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The Holiness of the Priests

21 Then Yahweh said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them:

(A)No one shall defile himself for a dead person among his people, (B)except for his [a]blood relatives who are nearest to him, his mother and his father and his son and his daughter and his brother, also for his virgin sister, who is near to him [b]because she has had no husband; for her he may defile himself. He shall not defile himself as a [c]relative by marriage among his people, and so profane himself. (C)They shall not make any baldness on their heads (D)nor shave off the edges of their beards (E)nor make any cuts in their flesh. They shall be holy to their God and (F)not profane the name of their God, for they bring near the offerings [d]to Yahweh by fire, (G)the food of their God; so they shall be holy. (H)They shall not take a woman who is profaned by harlotry, nor shall they take a woman divorced from her husband; for he is holy to his God. Therefore, you shall set him apart as holy, for he brings near (I)the food of your God; he shall be holy to you; for I Yahweh, who makes you holy, am holy. (J)Also the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by harlotry, she profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire.

10 ‘And the priest who is the highest among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured and [e]who has been ordained to wear the garments, (K)shall not [f]uncover his head nor tear his clothes; 11 (L)nor shall he approach any dead person nor defile himself even for his father or his mother; 12 (M)nor shall he go out of the sanctuary nor profane the sanctuary of his God, for (N)the dedication of the anointing oil of his God is on him; I am Yahweh. 13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity. 14 (O)A widow or a divorced woman or one who is profaned by harlotry, these he may not take; but rather he shall take a virgin of his own people as a wife, 15 so that he will not profane his seed among his people; for I am Yahweh who makes him holy.’”

16 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 17 “Speak to Aaron, saying, ‘No man of your seed throughout their generations who has a defect shall come near to offer the (P)food of his God. 18 (Q)For no one who has a defect shall come near: a blind man or a lame man or he who has a [g](R)disfigured face or any deformed limb, 19 or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, 20 or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a [h]defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or (S)crushed testicles. 21 No man among the seed of Aaron the priest who has a defect shall approach to bring near the offerings to Yahweh by fire; since he has a defect, he shall not approach to bring near (T)the food of his God. 22 He may eat (U)the food of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy, 23 only he shall not go in to the veil or approach the altar because he has a defect, so that he will not profane My sanctuaries. For I am Yahweh who makes them holy.’” 24 So Moses spoke to Aaron and to his sons and to all the sons of Israel.


  1. Leviticus 21:2 Lit flesh
  2. Leviticus 21:3 Or whom no man has had
  3. Leviticus 21:4 Lit husband among
  4. Leviticus 21:6 Lit of
  5. Leviticus 21:10 Lit whose hand has been filled
  6. Leviticus 21:10 Lit unbind
  7. Leviticus 21:18 Lit slit
  8. Leviticus 21:20 Lit obscurity