The Tribe of Levi Is Registered and Assigned Duties
1 This is the list of Aaron and Moses’ descendants at the time when the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.
2 The names of Aaron’s sons are Nadab (the firstborn), Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3 These are the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests. 4 Nadab and Abihu died in the Lord’s presence because they offered unauthorized fire in his presence in the Desert of Sinai. They had no children. So only Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their father Aaron.
5 The Lord said to Moses, 6 “Bring the tribe of Levi, and have them stand in front of the priest Aaron to assist him. 7 They will work for him and the whole community in front of the tent of meeting, doing what needs to be done for the inner tent. 8 They will take care of all the furnishings in the tent of meeting and work for the Israelites, doing what needs to be done for the inner tent. 9 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. The Levites will be the only Israelites given to them. 10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests. Anyone else who tries to do the priests’ duties must be put to death.”
11 The Lord said to Moses, 12 “Out of all the Israelites, I have taken the Levites to be substitutes for every firstborn male offspring among them. The Levites are mine, 13 because every firstborn is mine. The day I killed every firstborn male in Egypt, I set apart as holy every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They will be mine. I am the Lord.”
14 The Lord said to Moses in the Desert of Sinai, 15 “Count the Levites by households and families. Count every male who is at least one month old.” 16 So Moses did what the Lord said and registered them as he had been commanded.
17 Gershon, Kohath, and Merari were the sons of Levi.
18 Libni and Shimei were the sons of Gershon. Their families were named after them.
19 Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel were the sons of Kohath. Their families were named after them.
20 Mahli and Mushi were the sons of Merari. Their families were named after them.
These were the households of Levite families.
21 To Gershon belonged the families descended from Libni and Shimei. These were the families descended from Gershon. 22 The total number of all the males at least one month old was 7,500. 23 The families descended from Gershon put up their tents on the west side behind the tent of meeting. 24 The leader of the Gershonite households was Eliasaph, son of Lael. 25 At the tent of meeting the Gershonites were in charge of the inner tent, the outer tent and cover, the screen for the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the curtains for the courtyard, the screen for the entrance to the courtyard that surrounds the inner tent and the altar, and the ropes. They took care of all these things.
27 To Kohath belonged the families descended from Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. These were the families descended from Kohath. 28 The number of all the males at least one month old was 8,600. They were in charge of the holy place. 29 The families descended from Kohath put up their tents on the south side of the tent of meeting. 30 The leader of the Kohathite families and households was Elizaphan, son of Uzziel. 31 They were in charge of the ark, the table, the lamp stand, the altars, the utensils used in the holy place, and the screen. They took care of all these things.
32 The chief leader of the Levites was Eleazar, son of the priest Aaron. It was Eleazar’s duty to supervise those who were in charge of the holy place.
33 To Merari belonged the families descended from Mahli and Mushi. These were the families descended from Merari. 34 The total number of all the males at least one month old was 6,200. 35 The leader of the Merarite families and households was Zuriel, son of Abihail. They put up their tents on the north side of the tent of meeting. 36 It was the duty of the Merarites to be in charge of the framework of the inner tent, the crossbars, posts, sockets, and all the equipment. They took care of all these things. 37 They also took care of the posts for the surrounding courtyard, the bases, pegs, and ropes.
38 Moses, Aaron, and his sons put up their tents on the east side in front of the tent of meeting. They were in charge of the holy place on behalf of the Israelites. Anyone else who tried to do the Levites’ duties had to be put to death.
39 The grand total of Levites that Moses and Aaron counted at the Lord’s command, by families, every male who was at least one month old, was 22,000.
40 The Lord said to Moses, “Register every firstborn male of the Israelites who is at least one month old, and make a list of their names. 41 I am the Lord. Take the Levites for me to be substitutes for all firstborn Israelites. Also take the animals of the Levites to be substitutes for all firstborn animals of the Israelites.”
42 So Moses registered all the firstborn Israelites as the Lord commanded him. 43 The total of all the firstborn males at least one month old was 22,273. They were listed by name.
44 The Lord said to Moses, 45 “Take the Levites to be substitutes for all the firstborn Israelites and the animals of the Levites to be substitutes for their animals. The Levites will be mine. I am the Lord. 46 There are 273 more firstborn male Israelites than there are Levites. 47 It will cost you two ounces of silver per person (using the standard weight of the holy place) to buy them back. 48 Give the silver to Aaron and his sons. It will buy back those Israelites who outnumber the Levites.”
49 So Moses took this ransom money from the Israelites who outnumbered the Levites. 50 The silver Moses collected for the firstborn Israelites weighed 34 pounds, using the standard weight of the holy place. 51 Then Moses did what the Lord said and gave Aaron and his sons this ransom money as he had been commanded.