Bible Society of South Africa

To The Word – Day 36

Numbers 6–10, Jude

Bible text(s)

Rules for Nazirites

1The LORD commanded Moses 2to give the following instructions to the people of Israel. Any men or women who make a special vow to become Nazirites and dedicate themselves to the LORD 3shall abstain from wine and beer. They shall not drink any kind of drink made from grapes or eat any grapes or raisins. 4As long as they are Nazirites, they shall not eat anything that comes from a grapevine, not even the seeds or skins of grapes.

5As long as they are under the Nazirite vow, they must not cut their hair or shave. They are bound by the vow for the full time that they are dedicated to the LORD, and they shall let their hair grow. 6-7Their hair is the sign of their dedication to God, and so they must not defile themselves by going near a corpse, not even that of their father, mother, brother, or sister. 8As long as they are Nazirites, they are consecrated to the LORD.

9If the consecrated hair of a Nazirite is defiled because he or she is right beside someone who suddenly dies, they must wait seven days and then shave off their hair; and so they become ritually clean. 10On the eighth day they shall bring two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence. 11The priest shall offer one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, to perform the ritual of purification for them because of their contact with a corpse. On the same day they shall reconsecrate their hair 12and rededicate to the LORD their time as Nazirites. The previous period of time doesn't count, because their consecrated hair was defiled. As a repayment offering they shall bring a one-year-old lamb.

13When Nazirites complete their vows, they shall perform this ritual. They shall go to the entrance of the Tent 14and present to the LORD three animals without any defects: a one-year-old male lamb for a burnt offering, a one-year-old ewe lamb for a sin offering, and a ram for a fellowship offering. 15They shall also offer a basket of bread made without yeast: thick loaves made of flour mixed with olive oil and biscuits brushed with olive oil, and in addition the required offerings of corn and wine.

16The priest shall present all these to the LORD and offer the sin offering and the burnt offering. 17He shall sacrifice the ram to the LORD as a fellowship offering, and offer it with the basket of bread; he shall also present the offerings of corn and wine. 18At the entrance of the Tent the Nazirite shall shave off his or her hair and put it on the fire on which the fellowship offering is being burnt.

19Then, when the shoulder of the ram is boiled, the priest shall take it and put it, together with one thick loaf of bread and one biscuit from the basket, into the hands of the Nazirite. 20Next, the priest shall present them as a special gift to the LORD; they are a sacred offering for the priest, in addition to the breast and the leg of the ram which by law belong to the priest. After that, the Nazirite may drink wine.

21These are the regulations for Nazirites; but if a Nazirite promises an offering beyond what his or her vow requires them to give, they must fulfil exactly the promise they made.

The Priestly Blessing

22The LORD commanded Moses 23to tell Aaron and his sons to use the following words in blessing the people of Israel:

24May the LORD bless you and take care of you;

25May the LORD be kind and gracious to you;

26May the LORD look on you with favour and give you peace.

27And the LORD said, “If they pronounce my name as a blessing upon the people of Israel, I will bless them.”

The Offerings of the Leaders

1On the day Moses finished setting up the Tent of the LORD's presence, he anointed and dedicated the Tent and all its equipment, and the altar and all its equipment. 2Then the clan chiefs who were leaders in the tribes of Israel, the same men who were in charge of the census, 3brought their offerings to the LORD: six wagons and twelve oxen, a wagon for every two leaders and an ox for each leader. After they had presented them, 4the LORD said to Moses, 5“Accept these gifts for use in the work to be done for the Tent; give them to the Levites according to the work they have to do.” 6So Moses gave the wagons and the oxen to the Levites. 7He gave two wagons and four oxen to the Gershonites, 8and four wagons and eight oxen to the Merarites. All their work was to be done under the direction of Ithamar son of Aaron. 9But Moses gave no wagons or oxen to the Kohathites, because the sacred objects they took care of had to be carried on their shoulders.

10The leaders also brought offerings to celebrate the dedication of the altar. When they were ready to present their gifts at the altar, 11the LORD said to Moses, “Tell them that each day for a period of twelve days one of the leaders is to present his gifts for the dedication of the altar.”

12-83They presented their offerings in the following order:

Day Tribe Leader
1st Judah Nahshon son of Amminadab
2nd Issachar Nethanel son of Zuar
3rd Zebulun Eliab son of Helon
4th Reuben Elizur son of Shedeur
5th Simeon Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai
6th Gad Eliasaph son of Deuel
7th Ephraim Elishama son of Ammihud
8th Manasseh Gamaliel son of Pedahzur
9th Benjamin Abidan son of Gideoni
10th Dan Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai
11th Asher Pagiel son of Ochran
12th Naphtali Ahira son of Enan

The offerings each one brought were identical: one silver bowl weighing 1.5 kilogrammes and one silver basin weighing 800 grammes, by the official standard, both of them full of flour mixed with oil for the grain offering; one gold dish weighing 110 grammes, full of incense; one young bull, one ram, and a one-year-old lamb, for the burnt offering; one goat for the sin offering; and two bulls, five rams, five goats, and five one-year-old lambs for the fellowship offering.

84-88The totals of the offerings brought by the twelve leaders for the dedication of the altar were as follows:

    — twelve silver bowls and twelve silver basins weighing a total of 27.6 kilogrammes
    — twelve gold dishes weighing a total of 1.32 kilogrammes, filled with incense
    — twelve bulls, twelve rams, and twelve one-year-old lambs, together with the grain offerings that go with them, for the burnt offerings
    — twelve goats for the sin offerings
    — 24 bulls, sixty rams, sixty goats, sixty one-year-old lambs, for the fellowship offerings.

89When Moses went into the Tent to talk with the LORD, he heard the LORD speaking to him from above the lid on the Covenant Box, between the two winged creatures.

Placing the Lamps

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Tell Aaron that when he puts the seven lamps on the lampstand, he should place them so that the light shines towards the front.” 3Aaron obeyed and placed the lamps facing the front of the lampstand. 4From top to bottom the lampstand was made of hammered gold, according to the pattern that the LORD had shown Moses.

The Purification and Dedication of the Levites

5The LORD said to Moses, 6“Separate the Levites from the rest of the people of Israel and purify them 7in the following way: sprinkle them with the water of purification and tell them to shave their whole bodies and to wash their clothes. Then they will be ritually clean. 8Then they are to take a young bull and the required grain offering of flour mixed with olive oil; and you are to take another bull for the sin offering. 9Then assemble the whole community of Israel and make the Levites stand in front of the Tent of my presence. 10The people of Israel are to place their hands on the heads of the Levites, 11and then Aaron shall dedicate the Levites to me as a special gift from the Israelites, so that they may do my work. 12The Levites shall then put their hands on the heads of the two bulls; one is to be offered as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering, in order to perform the ritual of purification for the Levites.

13“Dedicate the Levites as a special gift to me, and put Aaron and his sons in charge of them. 14Separate the Levites in this way from the rest of the Israelites, so that they will belong to me. 15After you have purified and dedicated the Levites, they will be qualified to work in the Tent. 16I have claimed them in the place of all the firstborn sons of the Israelites, and they belong to me alone. 17When I killed all the firstborn in Egypt, I consecrated as my own the eldest son of each Israelite family and the firstborn of every animal. 18I am now taking the Levites instead of all the firstborn of the Israelites, 19and I assign the Levites to Aaron and his sons, as a gift from the Israelites, to work in the Tent for the people of Israel and to protect the Israelites from the disaster that would strike them if they came too near the Holy Place.”

20So Moses, Aaron, and all the people of Israel dedicated the Levites, as the LORD commanded Moses. 21The Levites purified themselves and washed their clothes, and Aaron dedicated them as a special gift to the LORD. He also performed the ritual of purification for them. 22The people did everything the LORD had commanded Moses concerning the Levites. And so the Levites were qualified to work in the Tent under Aaron and his sons.

23The LORD said to Moses, 24“From the age of 25 each Levite shall perform his duties in the Tent of my presence, 25and at the age of fifty he shall retire. 26After that, he may help his fellow-Levites in performing their duties in the Tent, but he must not perform any service by himself. This is how you are to regulate the duties of the Levites.”

The Second Passover

1The LORD spoke to Moses in the Sinai Desert in the first month of the second year after the people of Israel had left Egypt. He said, 2-3“On the fourteenth day of this month, beginning at sunset, the people of Israel are to observe the Passover according to all the rules and regulations for it.” 4So Moses told the people to observe the Passover, 5and on the evening of the fourteenth day of the first month they did so in the Sinai Desert. The people did everything just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

6But there were some people who were ritually unclean because they had touched a corpse, and they were not able to keep the Passover on that day. They went to Moses and Aaron 7and said, “We are unclean because we have touched a corpse, but why should we be excluded from presenting the LORD's offering with the rest of the Israelites?”

8Moses answered, “Wait until I receive instructions from the LORD.”

9The LORD told Moses 10to say to the people of Israel, “When any of you or your descendants are unclean from touching a corpse or are far away on a journey, but still want to keep the Passover, 11you are permitted to observe it one month later instead, on the evening of the fourteenth day of the second month. Celebrate it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. 12Do not leave any of the food until the following morning and do not break any of the animal's bones. Observe the Passover according to all the regulations. 13But anyone who is ritually clean and not away on a journey and who does not observe the Passover, shall no longer be considered one of my people, because he did not present the offering to me at the appointed time. He must suffer the consequences of his sin.

14“If foreigners living among you want to keep the Passover, they must observe it according to all the rules and regulations. The same law applies to everyone, whether native or foreigner.”

The Fiery Cloud

(Ex 40.34–38)

15-16On the day the Tent of the Lord's presence was set up, a cloud came and covered it. At night the cloud looked like fire. 17Whenever the cloud lifted, the people of Israel broke camp, and they set up camp again in the place where the cloud came down. 18The people broke camp at the command of the LORD, and at his command they set up camp. As long as the cloud stayed over the Tent, they stayed in the same camp. 19When the cloud stayed over the Tent for a long time, they obeyed the LORD and did not move on. 20Sometimes the cloud remained over the Tent for only a few days; in any case, they remained in camp or moved, according to the command of the LORD. 21Sometimes the cloud remained only from evening until morning, and they moved on as soon as the cloud lifted. Whenever the cloud lifted, they moved on. 22Whether it was two days, a month, a year, or longer, as long as the cloud remained over the Tent, they did not move on; but when it lifted, they moved. 23They set up camp and broke camp in obedience to the commands which the LORD gave through Moses.

The Silver Trumpets

1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Make two trumpets of hammered silver to use for calling the people together and for breaking camp. 3When long blasts are sounded on both trumpets, the whole community is to gather round you at the entrance to the Tent of my presence. 4But when only one trumpet is sounded, then only the leaders of the clans are to gather round you. 5When short blasts are sounded, the tribes camped on the east will move out. 6When short blasts are sounded a second time, the tribes on the south will move out. So short blasts are to be sounded to break camp, 7but in order to call the community together, long blasts are to be sounded. 8The trumpets are to be blown by Aaron's sons, the priests.

“The following rule is to be observed for all time to come. 9When you are at war in your land, defending yourselves against an enemy who has attacked you, sound the signal for battle on these trumpets. I, the LORD your God, will help you and save you from your enemies. 10Also on joyful occasions — at your New Moon Festivals and your other religious festivals — you are to blow the trumpets when you present your burnt offerings and your fellowship offerings. Then I will help you. I am the LORD your God.”

The Israelites Break Camp

11On the twentieth day of the second month in the second year after the people left Egypt, the cloud over the Tent of the LORD's presence lifted, 12and the Israelites started on their journey out of the Sinai Desert. The cloud came to rest in the wilderness of Paran.

13They began to march at the command of the LORD through Moses, 14and each time they moved, they were in the same order. Those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Judah started out first, company by company, with Nahshon son of Amminadab in command. 15Nethanel son of Zuar was in command of the tribe of Issachar, 16and Eliab son of Helon was in command of the tribe of Zebulun.

17Then the Tent would be taken down, and the clans of Gershon and Merari, who carried it, would start out.

18Next, those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Reuben would start out, company by company, with Elizur son of Shedeur in command. 19Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai was in command of the tribe of Simeon, 20and Eliasaph son of Deuel was in command of the tribe of Gad.

21Then the Levite clan of Kohath would start out, carrying the sacred objects. By the time they arrived at the next camp, the Tent had been set up again.

22Next, those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Ephraim would start out, company by company, with Elishama son of Ammihud in command. 23Gamaliel son of Pedahzur was in command of the tribe of Manasseh, 24and Abidan son of Gideoni was in command of the tribe of Benjamin.

25Finally, those under the banner of the division led by the tribe of Dan, serving as the rearguard of all the divisions, would start out, company by company, with Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai in command. 26Pagiel son of Ochran was in command of the tribe of Asher, 27and Ahira son of Enan was in command of the tribe of Naphtali. 28This, then, was the order of march, company by company, whenever the Israelites broke camp and set out.

29Moses said to his brother-in-law Hobab son of Jethro the Midianite, “We are about to start out for the place which the LORD said he would give us. He has promised to make Israel prosperous, so come with us, and we will share our prosperity with you.”

30Hobab answered, “No, I am going back to my native land.”

31“Please don't leave us,” Moses said. “You know where we can camp in the wilderness, and you can be our guide. 32If you come with us, we will share with you all the blessings that the LORD gives us.”

The People Set Out

33When the people left Sinai, the holy mountain, they travelled for three days. The LORD's Covenant Box always went ahead of them to find a place for them to camp. 34As they moved on from each camp, the cloud of the LORD was over them by day.

35Whenever the Covenant Box started out, Moses would say, “Arise, LORD; scatter your enemies and put to flight those who hate you!” 36And whenever it stopped, he would say, “Return, LORD, to the thousands of families of Israel.”

Numbers 10GNBOpen in Bible reader

1From Jude, servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James —

To those who have been called by God, who live in the love of God the Father and the protection of Jesus Christ:

2May mercy, peace, and love be yours in full measure.

False Teachers

3My dear friends, I was doing my best to write to you about the salvation we share in common, when I felt the need of writing at once to encourage you to fight on for the faith which once and for all God has given to his people. 4For some godless people have slipped in unnoticed among us, persons who distort the message about the grace of our God in order to excuse their immoral ways, and who reject Jesus Christ, our only Master and Lord. Long ago the Scriptures predicted the condemnation they have received.

5For even though you know all this, I want to remind you of how the Lord once rescued the people of Israel from Egypt, but afterwards destroyed those who did not believe. 6Remember the angels who did not stay within the limits of their proper authority, but abandoned their own dwelling place: they are bound with eternal chains in the darkness below, where God is keeping them for that great Day on which they will be condemned. 7Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, and the nearby towns, whose people acted as those angels did and indulged in sexual immorality and perversion: they suffer the punishment of eternal fire as a plain warning to all.

8In the same way also, these people have visions which make them sin against their own bodies; they despise God's authority and insult the glorious beings above. 9Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare to condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” 10But these people attack with insults anything they do not understand; and those things that they know by instinct, like wild animals, are the very things that destroy them. 11How terrible for them! They have followed the way that Cain took. For the sake of money they have given themselves over to the error that Balaam committed. They have rebelled as Korah rebelled, and like him they are destroyed. 12With their shameless carousing they are like dirty spots in your fellowship meals. They take care only of themselves. They are like clouds carried along by the wind, but bringing no rain. They are like trees that bear no fruit, even in autumn, trees that have been pulled up by the roots and are completely dead. 13They are like wild waves of the sea, with their shameful deeds showing up like foam. They are like wandering stars, for whom God has reserved a place for ever in the deepest darkness.

14It was Enoch, the seventh direct descendant from Adam, who long ago prophesied this about them: “The Lord will come with many thousands of his holy angels 15to bring judgement on all, to condemn them all for the godless deeds they have performed and for all the terrible words that godless sinners have spoken against him!”

16These people are always grumbling and blaming others; they follow their own evil desires; they boast about themselves and flatter others in order to get their own way.

Warnings and Instructions

17But remember, my friends, what you were told in the past by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18They said to you, “When the last days come, people will appear who will mock you, people who follow their own godless desires.” 19These are the people who cause divisions, who are controlled by their natural desires, who do not have the Spirit. 20But you, my friends, keep on building yourselves up on your most sacred faith. Pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, 21and keep yourselves in the love of God, as you wait for our Lord Jesus Christ in his mercy to give you eternal life.

22Show mercy towards those who have doubts; 23save others by snatching them out of the fire; and to others show mercy mixed with fear, but hate their very clothes, stained by their sinful lusts.

Prayer of Praise

24To him who is able to keep you from falling, and to bring you faultless and joyful before his glorious presence — 25to the only God our Saviour, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, might, and authority, from all ages past, and now, and for ever and ever! Amen.

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