Leviticus 19-21New Living Translation (NLT)
Holiness in Personal Conduct
19 The Lord also said to Moses, 2 “Give the following instructions to the entire community of Israel. You must be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy.
3 “Each of you must show great respect for your mother and father, and you must always observe my Sabbath days of rest. I am the Lord your God.
4 “Do not put your trust in idols or make metal images of gods for yourselves. I am the Lord your God.
5 “When you sacrifice a peace offering to the Lord, offer it properly so you[a] will be accepted by God. 6 The sacrifice must be eaten on the same day you offer it or on the next day. Whatever is left over until the third day must be completely burned up. 7 If any of the sacrifice is eaten on the third day, it will be contaminated, and I will not accept it. 8 Anyone who eats it on the third day will be punished for defiling what is holy to the Lord and will be cut off from the community.
9 “When you harvest the crops of your land, do not harvest the grain along the edges of your fields, and do not pick up what the harvesters drop. 10 It is the same with your grape crop—do not strip every last bunch of grapes from the vines, and do not pick up the grapes that fall to the ground. Leave them for the poor and the foreigners living among you. I am the Lord your God.
11 “Do not steal.
“Do not deceive or cheat one another.
12 “Do not bring shame on the name of your God by using it to swear falsely. I am the Lord.
13 “Do not defraud or rob your neighbor.
“Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay.
14 “Do not insult the deaf or cause the blind to stumble. You must fear your God; I am the Lord.
15 “Do not twist justice in legal matters by favoring the poor or being partial to the rich and powerful. Always judge people fairly.
16 “Do not spread slanderous gossip among your people.[b]
“Do not stand idly by when your neighbor’s life is threatened. I am the Lord.
17 “Do not nurse hatred in your heart for any of your relatives.[c] Confront people directly so you will not be held guilty for their sin.
18 “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against a fellow Israelite, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.
19 “You must obey all my decrees.
“Do not mate two different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two different kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of thread.
20 “If a man has sex with a slave girl whose freedom has never been purchased but who is committed to become another man’s wife, he must pay full compensation to her master. But since she is not a free woman, neither the man nor the woman will be put to death. 21 The man, however, must bring a ram as a guilt offering and present it to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle.[d] 22 The priest will then purify him[e] before the Lord with the ram of the guilt offering, and the man’s sin will be forgiven.
23 “When you enter the land and plant fruit trees, leave the fruit unharvested for the first three years and consider it forbidden.[f] Do not eat it. 24 In the fourth year the entire crop must be consecrated to the Lord as a celebration of praise. 25 Finally, in the fifth year you may eat the fruit. If you follow this pattern, your harvest will increase. I am the Lord your God.
26 “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood.
“Do not practice fortune-telling or witchcraft.
27 “Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards.
28 “Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.
29 “Do not defile your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will be filled with prostitution and wickedness.
30 “Keep my Sabbath days of rest, and show reverence toward my sanctuary. I am the Lord.
31 “Do not defile yourselves by turning to mediums or to those who consult the spirits of the dead. I am the Lord your God.
32 “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged. Fear your God. I am the Lord.
33 “Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. 34 Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the Lord your God.
35 “Do not use dishonest standards when measuring length, weight, or volume. 36 Your scales and weights must be accurate. Your containers for measuring dry materials or liquids must be accurate.[g] I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
37 “You must be careful to keep all of my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice. I am the Lord.”
Punishments for Disobedience
20 The Lord said to Moses, 2 “Give the people of Israel these instructions, which apply both to native Israelites and to the foreigners living in Israel.
“If any of them offer their children as a sacrifice to Molech, they must be put to death. The people of the community must stone them to death. 3 I myself will turn against them and cut them off from the community, because they have defiled my sanctuary and brought shame on my holy name by offering their children to Molech. 4 And if the people of the community ignore those who offer their children to Molech and refuse to execute them, 5 I myself will turn against them and their families and will cut them off from the community. This will happen to all who commit spiritual prostitution by worshiping Molech.
6 “I will also turn against those who commit spiritual prostitution by putting their trust in mediums or in those who consult the spirits of the dead. I will cut them off from the community. 7 So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8 Keep all my decrees by putting them into practice, for I am the Lord who makes you holy.
9 “Anyone who dishonors[h] father or mother must be put to death. Such a person is guilty of a capital offense.
10 “If a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, both the man and the woman who have committed adultery must be put to death.
11 “If a man violates his father by having sex with one of his father’s wives, both the man and the woman must be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.
12 “If a man has sex with his daughter-in-law, both must be put to death. They have committed a perverse act and are guilty of a capital offense.
13 “If a man practices homosexuality, having sex with another man as with a woman, both men have committed a detestable act. They must both be put to death, for they are guilty of a capital offense.
14 “If a man marries both a woman and her mother, he has committed a wicked act. The man and both women must be burned to death to wipe out such wickedness from among you.
15 “If a man has sex with an animal, he must be put to death, and the animal must be killed.
16 “If a woman presents herself to a male animal to have intercourse with it, she and the animal must both be put to death. You must kill both, for they are guilty of a capital offense.
17 “If a man marries his sister, the daughter of either his father or his mother, and they have sexual relations, it is a shameful disgrace. They must be publicly cut off from the community. Since the man has violated his sister, he will be punished for his sin.
18 “If a man has sexual relations with a woman during her menstrual period, both of them must be cut off from the community, for together they have exposed the source of her blood flow.
19 “Do not have sexual relations with your aunt, whether your mother’s sister or your father’s sister. This would dishonor a close relative. Both parties are guilty and will be punished for their sin.
20 “If a man has sex with his uncle’s wife, he has violated his uncle. Both the man and woman will be punished for their sin, and they will die childless.
21 “If a man marries his brother’s wife, it is an act of impurity. He has violated his brother, and the guilty couple will remain childless.
22 “You must keep all my decrees and regulations by putting them into practice; otherwise the land to which I am bringing you as your new home will vomit you out. 23 Do not live according to the customs of the people I am driving out before you. It is because they do these shameful things that I detest them. 24 But I have promised you, ‘You will possess their land because I will give it to you as your possession—a land flowing with milk and honey.’ I am the Lord your God, who has set you apart from all other people.
25 “You must therefore make a distinction between ceremonially clean and unclean animals, and between clean and unclean birds. You must not defile yourselves by eating any unclean animal or bird or creature that scurries along the ground. I have identified them as being unclean for you. 26 You must be holy because I, the Lord, am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.
27 “Men and women among you who act as mediums or who consult the spirits of the dead must be put to death by stoning. They are guilty of a capital offense.”
Instructions for the Priests
21 The Lord said to Moses, “Give the following instructions to the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
“A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean by touching the dead body of a relative. 2 The only exceptions are his closest relatives—his mother or father, son or daughter, brother, 3 or his virgin sister who depends on him because she has no husband. 4 But a priest must not defile himself and make himself unclean for someone who is related to him only by marriage.
5 “The priests must not shave their heads or trim their beards or cut their bodies. 6 They must be set apart as holy to their God and must never bring shame on the name of God. They must be holy, for they are the ones who present the special gifts to the Lord, gifts of food for their God.
7 “Priests may not marry a woman defiled by prostitution, and they may not marry a woman who is divorced from her husband, for the priests are set apart as holy to their God. 8 You must treat them as holy because they offer up food to your God. You must consider them holy because I, the Lord, am holy, and I make you holy.
9 “If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she also defiles her father’s holiness, and she must be burned to death.
10 “The high priest has the highest rank of all the priests. The anointing oil has been poured on his head, and he has been ordained to wear the priestly garments. He must never leave his hair uncombed[i] or tear his clothing. 11 He must not defile himself by going near a dead body. He may not make himself ceremonially unclean even for his father or mother. 12 He must not defile the sanctuary of his God by leaving it to attend to a dead person, for he has been made holy by the anointing oil of his God. I am the Lord.
13 “The high priest may marry only a virgin. 14 He may not marry a widow, a woman who is divorced, or a woman who has defiled herself by prostitution. She must be a virgin from his own clan, 15 so that he will not dishonor his descendants among his clan, for I am the Lord who makes him holy.”
16 Then the Lord said to Moses, 17 “Give the following instructions to Aaron: In all future generations, none of your descendants who has any defect will qualify to offer food to his God. 18 No one who has a defect qualifies, whether he is blind, lame, disfigured, deformed, 19 or has a broken foot or arm, 20 or is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or has a defective eye, or skin sores or scabs, or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron who has a defect may approach the altar to present special gifts to the Lord. Since he has a defect, he may not approach the altar to offer food to his God. 22 However, he may eat from the food offered to God, including the holy offerings and the most holy offerings. 23 Yet because of his physical defect, he may not enter the room behind the inner curtain or approach the altar, for this would defile my holy places. I am the Lord who makes them holy.”
24 So Moses gave these instructions to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
It looks like you’re already subscribed to Bible Gateway Plus! To manage your subscription, visit your Bible Gateway account settings.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience!
Bible Gateway Plus equips you to answer the toughest questions about faith, God, and the Bible. There's no software to install; it's all integrated seamlessly into your Bible Gateway experience. Try it free for 30 days!
Three easy steps to start your free trial subscription to Bible Gateway Plus.