From: Stephen Williamson
Sent: Thursday, 25 April 2013 1:45 PM
Subject: Levi was a really small tribe — compared to the others
Chatting about censuses, Iíve just been checking the numbers (plus a few commentaries) about how small a tribe Levi was when Moses mustered (numbered) the twelve tribes, then counted up Levi separately. John Wesley particularly comments on this in his notes with reference to
When you take the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom (an atonement, a covering) for his soul to the LORD, when you number them; so that there be no plague among them, when numbering them. — yes it says the word three times, a bit of emphasis.
So, every man — except the Levi men — passed through this count, bringing half a shekel of silver (about 10 grams at that time) to Moses. Total 603,550 men who were 20 years and older. The silver was then used to build the columns for the tabernacle as a memento before the Lord — 100 columns of about 60kgs each plus fittings.
Then they counted the Levi men and boys and kids (one month old and up) separately. Total 22,300 males.
See Numbers 3:22, 28, 34.
So thatís a really small tribe if you divide the other number by 12, especially when it says Levi includes the young ones as well.
So, 22,000 Levi males (who werenít themselves first-borns it is assumed — that number being a tiny 300), redeemed the 22,000 Israel first-borns who had been born from that Passover announcement one year ago when they left Egypt. They found an extra 273 Israel first-borns in Numbers 3:46, so families paid 5 shekels to Aaronís family for the work they would start doing. And that then became the basis of first-born redemption.
And, now of course, we are all called to be a holy priesthood, to pray for and serve those around us. Even if those who do are a small number, apparently. Ahh, the Lord knows.
Stephen Williamson Computing Services Pty Ltd