3:1 1 Now these are the records 2 of Aaron and Moses when 3 the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. 3:2 These are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3:3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed 4 priests, whom he consecrated 5 to minister as priests. 6
3:4 Nadab and Abihu died 7 before the Lord 8 when they offered 9 strange 10 fire 11 before the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children. 12 So Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests 13 in the presence of 14 Aaron their father.
3:5 The Lord spoke to Moses: 3:6 “Bring the tribe of Levi near, 15 and present 16 them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. 17 3:7 They are responsible for his needs 18 and the needs of the whole community before the tent of meeting, by attending 19 to the service of the tabernacle. 3:8 And they are responsible for all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, and for the needs of the Israelites, as they serve 20 in the tabernacle. 3:9 You are to assign 21 the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they will be assigned exclusively 22 to him out of all 23 the Israelites. 3:10 So you are to appoint Aaron and his sons, and they will be responsible for their priesthood; 24 but the unauthorized person 25 who comes near must be put to death.”
3:11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 3:12 “Look, 26 I myself have taken the Levites from among the Israelites instead of 27 every firstborn who opens the womb among the Israelites. So the Levites belong to me, 3:13 because all the firstborn are mine. When I destroyed 28 all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They belong to me. I am the Lord.” 29
3:14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai: 3:15 “Number the Levites by their clans 30 and their families; every male from a month old and upward you are to number.” 31 3:16 So Moses numbered them according to the word 32 of the Lord, just as he had been commanded. 33
3:18 These are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei. 3:19 The sons of Kohath by their families were: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 3:20 The sons of Merari by their families were Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites by their clans.
3:21 From Gershon came the family of the Libnites and the family of the Shimeites; these were the families of the Gershonites. 3:22 Those of them who were numbered, counting every male from a month old and upward, were 7,500. 3:23 The families of the Gershonites were to camp behind the tabernacle toward the west. 3:24 Now the leader 35 of the clan 36 of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael.
3:25 And 37 the responsibilities of the Gershonites in the tent of meeting included the tabernacle, the tent with its covering, the curtain at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 3:26 the hangings of the courtyard, 38 the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard that surrounded the tabernacle and the altar, and their ropes, plus all the service connected with these things. 39
3:27 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. 40 3:28 Counting every male from a month old and upward, there were 8,600. They were responsible for the care 41 of the sanctuary. 3:29 The families of the Kohathites were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle. 3:30 Now the leader of the clan of the families of the Kohathites was Elizaphan son of Uzziel.
3:31 Their responsibilities included the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, and the utensils of the sanctuary with which they ministered, 42 the curtain, and all their service. 43 3:32 Now the head of all the Levitical leaders 44 was Eleazar son of Aaron the priest. He was appointed over those who were responsible 45 for the sanctuary.
3:33 From Merari came the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites; these were 46 the families of Merari. 3:34 Those of them who were numbered, counting every male from a month old and upward, were 6,200. 3:35 Now the leader of the clan of the families of Merari was Zuriel son of Abihail. These were to camp on the north side of the tabernacle.
3:36 The appointed responsibilities of the Merarites included the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, its posts, its sockets, its utensils, plus all the service connected with these things, 47 3:37 and the pillars of the courtyard all around, with their sockets, their pegs, and their ropes.
3:38 But those who were to camp in front of the tabernacle on the east, in front of the tent of meeting, were Moses, Aaron, 48 and his sons. They were responsible for the needs 49 of the sanctuary and for the needs of the Israelites, but the unauthorized person who approached was to be put to death. 3:39 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered by the word 50 of the Lord, according to their families, every male from a month old and upward, were 22,000. 51
3:40 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Number all the firstborn males of the Israelites from a month old and upward, and take 52 the number of their names. 3:41 And take 53 the Levites for me – I am the Lord – instead of all the firstborn males among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites.” 3:42 So Moses numbered all the firstborn males among the Israelites, as the Lord had commanded him. 3:43 And all the firstborn males, by the number of the names from a month old and upward, totaled 22,273.
3:44 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 3:45 “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn males among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. And the Levites will be mine. I am the Lord. 3:46 And for the redemption of the 273 firstborn males of the Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, 3:47 collect 54 five shekels for each 55 one individually; you are to collect 56 this amount 57 in the currency of the sanctuary shekel (this shekel is twenty gerahs). 58 3:48 And give the money for the redemption of the excess number of them to Aaron and his sons.”
3:49 So Moses took the redemption money 59 from those who were in excess of those redeemed by the Levites. 3:50 From the firstborn males of the Israelites he collected the money, 1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. 3:51 Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
4:1 60 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 4:2 “Take a census 61 of the Kohathites from among the Levites, by their families and by their clans, 4:3 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, all who enter the company 62 to do the work in the tent of meeting. 4:4 This is the service of the Kohathites in the tent of meeting, relating to the most holy things. 63 4:5 When it is time for the camp to journey, 64 Aaron and his sons must come and take down the screening curtain and cover the ark of the testimony with it. 4:6 Then they must put over it a covering of fine leather 65 and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue, and then they must insert its poles.
4:7 “On the table of the presence 66 they must spread a blue 67 cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring, and the Bread of the Presence must be on it continually. 4:8 They must spread over them a scarlet cloth, and cover the same with a covering of fine leather; and they must insert its poles.
4:9 “They must take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand of the light, with its lamps, its wick-trimmers, its trays, and all its oil vessels, with which they service it. 4:10 Then they must put it with all its utensils in a covering of fine leather, and put it on a carrying beam. 68
4:11 “They must spread a blue cloth on the gold altar, and cover it with a covering of fine leather; and they must insert its poles. 4:12 Then they must take all the utensils of the service, with which they serve in the sanctuary, put them in a blue cloth, cover them with a covering of fine leather, and put them on a carrying beam. 4:13 Also, they must take away the ashes from the altar 69 and spread a purple cloth over it. 4:14 Then they must place on it all its implements with which they serve there – the trays, the meat forks, the shovels, the basins, and all the utensils of the altar – and they must spread on it a covering of fine leather, and then insert its poles. 70
4:15 “When Aaron and his sons have finished 71 covering 72 the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is ready to journey, then 73 the Kohathites will come to carry them; 74 but they must not touch 75 any 76 holy thing, or they will die. 77 These are the responsibilities 78 of the Kohathites with the tent of meeting.
4:16 “The appointed responsibility of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest is for the oil for the light, and the spiced incense, and the daily grain offering, and the anointing oil; he also has 79 the appointed responsibility over all the tabernacle with 80 all that is in it, over the sanctuary and over all its furnishings.” 81
4:17 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 4:18 “Do not allow the tribe of the families of the Kohathites to be cut off 82 from among the Levites; 4:19 but in order that they will live 83 and not die when they approach the most holy things, do this for them: Aaron and his sons will go in and appoint 84 each man 85 to his service and his responsibility. 4:20 But the Kohathites 86 are not to go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, or they will die.”
4:21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 4:22 “Also take a census of the Gershonites, by their clans and by their families. 4:23 You must number them from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, all who enter the company to do the work of the tent of meeting. 4:24 This is the service of the families of Gershonites, as they serve 87 and carry it. 4:25 They must carry the curtains for the tabernacle and the tent of meeting with its covering, the covering of fine leather that is over it, the curtains for the entrance of the tent of meeting, 4:26 the hangings for the courtyard, the curtain for the entrance of the gate of the court, 88 which is around the tabernacle and the altar, and their ropes, along with all the furnishings for their service and everything that is made for them. So they are to serve. 89
4:27 “All the service of the Gershonites, whether 90 carrying loads 91 or for any of their work, will be at the direction of 92 Aaron and his sons. You will assign them all their tasks 93 as their responsibility. 4:28 This is the service of the families of the Gershonites concerning the tent of meeting. Their responsibilities will be under the authority 94 of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. 95
4:29 “As for the sons of Merari, you are to number them by their families and by their clans. 4:30 You must number them from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, all who enter the company to do the work of the tent of meeting. 4:31 This is what they are responsible to carry as their entire service in the tent of meeting: the frames 96 of the tabernacle, its crossbars, its posts, its sockets, 4:32 and the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their sockets, tent pegs, and ropes, along with all their furnishings and everything for their service. You are to assign by names the items that each man is responsible to carry. 97 4:33 This is the service of the families of the Merarites, their entire service concerning the tent of meeting, under the authority of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.”
4:34 So Moses and Aaron and the leaders of the community numbered the Kohathites by their families and by clans, 4:35 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered the company for the work in the tent of meeting; 4:36 and those of them numbered by their families were 2,750. 4:37 These were those numbered from the families of the Kohathites, everyone who served in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord by the authority of Moses.
4:38 Those numbered from the Gershonites, by their families and by their clans, 4:39 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered the company for the work in the tent of meeting – 4:40 those of them numbered by their families, by their clans, were 2,630. 4:41 These were those numbered from the families of the Gershonites, everyone who served in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord.
4:42 Those numbered from the families of the Merarites, by their families, by their clans, 4:43 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered the company for the work in the tent of meeting – 4:44 those of them numbered by their families were 3,200. 4:45 These are those numbered from the families of the Merarites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord by the authority of Moses.
4:46 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of Israel numbered by their families and by their clans, 4:47 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered to do the work of service and the work of carrying 98 relating to the tent of meeting – 4:48 those of them numbered were 8,580. 4:49 According to the word of the Lord they were numbered, 99 by the authority of Moses, each according to his service and according to what he was to carry. 100 Thus were they numbered by him, 101 as the Lord had commanded Moses.
[3:1] 1 sn For significant literature for this chapter, see M. Aberbach and L. Smolar, “Aaron, Jeroboam, and their Golden Calves,” JBL 86 (1967): 129-40; G. Brin, “The First-born in Israel in the Biblical Period” (Ph.D. diss., University of Tel Aviv, 1971); S. H. Hooke, “Theory and Practice of Substitution,” VT 2 (1952): 2-17; and J. Morgenstern, “A Chapter in the History of the High Priesthood,” AJSL 55 (1938): 1-24.
[3:1] 2 tn The construction is וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (vÿ’elleh tolÿdot), which was traditionally translated “now these are the generations,” much as it was translated throughout the book of Genesis. The noun can refer to records, stories, genealogies, names, and accounts of people. Here it is the recorded genealogical list with assigned posts included. Like Genesis, it is a heading of a section, and not a colophon as some have suggested. It is here similar to Exodus: “these are the names of.” R. K. Harrison, Numbers (WEC), 62, insists that it is a colophon and should end chapter 2, but if that is followed in the Pentateuch, it creates difficulty throughout the narratives. See the discussion by A. P. Ross, Creation and Blessing, 69-74.
[3:3] 4 tn The verb מָשַׁח (mashakh) means “to anoint”; here the form modifies the “priests.” The service of consecration was carried out with anointing oil (Exod 30:30). The verb is used for the anointing of kings as well as priests in the OT, and so out of that derived the technical title “Messiah” for the coming ideal king – the “Anointed One.”
[3:3] 5 tn In this verse the expression is in a relative clause: “who he filled their hand” means “whose hands he filled,” or “whom he consecrated.” The idiomatic expression used here is from Lev 8; it literally is “he filled their hand” (מִלֵּא יָדָם, mille’ yadam). In the ordination service Moses placed some of the meat from the sacrifice in the hand of the ordinand, and this signified what he was going to be about – having his hand full, or being consecrated to the priesthood. There is some evidence that this practice or expression was also known in Mesopotamia. In modern ordination services a NT or a Bible may be placed in the ordinand’s hand – it is what the ministry will be about.
[3:4] 7 tn The verb form is the preterite with vav (ו) consecutive, literally “and Nadab died.” Some commentators wish to make the verb a past perfect, rendering it “and Nadab had died,” but this is not necessary. In tracing through the line from Aaron it simply reports that the first two sons died. The reference is to the event recorded in Lev 10 where the sons brought “strange” or foreign” fire to the sanctuary.
[3:4] 9 tn The form בְּהַקְרִבָם (bÿhaqrivam) is the Hiphil infinitive construct functioning as a temporal clause: “when they brought near,” meaning, “when they offered.” The verb קָרַב (qarav) is familiar to students of the NT because of “corban” in Mark 7:11.
[3:4] 11 tn The expression אֵשׁ זָרָה (’esh zarah, “strange fire”) seems imprecise and has been interpreted numerous ways (see the helpful summary in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC 4], 132-33). The infraction may have involved any of the following or a combination thereof: (1) using coals from some place other than the burnt offering altar (i.e., “unauthorized coals” according to J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:598; cf. Lev 16:12 and cf. “unauthorized person” [אִישׁ זָר, ’ish zar] in Num 16:40 [17:5 HT], NASB “layman”), (2) using the wrong kind of incense (cf. the Exod 30:9 regulation against “strange incense” [קְטֹרֶת זָרָה, qÿtoret zarah] on the incense altar and the possible connection to Exod 30:34-38), (3) performing an incense offering at an unprescribed time (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 59), or (4) entering the Holy of Holies at an inappropriate time (Lev 16:1-2).
[3:4] 12 sn The two young priests had been cut down before they had children; the ranks of the family of Aaron were thereby cut in half in one judgment from God. The significance of the act of judgment was to show that the priests had to sanctify the
[3:6] 15 sn The use of the verb קָרַב (qarav) forms an interesting wordplay in the passage. The act of making an offering is described by this verb, as was the reference to the priests’ offering of strange fire. Now the ceremonial presentation of the priests is expressed by the same word – they are being offered to God.
[3:6] 16 tn The verb literally means “make it [the tribe] stand” (וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אֹתוֹ, vÿha’amadta ’oto). The verb is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it will take the same imperative nuance as the form before it, but follow in sequence (“and then”). This refers to the ceremonial presentation in which the tribe would take its place before Aaron, that is, stand before him and await their assignments. The Levites will function more like a sacred guard than anything else, for they had to protect and care for the sanctuary when it was erected and when it was transported (see J. Milgrom, Studies in Levitical Terminology, 8-10).
[3:6] 17 tn The verb וְשֵׁרְתוּ (vÿsherÿtu) is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it carries the same volitional force as the preceding verb forms, but may here be subordinated in the sequence to express the purpose or result of the preceding action.
[3:7] 18 tn The Hebrew text uses the perfect tense of שָׁמַר(shamar) with a vav (ו) consecutive to continue the instruction of the preceding verse. It may be translated “and they shall keep” or “they must/are to keep,” but in this context it refers to their appointed duties. The verb is followed by its cognate accusative – “they are to keep his keeping,” or as it is often translated, “his charge.” This would mean whatever Aaron needed them to do. But the noun is also used for the people in the next phrase, and so “charge” cannot be the meaning here. The verse is explaining that the Levites will have duties to perform to meet the needs of Aaron and the congregation.
[3:7] 19 tn The form is the Qal infinitive construct from עָבַד (’avad, “to serve, to work”); it is taken here as a verbal noun and means “by (or in) serving” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 36, §195). This explains the verb “keep [his charge].” Here too the form is followed by a cognate accusative; they will be there to “serve the service” or “work the work.”
[3:8] 20 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct (epexegetically) followed by its cognate accusative. It would convey “to serve the service of the tabernacle,” but more simply it may be rendered as “serving.” Their spiritual and practical service is to serve.
[3:8] sn The Levites had the duty of taking care of all the tabernacle and its furnishings, especially in times when it was to be moved. But they were also appointed to be gate-keepers (2 Kgs 22:4; 1 Chr 9:19) in order to safeguard the purity of the place and the activities that went on there. Their offices seem to have then become hereditary in time (1 Sam 1:3); they even took on more priestly functions, such as pronouncing the benediction (Deut 10:8). See further R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 348-49.
[3:9] 21 tn The verb וְנָתַתָּה (vÿnatattah) is normally “give.” Here, though, the context refers to the assignment of the Levites to the priests for their duties. The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, continuing the sequence for the imperfect of instruction.
[3:9] 22 tn This emphasis is derived from the simple repetition of the passive participle, נְתוּנִם נְתוּנִם (nÿtunim nÿtunim). See GKC 396 §123.e. The forms serve as the predicate with the subject pronoun.
[3:10] 25 tn The word is זָר (zar), usually rendered “stranger, foreigner, pagan.” But in this context it simply refers to anyone who is not a Levite or a priest, an unauthorized person or intruder in the tabernacle. That person would be put to death.
[3:13] 28 tn The form הַכֹּתִי (hakkoti) is the Hiphil infinitive construct of the verb נָכָה (nakhah, “to strike, smite, attack”). Here, after the idiomatic “in the day of,” the form functions in an adverbial clause of time – “when I destroyed.”
[3:13] 29 sn In the Exodus event of the Passover night the principle of substitution was presented. The firstborn child was redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and so belonged to God, but then God chose the Levites to serve in the place of the firstborn. The ritual of consecrating the firstborn son to the
[3:25] 37 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) here introduces a new section, listing the various duties of the clan in the sanctuary. The Gershonites had a long tradition of service here. In the days of David Asaph and his family were prominent as musicians. Others in the clan controlled the Temple treasuries. But in the wilderness they had specific oversight concerning the tent structure, which included the holy place and the holy of holies.
[3:26] 38 tc The phrases in this verse seem to be direct objects without verbs. BHS suggests deleting the sign of the accusative (for which see P. P. Saydon, “Meanings and Uses of the Particle אֵת,” VT 14 : 263-75).
[3:27] 40 sn Both Moses and Aaron came from this line (6:16-20). During the Hebrew monarchy this branch of the line of Levi was exemplary in music (1 Chr 6:33-48). They were also helpful to Hezekiah in his reforms (1 Chr 29:12-14).
[3:28] 41 tn The construction here is a little different. The Hebrew text uses the participle in construct plural: שֹׁמְרֵי (shomÿrey, literally “keepers of”). The form specifies the duties of the 8,600 Kohathites. The genitive that follows this participle is the cognate מִשְׁמֶרֶת (mishmeret) that has been used before. So the expression indicates that they were responsible for the care of this part of the cult center. There is no reason to delete one of the forms (as does J. A. Paterson, Numbers, 42), for the repetition stresses the central importance of their work.
[3:31] 42 tn The verb is יְשָׁרְתוּ (yÿsharÿtu, “they will serve/minister”). The imperfect tense in this place, however, probably describes what the priests would do, what they used to do. The verb is in a relative clause: “which they would serve with them,” which should be changed to read “with which they would serve.”
[3:32] 45 tn Heb “the keepers of the responsibility” (שֹׁמְרֵי מִשְׁמֶרֶת, shomÿrey mishmeret). The participle is a genitive specifying the duty to which he was appointed (thing possessed); its cognate genitive emphasizes that their responsibility was over the holy place.
[3:33] 46 tn The Hebrew text has “these they the families of Merari.” The independent personal pronoun has an anaphoric use, somewhat equivalent to the copula “and” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 23, §115).
[3:39] 51 tn The total is a rounded off number; it does not duplicate the precise total of 22,300. Some modern scholars try to explain it by positing an error in v. 28, suggesting that “six” should be read as “three” (שֵׁשׁ [shesh] as שָׁלֹשׁ [shalosh]).
[3:41] 53 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; it carries forward the instructions from the preceding verse. The verb “take” now has the sense of appointing or designating the Levites.
[3:47] 58 sn The sanctuary shekel was first mentioned in Exod 30:13. The half-shekel of Exod 38:26 would then be 10 gerahs. Consequently, the calculations would indicate that five shekels was about two ounces of silver for each person. See R. B. Y. Scott, “Weights and Measures of the Bible,” BA 22 (1951): 22-40, and “The Scale-Weights from Ophel, 1963-1964,” PEQ 97 (1965): 128-39.
[4:2] 61 tn Heb “lift up the head.” The form נָשֹׂא (naso’) is the Qal infinitive absolute functioning here as a pure verb form. This serves to emphasize the basic verbal root idea (see GKC 346 §113.bb).
[4:2] sn The census of chapter 3 was to register all male Levites from a month old and up. It arranged the general duties of each of the tribes. The second census of Levites now will focus on those between 30 and 50 years of age, those who were actually in service. These are the working Levites. The duties here will be more specific for each of the families. The Kohathites, although part of the ordinary ministry of Levites, were a special group chosen to handle the most holy furnishings. J. Milgrom shows three aspects of their service: (1) skilled labor (מְלָאכָה, mÿla’khah) or “work,” (2) physical labor (עֲבֹדָה, ‘avodah) or “service,” and (3) assisting the priests (שָׁרֵת, sharet) or “ministering” (see his Studies in Levitical Terminology, 1:60-70).
[4:3] 62 tn The word “company” is literally “host, army” (צָבָא, tsava’). The repetition of similar expressions makes the translation difficult: Heb “all [who] come to the host to do work in the tent.”
[4:4] 63 tn The Hebrew text simply has “the holy of holies,” or “the holy of the holy things” (קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים, qodesh haqqodashim). The context indicates that this refers to all the sacred furnishings.
[4:5] 64 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive construct in an adverbial clause of time; literally it says “in the journeying of the camp.” The genitive in such constructions is usually the subject. Here the implication is that people would be preparing to transport the camp and its equipment.
[4:6] 65 tn The exact meaning of the Hebrew word here is difficult to determine. The term תַּחַשׁ (takhash) has been translated “badgers’ [skins]” by KJV. ASV has “sealskin” while RSV uses “goatskin”; NEB and NASB have “porpoise skin,” and NIV has “hides of sea cows.” This is close to “porpoise,” and seems influenced by the Arabic. The evidence is not strong for any of these meanings, and some of the suggestions would be problematic. It is possible the word is simply used for “fine leather,” based on the Egyptian ths. This has been followed by NRSV (“fine leather”) and NLT (“fine goatskin leather”) along with the present translation. See further HALOT 1720-21 s.v. תַּחַשׁ.
[4:10] 68 tn The “pole” or “bar” (מוֹט, mot) is of a different style than the poles used for transporting the ark. It seems to be a flexible bar carried by two men with the implements being transported tied to the bar. The NEB suggests the items were put in a bag and slung over the bar, but there is no indication of the manner.
[4:13] 69 tc The Greek text has “and he must place the cover upon the altar” instead of “and they must take away the ashes from the altar.” The verb is the Piel form; its nuance seems to be privative, i.e., stating that the object is deprived of the material – the ashes are removed. This is the main altar in the courtyard.
[4:14] 70 tc For this passage the Greek and Smr have a substantial addition concerning the purple cloth for the laver and its base, and a further covering of skin (see D. W. Gooding, “On the Use of the LXX for Dating Midrashic Elements in the Targums,” JTS 25 : 1-11).
[4:15] 77 tn The verb is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, following the imperfect tense warning against touching the holy thing. The form shows the consequence of touching the holy thing, and so could be translated “or they will die” or “lest they die.” The first is stronger.
[4:15] 78 tn The word מַשָּׂא (massa’) is normally rendered “burden,” especially in prophetic literature. It indicates the load that one must carry, whether an oracle, or here the physical responsibility.
[4:18] 82 sn The verb is simply the Qal, “do not cut off.” The context calls for a permissive nuance – “do not let them be cut off.” It was a difficult task to be handling the holy things correctly; Moses and Aaron were to see to it that they did it right and did not handle the objects, that is, Moses and Aaron were to safeguard their lives by making certain that proper procedures were followed.
[4:19] 83 tn The word order is different in the Hebrew text: Do this…and they will live. Consequently, the verb “and they will live” is a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive to express the future consequence of “doing this” for them.
[4:24] 87 tn The two forms are the infinitive construct and then the noun: “to serve and for the burden.” They are to serve and they are to take the responsibility. The infinitive is explaining the verb.
[4:26] 89 tn The work of these people would have been very demanding, since the size and weight of the various curtains and courtyard hangings would have been great. For a detailed discussion of these, see the notes in the book of Exodus on the construction of the items.
[4:28] 95 sn The material here suggests that Eleazar had heavier responsibilities than Ithamar, Aaron’s fourth and youngest son. It is the first indication that the Zadokite Levites would take precedence over the Ithamar Levites (see 1 Chr 24:3-6).
[4:31] 96 sn More recent studies have concluded that these “boards” were made of two long uprights joined by cross-bars (like a ladder). They were frames rather than boards, meaning that the structure under the tent was not a solid building. It also meant that the “boards” would have been lighter to carry.
[4:47] 98 tn The text multiplies the vocabulary of service here in the summary. In the Hebrew text the line reads literally: “everyone who came to serve the service of serving, and the service of burden.” The Levites came into service in the shrine, and that involved working in the sanctuary as well as carrying it from one place to the next.
[4:49] 101 tn The passive form simply reads “those numbered by him.” Because of the cryptic nature of the word, some suggest reading a preterite, “and they were numbered.” This is supported by the Greek, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate. It would follow in the emendation that the relative pronoun be changed to “just as” (כַּאֲשֶׁר, ka’asher). The MT is impossible the way it stands; it can only be rendered into smooth English by adding something that is missing.