Numbers 3:1
These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the LORD spoke with Moses in mount Sinai.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
III.

(1) These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses . . . —The name of Aaron is placed first, not only because he was the elder brother, but also because the ministry of Moses was restricted to his own person, and his sons are merely classed amongst the rest of the Levitical families in 1Chronicles 23:14; whereas the office of Aaron was perpetuated in the persons of his descendants. Hence we find no mention made in this place of the sons of Moses, but only of those of Aaron. The word generations here, as in the book of Genesis (e.g., Genesis 6:9; Genesis 25:19) and elsewhere, is used to denote the history; and in this sense the present and the following chapters pertain as much to Moses as to Aaron. Or the reference may be to the fact that Moses and Aaron were made the heads of the whole tribe of Levi, and therefore that the Levitical families generally are traced up equally to both.

Numbers 3:1. All the other tribes being mustered and registered, and the genealogy of each stated, next follows all account of the priests and Levites, first of their descent from the two principal heads of their families; namely, Aaron and Moses; and then of the particular services allotted to each family. These — Which follow in this chapter; are the generations — The kindred or family. Moses’s family and children are here included under the general name of the Amramites, (Numbers 3:27,) which includes all the children and grand-children of Amram, the persons only of Aaron and Moses being excepted. And the generations of Moses are thus obscurely mentioned, because they were but common Levites, the priesthood being given solely to Aaron’s posterity, whence Aaron is here put before Moses, after whom he is elsewhere commonly named. In Sinai — Nadab and Abihu were then alive, though dead at the time of taking this account.3:1-13 There was much work belonging to the priests' office, and there were now only Aaron and his two sons to do it; God appoints the Levites to attend them. Those whom God finds work for, he will find help for. The Levites were taken instead of the first-born. When He that made us, saves us, as the first-born of Israel were saved, we are laid under further obligations to serve him faithfully. God's right to us by redemption, confirms the right he has to us by creation.The "generations" (see Genesis 2:4) now given, though entitled those of Aaron and Moses (Aaron standing first as the older brother), are those of Aaron only. The personal dignity of Moses, though it gave him rank as at the head of his tribe, was not hereditary. He had, and desired to have Numbers 14:12; Exodus 32:10, no successor in his office but the distant prophet like unto himself Deuteronomy 18:18. Aaron was the ancestor of a regular succession of priests. CHAPTER 3

Nu 3:1-51. The Levites' Service.

1. These … are the generations of Aaron and Moses, &c.—This chapter contains an account of their families; and although that of Moses is not detailed like his brother's, his children are included under the general designation of the Amramites (Nu 3:27), a term which comprehends all the descendants of their common father Amram. The reason why the family of Moses was so undistinguished in this record is that they were in the private ranks of the Levites, the dignity of the priesthood being conferred exclusively on the posterity of Aaron; and hence, as the sacerdotal order is the subject of this chapter, Aaron, contrary to the usual style of the sacred history, is mentioned before Moses.

in the day that the Lord spake with Moses in mount Sinai—This is added, because at the date of the following record the family of Aaron was unbroken.The genealogy of Moses, Aaron, and his sons, Nadab and Abihu, Numbers 3:1-4. The Levites are joined with them in the administration of the tabernacle, Numbers 3:5-10, instead of all the first-born, Numbers 3:11-13. The three families of the Levites numbered, Numbers 3:14-39. The first-born numbered, Numbers 3:40-43. Being more than the Levites, some of them are redeemed, and the money given to Aaron and his sons, Numbers 3:41-51.

1491

These which follow in this chapter are the generations, i.e. either,

1. The things done by them; as the word generation is sometimes used, as Genesis 6:9 25:19 37:2. Or rather,

2. The kindred or family, for that is the subject of this chapter, and not their events or actions.

Object. Aaron’s family indeed is here mentioned, but not Moses’s family.

Answ. Moses’s family and children are here included under the general name of the Amramite, Numbers 3:27, which includes all the children and grandchildren of Amram, the persons only of Aaron and Moses being excepted. And the generations of Moses are thus obscurely mentioned, because they were but common Levites, the priesthood being given solely to Aaron’s posterity, whence Aaron is here put before Moses, who elsewhere is commonly named after him. In the day that the Lord spake with Moses in Mount Sinai: this seems to be added, because Nadab and Abihu, mentioned Numbers 3:2, were then alive, though dead at the time of taking this account.

These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses,.... The descendants of them, those of the former, who is named first, because the eldest, were priests, and those of the latter Levites, and who are not very plainly pointed at, but are included among the Amramites, Numbers 3:27; the posterity of Moses being very obscure, only Levites, and these not particularly named but swallowed up among the Kohathites: find the following account was as it stood:

in the day that the Lord spoke with Moses in mount Sinai; and not, altogether as it then, was when he spoke to him in the wilderness, of Sinai, for then Aaron had four sons, but now two of them were dead as is after observed; and it seems to be for the sake of this circumstance chiefly that this clause is so put.

These also are the {a} generations of Aaron and Moses in the day that the LORD spake with Moses in mount Sinai.

(a) Or, families and kindreds.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. these are the generations] A formula occurring several times in P ; Genesis 5:1; Genesis 6:9; Genesis 10:1; Genesis 11:10; Genesis 11:27; Genesis 25:12; Genesis 25:19; Genesis 36:1; Genesis 36:9; Genesis 37:2. It marks a fresh start in the history. ‘Generations,’ lit. origins, means ‘an account of a man and his genealogical descendants.’

Aaron and Moses] The two most important representatives of the tribe of Levi. Moses is usually mentioned first, but here Aaron has the precedence because the passage deals with his descendants only.

in the day, &c.] The words are attached very loosely to the context, and describe the point of time at which the new development—the organization of the tribe of Levi—begins.

1–4. The generations of Aaron.Verse 1. - These... are the generations of Aaron and Moses. The word "generations" (toledoth) is used here in a peculiar and, so to speak, technical sense, with reference to what follows, as in Genesis 2:4; Genesis 6:9. It marks a new departure, looking down, not up, the course of history. Moses and Aaron were a beginning in themselves as the chosen heads of the chosen tribe: Moses having the higher office, but one entirely personal to himself; Aaron being the first of a long and eminent line of priests. The actual genealogy, therefore, is that of Aaron, and he is placed first. In the day. Apparently the day mentioned in Numbers 1:1; or it may be more general, as in Genesis 2:4. Lastly, towards the north was the standard of Gad, with Asher and Naphtali, the descendants of the maids Bilhah and Zilpah, 157,600 men, who were to be the last to break up, and formed the rear on the march.
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