Exodus 38:26
A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.
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(26) A bekah for every man.—The word “bekah” means simply a half, but appears to have been restricted in its use to the half-shekel. (Comp. Genesis 24:22.) The exegetical clause, half a shekel,” is probably a later addition to the text, inserted to clear the sense.

For every one that went to be numbered.—It is remarkable that the principle of compulsory payment towards the fabric of the sanctuary should have received a sanction at the very time when the greatest stress was laid upon the greater acceptableness of voluntary offerings. (See Exodus 25:2; Exodus 35:5; Exodus 35:21-29.) Whatever may be thought of the expediency of levying church-rates, they are clearly defensible in principle, both from the standpoint of the Old Testament and of the New (Matthew 17:24-27).

From twenty years old and upward.—See Note on Exodus 30:14.

Six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.—The identity of this number with that which is given in Numbers 1:46, as arrived at “in the second year, on the first day of the second month” (Numbers 1:1), is best explained by regarding both passages as having reference to the same transaction. The taking of the census occupied several months, during which the money was gradually collected, the sockets, &c., made, and the Tabernaclo set up. The registration was deferred, and took place on a single day, when Moses and Aaron went round the tribes, received the results from their hands, and entered them in a book. It appears from Numbers 1:47 that the Levites were not counted in the sum total, no atonement money being taken from them. (See Birks’ Exodus of Israel, pp. 118-120.)

38:21-31 The foundation of massy pieces of silver showed the solidity and purity of the truth upon which the church is founded. Let us regard the Lord Jesus Christ while reading of the furniture of the tabernacle. While looking at the altar of burnt-offering, let us see Jesus. In him, his righteousness, and salvation, is a full and sufficient offering for sin. In the laver of regeneration, by his Holy Spirit, let our souls be washed, and they shall be clean; and as the people offered willingly, so may our souls be made willing. Let us be ready to part with any thing, and count all but loss to win Christ.A bekah - Literally, "a half": the words "half a shekel," etc. appear to be inserted only for emphasis, to enforce the accuracy to be observed in the payment. See Exodus 30:13. Respecting the capitation and the numbering of the people, see Exodus 30:12. 25. the silver of them that were numbered—603,550 men at half a shekel each would contribute 301,775 shekels; which at 2s. 4d. each, amounts to £35,207 sterling. It may seem difficult to imagine how the Israelites should be possessed of so much wealth in the desert; but it should be remembered that they were enriched first by the spoils of the Egyptians, and afterwards by those of the Amalekites. Besides, it is highly probable that during their sojourn they traded with the neighboring nations who bordered on the wilderness [Hewlett]. No text from Poole on this verse.

A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary,.... A half shekel was called a "bekah", from "bakah", to divide; because it was a shekel divided into two parts:

for everyone that went to be numbered, from twenty years and upwards; in order to give a ransom, and make an atonement for their souls, as was ordered Exodus 30:12.

for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men; so that from the time of their coming out of Egypt, which was now about six months ago, there was an increase of 3550 of the above age; see Exodus 12:37.

A bekah for every man, that is, half a shekel, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for every one that went to be numbered, from twenty years old and upward, for six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty men.
26. a beḳa‘] Genesis 24:22.† Lit. a thing cleft or halved. Three beḳa‘s have been found recently in Palestine (Qu. St. of PEF., 1904, pp. 179, 211, ZDPV. 1906, p. 94), weighing respectively 90.58, 94.28, and 102.5 grains Troy. They are apparently light, or worn, beḳa‘s of the ‘Phoenician’ standard (DB. iv. 905b; EB. iv. 4444, 5297 f.), in which the shekel weighed 224 grs.

that passed over to them that were numbered] as Exodus 30:13.

Verse 26. - A bekah for every man. Literally, "for every head." From twenty years old and upward. Compare Numbers 1:3, 22, etc. Six hundred thousand, etc. It is remarkable that this number agrees exactly with the sum total of the numbering in Numbers 2:32, which took place about six months later, and was exclusive of 22,000 Levites. Perhaps the number was lost in this place, and restored from Numbers 2:32, without its being recollected that the Levites were not included in that reckoning. Exodus 38:26Of the silver, all that is mentioned is the amount of atonement-money raised from those who were numbered (see at Exodus 30:12.) at the rate of half a shekel for every male, without including the freewill-offerings of silver (Exodus 35:24, cf. Exodus 25:3), whether it was that they were too insignificant, or that they were not used for the work, but were placed with the excess mentioned in Exodus 36:7. The result of the numbering gave 603,550 men, every one of whom paid half a shekel. This would yield 301,775 shekels, or 100 talents and 1775 shekels, which proves by the way that a talent contained 3000 shekels. A hundred talents of this were used for casting 96 sockets for the 48 boards, and 4 sockets for the 4 pillars of the inner court, - one talent therefore for each socket, - and the 1775 shekels for the hooks of the pillars that sustained the curtains, for silvering their capitals, and "for binding the pillars," i.e., for making the silver connecting rods for the pillars of the court (Exodus 27:10-11; Exodus 38:10.).
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