1:1 1 Now the Lord 2 spoke 3 to Moses in the tent of meeting 4 in the wilderness 5 of Sinai 6 on the first day of the second month of the second year after 7 the Israelites 8 departed from the land of Egypt. 9 He said: 10 1:2 “Take a census 11 of the entire 12 Israelite community 13 by their clans and families, 14 counting the name of every individual male. 15 1:3 You and Aaron are to number 16 all in Israel who can serve in the army, 17 those who are 18 twenty years old or older, 19 by their divisions. 20 1:4 And to help you 21 there is to be a man from each 22 tribe, each man 23 the head 24 of his family. 25 1:5 Now these are the names of the men who are to help 26 you:
from 27 Reuben, Elizur son of Shedeur;
1:8 from Issachar, Nethanel son of Zuar;
1:9 from Zebulun, Eliab son of Helon;
1:10 from the sons of Joseph:
from Ephraim, Elishama son of Ammihud;
from Manasseh, Gamaliel son of Pedahzur;
1:11 from Benjamin, Abidan son of Gideoni;
1:12 from Dan, Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai;
1:13 from Asher, Pagiel son of Ocran;
1:15 from Naphtali, Ahira son of Enan.”
1:17 So Moses and Aaron took these men who had been mentioned specifically by name, 1:18 and they assembled 35 the entire community together on the first day of the second month. 36 Then the people recorded their ancestry 37 by their clans and families, and the men who were twenty years old or older were listed 38 by name individually, 1:19 just as the Lord had commanded Moses. And so he numbered them in the wilderness of Sinai.
1:20 And they were as follows:
The descendants of Reuben, the firstborn son of Israel: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name individually. 1:21 Those of them who were numbered 39 from the tribe of Reuben were 46,500. 40
1:22 From the descendants of Simeon: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males numbered of them 41 twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name individually. 1:23 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Simeon were 59,300.
1:24 42 From the descendants of Gad: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:25 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Gad were 45,650.
1:26 From the descendants of Judah: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:27 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Judah were 74,600.
1:28 From the descendants of Issachar: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:29 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Issachar were 54,400.
1:30 From the descendants of Zebulun: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:31 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Zebulun were 57,400.
1:32 From the sons of Joseph:
From the descendants of Ephraim: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:33 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Ephraim were 40,500. 1:34 From the descendants of Manasseh: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:35 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Manasseh were 32,200.
1:36 From the descendants of Benjamin: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:37 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Benjamin were 35,400.
1:38 From the descendants of Dan: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:39 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Dan were 62,700.
1:40 From the descendants of Asher: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:41 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Asher were 41,500.
1:42 From 43 the descendants of Naphtali: According to the records of their clans and families, all the males twenty years old or older who could serve in the army were listed by name. 1:43 Those of them who were numbered from the tribe of Naphtali were 53,400.
1:44 These were the men whom Moses and Aaron numbered 44 along with the twelve leaders of Israel, each of whom 45 was from his own family. 1:45 All the Israelites who were twenty years old or older, who could serve in Israel’s army, were numbered 46 according to their families. 1:46 And all those numbered totaled 603,550.
1:47 But 47 the Levites, according to the tribe of their fathers, 48 were not numbered 49 among them. 1:48 The Lord had said to Moses, 50 1:49 “Only the tribe of Levi 51 you must not number 52 or count 53 with 54 the other Israelites. 1:50 But appoint 55 the Levites over the tabernacle of the testimony, 56 over all its furnishings and over everything in it. They must carry 57 the tabernacle and all its furnishings; and they 58 must attend to it and camp around it. 59 1:51 Whenever the tabernacle is to move, 60 the Levites must take it down, and whenever the tabernacle is to be reassembled, 61 the Levites must set it up. 62 Any unauthorized person 63 who approaches it must be killed.
1:52 “The Israelites will camp according to their divisions, each man in his camp, and each man by his standard. 1:53 But the Levites must camp around the tabernacle of the testimony, so that the Lord’s anger 64 will not fall on the Israelite community. The Levites are responsible for the care 65 of the tabernacle of the testimony.”
2:1 67 The Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron: 2:2 “Every one 68 of the Israelites must camp 69 under his standard with the emblems of his family; 70 they must camp at some distance 71 around the tent of meeting. 72
2:3 “Now those who will be camping 73 on the east, toward the sunrise, 74 are the divisions 75 of the camp of Judah under their standard. The leader of the people of Judah is 76 Nahshon son of Amminadab. 2:4 Those numbered in his division 77 are 74,600. 2:5 Those who will be camping next to them 78 are the tribe of Issachar. The leader of the people of Issachar is Nethanel son of Zuar. 2:6 Those numbered in his division are 54,400. 2:7 Next will be 79 the tribe of Zebulun. The leader of the people of Zebulun is Eliab son of Helon. 2:8 Those numbered in his division are 57,400. 2:9 All those numbered of the camp of Judah, according to their divisions, are 186,400. They will travel 80 at the front.
2:10 “On the south will be the divisions of the camp of Reuben under their standard. 81 The leader of the people of Reuben is Elizur son of Shedeur. 2:11 Those numbered in his division are 46,500. 2:12 Those who will be camping next to them are the tribe of Simeon. The leader of the people of Simeon is Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai. 2:13 Those numbered in his division are 59,300. 2:14 Next will be 82 the tribe of Gad. The leader of the people of Gad is Eliasaph son of Deuel. 83 2:15 Those numbered in his division are 45,650. 2:16 All those numbered of the camp of Reuben, according to their divisions, are 151,450. They will travel second.
2:18 “On the west will be the divisions of the camp of Ephraim under their standard. The leader of the people of Ephraim is Elishama son of Amihud. 2:19 Those numbered in his division are 40,500. 2:20 Next to them will be the tribe of Manasseh. The leader of the people of Manasseh is Gamaliel son of Pedahzur. 2:21 Those numbered in his division are 32,200. 2:22 Next will be 85 the tribe of Benjamin. The leader of the people of Benjamin is Abidan son of Gideoni. 2:23 Those numbered in his division are 35,400. 2:24 All those numbered of the camp of Ephraim, according to their divisions, are 108,100. They will travel third.
2:25 “On the north will be the divisions of the camp of Dan, under their standards. The leader of the people of Dan is Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 2:26 Those numbered in his division are 62,700. 2:27 Those who will be camping next to them are the tribe of Asher. The leader of the people of Asher is Pagiel son of Ocran. 2:28 Those numbered in his division are 41,500. 2:29 Next will be 86 the tribe of Naphtali. The leader of the people of Naphtali is Ahira son of Enan. 2:30 Those numbered in his division are 53,400. 2:31 All those numbered of the camp of Dan are 157,600. They will travel last, under their standards.”
2:32 These are the Israelites, numbered according to their families. 87 All those numbered in the camps, by their divisions, are 603,550. 2:33 But the Levites were not numbered among the other Israelites, as the Lord commanded Moses.
3:1 89 Now these are the records 90 of Aaron and Moses when 91 the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai. 3:2 These are the names of the sons of Aaron: Nadab, the firstborn, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. 3:3 These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed 92 priests, whom he consecrated 93 to minister as priests. 94
3:4 Nadab and Abihu died 95 before the Lord 96 when they offered 97 strange 98 fire 99 before the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children. 100 So Eleazar and Ithamar ministered as priests 101 in the presence of 102 Aaron their father.
3:5 The Lord spoke to Moses: 3:6 “Bring the tribe of Levi near, 103 and present 104 them before Aaron the priest, that they may serve him. 105 3:7 They are responsible for his needs 106 and the needs of the whole community before the tent of meeting, by attending 107 to the service of the tabernacle. 3:8 And they are responsible for all the furnishings of the tent of meeting, and for the needs of the Israelites, as they serve 108 in the tabernacle. 3:9 You are to assign 109 the Levites to Aaron and his sons; they will be assigned exclusively 110 to him out of all 111 the Israelites. 3:10 So you are to appoint Aaron and his sons, and they will be responsible for their priesthood; 112 but the unauthorized person 113 who comes near must be put to death.”
3:11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 3:12 “Look, 114 I myself have taken the Levites from among the Israelites instead of 115 every firstborn who opens the womb among the Israelites. So the Levites belong to me, 3:13 because all the firstborn are mine. When I destroyed 116 all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast. They belong to me. I am the Lord.” 117
3:14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai: 3:15 “Number the Levites by their clans 118 and their families; every male from a month old and upward you are to number.” 119 3:16 So Moses numbered them according to the word 120 of the Lord, just as he had been commanded. 121
3:18 These are the names of the sons of Gershon by their families: Libni and Shimei. 3:19 The sons of Kohath by their families were: Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel. 3:20 The sons of Merari by their families were Mahli and Mushi. These are the families of the Levites by their clans.
3:21 From Gershon came the family of the Libnites and the family of the Shimeites; these were the families of the Gershonites. 3:22 Those of them who were numbered, counting every male from a month old and upward, were 7,500. 3:23 The families of the Gershonites were to camp behind the tabernacle toward the west. 3:24 Now the leader 123 of the clan 124 of the Gershonites was Eliasaph son of Lael.
3:25 And 125 the responsibilities of the Gershonites in the tent of meeting included the tabernacle, the tent with its covering, the curtain at the entrance of the tent of meeting, 3:26 the hangings of the courtyard, 126 the curtain at the entrance to the courtyard that surrounded the tabernacle and the altar, and their ropes, plus all the service connected with these things. 127
3:27 From Kohath came the family of the Amramites, the family of the Izharites, the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites; these were the families of the Kohathites. 128 3:28 Counting every male from a month old and upward, there were 8,600. They were responsible for the care 129 of the sanctuary. 3:29 The families of the Kohathites were to camp on the south side of the tabernacle. 3:30 Now the leader of the clan of the families of the Kohathites was Elizaphan son of Uzziel.
3:31 Their responsibilities included the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, and the utensils of the sanctuary with which they ministered, 130 the curtain, and all their service. 131 3:32 Now the head of all the Levitical leaders 132 was Eleazar son of Aaron the priest. He was appointed over those who were responsible 133 for the sanctuary.
3:33 From Merari came the family of the Mahlites and the family of the Mushites; these were 134 the families of Merari. 3:34 Those of them who were numbered, counting every male from a month old and upward, were 6,200. 3:35 Now the leader of the clan of the families of Merari was Zuriel son of Abihail. These were to camp on the north side of the tabernacle.
3:36 The appointed responsibilities of the Merarites included the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, its posts, its sockets, its utensils, plus all the service connected with these things, 135 3:37 and the pillars of the courtyard all around, with their sockets, their pegs, and their ropes.
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, 136 and his sons. They were responsible for the needs 137 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 138 of the Lord, according to their families, every male from a month old and upward, were 22,000. 139
3:40 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Number all the firstborn males of the Israelites from a month old and upward, and take 140 the number of their names. 3:41 And take 141 the Levites for me – I am the Lord – instead of all the firstborn males among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites.” 3:42 So Moses numbered all the firstborn males among the Israelites, as the Lord had commanded him. 3:43 And all the firstborn males, by the number of the names from a month old and upward, totaled 22,273.
3:44 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 3:45 “Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn males among the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites instead of their livestock. And the Levites will be mine. I am the Lord. 3:46 And for the redemption of the 273 firstborn males of the Israelites who exceed the number of the Levites, 3:47 collect 142 five shekels for each 143 one individually; you are to collect 144 this amount 145 in the currency of the sanctuary shekel (this shekel is twenty gerahs). 146 3:48 And give the money for the redemption of the excess number of them to Aaron and his sons.”
3:49 So Moses took the redemption money 147 from those who were in excess of those redeemed by the Levites. 3:50 From the firstborn males of the Israelites he collected the money, 1,365 shekels, according to the sanctuary shekel. 3:51 Moses gave the redemption money to Aaron and his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
4:1 148 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 4:2 “Take a census 149 of the Kohathites from among the Levites, by their families and by their clans, 4:3 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, all who enter the company 150 to do the work in the tent of meeting. 4:4 This is the service of the Kohathites in the tent of meeting, relating to the most holy things. 151 4:5 When it is time for the camp to journey, 152 Aaron and his sons must come and take down the screening curtain and cover the ark of the testimony with it. 4:6 Then they must put over it a covering of fine leather 153 and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue, and then they must insert its poles.
4:7 “On the table of the presence 154 they must spread a blue 155 cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring, and the Bread of the Presence must be on it continually. 4:8 They must spread over them a scarlet cloth, and cover the same with a covering of fine leather; and they must insert its poles.
4:9 “They must take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand of the light, with its lamps, its wick-trimmers, its trays, and all its oil vessels, with which they service it. 4:10 Then they must put it with all its utensils in a covering of fine leather, and put it on a carrying beam. 156
4:11 “They must spread a blue cloth on the gold altar, and cover it with a covering of fine leather; and they must insert its poles. 4:12 Then they must take all the utensils of the service, with which they serve in the sanctuary, put them in a blue cloth, cover them with a covering of fine leather, and put them on a carrying beam. 4:13 Also, they must take away the ashes from the altar 157 and spread a purple cloth over it. 4:14 Then they must place on it all its implements with which they serve there – the trays, the meat forks, the shovels, the basins, and all the utensils of the altar – and they must spread on it a covering of fine leather, and then insert its poles. 158
4:15 “When Aaron and his sons have finished 159 covering 160 the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is ready to journey, then 161 the Kohathites will come to carry them; 162 but they must not touch 163 any 164 holy thing, or they will die. 165 These are the responsibilities 166 of the Kohathites with the tent of meeting.
4:16 “The appointed responsibility of Eleazar son of Aaron the priest is for the oil for the light, and the spiced incense, and the daily grain offering, and the anointing oil; he also has 167 the appointed responsibility over all the tabernacle with 168 all that is in it, over the sanctuary and over all its furnishings.” 169
4:17 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 4:18 “Do not allow the tribe of the families of the Kohathites to be cut off 170 from among the Levites; 4:19 but in order that they will live 171 and not die when they approach the most holy things, do this for them: Aaron and his sons will go in and appoint 172 each man 173 to his service and his responsibility. 4:20 But the Kohathites 174 are not to go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, or they will die.”
4:21 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 4:22 “Also take a census of the Gershonites, by their clans and by their families. 4:23 You must number them from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, all who enter the company to do the work of the tent of meeting. 4:24 This is the service of the families of Gershonites, as they serve 175 and carry it. 4:25 They must carry the curtains for the tabernacle and the tent of meeting with its covering, the covering of fine leather that is over it, the curtains for the entrance of the tent of meeting, 4:26 the hangings for the courtyard, the curtain for the entrance of the gate of the court, 176 which is around the tabernacle and the altar, and their ropes, along with all the furnishings for their service and everything that is made for them. So they are to serve. 177
4:27 “All the service of the Gershonites, whether 178 carrying loads 179 or for any of their work, will be at the direction of 180 Aaron and his sons. You will assign them all their tasks 181 as their responsibility. 4:28 This is the service of the families of the Gershonites concerning the tent of meeting. Their responsibilities will be under the authority 182 of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. 183
4:29 “As for the sons of Merari, you are to number them by their families and by their clans. 4:30 You must number them from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, all who enter the company to do the work of the tent of meeting. 4:31 This is what they are responsible to carry as their entire service in the tent of meeting: the frames 184 of the tabernacle, its crossbars, its posts, its sockets, 4:32 and the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their sockets, tent pegs, and ropes, along with all their furnishings and everything for their service. You are to assign by names the items that each man is responsible to carry. 185 4:33 This is the service of the families of the Merarites, their entire service concerning the tent of meeting, under the authority of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.”
4:34 So Moses and Aaron and the leaders of the community numbered the Kohathites by their families and by clans, 4:35 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered the company for the work in the tent of meeting; 4:36 and those of them numbered by their families were 2,750. 4:37 These were those numbered from the families of the Kohathites, everyone who served in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord by the authority of Moses.
4:38 Those numbered from the Gershonites, by their families and by their clans, 4:39 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered the company for the work in the tent of meeting – 4:40 those of them numbered by their families, by their clans, were 2,630. 4:41 These were those numbered from the families of the Gershonites, everyone who served in the tent of meeting, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord.
4:42 Those numbered from the families of the Merarites, by their families, by their clans, 4:43 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered the company for the work in the tent of meeting – 4:44 those of them numbered by their families were 3,200. 4:45 These are those numbered from the families of the Merarites, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord by the authority of Moses.
4:46 All who were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of Israel numbered by their families and by their clans, 4:47 from thirty years old and upward to fifty years old, everyone who entered to do the work of service and the work of carrying 186 relating to the tent of meeting – 4:48 those of them numbered were 8,580. 4:49 According to the word of the Lord they were numbered, 187 by the authority of Moses, each according to his service and according to what he was to carry. 188 Thus were they numbered by him, 189 as the Lord had commanded Moses.
5:1 190 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 5:2 “Command the Israelites to expel 191 from the camp every leper, 192 everyone who has a discharge, 193 and whoever becomes defiled by a corpse. 194 5:3 You must expel both men and women; you must put them outside the camp, so that 195 they will not defile their camps, among which I live.” 5:4 So the Israelites did so, and expelled them outside the camp. As the Lord had spoken 196 to Moses, so the Israelites did.
5:5 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 5:6 “Tell the Israelites, ‘When 197 a man or a woman commits any sin that people commit, 198 thereby breaking faith 199 with the Lord, and that person is found guilty, 200 5:7 then he must confess 201 his sin that he has committed and must make full reparation, 202 add one fifth to it, and give it to whomever he wronged. 203 5:8 But if the individual has no close relative 204 to whom reparation can be made for the wrong, the reparation for the wrong must be paid to the Lord 205 for the priest, in addition to the ram of atonement by which atonement is made for him. 5:9 Every offering 206 of all the Israelites’ holy things that they bring to the priest will be his. 5:10 Every man’s holy things 207 will be his; whatever any man gives the priest will be his.’”
5:11 208 The Lord spoke to Moses: 5:12 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully toward him, 5:13 and a man has sexual relations 209 with her 210 without her husband knowing it, 211 and it is hidden that she has defiled herself, since 212 there was no witness against her, nor was she caught – 5:14 and if jealous feelings 213 come over him and he becomes suspicious 214 of his wife, when she is defiled; 215 or if jealous feelings come over him and he becomes suspicious of his wife, when she is not defiled – 5:15 then 216 the man must bring his wife to the priest, and he must bring the offering required for her, one tenth of an ephah of barley meal; he must not pour olive oil on it or put frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering of suspicion, 217 a grain offering for remembering, 218 for bringing 219 iniquity to remembrance.
5:16 “‘Then the priest will bring her near and have her stand 220 before the Lord. 5:17 The priest will then take holy water 221 in a pottery jar, and take some 222 of the dust 223 that is on the floor of the tabernacle, and put it into the water. 5:18 Then the priest will have the woman stand before the Lord, uncover the woman’s head, and put the grain offering for remembering in her hands, which is the grain offering of suspicion. The priest will hold in his hand the bitter water that brings a curse. 224 5:19 Then the priest will put the woman under oath and say to the her, “If no other 225 man has had sexual relations with you, and if you have not gone astray and become defiled while under your husband’s authority, may you be free from this bitter water that brings a curse. 226 5:20 But if you 227 have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, and if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has had sexual relations with you….” 228 5:21 Then the priest will put the woman under the oath of the curse 229 and will say 230 to the her, “The Lord make you an attested curse 231 among your people, 232 if the Lord makes 233 your thigh fall away 234 and your abdomen swell; 235 5:22 and this water that causes the curse will go 236 into your stomach, and make your abdomen swell and your thigh rot.” 237 Then the woman must say, “Amen, amen.” 238
5:23 “‘Then the priest will write these curses on a scroll and then scrape them off into the bitter water. 239 5:24 He will make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and the water that brings a curse will enter her to produce bitterness. 5:25 The priest will take the grain offering of suspicion from the woman’s hand, wave the grain offering before the Lord, and bring it to the altar. 5:26 Then the priest will take a handful of the grain offering as its memorial portion, burn it on the altar, and afterward make the woman drink the water. 5:27 When he has made her drink the water, then, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, the water that brings a curse will enter her to produce bitterness – her abdomen will swell, her thigh will fall away, and the woman will become a curse among her people. 5:28 But if the woman has not defiled herself, and is clean, then she will be free of ill effects 240 and will be able to bear children.
5:29 “‘This is the law for cases of jealousy, 241 when a wife, while under her husband’s authority, goes astray and defiles herself, 5:30 or when jealous feelings come over a man and he becomes suspicious of his wife; then he must have the woman stand before the Lord, and the priest will carry out all this law upon her. 5:31 Then the man will be free from iniquity, but that woman will bear the consequences 242 of her iniquity.’” 243
6:1 244 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 6:2 “Speak to the Israelites, and tell them, ‘When either a man or a woman 245 takes a special vow, 246 to take a vow 247 as a Nazirite, 248 to separate 249 himself to the Lord, 6:3 he must separate 250 himself from wine and strong drink, he must drink neither vinegar 251 made from wine nor vinegar made from strong drink, nor may he drink any juice 252 of grapes, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. 253 6:4 All the days of his separation he must not eat anything that is produced by the grapevine, from seed 254 to skin. 255
6:5 “‘All the days of the vow 256 of his separation no razor may be used on his head 257 until the time 258 is fulfilled for which he separated himself to the Lord. He will be holy, 259 and he must let 260 the locks of hair on his head grow long.
6:6 “‘All the days that he separates himself to the Lord he must not contact 261 a dead body. 262 6:7 He must not defile himself even 263 for his father or his mother or his brother or his sister if they die, 264 because the separation 265 for 266 his God is on his head. 6:8 All the days of his separation he must be holy to the Lord.
6:9 “‘If anyone dies very suddenly 267 beside him and he defiles 268 his consecrated head, 269 then he must shave his head on the day of his purification – on the seventh day he must shave it. 6:10 On the eighth day he is to bring 270 two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the entrance to the tent of meeting. 6:11 Then the priest will offer one for a purification offering 271 and the other 272 as a burnt offering, 273 and make atonement 274 for him, because of his transgression 275 in regard to the corpse. So he must reconsecrate 276 his head on that day. 6:12 He must rededicate 277 to the Lord the days of his separation and bring a male lamb in its first year as a reparation offering, 278 but the former days will not be counted 279 because his separation 280 was defiled.
6:13 “‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he must be brought 281 to the entrance of the tent of meeting, 6:14 and he must present his offering 282 to the Lord: one male lamb in its first year without blemish for a burnt offering, one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish for a purification offering, one ram without blemish for a peace offering, 283 6:15 and a basket of bread made without yeast, cakes of fine flour mixed with olive oil, wafers made without yeast and smeared with olive oil, and their 284 grain offering and their drink offerings. 285
6:16 “‘Then the priest must present all these 286 before the Lord and offer 287 his purification offering and his burnt offering. 6:17 Then he must offer the ram as a peace offering 288 to the Lord, with the basket of bread made without yeast; the priest must also offer his grain offering and his drink offering.
6:18 “‘Then the Nazirite must shave his consecrated head 289 at the entrance to the tent of meeting and must take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire 290 where the peace offering is burning. 291 6:19 And the priest must take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one cake made without yeast from the basket, and one wafer made without yeast, and put them on the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated head; 292 6:20 then the priest must wave them as a wave offering 293 before the Lord; it is a holy portion for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the raised offering. 294 After this the Nazirite may drink 295 wine.’
6:21 “This is the law 296 of the Nazirite who vows to the Lord his offering according to his separation, as well as whatever else he can provide. 297 Thus he must fulfill 298 his vow that he makes, according to the law of his separation.”
6:25 The Lord make his face to shine upon you,
and be gracious to you; 305
and give you peace.”’
1 sn The book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Pentateuch, traditionally called the Law of Moses. It provides a record of the experience of the Israelites during the wilderness wanderings, and records the laws for the camp as they traveled from place to place. The book focuses on the difficulties of the Israelites due to their lack of faith, rebellion, and apostasy. It also records God’s protection of his people from opposition from without. The book makes a fitting contribution to the collection of holy writings as it shows the spiritual and physical progression of the company of the redeemed toward the promised land. The book has to be studied in conjunction with the other books of the Pentateuch. It builds on the promises made to Abraham in Genesis and the redemption from bondage in Exodus; it completes the cultic instructions for Israel that were laid down in Leviticus, and it concerns the worship in and the movement of the tabernacle that was built in Exodus. But the information here, both legal and historical, was not the major concern in those books. The book gets its title in English (following the Greek tradition) from the two censuses taken of the people, one at the beginning of the wanderings and the other at the end (although the Hebrew title is taken from the beginning of the book, בַּמִּדְבַּר [bammidbar], “in the wilderness”). In these lists particular emphasis is given to the leaders of the clans, a theme that will continue in the book as the focus is on how the leaders function in all the trials and temptations of the journey. The material in this book is essentially a theological interpretation of historical events, and as such it stands as an integral part of the revelation of God. In the study of the book of Numbers, when these issues of the nature of the text are significant to the interpretation and acceptance of the text, the notes will comment on them briefly. The indication at the outset of the book is that Moses had a good number of people who were able to help him compile the statistics and the facts of the wandering community. In Num 11:16-18 there is a group of leaders known as שֹׁטְּרִים(shottÿrim). This term was used in Exod 5:16-19 to describe the officers or foremen of the Israelites. They were appointed supervisors of the clans by Moses, and by the time of Joshua (Josh 1:10) they were a literary guild. The Hebrew word, cognate with Akkadian sataru, means “to write.” These people were to Israel what the scribes and chroniclers were to the pagan nations. They assisted Moses and the priests in their keeping of records. So no matter what they were called from time to time, there was a group of literate people who could keep the records and preserve the information from the very beginning. Their work matches the activities of scribes in the ancient world who used all the literary devices to preserve the material. There is no reason to doubt that the events recorded were attested to and preserved by such eyewitnesses. But their work would have been essentially to serve the leader, Moses. The book essentially follows the order of the events chronologically, more or less. Where it departs from that order it does so for literary or theological reasons. At the center of the theological concern is the tabernacle, its significance to the faith, and therefore the care in using it and in moving it. Its importance explains the presence and the arrangement of the ritual laws. With the records and statistics provided for him, Moses could then introduce into the record the great events in the wilderness experience of Israel, which were to become warnings and encouragements for all time. Most of this material comes from the two years at the beginning of the experience and the two years at the end. But this itself may be a literary device (merism) to show the nature of the wanderings throughout. The Hebrew text of the book of Numbers has been preserved fairly well. It has not been preserved as well as Leviticus, which was most important to the ministry of the priests and Levites. But in comparison with some of the prophetic writings, Numbers represents a well-preserved text. The problems will be discussed in the relevant passages. So Numbers is essentially a part of the unfolding revelation of the Torah, the Law. It shows God’s faithfulness to his covenant plan and to his covenant people, but it also shows the problems incurred by the people’s lack of faith and obedience. The book focuses frequently on the nature of the holy
2 sn The holy name is “Yahweh.” This is the ancient name for the God of the covenant community. The name was explained or interpreted by Moses for the Israelites by the etymological connection to the verb “to be.” God said that its significance was “
3 tn The book begins with the vav (ו) consecutive and the preterite, “and he spoke.” This does not indicate that the book is a continuation of the previous material, for in that case certain other books in the canon would have to be linked with the writings of other people just because they followed them. This form is simply the narrative verb; the conjunction need not be translated. The verb should not be limited to a literary formula, but does indicate the divine source of the command for Moses. God was speaking to Moses throughout the wilderness wanderings from the tent, and so the ideas are from him, and not from the “will of man.”
4 sn This was one of several names by which the tabernacle was known. This was the tent with its furnishings that the Israelites built according to the book of Exodus. While that tabernacle was being built, the
5 sn The English word “wilderness” is workable for the Hebrew term, because it describes land that is wild. The term “desert” works if one thinks of land deserted by people. But to many modern readers “desert” suggests the idea of an arid land without growth. The word must not be pressed to mean only sand dunes; it describes land that has rocks, canyons, oases, shrubs and trees occasionally, some animal life, and of course sand.
6 sn The exact location of Mount Sinai has been debated for some time. The traditional view from very early times is that it is located in the south, Jebel Musa, south of the monastery of St. Catherine. The other plausible suggestion is Ras es-Safsafeh, which is on the other end of the valley near the monastery. The mountain is also called Horeb in the Bible. The wilderness of Sinai would refer to the large plain that is at the base of the mountain. See further G. E. Wright, IDB 4:376-78; and G. I. Davies, The Way of the Wilderness.
7 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct of יָצַא (yatsa’, “to go out”), with a suffix serving as the subjective genitive, and the lamed preposition providing the temporal indication: “according to the going out of them.” The Israelites are clearly intended as the subject.
8 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the Israelites) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
9 sn This means that the Israelites had spent nine months at Sinai, because they had arrived there in the third month following the exodus. This account does not follow a strict chronology (see Num 9:1). The difference of one month in the narrative is not a critical difference, but a literary general reference. Here begins a new section of major importance to the future of the nation – the numbering for war and for settlement.
10 tn Heb “saying.” A new sentence was started here in the English translation for stylistic reasons.
11 tn The construction is literally “lift up the head[s],” (שְׂאוּ אֶת־רֹאשׁ, sÿ’u ’et-ro’sh). This idiom for taking a census occurs elsewhere (Exod 30:12; Lev 5:24; Num 1:24; etc.). The idea is simply that of counting heads to arrive at the base for the standing army. This is a different event than the one recorded in Exod 30:11-16, which was taken for a different purpose altogether. The verb is plural, indicating that Moses had help in taking the census.
12 tc Smr lacks the Hebrew word “all” here.
13 tn Heb “the congregation of Israel.”
14 tn The tribe (מַטֶּה, matteh or שֵׁבֶט, shevet) is the main category. The family groups or clans (מִשְׁפְּחֹת, mishpÿkhot) and the households or families (בֵּית אֲבֹת, bet ’avot) were sub-divisions of the tribe.
15 tn This clause simply has “in/with the number of the names of every male with respect to their skulls [individually].” Counting heads, or every skull, simply meant that each person was to be numbered in the census. Except for the Levites, no male was exempt from the count.
16 tn The verb (פָּקַד, paqad) means “to visit, appoint, muster, number.” The word is a common one in scripture. It has as its basic meaning the idea of “determining the destiny” of someone, by appointing, mustering, or visiting. When God “visits,” it is a divine intervention for either blessing or cursing. Here it is the taking of a census for war (see G. André, Determining the Destiny [ConBOT], 16).
17 tn The construction uses the participle “going out” followed by the noun “army.” It describes everyone “going out in a military group,” meaning serving in the army. It was the duty of every able-bodied Israelite to serve in this “peoples” army. There were probably exemptions for the infirm or the crippled, but every male over twenty was chosen. For a discussion of warfare, see P. C. Craigie, The Problem of War in the Old Testament, and P. D. Miller, “The Divine Council and the Prophetic Call to War,” VT 18 (1968): 100-107.
18 tn The text simply has “from twenty years old and higher.”
19 tn Heb “and up.”
21 tn Heb “and with you.”
22 tn The construction uses the noun in a distributive sense: “a man, a man for a tribe,” meaning a man for each tribe.
23 tn The clause expresses a distributive function, “a man” means “each man.”
24 sn See J. R. Bartlett, “The Use of the Word ראשׁ as a Title in the Old Testament,” VT 19 (1969): 1-10.
25 tn Heb “the house of his fathers.”
26 tn The verb is עָמַד (’amad, “to stand”). It literally then is, “who will stand with you.” They will help in the count, but they will also serve as leaders as the camp moves from place to place.
27 tn The preposition lamed (ל) prefixed to the name could be taken in the sense of “from,” but could also be “with regard to” (specification).
28 sn This name and the name Ammishaddai below have the theophoric element (שַׁדַּי, shadday, “the Almighty”). It would mean “the Almighty is my rock”; the later name means “the Almighty is my kinsman.” Other theophoric elements in the passage are “father,” “brother,” and “God.”
30 tc There is a textual difficulty with this verb. The Greek form uses r and not d, giving the name Ra‘oul. There is even some variation in the Hebrew traditions, but BHS (following the Leningrad codex of
31 tc The form has a Kethib-Qere problem, but the sentence calls for the Qere, the passive participle in the construct – “the called of….” These men were God’s choice, and not Moses’, or their own choice. He announced who they would be, and then named them. So they were truly “called” (קָרָא, qara’). The other reading is probably due to a copyist’s error.
32 tn The word is נָשִׂיא (nasi’, “exalted one, prince, leader”). Cf. KJV, ASV, NAB “princes.” These were men apparently revered or respected in their tribes, and so the clear choice to assist Moses with the leadership. See further, E. A. Speiser, “Background and Function of the Biblical na„sÃþá,” CBQ 25 (1963): 111-17.
33 tn Heb “exalted ones of the tribes of their fathers.” The earlier group of elders was chosen by Moses at the advice of his father-in-law. This group represents the few leaders of the tribes that were chosen by God, a more literate group apparently, who were the forerunners of the שֹׁטְּרִים (shottÿrim).
34 tc The Hebrew text has אַלְפֵי (’alfey, “thousands of”). There is some question over this reading in the MT, however. The community groups that have these leaders were larger tribes, but there is little certainty about the size of the divisions.
35 tn The verb is the Hiphil of the root קָהַל (qahal), meaning “to call, assemble”; the related noun is an “assembly.”
36 tc The LXX adds “of the second year.”
37 tn The verb is the Hitpael preterite form וַיִּתְיַלְדוּ (vayyityaldu). The cognate noun תּוֹלְדוֹת (tolÿdot) is the word that means “genealogies, family records, records of ancestry.” The root is יָלַד (yalad, “to bear, give birth to”). Here they were recording their family connections, and not, of course, producing children. The verbal stem seems to be both declarative and reflexive.
38 tn The verb is supplied. The Hebrew text simply has “in/with the number of names of those who are twenty years old and higher according to their skulls.”
39 tn Heb “those numbered of them.” The form is פְּקֻדֵיהֶם (pÿqudehem), the passive participle with the pronominal suffix. This indicates that the number came to 46,500, but it specifically refers to “those numbered.” This expression occurs frequently throughout the book of Numbers.
40 sn There has been much discussion about the numbers in the Israelite wilderness experience. The immediate difficulty for even the casual reader is the enormous number of the population. If indeed there were 603,550 men twenty years of age and older who could fight, the total population of the exodus community counting women and children would have been well over a million, or even two million as calculated by some. This is not a figure that the Bible ever gives, but given the sizes of families the estimate would not be far off. This is a staggering number to have cross the Sea, drink from the oases, or assemble in the plain by Sinai. It is not a question of whether or not God could provide for such a number; it is rather a problem of logistics for a population of that size in that period of time. The problem is not with the text itself, but with the interpretation of the word אֶלֶף (’elef), traditionally translated “thousand.” The word certainly can be taken as “thousand,” and most often is. But in view of the problem of the large number here, some scholars have chosen one of the other meanings attested in literature for this word, perhaps “troop,” or “family,” or “tent group,” even though a word for “family” has already been used (see A. H. McNeile, Numbers, 7; J. Garstang, Joshua-Judges, 120; J. Bright, History of Israel, 144). Another suggestion is to take the word as a “chief” or “captain” based on Ugaritic usage (see R. E. D. Clarke, “The Large Numbers of the Old Testament,” JTVI 87 : 82-92; and J. W. Wenham, “Large Numbers in the Old Testament,” TynBul 18 : 19-53). This interpretation would reduce the size of the Israelite army to about 18,000 men from a population of about 72,000 people. That is a radical change from the traditional reading and may be too arbitrary an estimate. A more unlikely calculation following the idea of a new meaning would attempt to divide the numbers and use the first part to refer to the units and the second the measurement (e.g., 65 thousand and four hundred would become 65 units of four hundred). Another approach has been to study the numbers rhetorically, analyzing the numerical values of letters and words. But this method, known as gematria, came in much later than the biblical period (see for it G. Fohrer, Introduction to the Old Testament, 184; and A. Noordtzij, Numbers [BSC], 24). On this system the numbers for “the sons of Israel” would be 603. But the number of the people in the MT is 603,550. Another rhetorical approach is that which says the text used exaggerations in the numbers on an epic scale to make the point of God’s blessing. R. B. Allen’s view that the numbers have been magnified by a factor of ten (“Numbers,” The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, 2:688-91), which would mean the army was only 60,000 men, seems every bit as arbitrary as Wenham’s view to get down to 18,000. Moreover, such views cannot be harmonized with the instructions in the chapter for them to count every individual skull – that seems very clear. This is not the same kind of general expression one finds in “Saul has killed his thousands, David his ten thousands” (1 Sam 18:7). There one expects the bragging and the exaggerations. But in a text of numbering each male, to argue that the numbers have been inflated ten-fold to form the rhetoric of praise for the way God has blessed the nation demands a much more convincing argument than has typically been given. On the surface it seems satisfactory, but it raises a lot of questions. Everything in Exodus and Numbers attests to the fact that the Israelites were in a population explosion, that their numbers were greater than their Egyptian overlords. Pharaoh had attempted to counter their growth by killing males from the ranks. That only two midwives are named must be taken to mean that they were heads of the guilds, for two could not service a population – even of the smaller estimate given above. But even though the size had to have been great and seen as a threat, we are at a loss to know exactly how to determine it. There is clearly a problem with the word “thousand” here and in many places in the OT, as the literature will show, but the problem cannot really be solved without additional information. The suggestions proposed so far seem to be rather arbitrary attempts to reduce the number to a less-embarrassing total, one that would seem more workable in the light of contemporary populations and armies, as well as space and time for the people’s movement in the wilderness. An army of 10,000 or 20,000 men in those days would have been a large army; an army of 600,000 (albeit a people’s army, which may mean that only a portion of the males would actually fight at any time – as was true at Ai) is large even by today’s standards. But the count appears to have been literal, and the totals calculated accordingly, totals which match other passages in the text. If some formula is used to reduce the thousands in this army, then there is the problem of knowing what to do when a battle has only five thousand, or three thousand men. One can only conclude that on the basis of what we know the word should be left with the translation “thousand,” no matter what difficulties this might suggest to the reader. One should be cautious, though, in speaking of a population of two million, knowing that there are serious problems with the calculation of that number, if not with the word “thousand” itself. It is very doubtful that the population of the wilderness community was in the neighborhood of two million. Nevertheless, until a more convincing explanation of the word “thousand” or the calculation of the numbers is provided, one should retain the reading of the MT but note the difficulty with the large numbers.
41 tc Some witnesses have omitted “those that were numbered of them,” to preserve the literary pattern of the text. The omission is supported by the absence of the expression in the Greek as well as in some MT
43 tc The verse does not have the preposition, only “the descendants of Naphtali.”
44 tn The construction uses both the passive participle הַפְּקֻדִים (happÿqudim) and the verb פָּקַד (paqad), giving a literal translation of “these were the numbered ones, whom Moses and Aaron numbered.”
45 tn Heb “they were one man for the house of his fathers.”
47 tn The vav (ו) on this word indicates a disjunction with the previous sequence of reports. It may be taken as a contrastive clause, translated “but” or “however.”
48 tn The construction is unexpected, for Levites would be from the tribe of Levi. The note seems more likely to express that all these people were organized by tribal lineage, and so too the Levites, according to the tribe of their fathers – individual families of Levites.
49 tc The form in the text is הָתְפָּקְדוּ (hotpaqÿdu); if this is correct, then it is an isolated instance of the reflexive of the Qal of פָּקַד (paqad). Some, however, explain the form as the Hitpael without the doubling of the middle letter and with a compensatory lengthening of the vowel before it (G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 10).
50 tn Heb “had spoken to Moses, saying.” The infinitive construct of אָמַר (’amar), sometimes rendered “saying” in older English translations, does not need to be translated, but can be taken simply as the indicator of direct discourse. Most recent English translations, including the present one, leave the form untranslated for stylistic reasons to avoid redundancy.
52 tn The construction has literally, “only the tribe of Levi you shall not number.” The Greek text rendered the particle אַךְ (’akh) forcefully with “see to it that” or “take care that.” For the uses of this form, see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 65, §388-89.
53 tn Heb “lift up their head.”
54 tn Heb “in the midst of the sons of Israel.”
55 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.
56 tn The Hebrew name used here is מִשְׁכַּן הָעֵדֻת (mishkan ha’edut). The tabernacle or dwelling place of the
57 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.
58 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.
59 tn Heb “the tabernacle.” The pronoun (“it”) was used in the translation here for stylistic reasons.
60 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct with the temporal preposition; the “tabernacle” is then the following genitive. Literally it is “and in the moving of the tabernacle,” meaning, “when the tabernacle is supposed to be moved,” i.e., when people are supposed to move it. The verb נָסָע (nasa’) means “pull up the tent pegs and move,” or more simply, “journey.”
61 tn Here we have the parallel construction using the infinitive construct in a temporal adverbial clause.
62 tn Heb “raise it up.”
63 tn The word used here is זָר (zar), normally translated “stranger” or “outsider.” It is most often used for a foreigner, an outsider, who does not belong in Israel, or who, although allowed in the land, may be viewed with suspicion. But here it seems to include even Israelites other than the tribe of Levi.
64 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
65 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.
66 tc The LXX adds “and Aaron.”
67 sn For this chapter, see C. E. Douglas, “The Twelve Houses of Israel,” JTS 37 (1936): 49-56; C. C. Roach, “The Camp in the Wilderness: A Sermon on Numbers 2:2,” Int 13 (1959): 49-54; and G. St. Clair, “Israel in Camp: A Study,” JTS 8 (1907): 185-217.
68 tn Heb “a man by his own standard.”
69 tn The imperfect tense is to be taken in the nuance of instruction.
70 tn Heb “of/for the house of their fathers.”
72 sn The Israelites were camping as a military camp, each tribe with the standards and emblems of the family. The standard was the symbol fastened to the end of a pole and carried to battle. It served to rally the tribe to the battle. The Bible nowhere describes these, although the serpent emblem of Numbers 21:8-9 may give a clue. But they probably did not have shapes of animals in view of the prohibition in the Decalogue. The standards may have been smaller for the families than the ones for the tribes. See further K. A. Kitchen, “Some Egyptian Background to the Old Testament,” TynBul 5 (1960): 11; and T. W. Mann, Divine Presence and Guidance in Israelite Tradition, 169-73.
73 tn The sentence begins with a vav (ו) on a word that is not a finite verb, indicating a new section begins here. The verbal form is a participle with the article used substantivally, with the meaning “and/now those camping.” Many English versions employ a finite verb; cf. KJV “on the east side…shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch.”
75 tn The sentence actually has “[those camping…are] the standard of the camp of Judah according to their divisions.”
76 tn Or “will be.”
77 tc The expression “and his divisions and those numbered of them” is somewhat tautological. The words are synonyms used for statistical purposes, and so neither should be simply deleted.
78 tn Heb “by him” [i.e., Judah].
79 tn This part has been supplied; the text simply has “the tribe of Zebulun.”
80 tn The verb is נָסָע (nasa’): “to journey, travel, set out,” and here, “to move camp.” Judah will go first, or, literally, at the head of the nation, when they begin to travel.
81 tn Here and throughout the line is literally “[under] the standard of the camp of Reuben…according to their divisions.”
82 tn The Hebrew text simply has “and the tribe of Gad.”
83 tc The Leningrad codex, upon which BHS is based, has “Reuel” here. In reading “Deuel” the translation presented above follows many medieval Hebrew manuscripts, Smr, and the Latin Vulgate. Cf. Num 1:14.
84 tn The Hebrew expression is עַל־יָדוֹ (’al-yado, “upon his hand”). This clearly refers to a specifically designated place for each man.
85 tn Here too the Hebrew text simply has “and the tribe of Benjamin.”
86 tn The Hebrew text has “and the tribe of Naphtali.”
88 tn The Hebrew word is כֵּן (ken, “thus, so”).
89 sn For significant literature for this chapter, see M. Aberbach and L. Smolar, “Aaron, Jeroboam, and their Golden Calves,” JBL 86 (1967): 129-40; G. Brin, “The First-born in Israel in the Biblical Period” (Ph.D. diss., University of Tel Aviv, 1971); S. H. Hooke, “Theory and Practice of Substitution,” VT 2 (1952): 2-17; and J. Morgenstern, “A Chapter in the History of the High Priesthood,” AJSL 55 (1938): 1-24.
90 tn The construction is וְאֵלֶּה תּוֹלְדֹת (vÿ’elleh tolÿdot), which was traditionally translated “now these are the generations,” much as it was translated throughout the book of Genesis. The noun can refer to records, stories, genealogies, names, and accounts of people. Here it is the recorded genealogical list with assigned posts included. Like Genesis, it is a heading of a section, and not a colophon as some have suggested. It is here similar to Exodus: “these are the names of.” R. K. Harrison, Numbers (WEC), 62, insists that it is a colophon and should end chapter 2, but if that is followed in the Pentateuch, it creates difficulty throughout the narratives. See the discussion by A. P. Ross, Creation and Blessing, 69-74.
91 tn The expression in the Hebrew text (“in the day of”) is idiomatic for “when.”
92 tn The verb מָשַׁח (mashakh) means “to anoint”; here the form modifies the “priests.” The service of consecration was carried out with anointing oil (Exod 30:30). The verb is used for the anointing of kings as well as priests in the OT, and so out of that derived the technical title “Messiah” for the coming ideal king – the “Anointed One.”
93 tn In this verse the expression is in a relative clause: “who he filled their hand” means “whose hands he filled,” or “whom he consecrated.” The idiomatic expression used here is from Lev 8; it literally is “he filled their hand” (מִלֵּא יָדָם, mille’ yadam). In the ordination service Moses placed some of the meat from the sacrifice in the hand of the ordinand, and this signified what he was going to be about – having his hand full, or being consecrated to the priesthood. There is some evidence that this practice or expression was also known in Mesopotamia. In modern ordination services a NT or a Bible may be placed in the ordinand’s hand – it is what the ministry will be about.
94 tn The form is an infinitival construction for the word for the priest, showing the purpose for the filling of the hands.
95 tn The verb form is the preterite with vav (ו) consecutive, literally “and Nadab died.” Some commentators wish to make the verb a past perfect, rendering it “and Nadab had died,” but this is not necessary. In tracing through the line from Aaron it simply reports that the first two sons died. The reference is to the event recorded in Lev 10 where the sons brought “strange” or foreign” fire to the sanctuary.
96 tc This initial clause is omitted in one Hebrew
97 tn The form בְּהַקְרִבָם (bÿhaqrivam) is the Hiphil infinitive construct functioning as a temporal clause: “when they brought near,” meaning, “when they offered.” The verb קָרַב (qarav) is familiar to students of the NT because of “corban” in Mark 7:11.
98 tn Or “prohibited.” See HALOT 279 s.v. זָר 3.
99 tn The expression אֵשׁ זָרָה (’esh zarah, “strange fire”) seems imprecise and has been interpreted numerous ways (see the helpful summary in J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC 4], 132-33). The infraction may have involved any of the following or a combination thereof: (1) using coals from some place other than the burnt offering altar (i.e., “unauthorized coals” according to J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:598; cf. Lev 16:12 and cf. “unauthorized person” [אִישׁ זָר, ’ish zar] in Num 16:40 [17:5 HT], NASB “layman”), (2) using the wrong kind of incense (cf. the Exod 30:9 regulation against “strange incense” [קְטֹרֶת זָרָה, qÿtoret zarah] on the incense altar and the possible connection to Exod 30:34-38), (3) performing an incense offering at an unprescribed time (B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 59), or (4) entering the Holy of Holies at an inappropriate time (Lev 16:1-2).
sn This event is narrated in Lev 10:1-7.
100 sn The two young priests had been cut down before they had children; the ranks of the family of Aaron were thereby cut in half in one judgment from God. The significance of the act of judgment was to show that the priests had to sanctify the
101 tn The verb is the Piel preterite from the root כָּהַן (kahan): “to function as a priest” or “to minister.”
103 sn The use of the verb קָרַב (qarav) forms an interesting wordplay in the passage. The act of making an offering is described by this verb, as was the reference to the priests’ offering of strange fire. Now the ceremonial presentation of the priests is expressed by the same word – they are being offered to God.
104 tn The verb literally means “make it [the tribe] stand” (וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אֹתוֹ, vÿha’amadta ’oto). The verb is the Hiphil perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it will take the same imperative nuance as the form before it, but follow in sequence (“and then”). This refers to the ceremonial presentation in which the tribe would take its place before Aaron, that is, stand before him and await their assignments. The Levites will function more like a sacred guard than anything else, for they had to protect and care for the sanctuary when it was erected and when it was transported (see J. Milgrom, Studies in Levitical Terminology, 8-10).
105 tn The verb וְשֵׁרְתוּ (vÿsherÿtu) is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it carries the same volitional force as the preceding verb forms, but may here be subordinated in the sequence to express the purpose or result of the preceding action.
106 tn The Hebrew text uses the perfect tense of שָׁמַר(shamar) with a vav (ו) consecutive to continue the instruction of the preceding verse. It may be translated “and they shall keep” or “they must/are to keep,” but in this context it refers to their appointed duties. The verb is followed by its cognate accusative – “they are to keep his keeping,” or as it is often translated, “his charge.” This would mean whatever Aaron needed them to do. But the noun is also used for the people in the next phrase, and so “charge” cannot be the meaning here. The verse is explaining that the Levites will have duties to perform to meet the needs of Aaron and the congregation.
107 tn The form is the Qal infinitive construct from עָבַד (’avad, “to serve, to work”); it is taken here as a verbal noun and means “by (or in) serving” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 36, §195). This explains the verb “keep [his charge].” Here too the form is followed by a cognate accusative; they will be there to “serve the service” or “work the work.”
108 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct (epexegetically) followed by its cognate accusative. It would convey “to serve the service of the tabernacle,” but more simply it may be rendered as “serving.” Their spiritual and practical service is to serve.
sn The Levites had the duty of taking care of all the tabernacle and its furnishings, especially in times when it was to be moved. But they were also appointed to be gate-keepers (2 Kgs 22:4; 1 Chr 9:19) in order to safeguard the purity of the place and the activities that went on there. Their offices seem to have then become hereditary in time (1 Sam 1:3); they even took on more priestly functions, such as pronouncing the benediction (Deut 10:8). See further R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 348-49.
109 tn The verb וְנָתַתָּה (vÿnatattah) is normally “give.” Here, though, the context refers to the assignment of the Levites to the priests for their duties. The form is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive, continuing the sequence for the imperfect of instruction.
110 tn This emphasis is derived from the simple repetition of the passive participle, נְתוּנִם נְתוּנִם (nÿtunim nÿtunim). See GKC 396 §123.e. The forms serve as the predicate with the subject pronoun.
111 tn The Hebrew text simply has the preposition, “from the Israelites.”
113 tn The word is זָר (zar), usually rendered “stranger, foreigner, pagan.” But in this context it simply refers to anyone who is not a Levite or a priest, an unauthorized person or intruder in the tabernacle. That person would be put to death.
114 tn The particle הִנֵּה (hinneh) here carries its deictic force, calling attention to the fact that is being declared. It is underscoring the fact that the
115 tn Literally “in the place of.”
116 tn The form הַכֹּתִי (hakkoti) is the Hiphil infinitive construct of the verb נָכָה (nakhah, “to strike, smite, attack”). Here, after the idiomatic “in the day of,” the form functions in an adverbial clause of time – “when I destroyed.”
117 sn In the Exodus event of the Passover night the principle of substitution was presented. The firstborn child was redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and so belonged to God, but then God chose the Levites to serve in the place of the firstborn. The ritual of consecrating the firstborn son to the
119 tn Heb “you are to/shall number them.”
120 tn Heb “at the mouth of the
121 tn The Pual perfect may be given the past perfect translation in this sentence because the act of commanding preceded the act of numbering.
122 tn The word “sons of” does at the outset refer to the sons of Levi. But as the listing continues the expression refers more to the family groups of the various descendants.
123 tn The vav (ו) disjunctive on the noun at the beginning of the verse here signals a greater emphasis on the individual rather than another item in the numbering of the clans.
125 tn The disjunctive vav (ו) here introduces a new section, listing the various duties of the clan in the sanctuary. The Gershonites had a long tradition of service here. In the days of David Asaph and his family were prominent as musicians. Others in the clan controlled the Temple treasuries. But in the wilderness they had specific oversight concerning the tent structure, which included the holy place and the holy of holies.
126 tc The phrases in this verse seem to be direct objects without verbs. BHS suggests deleting the sign of the accusative (for which see P. P. Saydon, “Meanings and Uses of the Particle אֵת,” VT 14 : 263-75).
127 tn Heb “for all the service of it [them].”
128 sn Both Moses and Aaron came from this line (6:16-20). During the Hebrew monarchy this branch of the line of Levi was exemplary in music (1 Chr 6:33-48). They were also helpful to Hezekiah in his reforms (1 Chr 29:12-14).
129 tn The construction here is a little different. The Hebrew text uses the participle in construct plural: שֹׁמְרֵי (shomÿrey, literally “keepers of”). The form specifies the duties of the 8,600 Kohathites. The genitive that follows this participle is the cognate מִשְׁמֶרֶת (mishmeret) that has been used before. So the expression indicates that they were responsible for the care of this part of the cult center. There is no reason to delete one of the forms (as does J. A. Paterson, Numbers, 42), for the repetition stresses the central importance of their work.
130 tn The verb is יְשָׁרְתוּ (yÿsharÿtu, “they will serve/minister”). The imperfect tense in this place, however, probably describes what the priests would do, what they used to do. The verb is in a relative clause: “which they would serve with them,” which should be changed to read “with which they would serve.”
131 tn The word is literally “its [their] service.” It describes all the implements that were there for the maintenance of these things.
132 tn The Hebrew construction has “the leader of the leaders of” (וּנְשִׂיא נְשִׂיאֵי, unÿsi’ nÿsi’ey).
133 tn Heb “the keepers of the responsibility” (שֹׁמְרֵי מִשְׁמֶרֶת, shomÿrey mishmeret). The participle is a genitive specifying the duty to which he was appointed (thing possessed); its cognate genitive emphasizes that their responsibility was over the holy place.
134 tn The Hebrew text has “these they the families of Merari.” The independent personal pronoun has an anaphoric use, somewhat equivalent to the copula “and” (see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 23, §115).
136 tc In some Hebrew
137 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.
139 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]).
140 tn The verb נָשָׂא (nasa’, “take”) has here the sense of collect, take a census, or register the names.
141 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive; it carries forward the instructions from the preceding verse. The verb “take” now has the sense of appointing or designating the Levites.
142 tn The verb again is the perfect tense in sequence; the meaning of “take” may be interpreted here with the sense of “collect.”
143 tn The idea is expressed simply by repetition: “take five, five, shekels according to the skull.” They were to collect five shekels for each individual.
144 tn The verb form now is the imperfect of instruction or legislation.
145 tn Heb “them,” referring to the five shekels.
146 sn The sanctuary shekel was first mentioned in Exod 30:13. The half-shekel of Exod 38:26 would then be 10 gerahs. Consequently, the calculations would indicate that five shekels was about two ounces of silver for each person. See R. B. Y. Scott, “Weights and Measures of the Bible,” BA 22 (1951): 22-40, and “The Scale-Weights from Ophel, 1963-1964,” PEQ 97 (1965): 128-39.
147 sn The word used is “silver.” Coins were not in existence until after 700
148 sn The chapter has four main parts to it: Kohathites (1-20), Gershonites (21-28), Merarites (29-33) and the census of the Levites (34-49).
149 tn Heb “lift up the head.” The form נָשֹׂא (naso’) is the Qal infinitive absolute functioning here as a pure verb form. This serves to emphasize the basic verbal root idea (see GKC 346 §113.bb).
sn The census of chapter 3 was to register all male Levites from a month old and up. It arranged the general duties of each of the tribes. The second census of Levites now will focus on those between 30 and 50 years of age, those who were actually in service. These are the working Levites. The duties here will be more specific for each of the families. The Kohathites, although part of the ordinary ministry of Levites, were a special group chosen to handle the most holy furnishings. J. Milgrom shows three aspects of their service: (1) skilled labor (מְלָאכָה, mÿla’khah) or “work,” (2) physical labor (עֲבֹדָה, ‘avodah) or “service,” and (3) assisting the priests (שָׁרֵת, sharet) or “ministering” (see his Studies in Levitical Terminology, 1:60-70).
150 tn The word “company” is literally “host, army” (צָבָא, tsava’). The repetition of similar expressions makes the translation difficult: Heb “all [who] come to the host to do work in the tent.”
151 tn The Hebrew text simply has “the holy of holies,” or “the holy of the holy things” (קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים, qodesh haqqodashim). The context indicates that this refers to all the sacred furnishings.
152 tn The Hebrew text uses the infinitive construct in an adverbial clause of time; literally it says “in the journeying of the camp.” The genitive in such constructions is usually the subject. Here the implication is that people would be preparing to transport the camp and its equipment.
153 tn The exact meaning of the Hebrew word here is difficult to determine. The term תַּחַשׁ (takhash) has been translated “badgers’ [skins]” by KJV. ASV has “sealskin” while RSV uses “goatskin”; NEB and NASB have “porpoise skin,” and NIV has “hides of sea cows.” This is close to “porpoise,” and seems influenced by the Arabic. The evidence is not strong for any of these meanings, and some of the suggestions would be problematic. It is possible the word is simply used for “fine leather,” based on the Egyptian ths. This has been followed by NRSV (“fine leather”) and NLT (“fine goatskin leather”) along with the present translation. See further HALOT 1720-21 s.v. תַּחַשׁ.
154 sn The Hebrew actually has the “table of faces,” and this has been traditionally rendered “table of shewbread.”
156 tn The “pole” or “bar” (מוֹט, mot) is of a different style than the poles used for transporting the ark. It seems to be a flexible bar carried by two men with the implements being transported tied to the bar. The NEB suggests the items were put in a bag and slung over the bar, but there is no indication of the manner.
157 tc The Greek text has “and he must place the cover upon the altar” instead of “and they must take away the ashes from the altar.” The verb is the Piel form; its nuance seems to be privative, i.e., stating that the object is deprived of the material – the ashes are removed. This is the main altar in the courtyard.
158 tc For this passage the Greek and Smr have a substantial addition concerning the purple cloth for the laver and its base, and a further covering of skin (see D. W. Gooding, “On the Use of the LXX for Dating Midrashic Elements in the Targums,” JTS 25 : 1-11).
159 tn The verb form is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it continues the future sequence, but in this verse forms a subordinate clause to the parallel sequential verb to follow.
160 tn The Piel infinitive construct with the preposition serves as the direct object of the preceding verbal form, answering the question of what it was that they finished.
161 tn Heb “after this.”
162 tn The form is the Qal infinitive construct from נָשָׂא (nasa’, “to lift, carry”); here it indicates the purpose clause after the verb “come.”
163 tn The imperfect tense may be given the nuance of negated instruction (“they are not to”) or negated obligation (“they must not”).
164 tn Here the article expresses the generic idea of any holy thing (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 19, §92).
165 tn The verb is the perfect tense with a vav (ו) consecutive, following the imperfect tense warning against touching the holy thing. The form shows the consequence of touching the holy thing, and so could be translated “or they will die” or “lest they die.” The first is stronger.
166 tn The word מַשָּׂא (massa’) is normally rendered “burden,” especially in prophetic literature. It indicates the load that one must carry, whether an oracle, or here the physical responsibility.
167 tn This is supplied to the line to clarify “appointed.”
168 tn Heb “and.”
169 sn One would assume that he would prepare and wrap these items, but that the Kohathites would carry them to the next place.
170 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.
171 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.
172 tn The perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive continues the instruction for Aaron.
173 tn The distributive sense is obtained by the repetition, “a man” and “a man.”
174 tn In the Hebrew text the verse has as the subject “they,” but to avoid confusion the antecedent has been clarified in the translation.
175 tn The two forms are the infinitive construct and then the noun: “to serve and for the burden.” They are to serve and they are to take the responsibility. The infinitive is explaining the verb.
176 tc This whole clause is not in the Greek text; it is likely missing due to homoioteleuton.
177 tn The work of these people would have been very demanding, since the size and weight of the various curtains and courtyard hangings would have been great. For a detailed discussion of these, see the notes in the book of Exodus on the construction of the items.
178 tn The term “whether” is supplied to introduce the enumerated parts of the explanatory phrase.
180 tn The expression is literally “upon/at the mouth of” (עַל־פִּי, ’al-pi); it means that the work of these men would be under the direct orders of Aaron and his sons.
181 tn Or “burden.”
183 sn The material here suggests that Eleazar had heavier responsibilities than Ithamar, Aaron’s fourth and youngest son. It is the first indication that the Zadokite Levites would take precedence over the Ithamar Levites (see 1 Chr 24:3-6).
184 sn More recent studies have concluded that these “boards” were made of two long uprights joined by cross-bars (like a ladder). They were frames rather than boards, meaning that the structure under the tent was not a solid building. It also meant that the “boards” would have been lighter to carry.
185 tn Heb “you shall assign by names the vessels of the responsibility of their burden.”
186 tn The text multiplies the vocabulary of service here in the summary. In the Hebrew text the line reads literally: “everyone who came to serve the service of serving, and the service of burden.” The Levites came into service in the shrine, and that involved working in the sanctuary as well as carrying it from one place to the next.
187 tn The verb is the simple perfect tense – “he numbered them.” There is no expressed subject; therefore, the verb can be rendered as a passive.
188 tn Or “his burden.”
189 tn The passive form simply reads “those numbered by him.” Because of the cryptic nature of the word, some suggest reading a preterite, “and they were numbered.” This is supported by the Greek, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate. It would follow in the emendation that the relative pronoun be changed to “just as” (כַּאֲשֶׁר, ka’asher). The MT is impossible the way it stands; it can only be rendered into smooth English by adding something that is missing.
190 sn The fifth chapter falls into four main parts: separation of the unclean (vv. 1-4), restitution for sin (vv. 5-10), the jealousy ordeal (vv. 11-28), and the summary (vv. 29-31). There is a good deal of literature on the biblical theme of holiness (for which see the notes on Leviticus primarily). But with regard to this chapter, see (with caution), Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger; J. Neusner, The Idea of Purity in Ancient Judaism; and K. Milgrom, “Two Kinds of h£at£t£a„át,” VT 26 (1976): 333-37.
191 tn The construction uses the Piel imperative followed by this Piel imperfect/jussive form; it is here subordinated to the preceding volitive, providing the content of the command. The verb שָׁלַח (shalakh) in this verbal stem is a strong word, meaning “expel, put out, send away, or release” (as in “let my people go”).
192 sn The word צָרוּעַ (tsarua’), although translated “leper,” does not primarily refer to leprosy proper (i.e., Hansen’s disease). The RSV and the NASB continued the KJV tradition of using “leper” and “leprosy.” More recent studies have concluded that the Hebrew word is a generic term covering all infectious skin diseases (including leprosy when that actually showed up). True leprosy was known and feared certainly by the time of Amos (ca. 760
193 sn The rules of discharge (Lev 12 and 15) include everything from menstruation to chronic diseases (see G. Wyper, ISBE 1:947, as well as R. K. Harrison, Leviticus (TOTC), 158-66, and G. J. Wenham, Leviticus (NICOT), 217-25.
194 tn The word is נֶפֶשׁ (nefesh), which usually simply means “[whole] life,” i.e., the soul in the body, the person. But here it must mean the corpse, the dead person, since that is what will defile (although it was also possible to become unclean by touching certain diseased people, such as a leper).
195 tn The imperfect tense functions here as a final imperfect, expressing the purpose of putting such folks outside the camp. The two preceding imperfects (repeated for emphasis) are taken here as instruction or legislation.
196 tn The perfect tense is here given a past perfect nuance to stress that the word of the
197 sn This type of law is known as casuistic. The law is introduced with “when/if” and then the procedure to be adopted follows it. The type of law was common in the Law Code of Hammurabi.
198 tn The verse simply says “any sin of a man,” but the genitive could mean that it is any sin that a man would commit (subjective genitive), or one committed against a man (objective genitive). Because of the similarity with Lev 5:22, the subjective is better. The sin is essentially “missing the mark” which is the standard of the Law of the
199 tn The verb is מַעַל (ma’al), which means to “defraud, violate, trespass against,” or “to deal treacherously, do an act of treachery.” In doing any sin that people do, the guilty have been unfaithful to the
200 tn The word used here for this violation is אָשָׁם (’asham). It can be translated “guilt, to be guilty”; it can also be used for the reparation offering. The basic assumption here is that the individual is in a state of sin – is guilty. In that state he or she feels remorse for the sin and seeks forgiveness through repentance. See further P. P. Saydon, “Sin Offering and Trespass Offering,” CBQ 8 (1946): 393-98; H. C. Thompson, “The Significance of the Term ’Asham in the Old Testament,” TGUOS 14 (1953): 20-26.
201 tn The verb is the Hitpael perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive from the verb יָדָה (yadah), which in this stem means “acknowledge, confess sin,” but in the Hiphil (primarily) it means “praise, give thanks.” In both cases one is acknowledging something, either the sin, or the person and work of the
202 tn The verb is the Hiphil perfect of שׁוּב (shuv, “return”). Here it has the sense of “repay” with the word “reparation” (traditionally rendered “guilt offering,” but now is understood to refer to what was defrauded). The Levitical rulings called for the guilty to restore what was taken, if it could be made right, and pay a fifth more as a surcharge.
203 tn This is now the third use of אָשָׁם (’asham); the first referred to “guilt,” the second to “reparation,” and now “wronged.” The idea of “guilt” lies behind the second two uses as well as the first. In the second “he must repay his guilt” (meaning what he is guilty of); and here it can also mean “the one against whom he is guilty of sinning.”
204 sn For more information on the word, see A. R. Johnson, “The Primary Meaning of גאל,” VTSup 1 (1953): 67-77.
205 tc The editors of BHS prefer to follow the Greek, Syriac, and Latin and not read “for the
206 tn The Hebrew word תְּרוּמָה (tÿrumah) seems to be a general word for any offering that goes to the priests (see J. Milgrom, Studies in Cultic Theology and Terminology [SJLA 36], 159-72).
207 sn The “holy gifts” are described with the root of קֹדֶשׁ (qodesh) to convey that they were separate. Such things had been taken out of the ordinary and normal activities of life.
208 sn There is a good bit of bibliography here. See, e.g., J. M. Sasson, “Numbers 5 and the Waters of Judgment,” BZ 16 (1972): 249-51; and M. Fishbane, “Accusation of Adultery: A Study of Law and Scribal Practice in Numbers 5:11-31,” HUCA 45 (1974): 25-46.
209 tn Heb “and a man lies with her with the emission of semen.” This makes it clear that there was adultery involved, so that the going astray is going astray morally. The indication in the text is that if she had never behaved suspiciously the sin might not have been detected.
210 tc The sign of the accusative אֹתָהּ (’otah) is probably to be repointed to the preposition with the suffix, אִתָּהּ (’ittah).
211 tn Heb “and it is concealed from the eyes of her husband.”
212 tn The noun clause beginning with the simple conjunction is here a circumstantial clause, explaining that there was no witness to the sin.
213 tn The Hebrew text has the construct case, “spirit of jealousy.” The word “spirit” here has the sense of attitude, mood, feelings. The word קִנְאָה (qin’ah) is the genitive of attribute, modifying what kind of feelings they are. The word means either “zeal” or “jealousy,” depending on the context. It is a passionate feeling to guard or protect an institution or relationship. It can also express strong emotional possessiveness such as envy and coveting. Here there is a feeling of jealousy, but no proof of infidelity.
214 tn The word is now used in the Piel stem; the connotation is certainly “suspicious,” for his jealousy seems now to have some basis, even if it is merely suspicion.
215 tn The noun clause begins with the conjunction and the pronoun; here it is forming a circumstantial clause, either temporal or causal.
216 tn All the conditions have been laid down now for the instruction to begin – if all this happened, then this is the procedure to follow.
217 tn The Hebrew word is “jealousy,” which also would be an acceptable translation here. But since the connotation is that suspicion has been raised about the other person, “suspicion” seems to be a better rendering in this context.
218 tn The word “remembering” is זִכָּרוֹן (zikkaron); the meaning of the word here is not so much “memorial,” which would not communicate much, but the idea of bearing witness before God concerning the charges. The truth would come to light through this ritual, and so the attestation would stand. This memorial would bring the truth to light. It was a somber occasion, and so no sweet smelling additives were placed on the altar.
219 tn The final verbal form, מַזְכֶּרֶת (mazkeret), explains what the memorial was all about – it was causing iniquity to be remembered.
220 tn The verb is the Hiphil of the word “to stand.” It could be rendered “station her,” but that sounds too unnatural. This is a meeting between an accused person and the Judge of the whole earth.
221 tn This is probably water taken from the large bronze basin in the courtyard. It is water set apart for sacred service. “Clean water” (so NEB) does not capture the sense very well, but it does have the support of the Greek that has “pure running water.” That pure water would no doubt be from the bronze basin anyway.
222 tn Heb “from.” The preposition is used here with a partitive sense.
223 sn The dust may have come from the sanctuary floor, but it is still dust, and therefore would have all the pollutants in it.
224 tn The expression has been challenged. The first part, “bitter water,” has been thought to mean “water of contention” (so NEB), but this is not convincing. It has some support in the versions which read “contention” and “testing,” no doubt trying to fit the passage better. N. H. Snaith (Leviticus and Numbers [NCB], 129) suggests from an Arabic word that it was designed to cause an abortion – but that would raise an entirely different question, one of who the father of a child was. And that has not been introduced here. The water was “bitter” in view of the consequences it held for her if she was proven to be guilty. That is then enforced by the wordplay with the last word, the Piel participle הַמְאָרֲרִים (ham’ararim). The bitter water, if it convicted her, would pronounce a curse on her. So she was literally holding her life in her hands.
sn This ancient ritual seems to have functioned like a lie detector test, with all the stress and tension involved. It can be compared to water tests in the pagan world, with the exception that in Israel it was stacked more toward an innocent verdict. It seems to have been a temporary provision, for this is the only place that it appears, and no provision is made for its use later. It may have served as a didactic force, warning more than actually legislating. No provision is made in it for a similar charge to be brought against the man, but in the case of the suspicion of the woman the man would be very hesitant to demand this test given the harshness on false witnessing in Israel. The passage remains a rather strange section of the Law.
225 tn The word “other” is implied, since the woman would not be guilty of having sexual relations with her own husband.
226 sn Although there would be stress involved, a woman who was innocent would have nothing to hide, and would be confident. The wording of the priest’s oath is actually designed to enable the potion to keep her from harm and not produce the physical effects it was designed to do.
227 tn The pronoun is emphatic – “but you, if you have gone astray.”
228 tn This is an example of the rhetorical device known as aposiopesis, or “sudden silence.” The sentence is broken off due to the intensity or emphasis of the moment. The reader is left to conclude what the sentence would have said.
229 sn For information on such curses, see M. R. Lehmann, “Biblical Oaths,” ZAW 81 (1969): 74-92; A. C. Thiselton, “The Supposed Power of Words in the Biblical Writings,” JTS 25 (1974): 283-99; and F. C. Fensham, “Malediction and Benediction in Ancient Vassal Treaties and the Old Testament,” ZAW 74 (1962): 1-9.
230 tn Heb “the priest will say.”
231 tn This interpretation takes the two nouns as a hendiadys. The literal wording is “the
233 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct with the preposition to form an adverbial clause: “in the giving of the
234 tn TEV takes the expression “your thigh” as a euphemism for the genitals: “cause your genital organs to shrink.”
235 sn Most commentators take the expressions to be euphemisms of miscarriage or stillbirth, meaning that there would be no fruit from an illegitimate union. The idea of the abdomen swelling has been reinterpreted by NEB to mean “fall away.” If this interpretation stands, then the idea is that the woman has become pregnant, and that has aroused the suspicion of the husband for some reason. R. K. Harrison (Numbers [WEC], 111-13) discusses a variety of other explanations for diseases and conditions that might be described by these terms. He translates it with “miscarriage,” but leaves open what the description might actually be. Cf. NRSV “makes your uterus drop, your womb discharge.”
236 tn The verb is the perfect tense with vav (ו) consecutive. It could be taken as a jussive following the words of the priest in the previous section, but it is more likely to be a simple future.
237 tn Heb “fall away.”
238 tn The word “amen” carries the idea of “so be it,” or “truly.” The woman who submits to this test is willing to have the test demonstrate the examination of God.
239 sn The words written on the scroll were written with a combination of ingredients mixed into an ink. The idea is probably that they would have been washed or flaked off into the water, so that she drank the words of the curse – it became a part of her being.
240 tn Heb “will be free”; the words “of ill effects” have been supplied as a clarification.
241 tn Heb “law of jealousies.”
242 sn The text does not say what the consequences are. Presumably the punishment would come from God, and not from those administering the test.
243 tn The word “iniquity” can also mean the guilt for the iniquity as well as the punishment of consequences for the iniquity. These categories of meanings grew up through figurative usage (metonymies). Here the idea is that if she is guilty then she must “bear the consequences.”
244 sn This chapter can be divided into five sections: The vow is described in vv. 1-8, then the contingencies for defilement are enumerated in vv. 9-12, then there is a discussion of discharging the vows in vv. 13-20, and then a summary in v. 21; after this is the high priestly blessing (vv. 22-27). For information on the vow, see G. B. Gray, “The Nazirite,” JTS 1 (1899-1900): 201-11; Z. Weisman, “The Biblical Nazirite, Its Types and Roots,” Tarbiz 36 (1967): 207-20; and W. Eichrodt, Theology of the Old Testament (OTL), 1:303-6.
245 tn The formula is used here again: “a man or a woman – when he takes.” The vow is open to both men and women.
246 tn The vow is considered special in view of the use of the verb יַפְלִא (yafli’), the Hiphil imperfect of the verb “to be wonderful, extraordinary.”
247 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct followed by the cognate accusative: “to vow a vow.” This intensifies the idea that the vow is being taken carefully.
248 tn The name of the vow is taken from the verb that follows; נָזַר (nazar) means “to consecrate oneself,” and so the Nazirite is a consecrated one. These are folks who would make a decision to take an oath for a time or for a lifetime to be committed to the
249 tn The form of the verb is an Hiphil infinitive construct, forming the wordplay and explanation for the name Nazirite. The Hiphil is here an internal causative, having the meaning of “consecrate oneself” or just “consecrate to the
250 tn The operative verb now will be the Hiphil of נָזַר (nazar); the consecration to the
251 tn The “vinegar” (חֹמֶץ, homets) is some kind of drink preparation that has been allowed to go sour.
252 tn This word occurs only here. It may come from the word “to water, to be moist,” and so refer to juice.
253 tn Heb “dried” (so KJV, ASV, NRSV).
254 tn This word also is rare, occurring only here.
255 sn Here is another hapax legomenon, a word only found here. The word seems linked to the verb “to be clear,” and so may mean the thin skin of the grape. The reason for the strictness with these two words in this verse is uncertain. We know the actual meanings of the words, and the combination must form a merism here, meaning no part of the grape could be eaten. Abstaining from these common elements of food was to be a mark of commitment to the
256 tc The parallel expression in v. 8 (“all the days of his separation”) lacks the word “vow.” This word is also absent in v. 5 in a few medieval Hebrew manuscripts. The presence of the word in v. 5 may be due to dittography.
257 sn There is an interesting parallel between this prohibition and the planting of trees. They could not be pruned or trimmed for three years, but allowed to grow free (Lev 20:23). Only then could the tree be cut and the fruit eaten. The natural condition was to be a sign that it was the
258 tn Heb “days.”
259 tn The word “holy” here has the sense of distinct, different, set apart.
260 tn The Piel infinitive absolute functions as a verb in this passage; the Piel carries the sense of “grow lengthy” or “let grow long.”
261 tn The Hebrew verb is simply “enter, go,” no doubt with the sense of go near.
262 tn The Hebrew has נֶפֶשׁ מֵת (nefesh met), literally a “dead person.” But since the word נֶפֶשׁ can also be used for animals, the restriction would be for any kind of corpse. Death was very much a part of the fallen world, and so for one so committed to the
263 tn The vav (ו) conjunction at the beginning of the clause specifies the cases of corpses that are to be avoided, no matter how painful it might be.
264 tn The construction uses the infinitive construct with the preposition and the suffixed subjective genitive – “in the dying of them” – to form the adverbial clause of time.
sn The Nazirite would defile himself, i.e., ruin his vow, by contacting their corpses. Jesus’ hard saying in Matt 8:22, “let the dead bury their own dead,” makes sense in the light of this passage – Jesus was calling for commitment to himself.
265 tn The word “separation” here is metonymy of adjunct – what is on his head is long hair that goes with the vow.
266 tn The genitive could perhaps be interpreted as possession, i.e., “the vow of his God,” but it seems more likely that an objective genitive would be more to the point.
267 tn The construction uses the imperfect tense followed by the infinitive absolute, יָמוּת מֵת (yamut met). Because the verb is in a conditional clause, the emphasis that is to be given through the infinitive must stress the contingency. The point is “if someone dies – unexpectedly.” The next words underscore the suddenness of this.
268 tn The verb is the Piel perfect with a vav (ו) consecutive; it continues the idea within the conditional clause.
269 sn The expression is figurative for the vow that he took; the figure is the metonymy because the reference to the head is a reference to the long hair that symbolizes the oath.
270 tn The imperfect tense in this verse is still instructional rather than a simple future. The translations can vary, but the point that it is directive must be caught.
271 tn The traditional translation of חַטָּאת (khatta’t) is “sin offering,” but it is more precise to render it “purification offering” (as with the other names of sacrifices) to show the outcome, not the cause of the offering (see Lev 4). Besides, this offering was made for ritual defilements (for which no confession was required) as well as certain sins (for which a confession of sin was required). This offering restored the person to the ritual state of purity by purifying the area into which he would be going.
272 tn The repetition of “the one…and the one” forms the distributive sense of “the one…and the other.”
274 tn The verb וְכִפֶּר (vÿkhipper) is the Piel perfect with vav (ו) consecutive. The meaning of the verb is “to expiate, pacify, atone.” It refers to the complete removal of the barrier of fellowship between the person and God, and the total acceptance of that person into his presence. The idea of “to cover,” often linked to this meaning, is derived from a homonym, and not from this word and its usage.
275 tn The verb “to sin” has a wide range of meanings, beginning with the idea of “missing the way or the goal.” In view of the nature of this case – the prescribed ritual without confession – the idea is more that he failed to keep the vow’s stipulations in this strange circumstance than that he committed intentional sin.
276 tn The verb simply means “to consecrate,” but because it refers to a vow that was interrupted, it must here mean to “reconsecrate.”
277 tn The same idea is to be found now in the use of the word נָזַר (nazar), which refers to a recommitment after the vow was interrupted.
278 tn The necessity of bringing the reparation offering was due to the reinstatement into the vow that had been interrupted.
279 tn Heb “will fall”; KJV “shall be lost”; ASV, NASB, NRSV “shall be void.”
281 tn The Hebrew text has “he/one shall bring him”; since there is no expressed subject, this verb should be taken in the passive sense – “he shall be brought.” Since the context suggests an obligatory nuance, the translation “he must be brought” has been used. Some scholars solve the problem by emending the Hebrew text here, but there is no manuscript evidence to support the emendation.
282 tn Heb “he shall offer his offering” – the object is a cognate accusative.
283 sn The peace offering שְׁלָמִים (shÿlamim) is instructed in Lev 3 and 7. The form is always in the plural. It was a sacrifice that celebrated the fact that the worshiper was at peace with God, and was not offered in order to make peace with God. The peace offering was essentially a communal meal in the presence of God. Some have tried to equate this offering with similar sounding names in Akkadian and Ugaritic (see B. A. Levine, In the Presence of the
285 sn The offerings for the termination of the Nazirite vow would not have been inexpensive. This indicates that the person making the short term vow may have had income, or have come from a wealthier section of society. Short term vows had to be considered carefully as this ruling required a good amount of food to be brought.
286 tn “all these” is supplied as the object.
287 tn Heb “make.”
288 tn The “peace offering” is usually written as “a sacrifice of peace” (זֶבַח שְׁלָמִים, zevakh shÿlamim). The word “sacrifice” is related to the word “to slaughter,” and so indicates that this is a bloody offering in celebration of peace with God.
289 tn Some versions simply interpret this to say that he shaves his hair, for it is the hair that is the sign of the consecration to God. But the text says he shaves his consecrated head. The whole person is obviously consecrated to God – not just the head. But the symbolic act of cutting the hair shows that the vow has been completed (see Acts 21:23-24). The understanding of the importance of the hair in the ancient world has been the subject of considerable study over the years (see R. de Vaux, Ancient Israel, 436; and J. A. Thompson, “Numbers,” New Bible Commentary: Revised, 177).
290 sn Some commentators see this burning of the hair as an offering (McNeile, Numbers, 35; G. B. Gray, Numbers [ICC], 68). But others probably with more foundation see it as destroying something that has served a purpose, something that if left alone might be venerated (see R. de Vaux, Israel, 436).
291 tn Heb “which is under the peace offering.” The verse does not mean that the hair had to be put under that sacrifice and directly on the fire.
292 tn The line does not include the word “head”; it literally has “after the consecrating of himself his consecrated [head].” The infinitive construct is here functioning in the temporal clause with the suffix as the subject and the object following.
293 sn The ritual of lifting the hands filled with the offering and waving them in the presence of the
294 sn The “wave offering” may be interpreted as a “special gift” to be transferred to the
295 tn The imperfect tense here would then have the nuance of permission. It is not an instruction at this point; rather, the prohibition has been lifted and the person is free to drink wine.
296 tn Actually, “law” here means a whole set of laws, the basic rulings on this topic.
297 tn Heb “whatever else his hand is able to provide.” The imperfect tense has the nuance of potential imperfect – “whatever he can provide.”
298 tn Heb “according to the vow that he vows, so he must do.”
299 sn This brief section records the blessing of the priest, especially the high priest after he emerges from the holy of holies to bless the people (see Lev 9:22). The two main elements in the oracle are “grace and peace.” It is probable that the Apostle Paul based his salutations on this oracle. For additional information, see L. J. Liebreich, “The Songs of Ascent and the Priestly Blessing,” JBL 74 (1955): 33-36; P. D. Miller, “The Blessing of God: An Interpretation of Num 6:22-27,” Int 29 (1975): 240-51; and A. Murtonen, “The Use and Meaning of the Words lébarek and bérakah in the Old Testament,” VT 9 (1959): 158-77.
300 tn Or “thus.”
301 tn The Piel imperfect has the nuance of instruction. The particle “thus” explains that the following oracle is the form to use.
302 tn Here is the only use of the verb אָמַר (’amar) as an infinitive absolute; it functions as a verb form, an imperative or an imperfect of instruction. Several commentators have attempted to emend the text to get around the difficulty, but such emendations are unnecessary.
303 tn The short blessing uses the jussive throughout, here the Piel jussive with a pronominal suffix. While the jussive has quite a range of nuances, including wish, desire, prayer, or greeting, the jussives here are stronger. The formal subject of the verb is the
304 tn The verb “to keep” concerns the divine protection of the people; its basic meaning is “to exercise great care over,” “to guard,” or “to give attention to” (see TWOT 2:939). No doubt the priestly blessing informed the prayer and promise that makes up Ps 121, for the verb occurs six times in the eight verses. So in addition to the divine provision (“bless” basically means “enrich” in a number of ways) there is the assurance of divine protection.
305 tn Whereas the first line of the blessing had three Hebrew words, the second has five, and the third has seven. In this second line and the following third, the blessing takes the form of an emblem followed by the truth. For the
306 tn The last line of the blessing also has first the image and then the parallel interpretation – for God to lift up his face is for God to give peace. The idea of the fallen face is one of anger (see Gen 4:6,7); and the idea of the hidden face is that of withholding support, favor, or peace (see Deut 31:18; Ps 30:8; Ps 44:25). If God lifts his face toward his people, it means he has given them peace – peace, prosperity, completeness, health, safety, general well-being, and the like.
307 tn The idea of their putting the name of Yahweh on the people is somewhat problematic. The pronouncing of the name of Yahweh in this context over the people was taken to be the effectual means of blessings. “Putting the name on them” is an expression that emphasizes the truth that he is their God and they are his people or that having his name is having his blessing.