Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
On the south side the standard of the camp of Reuben—The description given of the position of Reuben and his attendant tribes on the south, of Ephraim and his associates on the west, of Dan and his confederates on the north, with that of Judah on the east, suggests the idea of a square or quadrangle, which, allowing one square cubit to each soldier while remaining close in the ranks, has been computed to extend over an area of somewhat more than twelve square miles. But into our calculations of the occupied space must be taken not only the fighting men, whose numbers are here given, but also the families, tents, and baggage. The tabernacle or sacred tent of their Divine King, with the camp of the Levites around it (see on Numbers 3:38), formed the center, as does the chief's in the encampment of all nomad people. In marching, this order was adhered to, with some necessary variations. Judah led the way, followed, it is most probable, by Issachar and Zebulun [Numbers 10:14-16]. Reuben, Simeon, and Gad formed the second great division [Numbers 10:18-20]. They were followed by the central company, composed of the Levites, bearing the tabernacle [Numbers 10:21]. Then the third and posterior squadron consisted of Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin [Numbers 10:22-24], while the hindmost place was assigned to Dan, Asher, and Naphtali [Numbers 10:25-27]. Thus Judah's, which was the most numerous, formed the van: and Dan's, which was the next in force, brought up the rear; while Reuben's and Ephraim's, with the tribes associated with them respectively, being the smallest and weakest, were placed in the center. (See on Numbers 10:13).
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