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Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Numbers
Book: Numbers
Chapter: 3

The sons of Aaron, The Levites taken instead of the
First-born. (1-13) The Levites numbered By their families, Their
duties. (14-39) The First-born are numbered. (40-51)

1-13 There was much work belonging to the priests' office, and
there were now only Aaron and his two sons to do it; God
appoints the Levites to attend them. Those whom God finds work
for, he will find help for. The Levites were taken instead of
the First-born. When He that made us, saves us, as the
First-born of Israel were saved, we are laid under further
obligations to serve him faithfully. God's right to us By
Redemption, confirms the right he has to us By Creation.

14-39 The Levites were in three classes, according to the sons
of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari; and these were subdivided
into families. The posterity of Moses were not at all honoured
or privileged, but stood upon the level with other Levites; thus
it was Plain, that Moses did not seek the advancement of his own
family, or to secure any honours to it. The Tribe of Levi was By
much the least of all the tribes. God's Chosen are but a little
flock in comparison with the world.

40-51 The number of the First-born, and that of the Levites,
came near to each other. Known unto God are all his Works
beforehand; there is an exact proportion between them, and So it
will appear, when they are compared together. The small number
of First-born, over and above the number of the Levites, were to
be redeemed, and the Redemption-Money given to Aaron. The Church
is called the Church of the First-born, which is redeemed, not
as they were, with Silver and Gold; but, being devoted By Sin to
the Justice of God, is ransomed with the precious Blood of the
Son of God. All men are the Lord's By Creation, and all true
christians are his By Redemption. Each should know his own Post
and duty; nor can any service required By such a Master be
rightly accounted mean or hard.