Num 3: "Having considered the order to be assumed by the
worshipers in their travels through the wilderness, Moses now gives attention to
the workers in the service of Yahweh. The tribe of Levi is separated for that
purpose. Its members are in as distinct relation to the Book of Numbers as the
priests are to the Book of Leviticus. They are appointed to guard the Tent of
Meeting from any pollution from without, or to attend t it and its various parts
during its travels, whilst the priests attend to the sanctuary when it is set
up, and have their place therein as intercessors and worshipers.
"The Levites face outwards, guarding the Tend of the
Tabernacle from pollution; the priests face inwards, leading to God. This is the
essential difference between what might be termed ministry and priesthood. Both
the Levites who minister or prepare for worship, and the priests who conduct
that worship, are types of the saints, who both minister and act as a spiritual
priesthood (Heb 13:15,16; 1Pe 2:5). The Levitical service is from God and for
God, but towards men. It defines what the Scriptures call 'ministry'. The name
'Levi' signifies 'joined'', and their work was to help men in their approach to
God, so that they might be joined with Him in fellowship" (Expos).
ANYONE ELSE WHO APPROACHES THE SANCTUARY MUST BE PUT TO
DEATH: Where strangers could be tolerated as worshipers, they were not as
worship leaders. Here was a select band, chosen by God to be a special people
for Himself. We also belong to a kingdom of priests and a holy people to God,
though our priesthood is of a different order. We should ensure equally that the
stranger does not infiltrate our leadership (cp Num 18:7; Eze 44:8; Acts 6:3,4;
EVERY MALE A MONTH OLD OR MORE: In ct 20-year starting
point for numbering other males (Num 1:3). Numbering of other tribes was for
military purposes (hence 20 years), but Levi was "firstborn", from
A discrepancy arises when we add together the totals of the
three families of Levites. There are 300 more than the 22,000 given in v 39.
Prob some scribe, by mistake, omitted one letter; instead of writing three
(sh-lsh) hundred, he wrote six (sh-sh) hundred.
Concerning the number of Levites three group totals are given,
the sum of which is 22,000 (Num 3:39). The sum as given is incorrect; it should
be 22,300. The number of all Israelite firstborn is given here as 22,273, with
273 being the excess above the number of the Levites (Num 3:46). It has been
pointed out that this would yield at least 25 sons per family, given a
population of between 2,000,000 and 3,000,000 persons. The figures do indeed
appear to be difficult if taken at face value, and argue for a much smaller
total population of Israel. See Lesson, Large numbers in the OT.