EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
2:1-34 The order of the tribes in their tents. - The tribes were to encamp about the tabernacle, which was to be in the midst of them. It was a token of God's gracious presence. Yet they were to pitch their tents afar off, in reverence to the sanctuary. The children of Israel put themselves in their posts, without murmuring or disputing; and as it was their safety, so it was their beauty. It is our duty and interest to be contented with the place allotted to us, and to endeavour to occupy it in a proper manner, without envying or murmuring; without ambition or covetousness. Thus the gospel church ought to be compact, according to the Scripture model, every one knowing and keeping his place; and then all that wish well to the church rejoice, beholding their order, Col 2:5.
Reuel - Doubtless an error of transcription for Deuel Numbers 1:14
10-31. On the south side the standard of the camp of Reuben—The description given of the position of Reuben and his attendant tribes on the south, of Ephraim and his associates on the west, of Dan and his confederates on the north, with that of Judah on the east, suggests the idea of a square or quadrangle, which, allowing one square cubit to each soldier while remaining close in the ranks, has been computed to extend over an area of somewhat more than twelve square miles. But into our calculations of the occupied space must be taken not only the fighting men, whose numbers are here given, but also the families, tents, and baggage. The tabernacle or sacred tent of their Divine King, with the camp of the Levites around it (see on Nu 3:38), formed the center, as does the chief's in the encampment of all nomad people. In marching, this order was adhered to, with some necessary variations. Judah led the way, followed, it is most probable, by Issachar and Zebulun [Nu 10:14-16]. Reuben, Simeon, and Gad formed the second great division [Nu 10:18-20]. They were followed by the central company, composed of the Levites, bearing the tabernacle [Nu 10:21]. Then the third and posterior squadron consisted of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin [Nu 10:22-24], while the hindmost place was assigned to Dan, Asher, and Naphtali [Nu 10:25-27]. Thus Judah's, which was the most numerous, formed the van: and Dan's, which was the next in force, brought up the rear; while Reuben's and Ephraim's, with the tribes associated with them respectively, being the smallest and weakest, were placed in the center. (See on Nu 10:13).
, Numbers 1:14
, the Hebrew letters daleth
being very like, and oft changed, as appears by comparing Genesis 10:3
, with 1 Chronicles 1:6 Genesis 36:26,38
, with 1 Chronicles 1:41,50
Then the tribe of Gad,.... Who was placed on the other side of Reuben's standard, and according to the former direction he must be before, and Simeon behind; and Gad being the eldest son of Leah's handmaid Zilpah, is fitly placed under Leah's firstborn, and being the son of an handmaid, could not object to his situation:
and the captain of the sons of Gad shall be Eliasaph the son of Reuel: who is called Deuel, Numbers 1:14. The letters "resh", and "daleth", being similar, are sometimes put one for the other, of which there are other instances, as in Genesis 10:3, compared with 1 Chronicles 1:6. Then the tribe of Gad: and the captain of the sons of Gad shall be Eliasaph the son of Reuel.