Numbers Chapter 26

Moses and the Israelites were drawing nearer to the promised land. They were encamped on the opposite side of the Jordan river in the last several chapters of the book of Numbers. At this point, they were in the plains of Moab. They had just experienced a plague because of wickedness among them, which had caused the death of thousands. This chapter begins as follows:

1 And it came to pass after the plague, that the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying,
2 Take the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, throughout their fathers’ house, all that are able to go to war in Israel.
3 And Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying,
4 Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward; as the Lord commanded Moses and the children of Israel, which went forth out of the land of Egypt.

The Lord told Moses and Eleazar, the high priest, to take another census of the Israelites, as they had done before the forty years of journeying in the wilderness. They went to the people and told them they were to total all the Israelite men over the age of twenty, who made up the army of Israel.

A Family Tree

A Family Tree

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:
6 Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites.
7 These are the families of the Reubenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty.
8 And the sons of Pallu; Eliab.
9 And the sons of Eliab; Nemuel, and Dathan, and Abiram. This is that Dathan and Abiram, which were famous in the congregation, who strove against Moses and against Aaron in the company of Korah, when they strove against the Lord:
10 And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, what time the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men: and they became a sign.
11 Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.

The Reubenites numbered 43,730, which included some of the children of Korah who had been swallowed up by the ground for his wickedness. (Side note: the first count was 46,500) I wonder just how many more their would have been in the number of their tribe, if they had been more righteous in their leadership.

12 The sons of Simeon after their families: of Nemuel, the family of the Nemuelites: of Jamin, the family of the Jaminites: of Jachin, the family of the Jachinites:
13 Of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites: of Shaul, the family of the Shaulites.
14 These are the families of the Simeonites, twenty and two thousand and two hundred.

The Simeonites numbered 22,200. (First count: 59,300)

15 The children of Gad after their families: of Zephon, the family of the Zephonites: of Haggi, the family of the Haggites: of Shuni, the family of the Shunites:
16 Of Ozni, the family of the Oznites: of Eri, the family of the Erites:
17 Of Arod, the family of the Arodites: of Areli, the family of the Arelites.
18 These are the families of the children of Gad according to those that were numbered of them, forty thousand and five hundred.

The children of Gad numbered 40,500. (First count: 45,650)

19 The sons of Judah were Er and Onan: and Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan.
20 And the sons of Judah after their families were; of Shelah, the family of the Shelanites: of Pharez, the family of the Pharzites: of Zerah, the family of the Zarhites.
21 And the sons of Pharez were; of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Hamul, the family of the Hamulites.
22 These are the families of Judah according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and sixteen thousand and five hundred.

The families of Judah numbered 76,500. (First count: 74,600)

23 Of the sons of Issachar after their families: of Tola, the family of the Tolaites: of Pua, the family of the Punites:
24 Of Jashub, the family of the Jashubites: of Shimron, the family of the Shimronites.
25 These are the families of Issachar according to those that were numbered of them, threescore and four thousand and three hundred.

The families of Issachar numbered 64,300. (First count: 54,400)

26 Of the sons of Zebulun after their families: of Sered, the family of the Sardites: of Elon, the family of the Elonites: of Jahleel, the family of the Jahleelites.
27 These are the families of the Zebulunites according to those that were numbered of them, threescore thousand and five hundred.

The Zebulunites numbered 60,500. (First count: 57,400)

28 The sons of Joseph after their families were Manasseh and Ephraim.
29 Of the sons of Manasseh: of Machir, the family of the Machirites: and Machir begat Gilead: of Gilead come the family of the Gileadites.
30 These are the sons of Gilead: of Jeezer, the family of the Jeezerites: of Helek, the family of the Helekites:
31 And of Asriel, the family of the Asrielites: and of Shechem, the family of the Shechemites:
32 And of Shemida, the family of the Shemidaites: and of Hepher, the family of the Hepherites.
33 And Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, and Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah.
34 These are the families of Manasseh, and those that were numbered of them, fifty and two thousand and seven hundred.

The families of Joseph, through Manasseh, numbered 52,700. (First count: 32,200)

35 These are the sons of Ephraim after their families: of Shuthelah, the family of the Shuthalhites: of Becher, the family of the Bachrites: of Tahan, the family of the Tahanites.
36 And these are the sons of Shuthelah: of Eran, the family of the Eranites.
37 These are the families of the sons of Ephraim according to those that were numbered of them, thirty and two thousand and five hundred. These are the sons of Joseph after their families.

The families of Joseph, through Ephraim, numbered 32,500. (First count: 40,500)

38 The sons of Benjamin after their families: of Bela, the family of the Belaites: of Ashbel, the family of the Ashbelites: of Ahiram, the family of the Ahiramites:
39 Of Shupham, the family of the Shuphamites: of Hupham, the family of the Huphamites.
40 And the sons of Bela were Ard and Naaman: of Ard, the family of the Ardites: and of Naaman, the family of the Naamites.
41 These are the sons of Benjamin after their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and six hundred.

The children of Benjamin numbered 45,600. (First count: 35,400)

42 These are the sons of Dan after their families: of Shuham, the family of the Shuhamites. These are the families of Dan after their families.
43 All the families of the Shuhamites, according to those that were numbered of them, were threescore and four thousand and four hundred.

The families of Dan numbered 64,400. (First count: 62,700) I think this is interesting because the scriptures (Genesis 46:23) mention one son of Dan, named Hushim (I am guessing that is Shuham here). This means that his family had become great in number from just one son.

44 Of the children of Asher after their families: of Jimna, the family of the Jimnites: of Jesui, the family of the Jesuites: of Beriah, the family of the Beriites.
45 Of the sons of Beriah: of Heber, the family of the Heberites: of Malchiel, the family of the Malchielites.
46 And the name of the daughter of Asher was Sarah.
47 These are the families of the sons of Asher according to those that were numbered of them; who were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.

The families of Asher numbered 53,400. (First count: 41,500)

48 Of the sons of Naphtali after their families: of Jahzeel, the family of the Jahzeelites: of Guni, the family of the Gunites:
49 Of Jezer, the family of the Jezerites: of Shillem, the family of the Shillemites.
50 These are the families of Naphtali according to their families: and they that were numbered of them were forty and five thousand and four hundred.
51 These were the numbered of the children of Israel, six hundred thousand and a thousand seven hundred and thirty.

The children of Naphtali numbered 45,400. (First count: 53,400) The total of the men of Israel was 601,730. (First count: 603,550)

52 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
53 Unto these the land shall be divided for an inheritance according to the number of names.
54 To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance: to every one shall his inheritance be given according to those that were numbered of him.
55 Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.
56 According to the lot shall the possession thereof be divided between many and few.

The lands were to be divided as an inheritance for the Israelites. The families that were greater in number, were to receive the greater inheritance. The lots were to be divided out by family tribes.

57 And these are they that were numbered of the Levites after their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites: of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites: of Merari, the family of the Merarites.
58 These are the families of the Levites: the family of the Libnites, the family of the Hebronites, the family of the Mahlites, the family of the Mushites, the family of the Korathites. And Kohath begat Amram.
59 And the name of Amram’s wife was Jochebed, the daughter of Levi, whom her mother bare to Levi in Egypt: and she bare unto Amram Aaron and Moses, and Miriam their sister.
60 And unto Aaron was born Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the Lord.
62 And those that were numbered of them were twenty and three thousand, all males from a month old and upward: for they were not numbered among the children of Israel, because there was no inheritance given them among the children of Israel.

The Levites were not included in the numbering of the army host of Israel, because of their service to the tabernacle. They did not receive an inheritance. The Levites who were remaining, boys and men older than a month, numbered 23,000.

63 These are they that were numbered by Moses and Eleazar the priest, who numbered the children of Israel in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho.
64 But among these there was not a man of them whom Moses and Aaron the priest numbered, when they numbered the children of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai.
65 For the Lord had said of them, They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.

All the men numbered at Sinai, had died in the wilderness, with the exception of Caleb and Joshua. They had been promised to remain living, because of their faithfulness when all others did not trust in the Lord. The Lord fulfilled his promise that no others would live to see the promised land.

I think that there are two things to get out of this chapter. First, we see again, the importance of keeping records of families in a patriarchal line. These records will one day be an important part of the chain that links all the covenant people of the earth to one another in an eternal family. Second, we see that the Lord fulfills his promises. In Numbers 14:29, He promised, “Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,”. This was when they had hardened their hearts and trusted in the wisdom of men, instead of the Lord. Only Caleb and Joshua had put their faith in God, and were willing to go forward according to the will of God. I think of the verses in 1 Nephi 17, which are the words of Nephi to his brothers.

30 And notwithstanding they being led, the Lord their God, their Redeemer, going before them, leading them by day and giving light unto them by night, and doing all things for them which were expedient for man to receive, they hardened their hearts and blinded their minds, and reviled against Moses and against the true and living God.
31 And it came to pass that according to his word he did destroy them; and according to his word he did lead them; and according to his word he did do all things for them; and there was not any thing done save it were by his word.

We can learn from this, that the Lord will keep his word. We have been given many promises in the scriptures and through our modern prophets, which I hold fast to every day. We have been promised that if we keep the commandments, we will prosper. I believe this to be true. We have been promised that if we do the little every day things, such as personal and family prayer and study, that our families will be eternal families, and that our children will be protected from the attacks of the adversary. I have great hope in this. The list goes on, and the promises are great. I hope that be reading these stories in the scriptures, we can see that we can trust the Lord to keep His word. I believe He will do this, because He loves us, and wants to give us every blessing as well as help us to grown up to be the best we can be.

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