Numbers 1:5
And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.
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(5) Of the tribe of Reuben.—Hebrew, for Reuben.

Numbers 1:5. Reuben — The tribes are here numbered according to the order or quality of their birth, first the children of Leah, then of Rachel, and then of the handmaids.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. 5. these are the names of the men that shall stand with you, &c.—Each is designated by adding the name of the ancestors of his tribe, the people of which were called "Beni-Reuben," "Beni-Levi," sons of Reuben, sons of Levi, according to the custom of the Arabs still, as well as other nations which are divided into clans, as the Macs of Scotland, the Aps of Wales, and the O's and the Fitzes of Ireland [Chalmers]. With you, to wit, with Moses and Aaron, who were the chief managers of the work. The tribes are here numbered according to the order or quality of their birth, first the children of Leah, then of Rachel, and then of the hand-maids. And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you,.... Be present with Moses and Aaron when numbering the people; not merely as spectators of the affair, and inspectors of the accounts, but as assistants in the work; each man in his tribe, being best acquainted with the families and houses in it; and these men were not pitched upon by Moses and Aaron, nor chosen by their respective tribes, but were appointed and named by the Lord himself, which was doing them great honour:

of the tribe of Reuben: or "for Reuben" (c), for the taking the number of men in this tribe; and so of all the rest, see Numbers 1:44,

Elizur the son of Shedeur; from Numbers 1:5 the names of those several men are given, which were very proper for Moses and Aaron to know, though of little importance to us; nor the signification of their several names, given by Ainsworth and others; only, as Bishop Patrick observes, most of them show how much God was in the thoughts of those who, imposed these names on their children, several of them having in them "El" or "Eli", "God" or "my God", and "Shaddai", "Almighty" or "all-sufficient": to which may be added, that in some of them they seem to respect the Messiah, as Elizur, signifying "my God the rock"; and Shelumiel may be rendered, "God my peace"; and Zurishaddai, "my rock the Almighty", or "all-sufficient"; and Pedazhur, "the rock redeemeth": nor is there anything of any moment to be remarked, unless the order in which the several tribes are placed; and first the children of Leah, beginning with Reuben, the firstborn; and the rest, Simeon and Judah, are ranked according to their birth; Levi being omitted, because that tribe was not now numbered, and besides, Moses and Aaron were of it; and then Issachar and Zebulun; after those the children of Rachel, because of her honour and glory above the handmaids, as Aben Ezra remarks; who further observes, that it begins with Ephraim, following Jacob our father, that is, because of the blessing of Jacob, who preferred Ephraim the younger to Manasseh the elder; and here Ephraim and Manasseh are set before Benjamin, because they were in the place of Joseph; and after that the account goes on with Dan, because, he was the firstborn of the handmaids; and after him Asher, though the second son of Zilpah, is placed before Gad, the first son, because, says the same Aben Ezra, the Lord knew that he would be the head of those that encamped by the standard of Dan, and so is placed next to him; and after him Gad, who was the firstborn of Leah's handmaid; and Naphtali last of all, the second son of Bilhah: this order seems to be designed to suit with their encampments, and the form of them.

(c) "pro Ruben", Samar. vers. "ipsi Reuben", Montanus.

And these are the names of the men that shall {d} stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.

(d) And afflict you when you number the people.

5. The twenty-four names in the following verses recur in chs. 2, 7. and Numbers 10:14-27. Some of them are of types which were frequent in early times, Amminadab (Numbers 1:7), Ammhud (Numbers 1:10), Elishama (id. [Note: d. idem, ‘the same,’ referring to the book last mentioned.] ), Abidan (Numbers 1:11), Ahiezer (Numbers 1:12), Ahira (Numbers 1:15), but others are unknown to pre-exilic O.T. writings, Nethanel (Numbers 1:8), Gamaliel (Numbers 1:10), and the names compounded with Zur and Shaddai (including Shedeur, Numbers 1:5). No certain traces of names compounded with Shaddai have been found apart from this list. It is probable that the compiler made an artificial selection of ancient and modern names. See Gray, Numbers, pp. 6 f., and Heb. Proper Names, pp. 191–211.Verse 5. - These are the names of the men. The tribes are here mentioned (through their princes) very nearly in the order of their subsequent encampment - south, east, west, and north. Gad alone is displaced, in order that he may be classed with the other sons of the handmaids after the sons of the free women. With regard to all the tithes of the flock and herd, of all that passed under the rod of the herdsman, the tenth (animal) was to be holy to the Lord. No discrimination was to be made in this case between good and bad, and no exchange to be made: if, however, this did take place, the tenth animal was to be holy as well as the one for which it was exchanged, and could not be redeemed. The words "whatsoever passeth under the rod" may be explained from the custom of numbering the flocks by driving the animals one by one past the shepherd, who counted them with a rod stretched out over them (cf. Jeremiah 33:13; Ezekiel 20:37). They mean everything that is submitted to the process of numbering, and are correctly explained by the Rabbins as referring to the fact that every year the additions to the flock and herd were tithed, and not the whole of the cattle. In these directions the tithe is referred to as something well known. In the laws published hitherto, it is true that no mention has been made of it; but, like the burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and peace-offerings, it formed from time immemorial an essential part of the worship of God; so that not only did Jacob vow that he would tithe for the Lord all that He should give him in a foreign land (Genesis 28:22), but Abraham gave a tenth of his booty to Melchizedek the priest (Genesis 14:20). Under these circumstances, it was really unnecessary to enjoin upon the Israelites for the first time the offering of tithe to Jehovah. All that was required was to incorporate this in the covenant legislation, and bring it into harmony with the spirit of the law. This is done here in connection with the holy consecrations; and in Numbers 18:20-32 instructions are given in the proper place concerning their appropriation, and further directions are added in Deuteronomy 12:6, Deuteronomy 12:11; Deuteronomy 14:22. respecting a second tithe. - The laws contained in this chapter are brought to a close in v. 34 with a new concluding formula (see Leviticus 26:46), by which they are attached to the law given at Sinai.
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