Numbers 18Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Responsibility of Priests and Levites
18 So the Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons and your fathers’ house with you shall bear iniquity in connection with the sanctuary; and you and your sons with you shall bear iniquity in connection with your priesthood. 2 And with you bring your brethren also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may join you, and minister to you while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony. 3 They shall attend you and attend to all duties of the tent; but shall not come near to the vessels of the sanctuary or to the altar, lest they, and you, die. 4 They shall join you, and attend to the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent; and no one else shall come near you. 5 And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and the duties of the altar, that there be wrath no more upon the people of Israel. 6 And behold, I have taken your brethren the Levites from among the people of Israel; they are a gift to you, given to the Lord, to do the service of the tent of meeting. 7 And you and your sons with you shall attend to your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift,[a] and any one else who comes near shall be put to death.”
The Priests’ Portion
8 Then the Lord said to Aaron, “And behold, I have given you whatever is kept of the offerings made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel; I have given them to you as a portion, and to your sons as a perpetual due. 9 This shall be yours of the most holy things, reserved from the fire; every offering of theirs, every cereal offering of theirs and every sin offering of theirs and every guilt offering of theirs, which they render to me, shall be most holy to you and to your sons. 10 In a most holy place shall you eat of it; every male may eat of it; it is holy to you. 11 This also is yours, the offering of their gift, all the wave offerings of the people of Israel; I have given them to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due; every one who is clean in your house may eat of it. 12 All the best of the oil, and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the first fruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you. 13 The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours; every one who is clean in your house may eat of it. 14 Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. 15 Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours; nevertheless the first-born of man you shall redeem, and the firstling of unclean beasts you shall redeem. 16 And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But the firstling of a cow, or the firstling of a sheep, or the firstling of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood upon the altar, and shall burn their fat as an offering by fire, a pleasing odor to the Lord; 18 but their flesh shall be yours, as the breast that is waved and as the right thigh are yours. 19 All the holy offerings which the people of Israel present to the Lord I give to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due; it is a covenant of salt for ever before the Lord for you and for your offspring with you.” 20 And the Lord said to Aaron, “You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them; I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.
21 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service which they serve, their service in the tent of meeting. 22 And henceforth the people of Israel shall not come near the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. 23 But the Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity; it shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations; and among the people of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as an offering to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance; therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”
25 And the Lord said to Moses, 26 “Moreover you shall say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present an offering from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe. 27 And your offering shall be reckoned to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fulness of the wine press. 28 So shall you also present an offering to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel; and from it you shall give the Lord’s offering to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every offering due to the Lord, from all the best of them, giving the hallowed part from them.’ 30 Therefore you shall say to them, ‘When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be reckoned to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and as produce of the wine press; 31 and you may eat it in any place, you and your households; for it is your reward in return for your service in the tent of meeting. 32 And you shall bear no sin by reason of it, when you have offered the best of it. And you shall not profane the holy things of the people of Israel, lest you die.’”