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Numbers 8:23-26

Context
The Work of the Levites

8:23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 8:24 “This is what pertains to the Levites: 1  At the age of twenty-five years 2  and upward one may begin to join the company 3  in the work of the tent of meeting, 8:25 and at the age of fifty years they must retire from performing the work and may no longer work. 8:26 They may assist 4  their colleagues 5  in the tent of meeting, to attend to needs, but they must do no work. This is the way you must establish 6  the Levites regarding their duties.”

1 tn The Hebrew text has “this [is that] which [pertains] to the Levites.” “This is what concerns the Levites, meaning, the following rulings are for them.

2 tc The age of twenty-five indicated in v. 24 should be compared with the age of thirty indicated in Num 4:3,23,30. In order to harmonize the numbers given in chapter 4 with the number given in Num 8:24 the LXX (and perhaps its Hebrew Vorlage) has thirty in all of these references. See further G. J. Wenham, Numbers (TOTC 4), 97-98.

3 tn The infinitive is לִצְבֹא (litsvo’), related to the word for “host, army, company,” and so “to serve as a company.” The meaning is strengthened by the cognate accusative following it.

4 tn The verb is the Piel perfect of שָׁרַת (sharat, “to serve, minister”). Here the form has the vav (ו) consecutive, and so is equal to the imperfect tense stressing permission. After the Levites reached the age of retirement, they were permitted to assist the others, but were not permitted to do the work themselves.

5 tn Heb “brothers,” but the meaning in this context is “fellow Levites.”

6 tn Heb “you shall do, make.”



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