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Bible Commentaries

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible
Numbers 2



Verse 2

standard … ensign - The “standard” marked the division, or camp (cf. Numbers 1:9, Numbers 1:16, Numbers 1:24, Numbers 1:31); the “ensign” the family. There would thus be four “standards” only, one for each “camp” of three tribes. The “standard” was probably a solid figure or emblem mounted on a pole, such as the Egyptians used. Tradition appropriates the four cherubic forms (Ezekiel 1:5-12; Revelation 4:7 ff), the lion, man, ox, and eagle, to the camps of Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan respectively; and this, as to the first, has a certain support from Genesis 49:9 (compare Revelation 5:5), and as to the third, from Deuteronomy 33:17.

Far off - See the margin, over against; i. e. facing the tabernacle on every side. The distance was perhaps 2,000 cubits or rather more than 14 mile: compare Joshua 3:4.

Verses 3-32

The following plan shows the general arrangement of the camp, which would vary in different places according to local exigencies. The area of the camp might be about three square miles:

Numbers 2:14

Reuel - Doubtless an error of transcription for Deuel Numbers 1:14.

Verse 33-34

Such was the ideal form of the encampment in the wilderness: a form reproduced in the square court with which the temple was eventually surrounded, and in the vision of the heavenly city as seen by Ezekiel Ezekiel 48:20, and by John (Revelation 21:16; compare Revelation 20:9). Thus the camp of God‘s earthly people was divinely ordered so as to set forth the completeness of His Church; and to illustrate by its whole arrangement, which was determined by the tabernacle in the center, both the dependance of all on God, and the access which all enjoyed to God.


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Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Numbers 2:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". 1870.

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