Numbers 1

Translation:
1) YHWH spoke to Moses in the desert of Sinai in the tent of meeting on the first of the second month in the second year of their exiting the land of Egypt, saying
2) “Count the heads of the whole assembly of the sons of Israel according to their tribes and their fathers’ houses, according to the number of names, every male according to their heads [lit. “their skulls”],
3) From every one twenty years old or older, everyone coming out to fight in Israel, you should muster them for their fighting, you and Aaron.
4) Each will be with you, each for his tribe. Each shall be the head of the house of his fathers.
5) And these will be the names of the men who will stand with you: For Reuben: Elizur ben Shedeur;
6) For Simeon: Shelumiel ben Zurishadai;
7) For Judah: Nachshon ben Amminadab;
8) For Issachar: Nathanel ben Zoar;
9) For Zebulon: Elion ben Chelon;
10) For the sons of Joseph, for Ephraim: Elishama ben Ammihud; for Manasseh: Gamliel ben Pedazur;
11) For Benjamin: Abidan ben Gideon;
12) For Dan: Achiezer ben Ammishadai;
13) For Asher: Pagiel ben Ochran;
14) For Gad: Elyasaph ben Deuel;
15) For Naphtali: Achira ben Enan.
16) These are those called from the assembly, men of the tribes of their fathers; heads of the thousands of Israel are they.”
17) So Moses and Aaron took these men, who had been called by name.
18) And the whole assembly they called together on the first of the month of the second year. And they were registered in the list of generations according to the tribes of the house of their fathers, according to the number of names from those twenty years old or older according to skulls,
19) Just as YHWH commanded Moses. And he assembled them in the desert of Sinai.
20) And these were the sons of Reuben, Israel’s firstborn, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names every male according to their heads [lit. “their skulls”] twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
21) Their assembly of the tribe of Reuben: 46500
22) Belonging to the sons of Simeon, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
23) Their assembly of the tribe of Simeon: 59300
24) Belonging to the sons of Gad, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
25) Their assembly of the tribe of Gad: 45650
26) Belonging to the sons of Judah, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
27) Their assembly of the tribe of Judah: 74600
28) Belonging to the sons of Issachar, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
29) Their assembly of the tribe of Issachar: 54400
30) Belonging to the sons of Zebulon, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
31) Their assembly of the tribe of Issachar: 57400
32) Belonging to the sons of Joseph, belonging to the sons of Ephraim, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
33) Their assembly of the tribe of Ephraim: 40500
34) Belonging to the sons of Manasseh, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
35) Their assembly of the tribe of Manasseh: 32200
36) Belonging to the sons of Benjamin, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
37) Their assembly of the tribe of Benjamin: 354000
38) Belonging to the sons of Dan, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
39) Their assembly of the tribe of Dan: 62700
40) Belonging to the sons of Asher, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
41) Their assembly of the tribe of Asher: 41500
42) Belonging to the sons of Naphtali, their generations according to their tribes, according to the house of their fathers, according to the number of names, according to their skulls, every male twenty years old or older, everyone who came out to fight.
43) Their assembly of the tribe of Naphtali: 56400
44) These are those assembled, who Moses and Aaron assembled. And the princes of Israel were twelve men, one man for each tribe. Each tribe belonged to the house of his fathers.
45) The whole of the assembly of the sons of Israel for their battling, from twenty years and older, all who came out to fight in Israel
46) And all those who had been assembled were 603550.
47) But the Levites were not assembled according to the tribe of their fathers in their midst.
48) And YHWH spoke to Moses, saying,
49) “Indeed, you should not assemble the tribe of Levi and – their heads – you should not count them in the midst of Israel.
50) You should count the Levites before the dwelling of the community and before all the instruments and before all that belongs to it [i.e., the dwelling]. And they will carry the dwelling and all of the instruments and they will service them. Around the dwelling they will bivouac.
51) And when they break camp, the Levites will take down the dwelling. When they make camp, the Levites will set up the dwelling. But anyone not permitted who approaches will die.
52) The sons of Israel will camp, one was at the camping place, and the other at his emblem for their battle assembly.
53) But the Levites shall camp around the dwelling of the community so that the anger of YHWH will not be against the community of the sons of Israel.” So the Levites undertook guardianship of the dwelling of the community.
54) So the sons of Israel did just as YHWH commanded Moses and Aaron. Thus they did.

Text Critical Information:
V. 2: “whole” is missing in the Samaritan Pentateuch.
V. 3: “You” in the Masoretic text is plural, but the Samaritan and Syriac versions read the singular.
V. 18: Text emended to include “the second year” as in LXX.
V. 20: Text emended to match v. 1, the Samaritan text, and the Peshitta.
V. 22: The text has been abbreviated to match the best witnesses.
V. 42: The preposition translated as “belonging to” is missing in Codex Leningradensis, but attested in the best witnesses.
V. 44: Emend to read with LXX and the Samaritan text.
V. 45: Text Emended to follow LXX and the Samaritan text.
V. 54: LXX adds “and Aaron,” which has been used here.

Brief Commentary on the Text:
The condition of the Masoretic Text makes a pretty good impression in Numbers 1. While I have not commented on every text critical matter published in the ciritical edition, the most important have been reflected here. The translation does not read very smoothly. The Hebrew syntax is quite lengthy for a narrative text and it is somewhat unclear at first glance why so many designations for the people who were to be counted were used. Curious is also the use of “skulls” in the categorization of those who are to be counted. This text can generally be regarded as a unity; there is nothing on the surface that necessitates or mandates a division of the text into multiple sources in this verse. On the surface, the immediate priority of the Levites over the rest of the tribes jumps out. Since the text ends with the handling of the Levites and does not even really count them among the other “sons of Israel”, one recognizes a strong emphasis on that group. This emphasis will presumably be expounded in other texts in the book of Numbers.

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