Numbers 17-19 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Aaron’s Walking Stick Blooms and Produces Almonds
17 The Lord told Moses:
2-3 Call together the twelve tribes of Israel and tell the leader of each tribe to write his name on the walking stick he carries as a symbol of his authority. Make sure Aaron’s name is written on the one from the Levi tribe, then collect all the sticks.
4 Place these sticks in the tent right in front of the sacred chest where I appear to you. 5 I will then choose a man to be my priest, and his stick will sprout. After that happens, I won’t have to listen to any more complaints about you.
6 Moses told the people what the Lord had commanded, and they gave him the walking sticks from the twelve tribal leaders, including Aaron’s from the Levi tribe. 7 Moses took them and placed them in the Lord’s sacred tent.
8 The next day when Moses went into the tent, flowers and almonds were already growing on Aaron’s stick. 9 Moses brought the twelve sticks out of the tent and showed them to the people. Each of the leaders found his own and took it.
10 But the Lord told Moses, “Put Aaron’s stick back! Let it stay near the sacred chest as a warning to anyone who might think about rebelling. If these people don’t stop their grumbling about me, I will wipe them out.” 11 Moses did what he was told.
12 The Israelites cried out to Moses, “We’re done for 13 and doomed if we even get near the sacred tent!”
The Duties of the Priests and Levites
18 The Lord said to Aaron:
You, your sons, and the other Levites of the Kohath clan, are responsible for what happens at the sacred tent.[a] And you and your sons will be responsible for what the priests do. 2 The Levites are your relatives and are here to help you in your service at the tent. 3 You must see that they perform their duties. But if they go near any of the sacred objects or the altar, all of you will die. 4 No one else is allowed to take care of the sacred tent or to do anything connected with it. 5 Follow these instructions, so I won’t become angry and punish the Israelites ever again.
6 I alone chose the Levites from all the other tribes to belong to me, and I have given them to you as your helpers. 7 But only you and your sons can serve as priests at the altar and in the most holy place. Your work as priests is a gift from me, and anyone else who tries to do that work must be put to death.
The Priests' Share of Offerings Given to the Lord
8-9 The Lord said to Aaron:
I have put you in charge of the sacred gifts and sacrifices that the Israelites bring to me. And from now on, you, your sons, and your descendants will receive part of the sacrifices for sin, as well as part of the grain sacrifices, and the sacrifices to make things right. Your share of these sacrifices will be the parts not burned on the altar. 10 Since these things are sacred, they must be eaten near the sacred tent, but only men are allowed to eat them.
11 You will also receive part of the special gifts and offerings that the Israelites bring to me. Any member of your family who is clean and acceptable for worship can eat these things. 12 For example, when the Israelites bring me the first batches of oil, wine, and grain, you can have the best parts of those gifts. 13 And the first part of the crops from their fields and vineyards also belongs to you. The people will offer this to me, then anyone in your family who is clean may have some of it.
14 Everything in Israel that has been completely dedicated to me[b] will now belong to you.
15 The first-born son in every Israelite family, as well as the first-born males of their flocks and herds, belong to me. But a first-born son and every first-born donkey[c] must be bought back from me. 16 The price for a first-born son who is at least one month old will be five pieces of silver, weighed according to the official standards. 17 However, all first-born cattle, sheep, and goats belong to me and cannot be bought back. Splatter their blood on the altar and send their fat up in smoke, so I can smell it and be pleased. 18 You are allowed to eat the meat of those animals, just as you can eat the choice ribs and the right hind leg of the special sacrifices.
19 From now on, the sacred offerings that the Israelites give to me will belong to you, your sons, and your daughters. This is my promise to you and your descendants, and it will never change.
20 You will not receive any land in Israel as your own. I am the Lord, and I will give you whatever you need.
What the Levites Receive
The Lord said to Aaron:
21 Ten percent of the Israelites' crops and one out of every ten of their newborn animals belong to me. But I am giving all this to the Levites as their pay for the work they do at the sacred tent. 22-23 They are the only ones allowed to work at the tent, and they must not let anyone else come near it. Those who do must be put to death, and the Levites will also be punished. This law will never change.
Since the Levites won’t be given any land in Israel as their own, 24 they will be given the crops and newborn animals that the Israelites offer to me.
What the Levites Must Give
25 The Lord told Moses 26 to say to the Levites:
When you receive from the people of Israel ten percent of their crops and newborn animals, you must offer a tenth of that to me. 27 Just as the Israelites give me part of their grain and wine, you must set aside part of what you receive 28 as an offering to me. That amount must then be given to Aaron, 29 so the best of what you receive will be mine.
30 After you have dedicated the best parts to me, you can eat the rest, just as the Israelites eat part of their grain and wine after offering them to me.[d] 31 Your share may be eaten anywhere by anyone in your family, because it is your pay for working at the sacred tent. 32 You won’t be punished for eating it, as long as you have already offered the best parts to me.
The gifts and sacrifices brought by the people must remain sacred, and if you eat any part of them before they are offered to me, you will be put to death.
The Ceremony To Wash Away Sin
19 1-2 The Lord gave Moses and Aaron the following law:
The people of Israel must bring Moses a reddish-brown cow that has nothing wrong with it and that has never been used for plowing. 3 Moses will give it to Eleazar the priest, then it will be led outside the camp and killed while Eleazar watches. 4 He will dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it seven times in the direction of the sacred tent. 5 Then the whole cow, including its skin, meat, blood, and insides must be burned. 6 A priest[e] is to throw a stick of cedar wood, a hyssop[f] branch, and a piece of red yarn into the fire.
7 After the ceremony, the priest is to take a bath and wash his clothes. Only then can he go back into the camp, but he remains unclean and unfit for worship until evening. 8 The man who burned the cow must also wash his clothes and take a bath, but he is also unclean until evening.
9 A man who isn’t unclean must collect the ashes of the burnt cow and store them outside the camp in a clean place. The people of Israel can mix these ashes with the water used in the ceremony to wash away sin. 10 The man who collects the ashes must wash his clothes, but will remain unclean until evening. This law must always be obeyed by the people of Israel and the foreigners living among them.
What Must Be Done after Touching a Dead Body
The Lord said:
11 If you touch a dead body, you will be unclean for seven days. 12 But if you wash with the water mixed with the cow’s ashes on the third day and again on the seventh day, you will be clean and acceptable for worship. You must wash yourself on those days; if you don’t, you will remain unclean. 13 Suppose you touch a dead body, but refuse to be made clean by washing with the water mixed with ashes. You will be guilty of making my sacred tent unclean and will no longer belong to the people of Israel.
14 If someone dies in a tent while you are there, you will be unclean for seven days. And anyone who later enters the tent will also be unclean. 15 Any open jar in the tent is unclean.
16 If you touch the body of someone who was killed or who died of old age, or if you touch a human bone or a grave, you will be unclean for seven days.
17-18 Before you can be made clean, someone who is clean must take some of the ashes from the burnt cow and stir them into a pot of spring water. That same person must dip a hyssop branch in the water and ashes, then sprinkle it on the tent and everything in it, including everyone who was inside. If you have touched a human bone, a grave, or a dead body, you must be sprinkled with that water. 19 If this is done on the third day and on the seventh day, you will be clean. Then after you take a bath and wash your clothes, you can worship that evening.
20 If you are unclean and refuse to be made clean by washing with the water mixed with ashes, you will be guilty of making my sacred tent unclean, and you will no longer belong to the people of Israel. 21 These laws will never change.
The man who sprinkled the water and the ashes on you when you were unclean must also wash his clothes. And whoever touches this water is unclean until evening. 22 When you are unclean, everything you touch becomes unclean, and anyone who touches you will be unclean until evening.
Mark 6:30-56 Contemporary English Version (CEV)
Jesus Feeds Five Thousand
30 After the apostles returned to Jesus,[a] they told him everything they had done and taught. 31 But so many people were coming and going that Jesus and the apostles did not even have a chance to eat. Then Jesus said, “Let’s go to a place[b] where we can be alone and get some rest.” 32 They left in a boat for a place where they could be alone. 33 But many people saw them leave and figured out where they were going. So people from every town ran on ahead and got there first.
34 When Jesus got out of the boat, he saw the large crowd that was like sheep without a shepherd. He felt sorry for the people and started teaching them many things.
35 That evening the disciples came to Jesus and said, “This place is like a desert, and it is already late. 36 Let the crowds leave, so they can go to the farms and villages near here and buy something to eat.”
37 Jesus replied, “You give them something to eat.”
But they asked him, “Don’t you know that it would take almost a year’s wages[c] to buy all of these people something to eat?”
38 Then Jesus said, “How much bread do you have? Go and see!”
They found out and answered, “We have five small loaves of bread[d] and two fish.” 39 Jesus told his disciples to have the people sit down on the green grass. 40 They sat down in groups of a hundred and groups of fifty.
41 Jesus took the five loaves and the two fish. He looked up toward heaven and blessed the food. Then he broke the bread and handed it to his disciples to give to the people. He also divided the two fish, so that everyone could have some.
42 After everyone had eaten all they wanted, 43 Jesus' disciples picked up twelve large baskets of leftover bread and fish.
44 There were five thousand men who ate the food.
Jesus Walks on the Water
45 Right away, Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and start back across to Bethsaida. But he stayed until he had sent the crowds away. 46 Then he told them good-by and went up on the side of a mountain to pray.
47 Later that evening he was still there by himself, and the boat was somewhere in the middle of the lake. 48 He could see that the disciples were struggling hard, because they were rowing against the wind. Not long before morning, Jesus came toward them. He was walking on the water and was about to pass the boat.
49 When the disciples saw Jesus walking on the water, they thought he was a ghost, and they started screaming. 50 All of them saw him and were terrified. But at that same time he said, “Don’t worry! I am Jesus. Don’t be afraid.” 51 He then got into the boat with them, and the wind died down. The disciples were completely confused. 52 Their minds were closed, and they could not understand the true meaning of the loaves of bread.
Jesus Heals Sick People in Gennesaret
53 Jesus and his disciples crossed the lake and brought the boat to shore near the town of Gennesaret. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, the people recognized Jesus. 55 So they ran all over that part of the country to bring their sick people to him on mats. They brought them each time they heard where he was. 56 In every village or farm or marketplace where Jesus went, the people brought their sick to him. They begged him to let them just touch his clothes, and everyone who did was healed.
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