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Speak unto Aaron, and say unto him, When thou lightest the lamps, the seven lamps shall give light over against the candlestick.
When thou lightest the lamps — The priests lighted the middle lamp from the fire of the altar; and the rest one from another; signifying that all light and knowledge comes from Christ, who has the seven spirits of God, figured by the seven lamps of fire.
Over against the candlestick — On that part which is before the candlestick, Heb.
over against the face of the candlestick — That is, in that place towards which the candlestick looked, or where the candlestick stood in full view, that is, upon the north-side, where the table of shew-bread stood, as appears from hence, because the candlestick stood close to the boards of the sanctuary on the south-side, Exodus 26:35. And thus the lights were on both sides of the sanctuary, which was necessary, because it was dark in itself, and had no window.
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.
Of beaten gold — Not hollow, but solid gold, beaten out of one piece, not of several pieces joined or soldered together.
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.
Of purifying — Heb. of sin, that is, for the expiation of sin. This water was mixed with the ashes of a red heifer, Numbers 19:9, which therefore may seem to have been prescribed before, though it be mentioned after; such kind of transplacings of passages being frequent in scripture.
Shave all their flesh — This external rite signified the cutting off their inordinate desire of earthly things and that singular purity of heart and life which is required in the ministers of God.
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 bullock — The same sacrifice which was offered for a sin-offering for the whole congregation, because the Levites came in the stead of all the first-born, who did in a manner represent the whole congregation.
And thou shalt bring the Levites before the LORD: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:
The children of Israel — Not all of them, which was impossible, but some in the name of all the princes or chiefs of each tribe, who used to transact things in the name of their tribes.
Put their hands — Whereby they signified their transferring that right of ministering to God from the first-born in whose hands it formerly was, to the Levites, and their entire resignation and dedication of them to God's service.
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.
For an offering — Heb. for a wave-offering. Not that Aaron did so wave them, which he could not do, but that he caused them to imitate that motion, and to wave themselves toward the several parts of the world: whereby they might signify their readiness to serve God, according to their capacity wheresoever they should be.
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.
Lay their hands — To signify that they were offered by them and for them.
And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD.
Set the Levites before Aaron — Give the Levites to them, or to their service.
Unto the Lord — For to him they were first properly offered, and by him given to the priests in order to his service.
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 — Into the court, where they were to wait upon the priests at the altar of burnt-offering; and, at present, into the tabernacle, to take it down and set it up.
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.
To do the service of Israel — To serve God in their stead, to do what otherwise they had been obliged to do in their own persons.
To make an atonement — Not by offering sacrifices, which the priests alone might do, but by assisting the priests in that expiatory work, and by a diligent performance of all the parts of their office, whereby God was pleased both with them and with the people.
That there be no plague — This is added as a reason why God appointed them to serve in the tabernacle, that they might guard it, and not suffer any of the people to come near it, or meddle with holy things, which if they did, it would certainly bring a plague upon them.
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.
In the tabernacle — By way of advice, and assistance in lesser and easier works.
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Numbers 8". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent