8 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Tell Aaron to put the seven lamps on the lampstand so they shine toward the front.”
3 Aaron obeyed and placed the lamps as he was told. 4 The lampstand was made of hammered gold from its base to the decorative flowers on top, exactly like the pattern the Lord had described to Moses.
Instructions for Ordaining the Levites
5 The Lord said to Moses:
6 The Levites must be acceptable to me before they begin working at the sacred tent. So separate them from the rest of the Israelites 7 and sprinkle them with the water that washes away their sins. Then have them shave their entire bodies and wash their clothes.
8 They are to bring a bull and its proper grain sacrifice of flour mixed with olive oil. And they must bring a second bull as a sacrifice for sin.
9 Then you, Moses, will call together all the people of Israel and have the Levites go to my sacred tent, 10 where the people will place their hands on them. 11 Aaron will present the Levites to me as a gift from the people, so that the Levites will do my work.
12 After this, the Levites are to place their hands on the heads of the bulls. Then one of the bulls will be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin, and the other to make sure that I am pleased. 13 The Levites will stand at my altar in front of Aaron and his sons, who will then dedicate the Levites to me.
14 This ceremony will show that the Levites are different from the other Israelites and belong to me in a special way. 15 After they have been made acceptable and have been dedicated, they will be allowed to work at my sacred tent. 16 They are mine and will take the place of the first-born Israelite sons. 17 When I killed the oldest sons of the Egyptians, I decided that the first-born sons in each Israelite family would be mine, as well as every first-born male from their flocks and herds. 18 But now I have chosen these Levites as substitutes for the first-born sons, 19 and I have given them as gifts to Aaron and his sons to serve at the sacred tent. I will hold them responsible for what happens to anyone who gets too close to the sacred tent.[a]
The Levites Are Dedicated to the Lord
20 Moses, Aaron, and the other Israelites made sure that the Levites did everything the Lord had commanded. 21 The Levites sprinkled themselves with the water of forgiveness and washed their clothes. Then Aaron brought them to the altar and offered sacrifices to forgive their sins and make them acceptable to the Lord. 22 After this, the Levites worked at the sacred tent as assistants to Aaron and his sons, just as the Lord had commanded.
23 The Lord also told Moses, 24-25 “Levites who are between the ages of twenty-five and fifty can work at my sacred tent. But once they turn fifty, they must retire. 26 They may help the other Levites in their duties, but they must no longer be responsible for any work themselves. Remember this when you assign their duties.”
8.19I will hold. . . sacred tent: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
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