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Numbers Chapter 8
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Lighting the Lamp
8:1 God spoke to Moses, telling him to
8:2 speak to Aaron and say to him, 'When you light the lamps, the seven lamps shall illuminate the menorah.'
8:3 Aaron did that, lighting the lamps to illuminate the menorah, as God commanded Moses.
8:4 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
8:5 God spoke to Moses, saying:
8:6 Take the Levites from among the Israelites and purify them.
8:7 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.
8:8 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.
8:9 Bring the Levites to the front of the Communion Tent, and assemble the entire Israelite community.
8:10 Present the Levites before God, and have the Israelites lay their hands on the Levites
8:11 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.
8:12 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.
8:13 You shall stand the Levites before Aaron and his sons and designate them as a wave offering to God.
8:14 In this manner you will separate the Levites from the other Israelites, and the Levites shall become Mine.
8:15 After you have purified them and designated them as a wave offering, the Levites shall come to perform the service in the Communion Tent.
8:16 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.
8:17 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.
8:18 I have now taken the Levites in place of all the first-born Israelites
8:19 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.
8:20 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.
8:21 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.
8:22 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
8:23 God spoke to Moses, saying:
8:24 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.
8:25 Then, when they are 50 years old, they shall retire from the work force and not serve any more.
8:26 [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).

grain offering
  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, ' 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).

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