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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 8


The LORD spoke to Moses, and said,


"Give Aaron this command: When you set up the seven lamps, have them throw their light toward the front of the lampstand."


Aaron did so, setting up the lamps to face toward the front of the lampstand, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.


The lampstand was made of beaten gold in both its shaft and its branches, according to the pattern which the LORD had shown Moses.


The LORD said to Moses:


1 "Take the Levites from among the Israelites and purify them.


2 This is what you shall do to them to purify them. Sprinkle them with the water of remission; then have them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes, and so purify themselves.


They shall take a young bull, along with its cereal offering of fine flour mixed with oil; you shall take another young bull for a sin offering.


Then have the Levites come forward in front of the meeting tent, where you shall assemble also the whole community of the Israelites.


While the Levites are present before the LORD, the Israelites shall lay their hands upon them.


Let Aaron then offer the Levites before the LORD as a wave offering from the Israelites, thus devoting them to the service of the LORD.


The Levites in turn shall lay their hands on the heads of the bullocks, which shall then be immolated, the one as a sin offering and the other as a holocaust to the LORD, in atonement for the Levites.


Thus, then, shall you have the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons, to be offered as a wave offering to the LORD;


and thus shall you set aside the Levites from the rest of the Israelites, that they may be mine.


"Only then shall the Levites enter upon their service in the meeting tent. You shall purify them and offer them as a wave offering;


because they, among the Israelites, are strictly dedicated to me; I have taken them for myself in place of every first-born that opens the womb among the Israelites.


Indeed, all the first-born among the Israelites, both of man and of beast, belong to me; I consecrated them to myself on the day I slew all the first-born in the land of Egypt.


But in place of all the first-born Israelites I have taken the Levites;


and I have given these dedicated Israelites to Aaron and his sons to discharge the duties of the Israelites in the meeting tent and to make atonement for them, so that no plague may strike among the Israelites should they come near the sanctuary."


Thus, then, did Moses and Aaron and the whole community of the Israelites deal with the Levites, carrying out exactly the command which the LORD had given Moses concerning them.


3 When the Levites had cleansed themselves of sin and washed their clothes, Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the LORD, and made atonement for them to purify them.


Only then did they enter upon their service in the meeting tent under the supervision of Aaron and his sons. The command which the LORD had given Moses concerning the Levites was carried out.


The LORD said to Moses:


"This is the rule for the Levites. Each from his twenty-fifth year onward shall perform the required service in the meeting tent.


When he is fifty years old, he shall retire from the required service and work no longer.


His service with his fellow Levites shall consist in sharing their responsibilities in the meeting tent, but he shall not do the work. This, then, is how you are to regulate the duties of the Levites."



1 [6] Purify them: in the language of the Pentateuch only the priests were "consecrated," that is, made sacred or set aside for the Lord, in an elaborate ceremony described in Exodus 29; Lev 8. The Levites were merely "purified," that is, made ritually clean for their special work.

2 [7] Water of remission: literally, "water of sin," that is, for the remission of sin.

3 [21] Cleansed themselves of sin: by having the "water of remission" sprinkled on them as prescribed in Numbers 8:7.

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