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1 These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses, in the day that the Lord spake with Moses in Mount Sinai.

2 And these are the names of the sonnes of Aaron: Nadab the first borne, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.

3 These are the names of the sonnes of Aaron the Priests, which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the Priests office.

4 And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered strange fire before the Lord in the wildernesse of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministred in the Priests office in the sight of Aaron their father.

5 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, saying,

6 Bring the tribe of Leui neere, and present them before Aaron the Priest, that they may minister vnto him.

7 And they shall keepe his charge, and the charge of the whole Congregation before the Tabernacle of the Congregation, to doe the seruice of the Tabernacle.

8 And they shall keepe all the instruments of the Tabernacle of the Congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to doe the seruice of the Tabernacle.

9 And thou shalt giue the Leuites vnto Aaron and to his sonnes: they are wholly giuen vnto him out of the children of Israel.

10 And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sonnes, and they shall waite on their priests office: and the stranger that commeth nigh, shall bee put to death.

11 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, saying,

12 And I, behold, I haue taken the Leuites from among the children of Israel, in stead of all the first borne that openeth the matrice among the children of Israel: therefore the Leuites shall be mine,

13 Because all the first borne are mine: for on the day that I smote all the first borne in the land of Egypt, I halowed vnto mee all the first borne in Israel, both man, and beast, mine they shall be: I am the Lord.

14 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, in the wildernesse of Sinai, saying,

15 Number the children of Leui, after the house of their fathers, by their families: euery male from a moneth old and vpward shalt thou number them.

16 And Moses numbred them according to the word of the Lord, as he was commanded.

17 And these were the sonnes of Leui, by their names: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari.

18 And these are the names of the sonnes of Gershon, by their families: Libni, and Shimei.

19 And the sonnes of Kohath by their families: Amram, and Izehar, Hebron and Uzziel.

20 And the sonnes of Merari by their families: Mahli, and Mushi: these are the families of the Leuites, according to the house of their fathers.

21 Of Gershon was the familie of the Libnites, and the familie of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites.

22 Those that were numbred of them, according to the number of all the males, from a moneth old and vpward, euen those that were numbred of them, were seuen thousand and fiue hundred.

23 The families of the Gershonites shal pitch behind the Tabernacle Westward.

24 And the chiefe of the house of the father of the Gershonites, shall be Eliasaph the sonne of Lael.

25 And the charge of the sonnes of Gershon, in the Tabernacle of the Congregation, shall be the Tabernacle, and the tent, the couering thereof, and the hanging for the doore of the Tabernacle of the Congregation:

26 And the hangings of the Court, and the curtaine for the doore of the court, which is by the Tabernacle, and by the Altar round about, and the cords of it, for all the seruice therof.

27 And of Kohath was the familie of the Amramites, and the familie of the Izeharites, and the familie of the Hebronites, and the familie of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites.

28 In the number of all the males, from a moneth olde and vpward, were eight thousand, and sixe hundred, keeping the charge of the Sanctuary.

29 The families of the sonnes of Kohath, shall pitch on the side of the Tabernacle Southward.

30 And the chiefe of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shalbe Elizaphan the sonne of Uzziel.

31 And their charge shall be the Arke, and the Table, and the Candlesticke, and the altars, and the vessels of the Sanctuarie, wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the seruice thereof.

32 And Eleazar the sonne of Aaron the Priest, shall be chiefe ouer the chiefe of the Leuites, and haue the ouersight of them that keepe the charge of the Sanctuary.

33 Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari.

34 And those that were numbred of them, according to the number of all the males from a moneth old & vpward, were sixe thousand and two hundred.

35 And the chiefe of the house of the father of the families of Merari, was Zuriel the sonne of Abihail: these shall pitch on the side of the Tabernacle Northwards.

36 And vnder the custody and charge of the sonnes of Merari, shall bee the boards of the Tabernacle, and the barres thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, & all the vessels thereof, and all that serueth thereto:

37 And the pillars of the Court round about, and their sockets, and their pinnes, and their cords.

38 But those that encampe before the Tabernacle toward the East, euen before the Tabernacle of the Congregation Eastward, shall be Moses and Aaron, and his sonnes, keeping the charge of the Sanctuary, for the charge of the children of Israel: and the stranger that commeth nigh, shall be put to death.

39 All that were numbred of the Leuites, which Moses and Aaron numbred at the commaundement of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males from a moneth old and vpward, were twenty and two thousand.

40 And the Lord said vnto Moses, Number all the first borne of the males of the children of Israel, from a moneth old and vpward, and take the number of their names.

41 And thou shalt take the Leuites for me, (I am the Lord ) in stead of all the first borne among the children of Israel, and the cattell of the Leuites, in stead of all the firstlings among the cattell of the children of Israel.

42 And Moses numbred as the Lord commanded him, all the first borne among the children of Israel.

43 And all the first borne males, by the number of names, from a moneth old & vpward, of those that were numbred of them, were twenty and two thousand, two hundred, and threescore and thirteene.

44 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, saying,

45 Take the Leuites in stead of all the first borne among the children of Israel, and the cattell of the Leuites in stead of their cattell, and the Leuites shalbe mine: I am the Lord.

46 And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteene, of the first borne of the children of Israel, which are more then the Leuites;

47 Thou shalt euen take fiue shekels a piece, by the polle, after the shekel of the Sanctuary shalt thou take them; the shekel is twenty gerahs.

48 And thou shalt giue the money, wherewith the odde number of them is to be redeemed, vnto Aaron and to his sonnes.

49 And Moses tooke the redemption money, of them that were ouer and aboue them that were redeemed by the Leuites.

50 Of the first borne of the children of Israel tooke he the money; a thousand, three hundred, and threescore and fiue shekels, after the shekel of the Sanctuary.

51 And Moses gaue the money of them that were redeemed, vnto Aaron and to his sonnes, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.

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Commentary for Numbers 3

The sons of Aaron, The Levites taken instead of the first-born. (1-13) The Levites numbered by their families, Their duties. (14-39) The first-born are numbered. (40-51)1-13 There was much work belonging to the priests' office, and there were now only Aaron and his two sons to do it; God appoints the Levites to attend them. Those whom God finds work for, he will find help for. The Levites were taken instead of the first-born. When He that made us, saves us, as the first-born of Israel were saved, we are laid under further obligations to serve him faithfully. God's right to us by redemption, confirms the right he has to us by creation.

14-39 The Levites were in three classes, according to the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; and these were subdivided into families. The posterity of Moses were not at all honoured or privileged, but stood upon the level with other Levites; thus it was plain, that Moses did not seek the advancement of his own family, or to secure any honours to it. The tribe of Levi was by much the least of all the tribes. God's chosen are but a little flock in comparison with the world.

40-51 The number of the first-born, and that of the Levites, came near to each other. Known unto God are all his works beforehand; there is an exact proportion between them, and so it will appear, when they are compared together. The small number of first-born, over and above the number of the Levites, were to be redeemed, and the redemption-money given to Aaron. The church is called the church of the first-born, which is redeemed, not as they were, with silver and gold; but, being devoted by sin to the justice of God, is ransomed with the precious blood of the Son of God. All men are the Lord's by creation, and all true christians are his by redemption. Each should know his own post and duty; nor can any service required by such a Master be rightly accounted mean or hard.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Numbers 3

  • BSP
    Verse 13~Jehovah God made it known that the firstborn really belonged to him. This would impress upon the Israelites the seriousness of raising their children in the ways of Jehovah God.
  • Donald iwen for verse 4
    Femtech see Lev. 10:1,2.
  • Femtech for verse 4
    What is the meaning of strange fire in the book of numbers 3:4 and where to locate it in the bible?
  • Anonymous
    IN NUMBERS CHAPTER 3 , WHY DON 'T THE NUMBERS ADD UP IN VERSES 22,28,AND 34 TO THE ANSWER FOUND IN VERSE 39 ?
  • At Havenga
    If you looking at the explanation of Matthew Henrys commentary about Numbers 3 verse40 51 a striking thing appeared. Verse 50 ,Of the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money 1365 ,after the she shekel of the sanctuary Now if you read Heb 8 v 2 A minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man.If you took the 1365 and split it up, you get 1 for 1000 and 365 a year this 1000 year.In REV 20 the 1000 year is explained by John .Reading 2 Peter 3 v 8 do not let this one fact escape you beloved that one day is as thousand years and a thousand year as one day .So 1000 is THE DAY OFF THE LORD and John and Peter and Moses used the sacred scripture.

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