In this chapter we see how God wanted the tribes of Israel to be placed when in camp. Each member of a tribe must camp under the flag of his tribe and by his own family tribe. God’s tent was to be placed in the midst or in the middle of the nation of Israel. But the tribes must not camp too close to the Tent of Meeting. The Tribes were divided into groups of three each.
Judah’s tribe must camp to the east of God’s tent. The two tribes that walk with Judah are the tribe of Issachar and Zebulun. These two tribes are to camp on each side of Judah’s.
|Judah||Nahshon son of Amminadab||74,600|
|Issachar||Nethanel son of Zuar||54,400|
|Zebulun||Eliab son of Helon||57,400|
The Number of all three tribes of Judah’s group were 186,400 men. Whenever the camp was to move Judah’s group would lead.
Reuben’s group must camp to the south of God’s tent. The tribes that walk with Reuben were Simeon and Gad.
|Reuben||Elizur son of Shedeur||46,500|
|Simeon||Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai||59,300|
|Gad||Eliasaph son of Deuel||45,650|
The Total number of men in Reuben’s group was 151 450 men. Reuben’s group was the second in the line of march whenever the Israelite nation moved.
The tribe of Levi was to follow the first two groups of Judah and Reuben. They were to carry the Tent of Meeting and care for all of its belongings. They were to dismantle it when the Israelite nation moved and restore it when the Israelite nation camped.
Ephraim’s camp must camp to the west of the Tent of Meeting as well as the tribes that walked with them. These tribes were Manasseh’s tribe and Benjamins.
|Ephraim son of Joseph||Elishama son of Ammihud||40,500|
|Manasseh son of Joseph||Gamaliel son of Pedahzur||32,200|
|Naphtali||Ahira son of Enan||35,400|
Ephraim’s group totaled 108,100 men and their order of march was behind Reuben’s group.
Dan’s group made up the last and they were the tribes of Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. They were to make their camp to the north of the Tent of Meeting.
|Dan||Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai||62,700|
|Asher||Pagiel son of Ocran||41,500|
|Benjamin||Abidan son of Gideoni||53,400|
Dan’s group totaled 157,600 men and their order of march was last.
The tribes of Israel formed a square when placed and God’s Tent was placed in the middle. This was also the practice of the Army of Egypt in the 13th century BC. They would place their armies in a square with the king’s tent in the middle. But in the Israelite’s camp God’s tent was in the middle and He was the King of Israel.
The tribe of Levi camped in the space between the other camps and the Tent of Meeting. They were responsible for it and did not allow the other tribes to come too close to it.
Each tribe camped beneath its own flag. There was an Israelite tradition that each flag bore the colors of one of the precious stones in the High Priest clothes. (Exodus 28:15-34) We find nothing in the bible to support this belief.
The tribes were aligned in the order of their importance. The most important position was to the east. It was the same as the entrance to the Tent of Meeting. So it was to this position that the largest and most important group was positioned which was Judah’s