The Encampment of the Tribes of Israel

Numbers 2:2 - "The children of Israel shall encamp every man by his own standard, with the banners of their fathers' houses: at a distance from the Tent of Meeting (Tabernacle) shall they encamp around it." 

According to the Bible there were about 600,000 men and also women and children who left Egypt at the exodus. They came out of Egypt in rank and in file and as they journeyed into the wilderness, and the tribes would camp around the Tabernacle in God-specified locations.

Diagram of the Camp of Israel arount the Tabernacle
The Hebrew Encampment

The Position of the Tribes

The twelve tribes, in groups of three, were divinely situated at a certain distance around the tabernacle. Four of the tribes, Judah, Reuben, Ephraim and Dan were recognized as tribal leaders. Each had its own standard or banner identifying it as a tribal head while the other tribes had ensigns, a lesser type of banner.

It is important to note that Jacob (the father of the 12 tribes) had prophesied that the senior position in his family would belong to the people of Judah:

Gen 49:10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and to Him shall be the obedience of the people.

Judah occupied the greatest area which was on the eastern side facing the tabernacle entrance behind the tents of Aaron. To their right was the tribe of Issachar and on the other side Zebulun. The tabernacle itself was always found in the very center of the camp with the tents of the various tribes set up at a certain distance. Judah (with Issachar and Zebulun) on the east numbering 186,400 men. Reuben (with Simeon and Gad) in the south numbering 151,450 men. West was Ephraim (with Manasseh and Benjamin) numbering 108,100 men. On the north side was Dan (with Asher and Naphtali) numbering 157,600 men. This brought the total count of men twenty years and upwards to 603,550. Not including the tribe of Levi.

Num 2:2 Everyone of the children of Israel shall camp by his own standard, beside the emblems of his father's house; they shall camp some distance from the tabernacle of meeting.

Each tribe had a specific banner

See The Tabernacle - Encampment of Israel

 

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Old Testament Charts to Help with the Study of the Bible

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Old Testament Books
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Old Testament Books in Hebrew Order

Old Testament Books - Hebrew Meanings

Divisions of the Old Testament

Timeline of the Pentateuch

Adam and Eve, a Type of Christ and the Church

The Table of Nations in Genesis 10

Lifespans in Genesis

The Lineage of Christ in Genesis

The Family Tree of Esau

The 12 Tribes of Israel

Joseph, A Type of Christ

The Encampment of Israel

The Hebrew Calendar of Months

The 7 Feasts and God's Calendar

The Feasts and Festivals of Israel

Scriptures and Procedures of the Feasts

Chapters, Verses, and Words in the Old Testament

Miracles in the Old Testament

Parables in the Old Testament

Gentile Nations in the Old Testament

The Servant of the LORD, Israel and the Messiah

The Distinction Between Kings and Chronicles

The Judges who Delivered Israel

The Royal House of David

The Kings of Israel

The Kings of Judah

Chronology of Israel and Judah's Kings and Prophets

Chronology of the Prophets

Messages of the Prophets

Kings of the Assyrian Empire

Kings of the Babylonian Empire

Kings of the Persian Empire

Cuneiform Inscriptions with Names of Foreign Kings

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The Story of the Bible - The Old Testament, Quick Summary, About, Divisions, Timeline, Charts, Maps, Creation, Adam and Eve, The Flood, The Tower of Babel, Abraham the First Hebrew, Isaac, Son of Promise, Jacob and the 12 Tribes, Joseph and Egypt, Moses and the Exodus, The Giving of the Law, The Tabernacle, The Wilderness Wanderings, Joshua and the Promised Land, The Judges, Samuel the Prophet, Saul, Israel's First King, King David, King Solomon, The Divided Kingdom, The Northern Kingdom of Israel, The Southern Kingdom of Judah, The Assyrian Captivity, The Babylonian Captivity, The Return From Babylon, The Prophets, The Messiah, Conclusion, Bibliography and Credits

Summary of the Old Testament Books - Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel, Kings, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Lamentations, Ezekiel, Daniel, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

Read the Old Testament Stories - The 7 Days of Creation, The Fall of Man, Cain and Abel, Noah's Ark


Bibliography Resources on the Old Testament

A Survey of Old Testament Introduction, Revised and Expanded by Archer, 508 Pages, Pub. 2007

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