Numbers 3
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1Now this is the history of the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the Lord spoke with Moses in Mount Sinai. 2These are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
3These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests who were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office. 4Nadab 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.
5The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6“Bring the tribe of Levi near, and set them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister to him. 7They shall keep his requirements, and the requirements of the whole congregation before the Tent of Meeting, to do the service of the tabernacle. 8They 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. 9You shall give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons. They are wholly given to him on the behalf of the children of Israel. 10You shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall keep their priesthood, but the stranger who comes near shall be put to death.”
11The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 12“Behold,#3:12 “Behold”, from “הִנֵּה”, means look at, take notice, observe, see, or gaze at. It is often used as an interjection. 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, 13for 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.”
14The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying, 15“Count the children of Levi by their fathers’ houses, by their families. You shall count every male from a month old and upward.”
16Moses counted them according to the Lord’s word, as he was commanded.
17These were the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
18These are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei.
19The sons of Kohath by their families: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
20The sons of Merari by their families: Mahli and Mushi.
These are the families of the Levites according to their fathers’ houses.
21Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimeites. These are the families of the Gershonites.
22Those 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.
23The families of the Gershonites shall encamp behind the tabernacle westward.
24Eliasaph the son of Lael shall be the prince of the fathers’ house of the Gershonites. 25The 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, 26the 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.
27Of 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. 28According 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.
29The families of the sons of Kohath shall encamp on the south side of the tabernacle. 30The prince of the fathers’ house of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. 31Their 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. 32Eleazar 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.
33Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites. These are the families of Merari. 34Those who were counted of them, according to the number of all the males from a month old and upward, were six thousand two hundred.#3:34 + 22,000 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.
35The 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. 36The 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, 37the pillars of the court around it, their sockets, their pins, and their cords.
38Those 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. 39All 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.
40The 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. 41You 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.”
42Moses counted, as the Lord commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel. 43All 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.
44The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 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. 46For the redemption of the two hundred seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel who exceed the number of the Levites, 47you shall take five shekels apiece for each one; according to the shekel#3:47 A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces. of the sanctuary you shall take them (the shekel is twenty gerahs#3:47 A gerah is about 0.5 grams or about 7.7 grains.); 48and you shall give the money, with which their remainder is redeemed, to Aaron and to his sons.”
49Moses took the redemption money from those who exceeded the number of those who were redeemed by the Levites; 50from the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money, one thousand three hundred sixty-five shekels,#3:50 A shekel is about 10 grams or about 0.35 ounces, so 1365 shekels is about 13.65 kilograms or about 30 pounds. according to the shekel of the sanctuary; 51and Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and to his sons, according to the Lord’s word, as the Lord commanded Moses.