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Numbers 8 New living translation
1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 "Tell Aaron that when he sets up the seven lamps in the lampstand, he is to place them so their light shines forward." 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 mixed 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. 10 When you bring the Levites before the LORD, the people of Israel must lay their hands on them. 11 Aaron must 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 and present them to the LORD. One will be for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, to make atonement for the Levites. 13 Then have the Levites stand in front of Aaron and his sons, 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 in and out of 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 people and animals. I set them apart for myself on the night I killed all the firstborn sons of the Egyptians. 18 Yes, I claim 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 atonement for them 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 and washed their clothes, and Aaron presented them to the LORD as a special offering. He then performed the rite of atonement over them to purify them. 22 From then on the Levites went into the Tabernacle to perform their duties, helping 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 performing guard duty at the Tabernacle, but they may not officiate in the service. This is how you will assign duties to the Levites."