Numbers 8

8 And the Lord said to Moses,

2 Say to Aaron, When you set up and light the lamps, the seven lamps shall be made to give light in front of the lampstand.

3 And Aaron did so; he lighted the lamps of the lampstand to give light in front of it, as the Lord commanded Moses.

4 And this was the workmanship of the candlestick: beaten or turned gold, beaten work [of gold] from its base to its flowers; according to the pattern which the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.

5 And the Lord said to Moses,

6 Take the [a]Levites from among the Israelites and cleanse them.

7 And thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification [water to be used in case of sin] upon them, and let them pass a razor over all their flesh and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves.(A)

8 Then let them take a young bull and its cereal offering of 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, and you shall assemble the whole Israelite congregation.

10 And you shall present the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites shall put their hands upon the Levites,

11 And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the Israelites and on their behalf, that they may do the service of the Lord.

12 Then the Levites shall lay their hands upon 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 And you shall present the Levites before Aaron and his sons and offer them as a wave offering to the Lord.

14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the Israelites, and the Levites shall be Mine [in a very special sense].

15 And after that the Levites shall go in to do service at the Tent of Meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering.

16 For they are wholly given to Me from among the Israelites; instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the Israelites, I have taken the Levites for Myself.

17 For all the firstborn of the Israelites are Mine, both of man and beast; on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt [not of Israel], I consecrated them and set them apart for Myself.

18 And I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the Israelites.

19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the Israelites to do the service of the Israelites at the Tent of Meeting and to make atonement for them, that there may be no plague among the Israelites if they should come near the sanctuary.

20 So Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the Israelites did thus to the Levites; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning [them], so did the Israelites to them.

21 The Levites cleansed and purified themselves and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the Lord and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them.

22 And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the Tent of Meeting with the attendance of Aaron and his sons; as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they to them.

23 And the Lord said to Moses,

24 This is what applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall go in to perform the work of the service of the Tent of Meeting,

25 And at the age of fifty years, they shall retire from the warfare of the service and serve no more,

26 But shall help their brethren in the Tent of Meeting [attend to protecting the sacred things from being profaned], but shall do no regular or heavy service. Thus shall you direct the Levites in regard to their duties.


  1. Numbers 8:6 There are many lessons for the Christian in this section (Num. 8:5-22). He sees here the importance of each member of God’s family having his own particular task (I Cor. 12). It is necessary that special men be designated for particular duties in order that the work of God’s kingdom shall be done in orderly fashion. Those who do the work of God must be cleansed from all defilement of flesh and spirit. No one is fit in himself to serve God. It is only as we see ourselves as guilty sinners saved through the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary that we can do anything that is worthwhile in God’s sight. Apart from Him, “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa. 64:6 kjv). (F. Davidson, ed., The New Bible Commentary).

Cross references

  1. Numbers 8:7 : Num. 19:17, 18.

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