Numbers 8

The special lampstand

1 Then the Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Speak to Aaron and say to him, “When you put the lamps on the lampstand, the seven lamps must give light in front of the lampstand.” ’

3 So Aaron did that. He put its lamps at the front of the lampstand, as the Lord had said to Moses. 4 A worker had made the lampstand from one piece of gold that he had made flat with a hammer. From its base to the flowers at the top, he had made it in that way. It was completely like the lampstand that the Lord had shown to Moses.

8:4The lampstand was the shape of a tree with 3 branches on the left of it and 3 branches on the right of it. There were models of flowers on the branches. Each branch held one lamp.

The Levites must be ready to serve God

5 Again the Lord spoke to Moses and he said, 6 ‘Take the Levites from among the Israelites and make them clean. 7 You will make them clean like this: Put on them the special water that makes people clean. They must remove all the hair from their whole body, and they must wash their clothes. Then they will be clean. 8 Then they must take a bull with the proper grain offering and oil. And you must take another bull for a sin offering. 9 Then you must bring the Levites in front of the Tent of Meeting. You must also bring all the Israelites there. 10 You must bring the Levites in front of the Lord. Then the Israelites must put their hands on the Levites' heads. 11 Aaron must give the Levites to the Lord as a special offering from the Israelites. Then they will be ready to do the Lord's work.

12 Then the Levites must put their hands on the heads of the bulls. Then offer one bull for a sin offering and the other one for a burnt offering to the Lord. That will make peace with the Lord for the Levites sin. 13 And you must cause the Levites to stand in front of Aaron and his sons. So they will be a special gift to the Lord. 14 That is how you will make the Levites separate from the other Israelites. And then the Levites will be mine.

8:12The burnt offering showed that Levi's tribe were giving themselves to God completely. The sin offering made them clean from sin.

15 Then after that the Levites can go in to work in the Tent of Meeting. But you must make them clean and you must bring them to me as a special gift. 16 That is because all the Levites among the Israelites are mine. All the Israelites' firstborn sons are mine. But I have taken the Levites for myself instead. 17 Every firstborn son among the Israelites is mine. And all the firstborn male animals are mine too. On the day that I killed all the firstborn sons in Egypt I made them special for myself. 18 But now I have not taken all the firstborn sons among the Israelites. I have taken the Levites instead. 19 And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the Israelites. They will work at the Tent of Meeting on behalf of the Israelites. And they will make peace with me on behalf of the Israelites. So there will not be a bad disease among the Israelites when they go near to God's Holy Tent.’

20 So Moses and Aaron and all the Israelites did those things to the Levites. The Israelites did everything that the Lord had said to Moses about the Levites. 21 The Levites, too, made themselves clean and they washed their clothes. And Aaron brought them in front of Lord as a special gift. Aaron also burnt sacrifices to make them clean. 22 After that, the Levites went in to do their work in the Tent of Meeting. They helped Aaron and his sons. The Israelites did everything with the Levites that the Lord had said to Moses about them.

23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses again and he said, 24 ‘These are the rules about the Levites: The men who are 25 years old or older must go in to work in the Tent of Meeting. 25 But they must stop that work when they are 50 years old. And they must not do that work after that. 26 But they can help the other Levites in the Tent of Meeting. They can help them to do their jobs. But they themselves must not have any jobs. Those are the rules about the Levites and about their jobs.’