Numbers 3 Study –
The Sons of Aaron
3 Now these are the records[a] of Aaron and Moses when the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. 2 And these are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests, [b]whom he consecrated to minister as priests. 4 Nadab and Abihu had died before the Lord when they offered profane fire before the Lord in the Wilderness of Sinai; and they had no children. So Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests in the presence of Aaron their father.
The Levites Serve in the Tabernacle
5 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 6 “Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. 7 And they shall attend to his needs and the needs of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of meeting, to do the work of the tabernacle. 8 Also they shall attend to all the furnishings of the tabernacle of meeting, and to the needs of the children of Israel, to do the work of the tabernacle. 9 And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they are given entirely to [c]him from among the children of Israel. 10 So you shall appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall attend to their priesthood; but the outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”
11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 “Now behold, I Myself have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn who opens the womb among the children of Israel. Therefore, the Levites shall be Mine, 13 because all the firstborn are Mine. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They shall be Mine: I am the Lord.”
Census of the Levites Commanded
14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai, saying: 15 “Number the children of Levi by their fathers’ houses, by their families; you shall number every male from a month old and above.”
16 So Moses numbered them according to the [d]word of the Lord, as he was commanded. 17 These were the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 18 And these are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei. 19 And the sons of Kohath by their families: Amram, Izehar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20 And the sons of Merari by their families: Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites by their fathers’ houses.
21 From Gershon came the family of the Libnites and the family of the Shimites; these were the families of the Gershonites. 22 Those who were numbered, according to the number of all the males from a month old and above—of those who were numbered there were seven thousand five hundred. 23 The families of the Gershonites were to camp behind the tabernacle westward. 24 And the leader of the father’s house of the Gershonites was Eliasaph the son of Lael. 25 The duties of the children of Gershon in the tabernacle of meeting included the tabernacle, the tent with its covering, the screen for the door of the tabernacle of meeting, 26 the screen for the door of the court, the hangings of the court which are around the tabernacle and the altar, and their cords, according to all the work relating to them.
27 From Kohath came the family of the Amramites, the family of the Izharites, the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites; these were the families of the Kohathites. 28 According to the number of all the males, from a month old and above, there were eight thousand [e]six hundred [f]keeping charge of the sanctuary. 29 The families of the children of Kohath were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle. 30 And the leader of the fathers’ house of the families of the Kohathites was Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. 31 Their duty included the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the utensils of the sanctuary with which they ministered, the screen, and all the work relating to them.
32 And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest was to be chief over the leaders of the Levites, with oversight of those who kept charge of the sanctuary.
33 From Merari came the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites; these were the families of Merari. 34 And those who were numbered, according to the number of all the males from a month old and above, were six thousand two hundred. 35 The leader of the fathers’ house of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihail. These were to camp on the north side of the tabernacle. 36 And the appointed duty of the children of Merari included the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, its utensils, all the work relating to them, 37 and the pillars of the court all around, with their sockets, their pegs, and their cords.
38 Moreover those who were to camp before the tabernacle on the east, before the tabernacle of meeting, were Moses, Aaron, and his sons, keeping charge of the sanctuary, to meet the needs of the children of Israel; but the outsider who came near was to be put to death. 39 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, by their families, all the males from a month old and above, were twenty-two thousand.
Levites Dedicated Instead of the Firstborn
40 Then the Lord said to Moses: “Number[g] all the firstborn males of the children of Israel from a month old and above, and take the number of their names. 41 And you shall take the Levites for Me—I am the Lord—instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the livestock of the children of Israel.” 42 So Moses numbered all the firstborn among the children of Israel, as the Lord commanded him. 43 And all the firstborn males, according to the number of names from a month old and above, of those who were numbered of them, were twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.
44 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 45 “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. The Levites shall be Mine: I am the Lord. 46 And for the redemption of the two hundred and seventy-three of the firstborn of the children of Israel, who are more than the number of the Levites, 47 you shall take five shekels for each one individually; you shall take them in the currency of the shekel of the sanctuary, the shekel of twenty gerahs. 48 And you shall give the money, with which the excess number of them is redeemed, to Aaron and his sons.”
49 So Moses took the redemption money from those who were over and above those who were redeemed by the Levites. 50 From the firstborn of the children of Israel he took the money, one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, according to the shekel of the sanctuary. 51 And Moses gave their redemption money to Aaron and his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.
Numbers 3 Notes
3:6-9: The tribe of Levi was presented to Aaron and his sons to MINISTER LITURGICALLY with them … The service of the priests and the Levites was on behalf of the children of Israel … Aaron’s sons were priests, but Aaron himself was the high priest … The other Levites assisted in the liturgical worship …
The liturgical service of the priests and Levites was a type of liturgical service in the Church … The high priest was a type of Christ, our Great High Priest and “The Shepherd and Overseer – (Bishop) of our souls” – (1Peter 2:25) … The bishops are living icons of Christ, the high priests of the Church … Likewise, the priests in the Church are also icons of Christ and serve liturgically with the bishop under whom they are assigned as his spiritual sons …
The Levites served liturgically with Aaron and his sons, as their assistants … They were types of the deacons, who assist the bishop in the liturgical worship; and when the bishop is not present, they assist the priests …
3:11-13 – 40-51: The Lord ransomed the firstborn sons of Israel in Egypt with the blood of a lamb; therefore, the firstborn sons belonged to Him … Fourteen months later in the wilderness of Sinai – (Numbers 1:1), He accepted the males in the tribe of Levi – (a month old and above – 22,000 in number) as a ransom payment for the firstborn of the twelve tribes … Thus, an exchange took place in which the Levites became the Lord’s liturgical ministers of the tabernacle … However, the census among of the twelve tribes revealed the number of Israel’s firstborn sons to be 22,273 … Therefore, a ransom payment was owed to the Lord for this excess number of 273of Israel’s firstborn males … These males were required to ransom themselves by paying the Levites a redemption tax which totaled 1365 shekels – (v. 50) … This redemption tax became a tradition in Israel … The firstborn males were required to pay this tax in their hometowns …
Jesus’ hometown in His adulthood was Capernaum … so on one occasion in Capernaum, Peter was asked if his teacher paid this tax – (Matthew 17:24-27) … Peter replied, “Yes” … However, Jesus had no obligation to pay the tax because He is the Son of God, a Son of a King, the Heavenly Father, and Jesus, too, is King … Kings enact payments for their subjects, not their sons … Nevertheless, to avoid offense, Jesus told Peter to catch a fish, and it would have money in its mouth enough to pay the tax – not only for Himself, but for Peter … For Peter, too, was a firstborn son … So, this tax payment from the mouth of the fish demonstrated Jesus to be the Lord and King over creation and the eternal Son of the heavenly King, The Father – (JohnChr) … This also demonstrated it was the Son of God, the King Himself, who ordered the redemption tax to be paid when Israel was in the Wilderness of Sinai …