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All about Numbers

In Numbers 26 God tells Moses to take a census of all the people of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. The next several verses are broken into paragraphs--each one numbering the men twenty and older (fighting age) from each of the twelve tribes of Israel. Here are some interesting insights I gained from this passage:

1) Counting "noses and nickels" is considered taboo in church communities. "We should not be concerned about the numbers. What is important is what God is doing; not numbers." I won't argue that what is important is what God is doing. That is undoubtedly true. But it is clear in the book of Numbers that God is concerned about numbers. After all, the name of the book is Numbers!

2) A couple of the purposes God has in commanding that a census be taken of all the people comes out toward the end of the chapter. First, God uses the size of the tribes to determine how much land they will get when they conquer Canaan. Larger tribes get more land; smaller tribes get less land. Second, this census is taken to show that God kept his word regarding those who did not trust Him to deliver Canaan into their hands:

Numbers 26:64-65: [64] But among these there was not one of those listed by Moses and Aaron the priest, who had listed the people of Israel in the wilderness of Sinai. [65] For the LORD had said of them, “They shall die in the wilderness.” Not one of them was left, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. (ESV)

3) One final observation: Moses is commanded to take a census of "...all the congregation of the people of Israel, from twenty years old and upward, by their fathers' houses, all in Israel who are able to go to war” (Numbers 26:2). This would have meant counting all the men from each tribe and clan. The amazing thing you discover while reading the census results, however, that there are six women listed: the five daughters of Zelophehad and the daughter of Ahser, Serah. Now only six women mentioned out of 600K+ may not seem like much but to list any at all is remarkable.

All this to say...Numbers count.