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Numbers 1:2

Context
1:2 “Take a census 1  of the entire 2  Israelite community 3  by their clans and families, 4  counting the name of every individual male. 5 

1 tn The construction is literally “lift up the head[s],” (שְׂאוּ אֶת־רֹאשׁ, sÿuet-rosh). This idiom for taking a census occurs elsewhere (Exod 30:12; Lev 5:24; Num 1:24; etc.). The idea is simply that of counting heads to arrive at the base for the standing army. This is a different event than the one recorded in Exod 30:11-16, which was taken for a different purpose altogether. The verb is plural, indicating that Moses had help in taking the census.

2 tc Smr lacks the Hebrew word “all” here.

3 tn Heb “the congregation of Israel.”

4 tn The tribe (מַטֶּה, matteh or שֵׁבֶט, shevet) is the main category. The family groups or clans (מִשְׁפְּחֹת, mishpÿkhot) and the households or families (בֵּית אֲבֹת, betavot) were sub-divisions of the tribe.

5 tn This clause simply has “in/with the number of the names of every male with respect to their skulls [individually].” Counting heads, or every skull, simply meant that each person was to be numbered in the census. Except for the Levites, no male was exempt from the count.



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