2 "Take a census of the whole Israelite community by their clans and families, listing every man by name, one by one. 3 You and Aaron are to count according to their divisions all the men in Israel who are twenty years old or more and able to serve in the army. 4 One man from each tribe, each of them the head of his family, is to help you. 5 These are the names of the men who are to assist you: from Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur; 6 from Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai; 7 from Judah, Nahshon son of Amminadab; 8 from Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar; 9 from Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon; 10 from the sons of Joseph: from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud; from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur; 11 from Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni; 12 from Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai; 13 from Asher, Pagiel son of Okran; 14 from Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel; 15 from Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan." 16 These were the men appointed from the community, the leaders of their ancestral tribes. They were the heads of the clans of Israel.

17 Moses and Aaron took these men whose names had been specified, 18 and they called the whole community together on the first day of the second month. The people registered their ancestry by their clans and families, and the men twenty years old or more were listed by name, one by one, 19 as the Lord commanded Moses. And so he counted them in the Desert of Sinai: 20 From the descendants of Reuben the firstborn son of Israel: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, one by one, according to the records of their clans and families. 21 The number from the tribe of Reuben was 46,500. 22 From the descendants of Simeon: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were counted and listed by name, one by one, according to the records of their clans and families. 23 The number from the tribe of Simeon was 59,300. 24 From the descendants of Gad: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 25 The number from the tribe of Gad was 45,650. 26 From the descendants of Judah: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 27 The number from the tribe of Judah was 74,600. 28 From the descendants of Issachar: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 29 The number from the tribe of Issachar was 54,400. 30 From the descendants of Zebulun: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 31 The number from the tribe of Zebulun was 57,400. 32 From the sons of Joseph: From the descendants of Ephraim: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 33 The number from the tribe of Ephraim was 40,500. 34 From the descendants of Manasseh: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 35 The number from the tribe of Manasseh was 32,200. 36 From the descendants of Benjamin: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 37 The number from the tribe of Benjamin was 35,400. 38 From the descendants of Dan: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 39 The number from the tribe of Dan was 62,700. 40 From the descendants of Asher: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 41 The number from the tribe of Asher was 41,500. 42 From the descendants of Naphtali: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. 43 The number from the tribe of Naphtali was 53,400.

44 These were the men counted by Moses and Aaron and the twelve leaders of Israel, each one representing his family. 45 All the Israelites twenty years old or more who were able to serve in Israel's army were counted according to their families. 46 The total number was 603,550.

The Appointment of the Levites

47 The ancestral tribe of the Levites, however, was not counted along with the others. 48 The Lord had said to Moses: 49 "You must not count the tribe of Levi or include them in the census of the other Israelites.

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Numbers 1:2-49

Commentary on Numbers 1:1-43

(Read Numbers 1:1-43)

The people were numbered to show God's faithfulness in thus increasing the seed of Jacob, that they might be the better trained for the wars and conquest of Canaan, and to ascertain their families in order to the division of the land. It is said of each tribe, that those were numbered who were able to go forth to war; they had wars before them, though now they met with no opposition. Let the believer be prepared to withstand the enemies of his soul, though all may appear to be peace.

Commentary on Numbers 1:44-46

(Read Numbers 1:44-46)

We have here the sum total. How much was required to maintain all these in the wilderness! They were all provided for by God every day. When we observe the faithfulness of God, however unlikely the performance of his promise may appear, we may take courage as to those which yet remain to be fulfilled to the church of God.

Commentary on Numbers 1:47-54

(Read Numbers 1:47-54)

Care is here taken to distinguish the tribe of Levi, which, in the matter of the golden calf, had distinguished itself. Singular services shall be recompensed by singular honours. It was to the honour of the Levites, that to them was committed the care of the tabernacle and its treasures, in their camps and in their marches. It was for the honour of the holy things that none should see them, or touch them, but those who were called of God to the service. We all are unfit and unworthy to have fellowship with God, till called by his grace into the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and so, being the spiritual seed of that great High Priest, we are made priests to our God. Great care must be taken to prevent sin, for preventing sin is preventing wrath. Being a holy tribe, they were not reckoned among other Israelites. They that minister about holy things, should neither entangle themselves, nor be entangled, in worldly affairs. And let every believer seek to do what the Lord has commanded.