1. The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:

2. "Among the Levites take a total of the Kohathites, by clans and ancestral houses, all the men of the Kohathites

3. between thirty and fifty years of age; these are to undertake obligatory tasks in the meeting tent.

4. "The service of the Kohathites in the meeting tent concerns the most sacred objects.

5. In breaking camp, Aaron and his sons shall go in and take down the screening curtain and cover the ark of the commandments with it.

6. Over these they shall put a cover of tahash skin, and on top of this spread an all-violet cloth. They shall then put the poles in place.

7. On the table of the Presence they shall spread a violet cloth and put on it the plates and cups, as well as the bowls and pitchers for libations; the established bread offering shall remain on the table.

8. Over these they shall spread a scarlet cloth and cover all this with tahash skin. They shall then put the poles in place.

9. They shall use a violet cloth to cover the lampstand with its lamps, trimming shears, and trays, as well as the various containers of oil from which it is supplied.

10. The lampstand with all its utensils they shall then enclose in a covering of tahash skin, and place on a litter.

11. Over the golden altar they shall spread a violet cloth, and cover this also with a covering of tahash skin. They shall then put the poles in place.

12. Taking the utensils of the sanctuary service, they shall wrap them all in violet cloth and cover them with tahash skin. They shall then place them on a litter.

13. After cleansing the altar of its ashes, they shall spread a purple cloth over it.

14. On this they shall put all the utensils with which it is served: the fire pans, forks, shovels, basins, and all the utensils of the altar. They shall then spread a covering of tahash skin over this, and put the poles in place.

15. "Only after Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sacred objects and all their utensils on breaking camp, shall the Kohathites enter to carry them. But they shall not touch the sacred objects; if they do they will die. These, then, are the objects in the meeting tent that the Kohathites shall carry.

16. "Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest, shall be in charge of the oil for the light, the fragrant incense, the established cereal offering, and the anointing oil. He shall be in charge of the whole Dwelling with all the sacred objects and utensils that are in it."

17. The LORD said to Moses and Aaron:

18. "Do not let the group of Kohathite clans perish from the body of the Levites.

19. That they may live and not die when they approach the most sacred objects, this is what you shall do for them: Aaron and his sons shall go in and assign to each of them his task and what he must carry;

20. but the Kohathites shall not go in to look upon the sacred objects, even for an instant; if they do, they will die."

21. The LORD said to Moses,

22. "Take a total among the Gershonites also, by ancestral houses and clans,

23. of all the men between thirty and fifty years of age; these are to undertake obligatory tasks in the meeting tent.

24. This is the task of the clans of the Gershonites, what they must do and what they must carry:

25. they shall carry the sheets of the Dwelling, the meeting tent with its covering and the outer wrapping of tahash skin, the curtain at the entrance of the meeting tent,

26. the hangings of the court, the curtain at the entrance of the court that encloses both the Dwelling and the altar, together with their ropes and all other objects necessary in their use. Whatever is to be done with these things shall be their task.

27. The service of the Gershonites shall be entirely under the direction of Aaron and his sons, with regard to what they must do and what they must carry; you shall make each man of them responsible for what he is to carry.

28. This, then, is the task of the Gershonites in the meeting tent; and they shall be under the supervision of Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest.

29. "Among the Merarites, too, you shall enroll by clans and ancestral houses

30. all their men between thirty and fifty years of age; these are to undertake obligatory tasks in the meeting tent.

31. This is what they shall be responsible for carrying, all the years of their service in the meeting tent: the boards of the Dwelling with its bars, columns and pedestals,

32. and the columns of the surrounding court with their pedestals, pegs and ropes. You shall designate for each man of them all the objects connected with his service, which he shall be responsible for carrying.

33. This, then, is the task of the clans of the Merarites during all their service in the meeting tent under the supervision of Ithamar, son of Aaron the priest."

34. So Moses and Aaron and the princes of the community made a registration among the Kohathites, by clans and ancestral houses,

35. of all the men between thirty and fifty years of age. These were to undertake obligatory tasks in the meeting tent;

36. as registered by clans, they numbered two thousand seven hundred and fifty.

37. Such was the census of all the men of the Kohathite clans who were to serve in the meeting tent, which Moses took, together with Aaron, as the LORD bade him.

38. The registration was then made among the Gershonites, by clans and ancestral houses,

39. of all the men between thirty and fifty years of age. These were to undertake obligatory tasks in the meeting tent;

40. as registered by clans and ancestral houses, they numbered two thousand six hundred and thirty.

41. Such was the census of all the men of the Gershonite clans who were to serve in the meeting tent, which Moses took, together with Aaron, at the LORD'S bidding.

42. Then the registration was made among the Merarites, by clans and ancestral houses,

43. of all the men from thirty up to fifty years of age. These were to undertake obligatory tasks in the meeting tent;

44. as registered by clans, they numbered three thousand two hundred.

45. Such was the census of the men of the Merarite clans which Moses took, together with Aaron, as the LORD bade him.

46. Therefore, when Moses and Aaron and the Israelites princes had completed the registration among the Levites, by clans and ancestral houses,

47. of all the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were to undertake tasks of service or transport of the meeting tent,

48. the total number registered was eight thousand five hundred and eighty.

49. According to the LORD'S bidding to Moses, they gave them their individual assignments for service and for transport; so the LORD had commanded Moses.



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