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The second chapter of the book of Numbers describes the arrangement of the tribal camps around the tabernacle. It describes where each tribe was to be when camped, and it specifies the order in which each tribe was to embark when marching to the Promised Land. The LORD did not want His people to go to the Promised Land as an unorganized, chaotic mass of people. Instead, with the tabernacle in the center, the camps of the other tribes are assigned to a specific place around the tabernacle. This was not only orderly, but also practical, as the fighting tribes were on the exterior, and the square formation would be difficult for an enemy to attack.
Numbers 2 can be outlined as follows:
–The LORD Commanded Moses to Arrange the Camps (Num. 2:1 – 2)
–The Tribes Placed on the East Side (Num. 2:3 – 9)
–The Tribes Placed on the South Side (Num. 2:10 – 16)
–The Tent of Meeting in the Midst of the Camps (Num. 2:17)
–The Tribes Placed on the West Side (Num. 2:18 – 24)
–The Tribes Placed on the North Side (Num. 2:25 – 31)
–Summary of the Arrangement (Num. 2:32 – 34)



Numbers 2:1-2

- The Lord tells Moses and Aaron to divide the Israelites into groups around the Tabernacle.

Numbers 2:3-9

- The three tribes assigned to the east side of the tabernacle were Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun. These tribes were to move out first ahead of the tabernacle when the Israelites made their way through the wilderness.

Numbers 2:10-16

- The three tribes assigned to camp on the south side of the tabernacle were Reuben, Simeon, and Gad. These tribes were to move out second when the Israelites made their way through the wilderness.

Numbers 2:17

- The next part of the procession was the tent of meeting (the tabernacle). The Levites, who camped around the tabernacle, were to move out with the tabernacle.

Numbers 2:18-24

- The three tribes assigned to the west side of the tabernacle were Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin. These tribes were to move out third when the Israelites made their way through the wilderness.

Numbers 2:25-31

- The three tribes assigned to the north side of the tabernacle were Dan, Asher, and Naphtali. The number of men eligible for military service was given for each tribe. These tribes were to move out last when the Israelites made their way through the wilderness.

Numbers 2:32-34

- The grand total of the number of available troops excluding the Levites is recorded here, and it is reported that the Israelites obeyed the commands of the LORD.