Numbers chapter 3

The sons of Aaron. The Levites serve under Aaron. The census of the Levites. Redeeming the firstborn sons.

 


 

THE SONS OF AARON

 

VERSE 1. Now this is the history of the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the LORD spoke with Moses in Mount Sinai.

 

VERSE 2. These are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

 

VERSE 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.

whom he consecrated. It was Aaron who consecrated other people to serve as priests.

 

VERSE 4. 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. Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the presence of Aaron their father.

 

THE LEVITES SERVE UNDER AARON

 

VERSE 5. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 6. “Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him.

 

VERSE 7. They shall keep his requirements, and the requirements of the whole congregation before the Tent of Meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle.

They shall keep … the requirements of the whole congregation. The requirements of the LORD were so detailed that specialists were required, just to remember them all.

Hence the Levites.

 

VERSE 8. They shall keep all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting, and the obligations of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle.

 

VERSE 9. You shall give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons. They are wholly given to him on the behalf of the children of Israel.

give the Levites to Aaron. The Levite priests served under the authority of Aaron.

 

VERSE 10. You shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall keep their priesthood, but the stranger who comes near shall be put to death.”

Aaron and his sons … shall keep their priesthood. We see a division of labor among the people of the LORD God.

It was not due to moral or spiritual superiority that Aaron was given all the priestly duties. Remember the golden calf?

Rather, each child of God has a distinct role that befits their own life, and the duties are distributed to each.

How might God have gifted you? What are your gifts, your talents, your abilities?

If you have faith in Jesus Christ, you have at least one Gift of the Holy Spirit. Which gift(s) have you been given? Read more »

shall be put to death. The penalty for violating the boundary was death.

 

VERSE 11. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 12. “Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn who open the womb among the children of Israel; and the Levites shall be mine,

Behold. The Hebrew word is from הִנֵּה. It means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection.

 

VERSE 13. for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I made holy to me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and animal. They shall be mine. I am the LORD.”

 

CENSUS OF THE LEVITES

 

VERSE 14. The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying,

 

VERSE 15. “Count the children of Levi by their fathers’ houses, by their families. You shall count every male from a month old and upward.”

 

VERSE 16. Moses counted them according to the LORD’s word, as he was commanded.

Moses counted them. Here are the results:

That is a tiny fraction of the Hebrew population.

Numbers 1:46. all those who were counted were six hundred three thousand five hundred fifty.

The non-Levite population was 653,550

 

VERSE 17. These were the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.

 

VERSE 18. These are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei.

 

VERSE 19. The sons of Kohath by their families: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.

 

VERSE 20. The sons of Merari by their families: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites according to their fathers’ houses.

 

VERSE 21. Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimeites. These are the families of the Gershonites.

 

VERSE 22. Those who were counted of them, according to the number of all the males from a month old and upward, even those who were counted of them were seven thousand five hundred.

seven thousand five hundred. There were 7,500 Gershonite males.

 

VERSE 23. The families of the Gershonites shall encamp behind the tabernacle westward.

 

VERSE 24. Eliasaph the son of Lael shall be the prince of the fathers’ house of the Gershonites.

 

VERSE 25. The duty of the sons of Gershon in the Tent of Meeting shall be the tabernacle, the tent, its covering, the screen for the door of the Tent of Meeting,

 

VERSE 26. the hangings of the court, the screen for the door of the court which is by the tabernacle and around the altar, and its cords for all of its service.

 

VERSE 27. 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.

 

VERSE 28. According to the number of all the males from a month old and upward, there were eight thousand six hundred keeping the requirements of the sanctuary.

eight thousand six hundred. There were 8,600 Kohathite males.

 

VERSE 29. The families of the sons of Kohath shall encamp on the south side of the tabernacle.

 

VERSE 30. The prince of the fathers’ house of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.

 

VERSE 31. Their duty shall be the ark, the table, the lamp stand, the altars, the vessels of the sanctuary with which they minister, the screen, and all its service.

 

VERSE 32. Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be prince of the princes of the Levites, with the oversight of those who keep the requirements of the sanctuary.

 

VERSE 33. Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites. These are the families of Merari.

 

VERSE 34. Those who were counted of them, according to the number of all the males from a month old and upward, were six thousand two hundred.

six thousand two hundred. There were 6,200 Merari males.

 

VERSE 35. The prince of the fathers’ house of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail. They shall encamp on the north side of the tabernacle.

 

VERSE 36. The appointed duty of the sons of Merari shall be the tabernacle’s boards, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, all its instruments, all its service,

 

VERSE 37. the pillars of the court around it, their sockets, their pins, and their cords.

 

VERSE 38. Those who encamp before the tabernacle eastward, in front of the Tent of Meeting toward the sunrise, shall be Moses, with Aaron and his sons, keeping the requirements of the sanctuary for the duty of the children of Israel. The outsider who comes near shall be put to death.

 

VERSE 39. All who were counted of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron counted at the commandment of the LORD, by their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty-two thousand.

twenty-two thousand. That is the sum rounded to 2 significant digits.

The sum of the Gershonites, Kohathites, and Merarites given above is 22,300.

But the traditional Hebrew text has the number rounded to 2 significant digits, not 3 significant digits.

 

REDEEMING THE FIRSTBORN SONS

 

VERSE 40. The LORD said to Moses, “Count all the firstborn males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names.

 

VERSE 41. You shall take the Levites for me—I am the LORD—instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the livestock of the children of Israel.”

 

VERSE 42. Moses counted, as the LORD commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel.

 

VERSE 43. All the firstborn males according to the number of names from a month old and upward, of those who were counted of them, were twenty-two thousand two hundred seventy-three.

 

VERSE 44. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 45. “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock; and the Levites shall be mine. I am the LORD.

 

VERSE 46. For the redemption of the two hundred seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel who exceed the number of the Levites,

 

VERSE 47. you shall take five shekels apiece for each one; according to the shekel of the sanctuary you shall take them (the shekel is twenty gerahs);

the shekel of the sanctuary. A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces.

twenty gerahs. A gerah is about 0.5 grams or about 7.7 grains.

 

VERSE 48. and you shall give the money, with which their remainder is redeemed, to Aaron and to his sons.”

 

VERSE 49. Moses took the redemption money from those who exceeded the number of those who were redeemed by the Levites;

 

VERSE 50. from the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money, one thousand three hundred sixty-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary;

one thousand three hundred sixty-five shekels. A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces, so 1365 shekels is about 13.65 kilograms or about 30 pounds.

 

VERSE 51. and Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and to his sons, according to the LORD’s word, as the LORD commanded Moses.

 


next chapter »

« previous chapter


NUMBERS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 0506, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 3536

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.