Numbers 1
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  And Hashem spoke unto Moshe in the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying:

vai-da-BAYR a-do-NAI el mo-SHEH b’-mid-BAR see-NAI b’-O-hel mo-AYD b’-e-KHAD la-KHO-desh ha-shay-NEE ba-sha-NAH ha-shay-NEET l’-tzay-TAM may-E-retz mitz-ra-YIM lay-MOR 

א  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי בְּאֹהֶל מוֹעֵד בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי בַּשָּׁנָה הַשֵּׁנִית לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם לֵאמֹר.

1:1   In the wilderness of Sinai, in the Tent of Meeting

After a stay of almost a year in the Sinai Desert where the Jewish people received the Torah, constructed the Mishkan and studied some of their new laws, the book of Bamidbar opens with the preparations to leave the desert and head to the Promised Land. Entry into the Land of Israel, Bible in hand, was the ultimate goal of the exodus from Egypt.  The Mishkan, where God reveals himself on a daily basis, will allow the people to carry the experience of revelation at Mount Sinai with them on their journey. In this way, God remains permanently in their midst.

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2  ‘Take ye the sum of all the congregation of B’nei Yisrael, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male, by their polls;

s’-U et rosh kol a-DAT b’-NAY yis-ra-AYL l’-mish-p’-kho-TAM l’-VAYT a-vo-TAM b’-mis-PAR shay-MOT kol za-KHAR l’-gul-g’-lo-TAM

ב  שְׂאוּ אֶת רֹאשׁ כָּל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת כָּל זָכָר לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָם.

1:2   Take ye the sum of all the congregation of B’nei Yisrael

The foremost commandment from God to Moshe and Aharon to prepare for travel to the Land of Israel is to count the people. This is one of multiple censuses of the Jewish people in the Bible, the first of two in the book of Bamidbar. In fact, the English name of this book, “Numbers” derives from these two countings. Since the Jews are heading toward the Promised Land to conquer and settle it, the census serves to infom the leadership how many soldiers they may have for their army and among how many people would the land be divided. According to the Sages, however, God repeatedly counts His people simply because they are precious to Him. Just as someone with a valuable collection will count its contents over and over, so too God frequently counts His people.  Every individual is precious to the Lord.

Comment

3  from twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Yisrael: ye shall number them by their hosts, even thou and Aharon.

ג  מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כָּל יֹצֵא צָבָא בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל תִּפְקְדוּ אֹתָם לְצִבְאֹתָם אַתָּה וְאַהֲרֹן.

4  And with you there shall be a man of every tribe, every one head of his fathers’ house.

ד  וְאִתְּכֶם יִהְיוּ אִישׁ אִישׁ לַמַּטֶּה אִישׁ רֹאשׁ לְבֵית אֲבֹתָיו הוּא.

5  And these are the names of the men that shall stand with you: of Reuven, Elizur the son of Shedeur.

ה  וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר יַעַמְדוּ אִתְּכֶם לִרְאוּבֵן אֱלִיצוּר בֶּן שְׁדֵיאוּר.

6  Of Shimon, Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai.

ו  לְשִׁמְעוֹן שְׁלֻמִיאֵל בֶּן צוּרִישַׁדָּי.

7  Of Yehuda, Nakhshon the son of Amminadav.

ז  לִיהוּדָה נַחְשׁוֹן בֶּן עַמִּינָדָב.

8  Of Yissakhar, Nethanel the son of Zuar.

ח  לְיִשָּׂשכָר נְתַנְאֵל בֶּן צוּעָר.

9  Of Zevulun, Eliab the son of Helon.

ט  לִזְבוּלֻן אֱלִיאָב בֶּן חֵלֹן.

10  Of the children of Yosef: of Efraim, Elishama the son of Ammihud; of Menashe, Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur.

י  לִבְנֵי יוֹסֵף לְאֶפְרַיִם אֱלִישָׁמָע בֶּן עַמִּיהוּד לִמְנַשֶּׁה גַּמְלִיאֵל בֶּן פְּדָהצוּר.

11  Of Binyamin, Avidan the son of Gideoni.

יא  לְבִנְיָמִן אֲבִידָן בֶּן גִּדְעֹנִי.

12  Of Dan, Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai.

יב  לְדָן אֲחִיעֶזֶר בֶּן עַמִּישַׁדָּי.

13  Of Asher, Pagiel the son of Ochran.

יג  לְאָשֵׁר פַּגְעִיאֵל בֶּן עָכְרָן.

14  Of Gad, Eliasaph the son of Deuel.

יד  לְגָד, אֶלְיָסָף בֶּן דְּעוּאֵל.

15  Of Naftali, Ahira the son of Enan.’

טו  לְנַפְתָּלִי אֲחִירַע בֶּן עֵינָן.

16  These were the elect of the congregation, the princes of the tribes of their fathers; they were the heads of the thousands of Yisrael.

טז  אֵלֶּה קריאי (קְרוּאֵי) הָעֵדָה נְשִׂיאֵי מַטּוֹת אֲבוֹתָם רָאשֵׁי אַלְפֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵם.

17  And Moshe and Aharon took these men that are pointed out by name.

יז  וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן אֵת הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה אֲשֶׁר נִקְּבוּ בְּשֵׁמֹת.

18  And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

יח  וְאֵת כָּל הָעֵדָה הִקְהִילוּ בְּאֶחָד לַחֹדֶשׁ הַשֵּׁנִי וַיִּתְיַלְדוּ עַל מִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָם.

19  As Hashem commanded Moshe, so did he number them in the wilderness of Sinai.

יט  כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת מֹשֶׁה וַיִּפְקְדֵם בְּמִדְבַּר סִינָי.

20  And the children of Reuven, Yisrael’s first-born, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

כ  וַיִּהְיוּ בְנֵי רְאוּבֵן בְּכֹר יִשְׂרָאֵל תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָם כָּל זָכָר מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

21  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Reuven, were forty and six thousand and five hundred.

כא  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה רְאוּבֵן שִׁשָּׁה וְאַרְבָּעִים אֶלֶף וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת.

22  Of the children of Shimon, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, those that were numbered thereof, according to the number of names, by their polls, every male from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

כב  לִבְנֵי שִׁמְעוֹן תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם פְּקֻדָיו בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת לְגֻלְגְּלֹתָם כָּל זָכָר מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

23  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Shimon, were fifty and nine thousand and three hundred.

כג  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה שִׁמְעוֹן תִּשְׁעָה וַחֲמִשִּׁים אֶלֶף וּשְׁלֹשׁ מֵאוֹת.

24  Of the children of Gad, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

כד  לִבְנֵי גָד תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

25  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Gad, were forty and five thousand six hundred and fifty.

כה  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה גָד חֲמִשָּׁה וְאַרְבָּעִים אֶלֶף וְשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת וַחֲמִשִּׁים.

26  Of the children of Yehuda, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

כו  לִבְנֵי יְהוּדָה תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

27  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Yehuda, were threescore and fourteen thousand and six hundred.

כז  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה יְהוּדָה אַרְבָּעָה וְשִׁבְעִים אֶלֶף וְשֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת.

28  Of the children of Yissakhar, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

כח  לִבְנֵי יִשָּׂשכָר תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

29  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Yissakhar, were fifty and four thousand and four hundred.

כט  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה יִשָּׂשכָר אַרְבָּעָה וַחֲמִשִּׁים אֶלֶף וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת.

30  Of the children of Zevulun, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

ל  לִבְנֵי זְבוּלֻן תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

31  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Zevulun, were fifty and seven thousand and four hundred.

לא  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה זְבוּלֻן שִׁבְעָה וַחֲמִשִּׁים אֶלֶף וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת.

32  Of the children of Yosef, namely, of the children of Efraim, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

לב  לִבְנֵי יוֹסֵף לִבְנֵי אֶפְרַיִם תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

33  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Efraim, were forty thousand and five hundred.

לג  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה אֶפְרָיִם אַרְבָּעִים אֶלֶף וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת.

34  Of the children of Menashe, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

לד  לִבְנֵי מְנַשֶּׁה תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמוֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

35  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Menashe, were thirty and two thousand and two hundred.

לה  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה מְנַשֶּׁה שְׁנַיִם וּשְׁלֹשִׁים אֶלֶף וּמָאתָיִם.

36  Of the children of Binyamin, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

לו  לִבְנֵי בִנְיָמִן תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

37  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Binyamin, were thirty and five thousand and four hundred.

לז  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה בִנְיָמִן חֲמִשָּׁה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים אֶלֶף וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת.

38  Of the children of Dan, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

לח  לִבְנֵי דָן תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

39  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Dan, were threescore and two thousand and seven hundred.

לט  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה דָן שְׁנַיִם וְשִׁשִּׁים אֶלֶף וּשְׁבַע מֵאוֹת.

40  Of the children of Asher, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

מ  לִבְנֵי אָשֵׁר תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

41  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Asher, were forty and one thousand and five hundred.

מא  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה אָשֵׁר אֶחָד וְאַרְבָּעִים אֶלֶף וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת.

42  Of the children of Naftali, their generations, by their families, by their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war;

מב  בְּנֵי נַפְתָּלִי תּוֹלְדֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹת מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כֹּל יֹצֵא צָבָא.

43  those that were numbered of them, of the tribe of Naftali, were fifty and three thousand and four hundred.

מג  פְּקֻדֵיהֶם לְמַטֵּה נַפְתָּלִי שְׁלֹשָׁה וַחֲמִשִּׁים אֶלֶף וְאַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת.

44  These are those that were numbered, which Moshe and Aharon numbered, and the princes of Yisrael, being twelve men; they were each one for his fathers’ house.

מד  אֵלֶּה הַפְּקֻדִים אֲשֶׁר פָּקַד מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן וּנְשִׂיאֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אִישׁ אִישׁ אֶחָד לְבֵית אֲבֹתָיו הָיוּ.

45  And all those that were numbered of B’nei Yisrael by their fathers’ houses, from twenty years old and upward, all that were able to go forth to war in Yisrael;

מה  וַיִּהְיוּ כָּל פְּקוּדֵי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם מִבֶּן עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה וָמַעְלָה כָּל יֹצֵא צָבָא בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל.

46  even all those that were numbered were six hundred thousand and three thousand and five hundred and fifty.

מו  וַיִּהְיוּ כָּל הַפְּקֻדִים שֵׁשׁ מֵאוֹת אֶלֶף וּשְׁלֹשֶׁת אֲלָפִים וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת וַחֲמִשִּׁים.

47  But the Leviim after the tribe of their fathers were not numbered among them.

מז  וְהַלְוִיִּם לְמַטֵּה אֲבֹתָם לֹא הָתְפָּקְדוּ בְּתוֹכָם.

48  And Hashem spoke unto Moshe, saying:

מח  וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר.

49  ‘Howbeit the tribe of Levi thou shalt not number, neither shalt thou take the sum of them among B’nei Yisrael;

מט  אַךְ אֶת מַטֵּה לֵוִי לֹא תִפְקֹד וְאֶת רֹאשָׁם לֹא תִשָּׂא בְּתוֹךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל.

50  but appoint thou the Leviim over the Mishkan of the testimony, and over all the furniture thereof, and over all that belongeth to it; they shall bear the Mishkan, and all the furniture thereof; and they shall minister unto it, and shall encamp round about the Mishkan.

נ  וְאַתָּה הַפְקֵד אֶת הַלְוִיִּם עַל מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת וְעַל כָּל כֵּלָיו וְעַל כָּל אֲשֶׁר לוֹ הֵמָּה יִשְׂאוּ אֶת הַמִּשְׁכָּן וְאֶת כָּל כֵּלָיו וְהֵם יְשָׁרְתֻהוּ וְסָבִיב לַמִּשְׁכָּן יַחֲנוּ.

51  And when the Mishkan setteth forward, the Leviim shall take it down; and when the Mishkan is to be pitched, the Leviim shall set it up; and the common man that draweth nigh shall be put to death.

נא  וּבִנְסֹעַ הַמִּשְׁכָּן יוֹרִידוּ אֹתוֹ הַלְוִיִּם וּבַחֲנֹת הַמִּשְׁכָּן יָקִימוּ אֹתוֹ הַלְוִיִּם וְהַזָּר הַקָּרֵב יוּמָת.

52  And B’nei Yisrael shall pitch their tents, every man with his own camp, and every man with his own standard, according to their hosts.

v’-kha-NU b’-NAY yis-ra-AYL eesh al ma-kha-NAY-hu v’-EESH al dig-LO l’-tziv-o-TAM

נב  וְחָנוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אִישׁ עַל מַחֲנֵהוּ וְאִישׁ עַל דִּגְלוֹ לְצִבְאֹתָם.

1:52   B’nei Yisrael shall pitch… every man with his own standard

Following the census of the Jewish people at the beginning of Bamidbar, the Bible describes the layout of Israel’s camp in the desert. The Mishkan, located in the center of the camp, reminds B’nei Yisrael and us today that God is always at the center of our lives. The Leviim surround the Mishkan and the remaining tribes of Israel, organized into groups of three tribes each, surround the Leviim.  Each tribe has its own flag which features an insignia representative of the tribe’s unique character; each group of tribes also possessed a distinctive banner. Today, the State of Israel too has a flag of its own. In 1897, a flag was needed at the First Zionist Congress. David Wolffsohn, a prominent member of the early Zionist movement, described how he came up with the design: “What flag would we hang in the Congress Hall? Then an idea struck me. We have a flag — and it is blue and white. The Tallit (prayer shawl) with which we wrap ourselves when we pray: that is our symbol. Let us take this Tallit from its bag and unroll it before the eyes of Israel and the eyes of all nations. So I ordered a blue and white flag with the Shield of David painted upon it. That is how the national flag, that flew over Congress Hall, came into being.”

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53  But the Leviim shall pitch round about the Mishkan of the testimony, that there be no wrath upon the congregation of B’nei Yisrael; and the Leviim shall keep the charge of the Mishkan of the testimony.’

נג  וְהַלְוִיִּם יַחֲנוּ סָבִיב לְמִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת וְלֹא יִהְיֶה קֶצֶף עַל עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְשָׁמְרוּ הַלְוִיִּם אֶת מִשְׁמֶרֶת מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדוּת.

54  Thus did B’nei Yisrael; according to all that Hashem commanded Moshe, so did they.

נד  וַיַּעֲשׂוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת מֹשֶׁה כֵּן עָשׂוּ.

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Numbers 2

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The comments below do not necessarily reflect the beliefs and opinions of The Israel Bible™.

  • The fact that God numbers his people is wonderful, but knowing that He knows the exact number of hairs on our heads is so precious. He is intimately involved in our being.

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Numbers 1