Numbers 8:13
And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) 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.

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.Offer ... offering - Compare the margin Aaron pointed to the Levites, and then waved his hands, indicating (compare Leviticus 7:30 note) that the offering was dedicated to God, and, again, by grant from Him, withdrawn for the use of the priests.11-13. And Aaron shall offer the Levites—Hebrew, "as a wave offering"; and it has been thought probable that the high priest, in bringing the Levites one by one to the altar, directed them to make some simple movements of their persons, analogous to what was done at the presentation of the wave offerings before the Lord. Thus were they first devoted as an offering to God, and by Him surrendered to the priests to be employed in His service. The consecration ceremonial was repeated in the case of every Levite who was taken (as was done at a later period) to assist the priests in the tabernacle and temple. (See on [66]2Ch 29:34). 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 thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons,.... After atonement was made for them, as Aben Ezra observes; then they were presented to Aaron and his sons, to whom they were given to he their ministers, and assistants to them:

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 8:13The 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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