A SUMMARY OF BAMIDBAR, NUM. 1:1-4:20:
We now see many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip, as the Jews attempt to implement the teachings of Leviticus in Numbers, the tale of their desert trek to the promised land. As the conquest draws nearer, their faith in God and Moshe faltars; the Jews of Exodus don't make it, but their kids do, despite their own weaknesses! Ch. 1 is a male tribal military census, from 20. The Levites, not included, are to keep the holy home fires burning in the Tabernacle, retaining the raison d'etre of Israel's mission and struggles.
CH. 2 gives the tribal camping and travel arrangement of Israel; they're divided into 4 camps, grouped about the tabernacle and Levites.
CH. 3 deals with the mission of the Levites, their particular functions in the tabernacle, and the special role of the priests amongst them; their census includes males from one month old, replacements for the firstborn, who formerly led Divine Worship.
CH. 4 counts, and allocates functions to, the working Levites, males 30-50, in moving the tabernacle; only the priests are to have close contact with the sacred objects.
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