These were the ones registered by Moses and Eleazar the priest when they registered the Israelites in the desert plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. But among them there was no one who had been registered by Moses and Aaron the priest in the census of the Israelites taken in the wilderness of Sinai.
After 40 years of roaming the desert, the amount of male Israelites had actually decreased instead of increased.
The previous generation of males had been kept out of the Promised Land because of their lack of faith, and they had all died out except for Joshua and Caleb (Nu. 14:30; 26:65).
Upon once again reaching the verge of entering the Promised Land, Jehovah commanded Moses and the new High Priest, Eleazar to take a second census.
So we are able to clearly see the effect the trials in the desert had on Israelite families.
|Tribe||1st Census||2nd Census|
Those trials included:
- Israel being defeated by the Amalekites when they tried to conquer the Promised Land against God’s orders (Nu. 14:39-45)
- Some Israelites rebelling alongside Korah against Moses’s leadership and then being miraculously executed by God (Nu. 16:20-50)
- Many Israelites growing weary and complaining about being liberated, and then being punished with venomous snakes (Nu. 21:4-9)
- Fornicating and tainting true worship through the young men’s association with Moabite women (Nu. 25:9)
One can only wonder what habits led some families such as the ones composing the tribe of Simeon to drastically drop to less than half of its original members while other families, such as the ones belonging to the tribe of Manasseh, increased its members by 64%.
Was it their predominant attitude? Were their household heads more inclined to support and collaborate with Moses? Did they value the privilege of forming a people to represent God more than the other tribes? Did the males organize worship in a constant, regular way? Did the knowledge that the older generation had that it was not going to enter the Promised Land not deter it from doing all it could to support its children’s future?
Today, we are living in the last days (Matt. 24:3-14; 2 Tim. 3:1-5).
Still, many grandmothers and grandfathers who have spent their lives working in favor of Jehovah’s interests may not make it alive into the promised New World (2 Pet. 3:13).
It is inspiring to see their self-sacrificing, restless effort which greatly benefits the spiritual well-being of their families and congregations.