Thursday, June 3, 2010

Numbers 4:15- A brief summary of the burden of Kohathites and The Procession of the Covered Artefacts of the Mishkan

The census of the family of the Kohathites of the Tribe of Levi can be found in Numbers 3:27-31. Let's take a look:

27 And of Kohath was the family of the Amramites, and the family of the Izeharites, and the family of the Hebronites, and the family of the Uzzielites: these are the families of the Kohathites.

28 In the number of all the males, from a month old and upward, were eight thousand and six hundred, keeping the charge of the sanctuary.

29 The families of the sons of Kohath shall pitch on the side of the tabernacle southward.

30 And the chief of the house of the father of the families of the Kohathites shall be Elizaphan the son of Uzziel.

31 And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof.

‎27 ‏וְלִקְהָ֗ת מִשְׁפַּ֤חַת הַֽעַמְרָמִי֙ וּמִשְׁפַּ֣חַת הַיִּצְהָרִ֔י וּמִשְׁפַּ֙חַת֙ הַֽחֶבְרֹנִ֔י וּמִשְׁפַּ֖חַת הָֽעָזִּיאֵלִ֑י אֵ֥לֶּה הֵ֖ם מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת הַקְּהָתִֽי׃

‎28 ‏בְּמִסְפַּר֙ כָּל־זָכָ֔ר מִבֶּן־חֹ֖דֶשׁ וָמָ֑עְלָה שְׁמֹנַ֤ת אֲלָפִים֙ וְשֵׁ֣שׁ מֵא֔וֹת שֹׁמְרֵ֖י מִשְׁמֶ֥רֶת הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ׃

‎29 ‏מִשְׁפְּחֹ֥ת בְּנֵי־קְהָ֖ת יַחֲנ֑וּ עַ֛ל יֶ֥רֶךְ הַמִּשְׁכָּ֖ן תֵּימָֽנָה׃

‎30 ‏וּנְשִׂ֥יא בֵֽית־אָ֖ב לְמִשְׁפְּחֹ֣ת הַקְּהָתִ֑י אֶלִיצָפָ֖ן1 בֶּן־עֻזִּיאֵֽל׃

‎31 ‏וּמִשְׁמַרְתָּ֗ם הָאָרֹ֤ן וְהַשֻּׁלְחָן֙ וְהַמְּנֹרָ֣ה וְהַֽמִּזְבְּחֹ֔ת וּכְלֵ֣י הַקֹּ֔דֶשׁ אֲשֶׁ֥ר יְשָׁרְת֖וּ בָּהֶ֑ם וְהַ֨מָּסָ֔ךְ וְכֹ֖ל עֲבֹדָתֽוֹ׃
As you can see, there were total of 8600 male Kohathites(1m/o and older), and their elder was the Elizaphan the son of Uzziel. Considering, that only adult males(see Numb. 4:3) could serve as carriers of the Artefacts of the Mishkan, most likely there were only 1/3 of this number of Kohathites(or ~2866) available at any given time.

UPDATE: I've located the verses, that provides the explicit number of Kohathites that were between 30 and 50 years old, that would be qualified to serve as the carriers of the artefacts of the Mishkan:

Numbers 4:34-37 
34 And Moses and Aaron and the chief of the congregation numbered the sons of the Kohathites after their families, and after the house of their fathers,

35 From thirty years old and upward even unto fifty years old, every one that entereth into the service, for the work in the tabernacle of the congregation:

36 And those that were numbered of them by their families were two thousand seven hundred and fifty.

37 These were they that were numbered of the families of the Kohathites, all that might do service in the tabernacle of the congregation, which Moses and Aaron did number according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.
‎34 ‏וַיִּפְקֹ֨ד מֹשֶׁ֧ה וְאַהֲרֹ֛ן וּנְשִׂיאֵ֥י הָעֵדָ֖ה אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י הַקְּהָתִ֑י לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֖ם וּלְבֵ֥ית אֲבֹתָֽם׃

‎35 ‏מִבֶּ֨ן שְׁלֹשִׁ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה וְעַ֖ד בֶּן־חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֑ה כָּל־הַבָּא֙ לַצָּבָ֔א לַעֲבֹדָ֖ה בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

‎36 ‏וַיִּהְי֥וּ פְקֻדֵיהֶ֖ם לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָ֑ם אַלְפַּ֕יִם שְׁבַ֥ע מֵא֖וֹת וַחֲמִשִּֽׁים׃

‎37 ‏אֵ֤לֶּה פְקוּדֵי֙ מִשְׁפְּחֹ֣ת הַקְּהָתִ֔י כָּל־הָעֹבֵ֖ד בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד אֲשֶׁ֨ר פָּקַ֤ד מֹשֶׁה֙ וְאַהֲרֹ֔ן עַל־פִּ֥י יְהוָ֖ה בְּיַד־מֹשֶֽׁה׃ ס
As you can see, my estimate was just about right: there were total of 2750 Kohathites who were eligible to catter to the Artefacts of The Mishkan.

Numbers 4:15

15 And when Aaron and his sons have made an end of covering the sanctuary, and all the vessels of the sanctuary, as the camp is to set forward; after that, the sons of Kohath shall come to bear it: but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die. These things are the burden of the sons of Kohath in the tabernacle of the congregation.

15 ‏וְכִלָּ֣ה אַֽהֲרֹן־וּ֠בָנָיו לְכַסֹּ֨ת אֶת־הַקֹּ֜דֶשׁ וְאֶת־כָּל־כְּלֵ֣י הַקֹּדֶשׁ֮ בִּנְסֹ֣עַ הַֽמַּחֲנֶה֒ וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵ֗ן יָבֹ֤אוּ בְנֵי־קְהָת֙ לָשֵׂ֔את וְלֹֽא־יִגְּע֥וּ אֶל־הַקֹּ֖דֶשׁ וָמֵ֑תוּ אֵ֛לֶּה מַשָּׂ֥א בְנֵֽי־קְהָ֖ת בְּאֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד׃

As you can see from the image below, this is how all of the covered Artefacts of the Mishkan looked like after they were covered by Aaron and the Priests:

After the last artefacts(the Altar of Burnt Offering and the Copper Laver) of the Mishkan were covered, Four Inner Pillars, Five Outer Pillars and The Entrance Curtain of the Tent of the Mishkan were removed, so that Kohathites could pick up the artefacts.

And here is the view from the top upon the Mishkan and the Kohaties carrying out the artefacts of the Mishkan out of its Tent.

The Kohathites would arrange themselves into the same order in which the covering of the artefacts was provided and would prepare to leave the Courtyard of the Mishkan. The total of eighteen(18) Kohathites were required at any given time, to carry all of the Covered Artefacts of the Mishkan.

And here is a view from another angle at the Procession of the Artefacts of the Mishkan carried by the Kohathites (from left to right): Covered Ark of the Covenant, Covered Table of Shewbread with the Shewbread and its Utensils, Covered Golden Lampstand and its Utensils, Covered Altar Of Incense, Covered Utensils of The Sanctuary, Covered Altar of Burnt Offering with the Copper Laver and its foot inside.

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