Scriptures

Numbers 2

Introduction

‘The LORD said to Moses and Aaron: “The Israelites are to camp around the tent of meeting some distance from it, each of them under their standard and holding the banners of their family.” On the east, toward the sunrise, the divisions of the camp of Judah are to encamp under their standard. The leader of the people of Judah is Nahshon son of Amminadab. His division numbers 74,600. The tribe of Issachar will camp next to them. The leader of the people of Issachar is Nethanel son of Zuar. His division numbers 54,400. The tribe of Zebulun will be next. The leader of the people of Zebulun is Eliab son of Helon. His division numbers 57,400. All the men assigned to the camp of Judah, according to their divisions, number 186,400. They will set out first. On the south will be the divisions of the camp of Reuben under their standard. The leader of the people of Reuben is Elizur son of Shedeur. His division numbers 46,500. The tribe of Simeon will camp next to them. The leader of the people of Simeon is Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. His division numbers 59,300. The tribe of Gad will be next. The leader of the people of Gad is Eliasaph son of Deuel. His division numbers 45,650. All the men assigned to the camp of Reuben, according to their divisions, number 151,450. They will set out second. Then the tent of meeting and the camp of the Levites will set out in the middle of the camps. They will set out in the same order as they encamp, each in their own place under their standard. On the west will be the divisions of the camp of Ephraim under their standard. The leader of the people of Ephraim is Elishama son of Ammihud. His division numbers 40,500. The tribe of Manasseh will be next to them. The leader of the people of Manasseh is Gamaliel son of Pedahzur. His division numbers 32,200. The tribe of Benjamin will be next. The leader of the people of Benjamin is Abidan son of Gideoni. His division numbers 35,400. All the men assigned to the camp of Ephraim, according to their divisions, number 108,100. They will set out third. On the north will be the divisions of the camp of Dan under their standard. The leader of the people of Dan is Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. His division numbers 62,700. The tribe of Asher will camp next to them. The leader of the people of Asher is Pagiel son of Okran. His division numbers 41,500. The tribe of Naphtali will be next. The leader of the people of Naphtali is Ahira son of Enan. His division numbers 53,400. All the men assigned to the camp of Dan number 157,600. They will set out last, under their standards. These are the Israelites, counted according to their families. All the men in the camps, by their divisions, number 603,550. The Levites, however, were not counted along with the other Israelites, as the LORD commanded Moses. So the Israelites did everything the LORD commanded Moses; that is the way they encamped under their standards, and that is the way they set out, each of them with their clan and family.’ Numbers 2:1-34

The Arrangement Of The Tribal Camps

This chapter describes how the tribes of Israel were organised in reference to the setting up and movement of the tabernacle.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The ‘standard’ marked the division, or camp, Numbers 1:9 / Numbers 1:16 / Numbers 1:24 / Numbers 1:31, the ‘ensign’ the family. There would thus be four ‘standards’ only, one for each ‘camp’ of three tribes. The ‘standard’ was probably a solid figure or emblem mounted on a pole, such as the Egyptians used. Tradition appropriates the four cherubic forms, Ezekiel 1:5-12 / Revelation 4:7ff, the lion, man, ox, and eagle, to the camps of Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan respectively; and this, as to the first, has a certain support from Genesis 49:9, compare Revelation 5:5, and as to the third, from Deuteronomy 33:17.’

Here is a diagram of how this setup would look like.

Some commentators suggest that the name Deuel, Numbers 2:14, should actually be the name Reuel. The area of the camp might be around three square miles, Numbers 2:14.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Such was the ideal form of the encampment in the wilderness, a form reproduced in the square court with which the temple was eventually surrounded, and in the vision of the heavenly city as seen by Ezekiel, Ezekiel 48:20, and by John, Revelation 21:16 / Revelation 20:9.

Thus the camp of God’s earthly people was divinely ordered so as to set forth the completeness of His Church, and to illustrate by its whole arrangement, which was determined by the tabernacle in the centre, both the dependence of all on God, and the access which all enjoyed to God.’

Go To Numbers 3

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Romans 15:13

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