The Levites 3 1This is the family tree of Aaron and Moses at the time God spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. 2The names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab the firstborn, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar—3anointed priests ordained to serve as priests. 4But Nadab and Abihu fell dead in the presence of God when they offered unauthorized sacrifice to him in the Wilderness of Sinai. They left no sons, and so only Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their father, Aaron. 5God spoke to Moses. He said, 6“Bring forward the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron so they can help him. 7They shall work for him and the whole congregation at the Tent of Meeting by doing the work of The Dwelling. 8Their job is to be responsible for all the furnishings of The Dwelling, ministering to the affairs of The Dwelling as the People of Israel come to perform their duties. 9Turn the Levites over to Aaron and his sons; they are the ones assigned to work full time for him. 10Appoint Aaron and his sons to minister as priests; anyone else who tries to elbow his way in will be put to death.” 11God spoke to Moses: 12“I have taken the Levites from among the People of Israel as a stand–in for every Israelite mother’s firstborn son. The Levites belong to me. 13All the firstborn are mine—when I killed all the firstborn in Egypt, I consecrated for my own use every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They belong to me. I am God.” 14God spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai: 15“Count the Levites by their ancestral families and clans. Count every male a month old and older.” 16Moses counted them just as he was instructed by the mouth of God. 17These are the names of the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 18These are the names of the Gershonite clans: Libni and Shimei. 19The sons of Kohath by clan: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20The sons of Merari by clan: Mahli and Mushi. These are the clans of Levi, family by family. 21Gershon was ancestor to the clans of the Libnites and Shimeites, known as the Gershonite clans. 22All the males who were one month and older numbered 7,500. 23The Gershonite clans camped on the west, behind The Dwelling, 24led by Eliasaph son of Lael. 25At the Tent of Meeting the Gershonites were in charge of maintaining The Dwelling and its tent, its coverings, the screen at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting, 26the hangings of the Courtyard, the screen at the entrance to the Courtyard that surrounded The Dwelling and Altar, and the cords—in short, everything having to do with these things. 27Kohath was ancestor to the clans of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites, and Uzzielites. These were known as the Kohathite clans. 28All the males who were one month and older numbered 8,600. The Kohathites were in charge of the Sanctuary. 29The Kohathite clans camped on the south side of The Dwelling, 30led by Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31They were in charge of caring for the Chest, the Table, the Lampstand, the Altars, the articles of the Sanctuary used in worship, and the screen—everything having to do with these things. 32Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, supervised the leaders of the Levites and those in charge of the Sanctuary. 33Merari was ancestor to the clans of the Mahlites and the Mushites, known as the Merarite clans. 34The males who were one month and older numbered 6,200. 35They were led by Zuriel son of Abihail and camped on the north side of The Dwelling. 36The Merarites were in charge of the frames of The Dwelling, its crossbars, posts, bases, and all its equipment—everything having to do with these things, 37as well as the posts of the surrounding Courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, and cords. 38Moses and Aaron and his sons camped to the east of The Dwelling, toward the rising sun, in front of the Tent of Meeting. They were in charge of maintaining the Sanctuary for the People of Israel and the rituals of worship. Anyone else who tried to perform these duties was to be put to death. 39The sum total of Levites counted at God’s command by Moses and Aaron, clan by clan, all the males one month and older, numbered 22,000. 40God spoke to Moses: “Count all the firstborn males of the People of Israel who are one month and older. List their names. 41Then set apart for me the Levites—remember, I am God—in place of all the firstborn among the People of Israel, also the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. I am God.” 42So, just as God commanded him, Moses counted all the firstborn of the People of Israel. 43The total of firstborn males one month and older, listed by name, numbered 22,273. 44Again God spoke to Moses. He said, 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 mine, I am God. 46Redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of Levites 47by collecting five shekels for each one, using the Sanctuary shekel (the shekel weighing twenty gerahs). 48Give that money to Aaron and his sons for the redemption of the excess number of Israelites.” 49So Moses collected the redemption money from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites. 50From the 273 firstborn Israelites he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels according to the Sanctuary shekel. 51Moses turned over the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of God.
The Message® / © 2002 Eugene H. Peterson About