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the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 26

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 2552. B.C. 1452.

Orders for numbering the people, Numbers 26:1-4 . Their families and number, Numbers 26:5-51 . Directions for dividing the land between them, Numbers 26:52-55 . The families and number of the Levites, Numbers 26:56-62 . Notice taken of the death of them that were first numbered, Numbers 26:62-65 .

Verse 2

Numbers 26:2. Take the sum of all the congregation They were numbered twice before, Exodus 30:11-12; Numbers 1:1-2. Now they are numbered a third time, to demonstrate the faithfulness of God, both in cutting all those off whom he had threatened to cut off, (Numbers 14:29,) and in a stupendous increase of the people, according to his promise, notwithstanding all their sins, and the sweeping judgments inflicted upon them; and to prepare the way for the equal division of the land, which they were now going to possess.

Verse 7

Numbers 26:7. Families The chief houses, which were subdivided into divers lesser families. Forty-three thousand seven hundred and thirty Whereas, in their last numbering they were forty-six thousand five hundred; for Korah’s conspiracy, as well as other provocations of theirs, had cut off many of them.

Verse 10

Numbers 26:10. Together with Korah These words seem to import that Korah was swallowed up with Dathan and Abiram. But it being more probable, as was observed on Numbers 16:32, that Korah was consumed by the fire of God with those who offered incense, the words may be otherwise translated thus: The earth swallowed them up; namely, Dathan and Abiram; and as for Korah, he died with that company, what time the fire devoured, &c. To the same purpose speak the Samaritan text and Josephus. “Also we have the testimony of the apostolical constitutions, and in effect of Clement of Rome, of Ignatius and Eusebius, that the Septuagint version originally gave the same account.” Whiston. Junius and Tremellius render the passage, The earth swallowed them up, and what things belonged to Korah; namely, his tent, and goods, and family, his children excepted, as they are here. The psalmist seems to confirm the opinion that Korah was burned with his Levites, mentioning only Dathan and Abiram as being swallowed up, Psalms 106:17. They became a sign A monument of divine vengeance against daring sinners, warning them not to rebel against God, or magistrates, his deputies, nor to usurp the priestly office.

Verse 11

Numbers 26:11. The children of Korah died not God being pleased to spare them, because they disowned their father’s act, and separated themselves from his tent and company. Hence the sons of Korah are mentioned 1 Chronicles 6:22; 1 Chronicles 6:38, and often in the book of Psalms.

Verse 12

Numbers 26:12. Jachim Called also Jarib, 1 Chronicles 4:24. And such names might be either added or changed upon some special occasion not recorded in Scripture.

Verse 14

Numbers 26:14. Twenty-two thousand and two hundred No tribe decreased so much as Simeon’s. From fifty-nine thousand and three hundred it sunk to twenty-two thousand and two hundred, little more than a third of what it was. One whole family of that tribe (Ohad, mentioned Exo 6:15 ) was extinct in the wilderness. Some think most of the twenty-four thousand, cut off by the plague for the iniquity of Peor, were of that tribe. For Zimri, a ringleader in that iniquity, was a prince of that tribe. Simeon is not mentioned in Moses’s blessing, Deuteronomy 33:0. And the lot of that tribe in Canaan was inconsiderable, only a canton out of Judah’s lot, Joshua 19:9.

Verse 18

Numbers 26:18. Children of Gad Fewer by above five thousand than there were in their last numbering.

Verse 22

Numbers 26:22. The families of Judah About two thousand more than they were, Numbers 1:27; whereas the foregoing tribes were all diminished.

Verse 33

Numbers 26:33. Zelophehad had no sons, but daughters It is remarkable that in so many heads of families there was only one to whom no sons were born. To what other cause can this be ascribed but to a peculiar providence, whereby many more males than females were born, for the strength and increase of the Jewish nation?

Verse 34

Numbers 26:34. Fifty-two thousand seven hundred Whereas they were but thirty-two thousand and two hundred, in Numbers 1:35. So that they had increased twenty thousand and five hundred, according to the promise made to Joseph’s posterity, Genesis 49:22.

Verses 37-38

Numbers 26:37-38. The sons of Ephraim Ephraim, though in future times a tribe flourishing much more than its brother-tribe Manasseh, (Deuteronomy 33:17,) was now, for some cause, it appears, upon the declension, their poll being decreased eight thousand. See Numbers 1:33. The sons of Benjamin When they went into Egypt the sons of Benjamin were ten, Genesis 46:21. Half of these, it seems, had no children, or their families were become extinct, as only five are here named. In amends for the rest, two of his grand-children by the eldest, Bela, namely, Ard and Naaman, became heads of very large families; so that, upon the whole, the sons of Benjamin had increased since the last poll ten thousand two hundred. Compare Num 26:41 with chap Numbers 1:37.

Verse 42

Numbers 26:42. The sons of Dan Under the name of sons his descendants are included, he having but one immediate son. But from him this tribe multiplied into very great divisions and subdivisions of families, and was now increased since the last poll seventeen hundred.

Verses 47-50

Numbers 26:47-50. The families of the sons of Asher They had increased eleven thousand nine hundred since they were numbered last; but those of Napthali had decreased eight thousand. See Numbers 1:41; Numbers 1:43.

Verse 51

Numbers 26:51. Six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred, &c. Very nigh as many as they were before, Numbers 1:46. So wisely and marvellously did God at the same time manifest his justice in cutting off so vast a number, his mercy in giving such a speedy and numerous supply, and his truth in both.

Verse 53

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.

Verse 55

Numbers 26:55. By lot The quantity of land, it seems, was to be assigned according to the number in each tribe, but the situation was to be determined by lot, both as to the tribes and as to individuals. For instance, it was determined by lot which of the tribes were to inherit in the south, which in the north, &c. But in that quarter where their lot fell a larger or smaller portion of land was appointed them, according to the goodness of the soil, and in proportion as they were more or less numerous. By these means all ground of quarrel among the several tribes was removed, and each acquiesced in his portion, as assigned by God himself, to whom the appeal was made by lot.

Verse 56

Numbers 26:56. Between many and few The share that shall by lot fall to each tribe, shall be distributed to the several families and persons in such proportions as their numbers shall require.

Verse 65

Numbers 26:65. There was not left a man Except of the Levites, who, not being guilty of that sin, did not partake of their judgment. Save Caleb and Joshua Whom God promised to spare, in reward of their steady faith and piety.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Numbers 26". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/numbers-26.html. 1857.
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