Numbers 4:49
According 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
4:34-49 God so ordered it, that though the Merarites were the fewest in number, yet they should have most able men among them; for whatever service God calls men to, he will furnish them for it, give strength in proportion to the work, and grace sufficient. The least of the tribes had many more able men than the Levites: those who engage in the service of this world, are many more than those devoted to the service of God. May our souls be wholly devoted to his service.By name ye shall reckon the instruments - Or, assign them to their bearers singly, and "by name." These "instruments" comprised the heavier parts of the tabernacle; and the order seems intended to prevent individual Merarites choosing their own burden, and so throwing more than the proper share on others. 34-49. Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites, &c.—This enumeration was made on a different principle from that which is recorded in the preceding chapter [Nu 3:15]. That was confined to the males from a month old and upward, while this was extended to all capable of service in the three classes of the Levitical tribe. In considering their relative numbers, the wisdom of Divine Providence appears in arranging that, whereas in the Kohathites and Gershonites, whose burdens were few and easier, there were but about a third part of them which were fit for service; the Merarites, whose burdens were more and heavier, had above one half of them fit for this work [Poole]. The small population of this tribe, so inferior to that of the other tribes, is attempted to be explained (see on [61]Nu 3:39). No text from Poole on this verse. According to the commandment of the Lord, they were numbered by the hand of Moses,.... Aaron and the chief of the congregation of Israel assisting it:

everyone according to his service; called in Numbers 4:47 "the service of the ministry", or "service of service", which Jarchi interprets of that part of the service of the Levites, which lay in singing the song with cymbals and harps; which, he says, was a service to another service; though it seems to be better explained, by Chaskuni, of their taking down and setting up of the tabernacle, which was a service incumbent on all the Levites:

and according to his burden: called "the service of the burden", Numbers 4:47; which the last mentioned writer restrains to the ark, table, candlestick, and altars, which the Kohathites carried on their shoulders; but may be extended to what each of them bore and carried when journeying:

thus were they numbered of him, as the Lord commanded Moses; from thirty years old to fifty, as Jarchi observes; for that was the order given to Moses by the Lord, which he punctually attended to, as a faithful servant in the house of God.

According 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 {x} Moses.

(x) So that Moses neither added, nor diminished from that which the Lord commanded him.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
49. thus were they numbered of him, as &c.] This is a paraphrase which gives the required sense. The Heb. is corrupt, but the LXX. reads and they were numbered, as &c.1 [Note: Apparently וַיְפֻקְדוּ כַאֲשֶׁר for וּפְקֻדָיו אֲשֶׁר.] Verse 49. - Thus were they numbered of him. Literally, "and his mustering." It may have the meaning given to it in the A.V. (and so the Septuagint and Targums), or it may be translated "mustered things," i.e., things assigned to him in the mustering, and read with the previous words, "Every one to his service, and to his burden, and his mustered things."



Completion of the prescribed mustering, and statement of the number of men qualified for service in the three Levitical families: viz., 2750 Kohathites, 2630 Gershonites, and 3200 Merarites - in all, 8580 Levites fit for service: a number which bears a just proportion to the total number of male Levites of a month old and upwards, viz., 22,000.
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