43 for the purpose of redeeming the firstborn sons of the twelve tribes, beginning at the age of one month (3:40-51). The Levites showed a net increase of about a thousand over the previous count.”

      • The Gershonite clan named for Gershon.

      • The Kohathite clan named for Kohath.

        • Kohath was the descendant of Amram. Jochebed was Amram’s wife and she was also a Levite descendant having been born in Egypt. Amram and Jochebed’s children were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. Aaron’s sons were Nadab, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. Both Nadab and Abihu were killed when they presented unauthorized fire before the Lord.

      • The Merarite clan named for Merari.

      • The subclans of the Levites were as follows: the Libnite clan, Hebronite clan, Mahlite clan, Mushite clan, and Korahite clan.

    • Among all the Israelites, only Caleb (Jephunneh’s son) and Joshua (Nun’s son) remained alive from all those who had been registered in the first census at Sinai because the Lord had said that they would all die in the wilderness.