August 29, 2014
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. Numbers 26:63
LET IT GLOW
Sometimes our pecan tree has a lot of good pecan nuts to eat. Sometimes it has only an empty inner shell. My conclusion is that good and bad fruit can come from the same roots. So it is with families. Siblings can have the same parents, upbringing, even privileges, yet turn out to be so different. One child may spend their life serving the Lord while the other one does not. Such was the case of the Israeli family.
Here we have the second census being taken, under God's instructions. It took place after Eleazar made atonement and God stopped the plague killing Israel. The first census occurred over 38 years earlier (chapter 1). All the men age 20 and up, fit for military service were counted. The purpose of this census was for the division of the land which they were going to conquer. (Later, David's census was not under God's directions.) The exact location of each tribe was determined by lot (Josh.13-19).
What were the results of the census?
- The new generation was counted. There was a total loss of 1,820 adult males from the previous census. During the wandering years some 1,200,000 people died! (Falwell)
- Although the casting of lots determined the land each tribe possessed, consideration was given to the numerical size of each tribe.
- The decline of the tribe of Simeon was probably due to its participation in the sin of Baal of Peor (chapter 25).
- The Levites (priestly tribe) were counted separately. With a total of 23,000, there was an increase of over 1,000 from the last census.
- Singled out for special mention because of their part in the rebellion recorded in chapter 16 were Dathan and Abiram (tribe of Reuben). The led a revolt against Moses and Aaron with the earth swallowing them, Korah, and their family in their tent.(verse 9)
- The other children of Korah were spared judgment because they separated themselves from their father's house.
- Er and Onan were two sons of Judah who did not receive an inheritance in the land because of their great evil (Gen.38).
- Zelophehad had no sons, only five daughters, asked for an inheritance of their father. The previous laws only allowed the sons to inherit land, but God changed it (chapter 27). These daughters were of the families of Manasseh, son of Joseph. (Their father was not against the LORD with the company of Korah.) This resulted in a new law of inheritance of property for both daughters and sons. (MacArthur)
How was the Promised Land of Canaan, to be conquered, divided up later? The twelve tribes of Israel (Jacob) were promised by God to be a separate nation, having their own land.
Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible gives more insight of this chapter as to how the families of the tribes were numbered:
- Dan had only one son, yet the most numerous of all, except for Judah. (verses 42-43)
- Zebulun was divided into 3 families;
- Divided into 4 families each were Ephraim, Issachar, Naphtali, and Reuben.
- Divided into 5 families apiece were Judah, Simeon, and Asher.
- Gad and Benjamin had 7 families apiece.
- Manassseh had 8 families.
- Benjamin brought 10 sons into Egypt, of whom 3 died childless or became extinct.
- The second census population of Israel was 1, 820 less than the first census, although 7 tribes increased in number.
- All the 3 tribes that were encamped under the standard of Judah, who was the ancestor of Christ, were increased, for his church shall be edified and multiplied.
- Manasseh had been the smallest of the tribes, but increased more than the others.
- None of the tribes decreased as much as Simeon, about a third.
- Perhaps it was due to the iniquity of Peor, where Zimri led in sin with the Midianite women.
- The other sons of Korah who did not rebel against Moses and Aaron later became singers in the house of the Lord, employed by David.
- The power of God can bring choice fruits even out of bitter root.
The tribe of Levi was God's tribe of priests. The were not given land, nor did they go to war.
God was preparing the Israelites to occupy the Promised Land. Even today, God protects His children, Israel from their enemies.
Are we teaching our family about the salvation and love of God? Will they stay close to Him in their lifetime? Our roots can produce fruit.
LET IT GO
Stay faithful to God.
Teach our family His Word and His faithfulness.