Numbers 3:41 MEANING

Numbers 3:41
(41) And thou shalt take the Levites for me (I am the Lord) . . . --Or, And thou shalt take the Levites for Me--for Me, Jehovah. The assertions which have been frequently made respecting the transference of the priesthood of the firstborn to the Levites appear to be altogether without foundation. For (1) the priesthood which was exercised in patriarchal times was not restricted to the firstborn, but appears to have been common to the head of every family. (2) This priesthood was exercised previously to the exodus, and consequently previously to the command given to Moses to sanctify the firstborn. And (3) the priesthood, which belonged not to the firstborn exclusively, but to the Israelites at large, was thenceforth strictly confined to the family of Aaron, who inherited it not as the substitutes of the firstborn, but in the place of the whole nation.

3:40-51 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.And thou shall take the Levites for me,.... For his service, to minister to his priests, and serve in his tabernacle:

I am the Lord; who has a right to all, and can claim who he pleases for himself in a special manner, and therefore could and did take the Levites to himself:

instead of the firstborn among the children of Israel; these he had taken to him before, and ordered to be sanctified unto him, and for whom a redemption price was paid to his priests for the support of them, and the tabernacle service, and now it was his will to make an exchange of these for the Levites:

and the cattle of the Levites, instead of all the firstling among the cattle of the children of Israel: every firstling of clean cattle was the Lord's, and given to his priests, and the firstlings of unclean cattle were redeemed with a lamb, and which were given to the same; and now instead of these he requires the cattle of the Levites; not that they should be deprived of their use of them, or that they should be taken and sacrificed, but that they should be with them devoted to him, and they should possess them in his right.

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