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Numbers 4 (Common English Bible)

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Second census and the Levites’ duties

The Kohathites’ duties

1 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron: 2 Take a census of the Kohathites from among the Levites by their clans and their households, 3 from 30 to 50 years old, all who are eligible for service to do the work of the meeting tent. 4 These are the responsibilities of the Kohathites in the meeting tent: the most holy things. 5 When it's time to break camp, Aaron and his sons will enter and take down the screening curtain, and they will cover the chest containing the covenant with it. 6 Then they will place a covering of fine leathera on it. They will spread a whole cloth of blue over it, and they will set its poles in place. 7 They will spread a blue cloth on the presentation table and place on it the plates, the dishes, the bowls, and the container for the drink offering. The usual bread will be on it. 8 They will spread on them a red cloth, cover it with fine leather, and set its poles in place. 9 They will take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand used for light, its lamps, its extinguishers, its trays, and all the containers for oil that are used in its service. 10 They will place it and its equipment in a covering of fine leather, and then place it on the carrying frame. 11 They will spread a blue cloth on the gold altar and cover it with fine leather. 12 They will take all the service equipment used in the sanctuary, place it in a blue cloth, and cover it with fine leather. Then they will place it on the carrying frame. 13 They will remove the ashes from the altar and spread a purple cloth on it. 14 They will place on it all the equipment used for servicing it, the censors, the meat fork, the shovels, the bowls, all the equipment of the altar. They will spread a covering of fine leather over it and then set its poles in place. 15 Aaron and his sons will finish covering the sanctuary and all the equipment of the sanctuary when it is time to break camp. After that the Kohathites will enter to carry it, but they will not touch the sanctuary, lest they die. These are the objects in the dwelling that the Kohathites are to carry. 16 But Eleazar son of Aaron the priest will have oversight of the oil for lighting, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering, and the anointing oil, as well as oversight of the entire dwelling and everything in it related to the sanctuary and its equipment. 17 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron: 18 You must not let the tribe of the Kohathite clans be eliminated from the Levites. 19 This is what you must do for them so that they stay alive and don't die when they approach the most holy things. Aaron and his sons will enter and assign each of them his work and his load. 20 But they may not enter to look at the sanctuary even for a moment, lest they die.

The Gershonites’ duties

21 The LORD spoke to Moses: 22 Take a census of the Gershonites also, by their households and their clans. 23 You will enroll those from 30 to 50 years old, all who are eligible for service to do work in the dwelling. 24 This is the duty of the Gershonite clans for work and for carrying the load: 25 They will carry the fabric of the dwelling, the meeting tent with its covering, the outer covering of fine leather, the screen for the entrance of the meeting tent, 26 the curtains of the courtyard, the screen of the entrance at the gate of the courtyard that surrounds the meeting tent and the altar, their cords, and all their equipment for their work. They will do everything that needs to be done with these objects. 27 All the duties of the Gershonites for carrying their load and for their work will be at the command of Aaron and his sons. You will assign to them the responsibility to carry their load. 28 This is the work of the Gershonite clans in the dwelling. Their responsibility will be under Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

The Merarites’ duties

29 You will enroll the Merarites by their clans and their households. 30 You will enroll those from 30 to 50 years old, all who are eligible for service to do work in the meeting tent. 31 This is what they are responsible to carry as their work in the meeting tent: the frames of the meeting tent, its bars, pillars, and bases; 32 the pillars of the courtyard all around, with their bases, pegs, cords, and all the equipment used with them. You will list by name the objects they are required to carry. 33 This is the duty of the Merarite clans for all their work in the meeting tent under the supervision of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

Summary of the census

34 So Moses, Aaron, and the chiefs of the community enrolled the Kohathites by their clans and their households, 35 those from 30 to 50 years old who were eligible for work in the meeting tent. 36 Their enrollment by their clans was 2,750. 37 These are the enrolled of the Kohathite clans, all who worked in the meeting tent and whom Moses and Aaron enrolled according to the LORD's command through Moses. 38 The enrollment of the Gershonites by their clans and their households, 39 those 30 to 50 years old who were eligible for work in the meeting tent: 40 their enrollment by their clans and their households was 2,630. 41 These are the enrolled of the Gershonite clans, all who worked in the meeting tent, and whom Moses and Aaron enrolled according to the LORD's command. 42 The enrollment of the Merarite clans by their clans and their households, 43 those 30 to 50 years old who were eligible for work in the meeting tent: 44 their enrollment by their clans was 3,200. 45 These are the enrolled of the Merarite clans, whom Moses and Aaron enrolled according to the LORD's command through Moses. 46 All the enrolled Levites whom Moses, Aaron, and the chiefs of Israel enrolled by their clans and their households, 47 those 30 to 50 years old who were eligible to do the work and to carry the load of the meeting tent: 48 their enrollment was 8,580. 49 Each was enrolled by the LORD's command through Moses to work and to carry his load. Each was assigned just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
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