Questioning faith in the parsha
Numbers 1:1-4, 16-21
This translation was taken from the JPS Tanakh
2 Take a census of the whole Israelite community by the clans of its ancestral houses, listing the names, every male, head by head. 3 You and Aaron shall record them by their groups, from the age of twenty years up, all those in Israel who are able to bear arms. 4 Associated with you shall be a man from each tribe, each one the head of his ancestral house.
(Then a long list of names….)
16 Those are the elected of the assembly, the chieftains of their ancestral tribes: they are the heads of the contingents of Israel.
17 So Moses and Aaron took those men, who were designated by name, 18 and on the first day of the second month they convoked the whole community, who were registered by the clans of their ancestral houses — the names of those aged twenty years and over being listed head by head. 19 As the Lord had commanded Moses, so he recorded them in the wilderness of Sinai.
20 They totaled as follows:
The descendants of Reuben, Israel’s first-born, the registration of the clans of their ancestral house, as listed by name, head by head, all males aged twenty years and over, all who were able to bear arms — 21 those enrolled from the tribe of Reuben: 46,500.