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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Numbers 4

Verses 1-49


The Duties of the Levites on the March

2. Kohath seems to have been the second son of Levi (Numbers 3:17), but his family is mentioned first, because Moses and Aaron belonged to it (Numbers 3:19 cp. Exodus 6:18, Exodus 6:20), and because it had charge of the most sacred furniture, the ark, etc.

3. From thirty years old] In Numbers 8:24 we read that the time of service was from the age of twenty-five. And in 2 Chronicles 31:17; Ezra 3:8 it is from the age of twenty: cp. 1 Chronicles 23:3, 1 Chronicles 23:24-27. The practice seems to have varied at different times.

4-20. The Kohathites carry the ark and the sacred vessels of the tabernacle.

5. The covering veil is the curtain which screened off the Holy of Holies: see Exodus 26:33.

7. The continual bread] i.e. the shewbread: see on Leviticus 24:5-9.

11. The golden altar] i.e. the altar of incense. In Leviticus 24:13 the altar is the altar of burnt offering (see on Exodus 30:1-10).

15. Lest they die] cp. 2 Samuel 6:6, 2 Samuel 6:7.

18. Cut not off] see that you do not expose them to any risk of death by touching the most holy things: cp. Romans 14:15.

20. They shall not go in] i.e. the Kohathites.

21-28. The Gershonites take charge of the curtains of the tabernacle and the court. As these were of great weight two ox-wagons were employed in their transport: see Numbers 7:7.

29-33. The Merarites take charge of the framework of the tabernacle and employ four ox-wagons: see Numbers 7:8.

34-49. The numbers given here are those of the Levites on active service, between thirty and fifty years of age. The total number of the tribe was given in Numbers 3:39.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Numbers 4". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/numbers-4.html. 1909.