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Bible Commentaries
Numbers 4

Coke's Commentary on the Holy BibleCoke's Commentary

Introduction

CHAP. IV.

The Levites are numbered from thirty to fifty years old, and their service is appointed.

Before Christ 1490.

Verse 3

Numbers 4:3. From thirty years old and upward In chap. Num 8:24 the age of twenty-five years is appointed for the admission of the Levites to the service of the tabernacle; agreeably to which the LXX. read twenty-five years here, which reconciles the passages. Some, however, suppose, that though the Levites in general were admitted to wait upon the tabernacle, and to administer to the priests at five and twenty, yet they were not put upon the laborious work of carrying the ark and other sacred things upon their shoulders, for which the selection is made in this place, (see Numbers 4:15.) till they were thirty years of age. Hence, in David's time, when the ark was settled, and consequently the work of the Levites less laborious, they were appointed to enter upon their office at twenty years. See 1Ch 23:27 and 2 Chronicles 31:17.

Verse 10

Numbers 4:10. Upon a bar The original word signifies a bearer, and therefore it would be more properly rendered a bier.

Verse 18

Numbers 4:18. Cut ye not off the tribe, &c.— The meaning of this, as explained in the following verses, is, "Do not, by omitting to instruct the Kohathites what they are to do in the service to which they are appointed, occasion them to be cut off and to perish by a neglectful and irreverent performance of their ministry."

REFLECTIONS.—Since no Levite was capable of ministering till twenty-five or thirty years of age, nor longer than fifty, a new review is made to select these from their brethren. Ministers have need of much wisdom and solidity: youthful novices, it is to be feared, will discredit their holy calling. They are to enter the host, and do the work of the tabernacle: the ministry is not a calling of ease, but labour; they who take it upon them, need approve themselves hardy and good soldiers of Jesus Christ. As in all our removes we must take God and his worship with us, charge is given about the tabernacle; the carriage of the noblest part of it is committed to the sons of Kohath. Aaron and his sons must take down and cover all the holy things; the Levites may not touch nor see them: this dispensation was dark, a vail covered it, which vail is done away in Christ. Eleazar must take care both of their burdens and persons, lest by transgressing they should be cut off. The charge of men's lives is great; but how much greater the charge of immortal souls! Ithamar had the charge of the other families; Gershon took care of the drapery, and Merari of the more heavy carriage of the tabernacle. Every pin must be produced, and nothing be lost. Note; (1.) Every tittle of God's word is precious, and to be preserved with sacred reverence. (2.) When this earthly tabernacle of our bodies shall be dissolved, as our souls under the conduct of the divine Eleazar go before, our bodies shall follow, and on the Resurrection-day a glorious tabernacle be raised up again, which never more shall be taken down or removed.

Verses 47-48

Numbers 4:47-48. From thirty years old, &c.— The service of the ministry, &c. is, in the Hebrew, the service of service, and the service of the burden; by which seems to be meant the most laborious service, even that of the burden. The Levites appointed to this office were,

Of the Kohathites 2750
Gershonites 2630
Merarites 3200
In all 8580 all of whom Moses, with the assistance of Aaron, and the chiefs of the tribe, registered in a methodical manner; appointing to every one his particular station and employment, pursuant to the directions given of God.

Bibliographical Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Numbers 4". Coke's Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tcc/numbers-4.html. 1801-1803.
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