Numbers 26:1
And it came to pass after the plague, that the LORD spoke to Moses and to Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
XXVI.

(1) And it came to pass after the plague . . . —The plague probably destroyed the remnant of the generation which had come out of Egypt, and which had been numbered in the wilderness of Sinai.

26:1-51 Moses did not number the people but when God commanded him. We have here the families registered, as well as the tribes. The total was nearly the same as when numbered at mount Sinai. Notice is here taken of the children of Korah; they died not, as the children of Dathan and Abiram; they seem not to have joined even their own father in rebellion. If we partake not of the sins of sinners, we shall not partake of their plagues.After the plague - These words serve to show approximately the date at which the census was taken, and intimate the reason for the great decrease in numbers which was found to have taken place in certain tribes. Compare Deuteronomy 4:3 and Numbers 26:5 note in this chapter. CHAPTER 26

Nu 26:1-51. Israel Numbered.

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).Israel numbered, such as were fit for war, of every tribe; Levi excepted: their number, Numbers 26:1-51. The land to be distributed according to their number, Numbers 26:52-56. The Levites numbered by themselves, because they had no inheritance, Numbers 26:57-62. All that were numbered by Moses and Aaron at Sinai, save only Caleb and Joshua, died in the wilderness, Numbers 26:63-65.

After the plague, last mentioned, Numbers 25:8,9.

Eleazar, his father being dead, was high priest.

And it came to pass after the plague,.... Related in the preceding chapter; how long after is not certain, perhaps before the war with Midian, exhorted to in the latter part of the foregoing chapter, and of which an account is given, Numbers 31:1,

that the Lord spake unto Moses; out of the tabernacle, or out of the cloud:

and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest; the Lord had been used to speak to Moses and to Aaron; but now Aaron being dead, and Eleazar his son succeeding him in the priesthood, is joined with Moses, and the order here given is directed to them both:

saying: as follows.

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

(a) Which came because of their whoredom and idolatry.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1–4. Moses and Eleazar are commanded by God to number the fighting men of 20 years of age and upwards.Verse 1. - It came to pass after the plague. This plague was the last event which seriously diminished the numbers of the Israelites; perhaps it was the last event which diminished them at all, for it seems to be throughout implied that none died except through their own fault. It is often supposed that this plague carried off the last survivors of the generation condemned at Kadesh (see verse 64); but this is opposed to the statement in Deuteronomy 2:14, 15, and is essentially improbable. The victims of the plague would surely be those who had joined themselves to Baal-Peor; and these again would surely be the younger, not the older, men in Israel. It is part of the moral of the story that these offenders deprived themselves, not merely of a few remaining days, but of many years of happy rest which might have been theirs. For this act of divine zeal the eternal possession of the priesthood was promised to Phinehas and his posterity as Jehovah's covenant of peace. בּקנאו, by displaying my zeal in the midst of them (viz., the Israelites). קנאתי is not "zeal for me," but "my zeal," the zeal of Jehovah with which Phinehas was filled, and impelled to put the daring sinners to death. By doing this he had averted destruction from the Israelites, and restrained the working of Jehovah's zeal, which had manifested itself in the plague. "I gave him my covenant of peace" (the suffix is attached to the governing noun, as in Leviticus 6:3). בּרית נתן, as in Genesis 17:2, to give, i.e., to fulfil the covenant, to grant what was promised in the covenant. The covenant granted to Phinehas consisted in the fact, that an "eternal priesthood" (i.e., the eternal possession of the priesthood) was secured to him, not for himself alone, but for his descendants also, as a covenant, i.e., in a covenant, or irrevocable form, since God never breaks a covenant that He has made. In accordance with this promise, the high-priesthood which passed from Eleazar to Phinehas (Judges 20:28) continued in his family, with the exception of a brief interruption in Eli's days (see at 1 Samuel 1-3 and 1 Samuel 14:3), until the time of the last gradual dissolution of the Jewish state through the tyranny of Herod and his successors (see my Archologie, 38). - In Numbers 25:14, Numbers 25:15, the names of the two daring sinners are given. The father of Cozbi, the Midianitish princess, was named Zur, and is described here as "head of the tribes (אמּות, see at Genesis 25:16) of a father's house in Midian," i.e., as the head of several of the Midianitish tribes that were descended from one tribe-father; in Numbers 31:8, however, he is described as a king, and classed among the five kings of Midian who were slain by the Israelites.
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