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Numbers 1-2 (Amplified Bible)

Numbers 1-2

The Census of Israel’s Warriors

The Lord spoke [by special revelation] to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai in the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle) on the first day of the second month in the second year after the [a]Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, [b]head by head from twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go out to war. You and Aaron shall number them, army by army. And with you there shall be a man [to assist you] from each tribe, each being the head of his father’s household. These then are the names of the men who shall stand with you: from [the tribe of] Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; from [the tribe of] Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; from [the tribe of] Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; from [the tribe of] Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; from [the tribe of] Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10 from the sons (descendants) of Joseph: from [the tribe of] [c]Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; from [the tribe of] Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11 from [the tribe of] Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12 from [the tribe of] Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13 from [the tribe of] Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; 14 from [the tribe of] Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15 from [the tribe of] Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan. 16 These men were the ones called from the congregation, the leaders of their fathers’ (ancestors’) tribes; they were the heads of thousands [the highest ranking officers] in Israel.”

17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who were designated by name, 18 and assembled all the congregation on the first day of the second month, and they registered by ancestry in their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19 just as the Lord had commanded Moses. So he numbered them in the Wilderness of Sinai.

20 The sons of Reuben, Israel’s (Jacob’s) firstborn, their generations, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 21 those of the tribe of Reuben numbered 46,500.

22 Of the sons of Simeon, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, their numbered men according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 23 those of the tribe of Simeon numbered 59,300.

24 Of the sons of Gad, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 25 those of the tribe of Gad numbered 45,650.

26 Of the sons of Judah, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 27 those of the tribe of Judah numbered 74,600.

28 Of the sons of Issachar, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 29 those of the tribe of Issachar numbered 54,400.

30 Of the sons of Zebulun, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 31 those of the tribe of Zebulun numbered 57,400.

32 Of the sons of Joseph: the sons (descendants) of Ephraim, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 33 those of the tribe of Ephraim numbered 40,500.

34 Of the sons of Manasseh, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 35 those of the tribe of Manasseh numbered 32,200.

36 Of the sons of Benjamin, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 37 those of the tribe of Benjamin numbered 35,400.

38 Of the sons of Dan, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 39 those of the tribe of Dan numbered 62,700.

40 Of the sons of Asher, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 41 those of the tribe of Asher numbered 41,500.

42 Of the sons of Naphtali, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 43 those of the tribe of Naphtali numbered 53,400.

44 These were the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each representing his fathers’ household. 45 So all those numbered of the sons of Israel, by their fathers’ households, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war in Israel, 46 all who were numbered were 603,550.

Levites Exempted

47 The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers’ tribe. 48 For the Lord had said to Moses, 49 “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor shall you take their census among the sons of Israel [since they are unavailable to go to war]. 50 But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle (sanctuary) of the Testimony, and over all its furnishings and all things that belong to it. They shall carry the tabernacle [when traveling] and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and camp around it. 51 When the tabernacle is to go forward, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to [be set up for] camp, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman (non-Levite) who approaches the tabernacle shall be put to death. 52 The Israelites shall camp according to their armies, every man by his own camp and every man by his own [tribal] standard (banner). 53 But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the Testimony, so that there will be no wrath against the congregation of the Israelites. The Levites shall be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony.” 54 Thus the sons of Israel did these things; according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so they did.

Arrangement of the Camps

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “The sons of Israel shall camp, each by his own standard, with the [d]banners of their fathers’ households; they shall camp around the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle), but at a distance. Those who camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the [e]standard of the camp of Judah, by their armies; and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall lead the sons of Judah, and his army as numbered totaled 74,600. Next to Judah [on the east side] the tribe of Issachar shall encamp; and Nethanel the son of Zuar shall lead the sons of Issachar, and his army as numbered totaled 54,400. Then [also on the east side] the tribe of Zebulun; and Eliab the son of Helon shall lead the sons of Zebulun, and his army as numbered totaled 57,400. The total of the numbered men [in the three tribes on the east side] in the camp of Judah was 186,400, by their armies. They shall move out first [on the march].

10 “On the south side shall be the [f]standard of the camp of Reuben, by their armies; and Elizur the son of Shedeur shall lead the sons of Reuben, 11 and his army as numbered totaled 46,500. 12 Those who camp next to Reuben [on the south side] shall be the tribe of Simeon; and Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai shall lead the sons of Simeon, 13 and his army as numbered totaled 59,300. 14 Then [completing the south side] the tribe of Gad; and Eliasaph the son of Reuel (Deuel) shall lead the sons of Gad, 15 and his army as numbered totaled 45,650. 16 The total of the numbered men [in the three tribes on the south side] in the camp of Reuben was 151,450, by their armies. They shall move out second [on the march].

17 “Then the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle) shall move out with the camp of the Levites in the middle of the [other] camps; just as they camp so shall they move out, every man in his place by their standards.

18 “On the west side shall be the [g]standard of the camp of Ephraim, by their armies; and Elishama the son of Ammihud shall lead the sons of Ephraim, 19 and his army as numbered totaled 40,500. 20 Beside Ephraim [on the west side] shall be the tribe of Manasseh; and Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur shall lead the sons of Manasseh, 21 and his army as numbered totaled 32,200. 22 Then [completing the west side shall be] the tribe of Benjamin; and Abidan the son of Gideoni shall lead the sons of Benjamin, 23 and his army as numbered totaled 35,400. 24 The total of the numbered men [of the three tribes on the west side] in the camp of Ephraim was 108,100, by their armies. They shall move out in third place.

25 “On the north side shall be the [h]standard of the camp of Dan, by their armies; and Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai shall lead the sons of Dan, 26 and his army as numbered totaled 62,700. 27 Encamped next to Dan [on the north side] shall be the tribe of Asher; and Pagiel the son of Ochran shall lead the sons of Asher, 28 and his army as numbered totaled 41,500. 29 Then [completing the north side] comes the tribe of Naphtali; and Ahira the son of Enan shall lead the sons of Naphtali, 30 and his army as numbered totaled 53,400. 31 The total of the numbered men [of the three tribes on the north side] in the camp of Dan was 157,600. They shall move out last, [i]standard after standard.”

32 These are the men of the Israelites [twenty years old and upward] as numbered by their fathers’ households. The total of the numbered men of the camps by their armies, 603,550. 33 But the Levites were not numbered with the [other] Israelites, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 34 Thus the Israelites did [as ordered]; according to everything the Lord had commanded Moses, so they camped by their standards, and so they moved out, everyone with his family (clan), according to his fathers’ household.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 1:1 In general, sons (children) of Israel or Israel or Israelites refers to all the people (males and females) of the various tribes descended from the twelve sons (Gen 35:23-26) of Jacob (later renamed Israel by God). In verses concerning things such as warfare or circumcision sons of Israel or Israel or Israelites usually refers only to the males. Tribes of ancient peoples were identified by the name of their founding ancestor. Therefore, this same general rule applies when referring to individual tribal groups, e.g. sons of Reuben, Reuben, Reubenites and so throughout.
  2. Numbers 1:2 Lit by their skulls, also the root word for “Golgotha.”
  3. Numbers 1:10 Ephraim was the second son born to Joseph in Egypt, but he was chosen over his elder brother, Manasseh, by his grandfather, Jacob (Israel) to receive the birthright blessing (the double portion). Joshua, the great leader who took command after the death of Moses, was from the tribe of Ephraim. Eventually, Ephraim dominated the other nine tribes of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. “Ephraim” is often used interchangeably with “Israel” to refer to the ten tribes of the north.
  4. Numbers 2:2 Each of the twelve tribes had a colored banner. The tribes were organized into groups of three. The leading tribe in each triad had a standard representing their group.
  5. Numbers 2:3 The standard of the tribes of Judah contained the picture of a lion.
  6. Numbers 2:10 The standard of the tribes headed by Reuben contained the picture of a man.
  7. Numbers 2:18 The standard of the tribes headed by Ephraim contained the picture of an ox.
  8. Numbers 2:25 The standard of the tribes headed by Dan contained the picture of an eagle.
  9. Numbers 2:31 The symbol on the various tribal standards seems important in view of the cherubim of Ezek 1:10, and in view of the living creatures of Rev 4:7. God was present in each of these settings.
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