1These are the descendants of Aaron and Moses at the time when the LORD spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. 2These are the names of Aaron’s sons: Nadab the oldest, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3These are the names of Aaron’s sons, who are the anointed priests and ordained to the priesthood. 4Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD when they made an unauthorized offering to the LORD in the Sinai desert. They didn’t have any sons. Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their father Aaron.
The Levites’ first census
5The LORD spoke to Moses: 6Bring near the tribe of Levi and place them before Aaron the priest. They will assist him. 7They will perform duties for him and for the entire community before the meeting tent, doing the work of the dwelling. 8They will be responsible for all the equipment of the meeting tent and the duties on behalf of the Israelites when they do the work of the dwelling. 9You will give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They have been assigned as a gift to him from the Israelites. 10You will appoint Aaron and his sons to be responsible for the priesthood. Any other person who approaches will be put to death.
11The LORD spoke to Moses: 12I claim the Levites from the Israelites in place of all the oldest males who open an Israelite womb. The Levites are mine 13because all the oldest males are mine. When I killed all the oldest males in the land of Egypt, I reserved for myself all the oldest males in Israel, both humans and animals. They are mine; I am the LORD.
14The LORD spoke to Moses in the Sinai desert: 15Enroll the Levites by their households and their clans. You will enroll all the males over one month old. 16Moses enrolled them according to the LORD’s word as he was commanded. 17These were Levi’s sons by name: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 18These were the names of Gershon’s sons by their clans: Libni and Shimei. 19Kohath’s sons by their clans: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20Merari’s sons by their clans: Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of Levi by their households.
21To Gershon belonged the clans of Libni and Shimei. These were the clans of the Gershonites. 22Their enrollment, according to the number of males over one month old, was 7,500. 23The clans of the Gershonites were to camp behind the dwelling on the west side. 24The chief of the household of the Gershonites was Eliasaph, Lael’s son. 25In the dwelling, the Gershonites were responsible for the meeting tent, the tent with its covering, the screen for the entrance of the meeting tent, 26the curtains of the courtyard, the screen for the entrance of the courtyard surrounding the meeting tent and the altar, and its cords—all these structures.
27To Kohath belonged the clans of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites, and Uzzielites. These were the clans of the Kohathites. 28The number of males over one month old, who would perform duties for the sanctuary, was 8,600. 29The clans of the Kohathites were to camp on the south side of the dwelling. 30The chief of the household representing the clans of the Kohathites was Elizaphan, Uzziel’s son. 31They were responsible for the chest, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the equipment of the sanctuary with which they would minister, and the screen—all these furnishings. 32The head chief over the chiefs of the Levites was Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest. He was supervisor over those performing the duties of the sanctuary.
33To Merari belonged the clans of Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of the Merarites. 34Their enrollment, according to the number of males over one month old, was 6,200. 35The chief of the household representing the clans of the Merarites was Zuriel, Abihail’s son. They were to camp on the north side of the dwelling. 36The Merarites were assigned responsibility for the frames of the dwelling, its bars, pillars, bases, and all its equipment—all these items—37and the pillars of the courtyard all around, their bases, pegs, and cords.
38Those camping in front of the dwelling eastward (that is, before the meeting tent on the east side) were Moses, Aaron, and his sons, who performed the duties of the sanctuary as service for the Israelites. Anyone else who approached would be put to death. 39The total enrollment of the Levites, all the males over one month old whom Moses and Aaron enrolled by orders from the LORD, according to their clans, was 22,000.
Levites rescue the oldest male Israelites
40The LORD said to Moses: Enroll all the oldest males of the Israelites over one month of age and record their names. 41Take the Levites for me, in place of all the oldest sons of the Israelites, for I am the LORD, and the cattle of the Levites in place of all the oldest cattle of the Israelites. 42Moses enrolled all the oldest males of the Israelites as the LORD commanded. 43All the oldest males over one month old, recorded by name according to their enrollment, were 22,273.
44Then the LORD spoke to Moses: 45Take the Levites in place of all the oldest Israelites and the cattle of the Levites in place of their cattle. The Levites are mine; I am the LORD. 46To rescue the 273 remaining oldest Israelites over and above the number of Levites, 47you will receive five shekels each. You will receive them according to the sanctuary shekel of twenty gerahs to the shekel. 48You will give the money for their rescue to Aaron and his sons.
49So Moses took the money from those rescued over and above the ones rescued by the Levites. 50He took the money from the oldest of the Israelites, 1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. 51Moses gave the money for those rescued to Aaron and his sons according to the LORD’s word, as the LORD commanded Moses.