Levitical Installation Sacrifices

— Mosaic Tabernacle Installation Sacrifices —

Brian Kuehmichel©
November 6, 2016

Levites* — sons of the tribe of Levi
Priests* — of the sons of Aaron (of Levi)
[ * See: Levites; Priests]



"For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount." (Heb 8:4-5)

"It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these." (Heb 9:23)

"For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect." (Heb 10:1)



Tabernacle Structure and Equipment


Offering

Cleansing of Tabernacle structure and all of its contents and equipment

Sacrifice

A young bullock for a Sin offering, and a ram for a Burnt offering

Provider

Priests, leaders of congregation

Executor

Moses as priest, Aaron as high priest, sons of Aaron as priests

Manner

"And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office." (Exo 29:44); "And thou shalt take the anointing oil*, and anoint the tabernacle*, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy. And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it." (Exo 40:9-11) "And Moses took the anointing oil, and anointed the tabernacle and all that was therein, and sanctified them. And he sprinkled thereof upon the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all his vessels, both the laver and his foot, to sanctify them. ... And he brought the bullock for the sin offering: and Aaron and his sons laid their hands upon the head of the bullock for the sin offering. And he slew it; and Moses took the blood, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it." (Lev 8:10-11, 14-15) "Seven days thou shalt make an atonement for the altar, and sanctify it; and it shall be an altar most holy: whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy." (Exo 29:37) [ * See: Anointing Oil; Tabernacle]

"This was the dedication of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold: Each charger of silver weighing an hundred and thirty shekels, each bowl seventy: all the silver vessels weighed two thousand and four hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary: The golden spoons were twelve, full of incense, weighing ten shekels apiece, after the shekel of the sanctuary: all the gold of the spoons was an hundred and twenty shekels. All the oxen for the burnt offering were twelve bullocks, the rams twelve, the lambs of the first year twelve, with their meat offering: and the kids of the goats for sin offering twelve. And all the oxen for the sacrifice of the peace offerings were twenty and four bullocks, the rams sixty, the he goats sixty, the lambs of the first year sixty. This was the dedication of the altar, after that it was anointed." (Num 7:84-88) [See: Sin offering; Burnt offering]

Annually on the Day of Atonement in the seventh month and 10th day (Lev 16:29-30) there was a renewal ceremony of dedication: "And he shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel. And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: ... And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation." (Lev 16:16-20, 33)

Blood

"... put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger, and purified the altar, and poured the blood at the bottom of the altar, and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it." (Lev 8:15)

Details

First the Tabernacle and components were sprinkled with oil; then the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, to sanctify the altar; followed by the bullock for the sin offering with its blood "put it upon the horns of the altar round about with his finger" and "poured the blood at the bottom of the altar." This was followed by the sanctification of the priests to service. [See below: Consecration of Priest(s)]

Purpose

To cleanse and sanctify the tabernacle, and all that is therein unto the holy purposes of God, to use it to teach Israel of the need for atonement, to show by these patterns how to be reconciled to God, and to point to the coming savior who could take away the ongoing sacrifices by one sacrifice for all time.

Insights

It took a great Priest to cleanse the candidates for the Levitical priesthood. The same Moses who ascended the mountain and talked with God, in type, cleanses them. "Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens." (Heb 8:1) This points to the Savior who cleanses us from all unrighteousness. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

God is holy! "For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the Lord that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy." (Lev 11:44-45); "Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy." (Lev 19:2); "Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God." (Lev 20:7); The Tabernacle sacrifices and rituals themselves are a profound display of this truth. This shows that God does not tolerate or accept the uncleanness or sinfulness of man but seeks to remove it. This is ultimately done through the "once for all" sacrifice of Jesus for those who will believe. "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Heb 10:10); "But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference." (Rom 3:21-22); "If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." (1 Cor 3:17) [See: Purpose of the Tabernacle and Levitical System]

Supplement



High Priest, Priests and Levites


Offering

Consecration of Priest(s)* (Exo 28-29; Num 4; Lev 8); "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." (Exo 28:1); "And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel." (Exo 19:6)

Sacrifice

"Take Aaron and his sons with him, and the garments*, and the anointing oil*, and a bullock for the sin offering, and two rams, and a basket of unleavened bread" (Lev 8:2) Two rams one for a one for a Burnt offering* and one for a Peace offering*, each with Meal, Drink and Salt offerings. "This is the offering of Aaron and of his sons, which they shall offer unto the Lord in the day when he is anointed; the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a meat offering perpetual, half of it in the morning, and half thereof at night." (Lev 6:20) This is a separate Meal offering broken into two parts. (Perpetual here means this Meal offering is to be done for each installation of priest or high priest on the day of their individual anointing for service.)

* The times of the morning and evening sacrifices are these: morning is between the dawning light and sunrise (when top of sun shows) and evening is between the sunset (when top of sun disappears) during twilight before darkness. See: "CORRECT TIMING OF THE MORNING & EVENING SACRIFICES"]

Provider

Israel

Executor

Moses as priest (Psa 99:6)

Manner

Presentation: "And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water." (Exo 29:4)

Cleansing: "And Aaron and his sons thou shalt bring unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and shalt wash them with water." (Exo 29:4); "And Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water." (Lev 8:6)

Garments: "And thou shalt take the garments, and put upon Aaron the coat, and the robe of the ephod, and the ephod, and the breastplate, and gird him with the curious girdle of the ephod: And thou shalt put the mitre upon his head, and put the holy crown upon the mitre. Then shalt thou take the anointing oil, and pour it upon his head, and anoint him. And thou shalt bring his sons, and put coats upon them. And thou shalt gird them with girdles, Aaron and his sons, and put the bonnets on them: and the priest's office shall be theirs for a perpetual statute: and thou shalt consecrate Aaron and his sons." (Exo 29:5-9); "And he put upon him the coat, and girded him with the girdle, and clothed him with the robe, and put the ephod upon him, and he girded him with the curious girdle of the ephod, and bound it unto him therewith. And he put the breastplate upon him: also he put in the breastplate the Urim and the Thummim. And he put the mitre upon his head; also upon the mitre, even upon his forefront, did he put the golden plate, the holy crown; as the Lord commanded Moses." (Lev 8:7-9)

Anointing: "And he poured of the anointing oil upon Aaron's head, and anointed him, to sanctify him." (Lev 8:12) [See: Anointing Oil]

Blood

"And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar." (Exo 29:12) "And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar." (Exo 29:16) Sprinkled on four sides of altar (horns), balance poured at the bottom of the altar, (Lev 1:5; 3:2; 8:15; 9:9; Deu 12:27)

Details

This is a seven day ceremony repeated each day for seven days. (Exo 29:35)

Sin offering: "And thou shalt cause a bullock to be brought before the tabernacle of the congregation: and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock. And thou shalt kill the bullock before the Lord, by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And thou shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with thy finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar. And thou shalt take all the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul that is above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and burn them upon the altar. But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering." (Exo 29:10-14)

Burnt offering: "Thou shalt also take one ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram. And thou shalt slay the ram, and thou shalt take his blood, and sprinkle it round about upon the altar. And thou shalt cut the ram in pieces, and wash the inwards of him, and his legs, and put them unto his pieces, and unto his head. And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar: it is a burnt offering unto the Lord: it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord." (Exo 29:15-18)

Consecration offering: "And thou shalt take the other ram; and Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram. Then shalt thou kill the ram, and take of his blood, and put it upon the tip of the right ear of Aaron, and upon the tip of the right ear of his sons, and upon the thumb of their right hand, and upon the great toe of their right foot, and sprinkle the blood upon the altar round about. And thou shalt take of the blood that is upon the altar, and of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it upon Aaron, and upon his garments, and upon his sons, and upon the garments of his sons with him: and he shall be hallowed, and his garments, and his sons, and his sons' garments with him." (Exo 29:19-21); "And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place. And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy. And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy. And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them." (Exo 29:31-35) [Compare the cleansing of the leper in Leviticus 14:1-20 with this part of the ceremony.  See: Priests wages]

Peace offering: Wave and Heave offering*: Also thou shalt take of the ram the fat and the rump, and the fat that covereth the inwards, and the caul above the liver, and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, and the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration: And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord: And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the Lord. And thou shalt receive them of their hands, and burn them upon the altar for a burnt offering, for a sweet savour before the Lord: it is an offering made by fire unto the Lord. And thou shalt take the breast of the ram of Aaron's consecration, and wave it for a wave offering before the Lord: and it shall be thy part. And thou shalt sanctify the breast of the wave offering, and the shoulder of the heave offering, which is waved, and which is heaved up, of the ram of the consecration, even of that which is for Aaron, and of that which is for his sons: And it shall be Aaron's and his sons' by a statute for ever from the children of Israel: for it is an heave offering: and it shall be an heave offering from the children of Israel of the sacrifice of their peace offerings, even their heave offering unto the Lord. (Exo 29:22-28)

Eating the sacrifice: (a Peace offering) "And thou shalt take the ram of the consecration, and seethe his flesh in the holy place. And Aaron and his sons shall eat the flesh of the ram, and the bread that is in the basket by the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And they shall eat those things wherewith the atonement was made, to consecrate and to sanctify them: but a stranger shall not eat thereof, because they are holy. And if ought of the flesh of the consecrations, or of the bread, remain unto the morning, then thou shalt burn the remainder with fire: it shall not be eaten, because it is holy." (Exo 29:31-34)

Duration: "And thus shalt thou do unto Aaron, and to his sons, according to all things which I have commanded thee: seven days shalt thou consecrate them." (Exo 29:35)

Purpose

This ceremony was to inaugurate the priests in their service to assist the people in maintaining their holy relationship with God. It set them apart, established their office, gave them authority, and began their duties and obligations.

Insights

The individual steps have meaning. The Presentation, Cleansing, Garments, Anointing and the Sacrifices [enumerated above] provide the overview of the significance of this ceremony. They are to stand before God, be cleaned by washing, wear specific garments while on active duty, be anointed with the holy oil, and have part in application of the Sin, Burnt and Peace offerings* to themselves for this ceremony. The seven day ceremony implies a profound separation unto an exalted standard of holiness, elevated office, and great authority. The priests are sanctified and considered holy, at peace with God and reckoned obedient to Him, so that they may approach Him in the tabernacle services and offer the various sacrifices, both the required and the voluntary. Everything they do while in active service is to reflect the holiness and justice of God, every sin, trespass or uncleanness must be dealt with, i.e. man must be reconciled by way of a fitting sacrifice or ceremony to return to relationship with their Creator.

When "Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water" (Lev 8:6) it implied God was calling and preparing the Levitical priesthood for special service. They were not the ultimate priests, "but ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light" (1 Pet 2:9). The Levitical priests pointed to those chosen of God, called to be sons of God, "behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not" (1 John 3:1); and brought nigh unto him, "and because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father" (Gal 4:6). They must be clean vessels, "be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord" (Isa 52:11) and "according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love" (Eph 1:4). These are: chosen vessels, "go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel" (Acts 9:15); a prepared pot, "but now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand" (Isa 64:8); a clay pot made unto honour, "hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour" (Rom 9:21). So it is the Lord who calls, "as they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2). And it is the Lord who equips, "but unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ" (Eph 4:7) since "God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord" (1 Cor 1:9). So God enables every man to perform the required duties, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." (1 Cor 12:7-11) So Moses washes and dresses them in the priestly apparel with each piece pointing to aspects of Christ and His church. [Priests Garments; and Headings: Bonnets, Clothing, Ephod, Girdle, Linen, Priest (High Priest), Priest(s) at: Generally Accepted Old Testament Types]

The requirement that "Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the bullock" means that the person emphasizes that this Sin offering ceremony applies to himself, that the death of the animal (death by bloodshed and destruction by burning) properly belongs to himself for his own sin. Again "Aaron and his sons shall put their hands upon the head of the ram" to show that this first ram ceremony applies to himself. The entire animal is offered as a Burnt offering and shows the approval, or acceptance, by God. The subsequent or second ram (Exo 29:19-21) is a ram of consecration for offering their service to Him. This second ram with the blood touched to the ear, thumb and great toe shows that our ears should obediently hear, our hands should willingly serve, our feet should steadfastly walk in God's service. It suggests offering of the entire heart and will to Him and also means here that they are to be wholly consumed in doing God's work. [Compare the cleansing of the leper in Leviticus 14:1-32 with this part of the ceremony.]

The second ram is presented as a Wave and Heave offering* which is a form of the Peace offering with this requirement: "And whosoever offers a sacrifice of peace offerings unto the Lord to accomplish his vow, or a freewill offering in beeves or sheep, it shall be perfect to be accepted; there shall be no blemish therein. Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, you shall not offer these unto the Lord, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the Lord." (Lev 22:21-22) Aaron and his sons take "... the right shoulder; for it is a ram of consecration: And one loaf of bread, and one cake of oiled bread, and one wafer out of the basket of the unleavened bread that is before the Lord: And thou shalt put all in the hands of Aaron, and in the hands of his sons; and shalt wave them for a wave offering before the Lord." (Exo 29:22-24) Aaron and each of his sons in turn must wave this offering. This emphasizes the perfection necessary to please God that we are to present our best in our dedication and service to Him. Eating the Peace offering shows us that even though the priests are wholly dedicated to the Lord they derive benefits and blessings from such servitude. It also points to Jesus' words in John 6:25-59 where He said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day." (John 6:53-54) Note that this ceremony is repeated again for seven days to show the deep need for cleansing from sin, the great significance of the office, and the special privilege to approach God and serve in this capacity. (Exo 29:35)

This suggests the complete giving of oneself into the service of God that Apostle Paul presents: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." (Rom 12:1-3); "Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God." (Roms 6:13) James concurs saying, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) This dedication of self is also the extension of deep gratitude or profound thankfulness. "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name." (Psa 100:4); "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful." (Col 3:15) [See: Supplement]

Supplement



Offering

Consecration of Levites*  

Sacrifice

The Levites and two bullocks one for a Sin offering* and one for a Burnt offering*, each with Meal, Drink and Salt offerings are for cleansing the Levites.

Provider

The Levites are a Congregational offering since the people of Israel offer the Levites to the Lord via Moses and Aaron. (Num 8:9-11) "And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel." (Num 8:11)

Executor

Moses presides over their presentation to the Lord (for service to the priests, Num 8:6-10) and Aaron executes the sacrificial ceremony. (Num 8:11-15)

Manner

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, and cleanse them. 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." (Num 8:5-7) "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. And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather the whole assembly of the children of Israel together: And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites: 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. 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. And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord. Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine. 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." (Num 8:8-15) 

Blood

Sin offering: Bullock - "And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation: And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, even before the vail. And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the Lord, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation." (Lev 4:16-18)

Burnt offering: Bullock - The high priest shall bring the blood caught in a basin (bason, Exo 12:22; Lev 1:5; Exo 29:12), and sprinkle the blood round about upon the altar, sprinkled on four sides of altar, balance poured at the bottom of the altar. "And you shalt take of the blood of the bullock, and put it upon the horns of the altar with your finger, and pour all the blood beside the bottom of the altar." (Exo 29:12; Lev 1:5; 3:2; 4:25; 8:15; 9:9; Deu 12:27)

Details

Priest - "Lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the Lord." (Lev 4:4); "But the flesh of the bullock, and his skin, and his dung, shalt thou burn with fire without the camp: it is a sin offering." (Exo 29:14) For the second bullock, "And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation." (Lev 4:19-21)

Purpose

This ceremony was to present, cleanse, establish and inaugurate the Levitical families of Gershon, Kohath and Merari for the service of the tabernacle. They were given in exchange for Israel's firstborn to be dedicated and serve before God. The placing of the children of Israel's hands upon the Levites is the confirmation of their acceptance and replacement for Israel's own firstborn.

Insights

This is a large 3 part group of people dedicated to "execute the service of the Lord." "And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari." (Gen 46:11) "And these are they that were numbered of the Levites after their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites: of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites: of Merari, the family of the Merarites." (Num 26:57) [See: Supplement]

Supplement

[Rom 12:1-2; Eph 1:12; 1 Pet 4:17; Heb 12:23; Ja 1:18; Rev 14:4; 5:10; 1 Pet 2:5, 9-10; * See: Levites; Levite age for service; Levites wages; Sin offering; Burnt offering]




Special Notes


Tabernacle:

Tabernacle: (Exo 26-30ch) It has several names or descriptive names: "the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation" (Exo 29:32; 40:2, 6, 29), "the tent of the congregation" (Exo 39:40; 40:22, 34-35) "the tabernacle of the congregation" (Exo 27:21; 28:43; 29:4, 10-11, 30, 32, 42, 44; 30:16, 18, 20, 26, 36; 31:7; 33:7; 35:21; 38:8, 30; 40:12; Lev 1:1, 3, 5; 3:2, 8; 16:16; etc.), and "the tent of the testimony" (Num 9:15).

Tabernacle Coverings: "Make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen with blue, purple and scarlet decorations of cherubims of skilled work. The length of one curtain shall be twenty eight cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every curtains shall have one measure. Five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and another five curtains shall be coupled one to another. Make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise in the outermost edge of another curtain to couple the second. Fifty loops make in one curtain, and fifty loops in the edge of the curtain to couple the second; that the loops may take hold one of another. And make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle. And make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make. The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the width four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure. And couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle." (Exo 26:1-9) Make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering above that of badgers' skins. (Exo 26:14) To fasten the wall and divider hangings and the upper coverings together, fifty fasteners of brass and fifty fasteners of gold were used.

Tabernacle sides: Vertical boards of shittim wood, each ten cubits long and a cubit and a half wide overlaid with gold, and each with rings of gold for places for the bars overlaid with gold. Twenty boards each on the north and on the south side each with two sockets under every board for its two tenons. Westward: six boards overlaid with gold, plus two boards for the corners coupled together beneath at the sockets and above at the head unto one ring with two sockets of silver under each board, for a total of eight boards and sixteen sockets. It had bars overlaid with gold to join the tabernacle walls. Five bars of shittim wood overlaid with gold for the boards of the north side and five bars for the south side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the westward side of the tabernacle and the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end.

Inner vail: Place an inner hanging vail (often called the second vail, "the vail of the sanctuary") of blue, purple, scarlet of fine twined linen of skilled work made with cherubims for the pattern. Hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, with these posts set upon the four sockets of silver. The the ark of the testimony with its staves and the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony is set in "the most holy place" behind the vail of blue, purple and scarlet decorated with cherubims.

Outer vail: Make an outer hanging vail (often called the first vail) for the door of the tent of blue, purple and scarlet of fine twined linen, decorated with needlework. Hang it upon the five pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, with these posts set upon the four sockets of brass. "And Moses reared up the tabernacle, and fastened his sockets, and set up the boards thereof, and put in the bars thereof, and reared up his pillars. And he spread abroad the tent over the tabernacle, and put the covering of the tent above upon it; as the Lord commanded Moses." (Exo 40:18-19)

Tabernacle contents: The ark overlaid with pure gold within and without covered with a mercy seat of pure gold with two cherubims of gold, beaten out of one piece, on the two ends of the mercy seat; a table with dishes, spoons, and bowls with covers of pure gold; the lampstand with lamps, snuffers and snuffdishes of pure gold; the incense* altar overlaid with pure gold; and two staves of shittim wood overlaid with gold for each (ark, table, lampstand, incense altar) to carry them (Exo 37ch). "And when Moses was gone into the tabernacle of the congregation to speak with him, then he heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy seat that was upon the ark of testimony, from between the two cherubims: and he spake unto him." (Num 7:89) "And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat." (Lev 16:2) [ * See: Incense]

Table of shewbread: two cubits shall be the length, a cubit the width, and a cubit and a half the height. Overlay it with pure gold, and a border of an hand breadth round about, and make a golden crown of gold to the border. Make for it four rings of gold, and put rings in the four corners that are on the four feet (table legs) up against the border to insert the staves of shittim wood overlaid with gold to carry the table. "And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway." (Exo 25:30) "And he put the table in the tent of the congregation, upon the side of the tabernacle northward, without the vail. And he set the bread in order upon it before the Lord; as the Lord had commanded Moses." (Exo 40:22-23) This table (Exo 30:27) was for shewbread with frankincense (Lev 24:7); for incense and anointing oil: dishes, spoons, bowls, and covers (Exo 37:16); and for the candlestick: snuffers and snuffdishes (Exo 37:23). For transporting: "And upon the table of shewbread they shall spread a cloth of blue, and put thereon the dishes, and the spoons, and the bowls, and covers to cover withal: and the continual bread shall be thereon." (Num 4:7)

A candlestick: of pure gold, of beaten work shall the candlestick be made: his shaft, and his branches, his bowls, his knops, and his flowers, shall be of one piece. Six branches shall come out of the sides of it; three branches of the candlestick out of the one side, and three branches of the candlestick out of the other side: Three bowls shaped like almonds with a knop and a flower in each branch. And in the main branch of the candlesticks shall be four bowls shaped like almonds, each with their knops and their flowers (3 x 6 plus 4 = 22 bowls). And (above the base rising along the main stem) there shall be a knop under two branches, and a knop under two more branches, and a knop under two more branches making six branches that proceed out of the candlestick a knop under each set of two branches. The candlestick knops and branches shall be the same (symmetrical): all of it shall be one beaten work of pure gold. And make the seven lamps (seven separate branches) in it: and they shall light the lamps in it, that they may give light out from it. (This makes 22 bowls to fill with oil, trim the wicks and light, making 21 continuously ignited while working on each separate bowl. This was done twice daily. Exo 30:7-8 and 2 Chr 13:11) It needed the tongs and the snuffdishes, made of pure gold, a talent of pure gold for all these vessels. Israel provided "pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually." (Exo 27:20; Lev 24:2)

The golden altar: the altar of incense, to burn incense upon, of shittim wood, foursquare, a cubit long and a cubit wide; and two cubits shall be the height; made with horns. And overlay it with pure gold, the top, the sides round about, and the horns at its corners; and make a crown of gold round about. Make two golden rings under the crown by the corners for the staves of shittim wood overlaid with gold to carry it. "And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same. And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal. And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon. And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord." (Exo 30:1-10)

Set inside the tent, between the inner and the outer vails, the candlestick toward the south opposite the table on the north side of the tabernacle (often called "the holy place" past the first vail). Place the altar of incense before (in front of) the inner vail before the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat over the ark of the testimony, where I will meet with you. And Aaron (and successive high priests) shall burn sweet incense upon it every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, and when Aaron lights the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.

Court / Courtyard: on the north (right side upon entering) and south side the hangings of the court were one hundred cubits of fine twined linen hung upon twenty wood pillars each with upper hooks and fillets and overlaid chapiters of silver, all set upon twenty brass sockets; on the west side (back or far end) were linen hangings of fifty cubits upon ten wood pillars each with upper hooks and fillets of silver, all set upon twenty brasen sockets; and for the east side fifty cubits with a center gate or entrance (twenty cubits wide). The linen hangings on each side of the gate were fifteen cubits hung upon three wood pillars each with upper hooks and fillets of silver, all set upon three brasen sockets. The hanging for the gate of the court was decorated with needlework of blue, purple and scarlet from fine twined linen twenty cubits wide and five cubits high, the same height as the hangings of the whole court. This center gate or entrance had four wood pillars, each with upper hooks and fillets and overlaid chapiters of silver, set upon four brass sockets. The wood boards of the tabernacle structure round about and the wood pillars of the court required anchor pins made of brass with tether cords (Exo 35:18; 39:40; Num 3:26, 37; 4:26, 32) to keep the structure standing. (Exo 35 & 38ch)

Court contents: the brass altar of the burnt offering of wood overlaid with brass set inside the court beyond the center gate with its grate of brass and vessels of brass: pots, shovels, basons, fleshhooks and firepans (Exo 38ch); the laver of brass (from the looking glasses of the women [polished copper/brass mirrors]) and his foot (base) of brass "between the tent of the congregation and the altar" (Exo 30:18; 40:6-7, 29-30); and two staves of shittim wood overlaid with brass for each (altar, laver) to carry them. "And Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet thereat: When they went into the tent of the congregation, and when they came near unto the altar, they washed; as the Lord commanded Moses." (Exo 40:31-31)

"Thus was all the work of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation finished: and the children of Israel did according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so did they. And they brought the tabernacle unto Moses, the tent, and all his furniture, his taches, his boards, his bars, and his pillars, and his sockets, And the covering of rams' skins dyed red, and the covering of badgers' skins, and the vail of the covering, The ark of the testimony, and the staves thereof, and the mercy seat, The table, and all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread, The pure candlestick, with the lamps thereof, even with the lamps to be set in order, and all the vessels thereof, and the oil for light, And the golden altar, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the tabernacle door, The brasen altar, and his grate of brass, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, The hangings of the court, his pillars, and his sockets, and the hanging for the court gate, his cords, and his pins, and all the vessels of the service of the tabernacle, for the tent of the congregation, The cloths of service to do service in the holy place, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and his sons' garments, to minister in the priest's office." (Exo 39:32-41) "And of the blue (for inside taberncle instruments, Exo 39:1; Num 4:5-9), and purple (for brasen altar instruments, Num 4:12-14), and scarlet (cover table of shewbread and instruments, Num 4:7-8), they made cloths of service, to do service in the holy place..." (Exodus 39:1, 41; 31:10; 35:19) [See: Tabernacle Symbols and Types]


Anointing Oil:

"Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin*: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil." Exo 30:22-25); "And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people." (Exo 30:31-33) [ * 1 hin ≅ 6.1 liters or 1.6 gallons (25.6 cups) See: Levitical Sacrifices and Psa 133:1-3; Generally Accepted Types: Anointing Oil]

Anointing the Tabernacle and equipment: This was done with a unique blend of spices and oil to be used specifically for the tabernacle and priests. "And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy." (Exo 30:26-29); "And thou shalt take the anointing oil, and anoint the tabernacle, and all that is therein, and shalt hallow it, and all the vessels thereof: and it shall be holy. And thou shalt anoint the altar of the burnt offering, and all his vessels, and sanctify the altar: and it shall be an altar most holy. And thou shalt anoint the laver and his foot, and sanctify it." (Exo 40:9-11)

Anointing the priests: "And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. Upon man's flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people." (Exo 30:30-33); "And thou shalt bring Aaron and his sons unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, and wash them with water. And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt bring his sons, and clothe them with coats: And thou shalt anoint them, as thou didst anoint their father, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office: for their anointing shall surely be an everlasting priesthood throughout their generations." (Exo 40:12-15); "Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." (Psa 133:1-3) [See: Priests]


Incense:

And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people." (Exo 30:34-38)


Levites:

Levites — sons of the tribe of Levi, the sons of Levi by their names: Gershon, and Kohath, and Merari. "And the sons of Levi; Gershon, Kohath, and Merari." (Gen 46:11) "And these are they that were numbered of the Levites after their families: of Gershon, the family of the Gershonites: of Kohath, the family of the Kohathites: of Merari, the family of the Merarites." (Num 26:57) "And I, behold, I have taken the Levites from among the children of Israel instead of all the firstborn that openeth the matrix among the children of Israel: therefore the Levites shall be mine." (Num 3:12); "Take the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel, and the cattle of the Levites instead of their cattle; and the Levites shall be mine: I am the Lord." (Num 3:45); "Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine." (Num 8:14) Their garments are ordinary clean clothes. (Num 8:7); "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Bring the tribe of Levi near, and present them before Aaron the priest, that they may minister unto him. And they shall keep his charge, and the charge of the whole congregation before the tabernacle of the congregation, to do the service of the tabernacle. And they shall keep all the instruments of the tabernacle of the congregation, and the charge of the children of Israel, to do the service of the tabernacle. And thou shalt give the Levites unto Aaron and to his sons: they are wholly given unto him out of the children of Israel." (Num 3:5-9) [See: Generally Accepted Old Testament Types:Levites]

"That the princes of Israel, heads of the house of their fathers, who were the princes of the tribes, and were over them that were numbered, offered: And they brought their offering before the Lord, six covered wagons, and twelve oxen; a wagon for two of the princes, and for each one an ox: and they brought them before the tabernacle. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Take it of them, that they may be to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; and thou shalt give them unto the Levites, to every man according to his service. And Moses took the wagons and the oxen, and gave them unto the Levites. Two wagons and four oxen he gave unto the sons of Gershon, according to their service: And four wagons and eight oxen he gave unto the sons of Merari, according unto their service, under the hand of Ithamar the son of Aaron the priest. But unto the sons of Kohath he gave none: because the service of the sanctuary belonging unto them was that they should bear upon their shoulders." (Num 7:2-9)

The Levites work included arranging for: wood (Nehe 10:34), water (Exo 30:18; 40:7, 30), salt (Lev 2:13), oil for anointing (Exo 30:25, 31), select spices for the anointing oil (Exo 30:23-30; 31:11; [See: Anointing Oil]) and incense (Exo 31:11 [See: Incense]), assisting the priests [Ex: with carrying the parts of the sin offerings taken and burnt outside the camp, burning Sin offerings and Red Heifer outside the camp, etc.], and repair and maintenance of the Tabernacle structure (Num 3:5-9). This also included the disassembly, transportation and re-assembly of the Tabernacle when the camp of Israel was directed to move. The Levites were to help the Priests teach God's law to all Israel. [See: Num ch 3; 2 Chr 30:22; 35:30; Nehe 8:9, 11, 13]

Gershonites - "And the charge of the sons of Gershon in the tabernacle of the congregation shall be the tabernacle, and the tent, the covering thereof, and the hanging for the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, And the hangings of the court, and the curtain for the door of the court, which is by the tabernacle, and by the altar round about, and the cords of it for all the service thereof." (Num 3:25-26)

Kohathites - "And their charge shall be the ark, and the table, and the candlestick, and the altars, and the vessels of the sanctuary wherewith they minister, and the hanging, and all the service thereof. And Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest shall be chief over the chief of the Levites, and have the oversight of them that keep the charge of the sanctuary." (Num 3:31-32)

Merarites - "And under the custody and charge of the sons of Merari shall be the boards of the tabernacle, and the bars thereof, and the pillars thereof, and the sockets thereof, and all the vessels thereof, and all that serveth thereto, And the pillars of the court round about, and their sockets, and their pins, and their cords." (Num 3:36-37)


Levite age for service:

"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, This is it that belongeth unto the Levites: from twenty and five years old and upward they shall go in to wait upon the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: And from the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting upon the service thereof, and shall serve no more: 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." (Num 8:23-26); "From thirty years old and upward even until fifty years old, all that enter into the host, to do the work in the tabernacle of the congregation." (Num 4:3, 23, 30, 35, 47) This suggests 5 years of training, 20 years of active duty, and then teaching and supervising another generation.


Levites wages:

"And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, even the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. ... But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance." (Num 18:21, 24); "And the Levite that is within your gates; you shalt not forsake him; for he hath no part nor inheritance with thee. At the end of three years you shall bring forth all the tithe of your increase the same year, and shalt lay it up within your gates: And the Levite, (because he has no part nor inheritance with you,) and the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, which are within your gates, shall come, and shall eat and be satisfied; that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do." (Deut 14:27-29) [For more details see: Tithes]


Priests:

Sons of Aaron (of Levi, Kohath, Amram, Exo 6:16-20; Num 26:58-60) by descent. "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." (Exo 28:1)

Age of service: The priests, as descendents of Levi, are under the same confines as the Levites for their age to begin and end formal service. [See: Levite age for service] After their formal service they were to teach those priests and Levites coming into the service and maintain the proper supervision over the work of the Levite groups.

Aaron was established as head over all priests. "And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron's sons." (Exo 28:1); "And thou shalt put upon Aaron the holy garments, and anoint him, and sanctify him; that he may minister unto me in the priest's office." (Exo 40:13)

Sacrifices: Aaron and his successors were appointed to offer sacrifices daily. "Therefore thou and thy sons with thee shall keep your priest's office for everything of the altar, and within the vail; and ye shall serve: I have given your priest's office unto you as a service of gift: and the stranger that cometh nigh shall be put to death." (Num 18:7); "Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service of God." (Heb 9:6) "Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people's: for this he did once, when he offered up himself." (Heb 7:27)

Teaching: Never to be forgotten is the duty of all of the priests to teach God's law to all Israel and serve as judges in matters. "And the Lord spake unto Aaron, saying, Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the Lord hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." (Lev 1:8-11); "And the priests the sons of Levi shall come near; for them the Lord thy God hath chosen to minister unto him, and to bless in the name of the Lord; and by their word shall every controversy and every stroke be tried." (Deut 21:5); "They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar." "And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: ... And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel." (Deut 17:9, 12); ""They shall teach Jacob thy judgments, and Israel thy law: they shall put incense before thee, and whole burnt sacrifice upon thine altar." (Deut 33:10); (see 2 Chr 15:3 and Ezra 7:10)

Examination and judgment: Seasoned priests would also be involved in the peripheral obligations of attending to various cleansing rituals for uncleanness (Lev 14); skin, weeping and other diseases of person, property and home (Lev 13; Deut 24:8, etc.); and resolving other issues of interpretation of God's law. "If there arise a matter too hard for thee in judgment, between blood and blood, between plea and plea, and between stroke and stroke, being matters of controversy within thy gates: then shalt thou arise, and get thee up into the place which the Lord thy God shall choose; And thou shalt come unto the priests the Levites, and unto the judge that shall be in those days, and enquire; and they shall shew thee the sentence of judgment: And thou shalt do according to the sentence, which they of that place which the Lord shall choose shall shew thee; and thou shalt observe to do according to all that they inform thee: According to the sentence of the law which they shall teach thee, and according to the judgment which they shall tell thee, thou shalt do: thou shalt not decline from the sentence which they shall shew thee, to the right hand, nor to the left. And the man that will do presumptuously, and will not hearken unto the priest that standeth to minister there before the Lord thy God, or unto the judge, even that man shall die: and thou shalt put away the evil from Israel." (Deut 17:8-12; 19:17)

The priests were to be set apart for holy service, practice personal and ritual cleanliness and live a lifestyle reflecting their profound position of access to God via the Tabernacle system of service. "They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the name of their God: for the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and the bread of their God, they do offer: therefore they shall be holy. They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God. Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the Lord, which sanctify you, am holy." (Lev 21:6-8); "No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God. He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy [shewbread], and of the holy [from offerings]. Only he shall not go in unto the vail*, nor come nigh unto the altar**, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them." (Lev 21:21-23) See Leviticus 21:1-24 for more requirements. [* vail: often called the first vail, into the first chamber by the incense altar, a.k.a. the "holy place"; ** altar: the brasen altar in the court to offer sacrifices] [See: Generally Accepted Old Testament Types:Priest and Firstborn]


Priests Garments:

High priest: Son of Aaron (of Levi) by descent. [See: Priest, High]
Garments: "And these are the garments which they shall make; a breastplate, and an ephod, and a robe, and a broidered coat, a mitre, and a girdle: and they shall make holy garments for Aaron thy brother, and his sons, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office. And they shall take gold, and blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. And they shall make the ephod of gold, of blue, and of purple, of scarlet, and fine twined linen, with cunning work. It shall have the two shoulderpieces thereof joined at the two edges thereof; and so it shall be joined together. And the curious girdle of the ephod, which is upon it, shall be of the same, according to the work thereof; even of gold, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen. And thou shalt take two onyx stones, and grave on them the names of the children of Israel: Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth. With the work of an engraver in stone, like the engravings of a signet, shalt thou engrave the two stones with the names of the children of Israel: thou shalt make them to be set in ouches of gold. And thou shalt put the two stones upon the shoulders of the ephod for stones of memorial unto the children of Israel: and Aaron shall bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial. And thou shalt make ouches of gold; And two chains of pure gold at the ends; of wreathen work shalt thou make them, and fasten the wreathen chains to the ouches. And thou shalt make the breastplate of judgment with cunning work; after the work of the ephod thou shalt make it; of gold, of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine twined linen, shalt thou make it. Foursquare it shall be being doubled; a span shall be the length thereof, and a span shall be the breadth thereof. And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row. And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond. And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst. And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their inclosings. And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes. And thou shalt make upon the breastplate chains at the ends of wreathen work of pure gold. And thou shalt make upon the breastplate two rings of gold, and shalt put the two rings on the two ends of the breastplate. And thou shalt put the two wreathen chains of gold in the two rings which are on the ends of the breastplate. And the other two ends of the two wreathen chains thou shalt fasten in the two ouches, and put them on the shoulderpieces of the ephod before it. And thou shalt make two rings of gold, and thou shalt put them upon the two ends of the breastplate in the border thereof, which is in the side of the ephod inward. And two other rings of gold thou shalt make, and shalt put them on the two sides of the ephod underneath, toward the forepart thereof, over against the other coupling thereof, above the curious girdle of the ephod. And they shall bind the breastplate by the rings thereof unto the rings of the ephod with a lace of blue, that it may be above the curious girdle of the ephod, and that the breastplate be not loosed from the ephod. And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually. And thou shalt put in the breastplate of judgment the Urim and the Thummim; and they shall be upon Aaron's heart, when he goeth in before the Lord: and Aaron shall bear the judgment of the children of Israel upon his heart before the Lord continually. And thou shalt make the robe of the ephod all of blue. And there shall be an hole in the top of it, in the midst thereof: it shall have a binding of woven work round about the hole of it, as it were the hole of an habergeon, that it be not rent. And beneath upon the hem of it thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, round about the hem thereof; and bells of gold between them round about: A golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe round about. And it shall be upon Aaron to minister: and his sound shall be heard when he goeth in unto the holy place before the Lord, and when he cometh out, that he die not. And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, Holiness To The Lord. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the Lord. And thou shalt embroider the coat of fine linen, and thou shalt make the mitre of fine linen, and thou shalt make the girdle of needlework." (Exo 28:4-39) [and Exo 39:1-31; clothes: Exo 31:10; 35:19; 39:41; 29:30]

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Priests garments: "And for Aaron's sons thou shalt make coats, and thou shalt make for them girdles, and bonnets shalt thou make for them, for glory and for beauty. And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest's office. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him." (Exo 28:40-43); "And they made coats [shirt / jacket] of fine linen of woven work for Aaron, and for his sons [for all priests], And a mitre of fine linen [headpiece for Aaron], and goodly bonnets of fine linen [headcoverings for his sons], and linen breeches of fine twined linen [for all priests]." (Exo 39:27-28)

Breeches: "And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach: And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they come in unto the tabernacle of the congregation, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die: it shall be a statute for ever unto him and his seed after him." (Exo 28:42-43); "He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on." (Lev 16:4); "And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons' after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them. And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place." (Exo 29:29-30)

Succession: "And the holy garments of Aaron shall be his sons' after him, to be anointed therein, and to be consecrated in them. And that son that is priest in his stead shall put them on seven days, when he cometh into the tabernacle of the congregation to minister in the holy place." (Exo 29:29-30); "And the priest, whom he shall anoint, and whom he shall consecrate to minister in the priest's office in his father's stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year." (Lev 16:32-34a) [Note: This process implied an active and planned succession with the aged high priest establishing the next person before their incapacity to maintain continuity. It does not necessarily mean only father to son since some families had only daughters or were childless, but that the successive high priests were sons of Aaron by descent through the family line. The office of high priest might go to the nearest of kin that qualifies (brother, uncle, cousin). [See: Generally Accepted Old Testament Types: Aaron; Priest, High Priest and Priests]


Priests wages:

With the exception of Atonement Day offerings, sin-offerings and the inauguration of priests, the priests kept the hide of sacrificed beasts for his labor. "And the priest shall burn them upon the altar for an offering made by fire unto the Lord: it is a trespass offering. Every male among the priests shall eat thereof: it shall be eaten in the holy place: it is most holy. As the sin offering is, so is the trespass offering: there is one law for them: the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it. And the priest that offers any man's burnt offering, even the priest shall have to himself the skin of the burnt offering which he hath offered. And all the meal offering that is baked in the oven, and all that is dressed in the fryingpan, and in the pan, shall be the priest's that offereth it." (Lev 7:6-9); "And he shall take of it his handful, of the flour of the meat offering, and of the oil thereof, and all the frankincense which is upon the meat offering, and shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour, even the memorial of it, unto the Lord. And the remainder thereof shall Aaron and his sons eat: with unleavened bread shall it be eaten in the holy place; in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation they shall eat it. It shall not be baken with leaven. I have given it unto them for their portion of my offerings made by fire; it is most holy, as is the sin offering, and as the trespass offering. All the males among the children of Aaron shall eat of it. It shall be a statute for ever in your generations concerning the offerings of the Lord made by fire: every one that toucheth them shall be holy." (Lev 6:15-18;) "Speak unto Aaron and to his sons, saying, This is the law of the sin offering: In the place where the burnt offering is killed shall the sin offering be killed before the Lord: it is most holy. The priest that offereth it for sin shall eat it: in the holy place shall it be eaten, in the court of the tabernacle of the congregation. Whatsoever shall touch the flesh thereof shall be holy: and when there is sprinkled of the blood thereof upon any garment, thou shalt wash that whereon it was sprinkled in the holy place. But the earthen vessel wherein it is sodden shall be broken: and if it be sodden in a brasen pot, it shall be both scoured, and rinsed in water." (Lev 6:25-28)

"And Moses spake unto Aaron, and unto Eleazar and unto Ithamar, his sons that were left, Take the meat offering that remaineth of the offerings of the Lord made by fire, and eat it without leaven beside the altar: for it is most holy: And ye shall eat it in the holy place, because it is thy due, and thy sons' due, of the sacrifices of the Lord made by fire: for so I am commanded. And the wave breast and heave shoulder shall ye eat in a clean place; thou, and thy sons, and thy daughters with thee: for they be thy due, and thy sons' due, which are given out of the sacrifices of peace offerings of the children of Israel. The heave shoulder and the wave breast shall they bring with the offerings made by fire of the fat, to wave it for a wave offering before the Lord; and it shall be thine, and thy sons' with thee, by a statute for ever; as the Lord hath commanded. ... Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the Lord? Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded." (Lev 10:12-15, 17-18); "And he shall slay the lamb in the place where he shall kill the sin offering and the burnt offering, in the holy place: for as the sin offering is the priest's, so is the trespass offering: it is most holy" (Lev 14:13); "And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord, and that person be guilty; Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed. But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him. And every offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they bring unto the priest, shall be his. And every man's hallowed things shall be his: whatsoever any man giveth the priest, it shall be his." (Num 15:5-10)

"And the Lord spake unto Aaron, Behold, I also have given thee the charge of mine heave offerings of all the hallowed things of the children of Israel; unto thee have I given them by reason of the anointing, and to your sons, by an ordinance for ever." (Num 18:8) "And this is thine; the heave offering of their gift, with all the wave offerings of the children of Israel: I have given them unto thee, and to your sons and to your daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: every one that is clean in your house shall eat of it." (Num 18:11) "All the heave offerings of the holy things, which the children of Israel offer unto the Lord, have I given thee, and your sons and your daughters with thee, by a statute for ever: it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord unto thee and to your seed with thee." (Num 18:19) "But the tithes of the children of Israel, which they offer as an heave offering unto the Lord, I have given to the Levites to inherit: therefore I have said unto them, Among the children of Israel they shall have no inheritance." (Num 18:24) [These wages are: meal, sin, guilt, wave/heave offerings, oil & wine, firstfruits, firstborns, and the Lord himself. Num 18:8-20]




See: Generally Accepted Types; Examples, Types, Shadows and More; Levitical Sacrifices; Purpose for the Tabernacle; Tabernacle Symbols and Types; Types and Shadows are Important and Titles and Descriptions of Jesus Christ