Numbers 8-10 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Aaron Puts the Gold Lamps in Place
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.”
Regulations for Celebrating Passover
9 During the first month of Israel’s second year in the Sinai Desert,[b] the Lord had told Moses 2 to say to the people, “Celebrate Passover 3 in the evening of the fourteenth day of this month[c] and do it by following all the regulations.” 4-5 Moses told the people what the Lord had said, and they celebrated Passover there in the desert in the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month.
6 Some people in Israel’s camp had touched a dead body and had become unfit to worship the Lord, and they could not celebrate Passover. But they asked Moses and Aaron, 7 “Even though we have touched a dead body, why can’t we celebrate Passover and offer sacrifices to the Lord at the same time as everyone else?”
8 Moses said, “Wait here while I go into the sacred tent and find out what the Lord says about this.”
9 The Lord then told Moses 10 to say to the community of Israel:
If any of you or your descendants touch a dead body and become unfit to worship me, or if you are away on a long journey, you may still celebrate Passover. 11 But it must be done in the second month,[d] in the evening of the fourteenth day. Eat the Passover lamb with thin bread and bitter herbs, 12 and don’t leave any of it until morning or break any of the animal’s bones. Be sure to follow these regulations.
13 But if any of you refuse to celebrate Passover when you are not away on a journey, you will no longer belong to my people. You will be punished because you did not offer sacrifices to me at the proper time.
14 Anyone, including foreigners who live among you, can celebrate Passover, if they follow all the regulations.
The Cloud over the Sacred Tent
15-16 As soon as the sacred tent was set up,[e] a thick cloud appeared and covered it. The cloud was there each day, and during the night, a fire could be seen in it. 17-19 The Lord used this cloud to tell the Israelites when to move their camp and where to set it up again. As long as the cloud covered the tent, the Israelites did not break camp. But when the cloud moved, they followed it, and wherever it stopped, they camped and stayed there, 20-22 whether it was only one night, a few days, a month, or even a year. As long as the cloud remained over the tent, the Israelites stayed where they were. But when the cloud moved, so did the Israelites. 23 They obeyed the Lord’s commands and went wherever he directed Moses.
The Silver Trumpets
10 The Lord told Moses:
2 Have someone make two trumpets out of hammered silver. These will be used to call the people together and to give the signal for moving your camp. 3 If both trumpets are blown, everyone is to meet with you at the entrance to the sacred tent. 4 But if just one is blown, only the twelve tribal leaders need to come together.
5-6 Give a signal on a trumpet when it is time to break camp. The first blast will be the signal for the tribes camped on the east side, and the second blast will be the signal for those on the south. 7 But when you want everyone to come together, sound a different signal on the trumpet. 8 The priests of Aaron’s family will be the ones to blow the trumpets, and this law will never change.
9 Whenever you go into battle against an enemy attacking your land, give a warning signal on the trumpets. Then I, the Lord, will hear it and rescue you. 10 During the celebration of the New Moon Festival and other religious festivals, sound the trumpets while you offer sacrifices. This will be a reminder that I am the Lord your God.
The Israelites Begin Their Journey
11 On the twentieth day of the second month[f] of that same year, the cloud over the sacred tent moved on. 12 So the Israelites broke camp and left the Sinai Desert. And some time later, the cloud stopped in the Paran Desert.[g] 13 This was the first time the Lord had told Moses to command the people of Israel to move on.
14 Judah and the tribes that camped alongside it marched out first, carrying their banner. Nahshon son of Amminadab was the leader of the Judah tribe, 15 Nethanel son of Zuar was the leader of the Issachar tribe, 16 and Eliab son of Helon was the leader of the Zebulun tribe.
17 The sacred tent had been taken down, and the Gershonites and the Merarites carried it, marching behind the Judah camp.
18 Reuben and the tribes that camped alongside it marched out second, carrying their banner. Elizur son of Shedeur was the leader of the Reuben tribe, 19 Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was the leader of the Simeon tribe, 20 and Eliasaph son of Deuel was the leader of the Gad tribe.
21 Next were the Kohathites, carrying the objects for the sacred tent, which was to be set up before they arrived at the new camp.
22 Ephraim and the tribes that camped alongside it marched next, carrying their banner. Elishama son of Ammihud was the leader of the Ephraim tribe, 23 Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was the leader of the Manasseh tribe, 24 and Abidan son of Gideoni was the leader of the Benjamin tribe.
25 Dan and the tribes that camped alongside it were to protect the Israelites against an attack from behind, and so they marched last, carrying their banner. Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai was the leader of the tribe of Dan, 26 Pagiel son of Ochran was the leader of the Asher tribe, 27 and Ahira son of Enan was the leader of the Naphtali tribe.
28 This was the order in which the Israelites marched each time they moved their camp.
29 Hobab[h] the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moses, was there. And Moses said to him, “We’re leaving for the place the Lord has promised us. He has said that all will go well for us. So come along, and we will make sure that all goes well for you.”
30 “No, I won’t go,” Hobab answered. “I’m returning home to be with my own people.”
31 “Please go with us!” Moses said. “You can be our guide because you know the places to camp in the desert. 32 Besides that, if you go, we will give you a share of the good things the Lord gives us.”
33 The people of Israel began their journey from Mount Sinai.[i] They traveled three days, and the Levites who carried the sacred chest led the way, so the Lord could show them where to camp. 34 And the cloud always stayed with them.
35 Each day as the Israelites began their journey, Moses would pray, “Our Lord, defeat your enemies and make them run!” 36 And when they stopped to set up camp, he would pray, “Our Lord, stay close to Israel’s thousands and thousands of people.”
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