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.
The Merarites were appointed to take care of the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases, all its equipment, and everything related to their use,
as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs and ropes.
Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp to the east of the tabernacle, toward the sunrise, in front of the tent of meeting. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary on behalf of the Israelites. Anyone else who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death.
The total number of Levites counted at the LORD’s command by Moses and Aaron according to their clans, including every male a month old or more, was 22,000.
The LORD said to Moses, “Count all the firstborn Israelite males who are a month old or more and make a list of their names.
Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the LORD.”
So Moses counted all the firstborn of the Israelites, as the LORD commanded him.
The total number of firstborn males a month old or more, listed by name, was 22,273.
The LORD also said to Moses,
“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. I am the LORD.