the east side
2:3 the east side. Judah’s prophetic preeminence, as revealed through their father Israel (Genesis 49:8-10) is acknowledged by God in specifying that his host (including Issachar and Zebulun) “shall first set forth” (Numbers 2:9) when the tribes were commanded to march forward. His encampment “on the east side” (that is, toward the rising sun) is a further sign of his special relation to God (compare Malachi 4:2). Judah, Issachar and Zebulun had been the fourth, fifth, and sixth sons of Jacob’s first wife Leah. Her first three sons (Reuben, Simeon and Levi) had been rejected for leadership by Jacob because of their special sins (Genesis 49:3-7).