Numbers 11:24—Was the tabernacle outside the camp of Israel or inside it?

Problem: Numbers 2 places the tabernacle inside the camp, but here in Numbers 11:24 (cf. 12:4) it is said to be outside the camp.

Solution: It was both. The twelve tribes were camped around the tabernacle (Num. 2:3, 10, 18, 25), with a space between them and the tabernacle in the center (Num. 2:2). Hence, to get to the tabernacle they would have to go “outside” their camping area. And yet the tabernacle was literally “in the middle” of them.

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This excerpt is from When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties (Wheaton, Ill.: Victor Books, 1992). © 2014 Norman Geisler and Thomas Howe. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Click here to purchase this book.