Numbers 3:38

38 Those who were to camp before the tabernacle on the east, before the tent of meeting toward the sunrise, were Moses and Aaron and his sons, 1guarding the sanctuary itself, to protect[a] the people of Israel. And any outsider who came near was to be put to death.

Numbers 3:38 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 3:38

And those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east,
&c.] At which was the entrance into the tabernacle:

[even] before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward;
that is, before the court of the tabernacle, where the people assembled together:

[shall be] Moses, Aaron, and his sons;
Moses the chief ruler, and Aaron the high priest, and his sons priests under him; these had the most honourable place of all, beings at the front of the tabernacle, between that and the camp of Judah. There is an extraordinary prick on the word Aaron, to show, as Jarchi says, that he was not in the number of Levites, though of the tribe of Levi, being high priest:

keeping the charge of the sanctuary, for the charge of the children of
Israel;
either in their room and stead, which otherwise they must have kept; or rather for their safety and security, keeping out all persons from entering into the sanctuary, who had no business there, that they died not, as it follows:

and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death;
that is, whoever came nigh to enter into the holy place, and did, who was no priest, though an Israelite, and even a Levite, or into the most holy place, excepting the high priest, it was death unto him, either by the civil magistrate, or by the hand of heaven; so the Targum of Jonathan.

Numbers 3:38 In-Context

36 And the appointed guard duty of the sons of Merari involved the frames of the tabernacle, the bars, the pillars, the bases, and all their accessories; all the service connected with these;
37 also the pillars around the court, with their bases and pegs and cords.
38 Those who were to camp before the tabernacle on the east, before the tent of meeting toward the sunrise, were Moses and Aaron and his sons, guarding the sanctuary itself, to protect the people of Israel. And any outsider who came near was to be put to death.
39 All those listed among the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron listed at the commandment of the LORD, by clans, all the males from a month old and upward, were 22,000.
40 And the LORD said to Moses, "List all the firstborn males of the people of Israel, from a month old and upward, taking the number of their names.

Cross References 1

  • 1. See Numbers 1:53

Footnotes 1