Numbers 4 (The Message)

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1 God spoke to Moses and Aaron. He said, 2 "Number the Kohathite line of Levites by clan and family. 3 Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age, all who enter the ministry to work in the Tent of Meeting. 4 "This is the assigned work of the Kohathites in the Tent of Meeting: care of the most holy things. 5 "When the camp is ready to set out, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the covering curtain and cover the Chest of The Testimony with it. 6 Then they are to cover this with a dolphin skin, spread a solid blue cloth on top, and insert the poles. 7 "Then they are to spread a blue cloth on the Table of the Presence and set the Table with plates, incense dishes, bowls, and jugs for drink offerings. The bread that is always there stays on the Table. 8 They are to cover these with a scarlet cloth, and on top of that spread the dolphin skin, and insert the poles. 9 "They are to use a blue cloth to cover the light-giving Lampstand and the lamps, snuffers, trays, and the oil jars that go with it. 10 Then they are to wrap it all in a covering of dolphin skin and place it on a carrying frame. 11 "They are to spread a blue cloth over the Gold Altar and cover it with dolphin skins and place it on a carrying frame. 12 "They are to take all the articles used in ministering in the Sanctuary, wrap them in a blue cloth, cover them with dolphin skins, and place them on a carrying frame. 13 "They are to remove the ashes from the Altar and spread a purple cloth over it. 14 They are to place on it all the articles used in ministering at the Altar - firepans, forks, shovels, bowls; everything used at the Altar - place them on the Altar, cover it with the dolphin skins, and insert the poles. 15 "When Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and the camp is ready to set out, the Kohathites are to come and do the carrying. But they must not touch the holy things or they will die. The Kohathites are in charge of carrying all the things that are in the Tent of Meeting. 16 "Eleazar son of Aaron the priest, is to be in charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the regular Grain-Offering, and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire Dwelling and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles." 17 God spoke to Moses and Aaron, 18 "Don't let the tribal families of the Kohathites be destroyed from among the Levites. 19 Protect them so they will live and not die when they come near the most holy things. To protect them, Aaron and his sons are to precede them into the Sanctuary and assign each man his task and what he is to carry. 20 But the Kohathites themselves must not go in to look at the holy things, not even a glance at them, or they will die." Duties of the Gershonites 21 God spoke to Moses: 22 "Number the Gershonites by tribes according to their ancestral families. 23 Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who enter the ministry of work in the Tent of Meeting. 24 "The Gershonites by family and clan will serve by carrying heavy loads: 25 the curtains of the Sanctuary and the Tent of Meeting; the covering of the Tent and the outer covering of dolphin skins; the screens for the entrance to the Tent; 26 the cords; and all the equipment used in its ministries. The Gershonites have the job of doing the work connected with these things. 27 All their work of lifting and carrying and moving is to be done under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. Assign them specifically what they are to carry. 28 This is the work of the Gershonite clans at the Tent of Meeting. Ithamar son of Aaron the priest is to supervise their work. Duties of the Merarites 29 "Number the Merarites by their ancestral families. 30 Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who enter the ministry of work at the Tent of Meeting. 31 "This is their assigned duty as they go to work at the Tent of Meeting: to carry the frames of The Dwelling, its crossbars, posts, and bases, 32 as well as the posts of the surrounding Courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, cords, and all the equipment related to their use. Assign to each man exactly what he is to carry. 33 This is the ministry of the Merarite clans as they work at the Tent of Meeting under the supervision of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest." 34 Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of the congregation counted the Kohathites by clan and family. 35 All the men from thirty to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting, 36 counted by clans, were 2,750. 37 This was the total from the Kohathite clans who served in the Tent of Meeting. Moses and Aaron counted them just as God had commanded through Moses. 38 The Gershonites were counted by clan and family. 39 All the men from thirty to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting, 40 counted by clan and family, were 2,630. 41 This was the total from the Gershonite clans who served in the Tent of Meeting. Moses and Aaron counted them just as God had commanded. 42 The Merarites were counted by clan and family. 43 All the men from thirty to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting, 44 counted by clan, were 3,200. 45 This was the total from the Merarite clans. Moses and Aaron counted them just as God had commanded through Moses. 46 So Moses and Aaron and the leaders of Israel counted all the Levites by clan and family. 47 All the men from thirty to fifty years of age who came to do the work of serving and carrying the Tent of Meeting 48 numbered 8,580. 49 At God's command through Moses, each man was assigned his work and told what to carry. And that's the story of their numbering, as God commanded Moses.
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