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Numbers 3:7-9 New English Translation (NET Bible)

They are responsible for his needs[a] and the needs of the whole community before the tent of meeting, by attending to[b] the service of the tabernacle. And they are responsible for all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, and for the needs of the Israelites, as they serve[c] in the tabernacle. You are to assign[d] the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they will be assigned exclusively[e] to him out of all[f] the Israelites.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 3:7 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.
  2. Numbers 3:7 tn The form is the Qal infinitive construct from עָבַד (ʿavad, “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. Numbers 3:8 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.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 gatekeepers (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.
  4. Numbers 3:9 tn The verb וְנָתַתָּה (venatattah) 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.
  5. Numbers 3:9 tn This emphasis is derived from the simple repetition of the passive participle, נְתוּנִם נְתוּנִם (netunim netunim). See GKC 396 §123.e. The forms serve as the predicate with the subject pronoun.
  6. Numbers 3:9 tn The Hebrew text simply has the preposition, “from the Israelites.”
New English Translation (NET)

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