So far the book of Numbers has brought us, well, a lot of numbers! Surprise surprise! Let’s see what Chapter 3 brings us.
“This is the account of the family of Aaron and Moses at the time the Lord spoke to Moses at Mount Sinai.” – Numbers 3:1
This means we’re about to get a genealogy with some numbers.
“Nadab and Abihu, however, died before the Lord when they made an offering with unauthorized fire before him in the Desert of Sinai.” – Numbers 3:4
This isn’t new. We learned about it earlier in the Bible but it’s just another reminder that God’s punishments are not always just or warranted. Death due to an unauthorized fire? In case you’re wondering, this was NOT a case of arson. This was a case of burning a fire in the wrong way that pissed off God.
“Bring the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest to assist him. They are to perform duties for him and for the whole community at the tent of meeting by doing the work of the tabernacle.” – Numbers 3:6-7
Remember that the Levites are not to serve in the army. They are in charge of God’s stuff (e.g. tent, tabernacle, etc.).
“I have taken the Levites from among the Israelites in place of the first male offspring of every Israelite woman. The Levites are mine, for all the firstborn are mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set apart for myself every firstborn in Israel, whether human or animal. They are to be mine. I am the Lord.” – Numbers 3:12-13
If God is truly the Creator of all, He can do whatever He wants with His creations. That doesn’t make it just, however, and God’s entire defense/justification boils down to “Because!”
The next several chapters are a breakdown of which Levite clans are responsible for which portion of God’s stuff.
“Moses and Aaron and his sons were to camp to the east of the tabernacle, toward the sunrise, in front of the tent of meeting. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary on behalf of the Israelites. Anyone else who approached the sanctuary was to be put to death.” – Numbers 3:38
The Levites were in charge of God’s stuff, but only Moses, Aaron, and the sons were allowed to approach the sanctuary. All others were to be put to death. Death! Maybe a punishment is justified. This basically boils down to trespassing, but death? No one said this was a just God.
“The total number of Levites counted at the Lord’s command by Moses and Aaron according to their clans, including every male a month old or more, was 22,000.” – Numbers 3:39
God must have a lot of stuff to need 22,000 Levites to take care of it. Then again, maybe this number is necessary if you consider the large numbers in the Israeli army.
That concludes Numbers 3. God needs people to do his bidding. Not sure why as God can do anything He wants if He is truly all powerful. There are a very verses mentioning death as a punishment for what is really a not-so-serious crime. There are about 22,000 Levites taken care of God’s stuff. This may not have been the most exciting chapter, but the nerd in me loves numbers! I find them interesting!
Coming Soon: Numbers – Chapter 4: The Kohathites