Today’s reading begins with setting up of the lamps in the Tabernacle and concludes with the Israelites setting out from Mount Sinai.
The topics covered in the reading for today relate to the service of the Levites in the Tabernacle. The first section of the reading covers the cleansing and ordination of the Levites. Each of the Levites was to be sprinkled with the water of purification and shave the hair of their bodies. Then the Levites were to be presented before the people of Israel and offered to the LORD and two bulls, one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. The Levites themselves are offered to the LORD in a wave offering. The text at this point reiterates the fact that the LORD claims the firstborn of everything in Israel, but instead of requiring the firstborn, the LORD instead takes the Levites as his portion. The Levites were to serve from the age of twenty-five until they were fifty. After this point they were to cease serving.
In addition to the ordaining of the Levites, the Passover is celebrated. This marks the second year after the people of Israel were freed from slavery in Egypt. Some of the people were unable to celebrate this Passover because of being unclean from having to deal with the dead or being on a long journey during the time of celebration. The LORD made provision for them to celebrate the Passover the month after the Passover was celebrated. All the people of Israel were to celebrate the Passover each year or else those who had not celebrated the Passover would be cut off from having fellowship with their brothers in Israel.
Shortly after the alternative time of Passover celebration, in the second month of the second year on the twentieth day, the people of Israel set out from Sinai into the wilderness. The Tabernacle was disassembled as the LORD had instructed Moses to do. The ark of the LORD was sent out a three-days’ journey ahead of the rest of the camp to find the place where the LORD desired for the people of Israel to stop and rest.