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Tuesday, March 12 2019
A Bible Journey, 143: The Jordan Plains 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 Scriptures record three historic reckonings 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 (see the Fact Finder question below).
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). In effect, the first was an entry census, while the second was an exit census. The third census was at the time of their exit from the Sinai (see Hometowns: Campsites Of The Sinai) and their entry into the Promised Land.
The third census, which was done just before the Israelites crossed the Jordan River, was taken in the plains area east of the Jordan River about forty years after the second census.
"26:1 And it came to pass after the plague [see A Bible Journey, 142: Israel And The Moabite God], 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 individual 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 the later assignment of tribal territories i.e. provinces within the United Kingdom of Israel. 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
This Day In History, March 12
538: Vitiges, king of the Ostrogoths, ended his siege of Rome. He retreated to Ravenna, leaving the city to the victorious Byzantine (East Roman Empire) general, Belisarius.
1470: During the Wars of the Roses, Edward IV defeated the rebel forces at the Battle of Empingham.
1496: Jews were expelled from Syria (ironic, since Judah, the father of the Jews, was born in Syria of a Syrian mother; see A Biography Of Jacob: The Jacobites Of Syria and Who Were The First Jews?; also Jews - Three Tribes and Three Meanings).
1609: The Bermuda Islands became an English colony.
1664: New Jersey became an English colony, named after Jersey in the Channel Islands of England.
1689 The Williamite War in Ireland began.
1799: Austria declared war on France.
1814: During the Napoleonic Wars, British troops under Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, captured Bordeaux in France. Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the New England rebellion of 1776 and the War of 1812 (U.S. invasion of Canada, 1812-14); the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in stopping the spread of Napoleon's French Empire throughout Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo.
1832: Charles Cunningham Boycott, the Englishman whose name is now synonymous with protest ("boycott"), was born.
1854: Britain and France formulated an alliance with the Ottoman Empire against Russia during the Crimean War (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1879: The British-Zulu War began.
1894: Coca-Cola was sold in bottles for the first time. As its name states, the original formula for Coca-Cola, which was created by a pharmacist for the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company in Atlanta Georgia, was cocaine and caffeine.
1912 The Girl Guides (later renamed the Girl Scouts in the U.S.) were established in the U.S. The Girl Guides were created in England years before, in 1910, by Robert Baden-Powell, a British Army officer who also created the Boy Scouts.
1913: Canberra was established as the capital of Australia.
1930: Canadian fighter ace Billy Barker was killed in a plane crash near Ottawa, Ontario. Barker was awarded the Victoria Cross for shooting down 54 enemy aircraft during the First World War (1914-1918). Barker was one of the top three fighter aces of the war, which included the famous "Red Baron" of Germany, Baron Manfred von Richthofen (the "Red Baron" was shot down and killed by another Canadian fighter pilot, Arthur Brown of Carleton Place, Ontario, on April 21 1918).
1933: German President Paul von Hindenburg proclaimed that the swastika and German flag be flown together (see also The Holy Roman Empire Of The German Nation).
1938: German troops marched in to "anschluss" ("connect") Austria, one day after Arthur Seyss-Inquart became the chancellor of Austria. Adolf Hitler was born in Austria.
1940: A treaty ended the Russia-Finland war, with Russia's demands for Finnish territory met.
1945: Anne Frank, the Dutch-Jewish girl who kept a diary of her wartime experiences, died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany at the age of 15 (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1985: The U.S. and the Soviet Union began weapons of mass destruction control talks in Geneva.
1994: The Church of England ordained women as priests for the first time - ironically, with the reigning monarch being "The Supreme Governor of The Church of England, the head of the Church of England was a woman - Queen Elizabeth II.
1999: Former Warsaw Pact members Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland joined NATO.
2011: A day after a major earthquake there, a reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan experienced a meltdown and explosion, causing a release of radioactivity into the atmosphere.