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and to assist the priests in their ministrations.
Moses and Aaron were then directed by God with regard to the manner of encamping, and marching forward on the different stages of their progress to the promised land,
There were four grand divisions of the people, each consisting of three tribes; for although the tribe of Levi was not included, yet as the descendants of Joseph formed two tribes, those of Ephraim and Manasseh, there were twelve in the whole. Each of these divisions had its appropriate standard, and they were so arranged as entirely to en. close the tabernacle, which was in the centre.
The standard of the camp of Judah was first. This division consisted of the tribes of Judah, Issachar, and Zebulon, (the sons of Leah,) and was pitched on the east side of the tabernacle.
On the south side was the standard of the camp of Reuben, under which were the tribes of Reuben and Simeon, (the sons of Leah likewise,) and of Gad, (the son of Zilpah, Leah's maid.)
On the west side was the standard of the camp of Ephraim, under which were the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, (the sons of Joseph,) and of Benjamin.
On the north side was the standard of the camp of Dan, under which were the tribes of Dan and Naphtali, (the sons of Bilhah, Rachel's maid,) and of Asher, (the son of Zilpah.)
Between the four great camps and the tabernacle were four smaller camps, consisting of the priests and Levites, under whose immediate care and protection the tabernacle was placed.
On the east side Moses and Aaron encamped, with Aaron's sons, who had the charge of the sanctuary.
On the south side were the Kohathites, a part of the Levites, descended from Kohath, the second son of Levi.
On the west side were the Gershonites, another part of the Levites, descended from Gershon, Levi's eldest son.
On the north side were planted the Merarites, the remaining part of the Levites, who were the descendants of Merari, Levi's youngest son.
A distinct view of this encampment of the Is. raelites, may be had from the following diagram.
Whole number of Israelites who were able to go forth
vice of the Tabernacle,
On the day when the tabernacle was reared, the descending cloud hung over and covered it; while at evening there was upon it the appearance of fire until the morning. And this continued to be the case; the cloud covering it by day, and the appear. ance of fire by night.
So long as the cloud covered the tabernacle, the Israelites continued in their encampments, and when it was taken up they proceeded on their journey; stopping when it stopped, and moving forward when it moved.
The signal for moving, immediately after the rising of the cloud, was the blowing of two silver trumpets, which Moses made by the direction of God. At the first warning, the standard of Judah was raised, and the tribes which belonged to it, being marshalled by their leaders, set forward. Then the tabernacle was taken down, which was to be done by the Levites alone; the Gershonites and the Merarites, (two families of that order,) having the charge of the wagons which carried the framework of the tabernacle; the coverings and curtains; the hangings of the door, and of the courtdoor, with the cords, and other appendages; the boards, the bars, the pillars and the sockets; and all that was used in sustaining it when erected.
As soon as these were on their march, the trumpets sounded again, and the three tribes belonging to the standard of Reuben, following it, were in motion. After them came the Kohathites, (the third family of the Levites,) bearing the sanctuary,-including the veil, and the ark of testimony which was covered with it and other coverings; the table of show-bread with its furniture; the candlestick and'its appendages; the golden altar; and the va
rious utensils; all being carefully covered by Aaron and his sons with badgers' skins,ʻor cloths of scarlet and blue. These being regarded as holy, were not put into wagons, but carried by the Kohathites; and they even were not to touch any of them lest tliey should die.
At the third blowing of the trumpets, the standard of Ephraim's camp followed next, with the tribes belonging to it; and at its fourth and last sound, the other three tribes, under the standard of Dan, brought up the rear; Moses and Aaron directing and overseeing the whole, while the sons of Aaron were employed in blowing the trumpets, and in the other offices properly belonging to them.
At the moment that the ark set forward, Moses exclaimed, in a devout ejaculation; "Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered ; and let them that hate thee flee before thee."
And when it rested,—"Return, O Lord, unto the many
thousands of Israel.” It must have truly been a magnificent spectacle, to see this vast body in motion! The cloud slowly rising from its resting-place; the deep-toned notes of the trumpets reverberating round the mountains and through the valleys; the lifting up of the standards; the marshalling of the hosts; the reverential care with which the tabernacle was taken down and carried forward; the subordination and exact order which prevailed ; the voices of the leaders