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3 From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel:
thou and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
and seven hundred and thirty."
comes "Golgotha," the place of a skull. Gr. "According to their head." "Head by head."-Cov. "Poll by poll.”—Mat. "Man by man."-Gen. The sum total was to be made up of the separate units.
V. 3. From twenty years and upward. Heb. "From the son of twenty years." That is, going on in the twentieth year, but not having completed it, which is the force of the original. This became ever after the age at which one was thought fit for war. According to the Jewish writers, sixty was the age when they were considered to be exempt from military service, but this is nowhere stated in the Scriptures.¶ All that are able to go forth to war in Israel. Heb. kol yotzë tzâbû, every one going forth host-wise. "Every one that goeth forth (with) the army."-Ains. -T With the number of their names. That is, every one that usually goes Heb. bemispar shēmoth, in, with, by, or forth, every one that is able to go. The according to their names. If our pre- present participle in Hebrew denotes vious suggestions are well founded re- an habitual course of action, thus inspecting the relation which this census volving oftentimes the idea of the fubears to the preceding, we may reason- ture, and occasionally of the past; ably suppose that the actual number of whence some commentators contend the host was ascertained by the number that the phrase here refers properly to of half shekels received by Moses on those that came forth out of Egypt, that occasion, Ex. 38:25, 26, but the as appears from ch. 26:4, where the names may not have been recorded, nor very same Heb. term is thus rendered. even the people duly classified accord- This would of course exclude all that ing to the arrangement here prescribed, were not of Israel, all that were under nor their pedigree accurately ascer- twenty, and all that would naturally tained, which was a work that would be incapacitated from disease, old age, require a considerable time, at least as and other infirmities. It is to be obcompared with the collecting the poll- served, however, that there is nothing tax above mentioned. By their in the original corresponding to "able," polls. Heb. legulgelothâm, according which word might therefore more propto their skulls. This is equivalent to erly have been printed in italics.man or person. Thus Ex. 38:25, "A¶ Thou and Aaron shall number them bekah for every man." Heb. "A bekah by their armies. Heb. tiphkedu othâm for a skull." From the same root letzibothâm, rendered by Ainsworth,
ye shall muster them by their armies. | might be numbered. But the idea of The Heb. term (177п tiphkedu), ren- | numbering has become attached to the dered in our version "number," does term because the inspection, survey, not primarily convey this idea. Re-ordering, and disposition implied in the course to lexicography will show that term was usually an accompaniment the leading sense of the word is to visit, of the capitation or census-taking. The either with a view to mercy and bless- proper significance of pâkad, to visit, ing, or to punishment, and hence to in- has thus become extended so as to spect, to survey, to loak after, to oversee, cover a ground for which it was not to preside, general ideas which include originally designed. The appropriate also, from the force of the Hiphil or term for numbering is sâphar, with causative form, the import of giving in which p pâkad is not synonymous, charge, appointing over, ordering, dis- the two differing in the manner above posing, and commanding. In the use stated. The accessory has therefore, of the terms visit and visitor as applied in this instance, assumed the place of to a class of men constituting a board the principal—a fact which it is deof revision and superintendence in con- sirable for the reader to know. "To nection with universities and other in- inspect or visit the people," says Mr. corporated institutions, whose duty it Bates (Heb. Lex. sub voce), “related is to mark defects, to rectify wrongs, as well to their conduct, religious and and to enforce statutes, we find an illus- civil, as to their number, and at such tration of the extended meaning which musters, lustrations, purifications, and this term bears in the sacred writings. typical atonements were necessary." The following examples will throw See Ex. 30:12. When it is said, therelight upon the usage. Gen. 21: 1, "The fore, in the passage before us, "Thou Lord visited Sarah, and did unto Sarah and Aaron shall number them by their as he had spoken." Gen. 39: 4, "And armies," the import is not so strictly Joseph found grace in his sight, and he that of numbering as of disposition and served him; and he made him overseer arrangement; they were to be inspectover his house, and all that he had he ed and marshalled, and set in proper put into his hand." Lev. 26: 16, "I will array. We are happy to be confirmed appoint over you terror, consumption, in the above interpretation by the reand the burning ague." Num. 3:10, marks of a valuable writer of the 17th "Thou shalt appoint Aaron and his century (Robert Gell), whose work, en sons," i. e. give them their charge; titled "An Essay towards the Amendand so very often for appointing, in- ment of the last English Translation of trusting, and giving charge and power the Bible," has come into our hand to look after. Ex. 20:5," Visiting the since the above was written. "They iniquity of the fathers upon the chil- render pâkad, to number, which though dren." The overseer or visitor is it so signifies, yet in the business of clothed with power to punish or ani- this and the next chapter, it is a word madvert upon offenders, in which sense too general, and is more properly to be the word often occurs. It is found also termed to visit, or rather to muster; as in the sense of mustering or numbering, the Latin phrase imports, "exercitum as in the chapter before us, but this is lustrare," "facere militum recognitiomerely an incidental sense, for it does nem." So "armilustrum" signifies not strictly signify to number, although mustering, a viewing of harness, weaat the muster or review the people pons, and soldiers. For they who mus
ter their forces do not only take account how many their soldiers are, and so number them, but they also take notice and inquire how able, how well appointed, how well furnished they are for war. Besides, the Scripture throughout this and the next chapter useth diverse words, as mispar for number, and pakad for visiting or mustering. So that the translation confounds those acts which the Spirit of God distinguisheth." To this he adds that the muster prescribed involved the idea of inspection as to sex, age, pedigree, etc., and as the design of this was to cull out the choice, the flower of the host, the most hale, vigorous, and valiant, or the truly "excellent ones," therefore the term visiting or numbering is applied to them; for that "such are highly esteemed, loved, cared for, numbered, appears from the contrary; as it is said of persons despicable and contemned, extra numerum esse; nullo numero esse; nullius esse numeri-military phrases implying such as are of no reckoning, no account, who stand for ciphers. But the Lord's soldiers are all numbered, visited, mustered." That there is an ulterior purport in this, would appear from the usage of the term in the following passage: Luke 12:7, "Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered." The idea here is not precisely that of numbering, which would of course be useless to Omniscience, but of the minutest inspection, of the most intimate providential cognizance, a knowledge accompanied with the most watchful and tender care. Is. 13:4, "The Lord of hosts mustereth (Heb. mepakkēd) the host of the battle." The battle here is spiritual, for the Lord wages no other, and mustering the host is arranging, ordering, and arraying the internal states and principles of those who compose it. Again, Is. 40: 26, "Lift up
your eyes on high, and behold, who hath created these things, that bringeth out their host by number." So also Ps. 147: 4, "He telleth the number of the stars, he calleth them all by their names." That by numbering in these passages is signified to ordain, order, or arrange, is evident from the fact that it is spoken of the Most High, who does not in reality number or name armies or stars, but inspects, orders, arranges, and disposes the things represented by them, which are of course things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven and the church. As this is the high prerogative of Jehovah himself, who alone is competent to the task, we may gather from this source, perhaps, the true grounds of the reason why David's conduct in numbering the people was viewed by the Lord in so heinous a light. As the people of Israel represented typically the church, and as it is the province of the Lord alone to order the internal conditions and interests of the church, therefore any measure which by its representative significancy would imply that man was invested with that power involved a high degree of presumption, and therefore called for punishment. Such was the character of David's conduct in the transaction referred to. He took it upon him to do that which in its true bearings implied an invasion of the divine prerogative. Hence its enormity. We may farther observe upon this subject of numbering, that while it evidently has no special moral character when viewed in itself, yet it is occasionally introduced in such connections as to compel us to seek some sense beyond that of the simple letter. Thus for example, Ps. 90:12, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." As man is ignorant of the number of his days on earth, Ps. 71:15, as "the number of his years is
hidden," not to the "oppressor" only, | be carried over, as we may say, to the but to all other men, it is evident that more adequate and substantial subject a man can "number his days" only by of the Lord's church under the New ordering and regulating the states of Testament. Thus, for instance, the his life from one day to another in such promises in regard to the excessive a manner as to meet the demands of multiplication of the seed of Abraham true wisdom. Is. 38:10, "I said, in cannot be regarded as having been fulthe cutting off of my days, I shall go filled in the literal history of that peoto the gates of the grave; I am deprived ple. Gen. 13: 16, "And I will make of the residue of my years (Heb. pik- thy seed as the dust of the earth: so kadti, I am numbered as to the residue that if a man can number the dust of of my years)." That is, the term of my the earth, then shall thy seed also be existence is ordered and arranged, and numbered." Gen. 15:5, "And he in the divine counsels brought to a brought him forth abroad, and said, completion. Dan. 5:25, 26, "And this Look now toward heaven, and tell the is the writing that was written, Mene, stars, if thou be able to number them: Mene, Tekel, Upharsin. This is the in- and he said unto him, So shall thy seed terpretation of the thing: Mene; God be." Num. 23:10, "Who can count hath numbered thy kingdom;" i. e. hath the dust of Jacob, or number the fourth brought to an end, hath finished, thy part thereof?" This language can only kingdom, after accurately exploring, be considered as holding good of the weighing, and estimating its quality. spiritual and not of the natural Israel. And so elsewhere. From the whole, They became indeed a populous nation, then, we gather that the numbering but the expressions cited above far here commanded to Moses and Aaron transcend the actuality of their literal has respect rather to the visitation, in- increase. It is in the Christian church spection, and orderly arrangement im- only that they receive a complete fulfilplied in the more genuine import of the ment. The same remark may be made term, and that in its typical bearings it in regard to the perpetuity of David's refers to that inner process which causes throne. 2 Sam. 7:10, "Thine house the church to "shine forth fair as the and thy kingdom shall be established moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as for ever before thee: thy throne shall an army with banners," in which last be established for ever." Comp. Ps. expression we are probably to recog- 89: 36, 37. Luke 1:33. We are comnize an allusion to the appearance of pelled to have recourse to an ulterior the hosts of Israel when marshalled in meaning in order to satisfy the demands the order described in this and the fol- of these texts. In giving, therefore, a lowing chapters. The principle we re- similar scope to the word number in gard as sound that the nation of Israel this connection, we consider ourselves sustained a typical relation to the warranted by the principle above church of after times-the relation, as stated, and which has ever been conit were, of a shadow to a substance sidered sound by the great mass of and that consequently it is no matter Christian expositors. The giving up of surprise if we occasionally meet with of this principle is in our view a most terms which, though applied in the first injudicious and dangerous concession instance to the Israelitish economy, yet to the spirit of German rationalism, have not their meaning exhausted in which would fain eliminate from the that application, and are therefore to Word of God every divine element.
4 And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers.
5 And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: Of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.
6 Of Simeon; Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.
e Ex. 18. 25. Josh. 22. 14. 30, etc. 10. 18, etc.
8 Of Issachar; Nethaneel the son of Zuar.
9 Of Zebulun; Eliab the son of Helon.
V. 4. And with you there shall be a man of every tribe. Heb. "With you there shall be (plur.) a man, a man to a tribe." This is rendered for the most part by the different versions as in ours -"a man of every tribe," as the subsequent verses show to have been the fact; although from the plural usage and the repetition of "man," it might seem that more than one individual was intended for each tribe. But as shown from parallel usage it is doubtless a distributive form of expression involving no special peculiarity of sense. Probably the more exact idea is, "there shall be with you some man or other to each tribe," but whoever he were, he was to be one holding a conspicuous rank in his tribe. This is implied in the appellation "head of the house of his fathers," which however does not signify the first-born in their several tribes, but those who were acknowledged as prominent on some other account, as their wisdom or valor, or some other distinguishing trait.
V. 5. These are the names of the men that shall stand with you. To "stand with" is to "assist," which is evident from the fact that the word "assist" itself is etymologically equivalent to "stand with" (ad and sto).¶ Of (the
10 Of the children of Joseph of Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud: of Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.
7 Of Judah; Nahshon the son of Gideoni. son of Amminadab.
11 Of Benjamin; Abidan the
12 Of Dan; Ahiezer the son ₫ ch. 2. 10, etc. ch. 7. of Ammishaddai.
e Ruth 4. 20.
tribe of) Reuben. Heb. "To Reuben." Gr. "Of those of Reuben." The supply of "tribe," "sons," "children,” or something equivalent is very proper, as appears from comparing v. 10, where instead of simply "of Joseph," as here "of Reuben," we read "of the children of Joseph."-In the ensuing verses to v. 16 we have barely a list of the names of the twelve chiefs, princes, or headmen who were now selected as assistants to Moses and Aaron in the muster enjoined. In regard to these there is nothing of special note demanding attention, excepting, perhaps, that in the order of recital Reuben, Simeon, Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun, the sons of Leah, and Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin, the sons of Rachel, take the precedence of Dan, Asher, Gad, and Naphtali, the sons of the handmaids Billah and Zilpah. In the former enumeration, Ex. 1:2, 3, and in the inscription on the precious stones, Ex. 28: 9, 10, the order is very nearly the same, although the name of Asher does not come in here as elsewhere.-Levi and Joseph are omitted; the first because that tribe was to be numbered by itself, and the second, because Joseph's two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, representing the double portion that pertained to his birthright,