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Numbers 3 Good News Translation (GNT)

Aaron's Sons

This is the family of Aaron and Moses at the time the Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. Aaron had four sons: Nadab, the oldest, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. They were anointed and ordained as priests, but Nadab and Abihu were killed when they offered unholy fire to the Lord in the Sinai Desert. They had no children, so Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests during Aaron's lifetime.

The Levites Are Appointed to Serve the Priests

The Lord said to Moses, “Bring forward the tribe of Levi and appoint them as servants of Aaron the priest. They shall do the work required for the Tent of my presence and perform duties for the priests and for the whole community. They shall take charge of all the equipment of the Tent and perform the duties for the rest of the Israelites. The only responsibility the Levites have is to serve Aaron and his sons. 10 You shall appoint Aaron and his sons to carry out the duties of the priesthood; anyone else who tries to do so shall be put to death.”

11 The Lord said to Moses, 12-13 “The Levites are now to be mine. When I killed all the first-born of the Egyptians, I consecrated as my own the oldest son of each Israelite family and the first-born of every animal. Now, instead of having the first-born sons of Israel as my own, I have the Levites; they will belong to me. I am the Lord.”

The Census of the Levites

14 In the Sinai Desert the Lord commanded Moses 15 to register the Levites by clans and families, enrolling every male a month old or older, 16 and Moses did so. 17-20 Levi had three sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, who were the ancestors of the clans that bear their names. Gershon had two sons: Libni and Shimei; Kohath had four sons: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel; and Merari had two sons: Mahli and Mushi. They were the ancestors of the families that bear their names.

21 The clan of Gershon was composed of the families of Libni and Shimei. 22 The total number of males one month old or older that were enrolled was 7,500. 23 This clan was to camp on the west behind the Tent, 24 with Eliasaph son of Lael as chief of the clan. 25 They were responsible for the Tent, its inner cover, its outer cover, the curtain for the entrance, 26 the curtains for the court which is around the Tent and the altar, and the curtain for the entrance of the court. They were responsible for all the service connected with these items.

27 The clan of Kohath was composed of the families of Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 28 The total number of males one month old or older that were enrolled was 8,600. 29 This clan was to camp on the south side of the Tent, 30 with Elizaphan son of Uzziel as chief of the clan. 31 They were responsible for the Covenant Box, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the utensils the priests use in the Holy Place, and the curtain at the entrance to the Most Holy Place. They were responsible for all the service connected with these items.

32 The chief of the Levites was Eleazar son of Aaron the priest. He was in charge of those who carried out the duties in the Holy Place.

33 The clan of Merari was composed of the families of Mahli and Mushi. 34 The total number of males one month old or older that were enrolled was 6,200. 35 This clan was to camp on the north side of the Tent, with Zuriel son of Abihail as chief of the clan. 36 They were assigned responsibility for the frames for the Tent, its bars, posts, bases, and all its fittings. They were responsible for all the service connected with these items. 37 They were also responsible for the posts, bases, pegs, and ropes for the outer court.

38 Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp in front of the Tent on the east. They were responsible for carrying out the services performed in the Holy Place for the people of Israel. Anyone else who tried to do so was to be put to death. 39 The total number of all the Levite males one month old or older that Moses enrolled by clans at the command of the Lord, was 22,000.

The Levites Take the Place of the First-Born Sons

40-41 The Lord said to Moses, “All of Israel's first-born sons belong to me. So register by name every first-born male Israelite, one month old or older. But in place of them I claim all the Levites as mine! I am the Lord! I also claim the livestock of the Levites in place of all the first-born of the livestock.” 42 Moses obeyed, and registered all the first-born males 43 one month old or older; the total was 22,273.

44 The Lord said to Moses, 45 “Now dedicate the Levites as mine in place of all the first-born Israelite sons, and dedicate the livestock of the Levites in place of the first-born of the Israelites' livestock. 46 Since the first-born Israelite sons outnumber the Levites by 273, you must buy back the extra sons. 47 For each one pay five pieces of silver, according to the official standard, 48 and give this money to Aaron and his sons.” 49 Moses obeyed and took 50 the 1,365 pieces of silver 51 and gave them to Aaron and his sons.

Good News Translation (GNT)

Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society

Numbers 3 New International Version (NIV)

The Levites

This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses at the time the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai.

The names of the sons of Aaron were Nadab the firstborn and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar. Those were the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests. 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.

The Lord said to Moses, “Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle. 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. 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.”

14 The Lord said to Moses in the Desert of Sinai, 15 “Count the Levites by their families and clans. Count every male a month old or more.” 16 So Moses counted them, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.

17 These were the names of the sons of Levi:

Gershon, Kohath and Merari.

18 These were the names of the Gershonite clans:

Libni and Shimei.

19 The Kohathite clans:

Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.

20 The Merarite clans:

Mahli and Mushi.

These were the Levite clans, according to their families.

21 To Gershon belonged the clans of the Libnites and Shimeites; these were the Gershonite clans. 22 The number of all the males a month old or more who were counted was 7,500. 23 The Gershonite clans were to camp on the west, behind the tabernacle. 24 The leader of the families of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael. 25 At the tent of meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the curtains of the courtyard, the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar, and the ropes—and everything related to their use.

27 To Kohath belonged the clans of the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites and Uzzielites; these were the Kohathite clans. 28 The number of all the males a month old or more was 8,600.[b] The Kohathites were responsible for the care of the sanctuary. 29 The Kohathite clans were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle. 30 The leader of the families of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31 They were responsible for the care of the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the articles of the sanctuary used in ministering, the curtain, and everything related to their use. 32 The chief leader of the Levites was Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest. He was appointed over those who were responsible for the care of the sanctuary.

33 To Merari belonged the clans of the Mahlites and the Mushites; these were the Merarite clans. 34 The number of all the males a month old or more who were counted was 6,200. 35 The leader of the families of the Merarite clans was Zuriel son of Abihail; they were to camp on the north side of the tabernacle. 36 The Merarites were appointed to take care of the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts, bases, all its equipment, and everything related to their use, 37 as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs and ropes.

38 Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp to the east of the tabernacle, toward the sunrise, in front of the tent of meeting. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary on behalf of the Israelites. Anyone else who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death.

39 The total number of Levites counted at the Lord’s command by Moses and Aaron according to their clans, including every male a month old or more, was 22,000.

40 The Lord said to Moses, “Count all the firstborn Israelite males who are a month old or more and make a list of their names. 41 Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the Lord.”

42 So Moses counted all the firstborn of the Israelites, as the Lord commanded him. 43 The total number of firstborn males a month old or more, listed by name, was 22,273.

44 The Lord also said to Moses, 45 “Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the Lord. 46 To redeem the 273 firstborn Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, 47 collect five shekels[c] for each one, according to the sanctuary shekel, which weighs twenty gerahs. 48 Give the money for the redemption of the additional Israelites to Aaron and his sons.”

49 So Moses collected the redemption money from those who exceeded the number redeemed by the Levites. 50 From the firstborn of the Israelites he collected silver weighing 1,365 shekels,[d] according to the sanctuary shekel. 51 Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, as he was commanded by the word of the Lord.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 3:9 Most manuscripts of the Masoretic Text; some manuscripts of the Masoretic Text, Samaritan Pentateuch and Septuagint (see also 8:16) to me
  2. Numbers 3:28 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts 8,300
  3. Numbers 3:47 That is, about 2 ounces or about 58 grams
  4. Numbers 3:50 That is, about 35 pounds or about 16 kilograms
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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