Verse 39. Two and twenty thousand - If the particular numbers mentioned ver. 22, 28, 34, be put together, they make 22, 300. But the odd
300 are omitted here, either according to the use of the holy scripture, where in so great numbers small sums are commonly neglected, or, because they were the first-born of the Levites, and therefore belonged to God already, and so could not be given to him again instead of the other first-born. If this number of first- born seem small to come from 22, 000 Levites, it must be considered, that only such first-born are here named as were males, and such as continued in their parents families, not such as had erected new families of their own. Add to this, that God so ordered things by his wise providence for divers weighty reasons, that this tribe should be much the least of all the tribes, as is evident by comparing the numbers of the other tribes, from twenty years old, chap. i, 3-49, with the number of this from a month old; and therefore it is not strange if the number of their first-born be less than in other tribes.
41. Instead of the first-born - Such as are now alive of them, but those which should be born of them hereafter are otherwise disposed. Of the Levites - Not that they were to be taken from the Levites, or to be sacrificed to God, any more than the Levites themselves were; but they together with the Levites were to be presented before the Lord by way of acknowledgment, that the Levites might be set apart for God's service, and their cattle for themselves as God's ministers, and for their support in God's work.
Verse 46. For those that are to be redeemed - 'Tis probable, in the exchange they began with the eldest of the first-born, and so downwards, so that those were to be redeemed, who were the two hundred, seventy three youngest of them.
Verse 47. Five shekels - Which was the price paid for the redemption of a first-born a month old.