tn The construction is literally “lift up the head[s],” (שְׂאוּ אֶת־רֹאשׁ, sé’u ’et-ro’sh). This idiom for taking a census occurs elsewhere (Exod 30:12; Lev 5:24; Num 1:24; etc.). The idea is simply that of counting heads to arrive at the base for the standing army. This is a different event than the one recorded in Exod 30:11–16, which was taken for a different purpose altogether. The verb is plural, indicating that Moses had help in taking the census.
tn Heb “the congregation of Israel.”
tn The tribe (מַטֶּה, matteh or שֵׁבֶט, shevet) is the main category. The family groups or clans (מִשְׁפְּחֹת, mishpékhot) and the households or families (בֵּית אֲבֹת, bet ’avot) were sub-divisions of the tribe.
tn This clause simply has “in/with the number of the names of every male with respect to their skulls [individually].” Counting heads, or every skull, simply meant that each person was to be numbered in the census. Except for the Levites, no male was exempt from the count.