1 This is the family line of Aaron and Moses as it was recorded when the LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai:
2 Aaron's sons were Nadab (the firstborn), Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar.
3 They were anointed and set apart to minister as priests.
4 But Nadab and Abihu died in the LORD's presence in the wilderness of Sinai when they burned before the LORD a different kind of fire than he had commanded. Since they had no sons, this left only Eleazar and Ithamar to serve as priests with their father, Aaron.
5 Then the LORD said to Moses,
6 "Call forward the tribe of Levi and present them to Aaron the priest as his assistants.
7 They will serve Aaron and the whole community, performing their sacred duties in and around the Tabernacle.*1
8 They will also maintain all the furnishings of the sacred tent,* serving in the Tabernacle on behalf of all the Israelites.2
9 Assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons as their assistants.
10 Appoint Aaron and his sons to carry out the duties of the priesthood. Anyone else who comes too near the sanctuary must be executed!"
11 And the LORD said to Moses,
12 "I have chosen the Levites from among the Israelites as substitutes for all the firstborn sons of the people of Israel. The Levites are mine
13 because all the firstborn sons are mine. From the day I killed all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians, I set apart for myself all the firstborn in Israel of both men and animals. They are mine; I am the LORD."
14 The LORD spoke again to Moses, there in the wilderness of Sinai. He said,
15 "Take a census of the tribe of Levi by its families and clans. Count every male who is one month old or older."
16 So Moses counted them, just as the LORD had commanded.
17 Levi had three sons, who were named Gershon, Kohath, and Merari.
18 The clans descended from Gershon were named for two of his descendants, Libni and Shimei.
19 The clans descended from Kohath were named for four of his descendants, Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
20 The clans descended from Merari were named for two of his descendants, Mahli and Mushi. These were the Levite clans, listed according to their family groups.
21 The descendants of Gershon were composed of the clans descended from Libni and Shimei.
22 There were 7,500 males one month old or older among these Gershonite clans.
23 They were assigned the area to the west of the Tabernacle for their camp.
24 The leader of the Gershonite clans was Eliasaph son of Lael.
25 These two clans were responsible to care for the tent of the Tabernacle with its layers of coverings, its entry curtains,
26 the curtains of the courtyard that surrounded the Tabernacle and altar, the curtain at the courtyard entrance, the cords, and all the equipment related to their use.
27 The descendants of Kohath were composed of the clans descended from Amram, Izhar, Hebron, and Uzziel.
28 There were 8,600* males one month old or older among these Kohathite clans. They were responsible for the care of the sanctuary.3
29 They were assigned the area south of the Tabernacle for their camp.
30 The leader of the Kohathite clans was Elizaphan son of Uzziel.
31 These four clans were responsible for the care of the Ark, the table, the lampstand, the altars, the various utensils used in the sanctuary, the inner curtain, and all the equipment related to their use.
32 Eleazar the priest, Aaron's son, was the chief administrator over all the Levites, with special responsibility for the oversight of the sanctuary.
33 The descendants of Merari were composed of the clans descended from Mahli and Mushi.
34 There were 6,200 males one month old or older among these Merarite clans.
35 They were assigned the area north of the Tabernacle for their camp. The leader of the Merarite clans was Zuriel son of Abihail.
36 These two clans were responsible for the care of the frames supporting the Tabernacle, the crossbars, the pillars, the bases, and all the equipment related to their use.
37 They were also responsible for the posts of the courtyard and all their bases, pegs, and cords.
38 The area in front of the Tabernacle in the east toward the sunrise* was reserved for the tents of Moses and of Aaron and his sons, who had the final responsibility for the sanctuary on behalf of the people of Israel. Anyone other than a priest or Levite who came too near the sanctuary was to be executed.4