Numbers 8:9
And you shall bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and you shall gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together:
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(9) The whole assembly of the children of Israel—i.e., as elsewhere, the representatives of the people.

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.The two bullocks were "to make an atonement for the Levites," and therefore are presented in their name. These offerings are similar to those prescribed in Leviticus 8:14 ff at the consecration of the priests, except that the burnt-offering was on that occasion a ram. The larger victim corresponds to the larger number of the Levites.9, 10. thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together, &c.—As it was plainly impossible that the whole multitude of the Israelites could do this, a select portion of them must be meant. This party, who laid their hands upon the Levites, are supposed by some to have been the first-born, who by that act, transferred their peculiar privilege of acting as God's ministers to the Levitical tribe; and by others, to have been the princes, who thus blessed them. It appears, from this passage, that the imposition of hands was a ceremony used in consecrating persons to holy offices in the ancient, as, from the example of our Lord and His apostles, it has been perpetuated in the Christian Church. No text from Poole on this verse. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation,.... Not without it, but within it, in the court of the tabernacle, at least at the door of it, where stood the altar of burnt offering, on which sacrifices for them were now to be offered:

and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together; the heads of the tribes, and elders of the people, as Aben Ezra interprets this phrase in Leviticus 8:3; where the whole congregation is said to be assembled at the consecration of the priests, as here at the consecration of the Levites, having a concern therein, as well as to be spectators and witnesses of this solemn affair; and no doubt as many of them as could conveniently assemble at the door of the tabernacle did, though every individual of that large body of people could not possibly do it.

And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the {d} whole assembly of the children of Israel together:

(d) That you may do this in the presence of them all.

Consecration of the Levites. - The command of God to consecrate the Levites for their service, is introduced in Numbers 8:1-4 by directions issued to Aaron with regard to the lighting of the candlestick in the dwelling of the tabernacle. Aaron was to place the seven lamps upon the candlestick in such a manner that they would shine פּניו אל־מוּל. These directions are not a mere repetition, but also a more precise definition, of the general instructions given in Exodus 25:37, when the candlestick was made, to place the seven lamps upon the candlestick in such a manner that each should give light over against its front, i.e., should throw its light upon the side opposite to the front of the candlestick. In itself, therefore, there is nothing at all striking in the renewal and explanation of those directions, which committed the task of lighting the lamps to Aaron; for this had not been done before, as Exodus 27:21 merely assigns the daily preparation of the candlestick to Aaron and his sons; and their being placed in the connection in which we find them may be explained from the signification of the seven lamps in relation to the dwelling of God, viz., as indicating that Israel was thereby to be represented perpetually before the Lord as a people causing its light to shine in the darkness of this world. And when Aaron is commanded to attend to the lighting of the candlestick, so that it may light up the dwelling, in these special instructions the entire fulfilment of his service in the dwelling is enforced upon him as a duty. In this respect the instructions themselves, coupled with the statement of the fact that Aaron had fulfilled them, stand quite appropriately between the account of what the tribe-princes had done for the consecration of the altar service as representatives of the congregation, and the account of the solemn inauguration of the Levites in their service in the sanctuary. The repetition on this occasion (Exodus 27:4) of an allusion to the artistic character of the candlestick, which had been made according to the pattern seen by Moses in the mount (Exodus 25:31.), is quite in keeping with the antiquated style of narrative adopted in these books.
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