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Numbers 4

Kothath's clan

1 The LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 ‘Write a list of the people in Kohath's clan in their families. That list must be separate from the list of the other Levites. 3 Record the men who can work in the Tent of Meeting. Record them if they are between 30 and 50 years old.

4 These men must work with everything that is most holy in the Tent of Meeting. 5 When the people are ready to move, Aaron and his sons must go into the Tent of Meeting. They must take down the curtain that is in front of the Covenant Box. They must cover the Covenant Box with the curtain. 6 Then they must cover the curtain with good leather. On the top of that, they must put a blue cloth. Then, they must put in its pieces of wood so that they can carry the Covenant Box.

7 They must put a blue cloth over the table for the special bread. The bread must remain on the table. The cloth must cover the plates, bowls and dishes on the table. It must also cover the jars for the wine that they offer to me. 8 Then they must cover all that with a red cloth. On the top of the red cloth, they must put good leather. Then they must put in its pieces of wood so that they can carry the table.

9 They must cover the lampstand and its tools with a blue cloth. They must also cover the jars for the oil with the blue cloth. 10 Then they must cover all this with good leather. They must carry it on a board.

11 They must cover the gold altar with a blue cloth. They must cover the blue cloth with good leather. Then they must put in its pieces of wood so that they can carry the altar. 12 They must cover all the tools from God's Holy Tent with a blue cloth. They must cover the blue cloth with good leather. They must carry all this on a board.

13 They must remove the ashes from the bronze altar. They must cover the bronze altar with a purple cloth. 14 They must put all the tools on the bronze altar. That includes the pans for the fire, the forks for the meat, the spades and the bowls. They must cover all that with good leather. Then they must put in its pieces of wood so that they can carry the altar.

15 When the camp is ready to move, the men from Kohath's clan must be ready to carry all those things. But they must wait until Aaron and his sons have covered God's Holy Tent and all its holy things. The men from Kohath's clan must not touch the holy things. They will die if they touch the holy things. These are the duties of Kohath's clan. They must carry the things from the Tent of Meeting when the Israelites travel.

16 Eleazar, who is the son of Aaron the priest, must keep the oil for the light. He must keep the incense and the offering of flour. He must keep the special oil. The special oil marks everything that God chooses. Eleazar must work with the whole Tent of Meeting. He must work with God's Holy Tent and with everything in it.’

17 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 18 ‘You must not cause the end of Kohath's clan from among the Levites. 19 Do not let the men in that clan die. That will happen if they come near to the most holy things. You must do this: Aaron and his sons must go into the Tent of Meeting. They will tell each man the work that he must do. And they must tell each man the things that he must carry. 20 But the men from Kohath's clan must not look at anything that is holy, even for a moment. If they do look at those things, they will die.’

Gershon's clan

21 Then the LORD said to Moses, 22 ‘Also write a list of the people in Gershon's clan in their families. 23 Record the men who can work in the Tent of Meeting. Record them if they are between 30 and 50 years old.

24 The work of the men in Gershon's clan is to carry everything. 25 The men from that clan must carry the curtains of God's Tent. And they must carry the Tent of Meeting with the thing that covers it. And they must carry the good leather that covers all that. And they must carry the curtain for the place where people go into the Tent of Meeting. 26 They must carry the curtains of the yard that is round God's Tent. Also, they must carry the curtain and ropes for the place where people go into the yard. That is the yard that is round God's Tent and the altar. The men from Gershon's clan must carry all the tools that belong with those curtains. They must do everything that all those things need. 27 The men in Gershon's clan must do everything that Aaron and his sons ask them to do. Aaron and his sons must tell them the things that they should carry. And they must tell them everything that they should do. 28 That is the work for the Tent of Meeting that the descendants of Gershon must do. Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest will tell them the things that they must do.’

Merari's clan

29 Also God said to Moses, ‘Write a list of the people in Merari's clan in their families. 30 Record the men who can work in the Tent of Meeting. Record them if they are between 30 and 50 years old. 31 This is the work of the men in Merari's clan. They must carry the frames of the Tent of Meeting and its bars. And they must carry its pillars and its bases. 32 And they must carry the pillars, bases, nails of wood and ropes of the yard that is round God's Tent. And the men in Merari's clan must keep all the tools that belong with those things safe. Each man in Merari's clan must keep particular things safe. Tell each man which things he must carry. 33 That is the work of the descendants of Merari in the Tent of Meeting. Ithamar, the son of Aaron the priest, will tell them the things that they must do.’

The Levites

34 So Moses, Aaron and the people's leaders recorded the names of Kohath's descendants in their clans and in their families. 35 They recorded the men who could work in the Tent of Meeting. They recorded them if they were between 30 and 50 years old. 36 They recorded them in clans. There were 2750 men. 37 Moses and Aaron recorded the descendants of Kohath who worked at the Tent of Meeting. The LORD had told Moses that they must do that.

38 Moses and Aaron also recorded the names of Gershon's descendants in their clans and in their families. 39 They recorded the men who could work in the Tent of Meeting. They recorded them if they were between 30 and 50 years old. 40 They recorded them in clans and families. There were 2630 men. 41 Moses and Aaron recorded the descendants of Gershon who worked at the Tent of Meeting. The LORD had told Moses that they must do that.

42 Moses and Aaron also recorded the names of Merari's descendants in their clans and in their families. 43 They counted all the men who worked in the Tent of Meeting. They counted them if they were between 30 and 50 years old. 44 They recorded them in clans. There were 3200 men. 45 Moses and Aaron recorded the descendants of Merari who worked at the Tent of Meeting. The LORD had told Moses that they must do that.

46 Moses, Aaron and the people's leaders recorded the names of the Levites in their clans and in their families. 47 They counted all the men who worked in the Tent of Meeting. And they counted all the men who carried any of its things. They counted them if they were between 30 and 50 years old. 48 There were 8580 Levites in the list. 49 They told each man the things that he must do. Or they told him what he must carry. Moses recorded all their names. The LORD had told him that he must do that.