Numbers 8

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron, and tell him, ‘When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lamp stand.’” 3 Aaron did so. He lit its lamps to light the area in front of the lamp stand, as the LORD commanded Moses. 4 This was the workmanship of the lamp stand, beaten work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was beaten work: according to the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses, so he made the lamp stand. 5 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Take the Levites from amongst the children of Israel, and cleanse them. 7 You shall do this to them, to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of cleansing on them, let them shave their whole bodies with a razor, and let them wash their clothes, and cleanse themselves. 8 Then let them take a young bull, and its meal offering, fine flour mixed with oil; and another young bull you shall take for a sin offering. 9 You shall present the Levites before the Tent of Meeting. You shall assemble the whole congregation of the children of Israel. 10 You shall present the Levites before the LORD. The children of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for a wave offering, on the behalf of the children of Israel, that it may be theirs to do the service of the LORD. 12 “The Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering to the LORD, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 You shall set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them as a wave offering to the LORD. 14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from amongst the children of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. 15 “After that, the Levites shall go in to do the service of the Tent of Meeting: and you shall cleanse them, and offer them as a wave offering. 16 For they are wholly given to me from amongst the children of Israel; instead of all who open the womb, even the firstborn of all the children of Israel, I have taken them to me. 17 For all the firstborn amongst the children of Israel are mine, both man and animal. On the day that I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them for myself. 18 I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn amongst the children of Israel. 19 I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from amongst the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the Tent of Meeting, and to make atonement for the children of Israel; that there be no plague amongst the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come near to the sanctuary.” 20 Moses, and Aaron, and all the congregation of the children of Israel did so to the Levites. According to all that the LORD commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the children of Israel did to them. 21 The Levites purified themselves from sin, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them for a wave offering before the LORD; and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 After that, the Levites went in to do their service in the Tent of Meeting before Aaron, and before his sons: as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them. 23 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This is that which belongs to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall go in to wait on the service in the work of the Tent of Meeting; 25 and from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting on the work, and shall serve no more, 26 but shall minister with their brothers in the Tent of Meeting, to perform the duty, and shall do no service. You shall do thus to the Levites concerning their duties.”

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–4

Aaron himself lighted the lamps, thus representing his Divine Master. The Scripture is a light shining in a dark place, 2Pe 1:19. A dark place even the church would be without it; as the tabernacle, which had no window, would have been without the lamps. The work of ministers is to light these lamps, by expounding and applying the word of God. Jesus Christ is the only Light of our dark, sinful world; and by his atonement, by his word and the Holy Spirit, he diffuses light around.

Verses 5–26

Here we have directions for the solemn ordination of the Levites. All Israel must know that they took not this honour to themselves, but were called of God to it; nor was it enough that they were distinguished from others. All who are employed for God, must be dedicated to him, according to the employment. Christians must be baptized, ministers must be ordained; we must first give ourselves unto the Lord, and then our services. The Levites must be cleansed. They must be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Moses must sprinkle the water of purifying upon them. This signifies the application of the blood of Christ to our souls by faith, that we may be fit to serve the living God. God declares his acceptance of them. All who expect to share in the privileges of the tabernacle, must resolve to do the service of the tabernacle. As, on the one hand, none of God’s creatures are his necessary servants, he needs not the service of any of them; so none are merely honorary servants, to do nothing. All whom God owns, he employs; angels themselves have their services.

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