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Numbers 7:2-6

7:2 Then the leaders of Israel, the heads of their clans, 1  made an offering. They were the leaders of the tribes; they were the ones who had been supervising 2  the numbering. 7:3 They brought 3  their offering before the Lord, six covered carts 4  and twelve oxen – one cart for every two of the leaders, and an ox for each one; and they presented them in front of the tabernacle.

The Distribution of the Gifts

7:4 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 7:5 “Receive these gifts 5  from them, that they may be 6  used in doing the work 7  of the tent of meeting; and you must give them to the Levites, to every man 8  as his service requires.” 9 

7:6 So Moses accepted the carts and the oxen and gave them to the Levites.

1 tn Heb “the house of their fathers.”

2 tn The form is the Qal active participle from the verb “to stand” (עָמַד, ’amad). The form describes these leaders as “the ones standing over [the ones numbered].” The expression, along with the clear indication of the first census in chapter 1, shows that this was a supervisory capacity.

3 tn Heb “and they brought.”

4 sn For a discussion and drawings, see W. S. McCullough, IDB 1:540. But see also D. J. Wiseman, IBD 1:254.

5 tn The object is not in the Hebrew text, but has been supplied.

6 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; following the imperative, this could be given an independent volitive translation (“they shall be”), but more fittingly a subordinated translation expressing the purpose of receiving the gifts.

7 tn The sentence uses the infinitive construct expressing purpose, followed by its cognate accusative: “[that they may be] for doing the work of” (literally, “serving the service of”).

8 tn The noun אִישׁ (’ish) is in apposition to the word “Levites,” and is to be taken in a distributive sense: “to the Levites, [to each] man according to his service.”

9 tn The expression כְּפִי (kÿfi) is “according to the mouth of.” Here, it would say “according to the mouth of his service,” which would mean “what his service calls for.”

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