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published: 6/10/13

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ten commandments
The 10 Commandments
Circa 2nd century B.C.

Who was Gershon?

Gershon was the oldest of Levi's three sons, born apparently before Jacob's going down to Egypt (Gen. 46:11). Kohath and his descendants Moses and Aaron's priestly line eclipsed Gershon's line.

Gershon's sons were Libni and Shimei (1 Chr. 6:17,20,21,39-43). Some of his descendants took part in the service of the sanctuary (1 Chr. 23:7-11). Asaph, the famous sacred singer and seer, was one of them. Compare also under Hezekiah (2 Chr. 29:12). At the Sinai census the males of the sons of Gershon were 7500 (Num. 3:21,22). The serving men were 2,630 (Num. 4:38-41).

They had charge of the tabernacle, tent, covering, hangings, curtain of the door, and cords (Num. 3:25,26; 4:25,26). They had two covered wagons and four oxen for the service (Num. 7:3,7,8). The Merarites had twice as many wagons and oxen.

The reason for this unequal division is not expressed; but on turning to Num. 2 the reason undesignedly appears (an unstudied propriety attesting the truth of the narrative); the Gershonites had the lighter parts to bear, the "curtains," "tabernacle," i.e. the mishkan or great woven cloth consisting of ten breadths, the "tent" of goats' hair cloth, and the "covering" of rams' skins, and BADGERS' (which see) (tachash) skins, the hangings and their cords. But the Merarites had the heavier and more solid framework to bear, the boards, bars, pillars, sockets, pins, their cords and instruments.

Their station was "behind the tabernacle westward" (Num. 3:23); on march they were in the rear of the first three tribes. Thirteen of the Levitical cities were allotted to them; all in the northern tribes, two of them cities of refuge (Josh. 21:27-33; 1 Chr. 6:62,71-76).



IBSE, "Isaac" (in the public domain) with minor edits.