1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give Aaron the following instructions: When you set up the seven lamps in the lampstand, place them so their light shines forward in front of the lampstand.” 3 So Aaron did this. He set up the seven lamps so they reflected their light forward, just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 4 The entire lampstand, from its base to its decorative blossoms, was made of beaten gold. It was built according to the exact design the Lord had shown Moses.
5 Then the Lord said to Moses, 6 “Now set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel and make them ceremonially clean. 7 Do this by sprinkling them with the water of purification, and have them shave their entire body and wash their clothing. Then they will be ceremonially clean. 8 Have them bring a young bull and a grain offering of choice flour moistened with olive oil, along with a second young bull for a sin offering. 9 Then assemble the whole community of Israel, and present the Levites at the entrance of the Tabernacle.a 10 When you present the Levites before the Lord, the people of Israel must lay their hands on them. 11 Raising his hands, Aaron must then present the Levites to the Lord as a special offering from the people of Israel, thus dedicating them to the Lord’s service.
12 “Next the Levites will lay their hands on the heads of the young bulls. Present one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering to the Lord, to purify the Levites and make them right with the Lord.b 13 Then have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons, and raise your hands and present them as a special offering to the Lord. 14 In this way, you will set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel, and the Levites will belong to me. 15 After this, they may go into the Tabernacle to do their work, because you have purified them and presented them as a special offering.
16 “Of all the people of Israel, the Levites are reserved for me. I have claimed them for myself in place of all the firstborn sons of the Israelites; I have taken the Levites as their substitutes. 17 For all the firstborn males among the people of Israel are mine, both of people and of animals. I set them apart for myself on the day I struck down all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. 18 Yes, I have claimed the Levites in place of all the firstborn sons of Israel. 19 And of all the Israelites, I have assigned the Levites to Aaron and his sons. They will serve in the Tabernacle on behalf of the Israelites and make sacrifices to purifyc the people so no plague will strike them when they approach the sanctuary.”
20 So Moses, Aaron, and the whole community of Israel dedicated the Levites, carefully following all the Lord’s instructions to Moses. 21 The Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron lifted them up and presented them to the Lord as a special offering. He then offered a sacrifice to purify them and make them right with the Lord.d 22 After that the Levites went into the Tabernacle to perform their duties, assisting Aaron and his sons. So they carried out all the commands that the Lord gave Moses concerning the Levites.
23 The Lord also instructed Moses, 24 “This is the rule the Levites must follow: They must begin serving in the Tabernacle at the age of twenty-five, 25 and they must retire at the age of fifty. 26 After retirement they may assist their fellow Levites by serving as guards at the Tabernacle, but they may not officiate in the service. This is how you must assign duties to the Levites.”
a. 8:9 Hebrew the Tent of Meeting; also in 8:15, 19, 22, 24, 26.
b. 8:12 Or to make atonement for the Levites.
c. 8:19 Or make atonement for.
d. 8:21 Or then made atonement for them to purify them.