The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Numbers
Then the Lord bade Moses and Aaron
register the sons of Caath, household by household, family by family, apart from the rest of the Levites;
men between the ages of thirty and fifty, who went into the tabernacle to wait and work there.
The sons of Caath, he said, there in the tabernacle, are to have the holiest task of all.
When the order is given for marching, it is for Aaron and his sons to go in and take down the veil at the sanctuary entrance, in which they will wrap up the ark;
then they will enfold it again in a covering of skins dyed violet, and spread a cloth over it all of blue, and so they will put the poles in to carry it.
They will spread another blue cloth over the table, which will have its cups and bowls and dishes on it, and goblets for pouring out libations, and the bread set forth there as always;
a red cloth over that, and a covering dyed violet, and put the poles in.
Then, with a blue cloth, they will cover the lamp-stand, with its lamps, tongs, snuffers, and all the phials of oil for feeding the lamps,
enfolding all in skins dyed violet, and so they will make it ready for carrying.
Then a blue cloth, and a covering of violet skins, for the golden altar;
and all the appurtenances of sanctuary worship they shall cover up in the same way, and make these, too, ready for carrying.
The brazen altar they will rid of its ashes, and wrap it in a purple cloth,
enclosing with it all the appurtenances used for its ceremonies, fire-pans, flesh-hooks, forks, pot-hooks and shovels; they must wrap up all the appurtenances of this altar in a covering of violet skins, and then put poles through the rings of the altar itself.
Then when Aaron and his sons have wrapped up the sanctuary and all its appurtenances ready for the march, the sons of Caath will enter and carry them away in their wrappings; they are not to touch the things of the sanctuary, on pain of death. Such charge will the sons of Caath have over the tabernacle that attests my covenant;
and Eleazar, son of the high priest Aaron, will be in command of them. Under his care is the oil for feeding the lamps, and the spices for the incense; under his care the continual sacrifice, and the oil used for anointing, and all that concerns the worship paid in the tabernacle, and all the furniture of the sanctuary.
This warning, too, the Lord gave to Moses and Aaron;
Would you have the family of Caath lost to Levi’s tribe?
If you value their lives, order their doings thus; death is the penalty, if they should touch what has been set apart for holy uses. Only Aaron and his sons may enter; and they will direct what is to be the task of each Levite, what burden he is to carry.
None must pry into the secrets of the shrine while they are yet uncovered, on pain of death.
Then the Lord bade Moses
register the sons of Gerson, by households and families;
men between the ages of thirty and fifty, who went into the tabernacle to work there.
The task of these sons of Gerson, he told them,
is to carry the curtains of the tabernacle, and the second covering that makes a roof over the place of covenant, and the purple canopy over all, and the screen at the entrance of the tabernacle;
the hangings, too, of the court, and the screen at the entrance of the court, opposite the tabernacle.✻ All that belongs to the altar, and all the ropes, and the appurtenances that go with them,
shall be carried by the family of Gerson, as Aaron and his sons shall direct; they will make known what burden falls to each.
This is the charge which the sons of Gerson will have over the tabernacle which attests my covenant, and Ithamar, son of the high priest Aaron, will have the disposal of them.
The households and families of Merari’s line must also be registered;
men between the ages of thirty and fifty, who go about their work in the shrine of the covenant.
They have the charge of carrying the frames and poles of the tabernacle, its posts with their sockets;
posts, too, sockets and pegs and ropes for the court round about. All such appurtenances shall be handed over to them one by one, to carry with them.
Such duties and tasks the sons of Merari will have, in the tabernacle that attests my covenant, and these too will be at the disposal of Ithamar, son of the high priest Aaron.
So Moses and Aaron and the chieftains registered the households and families of Caath,
all the tabernacle servants between the ages of thirty and fifty;
of these there were two thousand seven hundred and fifty.
Then the Gersonites;
of these there were two thousand six hundred and thirty.
Then the Merarites;
of these there were three thousand two hundred.✻
So that the full register of the Levites, which Moses and Aaron and the chieftains made, household by household and family by family,
men between thirty and fifty, fit to carry burdens and do the work of the tabernacle,
contained eight thousand five hundred and eighty names altogether.
And Moses, as the Lord had bidden him, registered all their names with the duties and burdens that fell to each.
The Holy Bible