Today we begin Numbers Chapter Eighteen.
For the Complete Jewish Bible, click here.
For the King James Version, click here.
“Adonai said to Aharon, ‘You, your sons and your father’s family line will be responsible for anything that goes wrong in the sanctuary. You and your sons with you will be responsible for anything wrong in your service as cohanim. But you are to bring your kinsmen, the tribe of Levi, along with yourselves, to work together with you and help you — you and your sons with you — when you are there before the tent of meeting.'”-Numbers 18:1-2
In my last post, we studied about the “Test of the Staffs” God performed to determine which tribe He had chosen to be His special Servants.
What happened was that each tribal prince gave his staff to Moses who then placed them (13 in total) in front of the Ark of the Covenant where they would sit overnight.
The Lord would communicate which tribe He had chosen by having one of the staffs sprout almond blossoms.
The next morning when Moses went into the Sanctuary to see the results, sure enough, it was Aaron’s staff of the Tribe of Levi that had budded the almond blossoms.
In response, great fear came over the Israelite population and they began freaking out saying “Oh no! We’re dead men! Lost! We’re all lost! Whenever anyone approaches the tabernacle of Adonai, he dies! Will we all perish?”
Well, Numbers Chapter 18 is essentially God’s response to the people freaking out.
Here He is telling the Tribe of Levi that they are responsible for and will bear the guilt of any unauthorized common Israelite who gets too close to the HOLY Tabernacle.
In addition, the Levite Priests are to be responsible for the regular Levites.
Remember not all Levites are priests.
There were “Levite Priests” and just “Regular Levites“.
The Levite priests were to make sure that the regular Levites stayed within their boundaries and only performed those duties they were authorized to do.
If a regular Levite messed up by for example accidentally touching a sacred object, the supervising priest over him would be punished right along with the transgressor.
The hierarchy didn’t end there however.
Priests were also responsible for supervising other priests.
Most people assume it was just the High Priest who occupied the highest rung of the ladder with all the other priests below him standing on an equal level with each other.
This wasn’t the case.
There were junior-level priests and senior-level priests.
Actually, when one examines some of the ancient Talmudic writings, one will find references to multiple high priests (in the plural form).
This did NOT mean there was more than one High Priest officiating at the same time.
The term is referring to the “senior-level” priests within the Levite priestly hierarchy.
Again, the whole purpose of this priestly management structure was to protect the common Hebrew and the nation of Israel as a whole.
We have already witnessed the terrible destruction that results when God’s HOLINESS is violated, whether by accident or deliberate.
The way things were set up also resulted in the creation of a group of Levite guardsmen who were commissioned to protect the Tabernacle.
These men carried weapons and had the authority to kill trespassers immediately if the situation called for it.
Again, all of these safeguards were put in place to protect the common people.
Interestingly, in the New Testament, you know how we read that Yeshua was arrested by the Temple Guard consisting of Roman soldiers?
That portrayal is WRONG.
The Temple Guard was comprised of Levite Temple guards, NOT Roman soldiers.