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Numbers Chapter 1 Study - 'The First Census of Israel" ...

Numbers 1 Study – “The First Census of Israel”


The First Census of Israel

1 Now the Lord spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: 2 “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male individually, 3 from twenty years old and above—all who are able to go to war in Israel. You and Aaron shall number them by their armies. 4 And with you there shall be a man from every tribe, each one the head of his father’s house.

5 “These are the names of the men who shall stand with you: from Reuben, Elizur the son of Shedeur; 6 from Simeon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai; 7 from Judah, Nahshon the son of Amminadab; 8 from Issachar, Nethanel the son of Zuar; 9 from Zebulun, Eliab the son of Helon; 10 from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur; 11 from Benjamin, Abidan the son of Gideoni; 12 from Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai; 13 from Asher, Pagiel the son of Ocran; 14 from Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel;[a] 15 from Naphtali, Ahira the son of Enan.” 16 These were chosen[b] from the congregation, leaders of their fathers’ tribes, heads of the divisions in Israel.

17 Then Moses and Aaron took these men who had been [c]mentioned by name, 18 and they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month; and they recited their ancestry by families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, each one individually. 19 As the Lord commanded Moses, so he numbered them in the Wilderness of Sinai.

20 Now the children of Reuben, Israel’s oldest son, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 21 those who were numbered of the tribe of Reuben were forty-six thousand five hundred.

22 From the children of Simeon, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, of those who were numbered, according to the number of names, every male individually, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 23 those who were numbered of the tribe of Simeon were fifty-nine thousand three hundred.

24 From the children of Gad, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 25 those who were numbered of the tribe of Gad were forty-five thousand six hundred and fifty.

26 From the children of Judah, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 27 those who were numbered of the tribe of Judah were seventy-four thousand six hundred.

28 From the children of Issachar, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 29 those who were numbered of the tribe of Issachar were fifty-four thousand four hundred.

30 From the children of Zebulun, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 31 those who were numbered of the tribe of Zebulun were fifty-seven thousand four hundred.

32 From the sons of Joseph, the children of Ephraim, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 33 those who were numbered of the tribe of Ephraim were forty thousand five hundred.

34 From the children of Manasseh, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 35 those who were numbered of the tribe of Manasseh were thirty-two thousand two hundred.

36 From the children of Benjamin, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 37 those who were numbered of the tribe of Benjamin were thirty-five thousand four hundred.

38 From the children of Dan, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 39 those who were numbered of the tribe of Dan were sixty-two thousand seven hundred.

40 From the children of Asher, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 41 those who were numbered of the tribe of Asher were forty-one thousand five hundred.

42 From the children of Naphtali, their genealogies by their families, by their fathers’ house, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war: 43 those who were numbered of the tribe of Naphtali were fifty-three thousand four hundred.

44 These are the ones who were numbered, whom Moses and Aaron numbered, with the leaders of Israel, twelve men, each one representing his father’s house. 45 So all who were numbered of the children of Israel, by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and above, all who were able to go to war in Israel— 46 all who were numbered were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty.

47 But the Levites were not numbered among them by their fathers’ tribe; 48 for the Lord had spoken to Moses, saying: 49 “Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, nor take a census of them among the children of Israel; 50 but you shall appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the Testimony, over all its furnishings, and over all things that belong to it; they shall carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings; they shall attend to it and camp around the tabernacle. 51 And when the tabernacle is to go forward, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to be set up, the Levites shall set it up. The outsider who comes near shall be put to death. 52 The children of Israel shall pitch their tents, everyone by his own camp, everyone by his own standard, according to their armies; 53 but the Levites shall camp around the tabernacle of the Testimony, that there may be no wrath on the congregation of the children of Israel; and the Levites shall keep[d] charge of the tabernacle of the Testimony.”

54 Thus the children of Israel did; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so they did.


Notes Numbers 1 Study

1:1: The Lord who conversed with Moses in the tabernacle was the Word and the Son of God, for He was the Lawgiver … Moses, in turn, gave His laws to Israel … The Tabernacle was a type of the flesh the Son assumed in the womb of the Mother of God when He became incarnate – (John 1:14) … After His Incarnation, He also conversed with Moses on the Mount of Transfiguration – (Matthew 17:4) … This conversation on the Mount calls to mind the talks between the two in the tabernacle … The Jews claimed He taught and worked contrary to the Law – (John 8:5-6; John 9:29), the presence of Moses with Him on the Mount refutes this charge …


1:2-3: The Lord commanded a census to be taken in Israel to draft an army for war … This census shows the militant nature of Israel in warfare … Israel was a type of the Church, “the Israel of God” – (Galatians 6:16; see also Romans 2:28-29), and the Church is also militant … However, the warfare of the Church is spiritual and evangelistic in nature – (Ephesians 6:10-20) … The spiritual enemies are the sinful passions, death, and the devil … Evangelism is to bring as many as will come into the kingdom of God and is to continue up to the end, when the kingdom will be fully established – (Matthew 24:14) …


1:47-49: The ministry of the Levites also shows the militant nature of Israel in worship, for they were Israel’s clergy … All other Israelites were laity … However, both were to be militant in worship, for no one was excused from worshipping the true God … The Levites had their assigned responsibilities in the worship, as did the people … The various responsibilities of both are described in Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy …


1:50: The Levites were ordained to minister liturgically, for divine worship is liturgical in nature; this liturgical nature is mentioned about forty -five times throughout Numbers … The word liturgy means “the work of the people …” In Israel, this included the Levites and the twelve tribes, that is, all “the children of Israel” – (v. 49), with the Levites having their spiritual liturgical service in the tabernacle …


The worship of the Church is also liturgical in nature and includes both clergy and laity … The apostles were ministering liturgically in Acts 13:2 when the Holy Spirit spoke to them … The same word is used here as in the Book of Numbers … This same word is also used numerous times in Hebrews to describe the liturgical worship of the Church as the fulfillment of Israel’s liturgical worship – (Hebrews 1:7; and v. 14; and Hebrews 8:2, and v. 6; and Hebrews 9:21; and Hebrews 10:11) …


1:53: The Lord was present during Israel’s liturgical worship, as He is in the Divine Liturgy of His Holy Church … Spontaneity in worship has no biblical precedent …


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