Numbers 26:53
Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(53-56) Unto these the land shall be divided . . . —The general apportionment of the land, as regarded the relative position of each tribe, was to be decided by lot, which was commonly looked upon as the determination of God Himself, and in this instance was undoubtedly so. The extent of territory was to be determined by the number of names—i.e., of persons—in each tribe, and each inheritance was to bear the name of the ancestor of the tribe. Rashi says that the names of the twelve tribes were written on twelve scrolls of parchment, and twelve borders, or limits of land, on twelve others, and that they were mixed together in an urn.

Numbers 26:53. The land shall be divided — The land was divided into nine parts and a half, respect being had in such division to the goodness as well as to the largeness of the several portions, and the lot gave each tribe their part. Of names — Of persons: the share of each tribe was divided among the several families, to some more, to some less, according to the number of persons of each family. And withal, if one of the portions proved too large or too little for the families and persons of that tribe, they might give part of their portion to another tribe, (as Simeon and Dan had part of Judah’s share,) or take away a part from the portion belonging to another tribe.

26:52-56 In distributing these tribes, the general rule of equity is prescribed; that to many should be given more, and to fewer less. Though it seems left to the prudence of their prince, the matter at last must be settled by the providence of God, with which all must be satisfied.This shows a decrease of 1,820 from the number at Sinai; a decrease due to the recent plague. 53. the land shall be divided according to the number of names—The portion of each tribe was to be greater or less, according to its populousness. Unto these; to these families now mentioned.

The land shall be divided, by lot, Numbers 26:55. The land was divided into nine parts and a half, respect being had in such division to the goodness as well as to the largeness of the several portions, and the lot gave each tribe their part.

Of names, i.e. of the persons, names being oft put for persons, as Acts 1:15 Philippians 2:9 Revelation 3:4 11:13. The meaning is, that the share of each tribe was divided amongst the several families, to some more, to some less, according to the number of the persons of each family, Numbers 33:54. And withal, if one of the lots or portions proved too large or too little for all the families and persons of that tribe, in this case they might either give part of their portion to another tribe, as Simeon and Dan had parts of Judah’s share, Joshua 19:1,40, or take away a part from the portion belonging to another tribe.

Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance,.... That were numbered, and to none else:

according to the number of their names; and for this end was the number of them now taken, that the land might be equally divided among them; women and minors, or such as were under twenty years of age, had no share in it; and even only those who were at that age at this time; so Jarchi says, it was not divided to any that were less than twenty years of age, even though they came to be full twenty before the division of the land; for they were seven years subduing it, and seven years dividing it, yet none took any part of it but these 601,730: nay, he says, if a man had six children they took but their father's part only.

Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 53. - According to the number of the names. The intention clearly was that the extent of the territory assigned to each tribe, and called by its name (verse 55, b), should be regulated according to its numbers at the discretion of the rulers. Numbers 26:53Instructions concerning the Distribution of the Land. - In Numbers 26:53, Numbers 26:54, the command is given to distribute the land as an inheritance among the twelve tribes ("unto these"), according to the number of the names (Numbers 1:2-18), i.e., to the tribes and families that contained only a few persons, they were to make it small; to every one according to the measure of its mustered persons (ל must be repeated before אישׁ). In Numbers 26:55, Numbers 26:56, it is still further commanded that the distribution should take place by lot. "According to the names on their paternal tribes shall they (the children of Israel) receive it (the land) for an inheritance." The meaning of these words can only be, that every tribe was to receive a province of its own for an inheritance, which should be called by its name for ever. The other regulation in Numbers 26:56, "according to the measure of the lot shall its inheritance (the inheritance of every tribe) be divided between the numerous and the small (tribe)," is no doubt to be understood as signifying, that in the division of the tribe territories, according to the comparative sizes of the different tribes, they were to adhere to that portion of land which fell to every tribe in the casting of the lots. The magnitude and limits of the possessions of the different tribes could not be determined by the lot according to the magnitude of the tribes themselves: all that could possibly be determined was the situation to be occupied by the tribe; so that R. Bechai is quite correct in observing that "the casting of the lot took place for the more convenient distribution of the different portions, whether of better or inferior condition, that there might be no occasion for strife and covetousness," though the motive assigned is too partial in its character. The lot was to determine the portion of every tribe, not merely to prevent all occasion for dissatisfaction and complaining, but in order that every tribe might receive with gratitude the possession that fell to its lot as the inheritance assigned it by God, the result of the lot being regarded by almost all nations as determined by God Himself (cf. Proverbs 16:33; Proverbs 18:18). On this ground not only was the lot resorted to by the Greeks and Romans in the distribution of conquered lands (see the proofs in Clericus, Rosenmller, and Knobel), but it is still employed in the division of lands. (For further remarks, see at Joshua 14:1.).
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