Verse 36. "Those that were numbered" - In chapter iii. 27, &c., we have an account of the whole number of the Levites, and here of those only who were able to serve the Lord in the sanctuary. By comparing the two places we find the numbers to stand thus:-
KOHATHITES Able men 2, 750 Unable 5, 850 -Total 8, 600 GERSHONITES Able men 2, 630 Unable 4, 870 - Total 7, 500 MERARITES Able men 3, 200 Unable 3, 000 - Total 6, 200 Thus we find that the whole number of the Levites amounted to 22, 300, of whom 3, 580 were fit for service, and 13.720 unfit, being either too old or too young. What an astonishing number of men, all properly eccleslastics; all performing some service by which God was glorified, and the congregation at large benefited! See Ainsworth. FROM this and the preceding chapter we see the very severe labour which the Levites were obliged to perform while the journeyings of the Israelites lasted. When we consider that there was not less than 10 tons 13 cwt. 24 lb. 14 oz., i. e., almost ten tons and fourteen hundred pounds' weight of metal employed in the tabernacle, (see the notes on Exodus 38.,) besides the immense weight of the skins, hangings, cords, boards, and posts, we shall find it was no very easy matter to transport this movable temple from place to place.
The Gershonites, who were 7, 500 men in the service, had to carry the tent, coverings, veils, hangings of the court, &c., &c., chap. iii. 25, 26. The Kohathites, who were 8, 600 men, had to carry the ark, table, candlestick, altars, and instruments of the sanctuary, chap. iii. 31. The Merarites, who were 6, 200 men, had to carry the boards, bars, pillars, sockets, and all matters connected with these belonging to the tabernacle, with the pillars of the court, their sockets, pins, and cords, chap. iii. 36, 37. The tabernacle was an epitome of the temple: the temple and tabernacle were representatives of the Church of the living God, and of the humanity of our blessed Lord. As God dwelt in the tabernacle and temple, so his fullness dwelt in the man Christ Jesus. These again were types of the Christian Church, which is termed the body of Christ, Eph. i. 23, where he dwells in the plenitude of the graces of his Spirit. Mr. Ainsworth has a very useful note on the 20th verse of this chapter, the most edifying part of which I shall here lay before the reader. He considers the tabernacle and temple, not only as pointing out the old dispensation, the annulling of which was typified by their destruction, but he considers also the former as emblematical of the body of man. "The apostle," says he, "treating of the death of the saints, uses this similitude: 'If our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For we that are in THIS TABERNACLE do groan, being burdened, not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life;' 2 Cor. v. 1-4.
So Peter calls his death the putting off of his TABERNACLE, 2 Pet. i. 14.
And this similitude is very fit; for, as here, in the tabernacle of Moses, the holy things were first covered and taken away, (see ver. 20,) so the soul and its powers are first withdrawn from the body by death. 2. As the curtains and coverings were taken off and folded up, so the skin and flesh of our bodies are pulled off and consumed. 3. As the boards of the tabernacle were disjointed and pulled asunder, so shall our bones and sinews: compare Job's description of the formation of man, chap. x. 8-12; and Solomon's account of his dissolution, Eccles. xii. 3, 4. 4. As the disjointed and dissolved tabernacle was afterwards set up again, chap. x. 21, so shall our bodies in the day of the resurrection; see 1 Cor. xv. 51-54.