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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 3

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The Sons of Aaron. 1The following were the descendants of Aaron and Moses at the time that the LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai. 2The sons of Aaron were Nadab his first‐born, Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. k Ex 6, 23 . 3These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the anointed priests who were ordained to exercise the priesthood. 4But when Nadab and Abihu offered profane fire before the LORD in the desert of Sinai, they met death l Nm 26, 61; Lv 10, 1f; 1 Chr 24, 2 . in the presence of the LORD, and left no sons. Thereafter only Eleazar and Ithamar performed the priestly functions under the direction of their father Aaron.

Levites in Place of the First‐born. 5Now the LORD said to Moses: 6“Summon the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest, as his assistants. m Nm 18, 2 . 7They shall discharge his obligations and those of the whole community before the meeting tent n Nm 8, 24 . by serving at the Dwelling. 8They shall have custody of all the furnishings of the meeting tent and discharge the duties of the Israelites in the service of the Dwelling. 9You shall give the Levites to Aaron and his sons; o Nm 8, 19 . they have been set aside from among the Israelites as dedicated to me. 10But only Aaron and his descendants shall you appoint to have charge of the priestly functions. p Nm 1, 51; 18, 7 . Any layman who comes near shall be put to death.”

11The LORD said to Moses, 12“It is I who have chosen the Levites from the Israelites in place of every first‐born that opens the womb among the Israelites. q 12f: Nm 3, 41; 8, 16f; Ex 13, 2. 13, 12. 13, 15 The Levites, therefore, are mine, 13because every first‐born is mine. When I slew all the first‐born in the land of Egypt, I made all the first‐born in Israel sacred to me, both of man and of beast. They belong to me; I am the LORD.”

Census of the Levites. 14The LORD said to Moses in the desert of Sinai, 15“Take a census of the Levites by ancestral houses and clans, registering every male of a month or more.” r Nm 3, 39; 26, 62 . 16Moses, therefore, took their census in accordance with the command the LORD had given him.

17 s 3, 17–20: Nm 26, 57; Gn 46, 11; Ex 6, 16–19; 1 Chr 6, 1f. 6, 16–19 . The sons of Levi were named Gershon, Kohath and Merari. 18The descendants of Gershon, by clans, were named Libni and Shimei. 19The descendants of Kohath, by clans, were Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel. 20The descendants of Merari, by clans, were Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of the Levites by ancestral houses.

Duties of the Levitical Clans. 21To Gershon belonged the clan of the Libnites and the clan of the Shimeites; these were the clans of the Gershonites. 22When all their males of a month or more were registered, they numbered seven thousand five hundred. 23The clans of the Gershonites camped behind the Dwelling, to the west. 24The prince of their ancestral house was Eliasaph, son of Lael. 25 t 3, 25–26: Ex 26, 7. 14. 36; 36, 14 . At the meeting tent they had charge of whatever pertained to the Dwelling,* the tent and its covering, the curtain at the entrance of the meeting tent, 26the hangings of the court, the curtain at the entrance of the court enclosing both the Dwelling and the altar, and the ropes.

27To Kohath belonged the clans of the Amramites, the Izharites, the Hebronites, and the Uzzielites; these were the clans of the Kohathites. 28When all their males of a month or more were registered, they numbered eight thousand three hundred. They had charge of the sanctuary. 29The clans of the Kohathites camped at the south side of the Dwelling. 30The prince of their ancestral house was Elizaphan, son of Uzziel. 31They had charge of whatever pertained to the ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the utensils with which the ministry of the sanctuary was exercised, and the veil.* 32The chief prince of the Levites, however, was Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest; he was supervisor over those who had charge of the sanctuary.

33To Merari belonged the clans of the Mahlites and the Mushites; these were the clans of Merari. 34When all their males of a month or more were registered, they numbered six thousand two hundred. 35The prince of the ancestral house of the clans of Merari was Zuriel, son of Abihail. They camped at the north side of the Dwelling. 36 * The Merarites were charged with the care of whatever pertained to the boards of the Dwelling, its bars, columns, pedestals, and all its fittings, 37as well as the columns of the surrounding court with their pedestals, pegs and ropes.

38East of the Dwelling, that is, in front of the meeting tent, toward the sunrise, were camped Moses and Aaron and the latter's sons. They discharged the obligations of the sanctuary for the Israelites. Any layman who came near was to be put to death.

39The total number of male Levites a month old or more whom Moses had registered by clans in keeping with the LORD’s command, was twenty‐two thousand.

Census and Ransom of First‐born. 40The LORD then said to Moses, “Take a census of all the first‐born males of the Israelites a month old or more, and compute their total number. 41Then assign the Levites to me, the LORD, in place of all the first‐born of the Israelites, as well as their cattle in place of all the first‐born among the cattle of the Israelites.” 42So Moses took a census of all the first‐born of the Israelites, as the LORD had commanded him. 43When all the first‐born males of a month or more were registered, they numbered twenty‐two thousand two hundred and seventy‐three.

44The LORD said to Moses: 45“Take the Levites in place of all the first‐born of the Israelites, and the Levites’ cattle in place of their cattle, that the Levites may belong to me. I am the LORD. 46As ransom for the two hundred and seventy‐three first‐born of the Israelites who outnumber the Levites, 47you shall take five shekels for each individual, according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel, twenty gerahs to the shekel. u Nm 18, 16; Ex 30, 13; Lv 27, 25; Ez 45, 12 . 48Give this silver to Aaron and his sons as ransom for the extra number.” 49So Moses took the silver as ransom from those who were left when the rest had been redeemed by the Levites. 50From the first‐born of the Israelites he received in silver one thousand three hundred and sixty‐five shekels according to the sanctuary standard. 51He then gave this ransom silver to Aaron and his sons, as the LORD had commanded him.

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