These were the descendants of Aaron and Moses, at the time when Yahweh spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai.
These were the names of Aaron's sons: Nadab the eldest, then Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar.
Such were the names of Aaron's sons, priests anointed and invested with the powers of the priesthood.
Nadab and Abihu died in Yahweh's presence, in the desert of Sinai, when they offered unauthorised fire before Yahweh. They left no children and so it fell to Eleazar and Ithamar to exercise the priesthood under their father Aaron.
Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:
'Muster the tribe of Levi and put it at the disposal of the priest Aaron: they must be at his service.
They will undertake the duties incumbent on him and the whole community before the Tent of Meeting, in serving the Dwelling,
and they will be in charge of all the furnishings of the Tent of Meeting and undertake the duties incumbent on the Israelites in serving the Dwelling.
You will present the Levites to Aaron and his sons as men dedicated; they will be given to him by the Israelites.
'You will register Aaron and his sons, who will carry out their priestly duty. But any unauthorised person who comes near must be put to death.'
Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:
'Look, I myself have chosen the Levites from the Israelites instead of all the first-born, those who emerge first from the womb in Israel; the Levites therefore belong to me.
For every first-born belongs to me. On the day when I struck down all the first-born in Egypt, I consecrated all the first-born in Israel, human and animal, to be my own. They are mine, Yahweh's.'
Yahweh spoke to Moses in the desert of Sinai and said:
'You must take a census of Levi's descendants by families and clans; all the males of the age of one month and over will be counted.'
At Yahweh's word Moses took a census of them, as Yahweh had ordered.
These were the names of Levi's sons: Gershon, Kohath and Merari.
These were the names of Gershon's sons by their clans: Libni and Shimei;
Kohath's sons by their clans: Amram, Izhar, Hebron and Uzziel;
Merari's sons by their clans: Mahli and Mushi. These were the clans of Levi, grouped by families.
From Gershon were descended the Libnite and Shimeite clans; these were the Gershonite clans.
Their full number, counting the males of one month and over, came to seven thousand five hundred.
The Gershonite clans pitched their camp behind the Dwelling, on the west side.
The leader of the House of Gershon was Eliasaph son of Lael.
As regards the Tent of Meeting, the Gershonites had charge of the Dwelling, the Tent and its covering, the screen for the entrance to the Tent of Meeting,
the curtaining of the court, the screen for the entrance to the court surrounding the Dwelling and the altar, and the cords required in dealing with all this.
From Kohath were descended the Amramite, Izharite, Hebronite and Uzzielite clans; these were the Kohathite clans.
Their full number, counting the males of one month and over, came to eight thousand three hundred. They were in charge of the sanctuary.
The Kohathite clans pitched their camp on the south side of the Dwelling.
The leader of the house of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel.
They were in charge of the ark, the table, the lamp-stand, the altars, the sacred vessels used in the liturgy, and the curtain with all its fittings.
The chief of the Levite leaders was Eleazar, son of Aaron the priest. He supervised the people responsible for the sanctuary.
From Merari were descended the Mahlite and Mushite clans; these were the Merarite clans.
Their full number, counting the males of one month and over, came to six thousand two hundred.
The leader of the House of the Merarite clans was Zuriel, son of Abihail. They pitched their camp on the north side of the Dwelling.
The Merarites were in charge of the framework of the Dwelling, with its crossbars, poles, sockets and all its accessories and fittings,
and also the poles round the court, with their sockets, pegs and cords.
Finally, on the east side, in front of the Dwelling, in front of the Tent of Meeting, towards the east, was the camp of Moses and Aaron and his sons, who had charge of the sanctuary on behalf of the Israelites. Any unauthorised person coming near was to be put to death.
The total number of male Levites of the age of one month and over, whom Moses counted by clans as Yahweh had ordered, came to twenty-two thousand.
Yahweh said to Moses: 'Take a census of all the first-born of the Israelites, all the males from the age of one month and over; take a census of them by name.
You will then present the Levites to me, Yahweh, instead of Israel, and similarly the Levites' cattle instead of the first-born cattle of the Israelites.'
As Yahweh ordered, Moses took a census of all the first-born of the Israelites.
The total count, by name, of the first-born from the age of one month and over came to twenty-two thousand two hundred and seventy-three.
Yahweh then spoke to Moses and said:
'Take the Levites instead of all the first-born of the Israelites, and the Levites' cattle instead of their cattle; the Levites will be mine, Yahweh's.
For the ransom of the two hundred and seventy-three first-born of the Israelites in excess of the number of Levites,
you will take five shekels for each, by the sanctuary shekel, at twenty gerah to the shekel;
you will then give this money to Aaron and his sons as the ransom for the extra number.'
Moses took the ransom money for the extra ones unransomed by the Levites;
he took the money for the first-born of the Israelites: one thousand three hundred and sixty-five shekels, by the sanctuary shekel;
and Moses then handed over their ransom money to Aaron and his sons, at Yahweh's bidding, as Yahweh had ordered Moses.
The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) is a Catholic translation of the Bible published in 1985. The New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) has become the most widely used Roman Catholic Bible outside of the United States. It has the imprimatur of Cardinal George Basil Hume.
Like its predecessor, the Jerusalem Bible, the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB) version is translated "directly from the Hebrew, Greek or Aramaic." The 1973 French translation, the Bible de Jerusalem, is followed only "where the text admits to more than one interpretation." Introductions and notes, with some modifications, are taken from the Bible de Jerusalem.
Source: The Very Reverend Dom (Joseph) Henry Wansbrough, OSB, MA (Oxon), STL (Fribourg), LSS (Rome), a monk of Ampleforth Abbey and a biblical scholar. He was General Editor of the New Jerusalem Bible. "New Jerusalem Bible, Regular Edition", pg. v.
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