Registration of Israel’s Troops
A year after Israel’s departure from Egypt, the Lord spoke to Moses in the Tabernacle[a] in the wilderness of Sinai. On the first day of the second month[b] of that year he said, “From the whole community of Israel, record the names of all the warriors by their clans and families. List all the men twenty years old or older who are able to go to war. You and Aaron must register the troops, and you will be assisted by one family leader from each tribe.
“These are the tribes and the names of the leaders who will assist you:
Tribe Leader Reuben Elizur son of Shedeur Simeon Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai Judah Nahshon son of Amminadab Issachar Nethanel son of Zuar Zebulun Eliab son of Helon Ephraim son of Joseph Elishama son of Ammihud Manasseh son of Joseph Gamaliel son of Pedahzur Benjamin Abidan son of Gideoni Dan Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai Asher Pagiel son of Ocran Gad Eliasaph son of Deuel Naphtali Ahira son of Enan
These are the chosen leaders of the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of the clans of Israel.”
So Moses and Aaron called together these chosen leaders, and they assembled the whole community of Israel on that very day.[c] All the people were registered according to their ancestry by their clans and families. The men of Israel who were twenty years old or older were listed one by one, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. So Moses recorded their names in the wilderness of Sinai.
This is the number of men twenty years old or older who were able to go to war, as their names were listed in the records of their clans and families[d]:
Tribe Number Reuben (Jacob’s[e] oldest son) 46,500 Simeon 59,300 Gad 45,650 Judah 74,600 Issachar 54,400 Zebulun 57,400 Ephraim son of Joseph 40,500 Manasseh son of Joseph 32,200 Benjamin 35,400 Dan 62,700 Asher 41,500 Naphtali 53,400
These were the men registered by Moses and Aaron and the twelve leaders of Israel, all listed according to their ancestral descent. They were registered by families—all the men of Israel who were twenty years old or older and able to go to war. The total number was 603,550.
But this total did not include the Levites. For the Lord had said to Moses, “Do not include the tribe of Levi in the registration; do not count them with the rest of the Israelites. Put the Levites in charge of the Tabernacle of the Covenant,[f] along with all its furnishings and equipment. They must carry the Tabernacle and all its furnishings as you travel, and they must take care of it and camp around it. Whenever it is time for the Tabernacle to move, the Levites will take it down. And when it is time to stop, they will set it up again. But any unauthorized person who goes too near the Tabernacle must be put to death. Each tribe of Israel will camp in a designated area with its own family banner. But the Levites will camp around the Tabernacle of the Covenant to protect the community of Israel from the Lord’s anger. The Levites are responsible to stand guard around the Tabernacle.”
So the Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.
- 1:1a Hebrew the Tent of Meeting.
- 1:1b This day in the ancient Hebrew lunar calendar occurred in April or May.
- 1:18 Hebrew on the first day of the second month; see 1:1.
- 1:20-21a In the Hebrew text, this sentence (This is the number of men twenty years old or older who were able to go to war, as their names were listed in the records of their clans and families) is repeated in 1:22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42.
- 1:20-21b Hebrew Israel’s. The names “Jacob” and “Israel” are often interchanged throughout the Old Testament, referring sometimes to the individual patriarch and sometimes to the nation.
- 1:50 Or Tabernacle of the Testimony; also in 1:53.
Organization for Israel’s Camp
Then the Lord gave these instructions to Moses and Aaron: “When the Israelites set up camp, each tribe will be assigned its own area. The tribal divisions will camp beneath their family banners on all four sides of the Tabernacle,[a] but at some distance from it.
“The divisions of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun are to camp toward the sunrise on the east side of the Tabernacle, beneath their family banners. These are the names of the tribes, their leaders, and the numbers of their registered troops:
Tribe Leader Number Judah Nahshon son of Amminadab 74,600 Issachar Nethanel son of Zuar 54,400 Zebulun Eliab son of Helon 57,400
So the total of all the troops on Judah’s side of the camp is 186,400. These three tribes are to lead the way whenever the Israelites travel to a new campsite.