Bamidbar (Numbers) 1:1-4:20
And YaHuWaH spoke to Mosheh (Mushah) in the Wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they hadcome out of the land of Mitsrayim, saying, “Take a census of all the congregation of the children of Yisrael (Yashar’el), by their clans, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head.- Bamidbar (Numbers) 1:1-2
This Torah Portion is entitled במדבר Bamidbar meaning “in the wilderness.” In the desert of Sinai YaHuWaH took a count of the children of Yashar’al, all males who were twenty years of age and older, all who were fit to go out to battle in the army of Yashar’al (Yisrael). YaHuWaH instructs that a representative of each of the twelve tribes be present for the counting. The people assembled together and declared the lineage of their ancestry according to their Fathers and Forefathers. The tribe of Lewi (Levi) were exempt from the count, although they were present.
The outcome of the tally were as follows:
Reuben–46,500 , Simeon–59,300; Gad–45,650; Yahuwdah–74,600; Yissachar–54,400; Zebulun–57,400; Ephraim–40,500; Menasseh–32,200; BenYamin–35,400; Dan–62,700; Asher–41,500; Naphtali–53,400.
And all those that were counted of the children of Yashar’al (Yisrael)… Six hundred and three thousand, five hundred and fifty.
The tribe of Lewi, was not included in the count because they were to be set aside and consecrated to serve in the Miqdash (Sanctuary).
Bamidbar (Numbers) 1:49“Only the tribe of Lewi you do not register, nor take a census of them among the children of Yashar’al (Yisrael).50“Instead, appoint the Lewites over the Dwelling Place of the Witness, over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it. They bear the Dwelling Place and all its furnishings, and they attend to it, and camp around the Dwelling Place.51 “And when the Dwelling Place is to go forward, the Lewites take it down. And when the Dwelling Place is to be set up, the Lewites set it up. And the stranger who comes near is put to death.
The tribe of Lewi of course was the tribe of Mushah (Mosheh) who is called Moses and his brother Aharon. They were called to be Qodesh l’YaHuWaH, set apart to YaHuWaH. The Lewites are in every way a picture of our model spiritual life in our walk with YaHuWaH.
The Camp of Yashar’al (Yisrael)
Each tribe of the twelve tribes had their designated quarters for camp. The center of the camp was the heart, the Mishkan, the dwelling place of YaHuWaH. As YaHuWaH’s dwelling place was the center of camp, he should also be the center of our lives. Immediately surrounding the Mishkan or dwelling place in all four directions was the Lewites. Beyond the camp of the Lewites, the remaining eleven tribes, literally twelve counting Ephraim and Manasheh, encamped in a beautifully arranged array. Each tribe had a flag that corresponded to the color of the stone that represented them on the chest of the High Priests garments. Three tribes camped in each of the four directions of the camp. To the east in front of the door of the tent of meeting did the tribes of Yahudah, Yissachar and Zebulun, become the vaster “Camp of Yahudah.” To the south, was the “Camp of Reuben,” comprised of the camps of Reuben, Simeon and Gad. To the west, Ephraim, Menasseh and Benjamin united as the “Camp of Ephraim.” To the north was the “Camp of Dan” incorporating Dan, Asher and Naphtali.
The corresponding flags of the “greater four camps” represented the faces of the four heads of the Cherubim (Cherubim). The four differing directions of the camp also point to the four individual letters in the Name of YaHuWaH in Hebrew. Each camp not only had a flag with a color and emblem, they also had a nassi or “prince.”
The children of Yisrael were to keep this formation and preserve it as they journeyed through the desert, with the Camp of Yahudah at the head of the march and the Camp of Dan in the rear.
Again the Torah lists the adult male population for each tribe, also tallying the total for each camp: 186,400 for the Camp of Yahuwdah, 151,450 for the Camp of Reuben, 108,100 in the Camp of Ephraim, and 157,600 for the three tribes comprising the Camp of Dan. Total: 603,550.
Transporting the Vessels
When the Lewites transported the Mishkan, the Qehatites were to carry the Mishkan’s Qodesh vessels. Before transporting the Mishkan the vessels are covered by the Kohanim (priests) with special wool, leather and linen coverings.
Bamidbar (Numbers) 4:5 “At the breaking of camp, Aharon and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Witness with it,6and shall put on it a covering of fine leather, and spread over that an all-blue wrapper, and shall insert its poles.
A similar process was done to all the other Qodesh vessels of YaHuWaH.
This Torah portion teaches us many things prophetically. We know that our Mashyach (Anointed One), Yahuwshuwa is the Lion of the Tribe of Yahudah. He is the banner/flag, he is the prince over the tribes of his people. We are ransomed through his blood to be a type of Kohan (Priest). Not one who serves in the literal Miqdash but one who serves in the Spiritual Tent. We see in this Torah Portion that YaHuWaH is a mighty one of order and that he has a special purpose for all of us, though we may not all be called to do the same exact work.