Duties of Levites

18 So the Lord said to Aaron, “You, 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 also bring your brothers with you, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, so that they may (B)join you and serve you, while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony. And they shall perform duties for you and the duties of the whole tent, but (C)they shall not come near the furnishings of the sanctuary and (D)the altar, or both they and you will die. They shall join you and perform the duties of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; but [c]an unauthorized person shall not come near you. So you shall perform the (E)duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, (F)so that there will no longer be wrath on the sons of Israel. Behold, I Myself (G)have taken your [d]fellow Levites from among the sons of Israel; they are (H)a gift to you, [e]dedicated to the Lord, to perform the service for the tent of meeting. But you and your sons with you shall (I)attend to your priesthood for everything that concerns the altar and inside the veil, and you are to perform service. I am giving you the priesthood as (J)a [f]service that is a gift, and (K)the [g]unauthorized person who comes near shall be put to death.”

The Priests’ Portion

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, “Now behold, I Myself have put you in charge of My [h](L)offerings, all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel I have given to you as a portion and to your sons as a permanent allotment. This shall be yours from the most holy gifts reserved from the fire; every offering of theirs, namely (M)every grain offering, every (N)sin offering, and every guilt offering, with which they shall make restitution 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 offering of their gift, that is, 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 permanent allotment. Everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 12 (Q)All the [i]best of the fresh oil and all the [j]best of the fresh wine and of the grain, the first fruits of what they give to the Lord, I have given them to you. 13 (R)The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours; everyone of your household who is clean may eat it. 14 (S)Everything banned from secular use in Israel shall be yours. 15 [k](T)Every firstborn of the womb of all flesh, whether human or animal, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours; however you must redeem the human firstborn, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16 As to [l]their redemption price, from a month old you shall redeem them, by your assessment, five [m]shekels in silver by the [n]shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But (U)the firstborn of an ox, the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. (V)You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and offer up their fat in smoke as an offering by fire, for a soothing aroma to the Lord. 18 However, their [o]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 offerings of the holy gifts, which the sons of Israel offer to the Lord, I have given to you and your sons and your daughters with you, as a permanent allotment. It is (Y)a permanent covenant of salt before the Lord to you and your [p]descendants with you.” 20 Then the Lord 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 “To the sons of Levi, behold, I have given all the (AB)tithe in Israel as an inheritance, in return for their service which they perform, the service of the tent of meeting. 22 And (AC)the sons of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting again, or they will bring sin on themselves and die. 23 Only the Levites shall perform the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall (AD)bear their own guilt; it shall be a permanent 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 offer as an offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites as an inheritance; therefore I have said concerning them, ‘(AF)They shall have no inheritance among the sons of Israel.’”

25 Then the Lord 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 present an offering from it to the Lord, a (AH)tithe of the tithe. 27 Your offering shall be credited to you like the grain from the threshing floor or the full produce from the wine vat. 28 So you shall also present an offering to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the sons of Israel; and from it you shall give the Lords offering to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all your gifts you shall present every offering due to the Lord, from all the [q]best of them, [r]the sacred part from them.’ 30 And you shall say to them, ‘When you have [s]offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be credited to the Levites like the product of the threshing floor, and like the product of the wine vat. 31 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 bring on yourselves no sin by reason of it when you have [t]offered the [u]best of it. But you shall not (AI)profane the sacred gifts of the sons of Israel, so that you do 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 18:6 Lit brothers the
  5. Numbers 18:6 Lit given
  6. Numbers 18:7 Lit service of a gift
  7. Numbers 18:7 Lit stranger
  8. Numbers 18:8 Or uplifted offerings, and so throughout the ch
  9. Numbers 18:12 Lit fat
  10. Numbers 18:12 Lit fat
  11. Numbers 18:15 Lit Everything that opens
  12. Numbers 18:16 Lit his being redeemed
  13. Numbers 18:16 A shekel is about 0.5 oz. or 14 gm
  14. Numbers 18:16 A shekel is about 0.5 oz. or 14 gm
  15. Numbers 18:18 Lit flesh
  16. Numbers 18:19 Lit seed
  17. Numbers 18:29 Lit fat
  18. Numbers 18:29 Lit its
  19. Numbers 18:30 Lit lifted
  20. Numbers 18:32 Lit lifted
  21. Numbers 18:32 Lit fat

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