“Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of and as a substitute for every firstborn, that is, the first that opens the womb among the Israelites. So the Levites shall be Mine,
Moses, I have chosen these Levites from all Israel, and they will belong to me in a special way. When I killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians, I decided that the first-born sons in every Israelite family and the first-born males of their flocks and herds would be mine. But now I accept these Levites in place of the first-born sons of the Israelites.
“I destroyed all the firstborn in Egypt. At that time I chose all the firstborn from every family in Israel to be mine in a special way. That included all the firstborn men and animals. But now I am choosing the Levites to take their place. Now they will be my special servants. I, the Lord, give this command!”
“I am ·choosing [taking] the Levites from all the ·Israelites [L sons/T children of Israel] to take the place of all the firstborn ·children [L who open the womb] of ·Israel [L the sons/T children of Israel]. The Levites will be mine,
“The Levites are now to be mine. When I killed all the first-born of the Egyptians, I consecrated as my own the oldest son of each Israelite family and the first-born of every animal. Now, instead of having the first-born sons of Israel as my own, I have the Levites; they will belong to me. I am the Lord.”
God spoke to Moses: “I have taken the Levites from among the People of Israel as a stand-in for every Israelite mother’s firstborn son. The Levites belong to me. All the firstborn are mine—when I killed all the firstborn in Egypt, I consecrated for my own use every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They belong to me. I am God.”
Eternal One:As you know, all firstborn children of each woman belong to Me. I made that clear when I killed all the Egyptian firstborn but spared Israel and its animals, setting them apart just for Me. But rather than giving all Israel’s firstborn to Me, I accept the Levites as a substitute. They will be Mine. I am the Eternal One.
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