Daily Devotional

by Larry Stockstill

God has given two great commandments, the first of which deals with devotion and service to God. Numbers 4:1-33 explains how the three divisions of Levites supervised such work: they were to care for the tabernacle, furniture, and courtyard with the utmost precision and dedication. Similarly, our service to God is not to be slipshod and haphazard, but precise, heartfelt, and fervent. Whatever our ministries, whether small or great, we must serve the Lord with passion. Having even the slightest responsibility for holy things is a privilege!

The second commandment, to love your neighbor as yourself, is illustrated in Numbers 5:6-7 through the law of restitution. With all our effort, we must make restitution with our neighbors, reconciling any differences with them and treating them with respect and honor, for God keeps account of our dealings with others. As Christians, we are compelled to go the extra mile to ensure our relationships are secured in love.

Let us build our lives on zealous love for both God and humanity. Such love is the Kingdom of God.

Numbers 4:1-5:31

The Kohathites

The Lord said to Moses and Aaron:“Take a censusS Ex 30:12 of the Kohathite branch of the Levites by their clans and families.CountS Nu 1:47 all the men from thirty to fifty years of agever 23; Nu 8:25; 1Ch 23:3, 24, 27; Ezr 3:8 who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.

“This is the workS Nu 3:28 of the KohathitesNu 7:9 at the tent of meeting: the care of the most holy things.ver 19When the camp is to move,Nu 1:51 Aaron and his sons are to go in and take down the shielding curtainS Ex 26:31, 33 and put it over the ark of the covenant law.1Ch 23:26Then they are to cover the curtain with a durable leather,Possibly the hides of large aquatic mammals; also in verses 8, 10, 11, 12, 14 and 25S Ex 25:5 spread a cloth of solid blue over that and put the polesS Ex 25:13-15; 1Ki 8:7; 2Ch 5:8 in place.

“Over the table of the PresenceS Lev 24:6 they are to spread a blue cloth and put on it the plates, dishes and bowls, and the jars for drink offerings;Ex 39:36; Jer 52:19 the bread that is continually thereS Ex 25:30 is to remain on it.They are to spread a scarlet cloth over them, cover that with the durable leather and put the polesEx 26:26-28 in place.

“They are to take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand that is for light, together with its lamps, its wick trimmers and trays,S Ex 25:38 and all its jars for the olive oil used to supply it.10 Then they are to wrap it and all its accessories in a covering of the durable leather and put it on a carrying frame.ver 12

11 “Over the gold altarS Ex 30:1 they are to spread a blue cloth and cover that with the durable leather and put the polesEx 30:4 in place.

12 “They are to take all the articlesNu 3:31 used for ministering in the sanctuary, wrap them in a blue cloth, cover that with the durable leather and put them on a carrying frame.ver 10

13 “They are to remove the ashesS Lev 1:16 from the bronze altarEx 27:1-8; Nu 3:31 and spread a purple cloth over it.14 Then they are to place on it all the utensilsS Ex 31:9 used for ministering at the altar, including the firepans,S Ex 27:3 meat forks,1Ch 28:17; 2Ch 4:16 shovels2Ch 4:11 and sprinkling bowls.Ex 27:3; Nu 7:84; 2Ch 4:8; Jer 52:18 Over it they are to spread a covering of the durable leather and put the polesEx 27:6 in place.

15 “After Aaron and his sons have finished covering the holy furnishings and all the holy articles, and when the camp is ready to move,ver 5 only then are the KohathitesS Nu 3:27 to come and do the carrying.Nu 7:9 But they must not touch the holy thingsver 4 or they will die.S Ex 28:43; Nu 1:51; 2Sa 6:6, 7 The Kohathites are to carry those things that are in the tent of meeting.

16 “EleazarLev 10:6; Nu 3:32 son of Aaron, the priest, is to have charge of the oil for the light,S Ex 25:6 the fragrant incense,S Ex 25:6 the regular grain offeringS Ex 29:41; Lev 6:14-23 and the anointing oil. He is to be in charge of the entire tabernacle and everything in it, including its holy furnishings and articles.”

17 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron,18 “See that the Kohathite tribal clans are not destroyed from among the Levites.19 So that they may live and not die when they come near the most holy things,S ver 15 do this for them: Aaron and his sonsver 27 are to go into the sanctuary and assign to each man his work and what he is to carry.S Nu 3:3220 But the Kohathites must not go in to lookS Ex 19:21 at the holy things, even for a moment, or they will die.”

The Gershonites

21 The Lord said to Moses,22 “Take a census also of the Gershonites by their families and clans.23 Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of ageS ver 3 who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.

24 “This is the service of the Gershonite clans in their carrying and their other work:25 They are to carry the curtains of the tabernacle,Ex 27:10-18 that is, the tent of meeting,Nu 3:25 its coveringEx 26:14 and its outer covering of durable leather, the curtains for the entrance to the tent of meeting,26 the curtains of the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and altar,Ex 27:9 the curtain for the entrance to the courtyard,Ex 27:16 the ropes and all the equipmentNu 3:26 used in the service of the tent. The Gershonites are to do all that needs to be done with these things.27 All their service, whether carrying or doing other work, is to be done under the direction of Aaron and his sons.ver 19 You shall assign to them as their responsibilityNu 3:25, 26 all they are to carry.28 This is the service of the Gershonite clansNu 7:7 at the tent of meeting. Their duties are to be under the direction of IthamarS Ex 6:23 son of Aaron, the priest.

The Merarites

29 “CountS Ex 30:12 the Merarites by their clans and families.S Ge 46:1130 Count all the men from thirty to fifty years of age who come to serve in the work at the tent of meeting.31 As part of all their service at the tent, they are to carry the frames of the tabernacle, its crossbars, posts and bases,Nu 3:3632 as well as the posts of the surrounding courtyard with their bases, tent pegs, ropes,Nu 3:37 all their equipment and everything related to their use. Assign to each man the specific things he is to carry.33 This is the service of the Merarite clans as they work at the tent of meeting under the direction of IthamarS Ex 38:21 son of Aaron, the priest.”

The Numbering of the Levite Clans

34 Moses, Aaron and the leaders of the community counted the Kohathitesver 2 by their clans and families.35 All the men from thirty to fifty years of agever 3 who came to serve in the work at the tent of meeting,36 counted by clans, were 2,750.37 This was the total of all those in the Kohathite clansS Nu 3:27 who served at the tent of meeting. Moses and Aaron counted them according to the Lord’s command through Moses.

38 The GershonitesS Ge 46:11 were counted by their clans and families.39 All the men from thirty to fifty years of age who came to serve in the work at the tent of meeting,40 counted by their clans and families, were 2,630.41 This was the total of those in the Gershonite clans who served at the tent of meeting. Moses and Aaron counted them according to the Lord’s command.

42 The Merarites were counted by their clans and families.43 All the men from thirty to fifty years of agever 3 who came to serve in the work at the tent of meeting,44 counted by their clans, were 3,200.45 This was the total of those in the Merarite clans.ver 29 Moses and Aaron counted them according to the Lord’s command through Moses.

46 So Moses, Aaron and the leaders of Israel countedNu 1:19 all the Levites by their clans and families.47 All the men from thirty to fifty years of agever 3 who came to do the work of serving and carrying the tent of meeting48 numbered 8,580.Nu 3:3949 At the Lord’s command through Moses, each was assigned his work and told what to carry.

Thus they were counted,S Nu 1:47 as the Lord commanded Moses.

The Purity of the Camp

The Lord said to Moses,“Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has a defiling skin diseaseThe Hebrew word for defiling skin disease, traditionally translated “leprosy,” was used for various diseases affecting the skin.S Lev 13:2 or a dischargeS Lev 15:2; Mt 9:20 of any kind, or who is ceremonially uncleanLev 13:3; Nu 9:6-10 because of a dead body.S Lev 21:11Send away male and female alike; send them outside the camp so they will not defile their camp, where I dwell among them.S Ex 29:45; Lev 26:12; 2Co 6:16The Israelites did so; they sent them outside the camp. They did just as the Lord had instructed Moses.

Restitution for Wrongs

The Lord said to Moses,“Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any wayOr woman who commits any wrong common to mankind and so is unfaithfulS Lev 6:2 to the Lord is guiltyLev 5:14-6:7and must confessS Lev 5:5; S Lk 19:8 the sin they have committed. They must make full restitutionS Lev 5:16 for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged.But if that person has no close relative to whom restitution can be made for the wrong, the restitution belongs to the Lord and must be given to the priest, along with the ramS Lev 5:15 with which atonement is made for the wrongdoer.Lev 6:6, 7All the sacred contributions the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him.Lev 6:1710 Sacred things belong to their owners, but what they give to the priest will belong to the priest.Lev 7:29-34’”

The Test for an Unfaithful Wife

11 Then the Lord said to Moses,12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astrayver 19-21; S Ex 20:14 and is unfaithful to him13 so that another man has sexual relations with her,S Ex 20:14 and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act),14 and if feelings of jealousyver 30; Pr 6:34; 27:4; SS 8:6 come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure—15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephahThat is, probably about 3 1/2 pounds or about 1.6 kilogramsS Ex 16:36 of barley flourS Lev 6:20 on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy,ver 18, 25 a reminder-offeringEze 21:23; 29:16 to draw attention to wrongdoing.

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord.17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water.18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hairS Lev 10:6; 1Co 11:6 and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy,ver 15 while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.ver 1919 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astrayver 12, 29 and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a cursever 18 not harm you.20 But if you have gone astrayver 12 while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”—21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curseJos 6:26; 1Sa 14:24; Ne 10:29—“may the Lord cause you to become a curseThat is, may he cause your name to be used in cursing (see Jer. 29:22); or, may others see that you are cursed; similarly in verse 27. among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.22 May this waterPs 109:18 that brings a cursever 18 enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.”

“‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.Dt 27:15

23 “‘The priest is to write these curses on a scrollJer 45:1 and then wash them off into the bitter water.24 He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her.25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the LordLev 8:27 and bring it to the altar.26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorialOr representative offeringS Lev 2:2 and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water.27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.Isa 43:28; 65:15; Jer 26:6; 29:18; 42:18; 44:12, 22; Zec 8:1328 If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

29 “‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astrayS ver 19 and makes herself impure while married to her husband,30 or when feelings of jealousyS ver 14 come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her.31 The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequencesS Lev 5:1 of her sin.’”

Duties of the Kohathite Clan

Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,“Record the names of the members of the clans and families of the Kohathite division of the tribe of Levi.List all the men between the ages of thirty and fifty who are eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.Hebrew the Tent of Meeting; also in 4:4, 15, 23, 25, 28, 30, 31, 33, 35, 37, 39, 41, 43, 47.

“The duties of the Kohathites at the Tabernacle will relate to the most sacred objects.When the camp moves, Aaron and his sons must enter the Tabernacle first to take down the inner curtain and cover the Ark of the CovenantOr Ark of the Testimony. with it.Then they must cover the inner curtain with fine goatskin leather and spread over that a single piece of blue cloth. Finally, they must put the carrying poles of the Ark in place.

“Next they must spread a blue cloth over the table where the Bread of the Presence is displayed, and on the cloth they will place the bowls, ladles, jars, pitchers, and the special bread.They must spread a scarlet cloth over all of this, and finally a covering of fine goatskin leather on top of the scarlet cloth. Then they must insert the carrying poles into the table.

“Next they must cover the lampstand with a blue cloth, along with its lamps, lamp snuffers, trays, and special jars of olive oil.10 Then they must cover the lampstand and its accessories with fine goatskin leather and place the bundle on a carrying frame.

11 “Next they must spread a blue cloth over the gold incense altar and cover this cloth with fine goatskin leather. Then they must attach the carrying poles to the altar.12 They must take all the remaining furnishings of the sanctuary and wrap them in a blue cloth, cover them with fine goatskin leather, and place them on the carrying frame.

13 “They must remove the ashes from the altar for sacrifices and cover the altar with a purple cloth.14 All the altar utensils—the firepans, meat forks, shovels, basins, and all the containers—must be placed on the cloth, and a covering of fine goatskin leather must be spread over them. Finally, they must put the carrying poles in place.15 The camp will be ready to move when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the sacred articles. The Kohathites will come and carry these things to the next destination. But they must not touch the sacred objects, or they will die. So these are the things from the Tabernacle that the Kohathites must carry.

16 “Eleazar son of Aaron the priest will be responsible for the oil of the lampstand, the fragrant incense, the daily grain offering, and the anointing oil. In fact, Eleazar will be responsible for the entire Tabernacle and everything in it, including the sanctuary and its furnishings.”

17 Then the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,18 “Do not let the Kohathite clans be destroyed from among the Levites!19 This is what you must do so they will live and not die when they approach the most sacred objects. Aaron and his sons must always go in with them and assign a specific duty or load to each person.20 The Kohathites must never enter the sanctuary to look at the sacred objects for even a moment, or they will die.”

Duties of the Gershonite Clan

21 And the Lord said to Moses,22 “Record the names of the members of the clans and families of the Gershonite division of the tribe of Levi.23 List all the men between the ages of thirty and fifty who are eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.

24 “These Gershonite clans will be responsible for general service and carrying loads.25 They must carry the curtains of the Tabernacle, the Tabernacle itself with its coverings, the outer covering of fine goatskin leather, and the curtain for the Tabernacle entrance.26 They are also to carry the curtains for the courtyard walls that surround the Tabernacle and altar, the curtain across the courtyard entrance, the ropes, and all the equipment related to their use. The Gershonites are responsible for all these items.27 Aaron and his sons will direct the Gershonites regarding all their duties, whether it involves moving the equipment or doing other work. They must assign the Gershonites responsibility for the loads they are to carry.28 So these are the duties assigned to the Gershonite clans at the Tabernacle. They will be directly responsible to Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.

Duties of the Merarite Clan

29 “Now record the names of the members of the clans and families of the Merarite division of the tribe of Levi.30 List all the men between the ages of thirty and fifty who are eligible to serve in the Tabernacle.

31 “Their only duty at the Tabernacle will be to carry loads. They will carry the frames of the Tabernacle, the crossbars, the posts, and the bases;32 also the posts for the courtyard walls with their bases, pegs, and ropes; and all the accessories and everything else related to their use. Assign the various loads to each man by name.33 So these are the duties of the Merarite clans at the Tabernacle. They are directly responsible to Ithamar son of Aaron the priest.”

Summary of the Registration

34 So Moses, Aaron, and the other leaders of the community listed the members of the Kohathite division by their clans and families.35 The list included all the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle,36 and the total number came to 2,750.37 So this was the total of all those from the Kohathite clans who were eligible to serve at the Tabernacle. Moses and Aaron listed them, just as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

38 The Gershonite division was also listed by its clans and families.39 The list included all the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle,40 and the total number came to 2,630.41 So this was the total of all those from the Gershonite clans who were eligible to serve at the Tabernacle. Moses and Aaron listed them, just as the Lord had commanded.

42 The Merarite division was also listed by its clans and families.43 The list included all the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle,44 and the total number came to 3,200.45 So this was the total of all those from the Merarite clans who were eligible for service. Moses and Aaron listed them, just as the Lord had commanded through Moses.

46 So Moses, Aaron, and the leaders of Israel listed all the Levites by their clans and families.47 All the men between thirty and fifty years of age who were eligible for service in the Tabernacle and for its transportation48 numbered 8,580.49 When their names were recorded, as the Lord had commanded through Moses, each man was assigned his task and told what to carry.

And so the registration was completed, just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Purity in Israel’s Camp

The Lord gave these instructions to Moses:“Command the people of Israel to remove from the camp anyone who has a skin diseaseTraditionally rendered leprosy. The Hebrew word used here describes various skin diseases. or a discharge, or who has become ceremonially unclean by touching a dead person.This command applies to men and women alike. Remove them so they will not defile the camp in which I live among them.”So the Israelites did as the Lord had commanded Moses and removed such people from the camp.

Then the Lord said to Moses,“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people—men or women—betray the Lord by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty.They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding an additional 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged.But if the person who was wronged is dead, and there are no near relatives to whom restitution can be made, the payment belongs to the Lord and must be given to the priest. Those who are guilty must also bring a ram as a sacrifice, and they will be purified and made right with the Lord.Or bring a ram for atonement, which will make atonement for them.All the sacred offerings that the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him.10 Each priest may keep all the sacred donations that he receives.”

Protecting Marital Faithfulness

11 And the Lord said to Moses,12 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.

“Suppose a man’s wife goes astray, and she is unfaithful to her husband13 and has sex with another man, but neither her husband nor anyone else knows about it. She has defiled herself, even though there was no witness and she was not caught in the act.14 If her husband becomes jealous and is suspicious of his wife and needs to know whether or not she has defiled herself,15 the husband must bring his wife to the priest. He must also bring an offering of two quartsHebrew 1⁄10 of an ephah [2.2 liters]. of barley flour to be presented on her behalf. Do not mix it with olive oil or frankincense, for it is a jealousy offering—an offering to prove whether or not she is guilty.

16 “The priest will then present her to stand trial before the Lord.17 He must take some holy water in a clay jar and pour into it dust he has taken from the Tabernacle floor.18 When the priest has presented the woman before the Lord, he must unbind her hair and place in her hands the offering of proof—the jealousy offering to determine whether her husband’s suspicions are justified. The priest will stand before her, holding the jar of bitter water that brings a curse to those who are guilty.19 The priest will then put the woman under oath and say to her, ‘If no other man has had sex with you, and you have not gone astray and defiled yourself while under your husband’s authority, may you be immune from the effects of this bitter water that brings on the curse.20 But if you have gone astray by being unfaithful to your husband, and have defiled yourself by having sex with another man—’

21 “At this point the priest must put the woman under oath by saying, ‘May the people know that the Lord’s curse is upon you when he makes you infertile, causing your womb to shrivelHebrew when he causes your thigh to waste away. and your abdomen to swell.22 Now may this water that brings the curse enter your body and cause your abdomen to swell and your womb to shrivel.Hebrew and your thigh to waste away.’ And the woman will be required to say, ‘Yes, let it be so.’23 And the priest will write these curses on a piece of leather and wash them off into the bitter water.24 He will make the woman drink the bitter water that brings on the curse. When the water enters her body, it will cause bitter suffering if she is guilty.

25 “The priest will take the jealousy offering from the woman’s hand, lift it up before the Lord, and carry it to the altar.26 He will take a handful of the flour as a token portion and burn it on the altar, and he will require the woman to drink the water.27 If she has defiled herself by being unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings on the curse will cause bitter suffering. Her abdomen will swell and her womb will shrink,Hebrew and her thigh will waste away. and her name will become a curse among her people.28 But if she has not defiled herself and is pure, then she will be unharmed and will still be able to have children.

29 “This is the ritual law for dealing with suspicion. If a woman goes astray and defiles herself while under her husband’s authority,30 or if a man becomes jealous and is suspicious that his wife has been unfaithful, the husband must present his wife before the Lord, and the priest will apply this entire ritual law to her.31 The husband will be innocent of any guilt in this matter, but his wife will be held accountable for her sin.”

And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,

Take the sum of the sons of Kohath from among the sons of Levi, after their families, by the house of their fathers,

From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.

This shall be the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation, about the most holy things:

And when the camp setteth forward, Aaron shall come, and his sons, and they shall take down the covering vail, and cover the ark of testimony with it:

And shall put thereon the covering of badgers' skins, and shall spread over it a cloth wholly of blue, and shall put in the staves thereof.

And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon:

And they shall spread upon them a cloth of scarlet, and cover the same with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put in the staves thereof.

And they shall take a cloth of blue, and cover the candlestick of the light, and his lamps, and his tongs, and his snuffdishes, and all the oil vessels thereof, wherewith they minister unto it:

10 And they shall put it and all the vessels thereof within a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put it upon a bar.

11 And upon the golden altar they shall spread a cloth of blue, and cover it with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put to the staves thereof:

12 And they shall take all the instruments of ministry, wherewith they minister in the sanctuary, and put them in a cloth of blue, and cover them with a covering of badgers' skins, and shall put them on a bar:

13 And they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth thereon:

14 And they shall put upon it all the vessels thereof, wherewith they minister about it, even the censers, the fleshhooks, and the shovels, and the basons, all the vessels of the altar; and they shall spread upon it a covering of badgers' skins, and put to the staves of it.

15 And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.

16 And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest pertaineth the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, and the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein is, in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.

17 And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron saying,

18 Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites:

19 But thus do unto them, that they may live, and not die, when they approach unto the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in, and appoint them every one to his service and to his burden:

20 But they shall not go in to see when the holy things are covered, lest they die.

21 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

22 Take also the sum of the sons of Gershon, throughout the houses of their fathers, by their families;

23 From thirty years old and upward until fifty years old shalt thou number them; all that enter in to perform the service, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation.

24 This is the service of the families of the Gershonites, to serve, and for burdens:

25 And they shall bear the curtains of the tabernacle, and the tabernacle of the congregation, his covering, and the covering of the badgers' skins that is above upon it, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,

26 And the hangings of the court, and the hanging for the door of the gate of the court, which is by the tabernacle and by the altar round about, and their cords, and all the instruments of their service, and all that is made for them: so shall they serve.

27 At the appointment of Aaron and his sons shall be all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, in all their burdens, and in all their service: and ye shall appoint unto them in charge all their burdens.

28 This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation: and their charge shall be under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

29 As for the sons of Merari, thou shalt number them after their families, by the house of their fathers;

30 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old shalt thou number them, every one that entereth into the service, to do the work of the tabernacle of the congregation.

31 And this is the charge of their burden, according to all their service in the tabernacle of the congregation; the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and sockets thereof,

32 And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords, with all their instruments, and with all their service: and by name ye shall reckon the instruments of the charge of their burden.

33 This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, according to all their service, in the tabernacle of the congregation, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.

34 And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers,

35 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation:

36 And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty.

37 These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

38 And those that were numbered of the sons of Gershon, throughout their families, and by the house of their fathers,

39 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

40 Even those that were numbered of them, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers, were two thousand and six hundred and thirty.

41 These are they that were numbered of the families of the sons of Gershon, of all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, whom Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the Lord.

42 And those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, throughout their families, by the house of their fathers,

43 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation,

44 Even those that were numbered of them after their families, were three thousand and two hundred.

45 These be those that were numbered of the families of the sons of Merari, whom Moses and Aaron numbered according to the word of the Lord by the hand of Moses.

46 All those that were numbered of the Levites, whom Moses and Aaron and the chief of Israel numbered, after their families, and after the house of their fathers,

47 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that came to do the service of the ministry, and the service of the burden in the tabernacle of the congregation.

48 Even those that were numbered of them, were eight thousand and five hundred and fourscore,

49 According to the commandment of the Lord they were numbered by the hand of Moses, every one according to his service, and according to his burden: thus were they numbered of him, as the Lord commanded Moses.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead:

Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell.

And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp: as the Lord spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty;

Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.

But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him.

And every offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they bring unto the priest, shall be his.

10 And every man's hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man giveth the priest, it shall be his.

11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,

13 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner;

14 And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

15 Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.

16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the Lord:

17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

18 And the priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:

19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:

20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:

21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;

22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:

24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.

25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the Lord, and offer it upon the altar:

26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.

28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;

30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.

31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

Mark 12:18-37

Marriage at the Resurrection12:18-27pp — Mt 22:23-33; Lk 20:27-38

18 Then the Sadducees,S Ac 4:1 who say there is no resurrection,Ac 23:8; 1Co 15:12 came to him with a question.19 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses wrote for us that if a man’s brother dies and leaves a wife but no children, the man must marry the widow and raise up offspring for his brother.Dt 25:520 Now there were seven brothers. The first one married and died without leaving any children.21 The second one married the widow, but he also died, leaving no child. It was the same with the third.22 In fact, none of the seven left any children. Last of all, the woman died too.23 At the resurrectionSome manuscripts resurrection, when people rise from the dead, whose wife will she be, since the seven were married to her?”

24 Jesus replied, “Are you not in error because you do not know the Scriptures2Ti 3:15-17 or the power of God?25 When the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.1Co 15:42, 49, 5226 Now about the dead rising—have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the burning bush, how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’Exodus 3:6?Ex 3:627 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!”

The Greatest Commandment12:28-34pp — Mt 22:34-40

28 One of the teachers of the lawLk 10:25-28; 20:39 came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.Or The Lord our God is one Lord30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’Deut. 6:4,5Dt 6:4, 531 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’Lev. 19:18Lev 19:18; S Mt 5:43 There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him.Dt 4:35, 39; Isa 45:6, 14; 46:933 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”1Sa 15:22; Hos 6:6; Mic 6:6-8; Heb 10:8

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.”S Mt 3:2 And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.Mt 22:46; Lk 20:40

Whose Son Is the Messiah?12:35-37pp — Mt 22:41-46; Lk 20:41-4412:38-40pp — Mt 23:1-7; Lk 20:45-47

35 While Jesus was teaching in the temple courts,S Mt 26:55 he asked, “Why do the teachers of the law say that the Messiah is the son of David?S Mt 9:2736 David himself, speaking by the Holy Spirit,2Sa 23:2 declared:

“‘The Lord said to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

until I put your enemies

under your feet.”’Psalm 110:1Ps 110:1; S Mt 22:44

37 David himself calls him ‘Lord.’ How then can he be his son?”

The large crowdJn 12:9 listened to him with delight.

Discussion about Resurrection

18 Then Jesus was approached by some Sadducees—religious leaders who say there is no resurrection from the dead. They posed this question:19 “Teacher, Moses gave us a law that if a man dies, leaving a wife without children, his brother should marry the widow and have a child who will carry on the brother’s name.See Deut 25:5-6.20 Well, suppose there were seven brothers. The oldest one married and then died without children.21 So the second brother married the widow, but he also died without children. Then the third brother married her.22 This continued with all seven of them, and still there were no children. Last of all, the woman also died.23 So tell us, whose wife will she be in the resurrection? For all seven were married to her.”

24 Jesus replied, “Your mistake is that you don’t know the Scriptures, and you don’t know the power of God.25 For when the dead rise, they will neither marry nor be given in marriage. In this respect they will be like the angels in heaven.

26 “But now, as to whether the dead will be raised—haven’t you ever read about this in the writings of Moses, in the story of the burning bush? Long after Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had died, God said to Moses,Greek in the story of the bush? God said to him. ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’Exod 3:6.27 So he is the God of the living, not the dead. You have made a serious error.”

The Most Important Commandment

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord.30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’Deut 6:4-5.31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’Lev 19:18. No other commandment is greater than these.”

32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other.33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” And after that, no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Whose Son Is the Messiah?

35 Later, as Jesus was teaching the people in the Temple, he asked, “Why do the teachers of religious law claim that the Messiah is the son of David?36 For David himself, speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, said,

‘The Lord said to my Lord,

Sit in the place of honor at my right hand

until I humble your enemies beneath your feet.’Ps 110:1.

37 Since David himself called the Messiah ‘my Lord,’ how can the Messiah be his son?” The large crowd listened to him with great delight.

18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,

19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.

20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed.

21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.

22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.

23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.

24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?

25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.

35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the scribes that Christ is the son of David?

36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.

37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.

Psalm 48:1-14

Psalm 48In Hebrew texts 48:1-14 is numbered 48:2-15.

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Great is the Lord,Ps 86:10; 96:4; 99:2; 135:5; 147:5; Jer 10:6 and most worthy of praise,S 2Sa 22:4; S 1Ch 16:25; Ps 18:3

in the city of our God,S Ps 46:4 his holy mountain.S Dt 33:19; Ps 2:6; 87:1; Isa 11:9; 32:16; Jer 31:23; Da 9:16; Mic 4:1; Zec 8:3

BeautifulPs 50:2; La 2:15; Eze 16:14 in its loftiness,

the joy of the whole earth,

like the heights of ZaphonZaphon was the most sacred mountain of the Canaanites.S Jos 13:27 is Mount Zion,S Ps 2:6

the city of the Great King.Mt 5:35

God is in her citadels;ver 13; Ps 122:7

he has shown himself to be her fortress.Ps 18:2

When the kings joined forces,

when they advanced together,2Sa 10:1-19

they saw her and were astounded;

they fled in terror.Ex 15:16; Isa 13:8; Jer 46:5; Da 5:9

Trembling seizedS Job 4:14 them there,

pain like that of a woman in labor.S Ge 3:16

You destroyed them like ships of TarshishS Ge 10:4; S 1Ki 10:22; 22:48

shattered by an east wind.S Ge 41:6

As we have heard,

so we have seen

in the city of the Lord Almighty,

in the city of our God:

God makes her secure

forever.The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.Jer 23:6; Zec 8:13; 14:11

Within your temple, O God,

we meditateS Ps 39:3 on your unfailing love.Ps 6:4

10 Like your name,S Ex 6:3; S Jos 7:9 O God,

your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;1Sa 2:10; Ps 22:27; 65:5; 98:3; 100:1; Isa 11:12; 24:16; 42:10; 49:6

your right hand is filled with righteousness.

11 Mount Zion rejoices,

the villages of Judah are glad

because of your judgments.Ps 97:8

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,

count her towers,S Ne 3:1

13 consider well her ramparts,2Sa 20:15; Isa 26:1; La 2:8; Hab 2:1

view her citadels,S ver 3

that you may tell of them

to the next generation.Ps 71:18; 78:6; 109:13

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;

he will be our guidePs 25:5; 73:24; Pr 6:22; Isa 49:10; 57:18; 58:11 even to the end.

Psalm 48

A song. A psalm of the descendants of Korah.

How great is the Lord,

how deserving of praise,

in the city of our God,

which sits on his holy mountain!

It is high and magnificent;

the whole earth rejoices to see it!

Mount Zion, the holy mountain,Or Mount Zion, in the far north; Hebrew reads Mount Zion, the heights of Zaphon.

is the city of the great King!

God himself is in Jerusalem’s towers,

revealing himself as its defender.

The kings of the earth joined forces

and advanced against the city.

But when they saw it, they were stunned;

they were terrified and ran away.

They were gripped with terror

and writhed in pain like a woman in labor.

You destroyed them like the mighty ships of Tarshish

shattered by a powerful east wind.

We had heard of the city’s glory,

but now we have seen it ourselves—

the city of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

It is the city of our God;

he will make it safe forever. Interlude

O God, we meditate on your unfailing love

as we worship in your Temple.

10 As your name deserves, O God,

you will be praised to the ends of the earth.

Your strong right hand is filled with victory.

11 Let the people on Mount Zion rejoice.

Let all the towns of Judah be glad

because of your justice.

12 Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.Hebrew Zion.

Walk around and count the many towers.

13 Take note of the fortified walls,

and tour all the citadels,

that you may describe them

to future generations.

14 For that is what God is like.

He is our God forever and ever,

and he will guide us until we die.

48 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.

They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.

Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.

We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.

10 According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.

11 Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.

13 Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

Proverbs 10:26

26 As vinegar to the teeth and smokeIsa 65:5 to the eyes,

so are sluggards to those who send them.Pr 13:17; 25:13; 26:6

26 Lazy people irritate their employers,

like vinegar to the teeth or smoke in the eyes.

26 As vinegar to the teeth, and as smoke to the eyes, so is the sluggard to them that send him.

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