Numbers 3:7
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) And they shall keep his charge.—The word rendered charge may mean the directions which the Levites should receive from Aaron (comp. Genesis 26:5); or—as seems more probable from the use of the same word in this and the following verse with reference to the congregation—it may refer to the charge which was laid upon Aaron and upon the whole congregation in matters pertaining to the public worship of God.

Numbers 3:7. His charge — That is, Aaron’s, or those things which were committed principally to Aaron’s care and oversight. Of the congregation — That is, of all the sacrifices and services which were due to the Lord from all the people. Because the people might not perform them, in their own persons, therefore they were to be performed by some particular persons in their stead; formerly by the firstborn, (Numbers 8:16,) and now by the Levites. Before the tabernacle — Not within the tabernacle, for the care of the things within the holy place was appropriated to the priests, as the care of the most holy place was to the high-priest.3:1-13 There was much work belonging to the priests' office, and there were now only Aaron and his two sons to do it; God appoints the Levites to attend them. Those whom God finds work for, he will find help for. The Levites were taken instead of the first-born. When He that made us, saves us, as the first-born of Israel were saved, we are laid under further obligations to serve him faithfully. God's right to us by redemption, confirms the right he has to us by creation.keep his charge - i. e. so assist him that the obligations incumbent on him and on the congregation may be fulfilled. 5-10. Bring the tribe of Levi near—The Hebrew word "bring near" is a sacrificial term, denoting the presentation of an offering to God; and the use of the word, therefore, in connection with the Levites, signifies that they were devoted as an offering to the sanctuary, no longer to be employed in any common offices. They were subordinate to the priests, who alone enjoyed the privilege of entering the holy place; but they were employed in discharging many of the humbler duties which belonged to the sanctuary, as well as in various offices of great utility and importance to the religion and morals of the people. His charge, i.e. Aaron’s charge, or those things which are committed principally to Aaron’s care and oversight, and under him and his direction to the Levites.

Of the whole congregation, i.e. of all the sacrifices and services which are due to the Lord from all the people, and because all the people could not and might not perform them, or at least divers of them, in their own persons, therefore they were to be performed by some particular persons in their name and stead; formerly by the first-born, Numbers 8:16, and now by the Levites. See Numbers 1:53 16:9.

Before the tabernacle, emphatically; not within the tabernacle, for the care of these things within the holy place was appropriated to the priests, as the care of the most holy place was peculiar to the high priest. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation,.... The charge of Aaron and of all the people of Israel, which was to secure the sanctuary from being polluted or plundered: this the Levites were to be employed about, and thereby ease the high priest and the other priests, and the people, of what otherwise would have been incumbent on them:

before the tabernacle of the congregation; not within it, neither in the holy place, nor in the most holy place, where they might not enter, to do any service peculiar thereunto, but at the door of the tabernacle, and in the court of it, and in the rooms and chambers in it: and do the service of the tabernacle; not to offer sacrifices on the altar of the burnt offering, which stood in the court, and much less to burn incense on the altar of incense, and to him the lamps, and set on the shewbread in the holy place; and still less to enter into the most holy place, and do there what was to be done on the day of atonement; but to do all that is before observed, and to bring the people's offerings to the priest, and to assist in slaying them; and to keep all profane and polluted persons out of it, the tabernacle, as we find in later times; they were porters at it, and some of them were singers in it, and had the care of various things belonging to it: see 1 Chronicles 9:14.

And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation {e} before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle.

(e) Which belonged to the executing of the high priests commandment, to the oversight of the people, and the service of the tabernacle.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. keep his charge] i.e. perform the duties of their service to him and to the priests.

the charge of the whole congregation] comprised the ritual functions in connexion with the offering of animals sacrificed by and in behalf of the laity of Israel.Verse 7. - They shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation. Septuagint, "shall keep his watches, and the watches of the children of Israel." The Levites were to be the servants of Aaron on the one side, and of the whole congregation on the other, in the performance of their religious duties. The complicated ceremonial now prescribed and set in use could not possibly be carried out by priests or people without the assistance of a large number of persons trained and devoted to the work. Compare St. Paul's words to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 4:5), "Ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." In order to indicate at the very outset the position which the Levites were to occupy in relation to the priests (viz., Aaron and his descendants), the account of their muster commences not only with the enumeration of the sons of Aaron who were chosen as priests (Numbers 3:2-4), but with the heading: "These are the generations of Aaron and Moses in the day (i.e., at the time) when Jehovah spake with Moses in Mount Sinai (Numbers 3:1). The toledoth (see at Genesis 2:4) of Moses and Aaron are not only the families which sprang from Aaron and Moses, but the Levitical families generally, which were named after Aaron and Moses, because they were both of them raised into the position of heads or spiritual fathers of the whole tribe, namely, at the time when God spoke to Moses upon Sinai. Understood in this way, the notice as to the time is neither a superfluous repetition, nor introduced with reference to the subsequent numbering of the people in the steppes of Moab (Numbers 26:57.). Aaron is placed before Moses here (see at Exodus 6:26.), not merely as being the elder of the two, but because his sons received the priesthood, whilst the sons of Moses, on the contrary, were classed among the rest of the Levitical families (cf. 1 Chronicles 23:14).
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