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Numbers 8-10 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

The Seven Lamps

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to Aaron and say to him: When you set up the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light in front of the lampstand. Aaron did so; he set up its lamps to give light in front of the lampstand, as the Lord had commanded Moses. Now this was how the lampstand was made, out of hammered work of gold. From its base to its flowers, it was hammered work; according to the pattern that the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.

Consecration and Service of the Levites

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Take the Levites from among the Israelites and cleanse them. Thus you shall do to them, to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification on them, have them shave their whole body with a razor and wash their clothes, and so cleanse themselves. Then let them take a young bull and its grain offering of choice flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another young bull for a sin offering. You shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting, and assemble the whole congregation of the Israelites. 10 When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the Israelites shall lay their hands on the Levites, 11 and Aaron shall present the Levites before the Lord as an elevation offering from the Israelites, that they may do the service of the Lord. 12 The Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and he shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 Then you shall have the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons, and you shall present them as an elevation offering to the Lord.

14 Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the other Israelites, and the Levites shall be mine. 15 Thereafter the Levites may go in to do service at the tent of meeting, once you have cleansed them and presented them as an elevation offering. 16 For they are unreservedly given to me from among the Israelites; I have taken them for myself, in place of all that open the womb, the firstborn of all the Israelites. 17 For all the firstborn among the Israelites are mine, both human and animal. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, 18 but I have taken the Levites in place of all the firstborn among the Israelites. 19 Moreover, I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the Israelites, to do the service for the Israelites at the tent of meeting, and to make atonement for the Israelites, in order that there may be no plague among the Israelites for coming too close to the sanctuary.

20 Moses and Aaron and the whole congregation of the Israelites did with the Levites accordingly; the Israelites did with the Levites just as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning them. 21 The Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes; then Aaron presented them as an elevation offering before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 Thereafter the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting in attendance on Aaron and his sons. As the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did with them.

23 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 24 This applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall begin to do duty in the service of the tent of meeting; 25 and from the age of fifty years they shall retire from the duty of the service and serve no more. 26 They may assist their brothers in the tent of meeting in carrying out their duties, but they shall perform no service. Thus you shall do with the Levites in assigning their duties.

The Passover at Sinai

The Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying: Let the Israelites keep the passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight,[a] you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its regulations you shall keep it. So Moses told the Israelites that they should keep the passover. They kept the passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight,[b] in the wilderness of Sinai. Just as the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Israelites did. Now there were certain people who were unclean through touching a corpse, so that they could not keep the passover on that day. They came before Moses and Aaron on that day, and said to him, “Although we are unclean through touching a corpse, why must we be kept from presenting the Lord’s offering at its appointed time among the Israelites?” Moses spoke to them, “Wait, so that I may hear what the Lord will command concerning you.”

The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 10 Speak to the Israelites, saying: Anyone of you or your descendants who is unclean through touching a corpse, or is away on a journey, shall still keep the passover to the Lord. 11 In the second month on the fourteenth day, at twilight,[c] they shall keep it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it; according to all the statute for the passover they shall keep it. 13 But anyone who is clean and is not on a journey, and yet refrains from keeping the passover, shall be cut off from the people for not presenting the Lord’s offering at its appointed time; such a one shall bear the consequences for the sin. 14 Any alien residing among you who wishes to keep the passover to the Lord shall do so according to the statute of the passover and according to its regulation; you shall have one statute for both the resident alien and the native.

The Cloud and the Fire

15 On the day the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the covenant;[d] and from evening until morning it was over the tabernacle, having the appearance of fire. 16 It was always so: the cloud covered it by day[e] and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud lifted from over the tent, then the Israelites would set out; and in the place where the cloud settled down, there the Israelites would camp. 18 At the command of the Lord the Israelites would set out, and at the command of the Lord they would camp. As long as the cloud rested over the tabernacle, they would remain in camp. 19 Even when the cloud continued over the tabernacle many days, the Israelites would keep the charge of the Lord, and would not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud would remain a few days over the tabernacle, and according to the command of the Lord they would remain in camp; then according to the command of the Lord they would set out. 21 Sometimes the cloud would remain from evening until morning; and when the cloud lifted in the morning, they would set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they would set out. 22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a longer time, that the cloud continued over the tabernacle, resting upon it, the Israelites would remain in camp and would not set out; but when it lifted they would set out. 23 At the command of the Lord they would camp, and at the command of the Lord they would set out. They kept the charge of the Lord, at the command of the Lord by Moses.

The Silver Trumpets

10 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Make two silver trumpets; you shall make them of hammered work; and you shall use them for summoning the congregation, and for breaking camp. When both are blown, the whole congregation shall assemble before you at the entrance of the tent of meeting. But if only one is blown, then the leaders, the heads of the tribes of Israel, shall assemble before you. When you blow an alarm, the camps on the east side shall set out; when you blow a second alarm, the camps on the south side shall set out. An alarm is to be blown whenever they are to set out. But when the assembly is to be gathered, you shall blow, but you shall not sound an alarm. The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; this shall be a perpetual institution for you throughout your generations. When you go to war in your land against the adversary who oppresses you, you shall sound an alarm with the trumpets, so that you may be remembered before the Lord your God and be saved from your enemies. 10 Also on your days of rejoicing, at your appointed festivals, and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over your sacrifices of well-being; they shall serve as a reminder on your behalf before the Lord your God: I am the Lord your God.

Departure from Sinai

11 In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the covenant.[f] 12 Then the Israelites set out by stages from the wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud settled down in the wilderness of Paran. 13 They set out for the first time at the command of the Lord by Moses. 14 The standard of the camp of Judah set out first, company by company, and over the whole company was Nahshon son of Amminadab. 15 Over the company of the tribe of Issachar was Nethanel son of Zuar; 16 and over the company of the tribe of Zebulun was Eliab son of Helon.

17 Then the tabernacle was taken down, and the Gershonites and the Merarites, who carried the tabernacle, set out. 18 Next the standard of the camp of Reuben set out, company by company; and over the whole company was Elizur son of Shedeur. 19 Over the company of the tribe of Simeon was Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai, 20 and over the company of the tribe of Gad was Eliasaph son of Deuel.

21 Then the Kohathites, who carried the holy things, set out; and the tabernacle was set up before their arrival. 22 Next the standard of the Ephraimite camp set out, company by company, and over the whole company was Elishama son of Ammihud. 23 Over the company of the tribe of Manasseh was Gamaliel son of Pedahzur, 24 and over the company of the tribe of Benjamin was Abidan son of Gideoni.

25 Then the standard of the camp of Dan, acting as the rear guard of all the camps, set out, company by company, and over the whole company was Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 26 Over the company of the tribe of Asher was Pagiel son of Ochran, 27 and over the company of the tribe of Naphtali was Ahira son of Enan. 28 This was the order of march of the Israelites, company by company, when they set out.

29 Moses said to Hobab son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are setting out for the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you’; come with us, and we will treat you well; for the Lord has promised good to Israel.” 30 But he said to him, “I will not go, but I will go back to my own land and to my kindred.” 31 He said, “Do not leave us, for you know where we should camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us. 32 Moreover, if you go with us, whatever good the Lord does for us, the same we will do for you.”

33 So they set out from the mount of the Lord three days’ journey with the ark of the covenant of the Lord going before them three days’ journey, to seek out a resting place for them, 34 the cloud of the Lord being over them by day when they set out from the camp.

35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses would say,

“Arise, O Lord, let your enemies be scattered,
    and your foes flee before you.”

36 And whenever it came to rest, he would say,

“Return, O Lord of the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”[g]

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 9:3 Heb between the two evenings
  2. Numbers 9:5 Heb between the two evenings
  3. Numbers 9:11 Heb between the two evenings
  4. Numbers 9:15 Or treaty, or testimony; Heb eduth
  5. Numbers 9:16 Gk Syr Vg: Heb lacks by day
  6. Numbers 10:11 Or treaty, or testimony; Heb eduth
  7. Numbers 10:36 Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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