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The interval was not however wholly vacant, being occu- i millions of people. This regular and admirable arrangepied by the small camps of the Levites, who had the chargement of so vast a host, under their ensigns, around the and custody of the tabernacle, and pitched their tents tabernacle, must have given a most striking and impressive around it; the tents of Moses, Aaron, and the priests, occu appearance to the camp, as viewed from the hills. We pying the most honourable place, fronting the entrance to know the effect which the view of it produced upon one the tabernacle, or rather to the court which contained it. person, who did view it from the hills, and then broke The Jewish writers say that the circumference of the forth in rapture, exclaiming, · How goodly are thy tents, entire encampment was about twelve miles; a statement O Jacob! and thy tabernacles, O Israel! 'As the valleys which would seem sufficiently moderate when we recollect are they spread forth, as the trees of lign aloes which the the hollow square in the centre, and consider the vast Lord hath planted, and as cedar trees beside the waters," extent of ground required for the tents of perhaps two | (Num. xxiv. 5, 6.)

CHAPTER III.

12 And I, behold, I have taken the Levites 1 The sons of Aaron. 5 The Levites are given to the from among the children of Israel instead of priests for the service of the tabernacle, 11 instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the firstborn. 14 The Levites are numbered by their

the children of Israel : therefore the Levites families. 21 The families, number, and charge of the Gershonites, 27 of the Kohathites, 33 of the

shall be mine; Merarites. 38 The place and charge of Moses and

| 13 Because all the firstborn are mine; for Aaron. 40 The firstborn are freed by the Levites. | on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the 44 The overplus are redeemed.

land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstTHESE also are the generations of Aaron and born in Israel, both man and beast : mine shall Moses in the day that the LORD spake with they be: I am the LORD. Moses in mount Sinai.

14 9 And the LORD spake unto Muses in 2 And these are the names of the sons of the wilderness of Sinai, saying, Aaron; Nadab the 'firstborn, and Abihu, | 15 Number the children of Levi after the Eleazar, and Ithamar.

house of their fathers, by their families : every 3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, | male from a month old and upward shalt thou the priests which were anointed, “whom he number them. consecrated to minister in the priest's office. I 16 And Moses numbered them according

4 *And Nadab and Abihu died before the to the word of the LORD, as he was comLORD, when they offered strange fire before the manded. Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had 17 And these were the sons of Levi no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar minis- by their names; Gershon, and Kohath, and tered in the priest's office in the sight of Merari. Aaron their father.

18 And these are the names of the sons 5 T And the LORD spake unto Moses, of Gershon by their families; Libni, and saying,

Shimei. 6 Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present 19 And the sons of Kohath by their famithem before Aaron the priest, that they may lies; Amram, and Izehar, Hebron, and minister unto him.

Uzziel. 7 And they shall keep his charge, and the 20 And the sons of Merari by their famicharge of the whole congregation before the lies ; Mahli, and Mushi. These are the famitabernacle of the congregation, to do the ser- / lies of the Levites according to the house of vice of the tabernacle.

their fathers. 8 And they shall keep all the instruments 21 1 Of Gershon was the family of the of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the Libnites, and the family of the Shimites: these charge of the children of Israel, to do the ser- are the families of the Gershonites. vice of the tabernacle.

22 Those that were numbered of them, 9 And thou shalt give the Levites unto according to the number of all the males, Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given from a month old and upward, even those that unto him out of the children of Israel.

were numbered of them were seven thousand 10 And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his , and five hundred. sons, and they shall wait on their priest's 23 The families of the Gershonites shall office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward. be put to death.

24 And the chief of the house of the father 11 [ And the LORD spake unto Moses, of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son saying,

of Lael. "LEVILE. Gen. 16. Chap. Boh. Chron B.: 57. Chood.3.2. Levit. 27. 28.

Levit. 27. 26.

I Exod. 6. 23.

2 Heb, uchose hand he filled.
Chap. 8. 16. Luke 2, 23. 5 Heb. mouth,

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xod. 6. 29 Chap. 8. 16. Le chose hand he file is mrowerk. " Levit.co.i.Chap. 2o.

3 Levit. 10. 1. Chap. 26. 61. 1 Chron. 24. 2.

6 Gen. 46. 11.' Exod. 6. 16. Chap. 26. 57.

Exod. 13. 2. i Chron. 6. 1.

25 And the charge of the sons of Gershon be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering the children of Israel; and the stranger that thereof, and the hanging for the door of the cometh nigh shall be put to death. tabernacle of the congregation,

39 All that were numbered of the Levites, 26 And the hangings of the court, and the which Moses and Aaron numbered at the curtain for the door of the court, which is by | commandment of the LORD, throughout their the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, families, all the males from a month old and and the cords of it for all the service thereof. upward, were twenty and two thousand.

27 | And of Kohath was the family of the *40 | And the LORD said unto Moses, Amramites, and the family of the Izeharites, | Number all the firstborn of the males of the and the family of the Hebronites, and the children of Israel from a month old and upfamily of the Uzzielites : these are the families ward, and take the number of their names. of the Kohathites.

41 And thou shalt take the Levites for me 28 In the number of all the males, from a | (I am the LORD) instead of all the firstborn month old and upward, were eight thousand among the children of Israel; and the cattle and six hundred, keeping the charge of the | of the Levites instead of all the firstlings sanctuary.

among the cattle of the children of Israel. 29 The families of the sons of Kohath shall | 42 And Moses numbered, as the LORD pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward. commanded him, all the firstborn among the

30 And the chief of the house of the father children of Israel. of the families of the Kohathites shall be 43 And all the firstborn males by the Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.

number of names, from a month old and up31 And their charge shall be the ark, and ward, of those that were numbered of them, the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith and threescore and thirteen. they minister, and the hanging, and all the 44 | And the LORD spake unto Moses, service thereof.

saying, 32 And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest 1 45 Take the Levites instead of all the firstshall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and born among the children of Israel, and the have the oversight of them that keep the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle ; charge of the sanctuary.

and the Levites shall be mine : I am the 33 1 Of Merari was the family of the LORD. Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites : 46 And for those that are to be redeemed these are the families of Merari.

of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen 34 And those that were numbered of them, of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which according to the number of all the males, are more than the Levites; from a month old and upward, were six thou | 47 Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece sand and two hundred.

by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary 35 And the chief of the house of the father shalt thou take them : ('the shekel is twenty of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of gerahs :) Abihail : these shall pitch on the side of the 48 And thou shalt give the money, wheretabernacle northward.

with the odd number of them is to be re? 36 And 'under the custody and charge of deemed, unto Aaron and to his sons. the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the · 49 And Moses took the redemption money tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pil- of them that were over and above them that lars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all were redeemed by the Levites : the vessels thereof, and all that serveth 50 Of the firstborn of the children of Israel thereto,

took he the money; a thousand three hundred 37 And the pillars of the court round and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel about, and their sockets, and their pins, and of the sanctuary : their cords. ·

51 And Moses gave the money of them 38 | But those that encamp before the that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his tabernacle toward the east, even before the sons, according to the word of the LORD, as tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall the LORD commanded Moses.

7 Heb. the office of the charge. 8 Exod. 30. 13. Levit. 27. 25. Chap. 18.16. Ezek. 45, 18. FOL. I. Z

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Verse 12. I have taken the Levites .... instead of all above a month old were numbered. The result displays the firstborn,' etc.—In memory of his avenging the cause of remarkably the very inferior numbers of this tribe; for the Israelites upon the Egyptians by destroying their first with all this advantage, of nearly a hundred per cent., in born, it pleased God to direct that all the firstborn males the calculation, its numbers only reach to 22,000, being should be set apart to himself (Exod. xiii. 12-16); and as about 10,000 less than the males above twenty in Manasseh, the services of the Levites had not then been appropriated, which was, at this census, the smallest of the other tribes. it appears, in the first instance, as if it had been intended It should be observed that the total number stated in v. 39 that the firstborn should occupy the position which was is less by 300 than is obtained by casting up the component afterwards assigned to them. But God at the same time | numbers as given in verses 22, 28, and 34. The mistake provided an opening for the future substitution of the is doubtless in one of the items, but is not agreed in which Levites, by allowing the firstborn to be redeemed. Ac- | It probably arose from one letter being mistaken for ancordingly, when the Levites had signalized their zeal in other of similar form, but different numerical value, which the affair of the golden calf, the distinction of being con is a fruitful source of many errors in numbers found in secrated to the Lord's service was transferred to the whole the present Hebrew text and propagated in translations. tribe of Levi, instead of being assigned to the firstborn of 17. Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.'—These were, as every tribe. The substitution was, in the first instance, the text informs us, the sons of Levi, and ancestors of the formally made, as we see in this chapter: the firstborn of three sub-tribes, to which Moses found it convenient to all the tribes, and the whole tribe of Levi, being re assign distinct departments of service about the tabernacle. spectively numbered, the former were found to exceed the This distinction had a particular reference to the migralatter by 273; the Levites were then understood to be tory state of the Israelites at the time these regulations taken in exchange for an equivalent number of firstborn, were established; and their duties, of course, underwent who of course paid no ransom; but there being no living considerable modification when the nation became settled substitutes for the surplus number of firstborn, they were in Canaan, and particularly after the temple was built. redeemed at the rate of five shekels for each, the produce David and Solomon, in particular, made a new and different going to the use of the sanctuary. Besides serving as a arrangement of their duties and distribution of their 'nummemorial of God's judgment upon the Egyptians, the con bers, as we shall have occasion to notice under 1 Chron. secration of the firstborn was, in fact, a sort of recognition xxvi. Their duties, as defined here and elsewhere in the of the patriarchal usage, which assigned the priestly func Pentateuch, were to act as general assistants to the priests tions to him; aud even the fine of redemption was a kind of in various capacities. They set up the tabernacle, took it declaration of his prior claim or obligation to perform down, and conveyed it from place to place. They also those duties which the Lord saw fit to transfer to the tribe formed its guard when stationary; and although they might of Levi. The memorial and recognition did not, however, not themselves offer sacrifices, they rendered important cease with the act of personal substitution, which seems to services by killing, Alaying, and preparing the victims; for have cleared the redemption fine only in the instance be the duties in sacrifice to which the priests alone were comfore us. The previous law on the subject is repeated in petent, seem to be only those of sprinkling the blood, and chap. xviii., and it seems to have been still in force in the laying on the altar the parts to be consumed. In the distime of our Saviour. (See Luke ii. 23.)

tribution of duties to the three families, we perceive that 15. · From a month old and upward.—The males in the the Kohathites had the charge of removing the most sacred other tribes were numbered from twenty years old and and precious things of the sanctuary. This was doubtless upwards. The cause of the distinction is obvious. The intended as an honourable distinction, for which they were general enumeration was chiefly for military purposes, probably indebted to the circumstance that the priestly and therefore only comprehended those supposed to be fit family was taken from this division of the Levitical for war; but the Levites being exempt from military ser tribe. vice, the distinction was not necessary, and all the males

CHAPTER IV.

5 And when the camp setteth forward,

Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall 1 The age and time of the Levites' service. 4 The car

take down the covering vail, and cover the ark riage of the Kohathites, when the priests have taken down the tabernacle. 16 The charge of Eleazar.

of testimony with it: 17 The office of the priests. 21 The carriage of the 6 And shall put thereon the covering of Gershonites. 29 The carriage of the Merarites. badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth 34 The number of the Kohathites, 38 of the Ger- wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves shonites, 42 and of the Merarites.

thereof. And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto 1 7 And upon the table of 'shewbread they Aaron, saying,

shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon 2 Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and among the sons of Levi, after their families, covers to cover withal : and the continual by the house of their fathers,

bread shall be thereon : 3 From thirty years old and upward even 8 And they shall spread upon them a cloth until fifty years old, all that enter into the of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves congregation.

thereof. 4 9 This shall be the service of the sons of 9 And they shall take a cloth of blue, and Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, cover the candlestick of the light, ‘and his about the most holy things :

| lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and 1 Exod. 25. 30.

Exod. 23. 31. Exod. 25. 37, 38.

2 Or, pour cut withal.

burde the song and his

all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they fifty years old shalt thou number them; all minister unto it:

that enter in 'to perform the service, to do the 10 And they shall put it and all the vessels work in the tabernacle of the congregation. thereof within a covering of badgers' skins, 24 This is the service of the families of the and shall put it upon a bar.

Gershonites, to serve, and for 'burdens : 11 And upon the golden altar they shall 25 And they shall bear the curtains of the spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a | tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congrecovering of badgers' skins, and shall put to gation, his covering, and the covering of the the staves thereof:

badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the 12 And they shall take all the instruments hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the of ministry, wherewith they minister in the congregation, sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, 26 And the hangings of the court, and the and cover them with a covering of badgers' hanging for the door of the gate of the court, skins, and shall put them on a bar:

which is by the tabernacle and by the altar 13 And they shall take away the ashes round about, and their cords, and all the infrom the altar, and spread a purple cloth struments of their service, and all that is made thereon:

for them : so shall they serve. 14 And they shall put upon it all the ves- 27 At the ''appointment of Aaron and his sels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, sons shall be all the service of the sons of the even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all and the 'basons, all the vessels of the altar; | their service: and ye shall appoint unto them and they shall spread upon it a covering of in charge all their burdens. badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it. 28 This is the service of the families of the

15 And when Aaron and his sons have sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the conmade an end of covering the sanctuary, and gregation: and their charge shall be under all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the to set forward ; after that, the sons of Kohath priest. shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch | 29 9 As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt any holy thing, lest they die. These things number them after their families, by the house are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the of their fathers; tabernacle of the congregation.

30 From thirty years old and upward even 16 | And to the office of Eleazar the son of unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the every one that entereth into the "service, to light, and the sweet incense, and the daily do the work of the tabernacle of the congregameat offering, and the 'anointing oil, and tion. the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all 31 And this is the charge of their burden, that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the according to all their service in the tabernacle vessels thereof.

of the congregation; "the boards of the taber17 | And the LORD spake unto Moses and nacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars unto Aaron, saying,

thereof, and sockets thereof, 18 Cut ye not off the tribe of the families 32 And the pillars of the court round of the Kohathites from among the Levites : about, and their sockets, and their pins, and

19 But thus do unto them, that they may their cords, with all their instruments, and live, and not die, when they approach unto the with all their service: and by name ye shall most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go reckon the instruments of the charge of their in, and appoint them every one to his service burden. and to his burden :

33 This is the service of the families of the 20 But they shall not go in to see when the sons of Merari, according to all their service, holy things are covered, lest they die.

in the tabernacle of the congregation, under 21 | And the LORD spake unto Moses, the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the saying,

priest. 22 Take also the sum of the sons of Ger 34 | And Moses and Aaron and the chief shon, throughout the houses of their fathers, of the congregation numbered the sons of the by their families;

Kohathites after their families, and after the 23 From thirty years old and upward until | house of their fathers,

3 Or, bowls.

& Exod. 30. 34.

Or, carriage.

7 Exod. 30. 23. Heb. to war the warfare.

11 Heb. warfare. 19 Exod. 26. 15.

10 Heb. mouth,

35 From thirty years old and upward even families of the sons of Merari, throughout unto fifty years old, every one that entereth | their families, by the house of their fathers, into the service, for the work in the tabernacle 43 From thirty years old and upward even of the congregation :

unto fifty years old, every one that entereth 36 And those that were numbered of them into the service, for the work in the tabernacle by their families were two thousand seven of the congregation, hundred and fifty.

44 Even those that were numbered of them 37 These were they that were numbered of after their families, were three thousand and the families of the Kohathites, all that might two hundred. do service in the tabernacle of the congrega 45 These be those that were numbered of tion, which Moses and Aaron did number ac the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses cording to the commandment of the LORD by and Aaron numbered according to the word of the hand of Moses.

the Lord by the hand of Moses. | 38 | And those that were numbered of the 46 All those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and | Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the by the house of their fathers,

chief of Israel numbered, after their families, 39 From thirty years old and upward even and after the house of their fathers, unto fifty years old, every one that entereth' 47 From thirty years old and upward even into the service, for the work in the tabernacle unto fifty years old, every one that came to do of the congregation,

the service of the ministry, and the service of 40 Even those that were numbered of them, the burden in the tabernacle of the congregathroughout their families, by the house of their tion, fathers, were two thousand and six hundred 48 Even those that were numbered of them, and thirty. .

were eight thousand and five hundred and 41 These are they that were numbered of fourscore. the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that 49 According to the commandment of the might do service in the tabernacle of the con | LORD they were numbered by the hand of gregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number Moses, every one according to his service, and according to the commandment of the LORD. according to his burden: thus were they num| 42 | And those that were numbered of the bered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.

· Verse 3. From thirty years old and upward.—This ministered in holy things; and the last ten they were appears to contradict chap. viii. 24, where twenty-five employed in bringing up young novices. (See Jennings's years is mentioned as the age at which the service of the | Jewish Antiquities.) David altered to twenty years the Levites commenced. Maimonides and other Jewish writers period for the commencement of the Levitical service, and account for the variation by stating, that, from twenty-five to this he was avowedly influenced by the consideration to thirty years of age, the Levites attended in order to be that their labours had become less onerous, and required instructed in their duties, but did not enter upon actual service until they were full thirty years of age. Aben charge of a movable tabernacle. [APPENDIX, No. 7.) Ezra, and other Rabbins, however, affirm that the Levites - until fifty years.'—This direction, for the cessation

of the services of the Levites at the age of fifty, is more such as keeping watch and bearing a part in the choir, at fully repeated in chap. viii. 28, but it is there immediately twenty-five, but did not, until thirty-five, enter on the more added, that although they were no longer to perform the laborious branches of Levitical duty. The Jews, indeed, customary service, they remained still in attendance · to inform us that the Levites passed through four stages of keep the charge,' etc. From this it seems that they were preparation for their peculiar office. From one month old not dismissed when they reached the age of fifty: but, to their twentieth year they were instructed in the law of while thenceforth exempted from all laborious employ. God; from twenty to twenty-five, in the functions of their ment, continued to exercise the easier parts of their ministry ; and from thence to thirty they served a sort of ministry, and perhaps instructed the younger Levites in apprenticeship, beginning to exercise themselves in some the duties of their office. The exceptions from laborious of the lower branches of the sacred service; and, lastly, service probably referred in a particular manner to the when they had attained their thirtieth year, they were fully toilsome duty of conveying the tabernacle and its various instituted in their office. Jennings points out the analogy utensils. The Levites also were so numerous, in probetween this and the usages among the virgin priestesses portion to the work they had to do, that there was the less of Vesta. They were bound to the strictest chastity for occasion to require from individuals a protracted period of thirty years, the first ten of which they spent in learning active service. the mysteries of their profession; the second ten they

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