Numbers 26:5
Reuben, the eldest son of Israel: the children of Reuben; Hanoch, of whom cometh the family of the Hanochites: of Pallu, the family of the Palluites:
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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.Following The tribes are mentioned in the same order as in the earlier census Numbers 1, except that Manasseh here precedes Ephraim; probably as being now the larger tribe.

The following table shows the numbers of the tribes at each census; at Sinai, and in the Plains of Moab:

At Sinai Plains of Moab Reuben 46,500 43,730 Simeon 9,300 22,200 Gad 45,650 40,500 Judah 74,600 76,500 Issachar 54,400 64,300 Zebulun 57,400 60,500 Ephraim 40,500 32,500 Manasseh 32,200 52,700 Benjamin 35,400 45,600 Daniel 62,700 64,400 Asher 41,500 53,400 Naphtali 53,400 45,400 Totals 603, 550 601, 730

Seven of the tribes, of which three are tribes belonging to the camp of Judah, show an increase of numbers; and five, among whom are the three belonging to the camp of Reuben, show a decrease. The greatest increase of any one tribe is in Manasseh. The most remarkable decrease is in Simeon, which now shows less than half its former strength. To this tribe Zimri, the chief offender in the recent transgression, belonged Numbers 25:14. Probably his tribesmen generally had followed his example, and had accordingly suffered most severely in the plague. In the parting blessing of Moses, uttered at no great interval from this date, the tribe of Simeon alone is omitted.

The families of all the tribes, excluding the Levites, number 57. The ancestral heads after whom these families are named correspond nearly with the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of Jacob, enumerated in Genesis 46:8 ff. Both lists consist mainly of grandchildren of Jacob, both contain also the same two grandchildren of Judah, and the same two grandchildren of Asher. The document in Genesis should be regarded as a list, not of those who went down in their own persons with Jacob into Egypt, but of those whose names were transmitted to their posterity at the date of the Exodus as the heads of Israelite houses, and wire may thus be reckoned the early ancestors of the people.

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. No text from Poole on this verse.

Reuben, the eldest son of Israel,.... the number of his tribe is taken first on that account; there were four families that descended from him, the Hanochite, Palluite, Hesronite, and Carmite, and the number of men from twenty years old and upwards, fit for war, were 43,730; so that, since the last numbering, this tribe was decreased 2770; which may in part be accounted for by the families of Dathan and Abiram being cut off for their rebellion, who were this tribe, and whose affair is briefly related in the following verses, and it may be to point out this unto us. Reuben, the eldest son of Israel: the children of Reuben; Hanoch, of whom cometh the family of the Hanochites: of Pallu, the family of the Palluites:
5–51. The twelve secular tribes are numbered, the sacred tribe of Levi being omitted. The names are based upon Genesis 46:8-27, but with the addition of Ephraim and Manasseh, who, having been born in Egypt, could not be reckoned in Gen. among those who went down into Egypt.

The total number at the first census, thirty-eight years before (ch. 1) was 603,550; now it is 601,730. The order of the tribes is the same, except that Manasseh (Numbers 26:29-34) precedes Ephraim (Numbers 26:35-37). Reuben, Simeon, Gad, Ephraim and Naphtali have decreased in numbers, while the other seven have increased. The impossibility of the figures is shewn in note on Numbers 1:46.

Verse 5. - The children of Reuben. The four names here registered as distinguishing families within the tribe of Reuben agree with the lists given in Genesis 46:9; Exodus 6:14; 1 Chronicles 5:3. Numbers 26:5The families of Reuben tally with Genesis 46:9; Exodus 6:14, and 1 Chronicles 5:3. The plural בּני (sons), in Numbers 26:8, where only one son is mentioned, is to be explained from the fact, that several sons of this particular son (i.e., grandsons) are mentioned afterwards. On Dathan and Abiram, see at Numbers 16:1 and Numbers 16:32. See also the remark made here in Numbers 26:10 and Numbers 26:11, viz., that those who were destroyed with the company of Korah were for a sign (נס, here a warning); but that the sons of Korah were not destroyed along with their father.
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