“Moses, Aaron and the twelve leaders of Israel, each from a clan, counted the people of Israel by their clans, those twenty years old and over, eligible for military service in Israel; and the grand total came to 603,550.”-Numbers 1:44-46
The grand total of the census taken in chapter one of the Book of Numbers is 603,550.
When we add in the women and children, the total must have come to somewhere between 2 to 3 million people.
Another point we shouldn’t overlook is the mixed multitude of foreigners who left with Israel when they hightailed it out of Egypt.
In the mixed multitude group, in addition to Egyptians, there would have been many other nationalities from the many different semitic races including folks from nations that would later become Israel’s sworn enemies.
I just spent the last two weeks vacationing in Israel and I can testify that the Jewish people are a hodgepodge of different races and colors.
The Ashkenazi Jews are the ones who look the most European but there are also Jewish immigrants from Ethiopia and even China.
I myself being half-Japanese and half-French was considered to be a local until I opened my mouth.
I guess they thought I was maybe a Sephardic Jew (Spanish Jew) or something.
So with regards to the military census, where exactly did these foreigners fit in?
The answer is we can’t know for sure.
Some of the foreigners would have married native-born Israelites and thus would have been grafted in by blood and considered to be a member of one of the 12 tribes.
However, for those foreigners who had not married a Hebrew and thus had no genealogical connections with Israel, they had to make an important choice.
Either declare allegiance to the God of Israel and be grafted in or decline and remain a foreigner.
If they chose to keep their foreigner status, two things occurred.
First, they would not be counted in the census.
Second, they would have to live OUTSIDE the camp of Israel.
The same principle in a spiritual sense applies to all gentiles today.
In this lifetime, a gentile will have to make a decision for or against the God of Israel.
If he chooses to accept YHWH as his God, he is grafted into the commonwealth of Israel.
If he declines, he is not eligible for redemption and remains outside the commonwealth of Israel.
It’s that simple.