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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Numbers Chapter 4

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: Moses
Date Penned: (1450-1410 BC)
Overview: A Record of Israel's Unbelief (c 1-27)
Theme: Preparing for the Journey (c 1-10)
Message: Duties of the Families of the Levites (v 1-51)

Numbers 4 Commentary

(4:1-19) The Families or the Levites - The Kohathites, Gershonites, and Merarites were families of Levites who were assigned special tasks in Israel's worship. For the jobs described in this chapter, a Levite had to be between 30 and 50 years old. The Levites were expected to carry out their duties as described here in every detail. In fact, failure to do so could mean death (for example, see 4:20). The instructions God gave the Levites contrasted greatly with the religious practices of the Egyptians, who could purchase amulets and potions and handle their idols. The God of the Hebrews could not be handled or reduced to common elements. He is greater than anything in his creation. Worshiping our holy God must not be taken lightly.

(4:20) The Kohathites - The Kohathites had a dangerous job. They were responsible for moving the most sacred objects. Only the priests could enter the tabernacle and cover these items. The Kohathites could not go into the inner area or even look at the sacred objects, or they would die. They had to wait until the priests finished their work of covering each item with a special cloth. Many years after these instructions were given, Uzzah died after touching the ark when David brought it to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:1-7). Today, we do not have to fear because we enjoy free access to the presence of God through Jesus (Hebrews 4:16).

(4:27-28) The Gershonites - The Gershonites could receive directions from any of Aaron's sons, but they were directly responsible to Ithamar only. The lines of authority and accountability were clearly communicated to all. As you function with others in service to God, make sure the lines of authority between you and those you work with are clearly understood. Good communication builds good relationships.

(4:29-33) The Merarites - The men of the Merarite division were responsible for the heavy lifting. One might think this was the least important of all the duties, but the Lord assigned it with care, wanting the loads assigned to everyone by name. This would ensure that no supporting pieces would get lost or be forgotten at the previous camp. The Lord took a mundane task and personalized it by specifying what each person was to carry. Similarly, the Lord gives us work to do that might not feel especially exciting, but we can trust that he has good reasons for assigning it to us and that it is significant within his plan.


Dave Burnette's Life Application

Team Work

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue the book of Numbers with Chapter 4 and in today's text we see a deeper understanding of this book as it tells the account of the People of Israel as they prepare to enter the Promised Land. We will see their mistakes and hopefully learn to not follow in their footsteps. Here in chapter 4 duties of the divisions of priests were given. Specific tasks for working in the framework of the tabernacle to accomplish the work of the Lord. In making application we see that God has us to do specific tasks within the Church. Together - Everyone - Achieves - More, which defines Team. We simply need to seek Him to find our place on this TEAM and see the Lord do many marvelous things. He will equip us but we must step out in faith to do what he tells us to do. How about you? Are you doing what the Lord is instructing you in your local Church? Let us learn from today's text and exercise teamwork as we serve the Lord through his plan, the Church.  

 

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Numbers 4

Numbers 4

 1And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

 2Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers,

 3From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.

 4This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:

 5And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:

 6And shall put thereon the covering of badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.

 7And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon:

 8And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof.

 9And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it:

 10And they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put it upon a bar.

 11And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put to the staves thereof:

 12And they shall take all the instruments of ministry, wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put them on a bar:

 13And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon:

 14And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basons, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it.

 15And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.

 16And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.

 17And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron saying,

 18Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites:

 19But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden:

 20But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

 21And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

 22Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon, throughout the houses of their fathers, by their families;

 23From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.

 24This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens:

 25And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,

 26And the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve.

 27At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens.

 28This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

 29As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers;

 30From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.

 31And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof,

 32And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden.

 33This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

 34And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers,

 35From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation:

 36And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty.

 37These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

 38And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and by the house of their fathers,

 39From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

 40Even those that were numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty.

 41These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD.

 42And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers,

 43From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

 44Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred.

 45These be those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

 46All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers,

 47From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation.

 48Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore,

 49According to the commandment of the LORD they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the LORD commanded Moses.