Home > Bible Journal > February 27th, Numbers 3-4: Role of the Levites

February 27th, Numbers 3-4: Role of the Levites

Numbers 3 begins by recougint the sons of Aaron. Nadab the firstborn and Abihu perished before they had any sons, when they attempted to sacrifice an unclean offering to the LORD. So only Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during Aaron’s lifetime.

The Levites were give over to Aaron and his sons for the task of taking care of the Tent of Meeting. Only Aaron and his sons were to serve as priests, anyone else approaching the sanctuary must be put to death.

The LORD also said that He would take the Levites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites belonged to God, for all the firstborn belong to God. So they counted the tribe of Levi, counting every male a month old or more.

The names of the sons of Levi were Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. Gershon numbered 7,500; Kohath numbered 8,600; and Merari numbered 6, 200. Each were given their own tasks in the upkeep of the Tent of Meeting.

So the total number of Levites was 22,000.

Then the LORD told Moses to count the firstborn males of the Israelites. The total number turned out to be 22, 273. So the LORD commanded Moses to take the Levites in place of the firstborn of Israel To redeem the 273 firstborn who exceed the number of Levites, five shekels were to be collected and given to Aaron and his sons as redemption money.

Numbers 4 explicitly lists the duties of the Kothatites, the Gershonites and Merarites.

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