That verse popped into my head as I read the first chapter of Numbers. Numbers is a book aptly named. It is filled with numbers... and sometimes it can be a little mind boggling (at least to me).
But as I was reading it, these were the numbers presented to me. A census was taken on the Lord's behalf :
1The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2"Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by clans, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head. 3From twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go to war, you and Aaron shall list them, company by company.The people of Reuben, Israel's firstborn......those listed of the tribe of Reuben were 46,500.
The people of Simeon, .....those listed of the tribe of Simeon were 59,300.
The people of Gad,.... those listed of the tribe of Gad were 45,650.
The people of Judah,.....those listed of the tribe of Judah were 74,600.
The people of Issachar, ......those listed of the tribe of Issachar were 54,400.
The people of Zebulun, .....those listed of the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400.
The people of Joseph, namely, of the people of Ephraim, ......those listed of the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500.
The people of Manasseh, .....those listed of the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200.
The people of Benjamin, .....those listed of the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400.
The people of Dan, ......39those listed of the tribe of Dan were 62,700.
The people of Asher, ......those listed of the tribe of Asher were 41,500.
The people of Naphtali, .....those listed of the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400.
44These are those who were listed, whom Moses and Aaron listed with the help of the chiefs of Israel, twelve men, each representing his fathers' house. 45So all those listed of the people of Israel, by their fathers' houses, from twenty years old and upward, every man able to go to war in Israel-- 46all those listed were 603,550.The largest clan was Judah, the smallest wasn't Benjamin, it was Manasseh. That surprised me as I was under the impression the Benjamin had always been the smallest of the tribes. Perhaps that because when I think of the Tribe of Benjamin this line "and the least of these my brothers" comes into my mind.
In all, Israel held 603, 550 fighting men. Imagine how big Israel numbered.... this number does not include the old men, the children, the women married or single. It is just the fighting men. In our household, my husband is 1/3 of our family, in the family I grew up in my dad would have been 1/8 of the family. So Israel could have been immense! So based on that Israel could have numbered from 1810650 - 4828400 people!
God told Abraham that he would be the father of a great nation. From one son came all these people. Wow... rather amazing if you think about it for a moment or two.