4:18 “Do not allow the tribe of the families of the Kohathites to be cut off 1 from among the Levites; 4:19 but in order that they will live 2 and not die when they approach the most holy things, do this for them: Aaron and his sons will go in and appoint 3 each man 4 to his service and his responsibility. 4:20 But the Kohathites 5 are not to go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, or they will die.”
1 sn The verb is simply the Qal, “do not cut off.” The context calls for a permissive nuance – “do not let them be cut off.” It was a difficult task to be handling the holy things correctly; Moses and Aaron were to see to it that they did it right and did not handle the objects, that is, Moses and Aaron were to safeguard their lives by making certain that proper procedures were followed.
2 tn The word order is different in the Hebrew text: Do this…and they will live. Consequently, the verb “and they will live” is a perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive to express the future consequence of “doing this” for them.
3 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive continues the instruction for Aaron.
4 tn The distributive sense is obtained by the repetition, “a man” and “a man.”
5 tn In the Hebrew text the verse has as the subject “they,” but to avoid confusion the antecedent has been clarified in the translation.