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Numbers 4:1-16 Common English Bible (CEB)

Second census and the Levites’ duties

The Kohathites’ duties

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: Take a census of the Kohathites from among the Levites by their clans and their households, from 30 to 50 years old, all who are eligible for service to do the work of the meeting tent. These are the responsibilities of the Kohathites in the meeting tent: the most holy things.

When it’s time to break camp, Aaron and his sons will enter and take down the screening curtain, and they will cover the chest containing the covenant with it. Then they will place a covering of fine leather[a] on it. They will spread a whole cloth of blue over it, and they will set its poles in place. They will spread a blue cloth on the presentation table and place on it the plates, the dishes, the bowls, and the container for the drink offering. The usual bread will be on it. They will spread on them a red cloth, cover it with fine leather, and set its poles in place. They will take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand used for light, its lamps, its extinguishers, its trays, and all the containers for oil that are used in its service. 10 They will place it and its equipment in a covering of fine leather, and then place it on the carrying frame. 11 They will spread a blue cloth on the gold altar and cover it with fine leather. 12 They will take all the service equipment used in the sanctuary, place it in a blue cloth, and cover it with fine leather. Then they will place it on the carrying frame. 13 They will remove the ashes from the altar and spread a purple cloth on it. 14 They will place on it all the equipment used for servicing it, the censers, the meat fork, the shovels, the bowls, all the equipment of the altar. They will spread a covering of fine leather over it and then set its poles in place.

15 Aaron and his sons will finish covering the sanctuary and all the equipment of the sanctuary when it is time to break camp. After that the Kohathites will enter to carry it, but they will not touch the sanctuary, lest they die. These are the objects in the dwelling that the Kohathites are to carry. 16 But Eleazar son of Aaron the priest will have oversight of the oil for lighting, the fragrant incense, the regular grain offering, and the anointing oil, as well as oversight of the entire dwelling and everything in it related to the sanctuary and its equipment.


  1. Numbers 4:6 Or dolphin skin; see also 4:8, 10-12.
Common English Bible (CEB)

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