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Numbers 3:21-26

Context
The Numbering of the Gershonites

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 1  of the clan 2  of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael.

3:25 And 3  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, 4  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. 5 

1 tn The vav (ו) disjunctive on the noun at the beginning of the verse here signals a greater emphasis on the individual rather than another item in the numbering of the clans.

2 tn Heb “a father’s house.” So also in vv. 30,35.

3 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.

4 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 [1964]: 263-75).

5 tn Heb “for all the service of it [them].”



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