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Numbers 7:4-9

The Distribution of the Gifts

7:4 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 7:5 “Receive these gifts 1  from them, that they may be 2  used in doing the work 3  of the tent of meeting; and you must give them to the Levites, to every man 4  as his service requires.” 5 

7:6 So Moses accepted the carts and the oxen and gave them to the Levites. 7:7 He gave two carts and four oxen to the Gershonites, as their service required; 7:8 and he gave four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites, as their service required, under the authority 6  of Ithamar son of Aaron the priest. 7:9 But to the Kohathites he gave none, because the service of the holy things, which they carried 7  on their shoulders, was their responsibility. 8 

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

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

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

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

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

6 tn Heb “hand.”

7 tn The verb is the imperfect tense, but it describes their customary activity – they had to carry, they used to carry.

8 tn Heb “upon them,” meaning “their duty.”

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