It is highly symbolic that the Levites must purify themselves. The translations make the problem tame. It is demanding work, not tame. It is our work in an image. These men who deal with sin are sinners and they must cleanse themselves. And if they didn't think they are sinners, then spatter them with dirty water. Can anyone cleanse themselves? The Christians will think this Pelagian. But it is not, it is simply response to the learning and doing of what is good and what is not. Do not say we have no power, but use what power you have to hear and do the call to distinguish what is good. You won't be disappointed in the response that there is to you.
KJV and JB both have the Levites shave (גלח). If so, the circumlocution for shaving is remarkable, וְהֶעֱבִ֤ירוּ תַ֙עַר֙
My choices for these two words were among: עבר pass, pass through, bypass, cross, go, intent, transfer, or traverse, with ערה expose. עבר has several synonyms including fury (which one might experience after being so spattered), but I didn't think inventing a synonym was appropriate. Besides, there is a perfectly good word for shave already: גלח.
The offering of the Levites as first born is of course very significant also. The image in the cult appears to be the source for Christian sacraments, particularly ordinations. Though there is no mandate for this from the NT, one can at least understand a little of the precedent for the pageantry: identity with the only begotten, his self offering, and sanctification of the people through the symbolic offering of the firstborn.
But this is not the point of the exercise of a Gospel where everyone is a first born child, and the Lord is for all in the sense of the Song of Songs, and Psalm 100, He, he made us, and his we are. (I don't take this a typo in the Psalm.) Again the Scrolls and the Books of Truth are keys to Torah.
As in the Hebrew, I have separate words or phrases for all types of offering in English.
זבח offer, sacrifice
כליל whole offering
נדב freewill offering
נוף wave offering
נסך offer libation
עלה burnt offering
(The heave offering, רום, is yet to come, if indeed it comes. I have glossed it so far as contribution. But it is also exalt, lift high, and some variations.)
All these stems but one also have homonyms, some of which are in other semantic domains. כליל has no homonym because it is a rare use of the even rarer כלל which we haven't come to yet.
נדב prince, willing
נוף brandish, elevate, sprinkle
נסך molten metal, molten image, spill out
עלה ascend, bring up, come up, go up, conduit, leaf, trim
קרב approach, bring near, come near, cheek by jowl, close combat, draw near
I am gradually inventing ways of displaying this data clearly, with stem, domain, sub-domain, counts of usage, exceptions and so on. We have lots of time. I realize I could probably buy someone else's analysis, but if I did, I wouldn't learn anything myself.
There is an eighth word, כפר, traditionally make atonement. These are my glosses so far for this word.
כפר cover(27), cover-price(16), covered(2), covering(1), cub(3), cubs - young lions(1), cubs'(1), cubs(3), make cover-price(7), frost(1), henna(2), lion cubs(1), mercy seat(23), over-covering(1), young lion(4), young lions(5). [added tentatively cover-offering]
Are we having fun yet? - it's a circus!
It is impossible to learn a language and its history without doing one's own digging. That's the problem with the last 2000 years of translation history. We all depend on each other, but we don't want just to repeat all the same mistakes. Let's at least make some new ones and let's be as clear as possible so that we can see where we are wrong.
|וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר||1||And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,||3e||3g||10|
|דַּבֵּר֙ אֶֽל־אַהֲרֹ֔ן וְאָמַרְתָּ֖ אֵלָ֑יו |
בְּהַעֲלֹֽתְךָ֙ אֶת־הַנֵּרֹ֔ת אֶל־מוּל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה יָאִ֖ירוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת הַנֵּרֽוֹת
|2||Speak to Aaron and say to him, |
When you trim the lamps, to the forefront of the face of the lamp stand, the seven lamps will give light.
|וַיַּ֤עַשׂ כֵּן֙ אַהֲרֹ֔ן אֶל־מוּל֙ פְּנֵ֣י הַמְּנוֹרָ֔ה הֶעֱלָ֖ה נֵרֹתֶ֑יהָ |
כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֛ר צִוָּ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה אֶת־מֹשֶֽׁה
|3||And Aaron did so, to the forefront of the face of the lamp stand, he trimmed its lamps, |
as Yahweh commanded Moses.
|וְזֶ֨ה מַעֲשֵׂ֤ה הַמְּנֹרָה֙ מִקְשָׁ֣ה זָהָ֔ב עַד־יְרֵכָ֥הּ עַד־פִּרְחָ֖הּ מִקְשָׁ֣ה הִ֑וא |
כַּמַּרְאֶ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר הֶרְאָ֤ה יְהוָה֙ אֶת־מֹשֶׁ֔ה כֵּ֥ן עָשָׂ֖ה אֶת־הַמְּנֹרָֽה
|4||And this, the construction of the lamp stand, is from hammered gold. To its flank until its flourish, from hammered work it is, |
according to the appearance that Yahweh showed Moses, so he made the lamp stand.
|וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר||5||And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,||3e||3g||10|
|קַ֚ח אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם מִתּ֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
|6||C||Take the Levites from among the children of Israel, |
and clean them.
|וְכֹֽה־תַעֲשֶׂ֤ה לָהֶם֙ לְטַֽהֲרָ֔ם הַזֵּ֥ה עֲלֵיהֶ֖ם מֵ֣י חַטָּ֑את |
וְהֶעֱבִ֤ירוּ תַ֙עַר֙ עַל־כָּל־בְּשָׂרָ֔ם וְכִבְּס֥וּ בִגְדֵיהֶ֖ם וְהִטֶּהָֽרוּ
|7||And thus you will do to them to clean them: Spatter on them the water of sin, |
and let them draw a blade exposed, over all their flesh, and scour their garments, and they will make themselves clean.
|וְלָֽקְחוּ֙ פַּ֣ר בֶּן־בָּקָ֔ר וּמִנְחָת֔וֹ סֹ֖לֶת בְּלוּלָ֣ה בַשָּׁ֑מֶן |
וּפַר־שֵׁנִ֥י בֶן־בָּקָ֖ר תִּקַּ֥ח לְחַטָּֽאת
|8||And let them take a young bull of the herd, and gift it, with fine flour mingled with oil, |
and a second young bull of the herd, you will take for a sin offering.
|וְהִקְרַבְתָּ֙ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם לִפְנֵ֖י אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד |
וְהִ֨קְהַלְתָּ֔ אֶֽת־כָּל־עֲדַ֖ת בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|9||And you will bring near the Levites before the tent of engagement, |
and you will convene all the assembly of the children of Israel,
|וְהִקְרַבְתָּ֥ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֖ם לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה |
וְסָמְכ֧וּ בְנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶת־יְדֵיהֶ֖ם עַל־הַלְוִיִּֽם
|10||And you will bring near the Levites, in the presence of Yahweh, |
and the children of Israel will support their hands on the Levites.
|וְהֵנִיף֩ אַהֲרֹ֨ן אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֤ם תְּנוּפָה֙ לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֔ה מֵאֵ֖ת בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
וְהָי֕וּ לַעֲבֹ֖ד אֶת־עֲבֹדַ֥ת יְהוָֽה
|11||And Aaron will elevate the Levites, a wave offering in the presence of Yahweh from the children of Israel, |
and they will be to serve the service of Yahweh.
|וְהַלְוִיִּם֙ יִסְמְכ֣וּ אֶת־יְדֵיהֶ֔ם עַ֖ל רֹ֣אשׁ הַפָּרִ֑ים |
וַ֠עֲשֵׂה אֶת־הָאֶחָ֨ד חַטָּ֜את וְאֶת־הָאֶחָ֤ד עֹלָה֙ לַֽיהוָ֔ה לְכַפֵּ֖ר עַל־הַלְוִיִּֽם
|12||And the Levites will support their hands on the first of the young bulls, |
and will make the one a sin offering, and the other a burnt offering to Yahweh, for a cover-price over the Levites.
|וְהַֽעֲמַדְתָּ֙ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם לִפְנֵ֥י אַהֲרֹ֖ן וְלִפְנֵ֣י בָנָ֑יו |
וְהֵנַפְתָּ֥ אֹתָ֛ם תְּנוּפָ֖ה לַֽיהוָֽה
|13||And you will have the Levites stand before Aaron, and in the presence of his children, |
and elevate them as a wave offering to Yahweh.
|וְהִבְדַּלְתָּ֙ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם מִתּ֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
וְהָ֥יוּ לִ֖י הַלְוִיִּֽם
|14||And you will differentiate the Levites from among the children of Israel, |
and the Levites will be mine.
|וְאַֽחֲרֵי־כֵן֙ יָבֹ֣אוּ הַלְוִיִּ֔ם לַעֲבֹ֖ד אֶת־אֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֑ד |
וְטִֽהַרְתָּ֣ אֹתָ֔ם וְהֵנַפְתָּ֥ אֹתָ֖ם תְּנוּפָֽה
|15||And after such, the Levites will enter to serve the tent of engagement, |
when you will have cleaned them and elevated them as a wave offering.
|כִּי֩ נְתֻנִ֨ים נְתֻנִ֥ים הֵ֙מָּה֙ לִ֔י מִתּ֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
תַּחַת֩ פִּטְרַ֨ת כָּל־רֶ֜חֶם בְּכ֥וֹר כֹּל֙ מִבְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל לָקַ֥חְתִּי אֹתָ֖ם לִֽי
|16||~||For given, they are given to me from among the children of Israel, |
instead of the firstling of every womb, the firstborn of all among the children of Israel, I have taken them to me.
|כִּ֣י לִ֤י כָל־בְּכוֹר֙ בִּבְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בָּאָדָ֖ם וּבַבְּהֵמָ֑ה |
בְּי֗וֹם הַכֹּתִ֤י כָל־בְּכוֹר֙ בְּאֶ֣רֶץ מִצְרַ֔יִם הִקְדַּ֥שְׁתִּי אֹתָ֖ם לִֽי
|17||B||For mine are all the firstborn among the children of Israel, among the human and among the cattle. |
On the day I struck all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I sanctified them to me.
|וָאֶקַּח֙ אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם תַּ֥חַת כָּל־בְּכ֖וֹר בִּבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל||18||And I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the children of Israel.||3e||3g||17|
|וָאֶתְּנָ֨ה אֶת־הַלְוִיִּ֜ם נְתֻנִ֣ים ׀ לְאַהֲרֹ֣ן וּלְבָנָ֗יו מִתּוֹךְ֮ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ לַעֲבֹ֞ד אֶת־עֲבֹדַ֤ת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד וּלְכַפֵּ֖ר עַל־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל |
וְלֹ֨א יִהְיֶ֜ה בִּבְנֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ נֶ֔גֶף בְּגֶ֥שֶׁת בְּנֵֽי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל אֶל־הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ
|19||And I have given the Levites, they are given to Aaron and to his children, from among the children of Israel, to serve the service of the children of Israel in the tent of engagement, and to make a cover-price over the children of Israel, |
so there will not be plague among the children of Israel, when the children of Israel come close to the sanctuary.
|וַיַּ֨עַשׂ מֹשֶׁ֧ה וְאַהֲרֹ֛ן וְכָל־עֲדַ֥ת בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לַלְוִיִּ֑ם |
כְּ֠כֹל אֲשֶׁר־צִוָּ֨ה יְהוָ֤ה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה֙ לַלְוִיִּ֔ם כֵּן־עָשׂ֥וּ לָהֶ֖ם בְּנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל
|20||And Moses and Aaron, and all the assembly of the children of Israel, did for the Levites, |
according to everything that Yahweh commanded Moses for the Levites, so did to them, the children of Israel.
|וַיִּֽתְחַטְּא֣וּ הַלְוִיִּ֗ם וַֽיְכַבְּסוּ֙ בִּגְדֵיהֶ֔ם וַיָּ֨נֶף אַהֲרֹ֥ן אֹתָ֛ם תְּנוּפָ֖ה לִפְנֵ֣י יְהוָ֑ה |
וַיְכַפֵּ֧ר עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם אַהֲרֹ֖ן לְטַהֲרָֽם
|21||And the Levites made a sin offering for themselves and they scoured their garments, and Aaron elevated them, a wave offering in the presence of Yahweh, |
and Aaron made a cover-price over them to clean them.
|וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵ֞ן בָּ֣אוּ הַלְוִיִּ֗ם לַעֲבֹ֤ד אֶת־עֲבֹֽדָתָם֙ בְּאֹ֣הֶל מוֹעֵ֔ד לִפְנֵ֥י אַהֲרֹ֖ן וְלִפְנֵ֣י בָנָ֑יו |
כַּאֲשֶׁר֩ צִוָּ֨ה יְהוָ֤ה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה֙ עַל־הַלְוִיִּ֔ם כֵּ֖ן עָשׂ֥וּ לָהֶֽם
|22||And after such, the Levites entered to serve their service in the tent of engagement before Aaron, and in the presence of his children, |
as Yahweh commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.
|וַיְדַבֵּ֥ר יְהוָ֖ה אֶל־מֹשֶׁ֥ה לֵּאמֹֽר||23||And Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,||3e||3g||10|
|זֹ֖את אֲשֶׁ֣ר לַלְוִיִּ֑ם |
מִבֶּן֩ חָמֵ֨שׁ וְעֶשְׂרִ֤ים שָׁנָה֙ וָמַ֔עְלָה יָבוֹא֙ לִצְבֹ֣א צָבָ֔א בַּעֲבֹדַ֖ת אֹ֥הֶל מוֹעֵֽד
|24||g||This is what is for the Levites: |
from twenty five years and upward, each will enter to host as host in the service of the tent of engagement.
|וּמִבֶּן֙ חֲמִשִּׁ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה יָשׁ֖וּב מִצְּבָ֣א הָעֲבֹדָ֑ה |
וְלֹ֥א יַעֲבֹ֖ד עֽוֹד
|25||And from fifty years, he will cease from hosting the service, |
and will not serve any more.
|וְשֵׁרֵ֨ת אֶת־אֶחָ֜יו בְּאֹ֤הֶל מוֹעֵד֙ לִשְׁמֹ֣ר מִשְׁמֶ֔רֶת וַעֲבֹדָ֖ה לֹ֣א יַעֲבֹ֑ד |
כָּ֛כָה תַּעֲשֶׂ֥ה לַלְוִיִּ֖ם בְּמִשְׁמְרֹתָֽם
|26||But will minister with his brothers in the tent of engagement to keep the watch. And its service, he will not serve. |
Thus you will do for the Levites in their watches.