Numbers 1:18
And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Declared their pedigrees.—More literally, announced themselves as having been born—i.e., caused themselves to be enrolled. The people appear to have been enrolled by their polls, i.e., individually, under three heads—(1) according to the tribe to which they belonged; (2) according to the mishpahah, or family, which, as it appears from Numbers 3:22, included in some cases two or three thousand persons; and (3) according to their father’s house. The importance of this enrolment, as affording the means of tracing the genealogy of Christ, must not be overlooked.

According to the number of the names.—The words are the same as in Numbers 1:2, and should be rendered in the same manner.

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. 18. by their polls—individually, one by one. No text from Poole on this verse. And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month,.... The month Ijar, as the Targum of Jonathan, answering to part of April and May: this was done on the selfsame day the Lord spake unto Moses about this affair, Numbers 1:1; so expeditious were he and Aaron in doing the will of God:

and they declared their pedigrees; either Moses and Aaron, according to Aben Ezra, who inquired when they were born, because of the computation of twenty years; and then their birth was wrote down, as he says; or rather the people declared their pedigrees, of what tribe, family, and house they were, who their parents, when born, and so, of course, how old they were; Jarchi interprets it, they brought the books of their genealogies, and witnesses to confirm the birth of everyone of them, to show their genealogy according to their tribe; nor is it at all unlikely that every family and house, or master thereof, kept a register of those born to him in it, whereby their age could be ascertained as well as pedigree:

after their famines, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of their names, from twenty years old and upwards, by their poll: that is, every tribe gave an account of the families in it, every family what houses were in it, and every house what number of males were in it, and of what age; and such were numbered who were twenty years old and upward.

And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared {f} their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

(f) In showing every man his tribe and his ancestors.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 18. - On the first day of the second month. The natural meaning is that the census was completed in one day. If so, the "census papers," the pedigrees and family lists, must have been ready beforehand. Notice had in fact been given more than a month before, and the lists made up, when the poll-tax was paid. Moses and Aaron, who were commanded to number, or rather to muster, the people, were to have with them "a man of every tribe, who was head-man of his fathers' houses," i.e., a tribe-prince, viz., to help them to carry out the mustering. Beth aboth ("fathers' houses"), in Numbers 1:2, is a technical expression for the subdivisions in which the mishpachoth, or families of the tribes, were arranged, and is applied in Numbers 1:4 according to its original usage, based upon the natural division of the tribes into mishpachoth and families, to the fathers' houses which every tribe possessed in the family of its first-born. In Numbers 1:5-15, these heads of tribes were mentioned by name, as in Numbers 2:3., Numbers 7:12., Numbers 10:14. In Numbers 1:16 they are designated as "called men of the congregation," because they were called to diets of the congregation, as representatives of the tribes, to regulate the affairs of the nation; also "princes of the tribes of their fathers," and "heads of the thousands of Israel:" "prince," from the nobility of their birth; and "heads," as chiefs of the alaphim composing the tribes. Alaphim is equivalent to mishpachoth (cf. Numbers 10:4; Joshua 22:14); because the number of heads of families in the mishpachoth of a tribe might easily amount to a thousand (see at Exodus 18:25). In a similar manner, the term "hundred" in the old German came to be used in several different senses (see Grimm, deutsche Rechts-alterthmer, p. 532).
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