Leviticus 19-21 Common English Bible (CEB)
Living as holy people
19 The Lord said to Moses, 2 Say to the whole community of the Israelites: You must be holy, because I, the Lord your God, am holy. 3 Each of you must respect your mother and father, and you must keep my sabbaths; I am the Lord your God. 4 Do not turn to idols or make gods of cast metal for yourselves; I am the Lord your God. 5 When you sacrifice a communal sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, offer it so that it will be accepted on your account. 6 It must be eaten on the day of your sacrifice or the following day; whatever is left over on the third day must be burned with fire. 7 If any of it is eaten on the third day, it is foul; it will not be accepted. 8 Anyone who eats it will be liable to punishment, because they defiled what is holy to the Lord. That person will be cut off from their people. 9 When you harvest your land’s produce, you must not harvest all the way to the edge of your field; and don’t gather up every remaining bit of your harvest. 10 Also do not pick your vineyard clean or gather up all the grapes that have fallen there. Leave these items for the poor and the immigrant; I am the Lord your God.
11 You must not steal nor deceive nor lie to each other. 12 You must not swear falsely by my name, desecrating your God’s name in doing so; I am the Lord. 13 You must not oppress your neighbors or rob them. Do not withhold a hired laborer’s pay overnight. 14 You must not insult a deaf person or put some obstacle in front of a blind person that would cause them to trip. Instead, fear your God; I am the Lord.
15 You must not act unjustly in a legal case. Do not show favoritism to the poor or deference to the great; you must judge your fellow Israelites fairly. 16 Do not go around slandering your people.[a] Do not stand by while your neighbor’s blood is shed;[b] I am the Lord. 17 You must not hate your fellow Israelite in your heart. Rebuke your fellow Israelite strongly, so you don’t become responsible for his sin.[c] 18 You must not take revenge nor hold a grudge against any of your people; instead, you must love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord.
19 You must keep my rules. Do not crossbreed your livestock, do not plant your field with two kinds of seed, and do not wear clothes made from two kinds of material. 20 If a man has sexual relations with a woman who is a slave engaged to another man, who hasn’t yet been released or given her freedom, there must be a punishment.[d] But they will not be put to death because she had not yet been freed. 21 The man must bring as his compensation to the Lord at the meeting tent’s entrance a ram for a compensation offering. 22 The priest will use the ram for the compensation offering to make reconciliation for him before the Lord on account of the sin he committed. Then he will be forgiven of the sin that he committed.
23 When you enter the land and plant any fruit tree, you must consider its fruit off-limits.[e] For three years it will be off-limits to you;[f] it must not be eaten. 24 In the fourth year, all of the tree’s fruit will be holy, a celebration for the Lord. 25 In the fifth year you can eat the fruit. This is so as to increase its produce for you; I am the Lord your God.
26 You must not eat anything with its blood. You must not participate in divination or fortune-telling. 27 You must not cut off the hair on your forehead or clip the ends of your beard. 28 Do not cut your bodies for the dead[g] or put marks on[h] yourselves; I am the Lord. 29 Do not defile your daughter by making her sexually promiscuous or else the land will become promiscuous[i] and full of shame. 30 You must keep my sabbaths and treat my sanctuary with respect; I am the Lord. 31 Do not resort to dead spirits or inquire of spirits of divination—you will be made unclean by them; I am the Lord your God. 32 You must rise in the presence of an old person and respect the elderly. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.
33 When immigrants live in your land with you, you must not cheat them. 34 Any immigrant who lives with you must be treated as if they were one of your citizens. You must love them as yourself, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt; I am the Lord your God. 35 You must not act unjustly in a legal case involving measures of length, weight, or volume. 36 You must have accurate scales and accurate weights, an accurate ephah[j] and an accurate hin.[k] I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. 37 You must keep all my rules and all my regulations, and do them; I am the Lord.
Worship of Molech forbidden
20 The Lord said to Moses, 2 You will also say to the Israelites: Any Israelite or any immigrant living in Israel who gives their children to Molech must be executed. The common people will stone such a person. 3 Moreover, I will set my own face against such a person, cutting them off from their people, because they gave their children to Molech, making my sanctuary unclean and degrading my holy name by doing so. 4 But if the common people choose to look the other way when someone gives their children to Molech and do not execute such a person, 5 I will set my own face against such a person and their extended family, cutting off from their people—both the guilty party and anyone with them who faithlessly followed Molech. 6 I will also oppose anyone who resorts to dead spirits or spirits of divination and faithlessly follows those things. I will cut such an individual off from their people.
7 You must be holy and keep yourselves holy because I am the Lord your God. 8 You will keep my rules and do them; I am the Lord, who makes you holy. 9 If anyone curses their father or mother, they must be executed. They have cursed their own father and mother; that person’s blood is on their own heads. 10 If a man commits adultery with a married woman, committing adultery with a neighbor’s wife, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be executed. 11 If a man has sexual intercourse with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness. Both of them must be executed; their blood is on their own heads. 12 If a man has sexual intercourse with his daughter-in-law, both of them must be executed. They have acted perversely; their blood is on their own heads. 13 If a man has sexual intercourse with a man as he would with a woman, the two of them have done something detestable. They must be executed; their blood is on their own heads. 14 If a man marries a woman and her mother as well, it is shameful. They will be burned with fire—the man and the two women—so that no such shameful thing will be found among you. 15 If a man has sexual relations with an animal, he must be executed and you must kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any kind of animal to mate with it, you must kill the woman and the animal. They must be executed; their blood is on their own heads. 17 If a man marries his sister—his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter—and they have sexual contact with each other, it is a disgrace. They will be cut off in the sight of their people. Such a man has had sexual contact with his sister; he will be liable to punishment. 18 If a man sleeps with a woman during her menstrual period and has sexual contact with her, he has exposed the source of her blood flow and she has uncovered the same. Both of them will be cut off from their people. 19 You must not have sexual contact with your mother’s sister or your father’s sister, because that exposes your own close relative; both of you will be liable to punishment. 20 If a man has sexual intercourse with his aunt, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness. The man and the aunt will be liable to punishment; they will die childless. 21 If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is indecent. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; the man and the woman will be childless.
Conclusion concerning conduct
22 You must keep all my rules and all my regulations, and do them so that the land I am bringing you to, where you will live, won’t vomit you out. 23 You must not follow the practices[l] of the nations that I am throwing out before you, because they did all these things and I was disgusted with them. 24 But I have told you, “You will certainly possess their fertile land; I am giving it to you to possess. It is a land full of milk and honey.” I am the Lord your God, who has separated you from all other peoples. 25 So you must separate between clean and unclean animals, and between clean and unclean birds. Do not become detestable through some animal, bird, or anything that moves on the fertile ground that I have separated from you as unclean. 26 You must be holy to me, because I the Lord am holy, and I have separated you from all other peoples to be my own. 27 If someone, whether male or female, is a medium with the dead or a diviner,[m] they must be executed. They will be stoned; their blood is on their own head.
Rules for priests
21 The Lord said to Moses, Say to the priests, Aaron’s sons: None of you are allowed to make yourselves unclean by any dead person among your community 2 except for your closest relatives: for your mother, father, son, daughter, brother; 3 also for your unmarried sister, who is close to you because she isn’t married—you may be polluted for her sake. 4 You must not make yourself unclean for in-laws, defiling yourself by doing so.
5 Priests must not shave bald patches on their heads or cut off the ends of their beards or make gashes in their bodies. 6 They must be holy to their God so that they do not make their God’s name impure. They must be holy because they offer the Lord’s food gifts, their God’s food. 7 Priests must not marry a woman who is promiscuous and defiled, nor can they marry a woman divorced from her husband, because priests must be[n] holy to their God. 8 You will treat the priests as holy, because they offer your God’s food. The priests will be holy to you, because I am the holy Lord, who makes you holy. 9 If the daughter of a priest defiles herself by being promiscuous, she defiles her father. She must be burned with fire.
10 The high priest[o]—the one whose head has been anointed with the anointing oil and who is ordained to dress in the priestly clothing—must not dishevel his hair or tear his clothing. 11 He must not go near any dead bodies and cannot make himself unclean even for his father or mother. 12 He must not exit the sanctuary, making his God’s sanctuary impure by doing so, because his God’s anointing oil, which separates,[p] is upon him; I am the Lord. 13 The high priest must marry a woman who is a virgin. 14 He cannot marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by promiscuity. He can only marry a virgin from his own people 15 so that he doesn’t make his children impure among his people, because I am the Lord, who makes him holy.
16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 Say to Aaron: None of your future descendants who have some kind of imperfection are allowed to offer their God’s food. 18 No one who has an imperfection will be allowed to make an offering: this includes anyone who is blind, crippled, disfigured, or deformed; 19 anyone who has a broken foot or hand; 20 anyone who is a hunchback or too small; anyone who has an eye disease, a rash, scabs, or a crushed testicle.[q] 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has an imperfection will be allowed to offer the Lord’s food gifts; since he has an imperfection, he will not be allowed to offer his God’s food. 22 He may, of course, eat of his God’s most holy or holy food, 23 but since he has an imperfection, he cannot enter toward the inner curtain or officiate at the altar, making these parts of my sanctuary impure by doing so. I am the Lord, who makes them holy.
24 This is what Moses said to Aaron, his sons, and to all the Israelites.