7 And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it.
8 And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.
9 Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon.
10 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.
11 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
12 When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them.
13 This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord.
14 Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord.
15 The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.
K.J.V. Bible Text
Several items of interest showed up in today’s reading. It begins with the duty of Aaron to light the lamps at evening time and burn perpetual incense before the Lord. Yet the Lord warns that he should offer no strange incense, no burnt offering or meat offering and no drink offering. The lamp is presumably to be for a Light unto the Lord only.
Also in this chapter we learn that the Israelites are to be numbered and shall give a ransom for their souls to the Lord so that there be no plague among them. The price is set for them and the ransom is to be paid for all who are over twenty years old. The Lord goes on to stipulate that all will give the same; the rich will not give more and the poor shall not give less.
It is clear to me that the collection of the “ransom” is a very practical thing to do. It assures there will be gold in the tabernacle treasury to pay for the needs of the priests and also will allow for a census of the people when the ransoms are tallied.
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