Tag Archives: Numbers 1-2

February 12, 2018 Bible Study — Census of the Fighting Men of Israel

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Numbers 1-2.

    One year after leaving Egypt, Moses conducted a census of those considered able to go to war. I have read this passage many times, but have never thought about the fact that the age when someone was considered ready to go to war. They only counted men who were twenty years or older. Which basically tells us that they considered 20 years old to be the onset of adulthood. In order to conduct this census, Moses received the assistance of the leader of each of the tribes. The passage seems to imply that this census was conducted in a single day, although I am not sure if that is intentional. As a result of this census we learn that, one year after leaving Egypt, the fighting force of the Children of Israel was over 600,000 men. This count did not include the descendants of Levi. There are two possible readings of why the Levites were left out of the census. The first is that they were not part of the army of the Children of Israel because it was their duty to care for the Tabernacle and taking part in war would make them ritually unclean. The second is that they were not part of the army of the Children of Israel because their duty during battle was to defend the Tabernacle and its furnishings. I suspect that it was the former, but reading this today makes me wonder.

February 12, 2017 Bible Study — Organizing the Camp of the Israelites

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading.

Today, I am reading and commenting on Numbers 1-2.

    A year after leaving Egypt, Moses took a census of all of the fighting men among the people of Israel. He did not include the Levites in the count because they were responsible for transporting and defending the Tabernacle. Once the census was completed, the tribes were divided into four groups of three tribes with each group assigned one of the cardinal directions to camp around the Tabernacle (one group camped North of the Tabernacle, one group East, one South, and one West). When the Israelites broke camp they would set out in order based on where they camped. Reading through this gives me a greater appreciation for what an undertaking it was for the people of Israel to move from place to place. The count of just the fighting men, not counting the tribe of Levi, was 603,550. That means that the total number of people counting women, children, and the elderly was between 1.5 and 2 million with flocks and herds. It is hard for me to picture a group of nomads that large.

February 12, 2016 Bible Study — A City On the Move

I am using the daily Bible reading schedule from “The Bible.net” for my daily Bible reading. I had been using One Year Bible Online, but it was time for a change.

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Today, I am reading and commenting on Numbers 1-2.

    A year after leaving Egypt, Moses took a census in order to establish the size of the fighting force which the children of Israel could muster. The Israelite Army at that point was slightly over 600,000 men. This tells us why the various nations in their path were frightened. Even by today’s standards this was a large army and, unlike today’s armies, they had no land to protect. The number listed in this passage would make the Israelite army the ninth largest army if it existed today. It must have been quite a sight to see the people of Israel on the move. The number listed was only the men of fighting age who were able to go to war. It did not include women and children (or even men under the age of 20). It did not include the old men, or those who were physically unable to fight for some reason. And it did not include any of the men of the tribe of Levi. The people of Israel were a city on the move, and a large city at that.