God is really hammering his message home. We heard it Exodus, we heard it in Leviticus, and now in Numbers 3:5-10, God is once again telling us that Aaronís sons are supposed to be priests. And weíre again told that the Levites are expected to take care of the tabernacle and any non-Levite who gets too close to the tabernacle will be put to death.
Again, there is a tiny bit of new information as well. In his perfectly inefficient manner, God tells Moses to tell Aaron to tell the Israelites to, ďgive the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel.Ē Now, there isnít much room for interpretation here, itís pretty clear that God wants the Levites to become the property of Aaron and his offspring! Quite a horrifying passage to say the least, but thankfully, as Moses says in the comic, this passage has some problems with clarity.
If you read the footnotes of the NIV, youíll learn that most copies of the Masoretic texts, the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Septuagint all say that the Levites are to be the property of God, not Aaron. Yet, even though all these early sources agree that the Levites are the property of God, every major translation of the bible says they belong to Aaron. Iím not sure why they donít follow these manuscripts, unless there is an even older one available that they donít mention. Not that it matters, both translations are entirely repulsive so itís not like the bibleís reputation would be saved if we suddenly learned for certain which oneís correct.