for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether man or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD."
The LORD said to Moses in the Desert of Sinai,
"Count the Levites by their families and clans. Count every male a month old or more."
So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the LORD.
These were the names of the sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
These were the names of the Gershonite clans: Libni and Shimei.
The Kohathite clans: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
The Merarite clans: Mahli and Mushi. These were the Levite clans, according to their families.
To Gershon belonged the clans of the Libnites and Shimeites; these were the Gershonite clans.
The number of all the males a month old or more who were counted was 7,500.
The Gershonite clans were to camp on the west, behind the tabernacle.
The leader of the families of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael.
At the Tent of Meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting,
the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and the ropes--and everything related to their use.
To Kohath belonged the clans of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites and Uzzielites; these were the Kohathite clans.
The number of all the males a month old or more was "8,600. The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the sanctuary.
The Kohathite clans were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle.
The leader of the families of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel.
They were responsible for the care of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the articles of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain, and everything related to their use.
The chief leader of the Levites was Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest. He was appointed over those who were responsible for the care of the sanctuary.
To Merari belonged the clans of the Mahlites and the Mushites; these were the Merarite clans.
The number of all the males a month old or more who were counted was 6,200.
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.
To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites,
collect five shekels for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs.
Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons."
So Moses collected the redemption money from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites.
From the firstborn of the Israelites he collected silver weighing "1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel.
Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the LORD.
The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:
"Take a census of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families.
Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work in the Tent of Meeting.
"This is the work of the Kohathites in the Tent of Meeting: the care of the most holy things.
When the camp is to move, Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtain and cover the ark of the Testimony with it.
Then they are to cover this with hides of sea cows, spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the poles in place.
"Over the table of the Presence they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings; the bread that is continually there is to remain on it.
Over these they are to spread a scarlet cloth, cover that with hides of sea cows and put its poles in place.
"They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand that is for light, together with its lamps, its wick trimmers and trays, and all its jars for the oil used to supply it.
Then they are to wrap it and all its accessories in a covering of hides of sea cows and put it on a carrying frame.