Numbers 26:3
And Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
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26:1-51 Moses did not number the people but when God commanded him. We have here the families registered, as well as the tribes. The total was nearly the same as when numbered at mount Sinai. Notice is here taken of the children of Korah; they died not, as the children of Dathan and Abiram; they seem not to have joined even their own father in rebellion. If we partake not of the sins of sinners, we shall not partake of their plagues.After the plague - These words serve to show approximately the date at which the census was taken, and intimate the reason for the great decrease in numbers which was found to have taken place in certain tribes. Compare Deuteronomy 4:3 and Numbers 26:5 note in this chapter. 2. Take the sum of all the congregation—The design of this new census, after a lapse of thirty-eight years, was primarily to establish the vast multiplication of the posterity of Abraham in spite of the severe judgments inflicted upon them; secondarily, it was to preserve the distinction of families and to make arrangements, preparatory to an entrance into the promised land, for the distribution of the country according to the relative population of the tribes. In the plains of Moab; see Numbers 22:1 33:48 And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them,.... With the children of Israel, with the heads of them, their chief and principal, to assist in taking the number of the people; as when they were numbered thirty years ago, when a prince out of each tribe was taken to be with Aaron and Moses in doing that business; but those princes were now all dead, and another race succeeded, who were now employed in this service; so the Targum of Jonathan says, they spoke with the rulers, and ordered them to number them:

in the plains of Moab, by Jordan, near Jericho: or of Jericho, as the same Targum, on the other side of Jordan to that on which Jericho stood; for as yet the children of Israel had not passed that river, nor entered into the land of Canaan, in which Jericho was, but they were now opposite it; See Gill on Numbers 22:1,

saying; as follows.

And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan {b} near Jericho, saying,

(b) Where the river is near to Jericho.

Verse 3. - Spake with them, i.e., no doubt with the responsible chiefs, who must have assisted in this census, as in the previous one (chapter Numbers 1:4), although the fact is not mentioned. For this act of divine zeal the eternal possession of the priesthood was promised to Phinehas and his posterity as Jehovah's covenant of peace. בּקנאו, by displaying my zeal in the midst of them (viz., the Israelites). קנאתי is not "zeal for me," but "my zeal," the zeal of Jehovah with which Phinehas was filled, and impelled to put the daring sinners to death. By doing this he had averted destruction from the Israelites, and restrained the working of Jehovah's zeal, which had manifested itself in the plague. "I gave him my covenant of peace" (the suffix is attached to the governing noun, as in Leviticus 6:3). בּרית נתן, as in Genesis 17:2, to give, i.e., to fulfil the covenant, to grant what was promised in the covenant. The covenant granted to Phinehas consisted in the fact, that an "eternal priesthood" (i.e., the eternal possession of the priesthood) was secured to him, not for himself alone, but for his descendants also, as a covenant, i.e., in a covenant, or irrevocable form, since God never breaks a covenant that He has made. In accordance with this promise, the high-priesthood which passed from Eleazar to Phinehas (Judges 20:28) continued in his family, with the exception of a brief interruption in Eli's days (see at 1 Samuel 1-3 and 1 Samuel 14:3), until the time of the last gradual dissolution of the Jewish state through the tyranny of Herod and his successors (see my Archologie, 38). - In Numbers 25:14, Numbers 25:15, the names of the two daring sinners are given. The father of Cozbi, the Midianitish princess, was named Zur, and is described here as "head of the tribes (אמּות, see at Genesis 25:16) of a father's house in Midian," i.e., as the head of several of the Midianitish tribes that were descended from one tribe-father; in Numbers 31:8, however, he is described as a king, and classed among the five kings of Midian who were slain by the Israelites.
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