the descendants of Merari (Num. 26:57). They with the
Gershonites and the Kohathites had charge of the tabernacle,
which they had to carry from place to place (Num. 3:20, 33-37;
4:29-33). In the distribution of the oxen and waggons offered by
the princes (Num. 7), Moses gave twice as many to the Merarites
(four waggons and eight oxen) as he gave to the Gershonites,
because the latter had to carry only the lighter furniture of
the tabernacle, such as the curtains, hangings, etc., while the
former had to carry the heavier portion, as the boards, bars,
sockets, pillars, etc., and consequently needed a greater supply
of oxen and waggons. This is a coincidence illustrative of the
truth of the narrative. Their place in marching and in the camp
was on the north of the tabernacle. The Merarites afterwards
took part with the other Levitical families in the various
functions of their office (1 Chr. 23:6, 21-23; 2 Chr. 29:12,
13). Twelve cities with their suburbs were assigned to them
(Josh. 21:7, 34-40).