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Home Forums Evidence for Biblical miracles The population of the Israelites during Exodus Reply To: The population of the Israelites during Exodus

  • Deborah Hurn

    January 21, 2021 at 12:18 am

    The Second Census

    The second census after the forty years’ Wanderings, recorded in Numbers 26, is not for military purposes but with a view to inheritance; the soon-to-be-conquered land of Canaan will be divided amongst the tribes according to the number of their “names” (Num 26:52-4). This time, therefore, the clans of each of the twelve tribes are named, some to the third generation, and these closely correspond to the names of those who entered Egypt in Genesis 46. 6 The Levite clans in the second census are listed after the national total of the other tribes “because there was no inheritance given them among the sons of Israel.” (Num 26:57-62 MKJV). Later clarification states that the Levites would be given cities in the territories of other tribes but no land of their own (Num 35:1-8). As before, all Levite males over one month old are “enrolled” (NRSV).

    6 Seven of the thirteen tribes are traced for three generations, but not comprehensively. Francis I. Andersen, “Israelite Kinship Terminology and Social Structure,” Bible Translator (Ja, Jl Technical Papers) 20, no. 1 (January 1, 1969): 35. Dathan’s and Abiram’s line (to the fourth generation of Levi) and Zelophehad’s line (to the fifth generation of Manasseh) are most likely included to make examples of those who lost or gained inheritance.