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Responsibilities of the Levites

18 So Yahweh said to Aaron, “You and your sons and your father’s household with you shall (A)bear the guilt [a]in connection with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear the guilt [b]in connection with your priesthood. But bring near with you also your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may be (B)joined with you and minister to you, while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony. And they shall thus keep your responsibility and the responsibility of all the tent, but (C)they shall not come near to the furnishings of the sanctuary and (D)the altar, so that neither they nor you will die. And they shall be joined with you and keep the responsibility of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; but [c]an outsider may not come near you. So you shall keep the (E)responsibility of the sanctuary and the responsibility of the altar, (F)so that there will no longer be wrath on the sons of Israel. And behold, I Myself (G)have taken your brothers the Levites from among the sons of Israel; they are (H)a gift to you, given to Yahweh, to perform the service for the tent of meeting. But you and your sons with you shall (I)keep your priesthood in everything that concerns the altar and inside the veil, and you are to perform service. I am giving you the priesthood as (J)a [d]bestowed service, but (K)the [e]outsider who comes near shall be put to death.”

The Priests’ Portion

Then Yahweh spoke to Aaron, “Now behold, I Myself have given you the responsibility of My [f](L)contributions, even all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual statute. This shall be yours from the most holy gifts reserved from the fire; every offering of theirs, even (M)every grain offering and every (N)sin offering and every guilt offering, which they shall render to Me, shall be most holy for you and for your sons. 10 As the most holy gifts you shall eat it; every male shall eat it. It shall be holy to you. 11 This also is yours, (O)the contribution from their gift, even all the wave offerings of the sons of Israel; I have (P)given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual statute. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 12 (Q)All the [g]best of the fresh oil and all the [h]best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of those which they give to Yahweh, I give them to you. 13 (R)The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to Yahweh, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 14 (S)Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. 15 [i](T)Every first issue of the womb of all flesh, whether man or animal, which they bring near to Yahweh, shall be yours; nevertheless the firstborn of man you shall surely redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16 Now as to their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your valuation, five [j]shekels in silver, according to the [k]shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But (U)the firstborn of an ox or the firstborn of a sheep or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. (V)You shall splash their blood on the altar and shall offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to Yahweh. 18 And their [l]meat shall be yours; it shall be yours like the (W)breast of a wave offering and like the right thigh. 19 (X)All the contributions of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel raise up to Yahweh, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a perpetual statute. It is (Y)an everlasting covenant of salt before Yahweh to you and your seed with you.” 20 Then Yahweh said to Aaron, “(Z)You shall have no inheritance in their land nor own any portion among them; (AA)I am your portion and your inheritance among the sons of Israel.

21 “Now to the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the (AB)tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting. 22 (AC)And the sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will bear sin and die. 23 Only the Levites shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall (AD)bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the sons of Israel (AE)they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the sons of Israel, which they raise up as a contribution offering to Yahweh, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, ‘(AF)They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.’”

25 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 26 “Moreover, you shall speak to the Levites and say to them, ‘When you take from the sons of Israel (AG)the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall raise up a contribution offering from it to Yahweh, a (AH)tithe of the tithe. 27 And your contribution offering shall be reckoned to you as the grain from the threshing floor or the full produce from the wine vat. 28 So you shall also raise up a contribution offering to Yahweh from all your tithes, which you receive from the sons of Israel; and from it you shall give the contribution offering of Yahweh to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all your gifts you shall raise up every contribution offering due to Yahweh, from all the [m]best of them, [n]the sacred part from them.’ 30 And you shall say to them, ‘When you have raised up from it the best of it, then the rest shall be accounted to the Levites as the product of the threshing floor and as the product of the wine vat. 31 And you may eat it anywhere, you and your households, for it is your compensation in return for your service in the tent of meeting. 32 And you will bear no sin by reason of it when you have raised up the [o]best of it. But you shall not (AI)profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, so that you will not die.’”


  1. Numbers 18:1 Lit of the sanctuary
  2. Numbers 18:1 Lit of your priesthood
  3. Numbers 18:4 Lit a stranger
  4. Numbers 18:7 Lit service of gift
  5. Numbers 18:7 Lit stranger
  6. Numbers 18:8 Or heave offerings, so in ch
  7. Numbers 18:12 Lit fat
  8. Numbers 18:12 Lit fat
  9. Numbers 18:15 Lit Everything that opens
  10. Numbers 18:16 A shekel was approx. 0.4 oz. or 11 gm
  11. Numbers 18:16 A shekel was approx. 0.4 oz. or 11 gm
  12. Numbers 18:18 Lit flesh
  13. Numbers 18:29 Lit fat
  14. Numbers 18:29 Lit its
  15. Numbers 18:32 Lit fat