“Gershon fathered the clans of Livni and Shim‘i; these were the Gershon clans. Of them, 7,500 males a month old and over were counted. The Gershon clans were to camp behind the tabernacle, toward the west. The chief of the Gershon clan was Elyasaf, the son of La’el. In connection with the tent of meeting, the descendants of Gershon were to be in charge of the following: the tabernacle itself, its inner and outer coverings, the screen for the entrance of the tent of meeting, the curtains surrounding the courtyard, the screen for the entrance of the courtyard surrounding the tabernacle and the altar, all the fixtures and ropes for these items, and their maintenance.”-Numbers 3:21-26
Alrighty now, from verse 22 of Numbers 3 we begin to get into the detail of the Levites according to the census THAT GOD HIMSELF conducted and then was later recorded by Moses.
Remember, in every way this was a divine census as no man was involved in its counting.
We’re first presented with the line of Gershon which we’re told was divided into the two clans of Livni and Shimei.
We’re told that their total number of descendants came to 7,500 males who were 1 month old and above.
In terms of status, they were positioned in 3rd most prestigious spot at the rear of the Sanctuary Tent.
In verse 25 of the Complete Jewish Bible, we’re told they’re to be responsible for “the Tabernacle itself, its inner and outer coverings“.
The King James version says the following:
“And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation…”-
And the NIV says the following:
“At the tent of meeting the Gershonites were responsible for the care of the tabernacle and tent, its coverings, the curtain at the entrance to the tent of meeting,..”
Okay, this can be a be a bit confusing because most people assume that “tabernacle” and the “tent” are referring to the same thing.
However, in this context, that is NOT true.
Here is a breakdown of the meanings of the words:
TABERNACLE: the inner cloth lining
TENT: the middle layer of goat’s hair
COVERING: waterproof top-covering made out of porpoise skins and the other outer coverings made out of tanned ram skins
SCREEN: the outside veil which hung in the entrance gate leading from the courtyard into the Holy Place. This was NOT the curtain (PAROKHET) that separated the Holy of Holies from the Holy Place.
And finally, we’re told the Gershonites were also to be responsible for the “altar, and the ropes—and everything related to their use“.
Now here’s the spiritual lesson or takeaway I got from today’s post.
While I was typing away and going over all of these detailed instructions and responsibilities the Lord is handing down to the Levites it struck me that when the Lord has a plan for us, He will not only give us the resources to accomplish His will but also provide the detailed instructions to accomplish His Will that will require WORK on our part.
This is quite different than the many Eastern traditions where you’re supposed to sit on your butt and meditate for days on end until you’re struck with some some nebulous fuzzy insight that is accompanied with zero instructions concerning what specific actions to take.
No, quite the contrary to many of the writings of the other HOLY books, our Lord is a fiercely practical God who while being Spirit understands the fleshly needs of man and the practical resources and instructions man needs to accomplish His Will while on earth.
YHWH is a God of ACTION!