“From the sons of Joseph: From the descendants of Ephraim: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. The number from the tribe of Ephraim was 40,500. From the descendants of Manasseh: All the men twenty years old or more who were able to serve in the army were listed by name, according to the records of their clans and families. The number from the tribe of Manasseh was 32,200.”-Numbers 1:32-34
From verse 20 for a total of 22 verses we are given the results of the census.
Again these numbers do not represent the total population of Israel.
They are only all males over the age of 20 who are physically capable of fighting in a war.
You’ll notice the largest tribe is Judah comprised of 74,600 men.
And the second largest tribe was Joseph’s tribe standing tall at 72,700 men, a difference of 1,900 men.
However, you’ll also notice that Joseph’s tribe is actually represented by his two sons Ephraim and Manasseh who were if you recall adopted away from him.
This is important and we’re going to be constantly reminded that Ephraim and Manasseh standing in for Joseph is a TEMPORARY Scriptural provision.
Always keep in mind that Ephraim and Manasseh together represent Joseph.
When we come to the book of Revelations, mysteriously we’ll find that Joseph has been grafted back in and for some reason the Tribe of Dan is gone!
So there is some Scriptural mystery here we’re dealing with.
Let’s move on.
The total calculations come to 603, 550 men eligible for combat.
This is the same figure of the census taken back in the Book of Exodus.
“Each one who is numbered in the census shall give this: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (the shekel is twenty gerahs), half a shekel as an offering to the Lord. Everyone who is numbered in the census, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the Lord‘s offering.”-Exodus 30:13-14
However, the purpose of the census in Exodus is different than the one being conducted here in the Book of Numbers.
In Exodus, the census was to collect a half-shekel tax on all combat eligible men for the purpose of atonement.
Here in the Book of Numbers, the purpose is of the census is to put together an army that will go on to fight a HOLY war to take the Promised Land.
Given that both censuses were only a few months apart, it should come as no surprise that the total figure of 603, 550 is the same.