Numbers 3 How many Levites did they count, 22,300 or 22,000?
Both. These numbers are both perfect and without error.
In Numbers 3:5-13 God told Moses to bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them to Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him (see
In Numbers 3:14-15 God told Moses to number every male from a month old and upward of the children of Levi.
In Numbers 3:16-39 he sets out to do that very thing. When he does so, he counts them according to the families of the Levites. He actually breaks them up from the three main families—Gershom, Kohath, and Merari. And then proceeds to break them up through the family tree.
In Numbers 3:21-22, he tells you the family of the Gershonites were made up of the families of the Libnites and
In Numbers 3:27-28 he tells you the family of the Kohathites
In Numbers 3:33-34 he tells you the family of the Merarites
When you add up the total of ALL MALE LEVITES FROM A MONTH OLD AND UPWARD, including Moses, Aaron
In Numbers 3:38, the verse begins with the word “But”. So he is about to tell you of some exceptions to the number. It is in this verse he separates a group away from the rest, telling you they would pitch before the tabernacle on the east, even before the tabernacle of the congregation eastward, this group was Moses, Aaron, and his sons. The reason he separated them was
In Numbers 3:39 he tells you that all were numbered of Moses and Aaron, at the commandment of the Lord, were 22,000. Now, notice with this count, it is not just Moses who counted, as was the previous count, but this time it is Moses and Aaron counting.
So how many Levites were counted; 22,300 or 22,000? The answer is both! Moses counted 22,300 of ALL THE LEVITES INCLUDING AARON AND HIS SONS. Then, Moses and Aaron counted all the Levites minus Aaron and his sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons. That number was 22,000. So there were 300 of Aaron and his sons (sons meaning sons, grandsons, etc.). The reason Aaron and his sons were not included in this number was
Conclusion: Both numbers are correct. The number of 22,300 was the number of all the Levites put together whom Moses counted, which would include Aaron and his sons. The number 22,000 was the number of all the Levites, minus Aaron and his sons, whom Moses and Aaron counted. Both counts were according to the commandment of the Lord. The first count was done by Moses whilst the last count was done by Moses and Aaron.