Another census (Num 26:1-26:56)

“After the plague, Yahweh said to Moses and to Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, ‘Take a census of the whole congregation of the Israelites, from twenty years old and upward, by their ancestral houses, everyone in Israel able to go forth to war.’ Moses and Eleazar the priest spoke with them in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho. ‘Take a census of the people, from twenty years old and upward,’ as Yahweh commanded Moses.”

After all these deaths, why not take another census. After all, the name of the book is Numbers. I will compare this census with the one taken in chapter 1 to indicate the differences. At the 1st census each tribe had 1 person to help take the census, but that is not the case here. After the plague, Yahweh told Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron, to take a census of everyone over 20 years old, able to go to war. Notice that now that Aaron is dead, Eleazar his son speaks with God. This is the first time anyone other than Aaron or Moses is mentioned. They took the census of all the men over 20 who would be able to fight, in the plains of Moab by the Jordan opposite Jericho. Men are not explicitly mentioned but able to fight seems to imply men.

“The Israelites, who came forth out of the land of Egypt, were:

Reuben was the first-born of Israel. The descendents of Reuben were: Hanoch, the clan of the Hanochites; Pallu, the clan of the Palluites; Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites; Carmi, the clan of the Carmites. These are the clans of the Reubenites. The number of those enrolled was forty-three thousand seven hundred and thirty.  The descendant of Pallu was Eliab. The descendants of Eliab were: Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the same Dathan and Abiram, chosen from the congregation, who rebelled against Moses and Aaron in the company of Korah, when they rebelled against Yahweh. The earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up together with Korah, when that company died, when the fire devoured two hundred and fifty men. They became a warning. Notwithstanding, the descendants of Korah did not die.”

1)                  Reuben was the first-born of Israel. His 4 descendants are the same as those mentioned in Genesis, chapter 46 and Exodus, chapter 6.

  1. Hanoch, the clan of the Hanochites;

There was another Hanoch in Genesis, chapter 25, who was the grandson of Abraham, by way of Keturah. He was the son of Median, not through the line of Isaac, although they had the same father. Sometimes the Hanochites refers to this Median group. However, this Hanoch is the grandson of Israel through Reuben, or the great-great grandson of Abraham via Isaac and Jacob.

2. Pallu, the clan of the Palluites;

Eliab son of Pallu and his descendants were

i. Nemuel, Simeon also had a son named Nemuel.

ii. Dathan,

iii. Abiram.

There is the reminder of the disobedience of Dathan and Abiram. Dathan and Abiram along with         Korah, the Levite, led the revolution against Moses and Aaron in chapter 16. They were part of the 250 who died. The complete families of Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up by the earth, along with the Levite Korah, but Korah’s descendants lived. Perhaps part of this dispute may have been about the role of Levites.

3. Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites; There also was a son of Judah name Hezron, the son of Perez;

4. Carmi, the clan of the Carmites.

    This time their number was 43,730 as opposed to the original 46,500.

“The descendants of Simeon by their clans were: Nemuel, the clan of the Nemuelites; Jamin, the clan of the Jaminites; Jachin, the clan of the Jachinites; Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites; Shaul, the clan of the Shaulites. These are the clans of the Simeonites, twenty-two thousand two hundred.”

2)                  There are only 5 descendants of Simeon mentioned. There were 6 mentioned in Genesis, chapter 46, and Exodus, chapter 6. Ohad was listed as the 3rd son of Simeon in both those works, but there is no mention of him here. Nemuel was called Jemuel in the earlier works. Zerah was called Zohar. There are other instances of Zerah, especially as the son of Judah. Jamin, Jachin, and Shaul all have the same spelling as in the earlier works.

  1. Nemuel, the clan of the Nemuelites;
  2. Jamin, the clan of the Jaminites;
  3. Jachin, the clan of the Jachinites;
  4. Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites;
  5. Shaul, the clan of the Shaulites.

This time their number was 22, 200 down from 59,300, quite a big drop of over 37,000 individuals since this group was hit very hard and suffered the largest lost of population.

“The children of Gad by their clans were: Zephon, the clan of the Zephonites; Haggi, the clan of the Haggites; Shuni, the clan of the Shunites; Ozni, the clan of the Oznites; Eri, the clan of the Erites; Arod, the clan of the Arodites; Areli, the clan of the Arelites. These are the clans of the Gadites. The number of those enrolled was forty thousand five hundred.”

3) The 7 sons of Gad have 5 with the exact same spelling as in Genesis, chapter 46, Haggi, Shuni, Eri, Arod, and Areli. The name Zephon is usually associated as the son of Eliphaz, the son of Esau, Jacob’s brother. There is some indication that this might have been the name of a Canaanite god or angel, but in Genesis, chapter 46, he is called Ziphion. Ozni was called Ezbon in Genesis. Otherwise there is no mention of these people outside of these 2 passages.

1.  Zephon, the clan of the Zephonites;

2. Haggi, the clan of the Haggites;

3. Shuni, the clan of the Shunites;

4. Ozni, the clan of the Oznites;

5. Eri, the clan of the Erites;

6. Arod, the clan of the Arodites;

7. Areli, the clan of the Arelites.

The descendants of Gad were 40,500, reduced about 5,000 from 45,650 in the first census.

“The sons of Judah were Er and Onan. Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. The descendants of Judah by their clans were: Shelah, the clan of the Shelanites; Perez, the clan of the Perezites; Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites. The descendants of Perez were: Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites; Hamul, the clan of the Hamulites. These are the clans of Judah. The number of those enrolled was seventy-six thousand five hundred.”

4) There was no confusion about the 5 descendants of Judah, either in the name or spelling. 2 died before the Exodus. The name Shelah was also associated with the genealogy of the patriarchs in Genesis, chapter 11, where he is the son of Arpachshad and father of Eber:

1. Er, who died in Canaan;

2. Onan, who also died in the land of Canaan;

3. Shelah, the clan of the Shelanites;

4. Perez, the clan of the Perezites;

1)  Hezron, the clan of the Hezronites;

2) Hamul, the clan of the Hamulites

.                  5. Zerah, the clan of the Zerahites.

These are the clans of Judah, 66,500, down by about 8,000 from 74,600.

“The descendants of Issachar according to their clans were: Tola, the clan of the Tolaites; Puvah, the clan of the Punites; Jashub, the clan of the Jashubites; Shimron, the clan of the Shimronites. These are the clans of Issachar: sixty-four thousand three hundred enrolled.”

5) There was no confusion about the four descendants of Issachar since their names and spellings are exactly the same:

1. Tola, the clan of the Tolaites;

2. Puvah, the clan of the Punites;

3. Jashub, the clan of the Jashubites;

4. Shimron, the clan of the Shimronites.

The clans of Issachar actually increased in size by nearly 10,000 from 54,400 to 64,300. It is not clear why this tribe increased.

“The descendants of Zebulun, by their clans were: Sered, the clan of the Seredites; Elon, the clan of the Elonites; Jahleel, the clan of the Jahleelites. These are the clans of the Zebulunites. The number of those enrolled was sixty thousand five hundred.”

6) The 3 descendants of Zebulun all have the same name and spelling as in Genesis. Esau married the daughter of a Hittite man named Elon. Otherwise there is no mention of these three guys anywhere else.

  1. Sered, the clan of the Seredites;
  2. Elon, the clan of the Elonites;
  3. Jahleel, the clan of the Jahleelites.

These clans increased by 3,000 from 57,400 to 60,500.

“The sons of Joseph by their clans were: Manasseh and Ephraim. The son of Manasseh was Machir, the clan of the Machirites. Machir was the father of Gilead, the clan of the Gileadites. These are the descendants of Gilead: Iezer, the clan of the Iezerites; Helek, the clan of the Helekites; Asriel, the clan of the Asrielites; Shechem, the clan of the Shechemites; Shemida, the clan of the Shemidaites; Hepher, the clan of the Hepherites. Now Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons, but daughters. The names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. These are the families of Manasseh. The number of those enrolled was fifty-two thousand seven hundred.”

7) The 2 descendants of Joseph included Manasseh, the 1st son who was not favored over Ephraim. Apparently he had only 1 son, Machir, so that his grandson Gilead is listed with more descendants. Gilead is both a mountain and an area east of the Jordan. This is a name that appears quite often. The Gilead clan must have been important because all his children are specifically mentioned. Shechem is both a place in Canaan, and another person named Shechem that was a Hivite prince in Genesis, chapter 34. Hepher is interesting because his only son Zelophehad had 5 daughters and no sons so that there is a list of these 5 women, one of the few to appear in the genealogies. They seem to play a bigger role as the daughters of Zelophehad.   One of the daughters is named Noah, the same as one of the central figures in Genesis, chapters 6-9. Milcah was also the name of the wife of Nahor, the brother of Abraham, and the daughter of Haran and the sister of Lot. She had eight children with Nahor. There was a place called Tirzah.

Machir, the clan of the Machirites

Gilead, the clan of the Gileadites.

1. Iezer, the clan of the Iezerites

2. Helek, the clan of the Helekites;

3. Asriel, the clan of the Asrielites;

4. Shechem, the clan of the Shechemites;

5. Shemida, the clan of the Shemidaites;

6. Hepher, the clan of the Hepherites.

Zelophehad the son of Hepher had no sons, but 5 daughters:

1. Mahlah,

2. Noah,

3. Hoglah,

4. Milcah,

5. Tirzah.

The clans of Manasseh increased by 12,000, and went from 40,500 to 52,700. There is no reason for the increase in this tribe.

“These are the descendants of Ephraim according to their clans: Shuthelah, the clan of the Shuthelahites; Becher, the clan of the Becherites; Tahan, the clan of the Tahanites.  These are the descendants of Shuthelah: Eran, the clan of the Eranites. These are the clans of the Ephraimites. The number of those enrolled was thirty-two thousand five hundred. These are the descendants of Joseph by their clans.”

8)  The second son of Joseph was the favorite Ephraim, who had 3 sons. One of the descendants of Benjamin had the same name, Becher, in Genesis, chapter 46. Otherwise there is nothing much about these names, except that Eran is the only third generation mentioned, unlike with Manasseh:

  1. Shuthelah, the clan of the Shuthelahites;

i.      Eran, the clan of the Eranites;

2. Becher, the clan of the Becherites;

3. Tahan, the clan of the Tahanites.

The clans of Ephraim was almost the same as the first census, but decreased about 300 people, 32,500 from 32,200.

“The descendants of Benjamin by their clans were: Bela, the clan of the Belaites; Ashbel, the clan of the Ashbelites; Ahiram, the clan of the Ahiramites; Shephupham, the clan of the Shuphamites; Hupham, the clan of the Huphamites.  The descendants of Bela were Ard and Naaman: Ard, the clan of the Ardites; Naaman, the clan of the Naamites. These are the descendants of Benjamin by their clans. The number of those enrolled was forty-five thousand six hundred.

9)                 There is substantial difference between the list of the descendants of Benjamin in Genesis and here. Here there are only 5 descendants, while in Genesis, there were 10 descendants. Only 2 are the same Bela and Ashbel. Bela was another name for the place called Zoar in Genesis. In fact, today there are many places throughout the world named Bela. There will be other people named Bela in other biblical tales. Those missing from this list are Becher, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. Becher is listed as a son of Ephraim, so that may be why he is not here. In later books of the Bible, Gera is listed as a son of Benjamin, but not here. Naaman and Ard are listed as the descendants of Bela, not of Benjamin as in Genesis. The mention of Ehi and Muppim in Genesis are the only mentions of these two in the biblical works. Rosh is some sort of kingdom in later works. It is possible that Hupham is just another way of saying Huppim, since they are both listed only once here in Numbers and Genesis. Both Ahiram and Shephupham are only listed here and in no other works.

  1. Bela, the clan of the Belaites;

i.      Ard, the clan of the Ardites;

ii.      Naaman, the clan of the Naamites.

2. Ashbel, the clan of the Ashbelites;

3. Ahiram, the clan of the Ahiramites;

4. Shephupham, the clan of the Shuphamites;

5. Hupham, the clan of the Huphamites.

These are the clans of Benjamin that increased by 10,000, 45,600 from 35,400. Once again, this tribe increased.

“These are the descendants of Dan according by their clans: Shuham, the clan of the Shuhamites. These are the clans of Dan by their clans. All the clans of the Shuhamites were sixty-four thousand four hundred enrolled.”

10)          Dan had only 1 son, but he has 2 different names between here and Genesis, where he is called Hushim not Shuham. Since the names do not appear elsewhere, we may assume that they are different spellings of the same name. There is no mention of his children. Actually this was a very large clan.

  1. Shuham, the clan of the Shuhamites.

The Shuhamites increased by only 1,700, 64,400 from 62,700.

“The descendants of Asher by their clan are: Imnah, the clan of the Imnites; Ishvi, the clan of the Ishvites; Beriah, the clan of the Beriites. The descendants of Beriah are: Heber, the clan of the Heberites; Malchiel, the clan of the Malchielites. The name of the daughter of Asher was Serah. These are the clans of the Asherites. The number of those enrolled was fifty-three thousand four hundred.”

11)          The descendants of Asher seem to have lost one son, Ishvah, who was in Genesis and later in Chronicles, but is not here in Numbers. The other three descendants and daughter are exactly the same. Somehow Beriah is more important since they mention his two descendants, Heber and Malchiel. Heber is mentioned again in the later works as well as a Heber who is a Kenite. Once again, Serah is mentioned as a daughter, but there is no group name for her descendants, no Serahites.

  1. Imnah, the clan of the Imnites;
  2. Ishvi, the clan of the Ishvites;
  3. Beriah, the clan of the Beriites.

i.      Heber, the clan of the Heberites;

ii.      Malchiel, the clan of the Malchielites.

4. Serah, the daughter of Asher;

The clans of the descendants of Asher increased by 12,000, 53,400 from 41,500, with no reason given.

“The descendants of Naphtali by their clan were: Jahzeel, the clan of the Jahzeelites; Guni, the clan of the Gunites; Jezer, the clan of the Jezerites; Shillem, the clan of the Shillemites. These are the clans of Naphtalites by their clans. The number of those enrolled was forty-five thousand four hundred.”

12)         The four descendants of Naphtali are exactly the same as in Genesis.

  1. Jahzeel, the clan of the Jahzeelites;
  2. Guni, the clan of the Gunites;
  3. Jezer, the clan of the Jezerites;
  4. Shillem, the clan of the Shillemites.

The families of Naphtali decreased 9,000, from 53,400 to 45,400.

“This was the number of the Israelites enrolled: six hundred and one thousand seven hundred and thirty.”

The number of Israelite people “enrolled” decreased from the first census to this census by merely 1,470, from 601,730 to 603,500. “

“Yahweh spoke to Moses. ‘To these the land shall be apportioned for inheritance according to the number of names. To a large tribe you shall give a large inheritance. To a small tribe you shall give a small inheritance. Every tribe shall be given its inheritance according to its enrollment. But the land shall be apportioned by lot. According to the names of their ancestral tribes they shall inherit. Their inheritance shall be apportioned according to lot between the larger and the smaller.”

Yahweh told Moses that the large tribes should get a larger inheritance, than the smaller tribes. This shall be done by lot or chance, but the large would be in one category and the small ones in another category. Thus the census served a purpose as they prepared to enter the Promise Land.


The marching order (Num 10:11-10:28)

“In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the covenant.  Then the Israelites set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai.  The cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran.  They set out for the first time at the command of Yahweh by Moses.  The standard of the camp of Judah set out first, company by company.  Over the whole company was Nahshon son of Amminadab.  Over the company of the tribe of Issachar was Nethanel son of Zuar.  Over the company of the tribe of Zebulun was Eliab son of Helon.”

In the 2nd year, on the 20th of the 2nd month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle.  This was just about a year after their arrival in Sinai and a few days after the census.  They set out for where the cloud settled in the wilderness of Paran, which is actually closer to Egypt and west of Sinai.  They left the camp in the order that Yahweh had commanded in Numbers, chapter 2.  So the three tribes on the east side of the camp left first.  First, the tribe of Judah with Nahshon at the lead set out.  Then the tribe of Issachar with Nethanel leading them came after them.  Finally, the tribe of Zebulun with Eliab at the head left the camp.

“Then the tabernacle was taken down.  The Gershonites and the Merarites, who carried the tabernacle, set out.  Next the standard of the camp of Reuben set out, company by company.  Over the whole company was Elizur son of Shedeur.   Over the company of the tribe of Simeon was Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai.   Over the company of the tribe of Gad was Eliasaph the son of Deuel.”

Then the tabernacle was taken down.  The Levite clans of Gershon and Merari set forward, bearing the tabernacle.  Then those camped on the south side from the tribe of Reuben with Elizur in the lead left. Next the children of Simeon with Shelumiel leading them left.  Finally, the tribe of Gad was lead by Eliasaph.

“Then the Kohathites, who carried the holy things, set out.  The tabernacle was set up before their arrival.  Next the standard of the Ephraimite camp set out, company by company.  Over the whole company was Elishama son of Ammihud.   Over the company of the tribe of Manasseh was Gamaliel son of Pedahzur.   Over the company of the tribe of  Benjamin was Abidan son of Gideoni.”

Then the Kohathites set out carrying the sanctuary and the other holy things.  The next group to leave was the west side group.  The children of Ephraim with Elishama leading them left. Gamaliel led the tribe of Manasseh, while Abidan led the tribe of Benjamin.

“Then the standard of the camp of Dan, acting as the rear guard of all the camps, set out, company by company.  Over the whole company was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai.  Over the company of the tribe of Asher was Pagiel son of Ochran.  Over the company of the tribe of Naphtali was Ahira son of Enan.  This was the order of march of the Israelites, company by company, when they set out.”

Finally, the rear guard was Ahiezer leading the children of Dan, Pagiel, the leader of the tribe of Asher, and Ahira, the leader of the tribe of Naphtali.

The tribal offerings at the altar dedication (Num 7:10-7:89)

“The leaders also presented offerings for the dedication of the altar at the time when it was anointed.  The leaders presented their offerings before the altar.  Yahweh said to Moses, ‘they shall present their offerings, one leader each day, for the dedication of the altar.’”

Each day one of the 12 tribal leaders came forward with gifts for the dedication of the altar.  Thus we have the 12 days of offerings.  Despite the different tribes, the offerings are substantially the same from each tribe.  These tribal leaders were the same as the ones mentioned in chapter 1 about taking the census.

“The one who presented his offering the first day was Nahshon son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah.  His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Nahshon son of Amminadab.”

The first one to come forward on the 1st day was Nahshon son of Amminadab, from the tribe of Judah, with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver basin, weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being offering, with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the second day, Nethanel son of Zuar, the leader of Issachar presented an offering.  He presented for his offering one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, as a burnt offering.  There was one male goat as a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Nethanel son of Zuar.”

On 2nd day, Nethanel son of Zuar, from the tribe of Issachar came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the third day, Eliab son of Helon, the leader of the Zebulunites presented an offering.  He presented for his offering one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, as a burnt offering.  There was one male goat as a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Eliab son of Helon.”

On 3rd day, Eliab son of Helon, from the tribe of Zebulun came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the fourth day, Elizur son of Shedeur, the leader of the Reubenites presented an offering.   He presented for his offering one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, as a burnt offering.  There was one male goat as a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Elizur son of Shedeur.”

On 4th day, Elizur son of Shedeur, from the tribe of Reuben came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the fifth day, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, the leader of the Simeonites presented an offering.   His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai.”

On 5th day, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, from the tribe of Simeon came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the sixth day, Eliasaph son of Deuel, the leader of the Gadites presented an offering.  His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, as a burnt offering.  There was one male goat as a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Eliasaph son of Deuel.”

On 6th day, Eliasaph son of Deuel, from the tribe of Gad came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the seventh day, Elishama son of Ammihud, the leader of the Ephraimites presented an offering.  His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Elishama son of Ammihud.”

On 7th day, Elishama son of Ammihud, from the tribe of Ephraim came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

On the eighth day, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, the leader of the Manassehites presented an offering.   His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Gamaliel son of Pedahzur.”

On 8th day, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, from the tribe of Manasseh came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the ninth day, Abidan son of Gideoni, the leader of the Benjaminites presented an offering.  His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Abidan son of Gideoni.”

On the 9th day, Abidan son of Gideoni, from the tribe of Benjamin came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the tenth day, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai, the leader of the Danites presented an offering.  His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai.”

On the 10th day, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai, from the tribe of Dan came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the eleventh day, Pagiel son of Ochran, the leader of the Asherites presented an offering.  His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Pagiel son of Ochran.”

On the 11th day, Pagiel son of Ochran, from the tribe of Asher came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“On the twelfth day, Ahira son of Enan, the leader of the Naphtalites presented an offering.   His offering was one silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels, one silver basin weighing seventy shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  Both of them full of choice flour mixed with oil for a grain offering.  There was one golden dish weighing ten shekels, full of incense.  There also was one young bull, one ram, one male lamb a year old, for a burnt offering.  There was one male goat for a sin offering.  For the sacrifice of well-being, two oxen, five rams, five male goats, and five male lambs a year old.  This was the offering of Ahira son of Enan.”

On the 12th day, Ahira son of Enan, from the tribe of Naphtali came with the following offerings:

1)      1 silver plate, weighing a 130 shekels;

2)      1 silver bowl weighing 70 shekels;

3)      both of them were full of choice flour mingled with oil for a grain offering;

4)      1 golden dish, weighing 10 shekels of gold, full of incense;

5)      1 young bull, 1 ram, 1 year old male lamb, for a burnt offering;

6)      1 male goat for a sin offering;

7)      a sacrifice of well-being with 2 oxen, 5 rams, 5 young kid goats, and 5 male one year old lambs.

“This was the dedication offering for the altar, at the time when it was anointed, from the leaders of Israel. There were twelve silver plates, twelve silver basins, twelve golden dishes, each silver plate weighing one hundred thirty shekels and each basin seventy.  All the silver of the vessels was two thousand four hundred shekels according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  The twelve golden dishes, full of incense, weighed ten shekels apiece according to the shekel of the sanctuary.  All the gold of the dishes was one hundred twenty shekels.  All the livestock for the burnt offering were twelve bulls, twelve rams, twelve male lambs a year old, with their grain offering.  Twelve male goats were for a sin offering.  All the livestock for the sacrifice of well-being were twenty-four bulls, sixty rams, sixty male goats sixty, and sixty male lambs a year old.  This was the dedication offering for the altar, after it was anointed.”

All the 12 tribal leaders came with the exact same gifts as Nahshon, each day one after another.  The result was a big haul:

1)      12 silver charger plates, each weighing 130 shekels a piece;

2)      12 silver bowls, each weighing 70 shekels a piece;

3)      12 golden dishes, each weighing 10 shekels a piece;

4)      12 bulls;

5)      12 rams;

6)      12 lambs;

7)      24 goats;

8)      60 rams;

9)      60 kid-goats;

10)  60 lambs.

This almost sounds like the 12 days of Christmas offerings.  This is a fairly good collection of silver and gold dishes for the dedication of the altar, which indicates that these wanderers must have had some silver and good available to them.  Remember that they had too many offerings when they asked for donations.  Obviously, these Israelites must have been on the wealthy side.  However, there is an even larger collection of over 240 livestock animals. Imagine then how many other animals were with this group of over 2 million people.  The numbers are fantastic and I guess that is why they call it Numbers.

 “When Moses went into the tent of meeting to speak with Yahweh he would heard the voice speaking to him from above the mercy seat that was upon the Ark of the Covenant from between the two cherubim.  Thus it spoke to him.”

The voice of Yahweh spoke to Moses from above the Ark of the Covenant above the mercy seat between the two cherubim.

The order of the tribes (Num 2:1-2:34)

Yahweh spoke to Moses and Aaron.  ‘The Israelites shall camp each in their respective regiments, under ensigns by their ancestral houses.  They shall camp facing the tent of meeting on every side.  Those to camp on the east side toward the sunrise shall be of the standard of the regimental encampment of Judah by companies.  The leader of the people of Judah being Nahshon son of Amminadab, with a company as enrolled of seventy-four thousand six hundred.  Those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar.  The leader of the people of Issacharites being Nethanel son of Zuar, with a company as enrolled of fifty-four thousand four hundred.  Finally came the tribe of Zebulun.  The leader of the Zebulunites being Eliab son of Helon, with a company as enrolled of fifty-seven thousand four hundred.  The total enrollment of the camp of Judah, by their companies, is one hundred eighty-six thousand four hundred.  They shall set out first on the march.”

The east side of the camp had the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun accounting for 186,400.  They would leave camp first.

“On the south side shall be the regimental encampment of Reuben by companies.  The leader of the Reubenites shall be Elizur son of Shedeur, with a company as enrolled of forty-six thousand five hundred.  Those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Simeon.  The leader of the Simeonites shall be Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, with a company as enrolled of fifty-nine thousand three hundred.  Then the tribe of Gad came next.  The leader of the Gadites shall be Eliasaph son of Reuel, with a company as enrolled of forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty.  The total enrollment of the camp of Reuben, by companies, is one hundred fifty-one thousand four hundred fifty. They shall set out second.”

The south side of the camp had the tribes of Reuben, Simeon, and Gad, accounting for 151,450.  They would leave camp second.

“The tent of meeting, with the camp of the Levites, shall be set out in the center of the camps.  They shall set out just as they camp, each in position, by their regiments.”

In the middle of the camp is the meeting tent and the Levite camp.

“On the west side shall be the regimental encampment of Ephraim by companies.  The leader of the people of Ephraim shall be Elishama son of Ammihud, with a company as enrolled of forty thousand five hundred.  Next to him shall be the tribe of Manasseh.  The leader of the people of Manasseh shall be Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, with a company as enrolled of thirty-two thousand two hundred.  Then the tribe of Benjamin.  The leader of the Benjaminites shall be Abidan son of Gideoni, with a company as enrolled of thirty-five thousand four hundred.  The total enrollment of the camp of Ephraim, by companies, is one hundred and eight thousand one hundred. They shall set out third on the march.

The west side tribes include Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin for 108,100.  They set out third.

“On the north side shall be the regimental encampment of Dan by companies.  The leader of the Danites shall be Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai, with a company as enrolled of sixty-two thousand seven hundred. Those to camp next to him shall be the tribe of Asher.  The leader of the Asherites shall be Pagiel son of Ochran, with a company as enrolled of forty-one thousand five hundred.  Then the tribe of Naphtali.  The leader of the Naphtalites shall be Ahira son of Enan, with a company as enrolled of fifty-three thousand four hundred.  The total enrollment of the camp of Dan is one hundred and fifty-seven thousand six hundred. They shall set out last, by companies.”

On the north side the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali accounted for 157,600, and they left last.

“This was the enrollment of the Israelites by their ancestral houses.  The total enrollment in the camps by their companies were six hundred three thousand five hundred and fifty.  Just as Yahweh had commanded Moses, the Levites were not enrolled among the other Israelites.  The Israelites did just as Yahweh had commanded Moses.  They camped by regiments.  They set out the same way, everyone by clans, according to ancestral houses.”

The tribes were going to camp facing the meeting tent from all four sides, with their clan emblems or ensigns.  Four tribes take on the responsibility for their side of the camp, Judah, Simeon, Ephraim, and Dan.  Notice that some tribes do not take the ending of “ite” at the end of their name.  The most important tribes are always referred to as the tribe or people.  The various tribes therefore surrounded the meeting tent.  They did this because Yahweh had commanded Moses to camp by company regiments, clans, and ancestral houses.

The purpose of the census (Num 1:1-1:19)

“Yahweh spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt.  ‘Take a census of the whole congregation of Israelites, in their clans, by ancestral houses, according to the number of names, every male individually.  From twenty years old and upward, everyone in Israel able to go to war.   You and Aaron shall enroll them, company by company. A man from each tribe shall be with you, each man the head of his ancestral house. These are the names of the men who shall assist you:

From Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur;

From Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai;

From Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab;

From Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar;

From Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon;

From the sons of Joseph;

From Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud;

From Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur;

From Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni;

From Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai;

From Asher, Pagiel son of Ochran;

From Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel;

From Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan.

These were the ones chosen from the congregation, the leaders of their ancestral tribes the heads of the divisions of Israel.’

Moses and Aaron took these men who have been designated by name.  On the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together.  They registered themselves in their clans, by their ancestral houses, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, individually.  As Yahweh commanded Moses. So he enrolled them in the wilderness of Sinai.”

Numbers gets its name from the Greek and Latin translations, just like the book of Leviticus.  There was a general census, an attempt to keep track of the people. The Hebrew Bible refers to this as the “In the Wilderness,” the wanderings of the Israelites in the desert. This first section comes out of the priestly tradition.

As in Leviticus and Exodus, Yahweh spoke to Moses.  However, it is not on Mt. Sinai but in the wilderness of Sinai in the tent of meeting.  This is the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt.  The meeting tent as outlined in Exodus has been set up.  Thus Moses meets Yahweh in the tent.  This message is clear.   Take a census of the whole congregation of Israelites, by ancestral houses, of every male over 20 years old.  These are the ones prepared to go to war.

How are they going to do it?  Moses and Aaron will do it with a man from each tribe:

  1. Reuben – Elizur, son of Shedeur;
  2. Simeon – Shelumiel, son of Zurishaddai;
  3. Judah – Nahshon (brother in law of Aaron), son of Amminadab (who was the father of Aaron’s wife, Elishheba);
  4. Issachar – Nethanel, son of Zuar;
  5. Zebulun – Eliab, son of Helon;
  6. Joseph         Ephraim, – Elishama, son of Ammihud;
  7. and Manasseh, Gamaliel, son of Pedahzur;
  8. Benjamin – Abidan, son of Gideoni;
  9. Dan –  Ahiezer, son of Ammishaddai;
  10. Asher – Pagiel, son of Ochran;
  11.  Gad –  Eliasaph, son of Deuel;
  12. Naphtali – Ahira, son of Enan.

Notice that Levi is not mentioned, because it is not a landed tribe, but the priestly clan.  However, the two sons of Joseph are there to make twelve tribes.  Moses and Aaron did what Yahweh asked.