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Numbers 2:2

2:2 “Every one 1  of the Israelites must camp 2  under his standard with the emblems of his family; 3  they must camp at some distance 4  around the tent of meeting. 5 

1 tn Heb “a man by his own standard.”

2 tn The imperfect tense is to be taken in the nuance of instruction.

3 tn Heb “of/for the house of their fathers.”

4 tn The Hebrew expression מִנֶּגֶד (minneged) means “from before” or “opposite; facing” and “at some distance” or “away from the front of” (see BDB 617 s.v. נֶגֶד 2.c.a; DCH 5:603-4 s.v. 3.b).

5 sn The Israelites were camping as a military camp, each tribe with the standards and emblems of the family. The standard was the symbol fastened to the end of a pole and carried to battle. It served to rally the tribe to the battle. The Bible nowhere describes these, although the serpent emblem of Numbers 21:8-9 may give a clue. But they probably did not have shapes of animals in view of the prohibition in the Decalogue. The standards may have been smaller for the families than the ones for the tribes. See further K. A. Kitchen, “Some Egyptian Background to the Old Testament,” TynBul 5 (1960): 11; and T. W. Mann, Divine Presence and Guidance in Israelite Tradition, 169-73.

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