In the second year, on the twentieth day of the second month, the Cloud went up from over The Dwelling of The Testimony.
At that the People of Israel set out on their travels from the Wilderness of Sinai until the Cloud finally settled in the Wilderness of Paran.
They began their march at the command of God through Moses.
The flag of the camp of Judah led the way, rank after rank under the command of Nahshon son of Amminadab.
Nethanel son of Zuar commanded the forces of the tribe of Issachar,
and Eliab son of Helon commanded the forces of the tribe of Zebulun.
As soon as The Dwelling was taken down, the Gershonites and the Merarites set out, carrying The Dwelling.
The flag of the camp of Reuben was next with Elizur son of Shedeur in command.
Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai commanded the forces of the tribe of Simeon;
Eliasaph son of Deuel commanded the forces of the tribe of Gad.
Then the Kohathites left, carrying the holy things. By the time they arrived The Dwelling would be set up.
The flag of the tribe of Ephraim moved out next, commanded by Elishama son of Ammihud.
Gamaliel son of Pedahzur commanded the forces of the tribe of Manasseh;
Abidan son of Gideoni commanded the forces of the tribe of Benjamin.
Finally, under the flag of the tribe of Dan, the rear guard of all the camps marched out with Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai in command.
Pagiel son of Ocran commanded the forces of the tribe of Asher;
Ahira son of Enan commanded the forces of the tribe of Naphtali.
These were the marching units of the People of Israel. They were on their way.
Moses said to his brother-in-law Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We're marching to the place about which God promised, 'I'll give it to you.' Come with us; we'll treat you well. God has promised good things for Israel."
But Hobab said, "I'm not coming; I'm going back home to my own country, to my own family."
Moses countered, "Don't leave us. You know all the best places to camp in the wilderness. We need your eyes.
If you come with us, we'll make sure that you share in all the good things God will do for us."
And so off they marched. From the Mountain of God they marched three days with the Chest of the Covenant of God in the lead to scout out a campsite.
The Cloud of God was above them by day when they marched from the camp.
With the Chest leading the way, Moses would say, Get up, God! Put down your enemies! Chase those who hate you to the hills!
And when the Chest was set down, he would say, Rest with us, God, Stay with the many, Many thousands of Israel.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)