Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible
back to: Numbers
Book: Numbers
Chapter: 4

The Levites' service. (1-3) The duties of the Kohathites.
(4-20) The duties of the Gershonites and Merarites. (21-33) The
Numbers of the serviceable Levites. (34-49)

1-3 The middle-aged men of the Tribe of Levi, all from thirty
years old to fifty, were to be employed in the service of the
Tabernacle. The service of God requires the best of our
strength, and the prime portion of our time, which cannot be
better spent than to the honour of Him who is the First and
Best. And the service of God should be done when we are most
lively and active. Those do not consider this who Put off
Repentance to old Age, and So leave the best work to be done in
the worst time.

4-20 The Kohathites were to carry the holy things of the
Tabernacle. All the holy things were to be covered; not only for
security and respect, but to keep them from being seen. This not
only marked the reverence due to holy things, but the Mystery of
the things signified By those types, and the Darkness of the
Dispensation. But now, through Christ, the case is altered, and
we are encouraged to come boldly to the Throne of Grace.

21-33 We have here the charge of the other two families of the
Levites, which, though not So honourable as the first, yet was
necessary, and to be done regularly. All the things were
delivered them By name. It intimates the care God takes of his
Church and every member of it. The Death of the saints is
represented as the taking down of the Tabernacle, 2Co 5:1, and
the putting it off, 2Pe 1:14. All shall be raised up in the
great Day, when these vile bodies shall be made like the
glorious body of Jesus Christ, and So shall be for ever with the

34-49 God So ordered it, that though the Merarites were the
fewest in number, yet they should have most able men among them;
for whatever service God calls men to, he will furnish them for
it, give strength in proportion to the work, and Grace
sufficient. The least of the tribes had many more able men than
the Levites: those who engage in the service of this world, are
many more than those devoted to the service of God. May our
souls be wholly devoted to his service.