Numbers 3:46

Overview - Numbers 3
The sons of Aaron.
The Levites are given to the priests instead of the first-born;
14 are numbered by their families.
21 The families, number, and charge of the Gershonites;
27 of the Kohathites;
33 of the Merarites.
38 The place and charge of Moses and Aaron.
40 The first-born are freed by the Levites.
44 The overplus are redeemed.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Numbers 3:46  (King James Version)
And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the firstborn of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites;

18:15 Exodus 13:13

the two hundred
As the number of the Levites was Numbers 3:22 Numbers 3:000 ; and the first-born males of the Israelites were Numbers 3:22 Numbers 3:273 ; there were therefore 372 ; more of the latter than of the former, which are here ordered to be redeemed. The price of redemption is fixed at five shekels, or about 15s
each, in ver 47. This money, amounting to Numbers 3:1 Numbers 3:365 ; shekels, equal to 204
15s. English, was taken of the first-born. There is some difficulty, however, in determining which of the first-born should be redeemed by paying this sum, and which should be exchanged for the Levites; for every Israelite, no doubt, would rather have his first-born redeemed by a Levite, than pay five shekels; and yet some of them must have incurred this expense. Rabbi Solomon Jarchi says, to prevent contention, Moses took Numbers 3:22 Numbers 3:000 ; slips of parchment, and wrote on each a son of Levi, and 273 ; more, on which he wrote five shekels; then putting them in an urn, and shaking them together, he ordered every one of the first-born to draw out a slip. If he drew out one with the first inscription, he said to him, a Levite hath redeemed thee: but if he drew out one of the latter, he said, pay the price
This is pronounced by Dr. A. Clarke to be a stupid, silly tale; but when we know that the determination by lot was used among the Israelites, it does not seem improbable that it was now resorted to, though we cannot vouch for the accuracy of the detail. This species of redeeming men is referred to by St
Peter in his 1st Epistle, ch. 1:18 19.

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