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Numbers 1:4-16

Context
1:4 And to help you 1  there is to be a man from each 2  tribe, each man 3  the head 4  of his family. 5  1:5 Now these are the names of the men who are to help 6  you:

from 7  Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur;

1:6 from Simeon, Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai; 8 

1:7 from Judah, Nahshon 9  son of Amminadab;

1:8 from Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar;

1:9 from Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon;

1:10 from the sons of Joseph:

from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud;

from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur;

1:11 from Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni;

1:12 from Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai;

1:13 from Asher, Pagiel son of Ocran;

1:14 from Gad, Eliasaph son of Deuel; 10 

1:15 from Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan.”

The Census of the Tribes

1:16 These were the ones chosen 11  from the community, leaders 12  of their ancestral tribes. 13  They were the heads of the thousands 14  of Israel.

1 tn Heb “and with you.”

2 tn The construction uses the noun in a distributive sense: “a man, a man for a tribe,” meaning a man for each tribe.

3 tn The clause expresses a distributive function, “a man” means “each man.”

4 sn See J. R. Bartlett, “The Use of the Word ראשׁ as a Title in the Old Testament,” VT 19 (1969): 1-10.

5 tn Heb “the house of his fathers.”

6 tn The verb is עָמַד (’amad, “to stand”). It literally then is, “who will stand with you.” They will help in the count, but they will also serve as leaders as the camp moves from place to place.

7 tn The preposition lamed (ל) prefixed to the name could be taken in the sense of “from,” but could also be “with regard to” (specification).

8 sn This name and the name Ammishaddai below have the theophoric element (שַׁדַּי, shadday, “the Almighty”). It would mean “the Almighty is my rock”; the later name means “the Almighty is my kinsman.” Other theophoric elements in the passage are “father,” “brother,” and “God.”

9 sn Nahshon was an ancestor of Boaz and David, and therefore of Christ (Luke 3:32-33).

10 tc There is a textual difficulty with this verb. The Greek form uses r and not d, giving the name Ra‘oul. There is even some variation in the Hebrew traditions, but BHS (following the Leningrad codex of a.d. 1008) has preferred the name Deuel.

11 tc The form has a Kethib-Qere problem, but the sentence calls for the Qere, the passive participle in the construct – “the called of….” These men were God’s choice, and not Moses’, or their own choice. He announced who they would be, and then named them. So they were truly “called” (קָרָא, qara’). The other reading is probably due to a copyist’s error.

12 tn The word is נָשִׂיא (nasi’, “exalted one, prince, leader”). Cf. KJV, ASV, NAB “princes.” These were men apparently revered or respected in their tribes, and so the clear choice to assist Moses with the leadership. See further, E. A. Speiser, “Background and Function of the Biblical na„sÃþá,” CBQ 25 (1963): 111-17.

13 tn Heb “exalted ones of the tribes of their fathers.” The earlier group of elders was chosen by Moses at the advice of his father-in-law. This group represents the few leaders of the tribes that were chosen by God, a more literate group apparently, who were the forerunners of the שֹׁטְּרִים (shottÿrim).

14 tc The Hebrew text has אַלְפֵי (’alfey, “thousands of”). There is some question over this reading in the MT, however. The community groups that have these leaders were larger tribes, but there is little certainty about the size of the divisions.



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