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Numbers 1-4 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

The Census of Israel

The Lord spoke to Moses in the tent of meeting in the Wilderness of Sinai, on the first day of the second month of the second year after Israel’s departure from the land of Egypt: “Take a census of the entire Israelite community by their clans and their fathers’ families,[a] counting the names of every male one by one. You and Aaron are to register those who are twenty years old or more by their military divisions—everyone who can serve in Israel’s army.[b] A man from each tribe is to be with you, each one the head of his ancestral family.[c] These are the names of the men who are to assist you:

Elizur son of Shedeur from Reuben;

Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai from Simeon;

Nahshon son of Amminadab from Judah;

Nethanel son of Zuar from Issachar;

Eliab son of Helon from Zebulun;

10 from the sons of Joseph:

Elishama son of Ammihud from Ephraim,

Gamaliel son of Pedahzur from Manasseh;

11 Abidan son of Gideoni from Benjamin;

12 Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai from Dan;

13 Pagiel son of Ochran from Asher;

14 Eliasaph son of Deuel[d] from Gad;

15 Ahira son of Enan from Naphtali.

16 These are the men called from the community; they are leaders of their ancestral tribes, the heads of Israel’s clans.”

17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been designated by name, 18 and they assembled the whole community on the first day of the second month. They recorded their ancestry by their clans and their ancestral families, counting one by one the names of those twenty years old or more, 19 just as the Lord commanded Moses. He registered them in the Wilderness of Sinai:

20 The descendants of Reuben, the firstborn of Israel: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting one by one the names of every male twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 21 those registered for the tribe of Reuben numbered 46,500.

22 The descendants of Simeon: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, those registered counting one by one the names of every male twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 23 those registered for the tribe of Simeon numbered 59,300.

24 The descendants of Gad: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 25 those registered for the tribe of Gad numbered 45,650.

26 The descendants of Judah: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 27 those registered for the tribe of Judah numbered 74,600.

28 The descendants of Issachar: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 29 those registered for the tribe of Issachar numbered 54,400.

30 The descendants of Zebulun: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 31 those registered for the tribe of Zebulun numbered 57,400.

32 The descendants of Joseph:

The descendants of Ephraim: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 33 those registered for the tribe of Ephraim numbered 40,500.

34 The descendants of Manasseh: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 35 those registered for the tribe of Manasseh numbered 32,200.

36 The descendants of Benjamin: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 37 those registered for the tribe of Benjamin numbered 35,400.

38 The descendants of Dan: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 39 those registered for the tribe of Dan numbered 62,700.

40 The descendants of Asher: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 41 those registered for the tribe of Asher numbered 41,500.

42 The descendants of Naphtali: according to their family records by their clans and their ancestral families, counting the names of those twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in the army, 43 those registered for the tribe of Naphtali numbered 53,400.

44 These are the men Moses and Aaron registered, with the assistance of the twelve leaders of Israel; each represented his ancestral family. 45 So all the Israelites twenty years old or more, everyone who could serve in Israel’s army, were registered by their ancestral families. 46 All those registered numbered 603,550.

Duties of the Levites

47 But the Levites were not registered with them by their ancestral tribe. 48 For the Lord had told Moses: 49 “Do not register or take a census of the tribe of Levi with the other Israelites. 50 Appoint the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, all its furnishings, and everything in it. They are to transport the tabernacle and all its articles, take care of it, and camp around it. 51 Whenever the tabernacle is to move, the Levites are to take it down, and whenever it is to stop at a campsite, the Levites are to set it up. Any unauthorized person who comes near it is to be put to death.

52 “The Israelites are to camp by their military divisions, each man with his encampment and under his banner. 53 The Levites are to camp around the tabernacle of the testimony and watch over it, so that no wrath will fall on the Israelite community.” 54 The Israelites did everything just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Organization of the Camps

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: “The Israelites are to camp under their respective banners beside the flags of their ancestral families.[e] They are to camp around the tent of meeting at a distance from it:

Judah’s military divisions will camp on the east side toward the sunrise under their banner. The leader of the descendants of Judah is Nahshon son of Amminadab. His military division numbers 74,600. The tribe of Issachar will camp next to it. The leader of the Issacharites is Nethanel son of Zuar. His military division numbers 54,400. The tribe of Zebulun will be next. The leader of the Zebulunites is Eliab son of Helon. His military division numbers 57,400. The total number in their military divisions who belong to Judah’s encampment is 186,400; they will move out first.

10 Reuben’s military divisions will camp on the south side under their banner. The leader of the Reubenites is Elizur son of Shedeur. 11 His military division numbers 46,500. 12 The tribe of Simeon will camp next to it. The leader of the Simeonites is Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. 13 His military division numbers 59,300. 14 The tribe of Gad will be next. The leader of the Gadites is Eliasaph son of Deuel.[f] 15 His military division numbers 45,650. 16 The total number in their military divisions who belong to Reuben’s encampment is 151,450; they will move out second.

17 The tent of meeting is to move out with the Levites’ camp, which is in the middle of the camps. They are to move out just as they camp, each in his place,[g] with their banners.

18 Ephraim’s military divisions will camp on the west side under their banner. The leader of the Ephraimites is Elishama son of Ammihud. 19 His military division numbers 40,500. 20 The tribe of Manasseh will be next to it. The leader of the Manassites is Gamaliel son of Pedahzur. 21 His military division numbers 32,200. 22 The tribe of Benjamin will be next. The leader of the Benjaminites is Abidan son of Gideoni. 23 His military division numbers 35,400. 24 The total in their military divisions who belong to Ephraim’s encampment number 108,100; they will move out third.

25 Dan’s military divisions will camp on the north side under their banner. The leader of the Danites is Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 26 His military division numbers 62,700. 27 The tribe of Asher will camp next to it. The leader of the Asherites is Pagiel son of Ochran. 28 His military division numbers 41,500. 29 The tribe of Naphtali will be next. The leader of the Naphtalites is Ahira son of Enan. 30 His military division numbers 53,400. 31 The total number who belong to Dan’s encampment is 157,600; they are to move out last, with their banners.”

32 These are the Israelites registered by their ancestral families. The total number in the camps by their military divisions is 603,550. 33 But the Levites were not registered among the Israelites, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

34 The Israelites did everything the Lord commanded Moses; they camped by their banners in this way and moved out the same way, each man by his clan and by his ancestral family.[h]

Aaron’s Sons and the Levites

These are the family records of Aaron and Moses at the time the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. These are the names of Aaron’s sons: Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. These are the names of Aaron’s sons, the anointed priests, who were ordained to serve as priests. But Nadab and Abihu died in the Lord’s presence when they presented unauthorized fire before the Lord in the Wilderness of Sinai, and they had no sons. So Eleazar and Ithamar served as priests under the direction of Aaron their father.

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Bring the tribe of Levi near and present them to the priest Aaron to assist him. They are to perform duties for[i] him and the entire community before the tent of meeting by attending to the service of the tabernacle. They are to take care of all the furnishings of the tent of meeting and perform duties for the Israelites by attending to the service of the tabernacle. Assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they have been assigned exclusively to him[j] from the Israelites. 10 You are to appoint Aaron and his sons to carry out their priestly responsibilities, but any unauthorized person who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.”

11 The Lord spoke to Moses: 12 “See, I have taken the Levites from the Israelites in place of every firstborn Israelite from the womb. The Levites belong to me, 13 because every firstborn belongs to me. At the time I struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated every firstborn in Israel to myself, both man and animal. They are mine; I am the Lord.”

The Levitical Census

14 The Lord spoke to Moses in the Wilderness of Sinai: 15 “Register the Levites by their ancestral families[k] and their clans. You are to register every male one month old or more.” 16 So Moses registered them in obedience to the Lord as he had been commanded:

17 These were Levi’s sons by name: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 18 These were the names of Gershon’s sons by their clans: Libni and Shimei. 19 Kohath’s sons by their clans were Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 20 Merari’s sons by their clans were Mahli and Mushi. These were the Levite clans by their ancestral families.

21 The Libnite clan and the Shimeite clan came from Gershon; these were the Gershonite clans. 22 Those registered, counting every male one month old or more, numbered 7,500. 23 The Gershonite clans camped behind the tabernacle on the west side, 24 and the leader of the Gershonite families[l] was Eliasaph son of Lael. 25 The Gershonites’ duties at the tent of meeting involved the tabernacle, the tent, its covering, the screen for the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the hangings of the courtyard, the screen for the entrance to the courtyard that surrounds the tabernacle and the altar, and the tent ropes—all the work relating to these.

27 The Amramite clan, the Izharite clan, the Hebronite clan, and the Uzzielite clan came from Kohath; these were the Kohathites. 28 Counting every male one month old or more, there were 8,600[m] responsible for the duties of[n] the sanctuary. 29 The clans of the Kohathites camped on the south side of the tabernacle, 30 and the leader of the families of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31 Their duties involved the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the sanctuary utensils that were used with these, and the screen[o]—and all the work relating to them. 32 The chief of the Levite leaders was Eleazar son of Aaron the priest; he had oversight of those responsible for the duties of the sanctuary.

33 The Mahlite clan and the Mushite clan came from Merari; these were the Merarite clans. 34 Those registered, counting every male one month old or more, numbered 6,200. 35 The leader of the families of the Merarite clans was Zuriel son of Abihail; they camped on the north side of the tabernacle. 36 The assigned duties of Merari’s descendants involved the tabernacle’s supports, crossbars, pillars, bases, all its equipment, and all the work related to these, 37 in addition to the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, and ropes.

38 Moses, Aaron, and his sons, who performed the duties of[p] the sanctuary as a service on behalf of the Israelites, camped in front of the tabernacle on the east, in front of the tent of meeting toward the sunrise. Any unauthorized person who came near it was to be put to death.

39 The total number of all the Levite males one month old or more that Moses and Aaron[q] registered by their clans at the Lord’s command was 22,000.

Redemption of the Firstborn

40 The Lord told Moses: “Register every firstborn male of the Israelites one month old or more, and list their names. 41 You are to take the Levites for me—I am the Lord—in place of every firstborn among the Israelites, and the Levites’ cattle in place of every firstborn among the Israelites’ cattle.” 42 So Moses registered every firstborn among the Israelites, as the Lord commanded him. 43 The total number of the firstborn males one month old or more listed by name was 22,273.

44 The Lord spoke to Moses again: 45 “Take the Levites in place of every firstborn among the Israelites, and the Levites’ cattle in place of their cattle. The Levites belong to me; I am the Lord. 46 As the redemption price for the 273 firstborn Israelites who outnumber the Levites, 47 collect five shekels for each person, according to the standard sanctuary shekel—twenty gerahs to the shekel.[r] 48 Give the silver to Aaron and his sons as the redemption price for those who are in excess among the Israelites.”

49 So Moses collected the redemption amount from those in excess of the ones redeemed by the Levites. 50 He collected the silver from the firstborn Israelites: 1,365 shekels[s] measured by the standard sanctuary shekel. 51 He gave the redemption silver to Aaron and his sons in obedience to the Lord, just as the Lord commanded Moses.

Duties of the Kohathites

The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: “Among the Levites, take a census of the Kohathites by their clans and their ancestral families,[t] men from thirty years old to fifty years old—everyone who is qualified[u] to do work at the tent of meeting.

“The service of the Kohathites at the tent of meeting concerns the most holy objects. Whenever the camp is about to move on, Aaron and his sons are to go in, take down the screening curtain, and cover the ark of the testimony with it. They are to place over this a covering made of fine leather,[v] spread a solid blue cloth on top, and insert its poles.

“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. They are to spread a scarlet cloth over them, cover them with a covering made of fine leather, and insert the poles in the table.

“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 are to place it with all its utensils inside a covering made of fine leather 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 fine leather, 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 fine leather, 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 fine leather over it and insert its poles.[w]

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.”[x]

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 as they are covered[y] or they will die.”

Duties of the Gershonites

21 The Lord spoke to Moses: 22 “Take a census of the Gershonites also, by their ancestral families and their clans. 23 Register men from thirty years old to fifty years old, everyone who is qualified to perform service, to do work at the tent of meeting. 24 This is the service of the Gershonite clans regarding work and transportation duties: 25 They are to transport the tabernacle curtains, the tent of meeting with its covering and the covering made of fine leather on top of it, the screen for the entrance to the tent of meeting, 26 the hangings of the courtyard, the screen for the entrance at the gate of the courtyard that surrounds the tabernacle and the altar, along with their ropes and all the equipment for their service. They will carry out everything that needs to be done with these items.

27 “All the service of the Gershonites, all their transportation duties and all their other work, is to be done at the command of Aaron and his sons; you are to assign to them all that they are responsible to carry. 28 This is the service of the Gershonite clans at the tent of meeting, and their duties will be under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

Duties of the Merarites

29 “As for the Merarites, you are to register them by their clans and their ancestral families. 30 Register men from thirty years old to fifty years old, everyone who is qualified to do the work of the tent of meeting. 31 This is what they are responsible to carry as the whole of their service at the tent of meeting: the supports of the tabernacle, with its crossbars, pillars, and bases, 32 the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, and ropes, including all their equipment and all the work related to them. You are to assign by name the items that they are responsible to carry. 33 This is the service of the Merarite clans regarding all their work at the tent of meeting, under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.”

Census of the Levites

34 So Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of the community registered the Kohathites by their clans and their ancestral families, 35 men from thirty years old to fifty years old, everyone who was qualified for work at the tent of meeting. 36 The men registered by their clans numbered 2,750. 37 These were the registered men of the Kohathite clans, everyone who could serve at the tent of meeting. Moses and Aaron registered them at the Lord’s command through Moses.

38 The Gershonites were registered by their clans and their ancestral families, 39 men from thirty years old to fifty years old, everyone who was qualified for work at the tent of meeting. 40 The men registered by their clans and their ancestral families numbered 2,630. 41 These were the registered men of the Gershonite clans. At the Lord’s command Moses and Aaron registered everyone who could serve at the tent of meeting.

42 The men of the Merarite clans were registered by their clans and their ancestral families, 43 those from thirty years old to fifty years old, everyone who was qualified for work at the tent of meeting. 44 The men registered by their clans numbered 3,200. 45 These were the registered men of the Merarite clans; Moses and Aaron registered them at the Lord’s command through Moses.

46 Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of Israel registered all the Levites by their clans and their ancestral families, 47 from thirty years old to fifty years old, everyone who was qualified to do the work of serving at the tent of meeting and transporting it. 48 Their registered men numbered 8,580. 49 At the Lord’s command they were registered under the direction of Moses, each one according to his work and transportation duty, and his assignment was as the Lord commanded Moses.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:2 Lit the house of their fathers, also in vv. 18,20,22,24,26,28,30,32,34,36,38,40,42,45
  2. 1:3 Lit everyone going out to war in Israel
  3. 1:4 Lit the house of his fathers, also in v. 44
  4. 1:14 LXX, Syr read Reuel
  5. 2:2 Lit the house of their fathers, also in v. 32
  6. 2:14 Some Hb mss, Sam, Vg; other Hb mss read Reuel
  7. 2:17 Lit each on his hand
  8. 2:34 Lit the house of his fathers
  9. 3:7 Or to guard, also in v. 8
  10. 3:9 Some Hb mss, LXX, Sam read me; Nm 8:16
  11. 3:15 Lit the house of their fathers, also in v. 20
  12. 3:24 Lit a father’s house, also in vv. 30,35
  13. 3:28 LXX reads 8,300
  14. 3:28 Or for guarding, also in v. 32
  15. 3:31 The screen between the most holy place and the holy place; Ex 35:12
  16. 3:38 Or who guarded
  17. 3:39 Some Hb mss, Sam, Syr omit and Aaron
  18. 3:47 A shekel is about two-fifths of an ounce of silver
  19. 3:50 Over 34 pounds of silver
  20. 4:2 Lit the house of their fathers, also in vv. 22,29,34,38,40,42,46
  21. 4:3 Lit everyone entering the service
  22. 4:6 Hb obscure, also in vv. 8,10,11,12,14,25
  23. 4:14 Sam, LXX addThey are to take a purple cloth and cover the wash basin and its base. They are to place them in a covering made of fine leather and put them on the carrying frame.
  24. 4:16 Or the sanctuary and its furnishings
  25. 4:20 Or objects, even long enough to swallow,
Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

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