Numbers 3:1-13

The Levites

1 This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses at the time the LORD spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai.
2 The names of the sons of Aaron were Nadab the firstborn and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
3 Those were the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests.
4 Nadab and Abihu, however, died before the LORD when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai. They had no sons, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during the lifetime of their father Aaron.
5 The LORD said to Moses,
6 “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him.
7 They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle.
8 They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, fulfilling the obligations of the Israelites by doing the work of the tabernacle.
9 Give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to him.[a]
10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to serve as priests; anyone else who approaches the sanctuary is to be put to death.”
11 The LORD also said to Moses,
12 “I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine,
13 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 human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the LORD.”

Numbers 3:1-13 Meaning and Commentary


In this chapter an account is given of the genealogy of the priests and Levites, and of the gift of the Levites to the priests, of the numbering of them, and the service they were to perform; and first of the priests, the sons of Aaron, Nu 3:1-4; and then of the Levites, as given unto them, to wait upon them, and assist them, Nu 3:5-10; and these were taken instead of the firstborn, Nu 3:11-13; and ordered to be numbered, which was done accordingly by their families, Nu 3:14-20; and the sum of each is given, and the particular work assigned to them; of the Gershonites, Nu 3:21-26; of the Kohathites, Nu 3:27-32; of the Merarites, Nu 3:33-38; the sum total of them is given, Nu 3:39; then the firstborn of the children of Israel, from a month old are ordered to be numbered, and were, Nu 3:40-43; and these appearing to be more in number than the Levites, by two hundred seventy three a direction is given that the two hundred seventy three should be redeemed at the rate of five, shekels apiece, and the money paid to Aaron and his sons, Nu 3:44-48; which was accordingly done, Nu 3:49-51.

Cross References 22

  • 1. S Exodus 6:27
  • 2. S Exodus 19:11
  • 3. Numbers 1:20
  • 4. S Exodus 6:23; Numbers 26:60
  • 5. S Exodus 28:41; S Exodus 29:30
  • 6. S Leviticus 10:2
  • 7. S Leviticus 10:1
  • 8. Leviticus 10:6,12; Numbers 4:28
  • 9. 1 Chronicles 24:1
  • 10. Deuteronomy 10:8; Deuteronomy 31:9; 1 Chronicles 15:2
  • 11. Numbers 8:6-22; Numbers 18:1-7; 2 Chronicles 29:11
  • 12. Numbers 1:53; Numbers 8:19
  • 13. S Leviticus 8:35; Numbers 1:50
  • 14. ver 12,45; Numbers 8:19; Numbers 18:6
  • 15. S Exodus 30:7
  • 16. S Exodus 29:9
  • 17. Numbers 1:51
  • 18. Nehemiah 13:29; Malachi 2:4
  • 19. ver 41; Numbers 8:16,18
  • 20. S ver 9; Exodus 13:2; Numbers 8:14; Numbers 16:9
  • 21. S Exodus 13:12
  • 22. Leviticus 11:44

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text; some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint (see also 8:16) "to me"
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