The Names of the Men

“And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of the tribe of Reuben; Elizur the son of Shedeur.” (Numbers 1:5)

These are the first entries in several long lists of names here in the book of Numbers—all names of men in the 12 tribes of Israel. We know nothing about most of these men except their names, so it is natural to wonder why God had Moses include them in the inspired Scriptures.

In fact, this is one of the objections that skeptics and liberals have raised against the doctrine of verbal inspiration of the Bible. What possible spiritual or doctrinal or practical purpose could be accomplished through these lists of names for any future readers of the Bible?

And there are, indeed, many such lists of names. For example, the first nine chapters of 1 Chronicles consist almost entirely of names. Then there are the lists in Ezra 2; Ezra 10; Nehemiah 7, 11, and 12; Romans 16; and others.

Information is included about some of these people, of course, and even the meaning of the names may warrant speculation about their parents’ hopes for the children.

But there is also another very cogent reason for God to have included all these names of relatively less significant people in His book. He wants to assure us that He is interested not only in the Abrahams, Daniels, Pauls, and other great men in His Kingdom, but also in the Elizurs and Shedeurs and Bills and Kates in His spiritual family.

There are many millions of names “written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27), and the heavenly Lamb—the Lord Jesus Christ—is also the Good Shepherd that “calleth his own sheep by name” (John 10:3). The names in His book here on Earth are an assurance that He knows and calls us by each of our names in His book in heaven. HMM

The Latest
NEWS
Not-So-Simple Plankton
Plankton is a generic term for small marine creatures such as algae, bacteria, and protozoa. Although tiny, they are packed with incredibly intricate...

NEWS
Merry Christmas from the Moon
We are so thankful for you, our faithful ICR supporters who have enabled us to advance the message of biblical creation throughout this year. We hope...

NEWS
Amazing Design of Black Widow Web Silk
Evidence for creation is seen in both the sudden origin1 of spiders, as demonstrated in the fossil record, and their amazing design.2 All spiders are...

NEWS
Reptile Footprints Advance Flood Explanation
Salamander-like footprints preserved in sandstone have long fascinated Grand Canyon hikers and rafters. Insights from a new study of the track patterns...

DAYS OF PRAISE DEVOTIONALS
Winter 2018
...