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Census
Excerpt from the Lexham Bible Dictionary, the most advanced Bible dictionary.
Periodic counting by which a state quantifies, categorizes, and classifies its people and resources according to a variety of factors (Garcia, Ancient Egyptian Administration, 510).
Dictionaries
The Lexham Bible Dictionary
Census
Census Periodic counting by which a state quantifies, categorizes, and classifies its people and resources according to a variety of factors (Garcia, Ancient Egyptian Administration, 510).
The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary
Census
CENSUS. This entry consists of two articles, one surveying the census in the ancient Near East, and the other exploring the census in Roman times, particularly with reference to the census reported in the gospel of Luke.
Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible
Census
Census. Registration and enumeration of a people, usually for purposes of war or taxation. A few censuses are mentioned in the Bible.The first census was held at Mt Sinai two years after the exodus. In order to assess Israel’s military potential, all Israelite males over 20 years old were counted—603,550
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised
Census
Census [Heb. rō’š, happequḏîm, sāp̱ar, sep̱ar; Gk. apographé̄]; AV SUM, NUMBERING, etc., NT TAXING; NEB also REGISTRATION, NUMBER (vb.), COUNT, etc. Use of the census as an administrative device, especially for taxation and for military purposes, is very ancient. In the history of Israel it
Tyndale Bible Dictionary
Census
CENSUS Registration and enumeration of a people, usually for purposes of war or taxation. A few censuses are mentioned in the Bible.The first census was held at Mt Sinai two years after the exodus. In order to assess Israel’s military potential, all Israelite males over 20 years old were counted—603,550
The HarperCollins Bible Dictionary (Revised and Updated)
Census
census, a tally that identifies, locates, and numbers the people in a particular group or area, usually for purposes of taxation, but also at times for other ends, such as conscription or forced labor. Several censuses are mentioned in the Bible (e.g., Exod. 30:11–16; Num. 1:1–49; 26; 2 Sam. 24:1–9;
The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia
Census
CENSUS. The biblical concept of enrollment, numbering, or census is found in the Heb. pāqad, “to visit,” “examine,” “review”, “muster,” “number”; also sāpar and mānâ; the Septuagint arithmos, “number,” “amount,” “sum,” “unit of troops”; the NT apographē, “list,” “inventory,” “taxing” (KJV), “census,”
The New Bible Dictionary, Third Edition
Census
CENSUS (Lat. census, ‘assessment’, appearing as a loan-word in Gk. kēnsos, ‘tribute money’, in Mt. 17:25; 22:17, 19; Mk. 12:14).
Eerdmans Dictionary of the Bible
Census
CensusAn official enumeration of a group or groups of people. The census is well attested in the ancient Near East, including Egypt, Mari, Ugarit, and Assyria. The ancient census, however, was unlike a modern one in its lack of completeness. Seldom was an entire nation counted or data collected on age,
Eerdmans Bible Dictionary
Census
Census. †The enumeration of a people. In Israel, as throughout the ancient Near East, census figures provided the basis for taxation as well as recruitment for military service and forced labor (corvée).Shortly after the Exodus the Israelites were enumerated at Mt. Sinai to determine according to
Catholic Bible Dictionary
Census
CENSUS A registration of the population in a given area. In the Old Testament, censuses are taken to assess taxation (Exod 30:13–16; Num 3:40–51) and to count able bodies for military service (Num 1:3, 26:2; 2 Sam 24:9). The census ordered by David (2 Sam 24; 1 Chr 21) was taken for motives of pride,
The New Unger’s Bible Dictionary
Census
CENSUS. This term does not occur in the KJV, although found in the original (Matt. 17:25, kēnsos, KJV, “tribute”). The act is, however, referred to in the Heb. mipqād, or pqūddâ, “numbering”; and the Gk. apographē, “enrollment.”
Key passages
Nu 1:1–3

Yahweh spoke to Moses in the desert of Sinai, in the tent of assembly, on the first of the month, in the second year after they came out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of the entire community of the Israelites according to their clans and …

Nu 26:2

“Take a census of the community of the Israelites from those twenty years old and above, according to their families, all who are able to go out to war in Israel.”

2 Sa 24:1–9

Again Yahweh was angry with Israel, and he incited David against them, saying, “Go count Israel and Judah.” The king said to Joab, the commander of the army who was with him: “Please go about through all the tribes of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, and count …

Lk 2:1–5

Now it happened that in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus to register all the empire. (This first registration took place when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to be registered, each one to his own town. So Joseph also went up from …