Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
standard ... ensign - The "standard" marked the division, or camp (cf. Num 1:9, Num 1:16, Num 1:24, Num 1:31); the "ensign" the family. There would thus be four "standards" only, one for each "camp" of three tribes. The "standard" was probably a solid figure or emblem mounted on a pole, such as the Egyptians used. Tradition appropriates the four cherubic forms (Eze 1:5-12; Rev 4:7 ff), the lion, man, ox, and eagle, to the camps of Judah, Reuben, Ephraim, and Dan respectively; and this, as to the first, has a certain support from Gen 49:9 (compare Rev 5:5), and as to the third, from Deu 33:17.
Far off - See the margin, over against; i. e. facing the tabernacle on every side. The distance was perhaps 2,000 cubits or rather more than 14 mile: compare Jos 3:4.
The following plan shows the general arrangement of the camp, which would vary in different places according to local exigencies. The area of the camp might be about three square miles:
Reuel - Doubtless an error of transcription for Deuel Num 1:14.
Such was the ideal form of the encampment in the wilderness: a form reproduced in the square court with which the temple was eventually surrounded, and in the vision of the heavenly city as seen by Ezekiel Eze 48:20, and by John (Rev 21:16; compare Rev 20:9). Thus the camp of God's earthly people was divinely ordered so as to set forth the completeness of His Church; and to illustrate by its whole arrangement, which was determined by the tabernacle in the center, both the dependance of all on God, and the access which all enjoyed to God.