You’ve heard of the Census that takes place every ten years in the U.S. Well, Moses took a census of all the Israelites long before the first American one in 1790. 

First, Moses counted up all the Levites – males only, of course.  Babies under one month and women didn’t get included in the count.  According to the Torah, there were 22,000 Levite males.  God declared the Levites belonged to God.  They were to perform the duties of guarding and preparing the Tent of Meeting, where all the sacrifices were made.  Mind you, only the priests made the sacrifices.  The Levites maintained the cloths, the ladles, the lamps, the jars, the scrapers and the bowls used for making the sacrifices.

There was another census: every firstborn male of the Children of Israel:  22,273.  Those Israelite males were to be redeemed from the Levites at five shekels each.  To this day, we have a practice of pidyon ha-ben, (Hebrew: “repurchase of the son”.)  A firstborn son is “sold” to a descendant of the Levites for “five shekels.”  (The money is donated to charity.)

Food for Thought

Why do you think God wanted a count of all the Israelites?