The census was for those 20+ who were able to serve in Israel’s army: 603,550 men; probably over 2 million in total (NIV Study Bible notes). That’s a lot of people wandering around in the desert!!
Enormous emphasis is given to men and male children. No wonder we have a male dominated society and significant resistance to female leadership or pastors. It’s interesting how we pick and choose the parts of ancient lifestyle to apply to modern living. Just thinking out loud (dangerous, I know). Forgive me if I’ve spoken out of turn and out of place; these are idle thoughts of a father of four daughters.
Given the large population, Moses must be commended for exceptional organizational management skills. The lessons learned from Jethro (Exodus 18) have blossomed into a well-defined protocol for who camps where, when, etc. I can’t even come close to imagining what it must have been like for 2 million people to break camp and move in any direction. Incredible!
The the tent of meeting and the camp of the Levites will set out in the middle of the camps. They will set out in the same order as they encamp, each in their own place under their standard. Numbers 2:17
Where is the Tent of Meeting in my life?
Church is setup in the middle of each camp…nice! The Levites were prominently placed in “town center” for each camp. Wouldn’t it be great if churches were the center of our towns today? How do we become the center? We don’t have the capacity to fix every problem, but we do have an eternal solution. Help us remember that!