The LORD said to Moses,
"Speak to Aaron and say to him, 'When you set up the seven lamps, they are to light the area in front of the lampstand.' "
Aaron did so; he set up the lamps so that they faced forward on the lampstand, just as the LORD commanded Moses.
This is how the lampstand was made: It was made of hammered gold--from its base to its blossoms. The lampstand was made exactly like the pattern the LORD had shown Moses.
The LORD said to Moses:
"Take the Levites from among the other Israelites and make them ceremonially clean.
To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing on them; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes, and so purify themselves.
Have them take a young bull with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil; then you are to take a second young bull for a sin offering.
Bring the Levites to the front of the Tent of Meeting and assemble the whole Israelite community.
You are to bring the Levites before the LORD, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them.
Aaron is to present the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the LORD.
"After the Levites lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, use the one for a sin offering to the LORD and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites.
Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering to the LORD.
In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.
"After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering, they are to come to do their work at the Tent of Meeting.
They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn, the first male offspring from every Israelite woman.
Every firstborn male in Israel, whether man or animal, is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself.
And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel.
Of all the Israelites, I have given the Levites as gifts to Aaron and his sons to do the work at the Tent of Meeting on behalf of the Israelites and to make atonement for them so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary."
Moses, Aaron and the whole Israelite community did with the Levites just as the LORD commanded Moses.
The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Then Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the LORD and made atonement for them to purify them.
After that, the Levites came to do their work at the Tent of Meeting under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. They did with the Levites just as the LORD commanded Moses.
The LORD said to Moses,
"This applies to the Levites: Men twenty-five years old or more shall come to take part in the work at the Tent of Meeting,
but at the age of fifty, they must retire from their regular service and work no longer.
They may assist their brothers in performing their duties at the Tent of Meeting, but they themselves must not do the work. This, then, is how you are to assign the responsibilities of the Levites."
The LORD spoke to Moses in the Desert of Sinai in the first month of the second year after they came out of Egypt. He said,
"Have the Israelites celebrate the Passover at the appointed time.
Celebrate it at the appointed time, at twilight on the fourteenth day of this month, in accordance with all its rules and regulations."
So Moses told the Israelites to celebrate the Passover,
and they did so in the Desert of Sinai at twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month. The Israelites did everything just as the LORD commanded Moses.
But some of them could not celebrate the Passover on that day because they were ceremonially unclean on account of a dead body. So they came to Moses and Aaron that same day
and said to Moses, "We have become unclean because of a dead body, but why should we be kept from presenting the LORD's offering with the other Israelites at the appointed time?"
Moses answered them, "Wait until I find out what the LORD commands concerning you."
Then the LORD said to Moses,
"Tell the Israelites: 'When any of you or your descendants are unclean because of a dead body or are away on a journey, they may still celebrate the LORD's Passover.
They are to celebrate it on the fourteenth day of the second month at twilight. They are to eat the lamb, together with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
They must not leave any of it till morning or break any of its bones. When they celebrate the Passover, they must follow all the regulations.
But if a man who is ceremonially clean and not on a journey fails to celebrate the Passover, that person must be cut off from his people because he did not present the LORD's offering at the appointed time. That man will bear the consequences of his sin.
" 'An alien living among you who wants to celebrate the LORD's Passover must do so in accordance with its rules and regulations. You must have the same regulations for the alien and the native-born.' "
On the day the tabernacle, the Tent of the Testimony, was set up, the cloud covered it. From evening till morning the cloud above the tabernacle looked like fire.
That is how it continued to be; the cloud covered it, and at night it looked like fire.
Whenever the cloud lifted from above the Tent, the Israelites set out; wherever the cloud settled, the Israelites encamped.
At the LORD's command the Israelites set out, and at his command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp.
When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD's order and did not set out.
Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the LORD's command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out.
Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.
Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.
At the LORD's command they encamped, and at the LORD's command they set out. They obeyed the LORD's order, in accordance with his command through Moses.
The LORD said to Moses:
"Make two trumpets of hammered silver, and use them for calling the community together and for having the camps set out.
When both are sounded, the whole community is to assemble before you at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
If only one is sounded, the leaders--the heads of the clans of Israel--are to assemble before you.
When a trumpet blast is sounded, the tribes camping on the east are to set out.
At the sounding of a second blast, the camps on the south are to set out. The blast will be the signal for setting out.
To gather the assembly, blow the trumpets, but not with the same signal.
"The sons of Aaron, the priests, are to blow the trumpets. This is to be a lasting ordinance for you and the generations to come.
When you go into battle in your own land against an enemy who is oppressing you, sound a blast on the trumpets. Then you will be remembered by the LORD your God and rescued from your enemies.
Also at your times of rejoicing--your appointed feasts and New Moon festivals--you are to sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings and fellowship offerings, and they will be a memorial for you before your God. I am the LORD your God."
On the twentieth day of the second month of the second year, the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle of the Testimony.
Then the Israelites set out from the Desert of Sinai and traveled from place to place until the cloud came to rest in the Desert of Paran.
They set out, this first time, at the LORD's command through Moses.
The divisions of the camp of Judah went first, under their standard. Nahshon son of Amminadab was in command.
Nethanel son of Zuar was over the division of the tribe of Issachar,
and Eliab son of Helon was over the division of the tribe of Zebulun.
Then the tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonites and Merarites, who carried it, set out.
The divisions of the camp of Reuben went next, under their standard. Elizur son of Shedeur was in command.
Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was over the division of the tribe of Simeon,
and Eliasaph son of Deuel was over the division of the tribe of Gad.
Then the Kohathites set out, carrying the holy things. The tabernacle was to be set up before they arrived.
The divisions of the camp of Ephraim went next, under their standard. Elishama son of Ammihud was in command.
Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was over the division of the tribe of Manasseh,
and Abidan son of Gideoni was over the division of the tribe of Benjamin.
Finally, as the rear guard for all the units, the divisions of the camp of Dan set out, under their standard. Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai was in command.
Pagiel son of Ocran was over the division of the tribe of Asher,
and Ahira son of Enan was over the division of the tribe of Naphtali.
This was the order of march for the Israelite divisions as they set out.
Now Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses' father-in-law, "We are setting out for the place about which the LORD said, 'I will give it to you.' Come with us and we will treat you well, for the LORD has promised good things to Israel."
He answered, "No, I will not go; I am going back to my own land and my own people."
But Moses said, "Please do not leave us. You know where we should camp in the desert, and you can be our eyes.
If you come with us, we will share with you whatever good things the LORD gives us."
So they set out from the mountain of the LORD and traveled for three days. The ark of the covenant of the LORD went before them during those three days to find them a place to rest.
The cloud of the LORD was over them by day when they set out from the camp.
Whenever the ark set out, Moses said, "Rise up, O LORD! May your enemies be scattered; may your foes flee before you."
Whenever it came to rest, he said, "Return, O LORD, to the countless thousands of Israel."