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.’”

Ordinance of the Red Heifer

19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, “This is the statute of the law which the Lord has commanded, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel that they bring you an (AJ)unblemished red heifer in which there is no defect and (AK)on which a yoke has never [v]been mounted. And you shall give it to (AL)Eleazar the priest, and it shall (AM)be brought outside the camp and be slaughtered in his presence. And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and (AN)sprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. Then the heifer shall be burned in his sight; (AO)its hide, its flesh, and its blood, with its refuse, shall be burned. And the priest shall take (AP)cedar wood, hyssop, and scarlet material, and throw it into the midst of the [w]burning heifer. The priest (AQ)shall then wash his clothes and bathe his [x]body in water, and afterward come into the camp; but the priest will be [y]unclean until evening. The one who burns [z]the heifer shall also wash his clothes in water and bathe his [aa]body in water, and will be unclean until evening. Now a man who is clean shall gather up the ashes of the heifer and put them outside the camp in a clean place, and [ab]the congregation of the sons of Israel shall keep them for (AR)water to remove impurity; it is [ac]purification from sin. 10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer (AS)shall wash his clothes and will be unclean until evening; and it shall be a permanent statute for the sons of Israel and for the stranger who resides among them.

11 (AT)The one who touches the dead body of any [ad]person will also be unclean for seven days. 12 That one shall (AU)purify himself with [ae]the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean; but if he does not purify himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not be clean. 13 (AV)Anyone who touches a dead body, the [af]body of a person who has died, and does not purify himself, (AW)defiles the [ag]tabernacle of the Lord; and that person shall be cut off from Israel. Since the water for impurity was not (AX)sprinkled on him, he will be unclean; his uncleanness is still on him.

14 ‘This is the law when a person dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent will be unclean for seven days. 15 And every open container, which has no cover tied down on it, will be unclean. 16 (AY)Also, anyone who in the open field touches one who has been killed with a sword or one who has died naturally, or touches a human bone or a grave, will be unclean for seven days. 17 Then for the unclean person they shall take some of the [ah]ashes of the [ai]burnt [aj](AZ)purification from sin and [ak]running water shall be [al]added to them in a container. 18 And a clean person shall take hyssop and dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all the furnishings, on the persons who were there, and on the one who touched the bone or the one who was killed or the one who died naturally, or the grave. 19 Then the clean person (BA)shall sprinkle on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he shall purify him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water and will be clean by evening.

20 ‘But the person who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, because he has (BB)defiled the sanctuary of the Lord; the water for impurity has not been sprinkled on him, so he is unclean. 21 So it shall be a permanent statute for them. And the one (BC)who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water for impurity will be unclean until evening. 22 (BD)Furthermore, anything that the unclean person touches will be unclean; and the person who touches it will be unclean until evening.’”

Death of Miriam

20 Then the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to the (BE)wilderness of Zin in the first month; and the people stayed at Kadesh. Now Miriam died there and was buried there.

(BF)There was no water for the congregation, (BG)and they assembled against Moses and Aaron. (BH)Then the people argued with Moses and spoke, saying, “(BI)If only we had perished (BJ)when our brothers perished before the Lord! (BK)Why then have you brought the Lords assembly into this wilderness, for us and our livestock to die [am]here? Why did you make us come up from Egypt, to bring us into this wretched place? (BL)It is not a place of [an]grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, nor is there water to drink!” Then Moses and Aaron came in from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and (BM)fell on their faces. And the glory of the Lord appeared to them; then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

The Waters of Meribah

“Take (BN)the staff; and you and your brother Aaron assemble the congregation and speak to the rock before their eyes, that it shall yield its water. So you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and have the congregation and their livestock drink.”

So Moses took the staff (BO)from before the Lord, just as He had commanded him; 10 and Moses and Aaron summoned the assembly in front of the rock. And he said to them, “(BP)Listen now, you rebels; shall we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses raised his hand and struck the rock twice with his staff; and (BQ)water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their livestock drank. 12 But the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, “(BR)Since you did not trust in Me, to treat Me as holy in the sight of the sons of Israel, for that reason you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 13 Those were called the waters of [ao](BS)Meribah, [ap]because the sons of Israel argued with the Lord, and He proved Himself holy among them.

14 From Kadesh Moses then sent messengers to (BT)the king of Edom to say, “This is what your brother Israel has said: ‘You (BU)know all the hardship that has [aq]overtaken us; 15 that our fathers went down to Egypt, and we stayed in Egypt a long time, and the Egyptians treated us and our fathers badly. 16 But (BV)when we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent (BW)an angel, and brought us out from Egypt; now behold, we are at Kadesh, a town on the edge of your territory. 17 Please (BX)let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard; we will not even drink water from a well. We will go along the king’s road, not turning to the right or left, until we pass through your territory.’”

18 (BY)Edom, however, said to him, “You shall not pass through [ar]us, or I will come out with the sword against you.” 19 Again, the sons of Israel said to him, “We will go up by the road, and if I and (BZ)my livestock do drink any of your water, (CA)then I will [as]pay its price. Let me only pass through on my feet, [at]nothing more.” 20 But he said, “(CB)You shall not pass through.” And Edom came out against him with a heavy [au]force and a strong hand. 21 (CC)So Edom refused to allow Israel to pass through his territory; (CD)then Israel turned away from him.

22 Now when they set out from (CE)Kadesh, the sons of Israel, the whole congregation, came to Mount Hor.

Death of Aaron

23 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron at (CF)Mount Hor by the border of the land of Edom, saying, 24 “Aaron will be (CG)gathered to his people; for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the sons of Israel, because (CH)you rebelled against My [av]command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and his son (CI)Eleazar, and bring them up to Mount Hor. 26 Then strip Aaron of his garments and put them on his son Eleazar. So Aaron will be (CJ)gathered to his people and will die there.” 27 So Moses did just as the Lord had commanded, and they went up to Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 And after Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and (CK)put them on his son Eleazar, (CL)Aaron died there on the mountain top. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 When all the congregation saw that Aaron had died, the whole house of Israel wept for Aaron for thirty (CM)days.


  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
  22. Numbers 19:2 Lit gone up
  23. Numbers 19:6 Lit burning of the heifer
  24. Numbers 19:7 Lit flesh
  25. Numbers 19:7 I.e., ritually unclean, and so throughout the ch
  26. Numbers 19:8 Lit it
  27. Numbers 19:8 Lit flesh
  28. Numbers 19:9 Lit it shall be to the congregation...Israel, for a guarding as water of impurity
  29. Numbers 19:9 Or a sin offering
  30. Numbers 19:11 Lit soul of mankind
  31. Numbers 19:12 Lit it
  32. Numbers 19:13 Lit soul
  33. Numbers 19:13 Lit dwelling place
  34. Numbers 19:17 Lit dust
  35. Numbers 19:17 Lit burning of the
  36. Numbers 19:17 Or sin offering
  37. Numbers 19:17 Lit living
  38. Numbers 19:17 Lit given
  39. Numbers 20:4 Lit there
  40. Numbers 20:5 Lit seed
  41. Numbers 20:13 I.e., contention
  42. Numbers 20:13 Or where
  43. Numbers 20:14 Lit found
  44. Numbers 20:18 Lit me
  45. Numbers 20:19 Lit give
  46. Numbers 20:19 Or no great thing
  47. Numbers 20:20 Lit people
  48. Numbers 20:24 Lit mouth

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