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Numbers - Chapter 8

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

2 'Speak to Aaron and say, "When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps must throw their light towards the front of the lamp-stand." '

3 Aaron did this. He set up the lamps to the front of the lamp-stand, as Yahweh had ordered Moses.

4 This lamp-stand was worked in beaten gold, including its stem and its petals, which were also of beaten gold. This lamp-stand had been made according to the pattern Yahweh had shown to Moses.

5 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

6 'Separate the Levites from the Israelites and purify them.

7 This is how you must purify them: you will sprinkle them with purifying water, and they will shave their bodies all over and wash their clothes. They will then be clean.

8 They will then take a young bull, with the accompanying cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you will take a second young bull for a sacrifice for sin.

9 You will then bring the Levites in front of the Tent of Meeting, and assemble the whole community of Israelites.

10 Once you have brought the Levites before Yahweh, the Israelites will lay their hands on them.

11 Aaron will then offer the Levites, making the gesture of offering before Yahweh on behalf of the Israelites, admitting them to Yahweh's service.

12 'The Levites will then lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, one of which you will offer as a sacrifice for sin, and the other as a burnt offering to Yahweh, to perform the rite of expiation for the Levites.

13 Having brought the Levites before Aaron and his sons, you will present them to Yahweh with the gesture of offering.

14 That is how you will set the Levites apart from the Israelites, for them to be mine.

15 The Levites will then begin their ministry in the Tent of Meeting. 'You will purify them and offer them with the gesture of offering

16 because, of the Israelites, they have been dedicated to me in place of all those who first emerge from the womb, instead of the first-born; of all the Israelites, I have taken them for my own.

17 For all the first-born of the Israelites, whether human or animal, do indeed belong to me: the day I struck down all the first-born in Egypt, I consecrated them to myself,

18 and now, in place of all the first-born of the Israelites, I have taken the Levites.

19 Of the Israelites, I give the Levites to Aaron and his sons, as dedicated men, to minister in the Tent of Meeting on behalf of the Israelites and perform the rite of expiation for them, so that no disaster befalls the Israelites when the Israelites come close to the sanctuary.'

20 Moses, Aaron and the whole community of Israelites dealt with the Levites exactly as Yahweh had ordered Moses concerning them; this is what the Israelites did with them.

21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes, and Aaron presented them with the gesture of offering before Yahweh. He then performed the rite of expiation for them to purify them.

22 The Levites were then allowed to perform their ministry in the Tent of Meeting in the presence of Aaron and his sons. As Yahweh had ordered Moses concerning the Levites, so it was done with them.

23 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

24 'This concerns the Levites. From the age of twenty-five onwards, the Levite will exercise his ministry and do duty in the Tent of Meeting.

25 After the age of fifty, he is no longer bound to the ministry; he will have no further duties;

26 but he will still help his brothers to assure the services in the Tent of Meeting, though he himself will no longer have any ministry. That is how you will act as regards the ministry of the Levites.'

Book of Numbers Chapters

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