Chapter 8

NUMBERS CHAPTER 8

The Lighting in the Tabernacle

    • The Lord told Moses to give Aaron the following instructions:

      • When you set up the lampstand in the Tabernacle, you are to place the seven lamps so that the light shines forward in front of the lampstand.”

        • HCSB commentary writes, “The seven-tiered menorah, mentioned among the transported items in 3:31 and 4:9, provided lighting for the actions of the priests within the Tabernacle.”

    • Aaron obeyed. From its base to its blossom tips, the entire lampstand was made of hammered gold and designed exactly according to the instructions that the Lord had given Moses.

      • Guzik notes, “The lampstand was described and made in Exodus 25:31-40; but the lampstand by itself could give no light. It had to have lamps placed upon it that gave light. All the lampstand could do was make the light more visible… Revelation 1:20 makes lampstands a picture of the church; the church itself does not light the world, but it does provide a “platform” for Jesus’ light to be seen.”

Dedication of the Levites

    • The Lord told Moses to take the Levites and ceremonially cleanse them in the following way:

      • They were to be sprinkled with the purification water, shave their entire bodies, and wash their clothes. Then, they were to bring a young bull and a grain offering of fine flour mixed with olive oil, and a second young bull as a sin offering. Next, all of the Israelites were to gather together and the Levites would be presented in front of the Tabernacle. The Israelites would lay their hands on the Levites and Aaron would present the Levites to the Lord as a presentation offering from the Israelites, dedicating them to the Lord’s service. Next, the Levites would lay their hands on the heads of the bulls and sacrifice one as a sin offering and one as a burnt offering in order to make them right with the Lord. Then, the Levites were to stand in front of Aaron and his sons, and Moses would present them to the Lord as a presentation offering. This is how the Levites were set apart from the rest of the Israelites, so that they belong to the Lord.

        • Guzik writes, “The priests had their dedication back in Leviticus 8 and 9. This was the dedication of the Levites. The priests seemed to have a more spiritually oriented service, but the Levites needed to be dedicated unto the Lord also. Even practical service needs a heart of dedication and consecration to the Lord.”

        • By the laying on of hands, Israel recognized the Levites’ special status and offered them as their representatives before the Lord.” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)

      • After all this, the Levites can come serve at the Tabernacle because they have been purified and presented as a special offering to the Lord. The Levites are reserved for the Lord. He has claimed them as the substitutes for all of the first born sons of Israel. All firstborn males belong to the Lord (both people and animals) because He set them apart the day that He killed all the Egyptian first born males. Out of all the Israelites, the Lord gave the Levites to Aaron and his sons to serve in the Tabernacle and to make atonement on behalf of the Israelites so they won’t be stricken with a plague when they approach the sanctuary.

        • HCSB commentary adds, “The Levites functioned as assistants to the Aaronic priests, as transporters and maintenance persons for sanctuary and structures and implements, and as guardians against any encroachment upon the holiness of the sanctuary. The passage reiterates the Levites’ role in substitution for the firstborn of Israel (3:46-49; Exodus 13:11-16). The events of the exodus provide the historical precedent for these instructions.”

    • All these instructions were followed, then the Lord spoke to Moses giving him additional instructions, “Levite men begin serving at the Tabernacle at the age of 25 and retires at the age of 50. After he has retired, he can still help his brothers by serving as Tabernacle guards, but they may not do any work.”

      • The age a Levite enters service in these passages (25) seems to contradict the entry age of 30 given in chapter 4. HCSB commentary makes the following note, “Some scholars claim that these texts stem from different pentateuchal sources, but others suggest that the Levites may have served a five-year apprenticeship.”