Numbers 8:1 - 12:15  Lesson 32
Torah Portion  Behaalotecha  

Numbers 8

The Lord spoke to Moses: Speak to Aaron and say to him: When you set them up, the seven lamps will give light in front of the lamp stand.

Aaron did so. He set up its lamps in front of the lampstand as the Lord commanded Moses. This is how the lampstand was made: it was hammered gold; from its base to its flower it was hammered. Moses made the lamp stand according to the vision that the Lord had shown Moses.

The Lord spoke to Moses: Separate the Levites from the Israelites and cleanse them.This is what you will do to them to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purification on them, have them shave their bodies, wash their clothes, and cleanse themselves. They will take a bull from the herd, with its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil. You will take a second bull from the herd for a purification offering. You will bring the Levites before the meeting tent and gather the entire Israelite community. 10 Then you will bring the Levites into the Lord’s presence, and the Israelites will lay their hands on the Levites. 11 Aaron will present the Levites as an uplifted offering in the Lord’s presence from the Israelites so that they may do the Lord’s service. 12 Then the Levites will lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and Aaron will offer one as a purification offering and the other as an entirely burned offering to the Lord in order to seek reconciliation for the Levites.

13 You will have the Levites stand before Aaron and his sons and you will present them as an uplifted offering to the Lord. 14 You will separate the Levites from the Israelites, and the Levites will be mine. 15 The Levites will enter to serve the meeting tent, after you have cleansed them and presented them as an uplifted offering. 16 They are given over to me from the Israelites in place of all the newborn, the oldest of all the Israelites. I take them for myself. 17 Every oldest male among the Israelites is mine, whether human or animal. When I killed all the oldest males in the land of Egypt, I dedicated them to myself. 18 I have taken the Levites in place of all the oldest among the Israelites. 19 I have selected the Levites from the Israelites for Aaron and his sons to perform the service of the Israelites in the meeting tent and to seek reconciliation for the Israelites so that there will not be a plague when the Israelites approach the sanctuary.

20 Moses, Aaron, and the entire Israelite community carried out for the Levites everything the Lord had commanded Moses. That is what the Israelites did for the Levites. 21 The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes. Aaron presented them as an uplifted offering in the Lord’s presence, and he sought reconciliation for them in order to cleanse them. 22 After this the Levites went in to perform their service in the meeting tent before Aaron and his sons. They did for the Levites just as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning them.

23 The Lord spoke to Moses: 24 This rule applies to the Levites: Everyone 25 years old and above will enter into service, performing the duties for the meeting tent. 25 At 50 years old each will retire from service. They will perform their duties no longer. 26 Each may assist his fellow Levites in the meeting tent with some responsibilities, but he may not perform service. This is how you should assign responsibilities to the Levites.

Numbers 9

The Lord spoke to Moses in the Sinai desert in the first month of the second year after they had left the land of Egypt: Let the Israelites keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month at twilight you will keep it at its appointed time. Keep it according to all its regulations and its customary practices.

Moses instructed the Israelites to keep the Passover. At twilight on the fourteenth day of the first month they kept the Passover in the Sinai desert. The Israelites did everything just as the Lord commanded Moses.

But there were persons who were unclean from contact with a human corpse, and they were unable to keep the Passover on that day. They approached Moses and Aaron that day. These persons said to him, “Although we are unclean from contact with a human corpse, why must we be prohibited from presenting the Lord’s offering at its appointed time with the rest of the Israelites?”

Moses said to them, “Wait while I listen for what the Lord will command concerning you.”

The Lord spoke to Moses: 10 Tell the Israelites: When any of you or your descendants are unclean from contact with a corpse or are on a long trip, they may still keep the Passover to the Lord. 11 They will keep it at twilight on the fourteenth day of the second month. They will eat the Passover lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12 They must not leave any of it until morning, nor break any of its bones. They will keep the Passover according to all its regulations. 13 But any persons who are clean and not on a trip, yet don’t keep the Passover, those persons will be cut off from their people, because they didn’t present the Lord’s offering at its appointed time. Those persons will bear their sin. 14 If an immigrant resides among you and wishes to keep the Passover to the Lord, that one also will keep it according to its regulations and its customary practices. There will be one set of regulations for both of you, for the immigrant and for the native of the land.

15 On the day the dwelling was erected, the cloud covered the dwelling, the covenant tent. At night until morning, the cloud appeared with lightning over the dwelling. 16 It was always there. The cloud covered it by day, appearing with lightning at night. 17 Whenever the cloud ascended from the tent, the Israelites would march. And the Israelites would camp wherever the cloud settled. 18 At the Lord’s command, the Israelites would march, and at the Lord’s command they would camp. As long as the cloud settled on the dwelling, they would camp. 19 When the cloud lingered on the meeting tent for many days, the Israelites would observe the Lord’s direction and they wouldn’t march. 20 Sometimes the cloud would be over the dwelling for a number of days, so they would camp at the Lord’s command, marching again only at the Lord’s command. 21 Sometimes the cloud would settle only overnight, and they would march when the cloud ascended in the morning. Whether it was day or night, they would march when the cloud ascended.22 Whether it was two days, or a month, or a long time, the Israelites would camp so long as the cloud lingered on the dwelling and settled on it. They wouldn’t march. But when it ascended, they would march. 23 They camped at the Lord’s command and they marched at the Lord’s command. They followed the Lord’s direction according to the Lord’s command through Moses.

Numbers 10

The Lord spoke to Moses: Make two silver trumpets and make them from hammered metalwork. Use them for summoning the community and for breaking camp. When both are blown, the entire community will meet you at the entrance of the meeting tent. When one is blown, the chiefs, the leaders of Israel’s divisions, will meet you. When you blow a series of short blasts, the camp on the east side will march. And when you blow a second series of short blasts, the camp on the south side will march. You will blow a series of short blasts to announce their march.

To gather the assembly, blow a long blast, not a series of short blasts. Aaron’s sons the priests will blow the trumpets. This will be a permanent regulation for you throughout time.

When you go to war in your land against an enemy who is attacking you, you will blow short blasts with the trumpets so that you may be remembered by the Lord your God and be saved from your enemies.

10 On your festival days, your appointed feasts, and at the beginning of your months, you will blow the trumpets over your entirely burned offerings and your well-being sacrifices. They will serve as a reminder of you to your God. I am the Lord your God.

11 On the twentieth day of the second month in the second year, the cloud ascended from the covenant dwelling. 12 The Israelites set out on their march from the Sinai desert, and the cloud settled in the Paran desert.

13 They marched for the first time at the Lord’s command through Moses. 14 The banner of Judah’s camp marched first with its military units. Nahshon, Amminadab’s son, commanded its military. 15 Nethanel, Zuar’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Issachar. 16 Eliab, Helon’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Zebulun. 17 The dwelling was taken down, and the Gershonites and the Merarites, who carried the dwelling, marched. 18 The banner of Reuben’s camp marched with its military units. Elizur, Shedeur’s son, commanded its military. 19 Shelumiel, Zurishaddai’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Simeon. 20 Eliasaph, Deuel’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Gad. 21 The Kohathites, who carried the holy things, marched. The dwelling would be set up before their arrival. 22 The banner of Ephraim’s camp marched with its military units. Elishama, Ammihud’s son, commanded its military. 23 Gamaliel, Pedahzur’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Manasseh. 24 Abidan, Gideoni’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Benjamin. 25 The banner of Dan’s camp, at the rear of the whole camp, marched with its military units. Ahiezer, Ammishaddai’s son, commanded its military. 26 Pagiel, Ochran’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Asher. 27 Ahira, Enan’s son, commanded the military of the tribe of Naphtali. 28 This was the order of departure of the Israelites with their military units when they set out.

29 Moses said to Hobab the Midianite, Reuel’s son and Moses’ father-in-law, “We’re marching to the place about which the Lord has said, ‘I’ll give it to you.’ Come with us and we’ll treat you well, for the Lord has promised to treat Israel well.”

30 Hobab said to him, “I won’t go; I’d rather go to my land and to my folk.”

31 Moses said, “Please don’t abandon us, for you know where we can camp in the desert, and you can be our eyes. 32 If you go with us, whatever good the Lord does for us, we’ll do for you.”

33 They marched from the Lord’s mountain for three days. The Lord’s chest containing the covenant marched ahead of them for three days to look for a resting place for them. 34 Now the Lord’s cloud was over them by day when they marched from the camp. 35 When the chest set out, Moses would say, “Arise, Lord, let your enemies scatter, and those who hate you flee.” 36 When it rested, he would say, “Return, Lord of the ten thousand thousands of Israel.”

Numbers 11

When the people complained intensely in the Lord’s hearing, the Lord heard and became angry. Then the Lord’s fire burned them and consumed the edges of the camp.When the people cried out to Moses, Moses prayed to the Lord, and the fire subsided.The name of that place was called Taberah, because the Lord’s fire burned against them.

The riffraff among them had a strong craving. Even the Israelites cried again and said, “Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish we ate in Egypt for free, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic. Now our lives are wasting away. There is nothing but manna in front of us.”

The manna was like coriander seed and its color was like resin. The people would roam around and collect it and grind it with millstones or pound it in a mortar. Then they would boil it in pots and make it into cakes. It tasted like cakes baked in olive oil. When the dew fell on the camp during the night, the manna would fall with it.

10 Moses heard the people crying throughout their clans, each at his tent’s entrance. The Lord was outraged, and Moses was upset. 11 Moses said to the Lord, “Why have you treated your servant so badly? And why haven’t I found favor in your eyes, for you have placed the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give birth to them, that you would say to me, ‘Carry them at the breast, as a nurse carries an unweaned child,’ to the fertile land that you promised their ancestors? 13 Where am I to get meat for all these people? They are crying before me and saying, ‘Give us meat, so we can eat.’ 14 I can’t bear this people on my own. They’re too heavy for me. 15 If you’re going to treat me like this, please kill me. If I’ve found favor in your eyes, then don’t let me endure this wretched situation.”

16 The Lord said to Moses, “Gather before me seventy men from Israel’s elders, whom you know as elders and officers of the people. Take them to the meeting tent, and let them stand there with you. 17 Then I’ll descend and speak with you there. I’ll take some of the spirit that is on you and place it on them. Then they will carry the burden of the people with you so that you won’t bear it alone. 18 To the people you will say, ‘Make yourselves holy for tomorrow; then you will eat meat, for you’ve cried in the Lord’s hearing, “Who will give us meat to eat? It was better for us in Egypt.” The Lord will give you meat, and you will eat. 19 You won’t eat for just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days, 20 but for a whole month until it comes out of your nostrils and nauseates you. You’ve rejected the Lord who’s been with you and you have cried before him, saying, “Why did we leave Egypt?” ’”

21 Moses said, “The people I’m with are six hundred thousand on foot and you’re saying, ‘I will give them meat, and they will eat for a month.’ 22 Can flocks and herds be found and slaughtered for them? Or can all the fish in the sea be found and caught for them?”

23 The Lord said to Moses, “Is the Lord’s power too weak? Now you will see whether my word will come true for you or not.”

24 So Moses went out and told the people the Lord’s words. He assembled seventy men from the people’s elders and placed them around the tent. 25 The Lord descended in a cloud, spoke to him, and took some of the spirit that was on him and placed it on the seventy elders. When the spirit rested on them, they prophesied, but only this once.26 Two men had remained in the camp, one named Eldad and the second named Medad, and the spirit rested on them. They were among those registered, but they hadn’t gone out to the tent, so they prophesied in the camp. 27 A young man ran and told Moses, “Eldad and Medad are prophesying in the camp.”

28 Joshua, Nun’s son and Moses’ assistant since his youth, responded, “My master Moses, stop them!”

29 Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? If only all the Lord’s people were prophets with the Lord placing his spirit on them!”

30 Moses and Israel’s elders were assembled in the camp. 31 A wind from the Lord blew up and brought quails from the sea. It let them fall by the camp, about a day’s journey all around the camp and about three feet deep on the ground. 32 Then the people arose and gathered the quail all that day, all night, and all the next day. The least collected was ten homers, and they laid them out around the camp. 33 While the meat was still between their teeth and not yet consumed, the Lord’s anger blazed against the people. The Lord struck the people with a very great punishment. 34 The name of that place was called Kibroth-hattaavah, because there they buried the people who had the craving.

35 From Kibroth-hattaavah the people marched to Hazeroth.

Numbers 12

When they were in Hazeroth, Miriam and Aaron criticized Moses on account of the Cushite woman whom he had married—for he had married a Cushite woman. They said, “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses? Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” The Lord heard it. Now the man Moses was humble, more so than anyone on earth.

Immediately, the Lord said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, “You three go out to the meeting tent.” So the three of them went out. Then the Lord descended in a column of cloud, stood at the entrance of the tent, and called to Aaron and Miriam. The two of them came forward. He said, “Listen to my words: If there is a prophet of the Lord among you,I make myself known to him in visions. I speak to him in dreams. But not with my servant Moses. He has proved to be reliable with all my household. I speak with him face-to-face, visibly, not in riddles. He sees the Lord’s form. So why aren’t you afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” The Lord’s anger blazed against them, and they went back.

10 When the cloud went away from over the tent, Miriam suddenly developed a skin disease flaky like snow. Aaron turned toward Miriam and saw her skin disease. 11 Then Aaron said to Moses, “Oh, my master, please don’t punish us for the sin that we foolishly committed. 12 Please don’t let her be like the stillborn, whose flesh is half eaten as it comes out of the mother’s womb.”

13 So Moses cried to the Lord, “God, please heal her!”

14 The Lord said to Moses, “If her father had spit in her face, would she not be shamed for seven days? Let her be shut out of the camp for seven days, and afterward she will be brought back.” 15 So they shut Miriam out of the camp seven days. And the people didn’t march until Miriam was brought back. 16 Afterward the people marched from Hazeroth, and they camped in the Paran desert.

Torah Portion   Behaalotecha       Numbers 8:1 - 12:15 

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