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Numbers 3:38-40

Context

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, 1  and his sons. They were responsible for the needs 2  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 3  of the Lord, according to their families, every male from a month old and upward, were 22,000. 4 

The Substitution for the Firstborn

3:40 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Number all the firstborn males of the Israelites from a month old and upward, and take 5  the number of their names.

1 tc In some Hebrew mss and Smr “and Aaron” is not in the verse. The omission arose probably by scribal error with such repetitious material that could easily give rise to variant traditions.

2 tn Here again the verb and its cognate noun are used: keeping the keep, or keeping charge over, or taking responsibility for the care of, or the like.

3 tn Here again the Hebrew has “at the mouth of,” meaning in accordance with what the Lord said. So also in v. 51.

4 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]).

5 tn The verb נָשָׂא (nasa, “take”) has here the sense of collect, take a census, or register the names.



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