Message – Levites, Laws & Nazirites – Numbers 4-6
Series: Thru the Bible
Levites, Laws & Nazirites – Numbers 4-6
As I told you last week I got a little ahead of myself in that I covered the duties of the Levites and Priests last week. I only left a few things out so those are the things I will cover from chapter 4.
As you will remember the tribe of Levi was divided into the three major families. That of of Kohath, Gershon and Merari. They all had their distinctive jobs which touched the components of construction of the tabernacle.
Now in this chapter we see that God told Moses that he was to take a census of the sons of Kohath who fell between 30 to 50 years old. 20 years was all the labor God required of them in the work of the tabernacle. 2,750
Let’s read it Num. 4:4-20 NKJV
“(4) This is the service of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of meeting, relating to the most holy things: (5) When the camp prepares to journey, Aaron and his sons shall come, and they shall take down the covering veil and cover the ark of the Testimony with it. (6) Then they shall put on it a covering of badger skins, and spread over that a cloth entirely of blue; and they shall insert its poles. (7) “On the table of showbread they shall spread a blue cloth, and put on it the dishes, the pans, the bowls, and the pitchers for pouring; and the showbread shall be on it. (8) They shall spread over them a scarlet cloth, and cover the same with a covering of badger skins; and they shall insert its poles. (9) And they shall take a blue cloth and cover the lampstand of the light, with its lamps, its wick-trimmers, its trays, and all its oil vessels, with which they service it. (10) Then they shall put it with all its utensils in a covering of badger skins, and put it on a carrying beam. (11) “Over the golden altar they shall spread a blue cloth, and cover it with a covering of badger skins; and they shall insert its poles. (12) Then they shall take all the utensils of service with which they minister in the sanctuary, put them in a blue cloth, cover them with a covering of badger skins, and put them on a carrying beam. (13) Also they shall take away the ashes from the altar, and spread a purple cloth over it. (14) They shall put on it all its implements with which they minister there–the firepans, the forks, the shovels, the basins, and all the utensils of the altar–and they shall spread on it a covering of badger skins, and insert its poles. (15) And when Aaron and his sons have finished covering the sanctuary and all the furnishings of the sanctuary, when the camp is set to go, then the sons of Kohath shall come to carry them; but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. “These are the things in the tabernacle of meeting which the sons of Kohath are to carry. (16) “The appointed duty of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest is the oil for the light, the sweet incense, the daily grain offering, the anointing oil, the oversight of all the tabernacle, of all that is in it, with the sanctuary and its furnishings.” (17) Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying: (18) “Do not cut off the tribe of the families of the Kohathites from among the Levites; (19) but do this in regard to them, that they may live and not die when they approach the most holy things: Aaron and his sons shall go in and appoint each of them to his service and his task. (20) But they shall not go in to watch while the holy things are being covered, lest they die.”
Now concerning the sons of Gershon who fell between the ages of 30 to 50 years old.Their work in regard to the tabernacle in serving and carrying involved (Vs. 25-28). 2,630
Num. 4:25-28, NKJV
“(25) They shall carry the curtains of the tabernacle and the tabernacle of meeting with its covering, the covering of badger skins that is on it, the screen for the door of the tabernacle of meeting, (26) the screen for the door of the gate of the court, the hangings of the court which are around the tabernacle and altar, and their cords, all the furnishings for their service and all that is made for these things: so shall they serve. (27) “Aaron and his sons shall assign all the service of the sons of the Gershonites, all their tasks and all their service. And you shall appoint to them all their tasks as their duty. (28) This is the service of the families of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of meeting. And their duties shall be under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.”
…and finally concerning the sons of Merari who fell between the ages of 30 to 50 years old.Their work in regard to the tabernacle in serving and carrying involved (Vs. 31-33). 3,200
Num. 4:31-33, NKJV
“(31) And this is what they must carry as all their service for the tabernacle of meeting: the boards of the tabernacle, its bars, its pillars, its sockets, (32) and the pillars around the court with their sockets, pegs, and cords, with all their furnishings and all their service; and you shall assign to each man by name the items he must carry. (33) This is the service of the families of the sons of Merari, as all their service for the tabernacle of meeting, under the authority of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest.”
TOTAL OF 8,580
Also the Levites were to attend to the needs of the Tabernacle of meeting with the restriction that they could not come near the articles of the sanctuary or of the altar or they would die.
This included skin diseases (both being confirmed and confirmed as communicable), discharges (sexual or from sores) or if defiled by a corpse.
This included EVERYONE (Male & Female) with no exceptions were to be removed from the camp among whom God dwelt. Of course this was done for a specific period of time as was outlined in Exodus.
Confession & Restitution:
This regarded sins against God but which wronged other people.
They needed to:
- Confess what they did
- Make FULL restitution with 1/5th added to it.
- If it was involuntary manslaughter then restitution is to be given to the family – IF NOT, then it is given to the Lord for the Priest IN ADDITION TO the Ram of the atonement sacrifice.
- Every offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel which they bring to the priest belong to that priest.
Test for adultery:
This is only for a man with a wife. There is a good reason for this. It is NOT just for adultery, for both a man AND a woman were accountable before God for this!
No this was a test for adultery due to jealousy of the head and leader of the relationship. As 1Cor. 11 explains to us, MAN represents God – was made FOR Him and is His glory. Woman represents man – was made FOR him and is his glory.
This is even pointed to as THE reason in verses 19 & 20 by the words, “while under your husband’s authority”.
Let’s read it: (vs. 11-31)
Num. 5:11-31, NKJV
“(11) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (12) “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘If any man’s wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully toward him, (13) and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and it is concealed that she has defiled herself, and there was no witness against her, nor was she caught– (14) if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself– (15) then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. He shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering, for bringing iniquity to remembrance. (16) ‘And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD. (17) The priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel, and take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle and put it into the water. (18) Then the priest shall stand the woman before the LORD, uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering for remembering in her hands, which is the grain offering of jealousy. And the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that brings a curse. (19) And the priest shall put her under oath, and say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you, and if you have not gone astray to uncleanness while under your husband’s authority, be free from this bitter water that brings a curse. (20) But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, and if you have defiled yourself and some man other than your husband has lain with you”– (21) then the priest shall put the woman under the oath of the curse, and he shall say to the woman– “the LORD make you a curse and an oath among your people, when the LORD makes your thigh rot and your belly swell; (22) and may this water that causes the curse go into your stomach, and make your belly swell and your thigh rot.” ‘Then the woman shall say, “Amen, so be it.” (23) ‘Then the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall scrape them off into the bitter water. (24) And he shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and the water that brings the curse shall enter her to become bitter. (25) Then the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, shall wave the offering before the LORD, and bring it to the altar; (26) and the priest shall take a handful of the offering, as its memorial portion, burn it on the altar, and afterward make the woman drink the water. (27) When he has made her drink the water, then it shall be, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, that the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter, and her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people. (28) But if the woman has not defiled herself, and is clean, then she shall be free and may conceive children. (29) ‘This is the law of jealousy, when a wife, while under her husband’s authority, goes astray and defiles herself, (30) or when the spirit of jealousy comes upon a man, and he becomes jealous of his wife; then he shall stand the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute all this law upon her. (31) Then the man shall be free from iniquity, but that woman shall bear her guilt.’ “
The Nazirite Vow:
Gill has this to say about Nazirites…
when either man or woman shall separate themselves to vow a vow of a Nazarite; or “do a wonderful thing” (r); something unusual and uncommon, and what is out of the way of the men of the world, who give themselves up to pleasure, and have little regard to the worship and service of God; wherefore for a person, a man or woman, to vow abstinence from wine and dress, and from the company of others, and to oblige themselves to strict and close devotion to God, was something singular and surprising. This is to be understood of such persons who were at their own disposal; for such that were in their minority, and under the power of parents, or were married women, if they vowed, their vows did not stand, and their parents or husbands could disannul them, unless they had consented to them by their silence, when they heard them made, Num_30:3. There were various sorts of Nazarites; some were appointed by God, as Samson; some were devoted by their parents, as Samuel; and some by themselves, concerning whom is this law more especially; some were perpetual Nazarites, a Nazarite for life, as the two persons just mentioned; though the Jews distinguish between a Samsonian Nazarite, and a perpetual one (s); and some were only for a certain time, according as they vowed:
Num. 6:1-21, NKJV
“(1) Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, (2) “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When either a man or woman consecrates an offering to take the vow of a Nazirite, to separate himself to the LORD, (3) he shall separate himself from wine and similar drink; he shall drink neither vinegar made from wine nor vinegar made from similar drink; neither shall he drink any grape juice, nor eat fresh grapes or raisins. (4) All the days of his separation he shall eat nothing that is produced by the grapevine, from seed to skin. (5) ‘All the days of the vow of his separation no razor shall come upon his head; until the days are fulfilled for which he separated himself to the LORD, he shall be holy. Then he shall let the locks of the hair of his head grow. (6) All the days that he separates himself to the LORD he shall not go near a dead body. (7) He shall not make himself unclean even for his father or his mother, for his brother or his sister, when they die, because his separation to God is on his head. (8) All the days of his separation he shall be holy to the LORD. (9) ‘And if anyone dies very suddenly beside him, and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it. (10) Then on the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons to the priest, to the door of the tabernacle of meeting; (11) and the priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned in regard to the corpse; and he shall sanctify his head that same day. (12) He shall consecrate to the LORD the days of his separation, and bring a male lamb in its first year as a trespass offering; but the former days shall be lost, because his separation was defiled. (13) ‘Now this is the law of the Nazirite: When the days of his separation are fulfilled, he shall be brought to the door of the tabernacle of meeting. (14) And he shall present his offering to the LORD: one male lamb in its first year without blemish as a burnt offering, one ewe lamb in its first year without blemish as a sin offering, one ram without blemish as a peace offering, (15) a basket of unleavened bread, cakes of fine flour mixed with oil, unleavened wafers anointed with oil, and their grain offering with their drink offerings. (16) ‘Then the priest shall bring them before the LORD and offer his sin offering and his burnt offering; (17) and he shall offer the ram as a sacrifice of a peace offering to the LORD, with the basket of unleavened bread; the priest shall also offer its grain offering and its drink offering. (18) Then the Nazirite shall shave his consecrated head at the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and shall take the hair from his consecrated head and put it on the fire which is under the sacrifice of the peace offering. (19) ‘And the priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, one unleavened cake from the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and put them upon the hands of the Nazirite after he has shaved his consecrated hair, (20) and the priest shall wave them as a wave offering before the LORD; they are holy for the priest, together with the breast of the wave offering and the thigh of the heave offering. After that the Nazirite may drink wine.’ (21) “This is the law of the Nazirite who vows to the LORD the offering for his separation, and besides that, whatever else his hand is able to provide; according to the vow which he takes, so he must do according to the law of his separation.”
If you remember Samson was a Nazirite called and anointed by God as a judge in Israel. Graced with great strength which was connected to his honoring his vow to God in not shaving his head.
It is also MY belief that is was to this life that Jephthah vowed his daughter as recorded in Judges 11:29-40. Let’s look at it…
Jdg. 11:29-40 NKJV “(29) Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead; and from Mizpah of Gilead he advanced toward the people of Ammon. (30) And Jephthah made a vow to the LORD, and said, “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, (31) then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” (32) So Jephthah advanced toward the people of Ammon to fight against them, and the LORD delivered them into his hands. (33) And he defeated them from Aroer as far as Minnith–twenty cities–and to Abel Keramim, with a very great slaughter. Thus the people of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel. (34) When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter. (35) And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low! You are among those who trouble me! For I have given my word to the LORD, and I cannot go back on it.” (36) So she said to him, “My father, if you have given your word to the LORD, do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, because the LORD has avenged you of your enemies, the people of Ammon.” (37) Then she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: let me alone for two months, that I may go and wander on the mountains and bewail my virginity, my friends and I.” (38) So he said, “Go.” And he sent her away for two months; and she went with her friends, and bewailed her virginity on the mountains. (39) And it was so at the end of two months that she returned to her father, and he carried out his vow with her which he had vowed. She knew no man. And it became a custom in Israel (40) that the daughters of Israel went four days each year to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.”
Obviously the intended offering was to be an animal offered as a sacrifice and such would have been acceptable to God.
But since it was Jephthah’s daughter – such could NOT be sacrificed since in the fulfilling of the vow he would have to murder and thus break another law of God. Furthermore, if he did not fulfill this vow in a satisfactory way he would have sinned according to Lev. 5 and would have needed to offer the appropriate sacrifice:
Lev. 5:4-6, NKJV “(4) ‘Or if a person swears, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, whatever it is that a man may pronounce by an oath, and he is unaware of it–when he realizes it, then he shall be guilty in any of these matters. (5) ‘And it shall be, when he is guilty in any of these matters, that he shall confess that he has sinned in that thing; (6) and he shall bring his trespass offering to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin.”
Lev. 5:10, NKJV “And he shall offer the second as a burnt offering according to the prescribed manner. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it shall be forgiven him.”
So since there is NO record of Jephthah needing to offer sacrifice and there is evidence that he followed through with his vow, we can only conclude that he committed his daughter as a Nazirite to the service of the tabernacle all the days of her life – which is WHY she was allowed time to lament never being able to marry or bear children.
The Priest’s Blessing:
Num. 6:22-27, NKJV
“(22) And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying: (23) “Speak to Aaron and his sons, saying, ‘This is the way you shall bless the children of Israel. Say to them: (24) “The LORD bless you and keep you; (25) The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; (26) The LORD lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” ‘ (27) “So they shall put My name on the children of Israel, and I will bless them.”
I hope this teaching will challenge you and encourage you to place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. …Blessings!
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