Numbers - 4:17

17 Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying,

Verse In-Depth

Explanation and meaning of Numbers 4:17.

Differing Translations

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And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying,
And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron,
Loquutus est autem Jehova ad Mosen et Aharon, dicendo:

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

And the Lord spake unto Moses, and unto Aaron,.... And gave them a very solemn and awful charge about this affair of the Kohathites, it being a very hazardous one they were employed in:
saying; as follows.

Cut ye not off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites, &c.--a solemn admonition to Moses and Aaron to beware, lest, by any negligence on their part, disorder and improprieties should creep in, and to take the greatest care that all the parts of this important service be apportioned to the proper parties, lest the Kohathites should be disqualified for their high and honorable duties. The guilt of their death would be incurred by the superintending priest, if he failed to give proper directions or allowed any irreverent familiarity with sacred things.

In order to prevent as far as possible any calamity from befalling the Levites while carrying the most holy things, the priests are again urged by the command of God to do what has already been described in detail in Numbers 4:5-15, lest through any carelessness on their part they should cut off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites, i.e., should cause their destruction; viz., if they should approach the holy things before they had been wrapped up by Aaron and his sons in the manner prescribed and handed over to them to carry. If the Kohathites should come for only a single moment to look at the holy things, they would die. אל־תּכריתוּ, "cut ye not off," i.e., "take care that the Kohathites are not cut off through your mistake and negligence" (Ros.). "The tribe of the families of the Kohathites:" shebet, the tribe, is not used here, as it frequently is, in its derivative sense of tribe (Tribus), but in the original literal sense of stirps.

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