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Bible Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Numbers 8

 

 

Introduction
1How the lamps are to be lighted.
5The consecration of the Levites.
23The age and time of their service.

Verse 1

When this was spoken, says Bp. Patrick, is not certain. If Moses went into the tabernacle immediately after the princes had offered (Numbers 7:89), it may be thought he then spake these things unto him; but both this and what follows, concerning the Levites, seem rather to have been delivered after the order for giving them to the priests, and appointing their several charges (Numbers 3:1 and Numbers 4:1). But some other things intervening, which depended upon what had been ordered respecting their camp, and that of the Israelites, Moses omits this until he had stated them, and some other matters which he had received from God. (See note on Numbers 7:11.)


Verse 2
Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.
Exodus 25:37; 37:18,19,23; 40:25; Leviticus 24:1,2; Psalms 119:105,130; Isaiah 8:20; Matthew 5:14; John 1:9; 2 Peter 1:19; Revelation 1:12,20; 2:1; 4:5

Verse 4
And this work of the candlestick was of beaten gold, unto the shaft thereof, unto the flowers thereof, was beaten work: according unto the pattern which the LORD had shewed Moses, so he made the candlestick.
this work
Exodus 25:31-39; 37:17-24
beaten work
Exodus 25:18; 37:7,17,22
the pattern
Exodus 25:9,40; 1 Chronicles 28:11-19; Hebrews 8:5; 9:23

Verse 6
Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them.
cleanse them
Exodus 19:15; 2 Corinthians 7:1; James 4:8

Verse 7
And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.
Sprinkle
Leviticus 8:6; 14:7; Isaiah 52:15; Ezekiel 36:25; Hebrews 9:10
water
19:9,10,13,17-19; Psalms 51:7; Hebrews 9:13
let them shave
Heb. let them cause a razor to pass over, etc.
Leviticus 14:8,9
wash their
19:7,8,10,19; 31:20; Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10; Leviticus 15:6,10,11,27; 16:28; Psalms 51:2; Jeremiah 4:14; Matthew 23:25,26; James 4:8; 1 Peter 3:21; Revelation 7:14

Verse 8
Then let them take a young bullock with his meat offering, even fine flour mingled with oil, and another young bullock shalt thou take for a sin offering.
a young
Exodus 29:1,3; Leviticus 1:3; 8:2
his meat
15:8,9; Leviticus 2:1
another
Leviticus 4:3,14; 16:3; Isaiah 53:10; Romans 8:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21

Verse 9
And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together:
thou shalt bring
Exodus 29:4-37; 40:12
shalt gather the whole
The words, kol âdath, which are rendered "the whole assembly," often signify all the elders, or principal persons in the several tribes. (ch. 15:4; 25:7; 35:12.) And they cannot well have any other sense here; for it would be impossible for all the children of Israel to put their hands on the Levites, as stated in the next verse.
Leviticus 8:3

Verse 10
And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:
3:45; Leviticus 1:4; Acts 6:6; 13:2,3; 1 Timothy 4:14; 5:22

Verse 11
And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the LORD for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the LORD.
offer
Heb. wave. offering. Heb. wave-offering. Not that they were actually waved, but they were presented to God, as the God of heaven, and the Lord of the whole earth, as the wave offerings were; and in calling them wave-offerings, it was intimated to them that they must move to and fro with readiness in the business of their profession.
6:20; Exodus 29:24; Leviticus 7:30; 8:27,29
they may execute
Heb. they may be to execute, etc.
1:49-53; 3:5-43

Verse 12
And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the LORD, to make an atonement for the Levites.
Levites
Exodus 29:10; Leviticus 1:4; 8:14; 16:21
the one
8; 6:14,16; Leviticus 5:7,9,10; 8:14,18; 9:7; 14:19,20,22; Hebrews 10:4-10
atonement
Leviticus 1:4; 4:20,35; 8:34; 16:6,11,16-19; Hebrews 9:22

Verse 13
And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD.
offer them
Wehainaphta othom tenoophath, literlly, as in ver. 11, "and thou shalt wave them for a wave-offering;" manifestly in allusion to the ancient sacrificial rite of waving the sacrifices before the Lord; and it is probable, that some significant action, analogous to the waving of the sacrifice, was employed on this occasion; for the Levites were considered as an offering to the Lord, to whose service they were wholly dedicated. To this the apostle Paul manifestly alludes, when, in writing to the Romans, he says, (ch. 12:1,) "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
11,21; 18:6; Romans 12:1; 15:16

Verse 14
Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.
separate
6:2; Deuteronomy 10:8; Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:15; Hebrews 7:26
and the Levites
17; 3:45; 16:9,10; 18:6; Malachi 3:17

Verse 15
And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.
go in
11; 3:23-37; 4:3-32; 1 Chronicles 23:1-32; 25:1-26
and offer
11,13; 3:12

Verse 16
For they are wholly given unto me from among the children of Israel; instead of such as open every womb, even instead of the firstborn of all the children of Israel, have I taken them unto me.
wholly given
Nethunim, nethunim, "given; given;" The word being repeated, "because," says Bp. Patrick, "the children of Israel had devoted them to him, by laying their hands upon them, (ver. 10,) and Aaron had waved them as a wave-offering to the Lord." (ver. 11.)
instead of such
Houbigant, on the authority of the Samaritan, reads, "instead of every first-born of the children of Israel, who openeth the womb."
3:12,45

Verse 17
For all the firstborn of the children of Israel are mine, both man and beast: on the day that I smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt I sanctified them for myself.
all the
3:13; Exodus 13:2,12-15; Luke 2:23
on the day
Exodus 12:29; Psalms 78:51; 105:36; 135:8; Hebrews 11:28
I sanctified
Exodus 13:14,15; 29:44; Leviticus 27:14,15,26; Ezekiel 20:12; John 10:36; 17:19; Hebrews 10:29; James 1:18

Verse 19
And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and to his sons from among the children of Israel, to do the service of the children of Israel in the tabernacle of the congregation, and to make an atonement for the children of Israel: that there be no plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come nigh unto the sanctuary.
I have given
3:6-9; 18:2-6; 1 Chronicles 23:28-32; Ezekiel 44:11-14
a gift
Heb. given. that there.
1:53; 16:46; 18:5; 1 Samuel 6:19; 2 Chronicles 26:16-20

Verse 21
And the Levites were purified, and they washed their clothes; and Aaron offered them as an offering before the LORD; and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them.
were purified
7; 19:12,19
offered
11-13,15; 3:12
Aaron made

Verse 22
And after that went the Levites in to do their service in the tabernacle of the congregation before Aaron, and before his sons: as the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so did they unto them.
after that
15; 2 Chronicles 30:15-17,27; 31:2; 35:8-15
as the Lord

Verse 24
This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation:
from twenty
In ch. 4:3, the Levites are appointed to the service of the tabernacle at the age of 30 years; and in 1 Ch 23:24, they are ordered to commence their work at 20 years of age. In order to reconcile this apparent discrepancy, it is to be observed, 1. At the time of which Moses speaks in ch. 4:3, the Levitical service was exceedingly severe, and consequently required full grown, robust men, to perform it; the age of 30 was therefore appointed as the period for commencing this service, the weightier part of which was probably there intended. 2. In this place God seems to speak of the service in a general way: hence the age of 25 is fixed. 3. In David's time, and afterwards, in the fixed tabernacle and temple, the laboriousness of the service no longer existed, and hence 20 years was the age appointed.
4:3,23; 1 Chronicles 23:3,24-27; 28:12,13
wait upon
Heb. war the warfare of, etc.
1 Corinthians 9:7; 2 Corinthians 10:4; 1 Timothy 1:18; 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:3-5

Verse 25
And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more:
cease waiting upon the service thereof
Heb. return from the warfare of the service.
4:23; 2 Timothy 4:7; The Levites, above fifty years of age, might superintend and assist their junior brethren in the ordinary offices, and give them and the people counsel and instruction; but they were exempted from carrying the tabernacle and from other laborious services. It is remarkable, that no law was made concerning the age at which the priests should begin to officiate, and though various blemishes disqualified them for the service of the sanctuary, yet they continued their ministrations till death, if capable. On the other hand, nothing is said concerning any bodily defects or blemishes disqualifying the Levites; but the time of their service is expressly settled. Their work was far more laborious than that of the priests; it is therefore likely that the priests would not begin very early to officiate; and the wisdom and experience of age would increase, rather than diminish, their fitness for the sacred duties of their office.

Verse 26
But shall minister with their brethren in the tabernacle of the congregation, to keep the charge, and shall do no service. Thus shalt thou do unto the Levites touching their charge.
to keep
1:53; 3:32; 18:4; 31:30; 1 Chronicles 23:32; 26:20-29; Ezekiel 44:8,11
and shall
1 Timothy 4:15

 


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Bibliography Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Numbers 8:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/numbers-8.html.

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