The Seven Lamps
8 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to Aaron and say to him, ‘When you set up and light the lamps, the seven lamps will shine in front of the lampstand.’” 3 And Aaron did so; he set up the lamps at the front of the lampstand, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 4 Now this was the workmanship of the lampstand: hammered work of gold; from its base to its flowers it was hammered work; according to the pattern which the Lord had shown Moses, so he made the lampstand.
Cleansing the Levites
5 Again the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Take the Levites from among the sons of Israel and cleanse them. 7 This is what you shall do to them to [ceremonially] cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification on them, and let them use a razor over their whole body and wash their clothes, and they will be clean.(A) 8 Then let them take a young bull and its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another young bull as a sin offering. 9 You shall present the Levites before the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle), and you shall also assemble the whole congregation of the children of Israel, 10 and present the Levites before the Lord, and the Israelites shall lay their hands on the Levites. 11 Aaron shall [a]present the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the Israelites, so that they may perform the service of the Lord. 12 Then the Levites shall [b]lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, then you are to offer the one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to the Lord, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 You shall have the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons and present them as a wave offering to the Lord.
14 “Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the Israelites, and the Levites shall be Mine [in a very special sense]. 15 Then after that the Levites may go in to serve the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle), but you shall cleanse them [first] and present them as a wave offering; 16 for they are wholly given to Me from among the Israelites. I have taken them for Myself instead of [c]all who are born first, the firstborn of all the Israelites. 17 For all the firstborn among the Israelites are Mine, among the men and among the animals; on the day that I struck down every firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified and set the Israelites apart for Myself. 18 And I have taken the Levites instead of every firstborn among the Israelites. 19 I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the Israelites, to perform the service of the Israelites at the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle) and to make atonement for them, so that there will be no plague among the Israelites if they should approach the sanctuary.”
20 Thus Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the children of Israel did [these things] to the Levites; in accordance with all that the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so the Israelites did to them. 21 The Levites, too, purified themselves from sin and they washed their clothes; and Aaron presented them as a wave offering before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. 22 Then after that the Levites went in to perform their service in the Tent of Meeting before Aaron and his sons; just as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.
23 Now the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 24 “This is what applies to the Levites: from twenty-five years old and upward they shall enter to perform service in the work of the Tent of Meeting, 25 but at the age of fifty years, they shall [d]retire from the service of the [tabernacle] work and serve no longer. 26 They may assist their brothers in the Tent of Meeting to keep an obligation, but they shall do no [heavy or difficult] work. Thus you shall deal with the Levites concerning their obligations.”
9 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, 2 “The sons of Israel are to keep the Passover at its appointed time. 3 On the fourteenth day of this month [e]at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and ordinances you shall keep it.” 4 So Moses told the Israelites to observe the Passover. 5 They observed the Passover on the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight in the Wilderness of Sinai; in accordance with all that the Lord had commanded Moses, so the Israelites did. 6 But there were certain men who were [ceremonially] unclean because of [touching] the dead body of a man, so they could not observe the Passover on that day; so they came before Moses and Aaron that same day. 7 Those men said to Moses, “We are [ceremonially] unclean because of [touching] a dead body. Why are we being restrained from presenting the Lord’s offering at its appointed time among the Israelites?” 8 Therefore, Moses said to them, “Wait, and I will listen to what the Lord will command concerning you.”
9 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Say to the Israelites, ‘If any one of you or of your descendants becomes [ceremonially] unclean because of [touching] a dead body or is on a distant journey, he may, however, observe the Passover to the Lord. 11 On the fourteenth day of the second month [thirty days later] at twilight, they shall observe it; they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They shall leave none of it until morning nor break any of its bones; in accordance with all the statutes of the Passover they shall observe it.(B) 13 But the man who is [ceremonially] clean and is not on a journey, and yet does not observe the Passover, that person shall be cut off from among his people [excluding him from the atonement made for them] because he did not bring the Lord’s offering at its appointed time; that man will bear [the penalty of] his sin. 14 If a stranger lives among you as a resident alien and observes the Passover to the Lord, in accordance with its statutes and its ordinances, so shall he do; you shall have one statute, both for the resident alien and for the native of the land.’”
The Cloud on the Tabernacle
15 Now on the day that the tabernacle was erected, the cloud [of God’s presence] covered the tabernacle, that is, the tent of the Testimony; and in the evening it was over the tabernacle, appearing like [a pillar of] fire until the morning.(C) 16 So it was continuously; the cloud covered it by day, and the appearance of fire by night. 17 Whenever the cloud was lifted from over the tent (tabernacle), afterward the Israelites would set out; and in the place where the cloud stopped, there the Israelites would camp. 18 At the Lord’s command the Israelites would journey on, and at His command they would camp. As long as the cloud remained over the tabernacle they remained camped. 19 Even when the cloud lingered over the tabernacle for many days, the Israelites would keep their obligation to the Lord and not set out. 20 Sometimes the cloud remained only a few days over the tabernacle, and in accordance with the command of the Lord they remained camped. Then at His command they set out. 21 If sometimes the cloud remained [over the tabernacle] from evening only until morning, when the cloud was lifted in the morning, they would journey on; whether in the daytime or at night, whenever the cloud was lifted, they would set out. 22 Whether it was two days or a month or a year that the cloud [of the Lord’s presence] lingered over the tabernacle, staying above it, the Israelites remained camped and did not set out; but when it was lifted, they set out. 23 At the command of the Lord they camped, and at the command of the Lord they journeyed on; they kept their obligation to the Lord, in accordance with the command of the Lord through Moses.
The Silver Trumpets
10 The Lord spoke further to Moses, saying, 2 “Make two trumpets of silver; you shall make them of hammered work. You shall use them to summon the congregation and to have the camps move out. 3 When both are blown, all the congregation [that is, all adult males] shall gather before you at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting (tabernacle). 4 However, if a single trumpet is blown, then the leaders, heads of the tribes of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. 5 When you blow an alarm, the camps on the east side [of the tabernacle] shall set out. 6 When you blow an alarm the second time, then the camps on the south side [of the tabernacle] shall set out. They shall blow an alarm whenever they are to move out [on their journeys]. 7 When the assembly is to be gathered, you shall blow [the trumpets in short, sharp tones], but without sounding an alarm. 8 The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets; and the trumpets shall be for you a perpetual statute throughout your generations. 9 When you go to war in your land against the enemy that attacks you, then sound an alarm with the trumpets, so that you may be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. 10 Also in the day of rejoicing, and in your appointed feasts, and at the beginnings of your months, you shall sound the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifice of your peace offerings; and they shall be as a reminder of you before your God. I am the Lord your God.”
The Tribes Leave Sinai
11 On the twentieth day of the second month in the second year [since leaving Egypt], the cloud [of the Lord’s presence] was lifted from over the tabernacle of the Testimony, 12 and the Israelites set out on their journey from the Wilderness of Sinai, and the cloud [of the Lord’s guiding presence] settled down in the Wilderness of Paran. 13 So they moved out for the first time in accordance with the command of the Lord through Moses. 14 The [f]standard of the camp of the sons of Judah, according to their armies, moved out first, Nahshon the son of Amminadab was [commander] over its army, 15 and Nethanel the son of Zuar was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Issachar; 16 and Eliab the son of Helon was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Zebulun.
17 Then the tabernacle was taken down; and the sons of Gershon and the sons of Merari, who were carrying the tabernacle, moved out. 18 Next the [g]standard of the camp of the sons of Reuben, according to their armies, moved out, with Elizur the son of Shedeur [commander] over its army, 19 and Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Simeon, 20 and Eliasaph the son of Deuel was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Gad.
21 Then the Kohathites moved out, carrying the holy things, and the tabernacle was set up before they arrived. 22 Next the [h]standard of the camp of the sons of Ephraim moved out, according to their armies, with Elishama the son of Ammihud [commander] over its army, 23 and Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Manasseh, 24 and Abidan the son of Gideoni was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Benjamin.
25 Then the [i]standard of the camp of the sons of Dan, according to their armies, which formed the rear guard for all the camps, moved out, with Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai [commander] over its army, 26 and Pagiel the son of Ochran was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Asher, 27 and Ahira the son of Enan was [commander] over the tribal army of the sons of Naphtali. 28 This was the order of march of the sons of Israel by their armies as they moved out.
29 Then Moses said to Hobab the son of Reuel the Midianite, Moses’ father-in-law, “We are going to the place of which the Lord said, ‘I will give it to you.’ Come with us, and we will be good to you, for the Lord has promised good [things] concerning Israel.” 30 But Hobab [Moses’ brother-in-law] said to him, “I will not go; I will return to my own land and to my family.” 31 Then Moses said, “[j]Please do not leave us, for you know how we are to camp in the wilderness, and you will serve as eyes for us [as we make our trek through the desert]. 32 So if you will go with us, it shall be that [k]whatever good the Lord does for us, we will do the same for you.”
33 So they set out from the mountain of the Lord (Sinai) three days’ journey; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord went in front of them during the three days’ journey to seek out a resting place for them. 34 The cloud of the Lord was over them by day when they set out from the camp.
35 Whenever the ark set out, Moses said,
“Rise up, O Lord!
Let Your enemies be scattered;
And let those who hate You flee before You.”(D)
36 And when the ark rested, Moses said,
“Return, O Lord,
To the myriad (many) thousands of Israel.”
- Numbers 8:11 Lit wave, and so throughout the chapter.
- Numbers 8:12 By laying his hands on the head of the sacrifice the offerer identified himself with it and through its death it became an atonement or covering for his sin. Because the sacrifice “covered” his sin, it placed the offerer in a right relationship with God, just as later under the new covenant the perfection and sacrifice of the Christ would cover (atone for) the imperfection and sin of those who identified with Him and accepted Him as Savior.
- Numbers 8:16 Lit the first issue of every womb.
- Numbers 8:25 Lit return.
- Numbers 9:3 Lit between the two evenings.
- Numbers 10:14 The three tribes under this standard were Judah, Issachar, and Zebulun.
- Numbers 10:18 The three tribes under this standard were Reuben, Simeon, and Gad.
- Numbers 10:22 The three tribes under this standard were Ephraim, Manasseh, and Benjamin.
- Numbers 10:25 The three tribes under this standard were Dan, Asher, and Naphtali.
- Numbers 10:31 The text does not say so, but Hobab seems to have remained with the Israelites, for later history shows that his descendants lived in Canaan (Judg 1:16; 1 Sam 15:6).
- Numbers 10:32 Lit that good which.