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Numbers 2:1-34 (The Layout of the Tribes)

Aug 19, 2018   //   by Charlie Garrett   //   Numbers, Numbers Sermons (written), Old Testament, Old Testament (written), Sermons, Torah, Torah (written)  //  No Comments

Numbers 2:1-34
The Layout of the Tribes

In the verses of this chapter, we see the tribe of Judah is said to be
“on the east side, toward the rising of the sun.” There is a debate what that means. Some scholars put Judah to the far east, and then the other tribes collocated with him to his west, closer to the sanctuary. Others will put him in the middle of the three with one on each side of him. And others will put him on the east side of the sanctuary, directly next to it, with the other tribes yet further east. It actually makes a difference which is correct, at least in a theological sense. But before I explain that I’d like to read a portion of the words from the Pulpit Commentary concerning the camp layout as we have just read.

The Targum of Palestine (which embodies the traditional learning of the Palestinian Jews of the 17th century) says that the camp covered a space of twelve square miles. Modern writers, starting from some measurements of the Roman camps given by Polybius, compute the necessary space at three or three and a half miles square. This would require the strictest discipline and economy of space, and makes no provision for cattle; but supposing that the women and children were closely packed, it might suffice. It is, however, evident that there would be very few places in the wilderness, if any, where more than three square miles of fairly level ground could be found. In the plains of Moab the desired room might perhaps have been found, but scarcely anywhere in the wilderness of Paran. We must conclude, therefore, that this order of encampment was an ideal order, beautiful indeed by reason of its faultless regularity and equality, but only to be attained in practice as circumstances should permit, more or less. … Here is one of those cases in which the spiritual significance of an order is of such importance that it matters comparatively little whether it could be literally carried out or not.” 

What they are saying is that for most of their time in the wilderness, and because of the immense size of the congregation, there simply wasn’t normally enough open space for the camps to be laid out as is specified here. Thus, the presentation is one of intent, but not actuality at all times. Understanding this, we can take a brief journey to Washington DC, where the Washington monument is located. As a monument, it is the tallest of all federal monuments in the district. Capping the monument is an aluminum pyramid 22.6 cm high and 13.9 cm at its base. It weighs 2.85 pounds. At the time of its completion, the monument was the tallest man-made structure in the world. Even today, at 555’, it is the tallest free-standing masonry structure in the world. It has a corresponding base of 55’ as well. On each side of this cap, inscriptions are made. On the north, south, and east, there are names, dates, and information related to the monument. The east side of the cap contains these two words, LAUS DEO.

What this means is that as the sun rises over the district each day, the first thing that it alights upon which belongs to the people of the nation, are the words Praise God. Somebody had been reading his Bible, and somebody also felt that honoring God, as He directs to Israel in His word, was a fitting way to cap this marvelous monument belonging to the people. The approving committee obviously agreed.

Text Verse: “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob!
Your dwellings, O Israel!
Like valleys that stretch out,
Like gardens by the riverside,
Like aloes planted by the Lord,
Like cedars beside the waters.” Numbers 24:5, 6

Israel, under ideal circumstances, was to be a praise and a glory to God. They were to encamp around Him as a holy people. The word used in Numbers 2:3 to state where Judah was to be situated is qedemah, or eastward. It is variously translated as “to the east,” “eastward,” “on the east side,” etc. Based on the naming of Judah, meaning Praise, it seems unlikely that they would be anything but wholly eastward as the lead tribe, both when camping and departing for subsequent locations. This seems to be the intent of what is meant when Judah is mentioned eastward, towards the rising of the sun. The Lord was giving a theological lesson in what He expected of His people. That lesson is one of many treasures which is to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

Chapter 2 of the Book of Numbers

And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying:

This is the first of nine times that the Lord is said to speak to both Moses and Aaron in Numbers. With the numbers now settled from the census, the divisions of those who have been numbered will be directed where to camp in relation to the tabernacle. As is typical in Scripture, there is a logical progression of thought as each step proceeds onto the next. When something seems out of order, it is usually because it is given to provide an unusual sense of clarity about a matter which otherwise might have been overlooked. The Lord has built his house, He has given instructions concerning it, and how He is to be approached and how his people are to act. He then counted the number of His subjects. He will now order them according to a set plan for their march towards Canaan.

“Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard,

The words of this verse are similar to verse 1:52, with some variation. As noted in that verse, the degel, or standard, is specified for the layout of the divisions. The account will focus on four main standards. Under these four standards is another division

(con’t) beside the emblems of his father’s house;

There are twelve named tribes. Leaving out Levi, and dividing Joseph into Ephraim and Manasseh makes twelve. These words indicate twelve emblems. The word here translated as “emblem” is oth. It signifies a sign. It is something distinguishing. It can be a sign such as the heavenly bodies which are used for signs and for seasons. It can be a sign such as the sign of circumcision. It can be a miracle which then proves the power of the Lord, thus being a sign to the people. In this case, it is a sign or emblem, which distinguished the father’s house. Jewish commentaries deal with what the twelve household banners were; the Bible does not. Only four main standards can be inferred as to what they actually were.

(con’t) they shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting.

No specific distance is given, but it is likely that they were 2000 cubits distant from the tent of meeting. That is over half a mile. This can be inferred from what is stated in Joshua 3:4 –

Yet there shall be a space between you and it, about two thousand cubits by measure. Do not come near it, that you may know the way by which you must go, for you have not passed this way before.”

This is speculation, but it is a set distance which is explicitly given as a marker of separation. It would then be a suitable distance to allow for the Levites who will camp between the twelve tribes and the tent of meeting. Such a distance was to imprint upon the people the holiness of God, and their inability to approach Him directly unless they came with the proper sacrifices, and through an acceptable mediator. The separation then is thus a picture of our separation from God, and our need for Christ as our Sacrifice, and Christ as our High Priest and Mediator.

It is likely, if the coming of the Lord is soon (as it surely is), that this is a picture of the separation between Christ’s first advent, and our ability to come near to God. Two thousand cubits then would be reflective of the two thousand years that the church needs to traverse before they can come near to God in reality.

On the east side, toward the rising of the sun, those of the standard of the forces with Judah shall camp according to their armies;

The wording here is specific. It first identifies qedemah, or eastward, and then mizrakha, or towards where the sun rises. Qedem, or east, needs to be understood. First, Judah is before the other tribes, but the word qedem is figuratively used to signify the past, or former times. The garden which was in Eden was eastward, and when man was cast out of the garden, the cherubim were placed at the east end of the garden to guard the way to the tree of life. Likewise, the cherubim woven into the veil before the ark faced east. It is in the east now, in this advanced location, that the forces of Judah are instructed to be camped under their degel, or standard. The standard of Judah is that of a lion. How we can determine the four standards will be explained later.

The name Judah means “Praise.” As the advanced guard of the armies of Israel, it would then indicate the thought, “Praise first before the Lord.” Judah is first in praise, and Judah is already known to be the tribe from which Messiah would come. Judah is east, or from before, just as Messiah would have his origins from of old, even from everlasting, as prophesied by Micah. And yet He would be the Dayspring from on high as prophesied by Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. Everything about the tribe and its placement points to Messiah.

(con’t) and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be the leader of the children of Judah.”

As seen in Chapter 1, Nahshon means Enchanter, or Serpent-person. Amminadav means My Kinsman Is Noble or People of the Prince.

And his army was numbered at seventy-four thousand six hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:27.

“Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar, and Nethanel the son of Zuar shall be the leader of the children of Issachar.”

Issachar is next named, and would be camped next to, but (probably) west of, Judah. As I said, Judah is said to be “eastward,” and it is actually unclear if he was furthest east, or simply eastward of the sanctuary with the other tribes yet further east. I would say furthest east. Issachar is under Judah’s degel, or standard. Issachar means “He is Wages.” Nethanel is named as their leader. Nethanel means, “Given of God.” He is the son of Zuar, or Little One. Issachar is the littlest of the three tribes to the east.

And his army was numbered at fifty-four thousand four hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:29.

“Then comes the tribe of Zebulun, and Eliab the son of Helon shall be the leader of the children of Zebulun.”

Zebulun would be next to, but west of, Issachar, but still under the degel, or standard, of Judah. Zebulun means, “Glorious Dwelling Place;” a fitting name for being closest to the sanctuary on the east side. Eliab means My God is Father. Helon means Very Strong.

And his army was numbered at fifty-seven thousand four hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:31.

“All who were numbered according to their armies of the forces with Judah, one hundred and eighty-six thousand four hundred—these shall break camp first.

The combined strength of the three tribes, all under one standard, that of Judah, is listed. Then it is specifically noted that these three together shall break camp first. Judah means Praise, and thus – like their camping – it forms a picture for us to understand, “Praise is to go first before the Lord.” It is of note that these first three tribes have been placed next to one another as nearest of kin. Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun are the three youngest sons born to Leah. As Judah was the oldest of the three, the two younger tribes would not begrudge their older brother being chief of their companies.

10 “On the south side shall be the standard of the forces with Reuben according to their armies,

The next degel, or standard, is that of Reuben. The standard of Reuben is that of a man. Reuben is the furthest teman, or south of the sanctuary. The word teman is the same as yamin, or right, because the south is the right side of a person when facing east. Reuben means, “See, as Son.” As Jesus is the Son of God, He is also at the Right hand of God.

10 (con’t) and the leader of the children of Reuben shall be Elizur the son of Shedeur.”

Elizur means God of the Rock. Isaiah 51:1 combines righteousness in with the rock. Shedeur means Spreader of Light. As the south side receives the greater illumination of the sun in the northern hemisphere, it seems both names are well-suited to the right side.

11 And his army was numbered at forty-six thousand five hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:21.

12 “Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Simeon, and the leader of the children of Simeon shall be Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.”

Simeon falls under the degel, or standard of Reuben. He would (probably) camp next to, but north of, Reuben. Simeon means “He Who Hears.” Shelumiel means Peace of God. Psalm 85:10 combines righteousness in with peace. Zurishaddai means Rock of the Almighty. Again the idea of the rock and righteousness are seen on the right side. The names do fit their location.

13 And his army was numbered at fifty-nine thousand three hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:23.

14 “Then comes the tribe of Gad, and the leader of the children of Gad shall be Eliasaph the son of Reuel.”

Gad falls under the degel, or standard, of Reuben. He would camp next to, but north of Simeon. Gad means both Troop and Fortune. Eliasaph means God has Added. The name Reuel is an interchange recorded in some manuscripts. In Chapter 1 the name is Deuel. Deuel means Known of God. Reuel means Friend of God. The letters Dalet and Resh are extremely similar in appearance and so they are often interchanged. By accident or on purpose is debated.

15 And his army was numbered at forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:25.

16 “All who were numbered according to their armies of the forces with Reuben, one hundred and fifty-one thousand four hundred and fifty—they shall be the second to break camp.

The combined strength of the three tribes, all under one standard, that of Reuben, is listed. Reuben was the firstborn, but he lost his right to this and so His standard is second behind Judah. Simeon was born after Reuben, and so he is rightly placed under Reuben. And then Gad was the son of their mother Leah’s handmaid. Thus, his is rightly placed under both of them.

17 “And the tabernacle of meeting shall move out with the camp of the Levites in the middle of the camps; as they camp, so they shall move out, everyone in his place, by their standards.

At first, one might assume there is a contradiction in the Bible between here and Chapter 10. In 10:17, it says that “the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari set out, carrying the tabernacle.” If the translations followed the original, there would be no contradiction. The words here are ohel moed, tent of meeting. In 10:17, it says mishkan, tabernacle. The tabernacle is contained within the tent of meeting, and thus it is divided up and moved at different times, between various tribes. This is confirmed in Numbers 10:21 where the holy things from the tabernacle were transported after Reuben’s group. This might seem uninteresting until someone tries to trip up your faith by showing you supposed contradictions which stem from incorrect translations like the Geneva Bible, the KJV, the NKJV and others. This doesn’t say that the tent of meeting would follow Reuben. It simply says it will move out in the middle of the camps. No error exists.

18 “On the west side shall be the standard of the forces with Ephraim according to their armies,

The next degel, or standard, is that of Ephraim. The standard of Ephraim is that of an ox. Ephraim is the furthest yam, or west of the sanctuary. The word yam means “sea.” When facing east in Israel, the sea is to the west. But more, when facing the throne, symbolically in the west, in Revelation 4:6, just before the throne is a sea like glass. Ephraim means, “Double Fruitful.”

18 (con’t) and the leader of the children of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud.”

Elishama means God has Heard. Ammihud means My Kinsman is Glorious.

19 And his army was numbered at forty thousand five hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:33.

20 “Next to him comes the tribe of Manasseh, and the leader of the children of Manasseh shall be Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.”

Manasseh falls under the degel, or standard, of Ephraim. He would (probably) camp next to, but east of, Ephraim. Manasseh means “To forget,” but it also means “From a debt.” Gamaliel means Reward of God. Pedahzur means The Rock has Ransomed.

21 And his army was numbered at thirty-two thousand two hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:35.

22 “Then comes the tribe of Benjamin, and the leader of the children of Benjamin shall be Abidan the son of Gideoni.”

Benjamin falls under the degel, or standard, of Ephraim. He would camp next to, but east of, Manasseh. Benjamin means “Son of my right hand.” Abidan means Father of Judgment. Gideoni means Feller (as in one who cuts down). These names, along with the tribes they belong to, all fit well with their placement to the west.

23 And his army was numbered at thirty-five thousand four hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:37.

24 “All who were numbered according to their armies of the forces with Ephraim, one hundred and eight thousand one hundred—they shall be the third to break camp.

The combined strength of the three tribes, all under one standard, that of Ephraim, is listed. All three of these are of the lineage of Rachel. Benjamin was born to her. Ephraim and Manasseh were sons of Rachel’s son Joseph. It is logical to have them here because it is a close family grouping. It also forms a beautiful picture of the Lord’s workings in redemption as we will eventually see.

25 “The standard of the forces with Dan shall be on the north side according to their armies,

The final degel, or standard, is that of Dan. The standard of Dan is an eagle. Dan is the furthest tsaphon, or north of the sanctuary. The word tsaphon means hidden, and thus dark. It has the sense of gloomy or unknown because the north receives the least sunlight in the northern hemisphere. Dan means “Judge.”

25 (con’t) and the leader of the children of Dan shall be Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.”

Ahiezer means Brother of Help. Ammishaddai means My Kinsman is the Almighty.

26 And his army was numbered at sixty-two thousand seven hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:39.

27 “Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Asher, and the leader of the children of Asher shall be Pagiel the son of Ocran.”

Asher falls under the degel, or standard, of Dan. He would camp next to, but (probably) south of, Dan. Asher means “Happy.” Pagiel means Occurrence of God. Ocran means Troubled.

28 And his army was numbered at forty-one thousand five hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:41.

29 “Then comes the tribe of Naphtali, and the leader of the children of Naphtali shall be Ahira the son of Enan.”

Naphtali falls under the degel, or standard, of Dan. He would camp next to, but south of, Asher. Naphtali means My Wrestling, or My Twisting. Ahira means Brother of Purpose. Enan means Having Fountains, or Having Eyes.

30 And his army was numbered at fifty-three thousand four hundred.

This is the total recorded in verse 1:43.

31 “All who were numbered of the forces with Dan, one hundred and fifty-seven thousand six hundred—

The combined strength of the three tribes, all under one standard, that of Dan, is listed. Dan was the oldest son of the handmaid Bilhah. To him is added the two younger sons born to the handmaids. Thus there would be a closeness in this grouping because of this. As you can see, under these four groupings, there is an immense wisdom in how they are organized. The families were most closely united in these four groupings. Also, the grouping with Dan is the second largest grouping, and it is also the last to set out. Thus, the front guard is the largest, and the rear guard is the second largest. There is wisdom in the military groupings as well.

31 (con’t) they shall break camp last, with their standards.”

Here the word “last” is akharon. It is essentially the opposite of qedem which was used for Judah. Whereas qedem is east, akharon signifies west when facing east. Whereas qedem means before, akharon signifies behind. But, when speaking of time, qedem speaks of the past, (the first) or former times, but akharon speaks of the future, (the last) or latter times. All of this is in relation to facing east, or looking forward.

32 These are the ones who were numbered of the children of Israel by their fathers’ houses. All who were numbered according to their armies of the forces were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty.

This verse is derived from the totals relayed to us in 1:45, 46.

33 But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel, just as the Lord commanded Moses.

This is in accord with the Lord’s words to Moses in verses 1:47-53.

*34 Thus the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses; so they camped by their standards and so they broke camp, each one by his family, according to their fathers’ houses.

The words here are taken in a future manner, and apply to the entire duration of the wilderness wanderings. The people are still at Sinai, and they have not yet departed. But when they did, the record here shows that the manner laid out by Moses was followed according to the word of the Lord. This was a systematic camping which, in ideal conditions, was so beautiful, and so perfectly laid out, that it caused Balaam to cry out the words which were our text verse of the day – “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!”

With this chapter now finished, we still need to have explained how we can deduce what the degel, or standard for each of the four groupings was. Tradition says what they are – which is often more than useless, and which normally leads to something meaning whatever one wishes – but the Bible also alludes to each. First is the standard of Judah, the Lion. Only one time in the Bible is the Lion specifically connected to Jesus. That is in Revelation 5:5 –

Behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the scroll and to loose its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

The obvious connotation then is that the Lion is specifically connected to Judah. This confirms what was stated in Genesis –

Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise;
Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies;
Your father’s children shall bow down before you.
Judah is a lion’s whelp;
From the prey, my son, you have gone up.
He bows down, he lies down as a lion;
And as a lion, who shall rouse him?” Genesis 49:8, 9

If we can determine one other standard, then we can form a pattern. And it can be done. Ephraim is represented by an ox several times in Scripture. The first time is in Deuteronomy 33. In the blessing of Joseph, of which Ephraim was the preeminent son, he is equated to a wild ox in verse 17. In Hosea 10:11, Ephraim is called a “trained heifer,” meaning an ox. He is again called a bull in Jeremiah 31:18. These are sufficient to give us two standards based on a vision of four living creatures seen in Ezekiel 1 –

As for the likeness of their faces, each had the face of a man; each of the four had the face of a lion on the right side, each of the four had the face of an ox on the left side, and each of the four had the face of an eagle. 11 Thus were their faces.” Ezekiel 1:10, 11

Ezekiel beheld a vision of four living creatures each with four faces. The faces are described first as a man. Thus it is the one Ezekiel is seeing first. To the right is a lion. The right from Ezekiel’s position then corresponds to the east as the tribes are laid out. Thus, the man would be to the south, facing him, where Reuben would be. On the left, meaning the west, was an ox. That matches where Ephraim, the ox, is according to the camp layout. And that leaves the eagle facing north, where Dan is. Thus, we can, with all certainty, see the four standards of the tribes – Judah is a Lion; Reuben is a Man; Ephraim is an Ox; and Dan is an eagle. From there, we can see the intended order of these in a numerical sequence from the book of 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 order of the faces is described by John in the same order as the layout of the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Matthew describes Jesus as the great Son of David, and thus King. The symbol of a king is a lion. The king is equated to a lion in Proverbs 19:12 –

The king’s wrath is like the roaring of a lion,
But his favor 
is like dew on the grass.”

Kings are again equated with lions in Jeremiah 50:17 –

Israel is like scattered sheep;
The lions have driven him away.
First the king of Assyria devoured him;
Now at last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones.”

The symbolism is found in Ezekiel 32:2 also. Next Mark focuses on Jesus the Servant. The ox is considered a servant animal. In the third Gospel, Luke focuses on Jesus’ humanity, calling Christ the Son of Man. He uses the term 26 times in this way. And finally, John focuses on Chris’s deity, calling Him the Son of God, specifically 10 times, but alluding to the Father/Son relationship continually. The eagle is thus a symbol of John’s Gospel, reflecting the Divine nature of Christ.

The camps are laid out by four standards in Numbers; the standards are revealed to us in Ezekiel; and their order is given to us in Revelation – an order that matches that of the four gospels. Thus, the four sets of tribes, consisting of twelve individual tribes, branching out from the tabernacle to the east, west, south, and north are reflective of the four gospels. They are the witness of the Lord who came and tabernacled among us. What is recorded there reveals what was anticipated throughout the entire Old Testament, and that is then explained in the rest of Scripture, as to His Person, His work, and how it pertains to us.

As the sanctuary itself was, in every detail, a picture of Christ, so the gospels are a revelation of Christ. The people of Israel were to be the heralds of Christ to the world; a light to the nations. Their physical encampment around the sanctuary was a picture of the spiritual truth that the gospel would, in fact, go out to all four corners of the earth – north, south, east, and west.

In the end, it is all about Jesus Christ. He is the Praise of God; He is the One who is before all things; and He is the King; He is the Servant of God and the Son of man. He is the Son of God and the Sanctuary for our souls. He is, indeed, all of these and so much more. In the end, the pictures continue to develop into One grand theme – JESUS. It is all about JESUS. More lies ahead when we continue on in the book of Numbers. Stay tuned.

Closing Verse: “They will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and sit down in the kingdom of God.” Luke 13:29

Next Week: Numbers 3:1-13 Of all of the grapes on the vine… (The Levites Shall be Mine) (4th Numbers Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. It may seem at times as if you are lost in a desert, wandering aimlessly. But the Lord is there, carefully leading you to the Land of Promise. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Layout of the Tribes

And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying
These words to them He was relaying

Everyone of the children of Israel
Shall camp by his own standard, such shall be their seating
Beside the emblems of his father’s house
They shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting

On the east side, toward the rising of the sun
Those of the standard of the forces with Judah, tribes three
Shall camp according to their armies
And Nahshon the son of Amminadab the leader
———-of the children of Judah shall be 

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At seventy-four thousand six hundred

Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Issachar
And shall be the leader of the children of Issachar
———-Nethanel the son of Zuar

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At fifty-four thousand four hundred

Then comes the tribe of Zebulun
And shall be the leader of the children of Zebulun
———-Eliab the son of Helon

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At fifty-seven thousand four hundred

All who were numbered according to their armies
Of the forces with Judah, all together and not dispersed
One hundred and eighty-six thousand four hundred
These shall break camp first

On the south side shall be the standard
Of the forces with Reuben according to their armies, for sure
|And the leader of the children of Reuben
Shall be Elizur the son of Shedeur 

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At forty-six thousand five hundred

Those who camp next to him shall be
The tribe of Simeon, by and by
And the leader of the children of Simeon shall be
Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai 

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At fifty-nine thousand three hundred

Then comes the tribe of Gad, as the record does tell
And the leader of the children of Gad shall be
———-Eliasaph the son of Reuel

And his army was numbered; a number unique and nifty
At forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty

All who were numbered according to their armies
Of the forces with Reuben, a lot certainly
One hundred and fifty-one thousand four hundred and fifty
They shall to break camp the second be

And the tabernacle of meeting shall move out
With the camp of the Levites in the middle of the camps; you see
As they camp, so they shall move out
Everyone in his place, by their standards; so shall it be

On the west side shall be the standard of the forces with Ephraim
According to their armies, so it shall be understood
And the leader of the children of Ephraim
Shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud

And his army was numbered, those so bred
At forty thousand five hundred

Next to him comes the tribe of Manasseh, for sure
And the leader of the children of Manasseh shall be
———-Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur

And his army was numbered, those so bred
At thirty-two thousand two hundred

Then comes the tribe of Benjamin with all certainty
And the leader of the children of Benjamin shall be
Abidan the son of Gideoni

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At thirty-five thousand four hundred

All who were numbered according to their armies
Of the forces with Ephraim, so says the word
One hundred and eight thousand one hundred
They shall be to break camp the third

The standard of the forces with Dan
Shall be on the north side according to their armies, by and by
And the leader of the children of Dan shall be
Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At sixty-two thousand seven hundred

Those who camp next to him shall be the tribe of Asher
———-these are words to act upon
And the leader of the children of Asher
Shall be Pagiel the son of Ocran

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At forty-one thousand five hundred

Then comes the tribe of Naphtali; his name is now drawn
And the leader of the children of Naphtali shall be
———-Ahira the son of Enan

And his army was numbered; those so bred
At fifty-three thousand four hundred

All who were numbered of the forces with Dan
All those men so amassed
One hundred and fifty-seven thousand six hundred
They shall break camp with their standards last

These are the ones who were numbered
Of the children of Israel by their fathers’ houses
———-a numbering large and nifty
All who were numbered according to their armies of the forces
Were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty 

But the Levites were not numbered among the children of Israel
Just as the Lord commanded Moses; as the Lord to Moses did tell

Thus the children of Israel did
According to all that the Lord to Moses commanded
So they camped by their standards and so they broke camp
Each one by his family, according to their fathers’ houses
———-as the situation so demanded

Lord God, we are even now in a wilderness
And we are wanting to be led by You
Without You to direct, our lives would be a mess
And so be our guide, O God; You who are faithful and true

We long for the water in this barren land
May it flow forth from the Rock, our souls to satisfy
Give us this refreshing, spiritual hand
And may we take it, and to our lives daily it apply

And we shall be content and satisfied in You alone
We will follow You as we sing our songs of praise
Hallelujah to You; to us Your path You have shown
Hallelujah we shall sing to you for all of our days

Hallelujah and Amen…

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