The Placement of the Tribes and Their Elders

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God gives the arrangment of the tribes, as they were to be grouped around the Tabernacle, in Numbers, chapters 2. In the following chapter, He goes into further detail, giving the assignments of the tribes of the three children of Levi as well as their children (a total of eight grandchildren). The tribes of Levi did not have a place with the other twelve, rather these chidren and grandchildren were placed in the area closest to the Tabernacle as shown above by the names Merari, Gershon and Kohath (the three children). Not shown are the names of the tribes of the eight grandsons of Levi; Libni, Shimei, Amram, Izehar, Hebron, Uzziel, Mahli and Mushi (see Numbers 3:17-20).

This resulted in a final total of 24 groups, represented by 24 elders, (all mentioned by name) who surrounded the Tabernacle. The breakdown is as follows:

(1) Moses' family
(12) The 12 tribes
(3) The tribes of the 3 sons of Levi
(8) The tribes of the 8 grandsons of Levi