The Bible – Old Testament
The following were the descendants of Aaron and Moses at the time that the LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.
The sons of Aaron were Nadab his first-born, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests who were ordained to exercise the priesthood.
But when Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire before the LORD in the desert of Sinai, they met death in the presence of the LORD, and left no sons. Thereafter only Eleazar and Ithamar performed the priestly functions under the direction of their father Aaron.
Now the LORD said to Moses:
“Summon the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest, as his assistants.
They shall discharge his obligations and those of the whole community before the meeting tent by serving at the Dwelling.
They shall have custody of all the furnishings of the meeting tent and discharge the duties of the Israelites in the service of the Dwelling.
You shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they have been set aside from among the Israelites as dedicated to me.
But only Aaron and his descendants shall you appoint to have charge of the priestly functions. Any layman who comes near shall be put to death.”
The LORD said to Moses,
“It is I who have chosen the Levites from the Israelites in place of every first-born that opens the womb among the Israelites. The Levites, therefore, are mine,
because every first-born is mine. When I slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt, I made all the first-born in Israel sacred to me, both of man and of beast. They belong to me; I am the LORD.”
The LORD said to Moses in the desert of Sinai,
“Take a census of the Levites by ancestral houses and clans, registering every male of a month or more.”
Moses, therefore, took their census in accordance with the command the LORD had given him.
The sons of Levi were named Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
The descendants of Gershon, by clans, were named Libni and Shimei.
The descendants of Kohath, by clans, were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.
The descendants of Merari, by clans, were Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of the Levites by ancestral houses.
To Gershon belonged the clan of the Libnites and the clan of the Shimeites; these were the clans of the Gershonites.
When all their males of a month or more were registered, they numbered seven thousand five hundred.
The clans of the Gershonites camped behind the Dwelling, to the west.
The prince of their ancestral house was Eliasaph, son of Lael.
1 At the meeting tent they had charge of whatever pertained to the Dwelling, the tent and its covering, the curtain at the entrance of the meeting tent,
the hangings of the court, the curtain at the entrance of the court enclosing both the Dwelling and the altar, and the ropes.
To Kohath belonged the clans of the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites; these were the clans of the Kohathites.
When all their males of a month or more were registered, they numbered eight thousand three hundred. They had charge of the sanctuary.
The clans of the Kohathites camped at the south side of the Dwelling.
The prince of their ancestral house was Elizaphan, son of Uzziel.
2 They had charge of whatever pertained to the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the utensils with which the ministry of the sanctuary was exercised, and the veil.
The chief prince of the Levites, however, was Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest; he was supervisor over those who had charge of the sanctuary.
To Merari belonged the clans of the Mahlites and the Mushites; these were the clans of Merari.
When all their males of a month or more were registered, they numbered six thousand two hundred.
The prince of the ancestral house of the clans of Merari was Zuriel, son of Abihail. They camped at the north side of the Dwelling.
3 The Merarites were charged with the care of whatever pertained to the boards of the Dwelling, its bars, columns, pedestals, and all its fittings,
as well as the columns of the surrounding court with their pedestals, pegs and ropes.
East of the Dwelling, that is, in front of the meeting tent, toward the sunrise, were camped Moses and Aaron and the latter’s sons. They discharged the obligations of the sanctuary for the Israelites. Any layman who came near was to be put to death.
The total number of male Levites a month old or more whom Moses had registered by clans in keeping with the LORD’S command, was twenty-two thousand.
The LORD then said to Moses, “Take a census of all the first-born males of the Israelites a month old or more, and compute their total number.
Then assign the Levites to me, the LORD, in place of all the first-born of the Israelites, as well as their cattle in place of all the first-born among the cattle of the Israelites.”
So Moses took a census of all the first-born of the Israelites, as the LORD had commanded him.
When all the first-born males of a month or more were registered, they numbered twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.
The LORD said to Moses:
“Take the Levites in place of all the first-born of the Israelites, and the Levites’ cattle in place of their cattle, that the Levites may belong to me. I am the LORD.
As ransom for the two hundred and seventy-three first-born of the Israelites who outnumber the Levites,
you shall take five shekels for each individual, according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to the shekel.
Give this silver to Aaron and his sons as ransom for the extra number.”
So Moses took the silver as ransom from those who were left when the rest had been redeemed by the Levites.
From the first-born of the Israelites he received in silver one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels according to the sanctuary standard.
He then gave this ransom silver to Aaron and his sons, as the LORD had commanded him.
1 [25-26] The Gershonites had two wagons for transporting these things; cf ⇒ Numbers 7:7. For a description of the Dwelling, see ⇒ Exodus 26:1-6; the tent, ⇒ Exodus 26:7-13; its covering, ⇒ Exodus 26:14; the curtain at the entrance, ⇒ Exodus 26:36; the hangings of the court, ⇒ Exodus 27:9-15; the curtain at the entrance of the court, ⇒ Exodus 27:16; the ropes of the Dwelling, ⇒ Exodus 35:18.
2  The Kohathites had to carry these sacred objects on their shoulders; cf ⇒ Numbers 7:9. For a description of the ark, see ⇒ Exodus 25:10-22; the table, ⇒ Exodus 25:23-30; the lampstand, ⇒ Exodus 25:31-40; the altars, ⇒ Exodus 27:1-8; ⇒ 30:1-10.
3 [36-37] The Merarites had four wagons for transporting this heavy material; cf ⇒ Numbers 7:8. For a description of the boards, bars, etc., of the Dwelling, see ⇒ Exodus 26:15-30; the columns, pedestals etc., of the court, ⇒ Exodus 27:9-19.