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         Numbers Chapter 4


 4:1-49 Numeration and Order of Service
4:1
-49 Levites: The Order of their Service
             4:1
-33 Command (given)
                 4:34
-45 Obedience
         4:46
-49 Command (completed)

This chapter concerns the Levites and the order of their service to YHVH. In verses 1-33, we'll see the commandment from God to them through Moses and Aaron as to what their service shall include, in verses 34-45, we'll see their obedience to Father in their accepting and performing their duties and in verses 46-49.

4:1-33 Command Given
4:1
-3 Kohathites. Age

Numbers 4:1 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,   ->   God is addressing both the law and the high priest.

Numbers 4:2 "Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers,   ->   Here God is going to announce what the service of each of the three families of the Levites is going to be. God will specifically address each family and within that family who is going to do what by age. As we see, He's starting with the family of the Kohathites.

Numbers 4:3 From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.   ->   As we saw from verse 2 above, Moses and Aaron were to take a head count of those from 30-50 and this service then is for those that are between 30 and 50 years of age. We'll see later in Numbers 8 that they will actually enter into a probationary period starting at age 25 until 30, and then at 50 they will no more be required to serve. Numbers 8:24 This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: [8:25] And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more: [8:26] But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service." Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge. Then many years later when they finally have "rest," as we can read of in I and II Chronicles, God will command that the age requirement will drop down to 20 years of age.

4:4-20 Their Service

Numbers 4:4 This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:   ->   The Kohathites will bear and carry all the holy things whenever the Israelites move anywhere. They won't be able to take down or handle any piece individually but as a whole it will be theirs to carry from place to place.

Numbers 4:5 And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of the testimony with it:   ->   In this and the following verses, Numbers 6-15, we'll see many "and(s)," again there is the polysyndeton meaning there is much more involved than what is being stated in these verses. But, as we'll see, it is only Aaron and his sons that may handle the individual pieces of the holy things. Here in this verse, we see that the first thing to be taken down is the covering vail, that vail that when Christ gave up the spirit while He was on that cross dieing for our sins, was ripped from top to bottom, and they are to cover the ark of the testimony with this veil.

Numbers 4:6 And shall put thereon the covering of the badger's skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.   ->   Aaron and his sons cover the ark with the coverings and then put the staves in so that the sons of Kohath can then carry it.

Numbers 4:7 And upon the table of the shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon:   ->   This will be the manner in which they carry all the utensils and they also put the daily sacrifice bread upon the table. For a longer study on this, see the note at Leviticus 24:6 in the Companion Bible and also read all the verses that Dr. Bullinger references there, especially II Chronicles 29:18 and those following it.

Numbers 4:8 And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof.   ->   Again, it is Aaron and his sons that place all the utensils and the coverings on the table of shewbread, then put the staves in and then the Kohathites can carry it.

Numbers 4:9 And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and all the oil dishes thereof, wherewith they minister unto it:

Numbers 4:10 And they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put it upon a bar.   ->   So they were to cover all the vessels of the lampstands: the lamps; tongs, snuffdishes etc., then they were to lay a covering of badgers' skins out so that they could then place all the items into it and then fasten this covering onto a stave or a staff and carry it between two or so of them such as the spies will when they carry the cluster of grapes in Numbers 13:23.

Numbers 4:11 And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put to the staves thereof:   ->   The altar has rings for the staves to fit into, therefore they carry it by the staves.

Numbers 4:12 And they shall take all the instruments of ministry, wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of badger' skins, and shall put them on a bar:   ->   Again all the instruments used in the service of the ministry get covered then placed in a covering of badgers' skins and carried as we saw in verse 10 above.

Numbers 4:13 And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon:   ->   Remember, even the ashes were holy so they couldn't just take them and discard them anywhere, there was a certain place for them to be discarded. Once the ashes were removed, they then could cover the altar.

Numbers 4:14 And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basons, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it.   ->   All these vessels get wrapped up and then placed upon the altar which also then gets covered and the staves placed in the rings to be carried.

Numbers 4:15 And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.   ->   After everything is wrapped up, covered up, placed in bars and staves put in, then can the sons of Kohath come and take hold of the bars and the staves to carry all the vessels.

Numbers 4:16 And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof."

Numbers 4:17 And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,   ->   Changing subjects here.

Numbers 4:18 "Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites:   ->   This will be explained a little bit in the next two verses.

Numbers 4:19 But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden.   ->   Notice that each has to be appointed by name to each task so there is no confusion as to who will be doing what.

Numbers 4:20
But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die."   ->   Remember, it is only Aaron and his sons that may now see the most holy things and the Kohathites, even though they are Levites, are to wait outside until Aaron and his sons finish covering all the most holy things and then come out to get them, before they can go in to carry all the vessels of the most holy things.

4:21-31 Gershonites. Age

Numbers 4:21
And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,   ->   New subject starting here, moving onto the Gershonites and all their service.

Numbers 4:22 "Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon, throughout the houses of their fathers by their families;

Numbers 4:23 From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.  
->   Remember we learned in chapter 3 that the duties of the Gershonites are all the cloth items.

4:24-28 Their Service

Numbers 4:24 This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens:

Numbers 4:25 And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

Numbers 4:26 And the hanging of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve.

Numbers 4:27 At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens.  
->   This "appointment" means by mouth or commandment. In other words, it should read; "At the commandment of Aaron and his sons..."

Numbers 4:28
This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.   ->   In Numbers 3:32; we saw that Eleazar had the charge over all the Levites and now here we see that Ithamar has specific charge over the Gershonites and, we'll see in verse 33 below that he also has charge over the Merarites.

4:29-30 Merarites. Age

Numbers 4:29
As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers;
->   Changing families here.

Numbers 4:30 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.  
->   In Numbers 3:36-38, we saw that 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.

4:31-33 Their Service

Numbers 4:31 And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof.

Numbers 4:32
And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden.   ->   Again we see that they shall be assigned by name per task so that there isn't any confusion.

Numbers 4:33
This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest."   ->   Again, it is Ithamar under his brother Eleazar that has charge over the Merarites.

4:34-45 Obedience
4:34 Kohathites, Numeration

Numbers 4:34 And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation
numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers.   ->   So all the duties and responsibilities of the families are laid out, now in verses 34 thru 45 we are going to see the obedience of Moses and Aaron in the numbering of the families. Again they'll start with the Kohathites, then move on to the Gershonites and finish with the Merarites.

Again, commandment here is the same word as "appointment" from back in verse 27 and it means "by mouth," or "by the mouth of YHVH." "Hand" here is put for ministry performed by Moses.

4:35 Age and Service

Numbers 4:35 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation:

4:36-37 Number

Numbers 4:36 And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty.

4:37 According to the Commandment

Numbers 4:37 These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

4:38 Gershonites, Numeration

Numbers 4:38 And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and by the house of their fathers,

4:39 Age and Service

Numbers 4:39 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

4:40-41 Number

Numbers 4:40
Even those that were numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty.   ->   In Numbers 3:22, from a month old and upward were 7,500; but here, from 30 to 50 the number is 2,630.

4:41 According to the Commandment

Numbers 4:41 These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD.

4:42 Merarites, Numeration

Numbers 4:42
And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers,   ->   Again changing families here.

Numbers 4:43 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

4:43 Age and Service

4:44-45 Number

Numbers 4:44
Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred.
   ->   In Numbers 3:34, we saw that they had 6,200 males from a month old and upward, here it is 3,200.

4:45 According to the Commandment

Numbers 4:45
These be those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.   ->   Again, it was YHVH that had said to number all these. Moses and Aaron were being obedient as were all the families of the Levites. In the next few verses to the end of the chapter; we'll see the commandment completed.

4:46-49 Command Completed
4:46 Numeration

Numbers 4:46 All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel
numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers,   ->   Don't be or get confused concerning this chief of Israel. We already read about them in Numbers 3:24 - for the Gershonites, "And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lael;" in Numbers 3:30 - the Kohathites, "And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel;" in Numbers 3:32 - chief over the chiefs, "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;" and in Numbers 3:35 - for the Merarites, "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."

4:47 Age and Service

Numbers 4:47 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation,

4:48 Number

Numbers 4:48
Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore.   ->   So from 30 to 50 of the three houses of the Levites were 8,580.

4:49 According to the Commandment

Numbers 4:49 According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.   ->   Again, we can see in the center of this verse "according to his service," meaning that they all had specific tasks they were to perform so there would be no confusion.


Mar 2011

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