Numbers 1:17
And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
1:1-43 The people were numbered to show God's faithfulness in thus increasing the seed of Jacob, that they might be the better trained for the wars and conquest of Canaan, and to ascertain their families in order to the division of the land. It is said of each tribe, that those were numbered who were able to go forth to war; they had wars before them, though now they met with no opposition. Let the believer be prepared to withstand the enemies of his soul, though all may appear to be peace.The princes of the tribes, selected Numbers 1:4 under divine direction, were for the most part the same persons as those chosen a few months previously at the counsel of Jethro Exodus 18:21-26. Nahshon, prince of Judah, is mentioned in Exodus 6:23, and Elishama, in 1 Chronicles 7:26-27. The peers of men like these were no doubt entitled, among their fellows, to the epithet "renowned," Numbers 1:16. 16-18. These were the renowned—literally, "the called" of the congregation, summoned by name; and they entered upon the survey the very day the order was given. No text from Poole on this verse.

And Moses and Aaron took these men,.... They doubtless sent for them, and acquainted them with the nomination of them, by the Lord himself, for such a service; and they took them with them to the place where the number of the people was to be taken:

which are expressed by their names: in Numbers 1:16, and that as declared by the mouth of God himself.

And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17–46. The numbers ascertained by the census.

There can be no doubt that the numbers given in chs. 1–3 and 26 are purely artificial. Gray (Numbers, pp. 10–15) shews that (1) they are impossible, (2) when compared with each other they yield absurd results, (3) they are inconsistent with numbers given in Hebrew literature earlier than P .

(1) The number of male Israelites of fighting age is put at 603,550, which appears in round numbers as 600,000 in Numbers 11:21, Exodus 12:37. But the fighting men could form hardly more than a quarter of the whole; so that the population would reach a total of some 2¼ millions. The present population of the Sinaitic peninsula is estimated at from 4,000 to 6,000, and a body of over 2 million people could not find subsistence even if dispersed all over the peninsula.

(2) The male first-born numbered 22,273 (Numbers 3:43); and it is fair to suppose that the number of families in which the first-born child was a female would be about the same, giving a total of some 44,546 families; in which case there was an average of about 50 children to a family.

Again, from Numbers 3:12 we gather that the ‘first-born’ means the first-born of the mother, not the eldest son of a father who might have several wives. There were, therefore, 44,546 mothers. But this number (assuming that the number of women over 20 years of age was the same as that of the men, i.e. 600,000) involves the extreme improbability that only 1 in 14 women over 20 years of age had any children.

(3) According to Jdg 5:8 the tribes of Benjamin, Ephraim. Manasseh, Naphtali, Zebulun and Issachar yielded only 40,000 persons, i.e. apparently fighting men. But in these six tribes the fighting men were 273,300 at the first census, and 301,000 at the second (Numbers 26).

Again, in Judges 18 it is related that the Danites had no proper territory belonging to them; and therefore 600 armed men (obviously the greater part of the tribe) migrated to the north. But the fighting men of Dan numbered 62,700 at the first census, and 64,400 at the second. See, further, the additional note at the end of the chapter.

Verse 17. - These men. Designated by direct command of God; yet probably the same, or some of the same, selected by Moses for obvious personal and social reasons a short time before (Exodus 18:25). Numbers 1:17This command was carried out by Moses and Aaron. They took for this purpose the twelve heads of tribes who are pointed out (see at Leviticus 24:11) by name, and had the whole congregation gathered together by them and enrolled in genealogical tables. התילּד, to announce themselves as born, i.e., to have themselves entered in genealogical registers (books of generations). This entry is called a פּקד, mustering, in Numbers 1:19, etc. In vv. 20-43 the number is given of those who were mustered of all the different tribes, and in Numbers 1:44-47 the total of the whole nation, with the exception of the tribe of Levi. "Their generations" (Numbers 1:20, Numbers 1:22, Numbers 1:24, etc.), i.e., those who were begotten by them, so that "the sons of Reuben, Simeon," etc., are mentioned as the fathers from whom the mishpachoth and fathers' houses had sprung. The ל before שׁמעון בּני in Numbers 1:22, and the following names (in Numbers 1:24, Numbers 1:26, etc.), signifies "with regard to" (as in Isaiah 32:1; Psalm 17:4, etc.).
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