The people of Israel have been numbered and divided. Each is in his tribe and place. Yet the Levites were not numbered with the people. They had been set apart by God / YHWH for His specific purpose. Now we begin to see a bit more about this purpose and the Levite’s role and jobs.
Here in chapter 3 we see that while the Levites missed out on the general census, they will be having a special census all their own. While the general population was numbered by their men 20 years old and older, the Levites are numbered by the males from one month and up. Everyone MUST be accounted for. There must be an accurate count. YHWH is dividing up the Levites into their duties, and there must be an accurate count of who is involved in what.
The most interesting part of this chapter for me though mainly starts in vs. 11; “Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Now, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the sons of Israel instead of every firstborn, the first issue of the womb among the sons of Israel. So the Levites shall be Mine. For all the firstborn are Mine; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified to Myself all the firstborn in Israel, from man to beast. They shall be Mine; I am the LORD.’” So YHWH, when He was freeing the people from the hand of Pharaoh, killed all of the firstborn of the Egyptians, but He spared those who were under the protection of the blood. Yet when He did that, He did not just ignore those who were spared, but He set them aside as belonging to Him.
I don’t know why, but for some reason this just strikes me. YHWH spared the firstborn of Israel. His angel of death took all of the firstborn of the land, except for the protected. This was in punishment for Pharaoh & Egypts’ sins against God and the people of Israel. Yet as a result of this sparing of the people of Israel, YHWH sees the firstborn of Israel as belonging to Him. I mean, He spared them because they were obedient to Him and He was punishing the Egyptians for their sins, defiance of Him, and slavery of the Israelites. So how does His sparing of the Israelites make them now His? I mean in a sense, it makes sense. In another sense, not so much.