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3 From twenty years old thou and Aaron shall number and upward, all that are able them by their armies. to go forth to war in Israel :
and seven hundred and thirty.” In comes “Golgotha,” the place of a skull. this paragraph we see how it is that Gr. “ According to their head.” “Head the families in a tribe are distinguish- by head.”— Cou. “Poll by poll.”—Mat. ed. The eldest son of Reuben is Ha- "Man by man.”—Gen. The sum total noch, and all his descendants are called was to be made up of the separate units. from him Hanochites. He was there- V. 3. From twenty years and upward. fore the head or father of that family; Heb. “From the son of twenty years." and so, of the rest who are mentioned. That is, going on in the twentieth year, We know not what to make of any but not having completed it, which is “houses of fathers” apart from these the force of the original. This became families, upon whom the fathers' names ever after the age at which one was are thus called. These several families thought fit for war. According to the might each of them be numerously sub- Jewish writers, sixty was the age when divided into minor branches, but they they were considered to be exempt would still, as we suppose, be called by from military service, but this is no. the name of their common ancestor, where stated in the Scriptures.which is perhaps intimated in the Gr. | All that are able to go forth to war in version of the present passage,
“Ac- Israel. Heb. kol yotzë tzâbû, every one cording to their kindred, according to going forth host-wise. “Every one that the houses of their patriarchal fathers." goeth forth (with) the army.”— Ains.
- 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, “A1 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. I might be numbered. But the idea of The Heb. term (17pen 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 påkad, 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 med såphar, with causative form, the import of giving in which po 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 heed 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, ensons,” 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 child render påkad, 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 muster their forces do not only take account your eyes on high, and behold, who how many their soldiers are, and so hath created these things, that bringnumber them, but they also take notice eth out their host by number.” So also and inquire how able, how well appoint- Ps. 147:4, “He telleth the number of ed, how well furnished they are for the stars, he calleth them all by their war. Besides, the Scripture through- names.” That by numbering in these out this and the next chapter useth di- passages is signified to ordain, order, verse words, as mispar for number, and or arrange, is evident from the fact that pâkad for visiting or mustering. So it is spoken of the Most High, who does that the translation confounds those acts not in reality number or name armies which the Spirit of God distinguish- or stars, but inspects, orders, arranges, eth.” To this he adds that the muster and disposes the things represented by prescribed involved the idea of inspec- them, which are of course things pertion as to sex, age, pedigree, etc., and taining to the kingdom of heaven and as the design of this was to cull out the church. As this is the high prethe choice, the flower of the host, the rogative of Jehovah himself, who alone most hale, vigorous, and valiant, or the is competent to the task, we may gather truly “excellent ones,” therefore the from this source, perhaps, the true term visiting or numbering is applied grounds of the reason why David's conto them; for that “such are highly es- duct in numbering the people was teemed, loved, cared for, numbered, ap- viewed by the Lord in so heinous a pears from the contrary; as it is said light. As the people of Israel representof persons despicable and contemned, ed typically the church, and as it is the extra numerum esse; nullo numero province of the Lord alone to order the esse ; nullius esse numeri — military internal conditions and interests of the phrases implying such as are of no church, therefore any measure which reckoning, no account, who stand for by its representative significancy would ciphers. But the Lord's soldiers are imply that man was invested with that all numbered, visited, mustered.” That power involved a high degree of prethere is an ulterior purport in this, sumption, and therefore called for punwould appear from the usage of the ishment. Such was the character of term in the following passage: Luke David's conduct in the transaction re12:7, “Even the very hairs of your ferred to. He took it upon him to do head are all numbered.” The idea here that which in its true bearings implied is not precisely that of numbering, an invasion of the divine prerogative. which would of course be useless to Hence its enormity. We may farther Omniscience, but of the minutest in- observe upon this subject of numberspection, of the most intimate provi- ing, that while it evidently has no spedential cognizance, a knowledge ac- cial moral character when viewed in companied with the most watchful and itself, yet it is occasionally introduced tender care. Is. 13:4, “The Lord of in such connections as to compel us to hosts mustereth (Heb. mepakkēd) the seek some sense beyond that of the host of the battle.” The battle here is simple letter. Thus for example, Ps. spiritual, for the Lord wages no other, 90:12, “So teach us to number our and mustering the host is arranging, days, that we may apply our hearts ordering, and arraying the internal unto wisdom.” As man is ignorant of states and principles of those who com- the number of his days on earth, Ps. pose it. Again, Is. 40: 26, “Lift up | 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 bis 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 fülthe 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 8 Of Issachar; Nethaneel the be a man of every tribe ; every son of Zuar. one head of the house of his 9 Of Zebulun; Eliab the son fathers.
of Helon. 5 And these are the names 10 Of the children of Joof the men that shall stand with seph: of Ephraim, Elishama you: Of the tribe of Reuben; the son of Ammihud : of MaElizurd the son of Shedeur. nasseh, Gamaliel the son of
6 Of Simeon; Shelumiel the Pedahzur. son of Zurishaddai.
11 Of Benjamin; Abidan the 7 Of Judah; Nahshono the son of Gideoni. son of Amminadab.
12 Of Dan; Ahiezer the son d ch. 2. 10, etc. ch.7. of Ammishaddai.
Ex, 18. 25. Josh. 22. 14. 30, etc. 10. 18, etc. e Ruth 4. 20.
V. 4. And with you there shall be a tribe of ) Reuben. Heb. “To Reuben.” man of every tribe. Heb. “With you Gr. “Of those of Reuben.” The supthere shall be (plur.) a man, a man to ply of “tribe," "sons," "children," or a tribe.” This is rendered for the most something equivalent is very proper, as part by the different versions as in ours appears from comparing v. 10, where -"a man of every tribe,” as the subse- instead of simply “of Joseph,” as here quent verses show to have been the “of Reuben," we read “of the children fact; although from the plural usage of Joseph.”—In the ensuing verses to and the repetition of “man,” it might v. 16 we have barely a list of the names seem that more than one individual of the twelve chiefs, princes, or headwas intended for each tribe. But as men who were now selected as assistshown from parallel usage it is doubt- ants to Moses and Aaron in the muster less a distributive form of expression enjoined. In regard to these there is involving no special peculiarity of nothing of special note demanding atsense. Probably the more exact idea tention, excepting, perhaps, that in the is, “there shall be with you some man order of recital Reuben, Simeon, Judah, or other to each tribe," but whoever he Issachar, and Zebulun, the sons of Leah, were, he was to be one holding a con- and Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin, spicuous rank in his tribe. This is im- the sons of Rachel, take the precedence plied in the appellation “head of the of Dan, Asher, Gad, and Naphtali, the house of his fathers,” which however sons of the handmaids Billah and Zildoes not signify the first-born in their pah. In the former enumeration, Ex. several tribes, but those who were ac- 1:2, 3, and in the inscription on the knowledged as prominent on some precious stones, Ex. 28:9, 10, the order other account, as their wisdom or valor, is very nearly the same, although the or some other distinguishing trait. name of Asher does not come in here as
V.5. These are the names of the men elsewhere.—Levi and Joseph are omitthat shall stand with you. To “stand ted; the first because that tribe was to with” is to “assist,” which is evident be numbered by itself, and the second, from the fact that the word “assist” because Joseph's two sons, Ephraim itself is etymologically equivalent to and Manasseh, representing the double “stand with” (ad and sto).- 9 Of (the portion that pertained to his birthright,