1:50 But appoint 1 the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, 2 over all its furnishings and over everything in it. They must carry 3 the tabernacle and all its furnishings; and they 4 must attend to it and camp around it. 5
1:53 But the Levites must camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that the Lord’s anger 6 will not fall on the Israelite community. The Levites are responsible for the care 7 of the tabernacle of the testimony.”
1 tn The same verb translated “number” (פָּקַד, paqad) is now used to mean “appoint” (הַפְקֵד, hafqed), which focuses more on the purpose of the verbal action of numbering people. Here the idea is that the Levites were appointed to take care of the tabernacle. On the use of this verb with the Levites’ appointment, see M. Gertner, “The Masorah and the Levites,” VT 10 (1960): 252.
2 tn The Hebrew name used here is מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת (mishkan ha’edut). The tabernacle or dwelling place of the
3 tn The imperfect tense here is an obligatory imperfect telling that they are bound to do this since they are appointed for this specific task.
4 tn The addition of the pronoun before the verb is emphatic – they are the ones who are to attend to the tabernacle. The verb used is שָׁרַת (sharat) in the Piel, indicating that they are to serve, minister to, attend to all the details about this shrine.
5 tn Heb “the tabernacle.” The pronoun (“it”) was used in the translation here for stylistic reasons.
6 tc Instead of “wrath” the Greek text has “sin,” focusing the emphasis on the human error and not on the wrath of God. This may have been a conscious change to explain the divine wrath.
tn Heb “so that there be no wrath on.” In context this is clearly the divine anger, so “the
7 tn The main verb of the clause is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, וְשָׁמְרוּ (vÿshamÿru) meaning they “shall guard, protect, watch over, care for.” It may carry the same obligatory nuance as the preceding verbs because of the sequence. The object used with this is the cognate noun מִשְׁמֶרֶת (mishmeret): “The Levites must care for the care of the tabernacle.” The cognate intensifies the construction to stress that they are responsible for this care.
8 sn This section is somewhat mechanical: It begins with an introduction (vv. 11, 12), and then begins with Judah (vv. 13-17), followed by the rest of the tribes (vv. 18-27), and finally closes with a summary (v. 28). The last few verses (vv. 29-36) treat the departure of Hobab.
tn The expression is difficult; it is מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת (mishkan ha’edut). The reference is to the sacred shrine that covered the ark with the commandments inside. NEB renders the expression as “tabernacle of the Token”; NAB has “the dwelling of the commandments.”