Numbers Chapter 3
3:1-4:49 Numeration and Order of Service
3:1-51 Numeration of the Levites
The Numeration of the Levites
Numbers 3 brings to yet another important chapter in Father's Word as in this Chapter, we learn who can be the Priests of YHVH. As we'll learn, it is only the Levites who can serve as priests BUT, not all Levites were priests.
3:1-4 Priests, Their "Generations"
Numbers 3:1 These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the LORD spake with Moses in Mount Sinai. -> We're now going into the linage of both Aaron and Moses but of course with this we'll also get to see the linage of the tribe of the Levites, remember both Aaron and Moses are of the tribe of Levi.
Numbers 3:2 And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.-> All of Aaron's sons are named here; but, as we read in Leviticus 10:1-7, God killed Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire before the Him. And we must always bear in mind that to go home to father in His eyes is not always a bad thing. When He struck them dead, He was basically saying to them, "Get up here, I want to talk to you." So that left Aaron, who had to hold his peace, with his two youngest sons Eleazar and Ithamar.
Numbers 3:3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest's office. -> These are the sons of Aaron which were all given the authority to minister unto God.
Numbers 3:4 (And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest's office in the sight of Aaron their father.)
3:5-9 Levites. Given out of the whole Congregation
Numbers 3:5 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, -> God is speaking to Moses because it was Moses which led the children.
Numbers 3:6 "Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. -> So we see that Moses was to bring the entire tribe of Levi and cause them to stand before Aaron and then start to perform their ministerial duties. In other words, they were to attend to and see to Aaron's, the High Priest's, needs.
Numbers 3:7 And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. -> We'll now see what the duties of the tribe of Levi are. This "And they shall keep" is a combination of Hebrew words H8104 and H853. H8104 shâmar (shaw-mar'), which is a primitive root; properly to hedge about (as with thorns), that is, guard; generally to protect, attend to, etc.; to beware, be circumspect, take heed (to self), keep (-er, self), mark, look narrowly, observe, preserve, regard, reserve, save (self), sure, (that lay) wait (for), watch (-man), meaning then that they were to protect and hedge about something, what was that something? Add in word H853; 'êth (ayth), which is apparently contracted from H226 in the demonstrative sense of entity; properly self (but generally used to point out more definitely the object of a verb or preposition, even or namely); namely the High Priest and the tabernacle. So the responsibilities of the Tribe of Levi included: - hedging about/guarding the High Priest and the tabernacle itself which we know from Hebrew word H4931 which means to act as a guard of sentry, they also had the responsibilities of ministering unto the tabernacle and the priests.
Numbers 3:8 And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. -> Again, they are to maintain and keep all the instruments of the service of the tabernacle.
Numbers 3:9 And thou shall give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons; they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel. -> Aaron, his sons and their descendants are to be the priests of all the children of Israel, and they were the only ones that were allowed to be the priests. Remember, Aaron, Moses and Miriam were brothers and sister, they also were Levites; but, it was only Aaron's descendants who were allowed to be the priests. God is saying here that the Levites were to minister to be in charge of all things that pertain to the tabernacle, including the service and the priests. They were to keep and bear the Ark of God, maintain the oil and wicks for the candles; wash all the instruments after the services, cut, stack and store the wood for the fires, set-up, and take-down and carry the tabernacle whenever they moved, the scribing of all the services and Father's Word, etc. This is how it can be said, all the priests were of Levi but, not all Levites could be priests.
3:10 Priests, Their Appointment
Numbers 3:10 And thou shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest's office: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. -> It was up to Aaron and his sons to make sure that none other than Aaron and his descendants entered into the priesthood, and if anybody else tried, they were to be put to death. We know from reading I Chronicles 2:55, that they fell down on the job; I Chronicles 2:55 And the families of the scribes which dwelt at Jabez; the Tirathites, the Shimeathites, and Suchathites. These are the Kenites that came of Hemath, the father of the house of Rechab. -> Why would God become so angry about this? Well, we know He knows everything, and it should come to no surprise to anyone that He would know also what would happen in the future. So, let's see just who these are that are of the house of Rechab. We can find out about them in Jeremiah 35.
In the last verse of I Chronicles 2, they boldly announce that these families of the scribes, the ones that wrote the manuscripts from which the King James Bible came from, are Kenites, of the sons of Cain. "Kenite" means "sons of Cain." They boldly proclaim that they are not of Israel or of any of the tribes of Israel, but of the house or family of Rechab, and the land of the Kenites: - Hamath. Earlier in I Chronicles 2, what did God say about these people when he tested them? Remember, that it was God that told Jeremiah to call these the sons of Jonadab into the temple, before they had taken over the priesthood, to show Jeremiah how far off the house of Judah had gone from being obedient to His Word. So, after the test of giving wine to these entire families, and not one taking the wine. Jeremiah 35:5 And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and said unto them, "Drink ye wine." [35:6] But they said, "We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, 'Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons forever: [35:7] Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers.' Then in Jeremiah 35:18 And Jeremiah [the prophet] said unto the house of the Rechabites, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Because ye have obeyed the commandments of Jonadab your father, and kept all his precepts, and done according unto all that he hath commanded you:" To the letter of their law--not God's law but Jonadab's laws and precepts--these Kenites were obedient. So, God is making a pledge here through the prophet Jeremiah to these Kenites. [35:19] Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Jonadab the son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before Me for ever.' -> God is promising the Kenites that they will always have a leader that will hold them together as a people. Though this is the negative part of God's plan, it is also positive, for God they will take an important part in carrying out the crucifixion of Christ, and in turn, condemn their own father Satan to the fire of hell as recorded in Revelation 20:15. So God did bless them well for their obedience to satan, and Jonadab their father, even to the point where they are the most successful people on the face of the earth today.
When you and I stay faithful to His Word, and become Biblically literate, He will also bless us. God blesses everyone that is faithful and obedient to our heavenly Father, and it is not a matter of what you know from His Word, but how obedient you are to what you do know. God gave us these Scriptures for the sake of giving us an example of what we are to expect in this end generation of this earth age, for the events of the end times are passing us by fast. This is why God said the stranger that Aaron's descendants allowed into the priesthood "shall be put to death."
3:11-51 Levites. Substituted for the rest of the Congregation
3:11-51 LEVITES SUBSTITUTED FOR THE FIRSTBORN
3:11-13 Substitution of Levites for firstborn
Numbers 3:11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
Numbers 3:12 "And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine; -> All the firstborn were to be sanctified to God and service to Him. So why then did He change? In Exodus 32, just after they came up out of the land of Egypt, while Moses was up on Mount Sinai talking with God, the people convinced Aaron, the High Priest, to make a god that they could see and serve, Aaron told them to give him all the gold God had said they should ask of the Egyptians, and then he fashioned a golden calf with it. God saw what they were doing and told Moses that He was going to destroy Moses' people; Moses threw them back into God's lap and told Him that they are His people. God then told Moses to go down and straighten them out. As Moses and Joshua were coming down the mountain, Moses threw down the tables that God had written the Ten Commandments upon, and then stated; Exodus 32:26 Then Moses stood in the gate of the camp, and said, "Who is on the Lord's side, let him come unto me." And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together unto him. -> The sons of the tribe of Levi finally got their act together and came over to Moses side. Many others also followed the sons of Levi, and made their commitment. [32:27] And he said unto them, "Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, 'Put every man his sword by his side, and go in and out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' -> Moses told these sons of Levi to put on your swords, and scatter throughout the entire camp, through all the tribes of Israel, and slay every man in all the camp that did not chose the one True God. So how many out of the several million were there that would not choose God? Do you think that with this threat over their head, anyone would not choose God? When the Antichrist appears there will be many that will be convinced by their pastor that satan is the True Christ, and they would risk their entire life on that lie. Today many pastors tell their people it is not important to know all of God's Word, Just believe, that's all. You had better have an understanding of the entire Word of God to prepare you for those things that are just ahead in our lives. You had better be prepared to follow the Word of God, because the traditions of today will get you into trouble spiritually. [32:28] And the children of Levi did according to the word of Moses: and there fell of the People that day about three thousand men. -> Think of it; Three thousand men refused to believe God, and would rather follow that calf. About one out of a thousand turned their back on Moses and God: Three thousand out of about two million. See another type from that first age here?
So, what then is the Levites' inheritance since as Father has just declared "therefore the Levites shall be mine;?" Deuteronomy 10:8 At that time the LORD separated the tribe of Levi, to bear the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD, to stand before the LORD and minister unto Him, and to bless His name, unto this day. [10:9] Wherefore Levi hath no part nor inheritance with his brethren; the LORD is his inheritance, according as the LORD thy God promised him.
Numbers 3:13 Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto Me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: Mine shall they be: I am the LORD." -> Remember it was God that said all the firstborn would be His, lets turn back to Exodus 13 and read it; Exodus 13:2 Sanctify unto Me all the firstborn, whatsoever openeth the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of beast: it is Mine. -> The firstborn of all the Egyptians were taken by God in their death, for God is just. However here God is claiming all the first born of both man and beast of the Israelites to be His also, but here the firstborn will be used in His service.
3:14-39 Numbering of Substitutes
Numbers 3:14 And the LORD spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying,
Numbers 3:15 "Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them." -> Unlike the numbering in Numbers 2, here the males from one month and upward are to be numbered.
Numbers 3:16 And Moses numbered them according to the word of the LORD, as he was commanded. -> So now Moses is getting to go and number all the one month and older males of the tribe of Levi, this numbering does not include Aaron and his descendants even though they too are of the tribe of Levi.
Numbers 3:17 And these were the sons of Levi by their names; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari. -> There are just three families of Levities and the heads of the families are Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
Numbers 3:18 "And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families; Libni, and Shimei. -> Gershon had two sons, Libni and Shimei.
Numbers 3:19 And the sons of Kohath by their families; Amram, and Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel. -> Kohath had four sons Amram, Izehar, Hebron and Uzziel.
Numbers 3:20 And the sons of Merari by their families; Mahli, and Mushi. These are the families of the Levities according to the house of their fathers. -> Merari like his brother Gershon had just two sons, Mahli and Mushi. This then completes the sons of the three heads of the families.
Numbers 3:21 Of Gershon was the family of the Libnites, and the family of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites. -> Now we'll see the numbers of all the families of the Gershonites.
Numbers 3:22 Those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those that were numbered of them were seven thousand and five hundred. -> The total male population of the Gershonites from one month old and up was 7,500. So lets see where they will be placed according to how the tabernacle is set.
Numbers 3:23 The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward. -> The Gershonites will be between the tent of the tabernacle and the tribes/camps of Ephraim.
Numbers 3:24 And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael. -> This is the only mention of Lael in Father's word so we don't know much about him but, his name means "(Belonging) to God."
Numbers 3:25 And the charge of the sons of the Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, and the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
Numbers 3:26 And the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof. -> The duties and responsibilities of the Gershonites are the safeguarding, setting up and taking down, and carrying of the tent, and all the coverings of the tent and doors etc., in other words, all the canvas/cloth items concerning the tent and thereof belong to the Gershonites. We can see the number of "and(s)" within these two verses (just like in Genesis 1) and can know that they are a polysyndeton, meaning there is much more than just what is being said in these verses.
Numbers 3:27 And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, and the family of the Izeharites, and the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites. -> Moving on to the Kohathites, we will now see the number of them.
Numbers 3:28 In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary. -> We see already that their duties and responsibilities will be that of the sanctuary and we can assume the instruments thereof. Where will they pitch their tents?
Numbers 3:29 The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward. -> They will camp between Reuben and the tent of the tabernacle.
Numbers 3:30 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. -> Elizaphan means "God of treasure" in the Hebrew. There were four Elizaphan(s) mentioned in Father's word.
Numbers 3:31 And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof. -> Again, their duties and responsibilities include but are not limited to the sanctuary and the instruments thereof but, they also have the responsibility for the Ark of God. Whenever the encampment moves, these are all the things they are responsible for taking down, carrying and then setting up when they stop, plus carrying the Ark of God.
Numbers 3:32 And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary. -> Aaron's eldest son's duties and responsibilities as we see; include not only being a priest but, also he is to ensure that Elizaphan has the sanctuary taken care properly.
Numbers 3:33 Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari.
Numbers 3:34 And those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were six thousand and two hundred.
Numbers 3:35 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail: these shall pitch of the tabernacle northward. -> Zuriel (rock of God) is mentioned only here in Father's word while there are several males and two females named Abihail (father [that is, possessor]) of might.
Numbers 3:36 And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serveth thereto.
Numbers 3:37 And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords. -> The duties and responsibilities of the Merarites are the safeguarding, setting up and taking down, and carrying of the boards for the tabernacle, the bars of the tent and doors etc., in other words, all the wood items and fasteners, plus all the tie back fasteners for holding the cloth doors open concerning the tent and the court thereof belong to the Merarites. Again we can see the number of "and(s)" within these two verses (just like in Genesis 1) and can know that they are a polysyndeton, meaning there is much more than just what is being said in these verses.
Numbers 3:38 But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death. -> Moses, Aaron and his sons and their families are to camp between the tabernacle and the tribes/families of Judah. Again, it is only Moses, Aaron and his sons, and the Levites that may approach or be near unto the tabernacle and then only Moses, Aaron and his sons that may come nigh unto the sanctuary.
Numbers 3:39 All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the LORD, throughout their families, all the males from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand. -> Quite a large number of people in the service of our Father, YHVH. Sounds like they sure had enough to perform all the duties that Father had for them, I can't understand why they thought they needed outside help from the nethinims. This "and Aaron": these two words are dotted in the Hebrew, the command was given to Moses alone in verses 14 and 15 and was carried out by him. Aaron's name was included here in this verse by some ancient copyist; and later scribes dotted the words rather than remove them.
3:40-43 Numbering of firstborn
Numbers 3:40 And the LORD said unto Moses, "Number all the firstborn of the males of the children of Israel from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names. -> Unlike earlier in this chapter where they were only to count the Levites, and unlike the last chapter where they counted all but the Levites, God is now telling Moses to count all the males of all the tribes of Israel.
Numbers 3:41 And thou shalt take the Levites for Me (I am the LORD) instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel.
-> All the Levites and their cattle now belong to God.
Numbers 3:42 And Moses numbered, as the LORD commanded him, all the firstborn among the children of Israel.
Numbers 3:43 And all the firstborn males by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those that were numbered of them, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and threescore and thirteen. -> 22,273 firstborn males in all Israel.
4:44-51 Substitution of Levites for firstborn
Numbers 3:44 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, -> Shifting gears and changing subjects here.
Numbers 3:45 "Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be Mine: I am the LORD.
Numbers 3:46 And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites; -> Remember when Moses numbered the Levites there were 22,000 of them, here there are 22,273 firstborn in all Israel.
Numbers 3:47 Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll, after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:) -> Since there were 273 more firstborn than Levites, and since God has said that the Levites are His, God is commanding that for each of the 273 firstborn, Moses is to collect from them 5 shekels apiece. This "poll" means head count.
Numbers 3:48 And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron and to his sons." -> So the collected money was to be given to Aaron and his sons.
Numbers 3:49 And Moses took the redemption money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites. -> This "of" means that Moses collected it from them and given to Aaron and his sons.
Numbers 3:50 Of the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money; a thousand three hundred and threescore and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary. -> 1,365 shekels is what Moses collected and gave to the Levites, five shekels from each of the 273 firstborn above the 22,000 Levites.
Numbers 3:51 And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron and to his sons, according to the word of the LORD, as the LORD commanded Moses.