Numbers 3:26
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.
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(26) And the hangings of the court . . . —See Exodus 27:9 and Note.

And the cords of it for all the service thereof.—The pronominal suffixes do not seem to refer to the court, the cords belonging to which appear to have been under the custody of the Merarites (Numbers 3:37), but to the mishkan or Tabernacle itself. Or, the latter suffix (its service, or the service thereof) may be designed to refer to each of the various things mentioned, as in Numbers 3:31, inasmuch as the words for all the service thereof may mean for everything which had to be done in connection with the things mentioned.

3:14-39 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.the cords ... the service thereof - i. e. of the tabernacle, not of the hangings of the court, for these, with their cords and other fittings, belonged to the charge of the Merarites Numbers 3:36-37. The tabernacle was under the care of the Gershonites. 14-31. Number the children of Levi—They were numbered as well as the other tribes; but the enumeration was made on a different principle—for while in the other tribes the number of males was calculated from twenty years and upward [Nu 1:3], in that of Levi they were counted "from a month old and upward." The reason for the distinction is obvious. In the other tribes the survey was made for purposes of war [Nu 1:3], from which the Levites were totally exempt. But the Levites were appointed to a work on which they entered as soon as they were capable of instruction. They are mentioned under the names of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, sons of Levi, and chiefs or ancestral heads of three subdivisions into which this tribe was distributed. Their duties were to assist in the conveyance of the tabernacle when the people were removing the various encampments, and to form its guard while stationary—the Gershonites being stationed on the west, the Kohathites on the south, and the families of Merari on the north. The Kohathites had the principal place about the tabernacle, and charge of the most precious and sacred things—a distinction with which they were honored, probably, because the Aaronic family belonged to this division of the Levitical tribe. The Gershonites, being the oldest, had the next honorable post assigned them, while the burden of the drudgery was thrown on the division of Merari. The cords, by which the tabernacle was fastened to the pins, and stretched out, Exodus 35:18. And the hangings of the court,.... Which formed the great open court that encompassed the tabernacle, and was an hundred cubits long and fifty broad; Exodus 27:9,

and the curtain for the door of the court: which was an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, purple, scarlet, and fine twined linen, Exodus 27:16,

which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about: this refers to the court, the hangings, and curtains of the door of it, which are spoken of; and this court surrounded the tabernacle, and the altar which was without the tabernacle, as Aben Ezra observes, and which was the altar of burnt offering that stood within this court; for the particle sometimes signifies "about" (s), and the word "around", being joined with it, requires this sense:

and the cords of it; which seem to be the cords of the court, which fastened the hangings and curtains to brass pins, or stakes fixed in the ground to keep them tight, that the wind might not move them to and fro; but Jarchi says, these were the cords of the tabernacle and tent, and not of the court; and indeed the tabernacle had its cords as well as the court, Exodus 38:18; the cords of the court were in the charge of the Merarites, Numbers 3:37,

for all the service thereof: for that part of the tabernacle and court which the Gershonites had in their care and custody.

(s) Vid. Nold. Partic. Ebr. Concord. p. 992.

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. the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar] i.e. the court which encloses the dwelling and the altar of burnt-offering.

the cords of it] Cords are also assigned to the Merarites for transport (Numbers 3:37). If the repetition is not merely an oversight of the narrator, it is just possible to understand the cords in the present verse to be those by which the outer covering of the dwelling was fastened down, and those in Numbers 3:37 to be the cords by which the hangings of the court were kept taut.The muster of the Levites included all the males from a month old and upwards, because they were to be sanctified to Jehovah in the place of the first-born; and it was at the age of a month that the latter were either to be given up or redeemed (comp. Numbers 3:40 and Numbers 3:43 with Numbers 18:16). In Numbers 3:17-20 the sons of Levi and their sons are enumerated, who were the founders of the mishpachoth among the Levites, as in Exodus 6:16-19.
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