Numbers 3:15
Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shall you number them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) From a month old and upward . . . —The males of the other tribes had been numbered “from twenty years old and upward” (Numbers 1:3). The firstborn males, however, among all the children of Israel, in whose place the Levites were taken, wer-directed to be numbered “from a month old and upward” (Numbers 3:40; Numbers 3:43); and this was the age afterwards fixed for their redemption (Numbers 18:16).

Numbers 3:15. From a month old — Because at that time the firstborn, in whose stead the Levites came, were offered to God. And from that time the Levites were consecrated to God, and were, as soon as capable, instructed in their work. Elsewhere they are numbered from twenty-five years old, when they were entered as novices into part of their work, (Numbers 8:24,) and from thirty years old, when they were admitted to their whole office.3:14-39 The Levites were in three classes, according to the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; and these were subdivided into families. The posterity of Moses were not at all honoured or privileged, but stood upon the level with other Levites; thus it was plain, that Moses did not seek the advancement of his own family, or to secure any honours to it. The tribe of Levi was by much the least of all the tribes. God's chosen are but a little flock in comparison with the world.The concluding words are better expressed thus: "Mine shall they be, Mine, the Lord's." On the subject of the firstborn see the notes at Numbers 3:43-51. 14-31. Number the children of Levi—They were numbered as well as the other tribes; but the enumeration was made on a different principle—for while in the other tribes the number of males was calculated from twenty years and upward [Nu 1:3], in that of Levi they were counted "from a month old and upward." The reason for the distinction is obvious. In the other tribes the survey was made for purposes of war [Nu 1:3], from which the Levites were totally exempt. But the Levites were appointed to a work on which they entered as soon as they were capable of instruction. They are mentioned under the names of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, sons of Levi, and chiefs or ancestral heads of three subdivisions into which this tribe was distributed. Their duties were to assist in the conveyance of the tabernacle when the people were removing the various encampments, and to form its guard while stationary—the Gershonites being stationed on the west, the Kohathites on the south, and the families of Merari on the north. The Kohathites had the principal place about the tabernacle, and charge of the most precious and sacred things—a distinction with which they were honored, probably, because the Aaronic family belonged to this division of the Levitical tribe. The Gershonites, being the oldest, had the next honorable post assigned them, while the burden of the drudgery was thrown on the division of Merari. From a month old, because at that time the first-born, in whose stead the Levites came, Numbers 8:16, were offered to God, Luke 2:22, and to be redeemed, Numbers 18:16. And from that time the Levites were consecrated to God, and were as soon as they were capable,’ to be instructed in their work. Elsewhere they are numbered from twenty-five years old, when they were entered as novices to part of their work, Numbers 8:24; and from thirty years old, when they were completely admitted to their whole office. Number the children of Levi,.... Who were left out of the general muster of the children of Israel, but now were to be numbered alone, and in a different manner, and for, a different purpose, the Lord having a special regard auto, them, and special service for them:

after the house of their fathers, by their families; into which the tribe was divided; house seems to be put for "houses", which were principal ones; and these were divided into families, which branched from them, and according to these, denominated from their fathers, and not their, mothers, were they to be numbered; for as the Jewish writers often say, a mother's family is no family; wherefore, if a Levite woman married into any other tribe, as she might, her, descendants were not taken into this accounts only such whose fathers were Levites, see Numbers 1:2,

every male from a month old and upwards shalt thou number them; the reason of this was, because the firstborn, for whom they were to be exchanged, were at a month old claimed by the Lord as his, and to be redeemed; and as this numbering was on, another account than, that of the children of Israel, who were numbered from twenty years of age and upwards, that they might on occasion be called out to war, from which the Levites were exempted, and the numbering of them was for the service of the sanctuary; so from their youth they were to be brought up and trained for this, that they might be fit for it, and enter upon it at a proper age.

Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. from, a month old] to correspond with the firstborn (see Numbers 3:40).Moses was also to give the Levites to Aaron and his sons. "They are wholly given to him out of the children of Israel:" the repetition of נתוּנם here and in Numbers 8:16 is emphatic, and expressive of complete surrender (Ewald, 313). The Levites, however, as nethunim, must be distinguished from the nethinim of non-Israelitish descent, who were given to the Levites at a later period as temple slaves, to perform the lowest duties connected with the sanctuary (see at Joshua 9:27).
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