The Camp of Israel
by Tim O'Hearn
I am a fan of logic problems. I know many people have difficulty with this kind of puzzle, so this may not be for you. It is intended strictly for fun and not necessarily for learning, so those who canít handle this kind of puzzle may choose not to try it. You wonít be missing anything, except maybe some fun, and some frustration. I have tried to make this relatively easy, but my easy may be someone elseís hard.
The grid below is not interactive. If you want to work the puzzle, I recommend you print the picture of the grid below (or print this whole page), or go to the PDF copy of this bulletin and print the pages with this article.
Instructions: Read each clue. In the grid below, mark any items you know to be true (i.e. Judah is on the east side, from clue 1) with a dot or fill in the box. Anything you know cannot be true (i.e. Eliab is not the prince of Judah, from clue 1) mark with a ó or an X. After reading all the clues, you may have to go back and examine them again in the light of additional information from other clues.
Introduction: During the wanderings in the wilderness after the exodus, the tribes of Israel were to camp around the Tabernacle in a set order. From the clues below determine what direction from the Tabernacle each tribe was to camp (there are three tribes each direction), the name of the prince of each tribe, and the number of people in each tribe. All the tribes, princes, and numbers are listed on the grid below.
- The three tribes on the east of the Tabernacle were Judah, the tribe whose prince was Eliab, and the tribe whose population was 54,400.
- No prince who did not share an initial with any other prince camped on the east side. Nor did any such prince camp on the same side as another prince who did not share an initial with any other prince.
- The prince of the tribe with the lowest population does not share an initial with another prince. His tribe camped to the west, between the other two tribes with the lowest population.
- Benjamin, Eliasaph, Issachar, and the tribe with a population of 53,400 each camped on a different side of the Tabernacle. Benjamin camped on the opposite side from Issachar.
- The two princes that share an initial camped on the same side of the Tabernacle. Two of the three princes who shared an initial camped on the same side as the tribe that shared their initial. The other of those three camped on the west. The two tribes with the highest populations in the 40 thousands camped on the fourth side, and their princes also share an initial.
- Gamalielís tribe has a lower population than the tribe with 45,650 people. That tribe has a lower population than the tribe of Dan, which has a lower population than Nashonís tribe. None of these camp on the same side as any of the others.
- Nethanael, whose tribe has already been mentioned by name in a previous clue, was prince of a tribe with a population in the 50 thousands. So did the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun, and only one tribe camped to the south of the Tabernacle. All tribes with populations in the 50 thousands are mentioned in this clue. Ephraim is not one of them.
- Reuben, the prince that shares an initial with his tribe but with no other prince, and the tribe with 45,650 people all camped on the same side of the Tabernacle. Reubenís camp was not on the same side as, but was next to, Eliabís tribe. Gamalielís tribe, which had a population of 32,200, camped on a different side from any of these.
- The populations of Ephraim, Pagielís tribe, and Eliasaphís tribe have populations in consecutive order, with Ephraimís population the lowest of the three. None of these have the two lowest or two highest populations.
- Abidanís tribe camped to the west of the Tabernacle. He did not camp on the same side or opposite any prince or tribe that shared his initial. The prince of the tribe of Asher did not share an initial with the name of the tribe.
- The tribe of Benjamin, population 35,400, had a prince who shared an initial with only two other princes. The tribe of Issachar, population 54,400, had a prince who shared an initial with only one other prince.
- Elizur camped to the south of the Tabernacle. He ruled a tribe with a population in the 50 thousands. Shelumiel and the tribe of Gad were in the other two camps on the same side as Elizur.
- Eliab, prince of Zebulun, ruled over fewer people than the population of the tribe of Simeon, but more than Ahiraís tribe.
- Nashon was prince of the tribe with the highest population.
One solution can be found here. A summary of the answer can be found in Numbers 2.