Punishments for Sin

20 The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any Israelite or any foreigner residing in Israel who sacrifices any of his children to Molek is to be put to death.(A) The members of the community are to stone him.(B) I myself will set my face against him and will cut him off from his people;(C) for by sacrificing his children to Molek, he has defiled(D) my sanctuary(E) and profaned my holy name.(F) If the members of the community close their eyes when that man sacrifices one of his children to Molek and if they fail to put him to death,(G) I myself will set my face against him and his family and will cut them off from their people together with all who follow him in prostituting themselves to Molek.

“‘I will set my face against anyone who turns to mediums and spiritists to prostitute themselves by following them, and I will cut them off from their people.(H)

“‘Consecrate yourselves(I) and be holy,(J) because I am the Lord your God.(K) Keep my decrees(L) and follow them. I am the Lord, who makes you holy.(M)

“‘Anyone who curses their father(N) or mother(O) is to be put to death.(P) Because they have cursed their father or mother, their blood will be on their own head.(Q)

10 “‘If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife(R)—with the wife of his neighbor—both the adulterer and the adulteress are to be put to death.(S)

11 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his father’s wife, he has dishonored his father.(T) Both the man and the woman are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.(U)

12 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his daughter-in-law,(V) both of them are to be put to death. What they have done is a perversion; their blood will be on their own heads.

13 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable.(W) They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

14 “‘If a man marries both a woman and her mother,(X) it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire,(Y) so that no wickedness will be among you.(Z)

15 “‘If a man has sexual relations with an animal,(AA) he is to be put to death,(AB) and you must kill the animal.

16 “‘If a woman approaches an animal to have sexual relations with it, kill both the woman and the animal. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.

17 “‘If a man marries his sister(AC), the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a disgrace. They are to be publicly removed(AD) from their people. He has dishonored his sister and will be held responsible.(AE)

18 “‘If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her monthly period,(AF) he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has also uncovered it. Both of them are to be cut off from their people.(AG)

19 “‘Do not have sexual relations with the sister of either your mother or your father,(AH) for that would dishonor a close relative; both of you would be held responsible.

20 “‘If a man has sexual relations with his aunt,(AI) he has dishonored his uncle. They will be held responsible; they will die childless.(AJ)

21 “‘If a man marries his brother’s wife,(AK) it is an act of impurity; he has dishonored his brother. They will be childless.(AL)

22 “‘Keep all my decrees and laws(AM) and follow them, so that the land(AN) where I am bringing you to live may not vomit you out. 23 You must not live according to the customs of the nations(AO) I am going to drive out before you.(AP) Because they did all these things, I abhorred them.(AQ) 24 But I said to you, “You will possess their land; I will give it to you as an inheritance, a land flowing with milk and honey.”(AR) I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from the nations.(AS)

25 “‘You must therefore make a distinction between clean and unclean animals and between unclean and clean birds.(AT) Do not defile yourselves by any animal or bird or anything that moves along the ground—those that I have set apart as unclean for you. 26 You are to be holy to me(AU) because I, the Lord, am holy,(AV) and I have set you apart from the nations(AW) to be my own.

27 “‘A man or woman who is a medium(AX) or spiritist among you must be put to death.(AY) You are to stone them;(AZ) their blood will be on their own heads.’”

Rules for Priests

21 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron,(BA) and say to them: ‘A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean(BB) for any of his people who die,(BC) except for a close relative, such as his mother or father,(BD) his son or daughter, his brother, or an unmarried sister who is dependent on him since she has no husband—for her he may make himself unclean.(BE) He must not make himself unclean for people related to him by marriage,[a] and so defile himself.

“‘Priests must not shave(BF) their heads or shave off the edges of their beards(BG) or cut their bodies.(BH) They must be holy to their God(BI) and must not profane the name of their God.(BJ) Because they present the food offerings to the Lord,(BK) the food of their God,(BL) they are to be holy.(BM)

“‘They must not marry women defiled by prostitution or divorced from their husbands,(BN) because priests are holy to their God.(BO) Regard them as holy,(BP) because they offer up the food of your God.(BQ) Consider them holy, because I the Lord am holy—I who make you holy.(BR)

“‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.(BS)

10 “‘The high priest, the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head(BT) and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments,(BU) must not let his hair become unkempt[b] or tear his clothes.(BV) 11 He must not enter a place where there is a dead body.(BW) He must not make himself unclean,(BX) even for his father or mother,(BY) 12 nor leave the sanctuary(BZ) of his God or desecrate it, because he has been dedicated by the anointing oil(CA) of his God. I am the Lord.

13 “‘The woman he marries must be a virgin.(CB) 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so that he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the Lord, who makes him holy.’”

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect(CC) may come near to offer the food of his God.(CD) 18 No man who has any defect(CE) may come near: no man who is blind(CF) or lame,(CG) disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.(CH) 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect(CI) is to come near to present the food offerings to the Lord.(CJ) He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God.(CK) 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God,(CL) as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect,(CM) he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary.(CN) I am the Lord, who makes them holy.(CO)’”

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

22 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell Aaron and his sons to treat with respect the sacred offerings(CP) the Israelites consecrate to me, so they will not profane my holy name.(CQ) I am the Lord.(CR)

“Say to them: ‘For the generations to come, if any of your descendants is ceremonially unclean and yet comes near the sacred offerings that the Israelites consecrate to the Lord,(CS) that person must be cut off from my presence.(CT) I am the Lord.

“‘If a descendant of Aaron has a defiling skin disease[c] or a bodily discharge,(CU) he may not eat the sacred offerings until he is cleansed. He will also be unclean if he touches something defiled by a corpse(CV) or by anyone who has an emission of semen, or if he touches any crawling thing(CW) that makes him unclean, or any person(CX) who makes him unclean, whatever the uncleanness may be. The one who touches any such thing will be unclean(CY) till evening.(CZ) He must not eat any of the sacred offerings unless he has bathed himself with water.(DA) When the sun goes down, he will be clean, and after that he may eat the sacred offerings, for they are his food.(DB) He must not eat anything found dead(DC) or torn by wild animals,(DD) and so become unclean(DE) through it. I am the Lord.(DF)

“‘The priests are to perform my service(DG) in such a way that they do not become guilty(DH) and die(DI) for treating it with contempt. I am the Lord, who makes them holy.(DJ)

10 “‘No one outside a priest’s family may eat the sacred offering, nor may the guest of a priest or his hired worker eat it.(DK) 11 But if a priest buys a slave with money, or if slaves are born in his household, they may eat his food.(DL) 12 If a priest’s daughter marries anyone other than a priest, she may not eat any of the sacred contributions. 13 But if a priest’s daughter becomes a widow or is divorced, yet has no children, and she returns to live in her father’s household as in her youth, she may eat her father’s food. No unauthorized person, however, may eat it.

14 “‘Anyone who eats a sacred offering by mistake(DM) must make restitution to the priest for the offering and add a fifth of the value(DN) to it. 15 The priests must not desecrate the sacred offerings(DO) the Israelites present to the Lord(DP) 16 by allowing them to eat(DQ) the sacred offerings and so bring upon them guilt(DR) requiring payment.(DS) I am the Lord, who makes them holy.(DT)’”


  1. Leviticus 21:4 Or unclean as a leader among his people
  2. Leviticus 21:10 Or not uncover his head
  3. Leviticus 22:4 The Hebrew word for defiling skin disease, traditionally translated “leprosy,” was used for various diseases affecting the skin.

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