Numbers 8:21
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.
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8:5-26 Here we have directions for the solemn ordination of the Levites. All Israel must know that they took not this honour to themselves, but were called of God to it; nor was it enough that they were distinguished from others. All who are employed for God, must be dedicated to him, according to the employment. Christians must be baptized, ministers must be ordained; we must first give ourselves unto the Lord, and then our services. The Levites must be cleansed. They must be clean that bear the vessels of the Lord. Moses must sprinkle the water of purifying upon them. This signifies the application of the blood of Christ to our souls by faith, that we may be fit to serve the living God. God declares his acceptance of them. All who expect to share in the privileges of the tabernacle, must resolve to do the service of the tabernacle. As, on the one hand, none of God's creatures are his necessary servants, he needs not the service of any of them; so none are merely honorary servants, to do nothing. All whom God owns, he employs; angels themselves have their services.Were purified - Rather, purified themselves; as directed in Numbers 8:7. 19. to make an atonement for the children of Israel, &c.—to aid the priests in that expiatory work; or, as the words may be rendered, "to make redemption for" the Levites being exchanged or substituted for the first-born for this important end, that there might be a sanctified body of men appointed to guard the sanctuary, and the people not allowed to approach or presumptuously meddle with holy things, which would expose them to the angry judgments of Heaven. The Levites were purified by washing and sprinkling and sacrifices. See Leviticus 15:13-15 Numbers 19:11, &c. And the Levites were purified,.... From sin, by the sprinkling of the sin water, or water of purification on them, Numbers 8:7,

and they washed their clothes; that they might have no defilement about them, neither in their bodies, nor in their garments:

and Aaron offered them as an offering before the Lord; a wave offering, as in Numbers 8:11,

and Aaron made an atonement for them to cleanse them; by offering the sacrifices for them, Numbers 8:12.

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.
21. purified themselves from sin] lit. ‘unsinned themselves.’ See on Numbers 31:19.Verse 21. - Were purified, or "purified themselves." It refers not to the ceremonial sprinkling, but to the personal preparation prescribed. The Levites were then to close this transfer of themselves to the Lord with a sin-offering and burnt-offering, in which they laid their hands upon the sacrificial animals. By this imposition of hands they made the sacrificial animals their representatives, in which they presented their own bodies to the Lord as a living sacrifice well-pleasing to Him. The signification of the dedication of the Levites, as here enjoined, is still further explained in Numbers 8:13-19. The meaning of Numbers 8:13. is this: According to the command already given (in Numbers 8:6-12), thou shalt place the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and wave them as a wave-offering before the Lord, and so separate them from the midst of the children of Israel, that they may be Mine. They shall then come to serve the tabernacle. So shalt thou cleanse them and wave them. The same reason is assigned for this in Numbers 8:16, Numbers 8:17, as in Numbers 3:11-13 (כּל בּכור for כּל־בּכור, cf. Numbers 3:13); and in Numbers 8:18 and Numbers 8:19, what was commanded in Numbers 3:6-9 is described as having been carried out. On Numbers 8:19 see Numbers 1:53.
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