Numbers 4:1-20 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
Duties of the Kohathites
4 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 2 “Among the Levites, take a census of the Kohathites by their clans and their ancestral houses, 3 men from 30 years old to 50 years old—everyone who is qualified[a] to do work at the tent of meeting.
4 “The service of the Kohathites at the tent of meeting concerns the most holy objects. 5 Whenever the camp is about to move on, Aaron and his sons are to go in, take down the screening veil, and cover the ark of the testimony with it. 6 They are to place over this a covering made of manatee skin,[b] spread a solid blue cloth on top, and insert its poles.
7 “They are to spread a blue cloth over the table of the Presence and place the plates and cups on it, as well as the bowls and pitchers for the drink offering. The regular bread offering is to be on it. 8 They are to spread a scarlet cloth over them, cover them with a covering made of manatee skin,[c] and insert the poles in the table.
9 “They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand used for light, with its lamps, snuffers, and firepans, as well as its jars of oil by which they service it. 10 Then they must place it with all its utensils inside a covering made of manatee skin[d] and put them on the carrying frame.
11 “They are to spread a blue cloth over the gold altar, cover it with a covering made of manatee skin,[e] and insert its poles. 12 They are to take all the serving utensils they use in the sanctuary, place them in a blue cloth, cover them with a covering made of manatee skin,[f] and put them on a carrying frame.
13 “They are to remove the ashes from the bronze altar, spread a purple cloth over it, 14 and place all the equipment on it that they use in serving: the firepans, meat forks, shovels, and basins—all the equipment of the altar. They are to spread a covering made of manatee skin[g] over it and insert its poles.[h]
15 “Aaron and his sons are to finish covering the holy objects and all their equipment whenever the camp is to move on. The Kohathites will come and carry them, but they are not to touch the holy objects or they will die. These are the transportation duties of the Kohathites regarding the tent of meeting.
16 “Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, has oversight of the lamp oil, the fragrant incense, the daily grain offering, and the anointing oil. He has oversight of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, the holy objects and their utensils.”[i]
17 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 18 “Do not allow the Kohathite tribal clans to be wiped out from the Levites. 19 Do this for them so that they may live and not die when they come near the most holy objects: Aaron and his sons are to go in and assign each man his task and transportation duty. 20 The Kohathites are not to go in and look at the holy objects, even for a moment,[j] or they will die.”