Numbers 1:19
As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.
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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. 19. As the Lord commanded Moses, &c.—The numbering of the people was not an act sinful in itself, as Moses did it by divine appointment; but David incurred guilt by doing it without the authority of God. (See on [50]2Sa 24:10). No text from Poole on this verse. As the Lord commanded Moses,.... In this Moses and David differed in numbering the people of Israel; the one did it by an express command from God, and in obedience to it; the other without one, and against his will, 1 Chronicles 21:17,

so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai; where they now were when this order was given, Numbers 1:1; and from whence they removed the twentieth day of this month, Numbers 10:11; so that in less than three weeks time, perhaps much sooner, this affair was finished; and it may be, that the place of numbering them at this time is expressly observed, to distinguish it from another numbering of them, recorded in this book, which was done in the plains of Moab, Numbers 26:2.

As the LORD commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.
Verse 19. - As the Lord commanded Moses, so he numbered them. The usual note of absolute obedience to the Divine instructions; but it serves to express the fundamental difference between this numbering and David's. 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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