There are three groups or families in the Levite Tribe, the Gershon’s clan, the Kohath’s clan, and the Merari’s clan. Each of these clans had different duties to perform. The priest told them what to do in their duties. Moses counted all the men in the tribe of Levi who were between 30 and 50 years of age. These men had to work in God’s Tent and the grounds that surrounded it. They were also the ones who had to break the tent down and set it back up when the Israelite people moved.
Kohath’s clan was counted first and they were responsible for most of the sacred objects of the tent. It was the priest that had to cover these objects before the Kohath’s clan saw them. Only the priest could look at the sacred objects. Anyone else would die if they looked upon them. The most sacred of these objects was the Ark of the Covenant.
There were two rooms in the tent and a curtain separated the two. The larger room was called the holy place and the smaller the Most Holy Place. The curtain that was between the two rooms is what the priest would use to cover the Ark. It was made of leather but we do not know what animal it was that provided the skin for the leather. After the leather the priest would wrap the Ark in a blue cloth. It is possible that the blue color reminded them of heaven. (Exodus 24:10)
There were rings on the Ark and the priest would put poles through these rings. While traveling four men would rest these poles on their shoulders. The Ark was carried before the whole Israelite congregation and showed that the Lord God was leading them.
In the Holy Place there was a special table where twelve loaves of bread were placed. (Leviticus 24:5-9) The number twelve is the same as the tribes of Israel. The loaves of bread show that God was with all of the Israelites. On the Sabbath day the priest would take away the old loaves of bread and place new loaves on the table. It was in remembrance that God was with His people always.
The priest would cover the special table first. Then they would cover the stand for the lamps. Then they would cover the altar which was made of gold. Animals were not sacrifice upon this altar but it was for the burning of incense.
Next the priest covered the altar that they sacrifice animals upon. The priest wrapped all the things that they used for the table, the lamp stands, and the altars. All of this was done in preparation for Kohath’s clan. The men of this clan had to carry all these objects on their shoulders. The poles did make it easier for the men to move the objects. Also they used the poles so that they would not touch the sacred objects.
The older son of Arron, Eleazar, had a very important job. It was his responsibility to make sure that everyone obeyed these instructions. Eleazar was responsible for what everybody did in God’s Tent. Eleazar was also in charge of the oils, incense, and the grain for the sacrifices.
God again warns Moses and Arron that only the priest could look at the sacred objects. Again Moses and Arron are warned that if anyone from Kohath’s clan saw the sacred objects they would die. God is a holy God. When worshiping God we must remember this fact. We can only come near to God through His Son Jesus. Jesus is the only sacrifice for our sins that God will accept. When we have accepted and have faith in Jesus as our Savior we can come close to God through Him.
It was the responsibility of the Gershon’s clan to care for the curtains and the ropes in God’s Tent. This also included the curtain that surrounded the Most Holy Place and the Holy Place. It also included the outer covers of leather.
Gershon’s clan was also responsible for the equipment of the yard also. The men of Gershon’s clan were allowed to touch these things by God. While doing this Ithamar and the priest watched them do this and gave them instruction.
Merari’s clan was the smallest clan in Levis tribe. Their duties may not seem as important as that of Kohath’s and Gershon’s but they were. Merari’s clan was in charge of the equipment that supported God’s Tent. These included the tent pegs that we hammered into the ground. Ropes were tied to each peg and attached to the other end of the rope at the corner of the tent. This held the tents cover in place over the frame.
If this was not done correctly the tent would fall down. The Israelites need all of it even the smallest parts. So the task of the Merari’s clan was very important. The three clans worked together to serve their God. Christians must work together also in their service to God. Every task that the Christian does is very important in the service of our Lord. There is important work for every Christian to do.
Moses and Arron along with the leaders obey the commands of the Lord God. They counted the clans of Levi’s tribe. All the men who were between the age of 30 and 50 were registered. These men worked in God’s Tent. From the clan of Kohath there were 2750 men, from Gershon 2630, and from Merari 3200. All totaled there were 8580 men to work on God’s Tent.