Numbers 8

1The Lord said to Moses, 2“Tell Aaron to put the seven lamps in the place I showed you. Those lamps will light the area in front of the lampstand.” 3Aaron did this. Aaron put the lamps in the right place and faced them so that they lighted the area in front of the lampstand. He obeyed the command that the Lord gave Moses. 4This is how the lampstand was made: It was made from hammered gold, all the way from the gold base ˻at the bottom˼ to the gold flowers ˻at the top˼. It looked just like the pattern that the Lord had shown to Moses. 5The Lord said to Moses, 6“Separate the Levites from the other people of Israel. Make those Levites clean. 7This is what you should do to make them pure. Sprinkle the special water from the sin offering on them. This water will make them pure. Then they must shave their bodies and wash their clothes. This will make their bodies clean. 8“The Levite men must take a young bull and the grain offering that must be offered with it. This grain offering will be flour mixed with oil. Then take another young bull for a sin offering. 9Bring the Levite people to the area in front of the Meeting Tent. Then bring all the people of Israel together at that place. 10Bring the Levite people before the Lord. The people of Israel will put their hands on them. 11Then Aaron will give the Levite people to the Lord—they will be like an offering to God. In this way, the Levite people will be ready to do their special work for the Lord. 12“Tell the Levite people to put their hands on the heads of the bulls. One bull will be a sin offering to the Lord. The other bull will be used as a burnt offering to the Lord. These offerings will make the Levite people pure. 13Tell the Levite people to stand in front of Aaron and his sons. Then give the Levite men to the Lord. They will be like a wave offering. 14This will make the Levite people holy—˻it will show that they will be used in a special way for God˼. They will be different from the other people of Israel. The Levite people will belong to me. 15“So make the Levite people pure. And give them to the Lord. They will be like a wave offering. After you do this they can come and do their work at the Meeting Tent. 16The Israelite people will give me the Levites. They will belong to me. In the past, I told every Israelite family to give me their firstborn son. But now I am taking the Levite people in place of those firstborn sons from the other families in Israel. 17Every firstborn male in Israel is mine. It doesn’t matter if it is a man or animal, it is still mine. Why? Because I killed all the firstborn children and animals in Egypt. And I chose to take the firstborn sons to belong to me. 18But now I will take the Levite people in their place. I will take the Levite people in place of all the firstborn sons from the other families in Israel. 19I chose the Levite people from among all the people of Israel. And I give them as gifts to Aaron and his sons. I want them to do the work at the Meeting Tent. They will serve for all the people of Israel. They will help make the sacrifices that make the people of Israel pure. Then no great sickness or trouble will come to the people of Israel when they come near the holy place.” 20So Moses, Aaron, and all the people of Israel obeyed the Lord. They did with the Levite people everything that the Lord commanded Moses. 21The Levites washed themselves and their clothes. Then Aaron gave them to the Lord like wave offerings. Aaron gave the offerings that covered their sins and made them pure. 22After that, the Levite people came to the Meeting Tent to do their work. Aaron and his sons watched them. They were responsible for the work of the Levite people. Aaron and his sons did the things that the Lord told Moses. 23Then the Lord said to Moses, 24“This is a special command for the Levite people: Every Levite man who is 25 years old or older must come and share in the work at the Meeting Tent. 25But when a man is 50 years old, he must retire from this work. He will not need to work again. 26Those men 50 years old or older can help their brothers with their work at the Meeting Tent. But those men must not do the work themselves. You must do these things when you choose Levite men to do their work.”

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