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Numbers 3:1–51

The Levites

3 This is the account of the family of Aaron and Mosest at the time the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai.u

The names of the sons of Aaron were Nadab the firstbornv and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.w Those were the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests,x who were ordained to serve as priests. Nadab and Abihu, however, died before the Lordy when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai.z They had no sons, so Eleazar and Ithamara served as priests during the lifetime of their father Aaron.b

The Lord said to Moses, “Bring the tribe of Levic and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him.d They are to perform duties for him and for the whole communitye at the tent of meeting by doing the workf of the tabernacle. They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle. Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons;g they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him.a 10 Appoint Aaronh and his sons to serve as priests;i anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”j

11 The Lord also said to Moses, 12 “I have taken the Levitesk from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspringl of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine,m 13 for all the firstborn are mine.n When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.”o

14 The Lord said to Moses in the Desert of Sinai,p 15 “Countq the Levites by their families and clans. Count every male a month old or more.”r 16 So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.

17 These were the names of the sons of Levi:s

Gershon,t Kohathu and Merari.v

18 These were the names of the Gershonite clans:

Libni and Shimei.w

19 The Kohathite clans:

Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.x

20 The Merarite clans:y

Mahli and Mushi.z

These were the Levite clans, according to their families.

21 To Gershona belonged the clans of the Libnites and Shimeites;b these were the Gershonite clans. 22 The number of all the males a month old or more who were counted was 7,500. 23 The Gershonite clans were to camp on the west, behind the tabernacle.c 24 The leader of the families of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael. 25 At the tent of meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacled and tent, its coverings,e the curtain at the entrancef to the tent of meeting,g 26 the curtains of the courtyardh, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar,i and the ropesj—and everythingk related to their use.

27 To Kohathl belonged the clans of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites and Uzzielites;m these were the Kohathiten clans. 28 The number of all the males a month old or moreo was 8,600.b The Kohathites were responsiblep for the care of the sanctuary.q 29 The Kohathite clans were to camp on the south sider of the tabernacle. 30 The leader of the families of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphans son of Uzziel. 31 They were responsible for the care of the ark,t the table,u the lampstand,v the altars,w the articlesx of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain,y and everything related to their use.z 32 The chief leader of the Levites was Eleazara son of Aaron, the priest. He was appointed over those who were responsibleb for the care of the sanctuary.c

33 To Merari belonged the clans of the Mahlites and the Mushites;d these were the Merarite clans.e 34 The number of all the males a month old or moref who were counted was 6,200. 35 The leader of the families of the Merarite clans was Zuriel son of Abihail; they were to camp on the north side of the tabernacle.g 36 The Merarites were appointedh to take care of the frames of the tabernacle,i its crossbars,j posts,k bases, all its equipment, and everything related to their use,l 37 as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyardm with their bases, tent pegsn and ropes.

38 Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp to the easto of the tabernacle, toward the sunrise, in front of the tent of meeting.p They were responsible for the care of the sanctuaryq on behalf of the Israelites. Anyone else who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death.r

39 The total number of Levites counteds at the Lord’s command by Moses and Aaron according to their clans, including every male a month old or more, was 22,000.t

40 The Lord said to Moses, “Count all the firstborn Israelite males who are a month old or moreu and make a list of their names.v 41 Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites,w and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the Lord.”x

42 So Moses counted all the firstborn of the Israelites, as the Lord commanded him. 43 The total number of firstborn males a month old or more,y listed by name, was 22,273.z

44 The Lord also said to Moses, 45 “Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine.a I am the Lord.b 46 To redeemc the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, 47 collect five shekelsc d for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel,e which weighs twenty gerahs.f 48 Give the money for the redemptiong of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.”h

49 So Moses collected the redemption moneyi from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites. 50 From the firstborn of the Israelitesj he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels,d k according to the sanctuary shekel. 51 Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.

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