And you shall set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering to the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And offer them for an offering.—Literally, and wave them as a wave- offering, as in Numbers 8:11. So also in Numbers 8:15.Leviticus 7:30 note) that the offering was dedicated to God, and, again, by grant from Him, withdrawn for the use of the priests.Before Aaron and his sons, i.e. put them into the power of Aaron and his sons, to employ them in holy ministrations; for so that phrase is sometimes used, as Genesis 13:9,
the land is before thee, i.e. in thy power, to use or enjoy it. Or setting the Levites before them did signify the giving the Levites to them, or to their service.
For an offering unto to the Lord; for to him they were first properly offered, and by him given to the priests in order to his service.
and offer them for an offering unto the Lord: or, and "waved them", &c. as before, that is, order them to be waved; for not Moses, but Aaron, did this, and indeed was done already; and therefore should rather be rendered, as by Bishop Patrick, after thou hast offered, or waved them.And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)13. The Levites are formally handed over to the priests as their ministers.Verse 13. - And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron. This is not an additional command, but repeats in a slightly different form the previous orders. A similar repetition occurs in verse 15 b. Numbers 3:5., and the duties binding upon them in Numbers 4:4. But before entering upon their duties they were to be consecrated to the work, and then formally handed over to the priests. This consecration is commanded in Numbers 8:7., and is not called קדּשׁ, like the consecration of the priests (Exodus 29:1; Leviticus 8:11), but טהר to cleanse. It consisted in sprinkling them with sin-water, shaving off the whole of the hair from their bodies, and washing their clothes, accompanied by a sacrificial ceremony, by which they were presented symbolically to the Lord as a sacrifice for His service. The first part of this ceremony had reference to outward purification, and represented cleansing from the defilement of sin; hence the performance of it is called התחטּא (to cleanse from sin) in Numbers 8:21. "Sprinkle sin-water upon them." The words are addressed to Moses, who had to officiate at the inauguration of the Levites, as he had already done at that of the priests. "Water of sin" is water having reference to sin, designed to remove it, just as the sacrifice offered for the expiation of sin is called חטּאת (sin) in Leviticus 4:14, etc.; whilst the "water of uncleanness" in Numbers 19:9, Numbers 19:13, signifies water by which uncleanness was removed or wiped away. The nature of this purifying water is not explained, and cannot be determined with any certainty. We find directions for preparing sprinkling water in a peculiar manner, for the purpose of cleansing persons who were cured of leprosy, in Leviticus 14:5., 50ff.; and also for cleansing both persons and houses that had been defiled by a corpse, in Numbers 19:9. Neither of these, however, was applicable to the cleansing of the Levites, as they were both of them composed of significant ingredients, which stood in the closest relation to the special cleansing to be effected by them, and had evidently no adaptation to the purification of the Levites. At the same time, the expression "sin-water" precludes our understanding it to mean simply clean water. So that nothing remains but to regard it as referring to the water in the laver of the sanctuary, which was provided for the purpose of cleansing the priests for the performance of their duties (Exodus 30:18.), and might therefore be regarded by virtue of this as cleansing from sin, and be called "sin-water" in consequence. "And they shall cause the razor to pass over their whole body," i.e., shave off all the hair upon their body, "and wash their clothes, and so cleanse themselves." תּער העביר is to be distinguished from גּלּח. The latter signifies to make balk or shave the hair entirely off, which was required of the leper when he was cleansed (Leviticus 14:8-9); the former signifies merely cutting the hair, which was part of the regular mode of adorning the body. The Levites also were not required to bathe their bodies, as lepers were (Leviticus 13:8-9), and also the priests at their consecration (Leviticus 8:6), because they were not affected with any special uncleanness, and their duties did not require them to touch the most holy instruments of worship. The washing of the clothes, on the other hand, was a thing generally required as a preparation for acts of worship (Genesis 35:2; Exodus 19:10), and was omitted in the case of the consecration of the priests, simply because they received a holy official dress. הטּהרוּ for הטּהרוּ, as in 2 Chronicles 30:18.
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