Numbers 8

1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
2 Speak to Aaron and say to him: When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand.
3 Aaron did so; he set up its lamps to give light in front of the lampstand, as the Lord had commanded Moses.
4 Now this was how the lampstand was made, out of hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
5 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
6 Take the Levites from among the Israelites and cleanse them.
7 Thus you shall do to them, to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification on them, have them shave their whole body with a razor and wash their clothes, and so cleanse themselves.
8 Then let them take a young bull and its grain offering of choice flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another young bull for a sin offering.
9 You shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting, and assemble the whole congregation of the Israelites.
10 When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the Israelites shall lay their hands on the Levites,
11 and Aaron shall present the Levites before the Lord as an elevation offering from the Israelites, that they may do the service of the Lord.
12 The Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and he 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 Then you shall have the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons, and you shall present them as an elevation offering to the Lord.
14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the other Israelites, and the Levites shall be mine.
15 Thereafter the Levites may go in to do service at the tent of meeting, once you have cleansed them and presented them as an elevation offering.
16 For they are unreservedly given to me from among the Israelites; I have taken them for myself, in place of all that open the womb, the firstborn of all the Israelites.
17 For all the firstborn among the Israelites are mine, both human and animal. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself,
18 but I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn among the Israelites.
19 Moreover, I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the Israelites, to do the service for the Israelites at the tent of meeting, and to make atonement for the Israelites, in order that there may be no plague among the Israelites for coming too close to the sanctuary.
20 Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the Israelites did with the Levites accordingly; the Israelites did with the Levites just as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning them.
21 The Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes; then Aaron presented them as an elevation offering before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them.
22 Thereafter the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting in attendance on Aaron and his sons. As the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did with them.
23 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying:
24 This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall begin to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting;
25 and from the age of fifty years they shall retire from the duty of the service and serve no more.
26 They may assist their brothers in the tent of meeting in carrying out their duties, but they shall perform no service. Thus you shall do with the Levites in assigning their duties.

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 8

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