Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 5: Harmony of the Law, Part III, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
1. These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses, in the day that the Lord spake with Moses in mount Sinai.
1. Hae sunt generationes Aharon et Mosis ex quo loquutus est Jehova ad Mosen in monte Sinai.
2. And these are the names of the sons of Aaron; Nadab the first-born, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
2. Hac autem sunt nomina filiorum Aharon: primogenitus Nadab, et Ahihu, Eleazar et Ithamar.
3. These are the names of the sons of Aaron, the priests which were anointed, whom he consecrated to minister in the priest’s office.
3. Ista sunt nomina filiorum Aharon sacerdotum unctorum, quorum consecraverat manum ut sacerdotio fungerentur.
4. And Nadab and Abihu died before the Lord, when they offered fire before the Lord, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.
4. Mortuus est autem Nadab et Abihu eoram Jehova, quando obtulerunt ignem externum coram Jehova in deserto Sinai: et filii non fuerunt eis, ae sacerdotio functus est Eleazar et Ithamar coram Aharone patre suo.
5. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
5. Loquutus est autem Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
6. Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him.
6. Appropinquare fac tribum Levi, et stare facias eam coram Aharone sacerdote, ut ministrent ei,
7. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation, before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle.
7. Et custodiant custodiam ejus, et custodiam universi coetus coram tabernaculo ecelesiae, ut exequantur cultum tabernaculi.
8. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle.
8. Custodiant quoque omnia utensilia tabernaculi ecclesiae, custodiamque filiorum Israel, et exequantur cultum tabernaculi.
9. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron, and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel.
9. Da inquam Levitas ipsi Aharon et illils ejus: dati, daft namque aunt illi a filiis Israel.
10. And thou shalt appoint Aaron and his sons, and they shall wait on their priest’s office; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
10. Aharon autem et filios ejus praeticies, custodientque sacerdotium suum: externus sane qui accesserit, morietur.
11. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
11. Loquutus est praeterea Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
12. And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the first-born that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine;
12. Ego quidera tuli Levitas e medio filiorum Israel loco omnis primogeniti quod aperit vulvam a filiis Israel: eruntque mei Levitae.
13. Because all the first-born are mine: for on the day that I smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, I hallowed unto me all the first-born in Israel, both man and beast; mine they shall be: I am the Lord.
13. Meum namque est omne primogenitum: a die quo percussi omne primogenitum in terra AEgypti, sanctificavi mihi omne primogenitum in Israel: tam ex hominibus quam ex animalibus: mea erunt: ego Jehova.
14. And the Lord spake unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, saying,
14. Loquutus est insuper Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
15. Number the children of Levi, after the house of their fathers, by their families: every male from a month old and upward shalt thou number them.
15. Numera filius Levi per domos patrum suorum, per familias suas: omnem masculum ab uno meuse et supra, numerabis.
16. And Moses numbered them, according to the word of the Lord, as he was commanded.
16. Numeravit itaque eos Moses juxta sermonem Jehovae, quemadmodum jussus fuerat.
17. And these were the sons of Levi, by their names; Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari.
17. Et fuermir isti filii Levi per nomina sua, Gerson, Cehath et Merari.
18. And these are the names of the sons of Gershon, by their families; Libni, and Shimei.
18. Haec autem sunt nomina filiorum Gerson per familias suas, Libni et Semei.
19. And the sons of Kohath, by their families; Amram, and Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
19. Porro filii Cehath per familias suas, Amram, et Jehor, Hebron et Uzziel.
20. And the sons of Merari, by their families; Mahli, and Mushi: these are the families of the Levites, according to the house of their fathers.
20. Filii vero Merari per familias suas, Mahali, et Muzi. Istae sunt familiae Levi per domos patrum suorum.
21. Of Gershon was the family of the Libnities, and the family of the Shimites: these are the families of the Gershonites,
21. De Gerson, familia Libnitica, et familia Simitica: istte sunt familiae Gersoniticae.
22. Those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, even those that were numbered of them, were seven thousand and five hundred.
22. Numerati eorum secundmu numerum onmis masculi, a filio mensis et supra, numerati eormn, septem millia et quingenti.
23. The families of the Gershonites shall pitch behind the tabernacle westward.
23. Familiae Gersonitiem post tabernaculum castrametabuntur ad occidentem.
24. And the chief of the house of the father of the Gershonites shall be Eliasaph the son of Lad.
24. Et princeps domus patris Gersonitarum erit Eliasaph filius Lael.
25. And the charge of the sons of Gershon, in the tabernacle of the congregation, shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation,
25. Custodia autem filiorum Gerson in tabernaculo conventionis erit tabernaculum, et tentorium, operimentum ejus, aulaeum ostii tabernaculi conventionis.
26. And the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it, for all the service thereof.
26. Cortinae item atrii, et aulaeum ostii atrii quod erat juxta tabernaculum, et juxta altare per circuitum, funes quoque ejus pro omni ministerio ejus.
27. And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, and the family of the Izharites, and the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites.
27. Et ipsius Cehath erit familiae Amramitica, et familia Isharitica, et familia Hebronitica, et familia Uzzielitica: istae sunt familiae Cehathiticae.
28. In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary.
28. Secundum numerum omn masculi a filio mensis et supra, fuerunt octo millia sexcenti, custodiente custodiam sanctuarii.
29. The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward.
29. Familiae filiorum Cehath castrametabuntur ad latus tabernaculi ad meridiem.
30. And the chief of the house of father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.
30. Et princeps domus patris familiarum Cehathitarum erit Elisaphan filius Uzziel.
31. And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof.
31. Custodia autem eorum erit arca, et mensa, et candelabrum, et altaria, et vasa sanctitatis in quibus ministrabunt, et aulaeum, et universum opus ejus.
32. And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary.
32. Porro princeps principum Levitarum erit Eleazar filius Aharon sacerdotis: praefectura custodientium custodiam sanctitatis erit el.
33. Of Merari was the family of the Mahlites, and the family of the Mushites: these are the families of Merari.
33. Ipsius Merari erit familia Mahalitica, et familia Musitica. Istae sunt familiae Merari.
34. And those that were numbered of them, according to the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were six thousand and two hundred.
34. Numerati autem eorum secundum numerum ordinis masculi, ab uno mense et supra, sex millia et ducenti.
35. And the chief of the house of the father of the families of Merari was Zuriel the son of Abihael: these shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle northward.
35. Et princeps domus patris familiarum Merari erit Suriel filius Abihael: atque hi ad latus tabernaculi castrametabuntur ad Aquilonem.
36. And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serveth thereto,
36. Praefectura autem custodia filiorum Merari, tabulum tabernaculi, et vectes ejus, et columnae ejus, et bases qius, omniaque vasa ejus, et universum opus ejus.
37. And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords.
37. Columnae quoque atrii per circuitum, et bases earum, et clavi earum, et funes earum.
38. But those that encamp before the tabernacle toward the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, shall be Moses, and Aaron and his sons, keeping the charge of the sanctuary for the charge of the children of Israel; and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death.
38. Qui vero castrametabuntur ante tabernaculuun, ad Orientem, in parte anteriore tabernaculi conventionis, ad orientem erunt Moses et Aharon, filiique ejus custodientes custodiam sanctuarii, pro custodia filiorum Israel: externus certe qui accesserit morietur.
39. All that were numbered of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron numbered at the commandment of the Lord, throughout their families, all the males, from a month old and upward, were twenty and two thousand.
39. Omnes numerati Levitarum, quos numeravit Moses et Aharon juxta sermonem Jehovae per familias eorum, omnes mares ab uno mense et supra, duo et viginti millia.
40 And the Lord said unto Moses, Number all the first-born of the males of the children of Israel, from a month old and upward, and take the number of their names.
40. Et dixit Jehova ad Mosen, Numera omne primogeniture masculmn filiorum Israel ab uno meuse et supra, et accipe humerum nominum eorum.
41. And thou shalt take the Levites for me, (I am the Lord,) instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel; and the cattle of the Levites instead of all the firstlings among the cattle of the children of Israel.
41. Capiesque Levitas mihi (ego Jehova) loco omnium primogenitorumn filiorum Israel, et bestias Levitatum loeo omnium primogenitorum ex bestits filiorum Israel.
42. And Moses numbered, as the Lord commanded him, all the first-born among the children of Israel.
42. Numeravit itaque Moses quemadmodum ei paeceperat Jehova, omnem primogeniture in filiis Israel.
43. And all the first-born males, by the number of names, from a month old and upward, of those that were numbered of them, were twenty and two thousand two hundred and threescore and thirteen.
43. Fueruntque omnia primogenita mascula, secundum numerum nominum, ab uno filio mensis, et supra, per numeratos eorum, duo et viginti millia, et ducenti septuaginta tres.
44. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
44. Loquutusque est Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
45. Take the Levites instead of all the first-born among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord.
45. Cape Levitas loco omnium primogenitorum in filiis Israel, et bestias Levitatum pro bestiis eorum, eruntque mei Levitae: ego Jehova.
46. And for those that are to be redeemed of the two hundred and threescore and thirteen of the first-born of the children of Israel, which are more than the Levites;
46. Porro redemptiones ducentorum septuaginta trium redundant ultra Levitas, a primogenitis filiorum Israel.
47. Thou shalt even take five shekels apiece by the poll; after the shekel of the sanctuary shalt thou take them: (the shekel is twenty gerahs:)
47. Capies quinos siclos in singuls; capita, secundum siculum sanctuarii capies: viginti obolorum est siclus.
48. And thou shalt give the money, wherewith the odd number of them is to be redeemed, unto Aaron, and to his sons.
48. Dabisque pecuniam illam Aharoni et filiis ejus, redemptiones eorum qui exuperant in illis.
49. And Moses took the redemption-money of them that were over and above them that were redeemed by the Levites.
49. Accepit ergo Moses pecuniam redemptionis ab its qui superabant ultra redemptos Levitarum:
50. A primogenitis filiorum Israel accepit pecuniam mille trecentos sexaginta quinque siclos, secundum siclum sanctuarii.
50. Of the first-born of the children of Israel took he the money; a thousand three hundred and three score and five shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary:
51. And Moses gave the money of them that were redeemed unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to the word of the Lord, as the Lord commanded Moses.
51. Deditque Moses pecuniam redemptionum Aharoni et filiis ejus, juxta sermonem Jehovae, quemadmodum praeceperat illi Jehova.
1. These also are the generations of Aaron and Moses He now separately enumerates the Levites; but, before he proceeds to state their number, he first shortly refers to what he had just before more fully narrated, that of the four sons of Aaron only two survived their father, inasmuch as Nadab and Abihu had suffered the penalty of their negligence in their defilement of the sacrifice. The six verses 423 which Moses inserts respecting the office of the priests have been expounded in their proper place. The dignity of the tribe of Levi is here exalted, when God compares the Levites to the first-born; the distribution of their charges is also touched upon, 424 but, since these things are connected with the census of the people, and the mode of pitching the camp, I have thought it best to annex them to what has just preceded, inasmuch as otherwise the history would be interrupted. And, in fact, in the order that I have followed, the office of each family is only incidentally treated of, so that all might know their proper station.
12. And I, behold, I have taken the Levites A little further on we shall see more clearly why God claims one tribe for Himself; He now only shews that the Levites rightfully belong to Him, because by special privilege the first-born of the people were preserved in the destruction of the Egyptians. God, therefore, declares that those, whose lives were thus gratuitously spared, were purchased to Himself. Since, then, He had the free option of devoting to Himself the first-born of every tribe, He was no less at liberty to take 425 only the twelfth part of the people from one tribe. Thus He cuts off all handle for complaint, inasmuch as it would have been intolerable ingratitude to withdraw from His control those whom He had miraculously redeemed; therefore He says that they did not perish in the general slaughter, in order that tie might subject them to ttimself.
15. Number the children of Levi after the house of their fathers The enumeration of the tribe now follows, commencing with the three sons of Levi, Kohath, Gershon, and Merari, from whom many families afterwards descended. It must, however, be observed, that all were numbered down to the youngest infants, whereas of the rest of the people only those who had passed their twentieth year were taken into account; whence it appeared that this was the smallest tribe; but by causing the infants to be reckoned, God intended to maintain a just proportion, as we shall see; for, if He had only taken them above their twentieth year, it would not have been known how many first-born there were, and thus the compensation to be made for them would have been uncertain. By this indulgence the people should have been induced to pay the tribute for the surplus with more readiness; for since, after the computation was made, it appeared how much their number came short of the required amount, God justly willed that those should be redeemed for money, who would else have been transferred to that tribe which represented the first-born, and it would have been an act of malignity to refuse God what he demanded, when He had spontaneously condescended to so just a compact. There was also another reason why the Levites were included in the census from their earliest childhood, rather than the others, viz., because it was not necessary that they should be fit for war, when God enrolled from the rest of the people soldiers for Himself who might afterwards bear arms.
17. And these were the sons of Levi by their names Hence it appears that the tribe of Levi, like the others, had made an astonishing progress from a small and contemptible beginning; for whereas he himself had only begotten three sons, Gershon and Merari only two each, and Kohath four; who would have expected such an increase, that twelve men in so short a time should have grown into so many thousands? But thus powerfully does God work under the semblance of weakness, that thus His glory may be the more conspicuous. But that He promoted the family of Kohath above the others, not only in the priesthood of Aaron, but also in their common ministry, proceeded from the same source of His gratuitous good pleasure, as the calling of Moses. He then, who had dignified also by so honorable an office, was, for his sake, gracious also to the family of Kohath. Neverthless, lost he should be suspected of ambition, or lest occasion of calumny should be given to the ungodly, God chose that the sons of Moses should remain in the ordinary station of the Levites.
45. Take the Levites instead of all the first-born The compensation of which I have spoken follows; for, since the complete portion of God was not found in the tribe of Levi, it must needs be supplied from elsewhere. Since, then, the Levites, infants as well as men, were less by two hundred and seventy-three than the first-born of the twelve tribes of Israel, God required that five shekels of the sanctuary should be paid for every head. We have elsewhere seen that the shekel of the sanctuary was double, amounting to two ordinary ones.
Viz., verses 5-10. See ante, vol. 2, p. 220.
“Quant a ce que Moyse touche ici des charges particulieres de chacune famille, combien que cela concerne le service duquel il a este traitte sur le Seconde Precepte, toutefois je n’ay peu aucunement faire, que de la mettre ici, afin que le fil de l’histoire ne fust point rompu;” with respect to the reference here made by Moses to the peculiar charge of each family, although it relates to the service which has been treated of under the Second Commandment, nevertheless I could not do otherwise than introduce it here, in order that the thread of the history might not be interrupted. — Fr.
“Moins que la douzieme partie;” less than the twelfth part. — Fr.