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Leviticus 21-22 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 21

Sanctity of the Priesthood. [a]The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the priests, Aaron’s sons, and tell them: None of you shall make himself unclean for any dead person among his kindred, except for his nearest relatives, his mother or father, his son or daughter, his brother or his unmarried sister, who is of his own family while she remains single; for these he may make himself unclean. But as a husband among his kindred[b] he shall not make himself unclean and thus profane himself.

The priests shall not make bald the crown of their head, nor shave the edges of their beard, nor lacerate their body. They shall be holy to their God, and shall not profane their God’s name, since they offer the oblations of the Lord, the food of their God; so they must be holy.

[c]A priest shall not marry a woman debased by prostitution, nor a woman who has been divorced by her husband; for the priest is holy to his God. Honor him as holy for he offers the food of your God; he shall be holy to you, because I, the Lord, am holy who make you holy.

If a priest’s daughter debases herself by prostitution, she thereby debases her father; she shall be burned with fire.

10 The most exalted of the priests, upon whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been ordained to wear the special vestments, shall not dishevel his hair or rend his garments, 11 nor shall he go near any dead person. Not even for his father or mother may he thus become unclean; 12 nor shall he leave the sanctuary and profane the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him. I am the Lord.

13 He shall marry only a woman who is a virgin. 14 He shall not marry a widow or a woman who has been divorced or one who has been debased by prostitution, but only a virgin, taken from his kindred, he shall marry, 15 so that he not profane his offspring among his kindred. I, the Lord, make him holy.

Priestly Blemishes.[d] 16 The Lord said to Moses: 17 Say to Aaron: None of your descendants, throughout their generations, who has any blemish shall come forward to offer the food of his God. 18 Anyone who has any of the following blemishes may not come forward: he who is blind, or lame, or who has a split lip, or a limb too long, 19 or a broken leg or arm, 20 or who is a hunchback or dwarf or has a growth in the eye, or who is afflicted with sores, scabs, or crushed testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any such blemish may draw near to offer the oblations of the Lord; on account of his blemish he may not draw near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may, however, eat the food of his God: of the most sacred as well as sacred offerings. 23 Only, he may not enter through the veil nor draw near to the altar on account of his blemish; he shall not profane my sacred precincts, for it is I, the Lord, who make them holy.

24 Moses, therefore, told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.

Chapter 22

Priestly Purity.[e] The Lord said to Moses: Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings which the Israelites consecrate to me; otherwise they will profane my holy name. I am the Lord.

[f]Tell them: If any one of you, or of your descendants in any future generation, dares, while he is in a state of uncleanness, to draw near the sacred offerings which the Israelites consecrate to the Lord, such a one shall be cut off from my presence. I am the Lord.

No descendant of Aaron who is stricken with a scaly infection, or who suffers from a genital discharge, may eat of the sacred offerings, until he again becomes clean. Moreover, if anyone touches a person who has become unclean by contact with a corpse, or if anyone has had an emission of semen, or if anyone touches any swarming creature whose uncleanness is contagious or any person whose uncleanness, of whatever kind it may be, is contagious— the one who touches such as these shall be unclean until evening and may not eat of the sacred portions until he has first bathed his body in water. Then, when the sun sets, he shall be clean. Only then may he eat of the sacred offerings, for they are his food. [g]He shall not make himself unclean by eating of any animal that has died of itself or has been killed by wild beasts. I am the Lord.

They shall keep my charge so that they will not bear the punishment in this matter and die for their profanation. I am the Lord who makes them holy.

10 Neither an unauthorized person nor a priest’s tenant or laborer may eat of any sacred offering. 11 But a slave[h] whom a priest acquires by purchase or who is born in his house may eat of his food. 12 [i]A priest’s daughter who is married to an unauthorized person may not eat of the sacred contributions. 13 But if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced and, having no children, returns to her father’s house, she may then eat of her father’s food as in her youth. No unauthorized person, however, may eat of it. 14 If such a one eats of a sacred offering through inadvertence, that person shall make restitution to the priest for the sacred offering, with an increment of one fifth of the amount. 15 The priests shall not allow the sacred offerings which the Israelites contribute to the Lord to be profaned 16 nor make them incur a penalty when they eat their sacred offerings. For I, the Lord, make them holy.

Unacceptable Victims. 17 [j]The Lord said to Moses: 18 Speak to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites, and tell them: When anyone of the house of Israel, or any alien residing in Israel, who presents an offering, brings a burnt offering as a votive offering or as a voluntary offering to the Lord, 19 if it is to be acceptable for you, it must be an unblemished male of the herd, of the sheep or of the goats. 20 You shall not offer one that has any blemish, for such a one would not be acceptable on your behalf. 21 When anyone presents a communion sacrifice to the Lord from the herd or the flock in fulfillment of a vow, or as a voluntary offering, if it is to find acceptance, it must be unblemished; it shall not have any blemish. 22 One that is blind or lame or maimed, or one that has running lesions or sores or scabs, you shall not offer to the Lord; do not put such an animal on the altar as an oblation to the Lord. 23 [k]An ox or a sheep that has a leg that is too long or is stunted you may indeed present as a voluntary offering, but it will not be acceptable as a votive offering. 24 One that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn out or cut off you shall not offer to the Lord. You shall neither do this in your own land 25 nor receive from a foreigner any such animals to offer up as the food of your God; since they are deformed or blemished, they will not be acceptable on your behalf.

26 [l]The Lord said to Moses: 27 When an ox or a lamb or a goat is born, it shall remain with its mother for seven days; only from the eighth day onward will it be acceptable, to be offered as an oblation to the Lord. 28 You shall not slaughter an ox or a sheep on one and the same day with its young. 29 Whenever you offer a thanksgiving sacrifice to the Lord, so offer it that it may be acceptable on your behalf; 30 it must be eaten on the same day; none of it shall be left over until morning. I am the Lord.

31 Be careful to observe my commandments. I am the Lord. 32 Do not profane my holy name, that in the midst of the Israelites I may be hallowed. I, the Lord, make you holy, 33 who led you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord.


  1. 21:1–12 While off duty the regular priests are not to become corpse-contaminated except for the close relatives listed in vv. 2–3. While on duty they presumably could not become impure at all. The high priest is restricted from all corpse contamination, on or off duty (vv. 11–12). Lay Israelites are not restricted from corpse contamination, except when in contact with what is holy (cf. Dt 26:14). See note on Lv 11:39–40. Israelites who undertake a nazirite vow enter into a sanctified state and cannot contact corpses (Nm 6:6–12). Cf. Ez 44:25–27.
  2. 21:4 Husband among his kindred: this probably refers to relatives by marriage and may even include his wife.
  3. 21:7 The ideal seems to be that a priest marry a virgin. This is explicitly stated for the high priest (cf. vv. 13–14; so also Ez 44:22, except there priests may marry widows of priests). The high priest has the added limitation that his wife must come from his kindred, i.e., the priestly family (cf. Ez 44:22).
  4. 21:16–23 Though priests with certain bodily imperfections cannot serve at the altar (vv. 18–20), they are not impure, since they may still eat of the offerings, which are holy, and do so within the sanctuary precincts since it is there the most holy offerings are to be eaten (v. 22).
  5. 22:1–16 While priests with bodily imperfections may eat the holy sacrifices (21:16–23), those impure and those not of the priestly household may not.
  6. 22:3–8 On uncleanness, see chaps. 11–15 and notes there.
  7. 22:8 See note on 11:39–40.
  8. 22:11 Slave: in contrast to the tenant or hired worker of v. 10, the slave, who is by definition a foreigner, is part of the priest’s household and therefore may eat of sacrifices.
  9. 22:12–13 A priest’s daughter, when a dependent of her father, may eat of the lesser holy offerings.
  10. 22:17–25 This passage complements the section on the bodily imperfections of priests in 21:16–23. The laws taken together indicate that whoever and whatever approaches and contacts the altar needs to be physically unimpaired.
  11. 22:23 Burnt offerings and communion sacrifices brought as voluntary offerings may have slight defects, probably because they are freely given and do not depend upon a prior promise as do votive offerings.
  12. 22:26–30 Other activities and procedures that would impair sacrifice are appended here. The rules in vv. 27–28 are reminiscent of the rule not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk (Ex 23:19; 34:26; Dt 14:21) and not to take a bird and its eggs (Dt 22:6–7), all of which have a humanitarian tenor.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 66 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 66[a]

Praise of God, Israel’s Deliverer

For the leader. A song; a psalm.


Shout joyfully to God, all the earth;
    sing of his glorious name;
    give him glorious praise.
Say to God: “How awesome your deeds!
    Before your great strength your enemies cringe.
All the earth falls in worship before you;
    they sing of you, sing of your name!”


[b]Come and see the works of God,
    awesome in deeds before the children of Adam.
He changed the sea to dry land;
    through the river they passed on foot.
There we rejoiced in him,
    who rules by his might forever,
His eyes are fixed upon the nations.
    Let no rebel rise to challenge!
Bless our God, you peoples;
    loudly sound his praise,
Who has kept us alive
    and not allowed our feet to slip.
10 You tested us, O God,
    tried us as silver tried by fire.
11 You led us into a snare;
    you bound us at the waist as captives.
12 [c]You let captors set foot on our neck;
    we went through fire and water;
    then you led us out to freedom.


13 I will bring burnt offerings[d] to your house;
    to you I will fulfill my vows,
14 Which my lips pronounced
    and my mouth spoke in my distress.
15 Burnt offerings of fatlings I will offer you
    and sacrificial smoke of rams;
    I will sacrifice oxen and goats.
16 Come and hear, all you who fear God,
    while I recount what has been done for me.
17 I called to him with my mouth;
    praise was upon my tongue.
18 Had I cherished evil in my heart,
    the Lord would not have heard.
19 But God did hear
    and listened to my voice in prayer.
20 Blessed be God, who did not reject my prayer
    and refuse his mercy.


  1. Psalm 66 In the first part (Ps 66:1–12), the community praises God for powerful acts for Israel, both in the past (the exodus from Egypt and the entry into the land [Ps 66:6]) and in the present (deliverance from a recent but unspecified calamity [Ps 66:8–12]). In the second part (Ps 66:13–20), an individual from the rescued community fulfills a vow to offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving. As often in thanksgivings, the rescued person steps forward to teach the community what God has done (Ps 66:16–20).
  2. 66:5–6 cf. the events described in Ex 14:1–15, 21; Jos 3:11–4:24 and Ps 114.
  3. 66:12 You let captors set foot on our neck: lit., “you let men mount our heads.” Conquerors placed their feet on the neck of their enemies as a sign of complete defeat, cf. Jos 10:24. A ceremonial footstool of the Egyptian king Tutankhamen portrays bound and prostrate bodies of enemies ready for the king’s feet on their heads, and one of Tutankhamen’s ceremonial chariots depicts the king as a sphinx standing with paw atop the neck of an enemy.
  4. 66:13 Burnt offerings: cf. Lv 1:3–13; 6:1–4; 22:17–20.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Acts 6 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 6

The Need for Assistants. [a]At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. [b]So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table.[c] Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.[d] The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Accusation Against Stephen. [e]Now Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, 10 but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. 11 Then they instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speaking blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12 They stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes, accosted him, seized him, and brought him before the Sanhedrin. 13 They presented false witnesses[f] who testified, “This man never stops saying things against [this] holy place and the law. 14 For we have heard him claim that this Jesus the Nazorean will destroy this place and change the customs that Moses handed down to us.” 15 All those who sat in the Sanhedrin looked intently at him and saw that his face was like the face of an angel.


  1. 6:1–7 The Hellenists…the Hebrews: the Hellenists were not necessarily Jews from the diaspora, but were more probably Palestinian Jews who spoke only Greek. The Hebrews were Palestinian Jews who spoke Hebrew or Aramaic and who may also have spoken Greek. Both groups belong to the Jerusalem Jewish Christian community. The conflict between them leads to a restructuring of the community that will better serve the community’s needs. The real purpose of the whole episode, however, is to introduce Stephen as a prominent figure in the community whose long speech and martyrdom will be recounted in Acts 7.
  2. 6:2–4 The essential function of the Twelve is the “service of the word,” including development of the kerygma by formulation of the teachings of Jesus.
  3. 6:2 To serve at table: some commentators think that it is not the serving of food that is described here but rather the keeping of the accounts that recorded the distribution of food to the needy members of the community. In any case, after Stephen and the others are chosen, they are never presented carrying out the task for which they were appointed (Acts 6:2–3). Rather, two of their number, Stephen and Philip, are presented as preachers of the Christian message. They, the Hellenist counterpart of the Twelve, are active in the ministry of the word.
  4. 6:6 They…laid hands on them: the customary Jewish way of designating persons for a task and invoking upon them the divine blessing and power to perform it.
  5. 6:8–8:1

    The summary (Acts 6:7) on the progress of the Jerusalem community, illustrated by the conversion of the priests, is followed by a lengthy narrative regarding Stephen. Stephen’s defense is not a response to the charges made against him but takes the form of a discourse that reviews the fortunes of God’s word to Israel and leads to a prophetic declaration: a plea for the hearing of that word as announced by Christ and now possessed by the Christian community.

    The charges that Stephen depreciated the importance of the temple and the Mosaic law and elevated Jesus to a stature above Moses (Acts 6:13–14) were in fact true. Before the Sanhedrin, no defense against them was possible. With Stephen, who thus perceived the fuller implications of the teachings of Jesus, the differences between Judaism and Christianity began to appear. Luke’s account of Stephen’s martyrdom and its aftermath shows how the major impetus behind the Christian movement passed from Jerusalem, where the temple and law prevailed, to Antioch in Syria, where these influences were less pressing.

  6. 6:13 False witnesses: here, and in his account of Stephen’s execution (Acts 7:54–60), Luke parallels the martyrdom of Stephen with the death of Jesus.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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