Chapter 2

NUMBERS CHAPTER 2

Organization of the Camps

    • The Lord gave Moses and Aaron the following instructions for how the Israelites were organize themselves in the camp.

      • Guzik writes, “Israel had been on this Exodus journey for more than a year, and had assembled just about any way they had pleased. But now, ready to enter into the Promised Land, they had to take the next step in organization: Ordering themselves.”

      • Each tribe will be assigned its own area to camp at a distance from the Tabernacle which will be marked by the tribe’s banner.”

        • The tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun are to camp on the east side of the Tabernacle toward the sunrise, each beneath their respective banner. The following are their leaders and the number of troops registered to them”:

Tribe

Leader

Number

Judah

Nahshon (Amminadab’s son)

74600

Issachar

Nethanel (Zuar’s son)

54400

Zebulun

Eliab (Helon’s son)

57400

        • The total number of troops for Judah’s side of the camp is 186,400 and these three tribes will lead when traveling.”

        • The tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad are to camp on the south side of the Tabernacle, each beneath their respective banner. The following are their leaders and the number of troops registered to them”:

Tribe

Leader

Number

Reuben

Elizur (Shedeur’s son)

46500

Simeon

Shelumiel (Zurishaddai’s son)

59300

Gad

Eliasaph (Deuel’s son)

45650

          • The total number of troops in Reuben’s side of the camp is 151,450 and these three tribes will be second in line when traveling.”

        • The Tabernacle, carried by the Levites, will follow Reuben’s camp. Each tribe travels under their banner in the order that they camp.”

          • Guzik notes, “The priestly tribe was in the middle of the camps, closest to the tabernacle and surrounded by the other tribes.”

        • The tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin are to camp on the west side of the Tabernacle, each beneath their respective banner. The following are their leaders and the number of troops registered to them”:

Tribe

Leader

Number

Ephraim

Elishama (Ammihud’s son)

40500

Manasseh

Gamaliel (Pedahzur’s son)

32200

Benjamin

Abidan (Gideoni’s son)

35400

          • The total number of troops on Ephraim’s side of the camp is 108,100 and these three tribes will be third in line when traveling.”

        • The tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali are to camp on the north side of the Tabernacle, each beneath their respective banner. The following are their leaders and the number of troops registered to them”:

Tribe

Leader

Number

Dan

Ahiezer (Ammishaddai’s son)

62700

Asher

Pagiel (Ocran’s son)

41500

Naphtali

Ahira (Enan’s son)

53400

          • The total number of troops on Dan’s side of the camp is 157,600 and these three tribes will be last in line when traveling.”

      • The total number of troops listed by their tribes is 603,550. This number does not include the Levites because the Lord had said not to register them. The Israelites obeyed just as they had been instructed.

      • Guzik makes a couple of notable observations:

              1. God is a God of order; here, before Israel can take the Promised Land, He requires they order themselves also. Not only is it more efficient and useful, but it also simply more like God – ordered and organized.”

              2. The tribes of Israel camped around four banners, which were said to be a lion, a man, a calf, and an eagle. We find the same four creatures surrounding the throne of God in Revelation.”

            • The first living creature was like a lion, the second living creature like a calf, the third living creature had a face like a man, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle. (Revelation 4:7)”

            • The symbols for the tribes other than Judah come from Rabbinic tradition according to Keil-Delitzsch, “According to rabbinical tradition, the standard of Judah bore the figure of a lion, that of Reuben the likeness of a man or of a man’s head, that of Ephraim the figure of an ox, and that of Dan the figure of an eagle.”

Click here for Numbers chapter 3 notes