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Leviticus 27, Numbers 1-2
Offerings to The Lord were based upon ability. While the wealthy were not in effect punished (as some governments do to their most prosperous citizens with "progressive" taxation rates) for being financially successful (i.e. tithing was a flat 10 percent), special vows were made equal according to one's productive capability, the reason that Jesus Christ said that a poor widow gave more than the rich did i.e. "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the treasury. For they all contributed out of their abundance; but she out of her poverty" (Mark 12:43-44 RSV)
"The Lord said to Moses [see also The Trysting Tent], "Say to the people of Israel, When a man makes a special vow of persons to The Lord at your valuation, then your valuation of a male from twenty years old up to sixty years old shall be fifty shekels [see Biblical Weights and Measures] of silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. If the person is a female, your valuation shall be thirty shekels. If the person is from five years old up to twenty years old, your valuation shall be for a male twenty shekels, and for a female ten shekels. If the person is from a month old up to five years old, your valuation shall be for a male five shekels of silver, and for a female your valuation shall be three shekels of silver. And if the person is sixty years old and upward, then your valuation for a male shall be fifteen shekels, and for a female ten shekels. And if a man is too poor to pay your valuation, then he shall bring the person before the priest, and the priest shall value him; according to the ability of him who vowed the priest shall value him." (Leviticus 27:1-8 RSV)
Numbers Chapter 1
Bible History also provides practical information such as census counts because The Lord instructed the Israelites to do so. Part of the counting was to determine the number of military age males, "from twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go forth to war."
"The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai [see also The Wilderness of Sin], in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, "Take a census of all the congregation of the people of Israel, by families, by fathers' houses, according to the number of names, every male, head by head; from twenty years old and upward, all in Israel who are able to go forth to war, you and Aaron shall number them, company by company. And there shall be with you a man from each tribe, each man being the head of the house of his fathers." (Numbers 1:1-4 RSV)
The exception were the Levites whose duties were entirely to The Lord (although the Levites had frequently demonstrated their ability and willingness as deadly warriors). Only specific Levites were permitted to touch the Holy things; anyone else would be put to death by The Lord i.e. "the Levites shall set it up. And if any one else comes near, he shall be put to death" (see also Raiders Of The Lost Ark)
"Only the tribe of Levi you shall not number, and you shall not take a census of them among the people of Israel; but appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony [see also The Lines Of Eleazar and Ithamar], and over all its furnishings, and over all that belongs to it; they are to carry the tabernacle and all its furnishings, and they shall tend it, and shall encamp around the tabernacle. When the tabernacle is to set out, the Levites shall take it down; and when the tabernacle is to be pitched, the Levites shall set it up. And if any one else comes near, he shall be put to death." (Numbers 1:49-51 RSV)
Numbers Chapter 2
The order of the camp around the Tabernacle was also specified by The Lord:
"The Lord said to Moses [see The Education Of Moses] and Aaron, "The people of Israel shall encamp each by his own standard, with the Ensigns of their fathers' houses; they shall encamp facing the tent of meeting on every side." (Numbers 2:1-2 RSV)
Prior to the Exodus, the Israelites had been feared by the Egyptians because of their great number. The census confirms why the Pharaoh would have been concerned about such a large force of foreign military-age males within his borders i.e. "all in the camps who were numbered by their companies were 603,550"
"These are the people of Israel as numbered by their fathers' houses; all in the camps who were numbered by their companies were six hundred and three thousand five hundred and fifty. But the Levites were not numbered among the people of Israel, as The Lord commanded Moses.
Fact Finder: Is there yet to come a future "camp of the saints"? What permanent city will replace it?