“Take the Levites from among all the Israelites and make them ceremonially clean.(A) To purify them, do this: Sprinkle the water of cleansing(B) on them; then have them shave their whole bodies(C) and wash their clothes.(D) And so they will purify themselves.(E) Have them take a young bull with its grain offering of the finest flour mixed with olive oil;(F) then you are to take a second young bull for a sin offering.[a](G) Bring the Levites to the front of the tent of meeting(H) and assemble the whole Israelite community.(I) 10 You are to bring the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites are to lay their hands on them.(J) 11 Aaron is to present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering(K) from the Israelites, so that they may be ready to do the work of the Lord.

12 “Then the Levites are to lay their hands on the heads of the bulls,(L) using one for a sin offering(M) to the Lord and the other for a burnt offering,(N) to make atonement(O) for the Levites. 13 Have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons and then present them as a wave offering(P) to the Lord. 14 In this way you are to set the Levites apart from the other Israelites, and the Levites will be mine.(Q)

15 “After you have purified the Levites and presented them as a wave offering,(R) they are to come to do their work at the tent of meeting.(S) 16 They are the Israelites who are to be given wholly to me. I have taken them as my own in place of the firstborn,(T) the first male offspring(U) from every Israelite woman. 17 Every firstborn male in Israel, whether human or animal,(V) is mine. When I struck down all the firstborn in Egypt, I set them apart for myself.(W) 18 And I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons in Israel.(X) 19 From among all the Israelites, I have given the Levites as gifts to Aaron and his sons(Y) to do the work at the tent of meeting on behalf of the Israelites(Z) and to make atonement for them(AA) so that no plague will strike the Israelites when they go near the sanctuary.”

20 Moses, Aaron and the whole Israelite community did with the Levites just as the Lord commanded Moses. 21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes.(AB) Then Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the Lord and made atonement(AC) for them to purify them.(AD) 22 After that, the Levites came to do their work(AE) at the tent of meeting under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. They did with the Levites just as the Lord commanded Moses.

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  1. Numbers 8:8 Or purification offering; also in verse 12

Duties of Priests and Levites

18 The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the sanctuary,(A) and you and your sons alone are to bear the responsibility for offenses connected with the priesthood. Bring your fellow Levites from your ancestral tribe to join you and assist you when you and your sons minister(B) before the tent of the covenant law. They are to be responsible to you(C) and are to perform all the duties of the tent,(D) but they must not go near the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar. Otherwise both they and you will die.(E) They are to join you and be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting—all the work at the tent—and no one else may come near where you are.(F)

“You are to be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the altar,(G) so that my wrath will not fall on the Israelites again. I myself have selected your fellow Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you,(H) dedicated to the Lord to do the work at the tent of meeting.(I) But only you and your sons may serve as priests in connection with everything at the altar and inside the curtain.(J) I am giving you the service of the priesthood as a gift.(K) Anyone else who comes near the sanctuary is to be put to death.(L)

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11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before him and serve him,(A) to minister(B) before him and to burn incense.”

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