Numbers 8

The Seven Lamps

1 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Speak to Aaron and say to him, 'When you mount the lamps, the seven lamps will 1give light in the front of the lampstand.' "
3 Aaron therefore did so; he mounted its lamps at the front of the lampstand, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
4 2Now this was the workmanship of the lampstand, hammered work of gold; from its base to its flowers it was hammered work; 3according to the pattern which the LORD had showed Moses, so he made the lampstand.

Cleansing the Levites

5 Again the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
6 "Take the Levites from among the sons of Israel and 4cleanse them.
7 "Thus you shall do to them, for their cleansing: sprinkle purifying 5water on them, and let them 6use a razor over their whole body and 7wash their clothes, and they will be clean.
8 "Then let them take a bull * * with 8its grain offering, fine flour mixed with oil; and a second bull you shall take for a sin offering.
9 "So 9you shall present the Levites before the tent of meeting. 10You shall also assemble the whole congregation of the sons of Israel,
10 and present the Levites before the LORD; and the sons of Israel 11shall lay their hands on the Levites.
11 "Aaron then shall present the Levites before the LORD as a 12wave offering from the sons of Israel, that they may qualify to perform the service of the LORD.
12 "Now 13the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls; then 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 have the Levites stand before Aaron and before his sons so as to present them as a wave offering to the LORD.
14 "Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the sons of Israel, and 14the Levites shall be Mine.
15 "Then after that the Levites may go in to serve the tent of meeting. But you shall cleanse them and 15present them as a wave offering;
16 for they are 16wholly given to Me from among the sons of Israel. I have taken them for Myself 17instead of every first issue of the womb, the firstborn of all the sons of Israel.
17 "For 18every firstborn among the sons of Israel is Mine, among the men and among the animals; on the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for Myself.
18 "But I have taken the Levites instead of every firstborn among the sons of Israel.
19 "19I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the sons of Israel, to perform the service of the sons of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement on behalf of the sons of Israel, so that there will be no 20plague among the sons of Israel by their coming near to the sanctuary."
20 Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the sons of Israel to the Levites; according to all that the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the sons of Israel did to them.
21 21The Levites, too, purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes; and Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the LORD. Aaron also made atonement for them to cleanse them.
22 Then after that the Levites went in to perform their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and before his sons; just as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.


23 Now the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
24 "This is what applies to the Levites: from 22twenty-five * years old and upward they shall enter to perform service in the work of the tent of meeting.
25 "But at the age of fifty years they shall retire from service in the work and not work any more.
26 "They may, however, assist their brothers in the tent of meeting, 23to keep an obligation, but they themselves shall do no work. Thus you shall deal with the Levites concerning their obligations."

Numbers 8 Commentary

Chapter 8

The lamps of the sanctuary. (1-4) Consecration of the Levites, and their service. (5-26)

Verses 1-4 Aaron himself lighted the lamps, thus representing his Divine Master. The Scripture is a light shining in a dark place, ( 2 Peter. 1:19 ) 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.

Cross References 23

  • 1. Exodus 25:37; Leviticus 24:2, 4
  • 2. Exodus 25:31-40
  • 3. Ex 25:9, 31-40; Exodus 26:30; Exodus 37:17-24
  • 4. Isaiah 52:11
  • 5. Num 19:9, 13, 20
  • 6. Leviticus 14:8, 9
  • 7. Numbers 8:21
  • 8. Leviticus 2:1; Numbers 15:8-10
  • 9. Exodus 29:4; Exodus 40:12
  • 10. Leviticus 8:3
  • 11. Leviticus 1:4
  • 12. Leviticus 7:30, 34
  • 13. Exodus 29:10
  • 14. Numbers 3:12; Numbers 16:9
  • 15. Exodus 29:24
  • 16. Numbers 3:9
  • 17. Exodus 13:2; Numbers 3:12, 45
  • 18. Ex 13:2, 12, 13, 15; Luke 2:23
  • 19. Numbers 3:9
  • 20. Numbers 1:53; Numbers 16:46
  • 21. Numbers 8:7
  • 22. Numbers 4:3; 1 Chr 23:3, 24, 27
  • 23. Numbers 1:53

Footnotes 15

Chapter Summary


In this chapter orders are given for the lighting the seven lamps of the candlestick, Nu 8:1-4; and for the consecration of the Levites to their office, by a purification of them, Nu 8:5-8; by a separation of them from the children of Israel, and the imposition of their hands on them, and of the hands of the Levites on the offerings offered for them, Nu 8:9-15; and being thus given to the Lord, and claimed as his, instead of the firstborn of Israel, they are given to Aaron and his sons to do service in the tabernacle, Nu 8:16-22; and their age at which they were to enter into service and cease from it is fixed, Nu 8:23-26.

Numbers 8 Commentaries

New American Standard Bible Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, California.  All rights reserved.