God conducts a census of military age men from the 12 tribes.
God instructed Prophet who led Israel out of Egypt to the Promised Land and received the law at Sinai More and a chosen representative from each of the 12 tribes (Levi and Joseph were excepted, Joseph’s sons Ephraim and Manasseh take their place to bring the number of tribes back to 12) to review the number of Israelite males over the age of 20 from each tribe, according to their family. This census has two functions, first to show the Israelites exactly how many fighting men were in their ranks. Second, the census was conducted by family and by clans, as a sort of first ancestry project. Rather than simply making each Israelite pass before Moses and the assembled tribal princes, the Israelites were noted as members of family groups. These were fighting men, but also members of families.