This chapter is redundant with information, but every now and then we need a little redundancy. Moses, as they make their way across the wilderness toward the promises land, has set up the tabernacle, which is the precursor to the temple which will eventually be built in Jerusalem. But the tabernacle was a mobile temple which every tribe had to support and had to give tribute. What we find to begin this chapter is that every priestly class was given something because of the work that they put into building the tabernacle. Every family except the Kohathites, because they were “charged with the care of the holy things that had to be carried on the shoulders.” So…, not sure why they were left out of the goodies that the other priestly tribes were able to receive.
The redundancy comes as we see each tribe of Israel give the same exact contribution to the tabernacle, to the presence of the Lord. I love the idea that every single tribe had the same value, had the same gift, had the same understanding of what it means to be a child of God. No one gave more, no one gave less. They each gave the same. As a result we see that God’s love for them is the same as it is for each tribe. Not that this is a conditional relationship, rather the contrary is seen. Each tribe wants to give the same to the Lord just as the Lord wants to receive from each tribe the same.
I wish there were more redundancy in our world, where each person cares for the Lord and cares for each other in the same way. Instead, it seems like there is a competition to build up our own resources to the detriment of those around us. Moses’ relationship with God is still “face to face”. What a rush it must have been to know that their leader had a relationship with God where he actually gets to hear his voice audibly.