Numbers 1:5 MEANING

Numbers 1:5
(5) Of the tribe of Reuben.--Hebrew, for Reuben.

Verse 5. - These are the names of the men. The tribes are here mentioned (through their princes) very nearly in the order of their subsequent encampment - south, east, west, and north. Gad alone is displaced, in order that he may be classed with the other sons of the handmaids after the sons of the free women.

1:1-43 The people were numbered to show God's faithfulness in thus increasing the seed of Jacob, that they might be the better trained for the wars and conquest of Canaan, and to ascertain their families in order to the division of the land. It is said of each tribe, that those were numbered who were able to go forth to war; they had wars before them, though now they met with no opposition. Let the believer be prepared to withstand the enemies of his soul, though all may appear to be peace.And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you,.... Be present with Moses and Aaron when numbering the people; not merely as spectators of the affair, and inspectors of the accounts, but as assistants in the work; each man in his tribe, being best acquainted with the families and houses in it; and these men were not pitched upon by Moses and Aaron, nor chosen by their respective tribes, but were appointed and named by the Lord himself, which was doing them great honour:

of the tribe of Reuben: or "for Reuben" (c), for the taking the number of men in this tribe; and so of all the rest, see Numbers 1:44,

Elizur the son of Shedeur; from Numbers 1:5 the names of those several men are given, which were very proper for Moses and Aaron to know, though of little importance to us; nor the signification of their several names, given by Ainsworth and others; only, as Bishop Patrick observes, most of them show how much God was in the thoughts of those who, imposed these names on their children, several of them having in them "El" or "Eli", "God" or "my God", and "Shaddai", "Almighty" or "all-sufficient": to which may be added, that in some of them they seem to respect the Messiah, as Elizur, signifying "my God the rock"; and Shelumiel may be rendered, "God my peace"; and Zurishaddai, "my rock the Almighty", or "all-sufficient"; and Pedazhur, "the rock redeemeth": nor is there anything of any moment to be remarked, unless the order in which the several tribes are placed; and first the children of Leah, beginning with Reuben, the firstborn; and the rest, Simeon and Judah, are ranked according to their birth; Levi being omitted, because that tribe was not now numbered, and besides, Moses and Aaron were of it; and then Issachar and Zebulun; after those the children of Rachel, because of her honour and glory above the handmaids, as Aben Ezra remarks; who further observes, that it begins with Ephraim, following Jacob our father, that is, because of the blessing of Jacob, who preferred Ephraim the younger to Manasseh the elder; and here Ephraim and Manasseh are set before Benjamin, because they were in the place of Joseph; and after that the account goes on with Dan, because, he was the firstborn of the handmaids; and after him Asher, though the second son of Zilpah, is placed before Gad, the first son, because, says the same Aben Ezra, the Lord knew that he would be the head of those that encamped by the standard of Dan, and so is placed next to him; and after him Gad, who was the firstborn of Leah's handmaid; and Naphtali last of all, the second son of Bilhah: this order seems to be designed to suit with their encampments, and the form of them.

(c) "pro Ruben", Samar. vers. "ipsi Reuben", Montanus.

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