Numbers 4:3

3 1from thirty years old up to fifty years old, all who can come on duty, to do the work in the tent of meeting.

Numbers 4:3 Meaning and Commentary

Numbers 4:3

From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old,
&c.] This is the full time of the Levites service, and the prime season of man's life for business; at thirty years of age he is at his full strength, and when fifty it begins to decline: it is said in the Misnah {x},

``a son of thirty years for strength,''

upon which one of the commentators F25 makes this remark, that the Levites set up the tabernacle and took it down, and loaded the wagons, and carried on their shoulders from thirty years and upwards: thus both John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, and Christ himself, entered into their ministry at this age:

all that enter into the host;
army or warfare; for though the Levites were exempted from going forth to war, yet their service was a sort of warfare; they were a camp of themselves about the tabernacle, and part of their work was to watch and guard it, that it was neither defiled nor robbed; in allusion to this, the ministry of the word is called a warfare, and ministers of the Gospel good soldiers of Christ, and their doctrines weapons of warfare, ( 1 Timothy 1:18 ) ( 2 Timothy 2:3 ) ( 2 Corinthians 10:3 2 Corinthians 10:4 ) ; some interpret this of the troop, company, or congregation of the Levites, which a man of thirty years of age was admitted into for business:

to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation;
not in the sanctuary, either in the holy place or in the most holy place, where they were never allowed to enter, or do any business in, such as sacrificing, burning incense but in that part of it which was called "the tabernacle of the congregation", or where the people assembled on occasion, and that was the court, which was so called, as Jarchi observes on ( Exodus 29:32 ) .


F24 Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 21.
F25 Bartenora in Pirke Abot, c. 5. sect. 21.

Numbers 4:3 In-Context

1 The LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying,
2 "Take a census of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, by their clans and their fathers' houses,
3 from thirty years old up to fifty years old, all who can come on duty, to do the work in the tent of meeting.
4 This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tent of meeting: the most holy things.
5 When the camp is to set out, Aaron and his sons shall go in and take down the veil of the screen and cover the ark of the testimony with it.

Cross References 1

  • 1. ver. 23, 30, 35, 39, 43, 47; [Numbers 8:24; 1 Chr. 23:3, 24, 27]
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.