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The Census of Israel’s Warriors
1The Lord spoke [by special revelation] to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai in the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle) on the first day of the second month in the second year after the #In general, sons (children) of Israel or Israel or Israelites refers to all the people (males and females) of the various tribes descended from the twelve sons (Gen 35:23-26) of Jacob (later renamed Israel by God). In verses concerning things such as warfare or circumcision sons of Israel or Israel or Israelites usually refers only to the males. Tribes of ancient peoples were identified by the name of their founding ancestor. Therefore, this same general rule applies when referring to individual tribal groups, e.g. sons of Reuben, Reuben, Reubenites and so throughout.Israelites came out of the land of Egypt, saying, 2“Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, #Lit by their skulls, also the root word for “Golgotha.”head by head 3from twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go out to war. You and Aaron shall number them, army by army. 4And with you there shall be a man [to assist you] from each tribe, each being the head of his father’s household. 5These then are the names of the men who shall stand with you: from [the tribe of] Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; 6from [the tribe of] Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; 7from [the tribe of] Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; 8from [the tribe of] Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; 9from [the tribe of] Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10from the sons (descendants) of Joseph: from [the tribe of] #Ephraim was the second son born to Joseph in Egypt, but he was chosen over his elder brother, Manasseh, by his grandfather, Jacob (Israel) to receive the birthright blessing (the double portion). Joshua, the great leader who took command after the death of Moses, was from the tribe of Ephraim. Eventually, Ephraim dominated the other nine tribes of Israel, the Northern Kingdom. “Ephraim” is often used interchangeably with “Israel” to refer to the ten tribes of the north.Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; from [the tribe of] Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11from [the tribe of] Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12from [the tribe of] Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13from [the tribe of] Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran; 14from [the tribe of] Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel; 15from [the tribe of] Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan. 16These men were the ones called from the congregation, the leaders of their fathers’ (ancestors’) tribes; they were the heads of thousands [the highest ranking officers] in Israel.”
17So Moses and Aaron took these men who were designated by name, 18and assembled all the congregation on the first day of the second month, and they registered by ancestry in their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head, 19just as the Lord had commanded Moses. So he numbered them in the Wilderness of Sinai.
20The sons of Reuben, Israel’s (Jacob’s) firstborn, their generations, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 21those of the tribe of Reuben numbered 46,500.
22Of the sons of Simeon, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, their numbered men according to the number of names, head by head, every male from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 23those of the tribe of Simeon numbered 59,300.
24Of the sons of Gad, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 25those of the tribe of Gad numbered 45,650.
26Of the sons of Judah, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 27those of the tribe of Judah numbered 74,600.
28Of the sons of Issachar, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 29those of the tribe of Issachar numbered 54,400.
30Of the sons of Zebulun, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 31those of the tribe of Zebulun numbered 57,400.
32Of the sons of Joseph: the sons (descendants) of Ephraim, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 33those of the tribe of Ephraim numbered 40,500.
34Of the sons of Manasseh, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 35those of the tribe of Manasseh numbered 32,200.
36Of the sons of Benjamin, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 37those of the tribe of Benjamin numbered 35,400.
38Of the sons of Dan, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 39those of the tribe of Dan numbered 62,700.
40Of the sons of Asher, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 41those of the tribe of Asher numbered 41,500.
42Of the sons of Naphtali, their descendants, by their families (clans), by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war: 43those of the tribe of Naphtali numbered 53,400.
44These were the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each representing his fathers’ household. 45So all those numbered of the sons of Israel, by their fathers’ households, from twenty years old and upward, all who were able to go to war in Israel, 46all who were numbered were 603,550.
Levites Exempted
47The Levites, however, were not numbered among them by their fathers’ tribe. 48For the Lord had said to Moses, 49“Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor shall you take their census among the sons of Israel [since they are unavailable to go to war]. 50But appoint the Levites over the tabernacle (sanctuary) of the Testimony, and over all its furnishings and all things that belong to it. They shall carry the tabernacle [when traveling] and all its furnishings, and they shall take care of it and camp around it. 51When the tabernacle is to go forward, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to [be set up for] camp, the Levites shall set it up. But the layman (non-Levite) who approaches the tabernacle shall be put to death. 52The Israelites shall camp according to their armies, every man by his own camp and every man by his own [tribal] standard (banner). 53But the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the Testimony, so that there will be no wrath against the congregation of the Israelites. The Levites shall be in charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony.” 54Thus the sons of Israel did these things; according to all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so they did.

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