New International Version
"I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine,
King James Bible
And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;
Darby Bible Translation
And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of every firstborn that breaketh open the womb among the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine;
World English Bible
"Behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn who open the womb among the children of Israel; and the Levites shall be mine:
Young's Literal Translation
'And I, lo, I have taken the Levites from the midst of the sons of Israel instead of every first-born opening a womb among the sons of Israel, and the Levites have been Mine;
Numbers 3:12 Parallel
CommentaryClarke's Commentary on the Bible
I have taken the Levites - instead of all the first-born - The Levites are taken for the service of the sanctuary in place of the first-born. The first-born were dedicated to God in commemoration of his slaying the first-born of the Egyptians, and preserving those of the Israelites. Even the cattle of the Levites were taken in place of the first-born of the cattle of the rest of the tribes. See Numbers 3:45. Several reasons have been assigned why God should give this honor to the tribe of Levi in preference to all the others, but they do not seem to me to be conclusive. Their zeal in destroying those who had corrupted the worship of God in the business of the golden calf, Exodus 32:28, has been thought a sufficient reason. A better reason is, that this was the smallest tribe, and they were quite enough for the service. To have had a more numerous tribe at this time would have been very inconvenient. Aaron, says Mr. Ainsworth, being in his priesthood a type of Christ, all these rites are fulfilled in him. For unto Christ God gave children, Hebrews 2:13. And they are a congregation of first-born, whose names are written in heaven, Hebrews 12:23, being of God's own will begotten by the word of truth, that they should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures, James 1:18, to whom he also gives the first-fruits of his Spirit, Romans 8:23. These wait on and follow the Lamb, being first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb, Revelation 14:4; and Christ hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, that we may serve him day and night in his temple, Revelation 1:6; Revelation 7:15.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
When God miraculously destroyed all the first-born of the Egyptians, he spared those of the Israelites; and, in commemoration of that event, he was pleased to appoint that all the first-born males 'should be set apart unto himself.' God is here pleased to relinquish this claim, and to appoint the whole tribe of Levi to attend his immediate service in their stead.
LibraryFifth Day. Holiness and Redemption.
Sanctify unto me all the first-born.'--Ex. xiii. 2. 'All the first-born are mine; for on the day I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt I sanctified unto me all the first-born in Israel: mine they shall be: I am the Lord.'--Num. iii. 13, viii. 17. 'For I am the Lord your God that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.'--Lev. xi. 45. 'I have redeemed thee; thou art mine.'--Isa. xliii. 1. At Horeb we saw how the …
Andrew Murray—Holy in Christ
The Fifth Commandment
"Consecrate to me every firstborn male. The first offspring of every womb among the Israelites belongs to me, whether human or animal."
The LORD also said to Moses,
Take the Levites for me in place of all the firstborn of the Israelites, and the livestock of the Levites in place of all the firstborn of the livestock of the Israelites. I am the LORD."
"Take the Levites in place of all the firstborn of Israel, and the livestock of the Levites in place of their livestock. The Levites are to be mine. I am the LORD.
In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.
They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman.
I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to do the work at the tent of meeting.
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