Números 8

1 Jehovah said to Moses:

2 »Speak to Aaron and tell him: ‘When you set up the seven lamps on the lamp stand, they should illuminate the area in front of it.’«

3 So Aaron set up the lamps on the lamp stand to illuminate the area in front of it, as Jehovah commanded Moses.

4 This is how the lamp stand was made: The whole lamp stand, from top to bottom, was hammered out of gold. It was made exactly like the one Jehovah had shown Moses.

5 Jehovah said to Moses:

6 »Separate the Levites from the rest of the Israelites. Make them clean.

7 »This is what you must do to make them clean: Sprinkle them with water to take away their sins. Make them shave their whole bodies and wash their clothes. Then they will be clean.

8 »They must take a young bull and the grain offering of flour mixed with olive oil that is offered with it. You must take a second young bull as an offering for sin.

9 »Bring the Levites to the front of the tent of meeting. Assemble the whole congregation of Israel.

10 »Then bring the Levites into Jehovah’s presence, and the Israelites will place their hands on them.

11 »Aaron will present the Levites to Jehovah as an offering from the Israelites. Then they will be ready to do Jehovah’s work.

12 »The Levites will place their hands on the heads of the young bulls. Sacrifice one of them as an offering for sin and the other one as a burnt offering to Jehovah. These sacrifices will pay compensation for wrongdoing and make peace with Jehovah for the Levites.

13 »Make the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons, and present them as an offering to Jehovah.

14 »In this way you will separate the Levites from the other Israelites. The Levites will be mine.

15 »Once you have made them clean and presented them as an offering, the Levites may come and do their work at the tent of meeting.

16 »They will be the only Israelites given to me. I have taken them to be mine as substitutes for every firstborn male offspring of the Israelites.

17 »When I killed all the first-born in Egypt, I consecrated as my own the oldest son of each Israelite family and the first-born of every animal.

18 »I am now taking the Levites instead of all the first-born of the Israelites.

19 »I assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons, as a gift from the Israelites. They are to work in the tent for the people of Israel and to protect the Israelites from the disaster that would strike them if they came too near the Holy Place.«

20 Moses, Aaron, and all the people of Israel dedicated the Levites, as Jehovah commanded Moses.

21 So the Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Aaron dedicated them as a special gift to Jehovah. He also performed the ritual of purification for them.

22 The people did everything Jehovah commanded Moses concerning the Levites. Thus the Levites were qualified to work in the tent under Aaron and his sons.

23 Jehovah said to Moses:

24 »From the age of twenty-five each Levite shall perform his duties in the tent of my presence,

25 »They must retire from active service when they are fifty years old.

26 »They may assist the other Levites in their duties at the tent of meeting. But they may not do any regular work. This is how you will handle the Levites’ duties.«