The book of Numbers begins with, you guessed it, numbers. The first two chapters lists the leaders of the tribes and numbers the armies from each tribe except the Levites, as their job is to set up, tear down, maintain, and move the tabernacle and its contents. The soldiers are only men who are 20 years and older.
Here is the list of tribes and their number of fighting men:
- Ruben – 46,500
- Simeon – 59,300
- Gad – 45,650
- Judah – 74,600
- Issachar – 54,400
- Zebulun – 57,400
- Ephraim – 40,500
- Manasseh – 32,200
- Benjamin – 35,400
- Dan – 62,700
- Asher – 41,500
- Naphtali – 53,400
Total – 603,550
Notice that Joseph’s two sons, Ephraim and Manasseh, take the place of Levi and Joseph as tribes. This is because, as I mentioned before, Levi is to manage the tabernacle. Joseph was given a “double blessing” back in Genesis 48, so his tribe is split between his two sons.
Judah (line of Christ) is the largest tribe, and Dan (line of Antichrist) is second.
The camps of the tribes are set up so that Levi is with the tabernacle in the center; Asher, Dan, and Naphtali (sons of Zilpah and Bilhah that were probably the ones who Joseph tattled on in Genesis 37, leading to their hatred of him) are in the north; Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun are east; Simeon, Reuben, and Gad are south; and Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin are on the western side.
Interesting that east is the “right direction” (see my notes on Leviticus 8-10), and that is the direction where Judah, the tribe of David and Jesus Christ, was posted.
Way back in my notes on Genesis 30-31, I mentioned that “Dan is one of the northernmost tribes (Num. 2:22), evil will come from the North (Jer. 1:13-14), Gog from the land of Magog comes from the North (Ezekiel 38:2, 14-15), Antichrist is King of the North.”
Here in Numbers 2, we see that Dan is posted north from the tabernacle.
I do not believe in Biblical coincidences. Here in the book of Numbers, we see prophecies that would not be fulfilled for hundreds of years. God knew exactly what he was doing when he inspired Moses to write these words. If Moses was not influenced by God, then how can we explain the fulfilment of these prophecies? Are they merely self-fulfilling?
No. They are from God.