The Fourth Book of Moses, Called Numbers

Chapter 3

The sons of Aaron, 1-4. The Levites are given to the priests instead of the first-born, 5-13; and are numbered by their families, 14-20. The families, number, and charge of the Gershonites, 21-26; of the Kohathites, 27-32; of the Merarites, 33-37. The place and charge of Moses and Aaron, 38, 39. The first-born are freed by the Levites, 40-43. The surplus are redeemed, 44-51.

1 These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses, in the day that the LORD spoke with Moses on mount Sinai. 2 And these are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the first-born, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests who were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office. 4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they offered strange fire before the LORD in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children. And Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father.

5 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 6 "Bring the tribe of Levi near and present them before Aaron the priest so that they may minister to him. 7 And they shall keep his charge and the charge of the whole congregation before the Tabernacle of the Congregation to do the service of the tabernacle. 8 And they shall keep all the instruments of the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the charge of the children of Israel to do the service of the tabernacle. 9 And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons. They are wholly given to him out of the children of Israel. 10 And you shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office. And the stranger who comes near shall be put to death."

11 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 12 "And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the first-born who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore, the Levites shall be mine, 13 Because all the first-born are mine. For on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, I hallowed for myself all the first-born in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be mine. I am the LORD."

14 And the LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15 "Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families. Every male from a month old and upward you shall number them." 16 And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, as he was commanded. 17 And these were the sons of Levi, by their names: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 18 And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei. 19 And the sons of Kohath by their families: Amram, Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20 And the sons of Merari by their families: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to the house of their fathers.

21 Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites and the family of the Shimites. These are the families of the Gershonites. 22 Those who were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those who were numbered of them, were seven thousand and five hundred. 23 The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward. 24 And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael.

25 And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the Tabernacle of the Congregation shall be the tabernacle and the tent, its covering, the hanging for the door of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, 26 The hangings of the court, the curtain for the door of the court which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and its cords, for all its service.

27 And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, the family of the Izharites, the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites. These are the families of the Kohathites. 28 In the number of all the males from a month old and upward were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary. 29 The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward. 30 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. 31 And their charge shall be the ark, the table, the candlestick, the altars, the vessels of the sanctuary with which they minister, the hanging, and all its service. 32 And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites and have the oversight of those who keep the charge of the sanctuary.

33 Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites. These are the families of Merari. 34 And those who were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males from a month old and upward, were six thousand and two hundred. 35 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail. These shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward. 36 And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, all its vessels, all its service, 37 The pillars of the court round about, their sockets, their pins, and their cords.

38 But those who encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the Tabernacle of the Congregation eastward shall be Moses and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel. And the stranger who comes near shall be put to death. 39 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty-two thousand.

40 And the LORD said to Moses, "Number all the first-born of the males of the children of Israel, from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names. 41 And you shall take the Levites for me (I am the LORD) instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the first-born among the cattle of the children of Israel." 42 And Moses numbered, as the LORD commanded him, all the first-born among the children of Israel. 43 And all the first-born males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those who were numbered of them, were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.

44 And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 45 "Take the Levites instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle, and the Levites shall be mine. I am the LORD. 46 And for those who are to be redeemed of the two hundred and seventy-three, of the first-born of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites, 47 You shall even take five shekels apiece by the poll. After the shekel of the sanctuary you shall take them (the shekel is twenty gerahs). 48 And you shall give to Aaron and to his sons the money with which the surplus of them is to be redeemed." 49 And Moses took the redemption-money of those who exceed those who were redeemed by the Levites. 50 From the first-born of the children of Israel he took the money, one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels after the shekel of the sanctuary. 51 And Moses gave the money of those who were redeemed to Aaron and to his sons according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.

Commentary

Matthew Henry Commentary - Numbers, Chapter 3

Notes

[v.4] - Reference, Leviticus 10:1-2.

[v.13] - Reference, Exodus 13:2.

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