-After the plague caused by Israel’s wandering spirit of idolatry, the LORD speaks to Moses and Eleazar the priest and son of Aaron about taking a new census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel 20 years old and upward by their father’s households and able to go out to war (Numbers 26:1-2). This was important as the nation was now looking right into the Promised Land on the east side of the Jordan River in the plains of Moab at Jericho, which is just north of the Dead Sea area. The tribes are numbered with a total of 601,730. The breakdown is as follows for the individual tribes of the sons of Jacob: Rueben= 43,730, Simeon= 22,200, Gad= 40,500, Judah= 76,500, Issachar= 64,300, Zebulun= 60,500, Joseph (Manasseh= 52,700 & Ephraim= 32,500), Benjamin= 45,600, Dan= 64,400, Asher= 53,400, and Naphtali= 45,400 (Numbers 26:3-51). Of that group, the text points out some who were not there because of their rebellion. Dathan and Abiram, who were called by the congregation and contended with Moses and Aaron’s God-given authority, and Korah is again mentioned for the purpose of a strict and solemn warning for the future generations of Israel (Numbers 16:32, 35, 38; 26:9-10).
-The inheritance was to be determined by lot according to the number of names in each tribe by the LORD’s command. So, the inheritance was divided between larger and smaller groups. The Levites were also counted, but they did not receive land inheritance. There were 23,000 more of these sons of Israel as males from a month old and upward (Numbers 26:52-62).
-There is a three verse commentary at the end of this chapter that is significant in describing why the LORD called for this important census to take place right before the invasion of Israel’s Promised Land. There was NOT a man among those numbered by Moses and Aaron at the wilderness of Sinai except for Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua, the son of Nun. God had promised this would happen because of their unbelief during the time of spying out the land. His words rang ominously true, “They shall surely die in the wilderness (Numbers 14:29-35; 26:63-65, Deuteronomy 2:14-16, Hebrews 3:12-19).”
-*Application* The difference between victory and defeat in the Christian walk is belief. Dear Christian, have you escaped the snare of slavery to sin like the children of Israel escaped slavery in Egypt? That’s great! That’s salvation, but there is much more that God wants you to experience. He wants you to have abundant, faithful, fruitful life IN Him. Walk the walk that He has ordained for you. Sure there will be a wilderness experience (even Jesus had that, Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, Luke 4:1-13), and it is tied to your humble, dependent, trusting obedience to Him. He will take you into promise and blessings much more quickly if you will be like Caleb and Joshua. Please, please, please don’t be like the unbelievers who perished along the way.
Verses to Memorize: Numbers 26:64-65