Numbers 8


‘The LORD said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up the lamps, see that all seven light up 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.’ Numbers 8:1-4

Setting Up The Lamps

It appears that the priests were now ready to offer people’s sacrifices to God, Exodus 40:4. Now that the tabernacle was completed, the lighting of lamps showed that God was among His people and ready to receive their sacrifices, Numbers 7:89.

It is back in Exodus 25:31-40, where we read about God’s original design for the lampstand. Later, in Exodus 37:17-34, we read that the lampstand was made as God wanted it and in Exodus 40:24-25, we read about it being set up and finally in Leviticus 24:2, we read about the scared oil which was to be used.

In the passages above, we’re told that Aaron set up the lamps so that they faced forward on the lampstand, Revelation 1:20.

The Setting Apart Of The Levites

‘The LORD said to Moses: “Take the Levites from among all the 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 they will purify themselves. Have them take a young bull with its grain offering of the finest flour mixed with olive 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. “Then the Levites are to lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, using 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 human 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. From among 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.” Numbers 8:5-19

Any work which was to be done within the tabernacle needed to be holy work, the tabernacle was a holy place and those who worked within it must also be holy.

The priests had their dedication, Leviticus 8-9, and here, we read that the Levites, that is, the priests needed to be ceremonially clean before doing any work within the tabernacle.

Unger, in his commentary, says the following concerning the specifics required for the cleansing of the Levites.

1. By sprinkling with water, Numbers 8:7 / Ezekiel 36:25.

2. By shaving all their flesh, Numbers 8:7 / Leviticus 14:9.

3. By washing their garments, Numbers 8:7.

4. By atonement being made for them, Numbers 8:8-12.

5. By identifying them with all Israel who were represented by them, Numbers 8:9-10.

6. By their being waved before Jehovah, Numbers 8:11-13.

7. By the subordination of the Levites to the priests, Numbers 8:13.

8. By commemorating the event of their being given unto Jehovah instead of the first-born, Numbers 8:16ff.

Although we are not told exactly how they did this, but as a bull is sacrificed, the children of Israel laid their hands on the Levites, to bless them and pray for their dedication before the LORD.

By putting their hands on the Levites, the people were demonstrating that they would accept the Levites for the uniqueness of their God-ordained function among the people. They were also demonstrating that they would support the Levites as a tribe that was separated from Israel as special priests for the sake of Israel.

The Levites are regarded as Israel’s firstborn given to God, Numbers 3:40-51.

‘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.” Numbers 8:20-26

After the cleansing ceremonial, and their commitment to provide for the Levites, the Levities now assume their work.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following concerning the ages mentioned here.

‘There are a number of important considerations in these verses. First, there is the ‘contradiction’ in the giving of age twenty-five as the age when Levites began their service, whereas previously the age of thirty years was specified. Different situations in view explain the difference. ‘The age varied for different kinds of service.

1. For a soldier, it was age twenty. 2. For a priest, it was age thirty. 3. For the Levites, it was age twenty-five.

Barnes, in his commentary, says the following concerning the 25 years old and upwards.

‘The permanent limit as distinguished from the temporary, Numbers 4:3 / Numbers 4:23 / Numbers 4:30, though David found it necessary to extend the period of the Levites’ service by causing it to commence at 20 years of age 1 Chronicles 23:24-28. This rule continued in force from the time of David downward, 2 Chronicles 31:17 / Ezra 3:8.’

Go To Numbers 9


"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding."