Well in the next few verses we get a slew of genealogy because the Levites were going to be divided up according to their clan, and then assigned different duties as regarded the priesthood (which could come only from Aaron’s clan) and for duties as regarded the Tabernacle.
These duties would only be temporary, however, as once they reached the Promised Land after 40 years in the Wilderness, the duties got shuffled around a bit because circumstances changed rather significantly as they shifted from being wanderers to a settled people.
So much of what we read here technically applies ONLY to the time of the 40 years of wandering.
We’re not going to get bogged down in this long list of family names today; however, there are a few pertinent things to be taken from it.
First and foremost note that the Priests and Levites were to station themselves between the Wilderness Tabernacle and the 12 tribes of Israel acting like a fence or a protective barrier between Holy Ground and the people of Israel (or anyone else for that matter).
This further defines the role of a mediator or an intercessor or even as God’s appointed servant. That is its not just a matter of carrying messages from people to God (as in intercessory prayer), and from God to people (as in being a teacher or pronouncing the Gospel); it’s about protecting God from having His holiness threatened, and it’s also about protecting people from being destroyed by God for trespassing…. whether intentionally or accidentally…upon His holiness.
Add that to the mix when trying to comprehend the role of Jesus, and to some degree to our responsibilities as His disciples. It’s one that is rarely thought of or discussed, but it is probably one of the most important roles that every modern day Believer carries upon his or her shoulders.
Appropriately we see that it is the immediate sons of the founder of the tribe of Levi…Levi, son of Jacob…who are listed first; they are
- Kohath, and
There is one name left off of this list, though, that is quite important, but it is not recorded because the name belongs to a woman: Jochobed.
Jochobed was the sister of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. But we are more aware of Jochobed as Moses and Aaron’s mother.
What is interesting is that Amram (Moses and Aaron’s father) was a son of Kohath. What that means is that Amram married his father’s sister, his Aunt Jochobed… and therefore Kohath formed the biological line of BOTH parents of Moses and Aaron.
Of course, Amram and Jochobed were married while Israel was still in Egypt. This situation could NOT have happened AFTER Mt. Sinai because the Law given to Moses on the subject of marriage would not have permitted this type of close familial intermarriage.
In my next blog post we are going to go in greater detail about the duties of Gershon, Kohath, and Merari and why this is important to know.