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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Numbers 4

Verses 1-45

Numbers 4:1-45 . A Census of the Levites Qualified to Serve about the Tabernacle, and the Apportionment of their Duties.— This census includes all males between 30 and 50 ( cf. 1 Chronicles 23:3). In Numbers 8:23-26 the limits of age are 25 and 50 (and the LXX substitutes 25 for 30 in this passage also); in 1 Chronicles 23:24-27, 2 Chronicles 31:17, Ezra 3:8 the inferior limit is 20, and no superior limit is specified. The variation no doubt corresponds to changes which prevailed at different periods. The task of packing the contents of the Tabernacle for transport was undertaken by the priests alone; but the actual work of transport was the duty of the Kohathites (kinsmen of Aaron and his sons), who carried the Ark and other things on their shoulders ( Numbers 7:9). The external hangings and the woodwork of the Tabernacle were conveyed in wagons by the Gershonites and Merarites respectively ( Numbers 7:7 f).

Numbers 4:6 . sealskin: or “ dugong-skin.” The staves mentioned in this verse, and in Numbers 4:8; Numbers 4:11; Numbers 4:14, were probably passed under the cords that fastened the wrappings in which the Ark, the table, and the two altars (see on Numbers 3:31) were packed.

Numbers 4:15 . the sanctuary: better, as mg., “ the holy things” (and so in Numbers 4:16; Numbers 4:20).

Numbers 4:20. die: cf. the incident in 1 Samuel 6:19.

Numbers 4:27 . in charge: better (LXX), “ by name.”

Numbers 4:46-49 . The Number of the Levites between the Ages of 30 and 50.— This, which amounts to 8580, bears to the number of Levites over one month a higher proportion (39 percent.) than is probable, the actual ratio of persons between the ages stated to the whole population being (it is said) in Europe 25 percent., and in the United States even less.

Numbers 4:49 . Read, “ According to the commandment of Yahweh by the hand of Moses they were appointed, every one according to his service, and according to his burden, as Yahweh commanded Moses.”

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Numbers 4". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/numbers-4.html. 1919.