Lighting the Lamp
||God spoke to Moses, telling him to
||speak to Aaron and say to him, 'When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall illuminate the menorah.'
||Aaron did that, lighting the lamps to illuminate the menorah, as God commanded Moses.
||The menorah was made of a single piece of beaten gold. Everything from its base to its blossom consisted of a single piece of beaten metal. The menorah was thus made exactly according to the vision that God showed Moses.
Inaugurating the Levites
||God spoke to Moses, saying:
||Take the Levites from among the Israelites and purify them.
||In order to purify them, you must sprinkle the water of the sin offering on them after they have shaved their entire bodies with a razor. They shall then immerse [their bodies] and their clothing and they will be clean.
||They shall then take a young bull along with its grain offering consisting of the best grade wheat meal mixed with olive oil. You shall also present a second bull as a sin offering.
||Bring the Levites to the front of the Communion Tent, and assemble the entire Israelite community.
||Present the Levites before God, and have the Israelites lay their hands on the Levites
||Aaron shall then designate the Levites as a wave offering to God from the Israelites, and [the Levites] shall become the ones to perform God's service.
||The Levites shall then lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall prepare one [bull] as a sin offering and one as a burnt offering to God, to atone for the Levites.
||You shall stand the Levites before Aaron and his sons and designate them as a wave offering to God.
||In this manner you will separate the Levites from the other Israelites, and the Levites shall become Mine.
||After you have purified them and designated them as a wave offering, the Levites shall come to perform the service in the Communion Tent.
||They are given to Me from among the Israelites in place of the first-born (that initiate the womb) of all the Israelites. I have taken them for Myself.
||This is because all first-born of the Israelites are Mine, man and beast alike. I sanctified them for Myself on the day that I killed all the first-born in Egypt.
||I have now taken the Levites in place of all the first-born Israelites
||and I have given the Levites as a gift from the Israelites to Aaron and his descendants. They shall [henceforth] perform the service for the Israelites in the Communion Tent and atone for the Israelites. The Israelites will then not be subject to divine wrath when they approach the sanctuary.
||Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community did for the Levites all that God had instructed Moses regarding the Levites. The Israelites did it for them exactly.
||The Levites purified themselves through a sin offering and they immersed [their bodies and] their clothing. Aaron designated them as a wave offering before God and made atonement for them to purify them.
||After that, the Levites came to perform the Communion Tent's service under the direction of Aaron and his sons [It was all done] exactly as God had commanded Moses regarding the Levites.
Levitical Terms of Service
||God spoke to Moses, saying:
||This is [the rule] regarding the Levites: Beginning at the age of 25, they shall participate in the work force engaged in the Communion Tent's service.
||Then, when they are 50 years old, they shall retire from the work force and not serve any more.
||[During their duty period] they shall perform their appointed tasks, serving their brethren [the priests] in the Communion Tent. They shall not, however, participate in the divine service. This is what shall be done for the Levites as far as their appointed tasks are concerned.
(Targum; Saadia). Or, 'set in order' (Septuagint). Literally, 'raise up.'
Or, 'Shall shine toward the center of the menorah' (Rashi; Rashbam). See Exodus 25:37.
At the top of the center shaft. According to tradition, however, there was also a flower directly above the base (see note on Exodus 25:31).
|water of the sin offering|
(Ibn Ezra; see Numbers, 19:19). Or, 'water of purification' (Ibn Ezra; Septuagint).
(Ibn Ezra; Chizzkuni). Some say that they did not shave the sides of the head and beard, as deliniated in Leviticus 19:27 (Ibn Ezra; Bachya).
See Exodus 19:10.
For the burnt offering (Rashi; see Numbers 8:12).
Three-tenths of an ephah (6 quarts) as in Numbers 15:19 (Ibn Ezra; Abarbanel).
Some say that this denoted only the first-born (Chizzkuni).
|lay their hands|
Or, 'ordain' (Lekach Tov).
Literally, 'lift up' (Targum; Rashbam; Abarbanel). Or, 'make them pass by' (Saadia; Lekach Tov); or, 'separate....as a gift' (Septuagint).
|purified themselves through...|
See Numbers 8:7. Or, 'purified' (Targum; Saadia; Septuagint).
|During their duty period|
Or, 'They shall then perform their appointed tasks with their brethren in the Communion Tent, but they shall not do any [physical] labor' (Rashi; Rashbam).