Numbers 2:18
On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies: and the captain of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 2:18. Ephraim — Who is here preferred before his brother, according to the prophecy, Genesis 48:19-20.2:1-34 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 [53]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 [54]Nu 10:13). Ephraim is here preferred before his brother, according to the prophecy, Genesis 48:19,20. On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim, according to their armies,.... It was in the rear or behind, consisting of his tribe, and of the tribes of Manasseh and Benjamin, divided into several companies, and extended four miles, as the above Targum. The Jewish writers say (l), that Joseph's stone is the onyx or sardonyx, and his flag was coloured very black, and on it were figured for the two princes, Ephraim and Manasseh, Egypt, because they were born in Egypt; and upon the flag of Ephraim was figured an ox, because of what is said in Deuteronomy 33:17; and on the flag of the tribe of Manasseh was figured an unicorn, because of what is said in the same place. Benjamin's stone was the jasper, and his flag was coloured like to twelve colours, and on it was figured a wolf, because of what is said Genesis 49:27,

and the captain of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud; of whom see Numbers 1:10.

(l) Bemidbar Rabba, ut supra. (sect. 2. fol. 178. 2.)

{f} On the west side shall be the standard of the camp of Ephraim according to their armies: and the captain of the sons of Ephraim shall be Elishama the son of Ammihud.

(f) Because Ephraim and Manasseh took the place of Joseph their father, they are taken as Rachel's children, so they and Benjamin make the third standard.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
On the south side was the standard of Reuben, with which Simeon and Gad, descendants of Leah and her maid Zilpah, were associated, and to which they were subordinated. In Numbers 2:14, Reuel is a mistake for Reuel (Numbers 1:14; Numbers 7:42; Numbers 10:20), which is the reading given here in 118 MSS cited by Kennicott and De Rossi, in several of the ancient editions, and in the Samaritan, Vulgate, and Jonah Saad., whereas the lxx, Onk., Syr., and Pers. read Reuel. This army of 151,450 men was to break up and march as the second division.
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