Numbers 3


וְאֵלֶּה תֹּולְדֹת אַהֲרֹן וּמֹשֶׁה בְּיֹום דִּבֶּר יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה בְּהַר סִינָי   3:1

Numb. 3:1    Now these were the generations of Aaron and Moses on the day the Lord spoke with Moses on Mount Sinai:

This verse seems to introduce this entire chapter, but it launches only the next three verses.  The rest of the chapter is concerned with the generations of Levi son of Jacob.  In addition, the generations of Moses are not included.  As a matter of fact, no one knows anything about the generations of Moses.

וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמֹות בְּנֵי־אַהֲרֹן הַבְּכֹור נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא אֶלְעָזָר וְאִיתָמָר   3:2

Numb. 3:2    And these were the names of the children of Aaron:  The first born, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.

אֵלֶּה שְׁמֹות בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֲנִים הַמְּשֻׁחִים אֲשֶׁר־מִלֵּא יָדָם לְכַהֵן   3:3

Numb. 3:3    These were the names of the children of Aaron, the priests, the anointed, who were consecrated to priesthood.

וַיָּמָת נָדָב וַאֲבִיהוּא לִפְנֵי יְהוָה בְּהַקְרִבָם אֵשׁ זָרָה לִפְנֵי יְהוָה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי וּבָנִים לֹא־הָיוּ לָהֶם   3:4

וַיְכַהֵן אֶלְעָזָר וְאִיתָמָר עַל־פְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן אֲבִיהֶם

Numb. 3:4    Now Nadab and Abihu had died before the Lord when they offered strange fire before the Lord in the wilderness of Sinai, and there were no children for them, so Eleazar and Ithamar were priests in the presence of Aaron, their father.

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   3:5

Numb. Numb. 3:5    And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

הַקְרֵב אֶת־מַטֵּה לֵוִי וְהַעֲמַדְתָּ אֹתֹו לִפְנֵי אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן וְשֵׁרְתוּ אֹתֹו   3:6

Numb. 3:6    “Bring the tribe of Levi and set it before Aaron, the priest, so they may serve him.”

We can pretty well place the time of this event.  It had to be one of three possibilities: (1) before work started on the tent of meeting, (2) as soon as the tent of meeting was completed, or (3) very soon after Moses consecrated the Tabernacle and the tent of meeting, and Aaron and his sons.  Because the Levites were responsible for taking down, carrying, and re-erecting the tent of meeting and the Tabernacle, this command had to have been given before the first time the children of Israel moved out on the initial leg of their wilderness trek from Mount Sinai.

וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת־מִשְׁמַרְתֹּו וְאֶת־מִשְׁמֶרֶת כָּל־הָעֵדָה לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל מֹועֵד לַעֲבֹד אֶת־עֲבֹדַת הַמִּשְׁכָּן   3:7

Numb. 3:7    “And they shall keep his charge and the charge of the entire congregation before the tent of meeting to do the service of the Tabernacle.”

וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת־כָּל־כְּלֵי אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וְאֶת־מִשְׁמֶרֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לַעֲבֹד אֶת־עֲבֹדַת הַמִּשְׁכָּן   3:8

Numb. 3:8    “And they shall keep every article of the tent of meeting and the charge of the children of Israel to do the service of the Tabernacle.”

וְנָתַתָּה אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו נְתוּנִם נְתוּנִם הֵמָּה לֹו מֵאֵת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   3:9

Numb. 3:9    “And you shall give the Levites to Aaron and to his sons; they are entirely delivered to him from the children of Israel.”

וְאֶת־אַהֲרֹן וְאֶת־בָּנָיו תִּפְקֹד וְשָׁמְרוּ אֶת־כְּהֻנָּתָם וְהַזָּר הַקָּרֵב יוּמָת   3:10

Numb. 3:10  “And you shall warn Aaron and his sons that they shall protect their priesthood; that the stranger coming near would have to die.”

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   3:11

Numb. 3:11  And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

וַאֲנִי הִנֵּה לָקַחְתִּי אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם מִתֹּוךְ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל תַּחַת כָּל־בְּכֹור פֶּטֶר רֶחֶם מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהָיוּ לִי   3:12


Numb. 3:12  “Now behold, I have taken the Levites from the midst of the children of Israel instead of every first born opening the womb from the children of Israel, so the Levites would be Mine.

כִּי לִי כָּל־בְּכֹור בְּיֹום הַכֹּתִי כָל־בְּכֹור בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם הִקְדַּשְׁתִּי לִי כָל־בְּכֹור בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאָדָם   3:13

עַד־בְּהֵמָה לִי יִהְיוּ אֲנִי יְהוָה

Numb. 3:13  “For all the first born are Mine:  On the day that I smote every first born in the land of Egypt I consecrated every first born in Israel to Me, both human and beast.  They shall be Mine.” 

                                                                          “I am the Lord.”

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה בְּמִדְבַּר סִינַי לֵאמֹר   3:14

Numb. 3:14  And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai saying,

פְּקֹד אֶת־בְּנֵי לֵוִי לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם כָּל־זָכָר מִבֶּן־חֹדֶשׁ וָמַעְלָה תִּפְקְדֵם   3:15

Numb. 3:15  “Count the sons of Levi belonging to the house of their fathers according to their families. Every male from age one month and up, shall you count them.”

A question arises as to why the counting should begin with one-month olds.  Why not new born as well?  I doubt that anyone has a definitive answer, but this is probably the source of the ceremony of pidyon haben, the ceremony of  redemption of the first born male, which takes place when a first born male is at least 31 days old.

וַיִּפְקֹד אֹתָם מֹשֶׁה עַל־פִּי יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צֻוָּה   3:16

Numb. 3:16  And Moses counted them according to the Lord as He had commanded.

With this verse the scribe shifts from the Lord commanding Moses since v. 3:6 to a historical narrative.  Because the Hebrew text of the verses of this chapter up to v. 3:40 contain almost no verbs (to be verbs have to be implied), it becomes difficult to determine if the Lord resumes commanding Moses or the verses from here to v. 3:40 continue the historical narrative.  The translation from this point to that one assumes that the intervening verses are historical narrative.

וַיִּהְיוּ־אֵלֶּה בְנֵי־לֵוִי בִּשְׁמֹתָם גֵּרְשֹׁון וּקְהָת וּמְרָרִי   3:17

Numb. 3:17  And these were the sons of Levi by their names:  Gershon and Kohath and Merari.

וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמֹות בְּנֵי־גֵרְשֹׁון לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִבְנִי וְשִׁמְעִי   3:18

Numb. 3:18  And these were the names of the sons of Gershon according to their families:  Libni and Shimei.

וּבְנֵי קְהָת לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם עַמְרָם וְיִצְהָר חֶבְרֹון וְעֻזִּיאֵל   3:19

Numb. 3:19  And the sons of Kohath according to their families:  Amram and Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel.

וּבְנֵי מְרָרִי לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם מַחְלִי וּמוּשִׁי אֵלֶּה הֵם מִשְׁפְּחֹת הַלֵּוִי לְבֵית אֲבֹתָם   3:20

Numb. 3:20  And the sons of Merari according to their families: Mahli and Mushi.  These were they of the families of the Levite according to the houses of their fathers.

                                                                                                          [Return to Numb. 16:1]

לְגֵרְשֹׁון מִשְׁפַּחַת הַלִּבְנִי וּמִשְׁפַּחַת הַשִּׁמְעִי אֵלֶּה הֵם מִשְׁפְּחֹת הַגֵּרְשֻׁנִּי   3:21

Numb. 3:21  Gershon’s were the families of the Libnite and the families of the Shimeite; these were they of the families of the Gershonites.

פְּקֻדֵיהֶם בְּמִסְפַּר כָּל־זָכָר מִבֶּן־חֹדֶשׁ וָמָעְלָה פְּקֻדֵיהֶם שִׁבְעַת אֲלָפִים וַחֲמֵשׁ מֵאֹות   3:22

Numb. 3:22  Their count in the number of every male from age one month and up of their counted was seven thousand and five hundred.

מִשְׁפְּחֹת הַגֵּרְשֻׁנִּי אַחֲרֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן יַחֲנוּ יָמָּה   3:23

Numb. 3:23  The families of the Gershonite would camp behind the Tabernacle to the west.

וּנְשִׂיא בֵית־אָב לַגֵּרְשֻׁנִּי אֶלְיָסָף בֶּן־לָאֵל   3:24

Numb. 3:24  And the chief of the house of the Gershonite’s father was Eliasaph son of Lael.

וּמִשְׁמֶרֶת בְּנֵי־גֵרְשֹׁון בְּאֹהֶל מֹועֵד הַמִּשְׁכָּן וְהָאֹהֶל מִכְסֵהוּ וּמָסַךְ פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד   3:25

Numb. 3:25  And the responsibilities of the children of Gershon in the tent of meeting would be the Tabernacle and the tent covering it, and the screen of the entrance of the tent of meeting,

וְקַלְעֵי הֶחָצֵר וְאֶת־מָסַךְ פֶּתַח הֶחָצֵר אֲשֶׁר עַל־הַמִּשְׁכָּן וְעַל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב וְאֵת מֵיתָרָיו לְכֹל    3:26


Numb. 3:26  and the curtains of the court, and the screen of the entrance of the court, that is about the Tabernacle and about the altar all around, and its cords, with all of its service.

 וְלִקְהָת מִשְׁפַּחַת הַעַמְרָמִי וּמִשְׁפַּחַת הַיִּצְהָרִי וּמִשְׁפַּחַת הַחֶבְרֹנִי וּמִשְׁפַּחַת הָעָזִּיאֵלִי אֵלֶּה הֵם   3:27

מִשְׁפְּחֹת הַקְּהָתִי

Numb. 3:27  And Kohath’s were the families of the Amramites and the families of the Izharites and the families of the Hebronites and the families of the Uzzielites.  These were they of the families of the Kohathites,

בְּמִסְפַּר כָּל־זָכָר מִבֶּן־חֹדֶשׁ וָמָעְלָה שְׁמֹנַת אֲלָפִים וְשֵׁשׁ מֵאֹות שֹׁמְרֵי מִשְׁמֶרֶת הַקֹּדֶשׁ   3:28

Numb. 3:28  with the number of every male from age one month and up being eight thousand and six hundred keepers of the service of the sanctuary.

מִשְׁפְּחֹת בְּנֵי־קְהָת יַחֲנוּ עַל יֶרֶךְ הַמִּשְׁכָּן תֵּימָנָה   3:29

Numb. 3:29  The families of the children of Kohath would camp on the side of the Tabernacle to the south.

וּנְשִׂיא בֵית־אָב לְמִשְׁפְּחֹת הַקְּהָתִי אֶלִיצָפָן בֶּן־עֻזִּיאֵל   3:30

Numb. 3:30  And the chief of the house of the father to the families of the Kohathite was Elizaphan son of Uzziel.

וּמִשְׁמַרְתָּם הָאָרֹן וְהַשֻּׁלְחָן וְהַמְּנֹרָה וְהַמִּזְבְּחֹת וּכְלֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ אֲשֶׁר יְשָׁרְתוּ בָּהֶם וְהַמָּסָךְ וְכֹל    3:31


Numb. 3:31  And their responsibilities were the ark and the table and the candlestick and the altars and the vessels of the sanctuary with which they would minister, and the screen and all of its service.

וּנְשִׂיא נְשִׂיאֵי הַלֵּוִי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן־אַהֲרֹן הַכֹּהֵן פְּקֻדַּת שֹׁמְרֵי מִשְׁמֶרֶת הַקֹּדֶשׁ   3:32

Numb. 3:32  And the chief of chiefs of the Levites, Eleazar son of Aaron, the priest, was the overseer of those who attended to the responsibilities of the sanctuary.

לִמְרָרִי מִשְׁפַּחַת הַמַּחְלִי וּמִשְׁפַּחַת הַמּוּשִׁי אֵלֶּה הֵם מִשְׁפְּחֹת מְרָרִי   3:33

Numb. 3:33  Merari’s were the families of the Mahlite and the families of the Mushites.  These were they of the families of the Merarite.

וּפְקֻדֵיהֶם בְּמִסְפַּר כָּל־זָכָר מִבֶּן־חֹדֶשׁ וָמָעְלָה שֵׁשֶׁת אֲלָפִים וּמָאתָיִם   3:34

Numb. 3:34  And their count in the number of every male from age one month and up was six thousand and two hundred.

וּנְשִׂיא בֵית־אָב לְמִשְׁפְּחֹת מְרָרִי צוּרִיאֵל בֶּן־אֲבִיחָיִל עַל יֶרֶךְ הַמִּשְׁכָּן יַחֲנוּ צָפֹנָה   3:35

Numb. 3:35  And the chief of the house of the father to the families of the Merarites was Zuriel son of Abihail.  They would camp on the side of the Tabernacle to the north.

וּפְקֻדַּת מִשְׁמֶרֶת בְּנֵי מְרָרִי קַרְשֵׁי הַמִּשְׁכָּן וּבְרִיחָיו וְעַמֻּדָיו וַאֲדָנָיו וְכָל־כֵּלָיו וְכֹל עֲבֹדָתֹו   3:36

Numb. 3:36  And the custody of the duties of the sons of Merari were the boards of the Tabernacle and its bars and its columns and all its articles and all its service,

וְעַמֻּדֵי הֶחָצֵר סָבִיב וְאַדְנֵיהֶם וִיתֵדֹתָם וּמֵיתְרֵיהֶם   3:37

Numb. 3:37  and the columns of the court all around and their sockets and their pins and their cords.

וְהַחֹנִים לִפְנֵי הַמִּשְׁכָּן קֵדְמָה לִפְנֵי אֹהֶל־מֹועֵד מִזְרָחָה מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן וּבָנָיו שֹׁמְרִים מִשְׁמֶרֶת   3:38

הַמִּקְדָּשׁ לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזָּר הַקָּרֵב יוּמָת

Numb. 3:38  And Moses and Aaron and his sons, keepers of the charge of the sanctuary, for the charge of the children of Israel, were camping before the Tabernacle eastward before the tent of meeting to the rising sun.  And any stranger drawing near would be put to death.

כָּל־פְּקוּדֵי הַלְוִיִּם אֲשֶׁר פָּקַד מֹשֶׁה וְאַהֲרֹן עַל־פִּי יְהוָה לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם כָּל־זָכָר מִבֶּן־חֹדֶשׁ וָמַעְלָה   3:39

שְׁנַיִם וְעֶשְׂרִים אָלֶף

Numb. 3:39  All the counted of the Levites who Moses and Aaron counted by the word of the Lord according to their families, every male from age one month and up, were twenty-two thousand.

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה פְּקֹד כָּל־בְּכֹר זָכָר לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִבֶּן־חֹדֶשׁ וָמָעְלָה וְשָׂא אֵת מִסְפַּר שְׁמֹתָם   3:40

Numb. 3:40  And the Lord said to Moses, “Count every first born male belonging to the children of Israel from age one month and up and take the number of their names.”

וְלָקַחְתָּ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם לִי אֲנִי יְהוָה תַּחַת כָּל־בְּכֹר בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֵת בֶּהֱמַת הַלְוִיִּם תַּחַת כָּל־בְּכֹור   3:41

בְּבֶהֱמַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל

Numb. 3:41  “And you shall take the Levites for Me -- I am the Lord -- in the place of every first born among the children of Israel and the cattle of the Levites in the place of every first born of the cattle of the children of Israel.”

וַיִּפְקֹד מֹשֶׁה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֹתֹו אֶת־כָּל־בְּכֹר בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   3:42

Numb. 3:42  And Moses counted, as the Lord had commanded him, every first born among the children of Israel.

וַיְהִי כָל־בְּכֹור זָכָר בְּמִסְפַּר שֵׁמֹות מִבֶּן־חֹדֶשׁ וָמַעְלָה לִפְקֻדֵיהֶם שְׁנַיִם וְעֶשְׂרִים אֶלֶף שְׁלֹשָׁה    3:43

וְשִׁבְעִים וּמָאתָיִם

Numb. 3:43  And every first born male in the number of names from age one month and up for their counted were twenty-two thousand and two hundred and seventy three.

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה לֵּאמֹר   3:44

Numb. 3:44  And the Lord spoke to Moses saying,

קַח אֶת־הַלְוִיִּם תַּחַת כָּל־בְּכֹור בִּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־בֶּהֱמַת הַלְוִיִּם תַּחַת בְּהֶמְתָּם וְהָיוּ־לִי הַלְוִיִּם אֲנִי   3:45


Numb. 3:45  “Take the Levites in place of every first born among the children of Israel and the cattle of the Levites in place of their cattle and the Levites shall be Mine.” 

                                                                        “I am the Lord.”

וְאֵת פְּדוּיֵי הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה וְהַשִּׁבְעִים וְהַמָּאתָיִם הָעֹדְפִים עַל־הַלְוִיִּם מִבְּכֹור בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   3:46

Numb. 3:46  “And of the two hundred and seventy-three remaining over the Levites from the first born of the children of Israel, shall be redemptions,

וְלָקַחְתָּ חֲמֵשֶׁת חֲמֵשֶׁת שְׁקָלִים לַגֻּלְגֹּלֶת בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ תִּקָּח עֶשְׂרִים גֵּרָה הַשָּׁקֶל   3:47

Numb. 3:47  and you shall take of each, five Shekels per poll; in the shekel of the sanctuary you shall take (twenty gerahs is the shekel).”

Apparently, Moses counted the children of Israel until he reached 22,000 to match the number of Levites, and then took the money of redemption from the remaining 273 first born of Israel.

וְנָתַתָּה הַכֶּסֶף לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו פְּדוּיֵי הָעֹדְפִים בָּהֶם   3:48

Numb. 3:48  “And you shall give the money of the redemption of the remainder among them to Aaron and to his sons.”

וַיִּקַּח מֹשֶׁה אֵת כֶּסֶף הַפִּדְיֹום מֵאֵת הָעֹדְפִים עַל פְּדוּיֵי הַלְוִיִּם   3:49

Numb. 3:49  And Moses took the money of redemption from those remaining over the redemption of the Levites.

מֵאֵת בְּכֹור בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לָקַח אֶת־הַכָּסֶף חֲמִשָּׁה וְשִׁשִּׁים וּשְׁלֹשׁ מֵאֹות וָאֶלֶף בְּשֶׁקֶל הַקֹּדֶשׁ   3:50

Numb. 3:50  From the first born of the children of Israel he took the money, a thousand and three hundred and sixty-five, in the shekel of the sanctuary.

וַיִּתֵּן מֹשֶׁה אֶת־כֶּסֶף הַפְּדֻיִם לְאַהֲרֹן וּלְבָנָיו עַל־פִּי יְהוָה כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה   3:51

Numb. 3:51  And Moses gave the money of redemption to Aaron and to his sons according to the word of the Lord as the Lord had commanded Moses.


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