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Saturday, December 14 2013
Numbers 26: Israel's Jordan Census
"Moses and Eleazar the priest spake with them in the plains of Moab by Jordan near Jericho, saying, Take the sum of the people, from twenty years old and upward"
The Holy Bible records three countings of the Israelites prior to their entering the Promised Land. The first was a family census, while the second and third were for military purposes. The second census, at the time of the Exodus, was done about 400 years after the first census, which was done when Jacob and his family entered Egypt (see the Fact Finder question below). The third census, which was done just before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, was taken about forty years after the second census (see Numbers 14: Why 40 Years In The Sinai?).
"26:1 And it came to pass after the plague [see Numbers 25: The Moabite Seduction], that the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest, saying, 26:2 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.
The tribes of Israel by that time had each grown into a multitude. The total number of military-age Israelite males at that time was 601,730.
"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: 26:6 Of Hezron, the family of the Hezronites: of Carmi, the family of the Carmites. 26:7 These are the families of the Reubenites: and they that were numbered of them were forty and three thousand and seven hundred and thirty. 26:8 And the sons of Pallu; Eliab. 26:9 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: 26:10 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. 26:11 Notwithstanding the children of Korah died not.
The census also served the purpose of allocating tribal territories. It would be done by lot ("the land shall be divided by lot"), but then with adjustments for tribal population ("To many thou shalt give the more inheritance, and to few thou shalt give the less inheritance").
"26:52 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
The Levites, as the priesthood, did not receive a territory of their own (see Numbers 18: The Inheritance Of The Levites and Numbers 4: The Levite Clans). Their lands were distributed throughout the other tribes.
"26:57 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. 26:58 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. 26:59 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. 26:60 And unto Aaron was born Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 26:61 And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.
The Jordan census was one of the last responsibilities given to Moses by the LORD. The leadership would soon pass from Moses to Joshua, just as the High Priesthood had passed from Aaron to his son Eleazar (see From Moses And Aaron To Joshua and Eleazar).
"26:63 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. 26:64 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. 26:65 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." (Numbers 26:63-65 KJV)
Fact Finder: (a) When and where was the first census of Israel done? (b) When and where was the second census of Israel done?
This Day In History, December 14
557: Constantinople was severely damaged by an earthquake. The city was named after the Roman Emperor Constantine (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy).
704: Aldfrith, king of Northumbria 685-704, died.
1287: A Zuider Zee (i.e. sea in Dutch) seawall failure in the Netherlands caused the drowning of over 50,000 people.
1542: Princess Mary Stuart became Mary, Queen of Scots.
1782: In France, the Montgolfier brothers' balloon made its first test flight.
1812: The French invasion of Russia ended with the remnants of Napoleon's Grande Armee retreating from Russia.
1822: The Congress of Verona, a last meeting of the powers of the Holy Alliance and Britain, ended with Britain preventing a possible intervention in revolutionary Spain.
1860: George Hamilton-Gordon, 4th Earl of Aberdeen, died at age 76. The British statesman and Prime Minister (1852-1855) led a government that involved Britain in the Crimean War against Russia. His government settled disputes over boundaries between Canada the U.S. by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842.
1861: Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha died of typhoid at age 42. The German-born husband and first cousin of Queen Victoria (Albert and Victoria were the nephew and niece of King Leopold of Belgium, who promoted their marriage) was the father of King Edward VII. Throughout her almost 40 years of widowhood, Queen Victoria decided important questions on the basis of what she thought "Albert would have done."
1900: Max Planck presented his quantum theory at the Physics Society in Berlin.
1911: Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and three others became the first known humans to reach the South Pole.
1920: The first fatalities on a scheduled passenger flight occurred when an aircraft crashed into a house, killing the two-person crew and two passengers at Cricklewood, London.
1927: Britain signed a treaty allowing for Iraqi independence. After the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of the First World War, numerous Middle East nations, including Israel, regained their independence by means of the British Mandate (see A History Of Jerusalem: The British Mandate).
1946: Primarily because Europe was still then in ruins at the end of the Second World War, the United Nations voted to move its headquarters to New York.
1977: Representatives from Israel and Egypt met in Cairo for the first peace conference between the two nations.
1981: Israel annexed the Golan Heights. It had been captured from Syria during the 1967 War.
2004: Cuba and Venezuela founded the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
2012: 20 children and 6 school staff were murdered in a mass shooting at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.