Numbers 26 Commentary: Second census.
The second census is taken of men 20 years and more. This is a completely new generation. None of the men numbered in the first censers were alive at this moment. The LORD had cleared house. Now a new generation was ready to move into Canaan.
At the first count Simeon numbered 59,300. At the second count Simeon numbered 22,200. The figures are telling us a story of diminished fortunes for the tribe. We can reflect on Simeon’s blessing in Genesis chapter 49 and see how it has played out right before our eyes.
Chapter 26 is about a census but more importantly the chapter gives us some prophetic reflection of key moments in the history of the nation. Diminished numbers for Simeon is representative of diminished numbers for the nation. It is an invitation to look at key moments that account for these poor figures. We are far from Abraham’s blessing of increase.
The first line begins by referencing the latest rebellion. Korah together with Abiram and Dathan have been singled out for a rebellion that further reduced Israel’s numbers. Nadab and Abihu were among the casualties.
603,550 (chapter 1) at the start and 601,730 nearly after 40 years is not a good sign at all. It’s like the LORD stopped time. Nearly the same number enters Canaan. The LORD has a way to bring us back to the same point!
The instruction to allocate land by lot is to ensure fairness and maintain order. But is was actually a complex process as we see a seeding process where large portions are given to larger tribes. We now understand why Simeon got what we can call as portions of land within Judah because the tribe was very small by this time.
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