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Numbers 18 (Common English Bible)

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The priests’ and Levites’ duties

1 The LORD said to Aaron: You, your sons, and your household will bear the guilt of offenses connected with the sanctuary. You and your sons will bear the guilt of offenses connected with your priesthood. 2 Bring with you your brothers from the tribe of Levi, your father's tribe, so that they can assist you and serve you and your sons before the covenant tent. 3 They will perform their duties for you and the service for the entire tent. But they will not approach the holy equipment of the sanctuary or the altar, lest both they and you die. 4 They will assist you and they will perform the duties of the meeting tent with regard to all the work of the tent. But no outsider may accompany you. 5 You will perform the duties of the sanctuary and the altar. Then there will no longer be any anger against the Israelites. 6 I have taken your brothers, the Levites, from the Israelites. They are a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to perform the service of the meeting tent. 7 You and your sons must perform the duties of your priesthood for all the matters of the altar and the area behind the curtain. I give you your priestly service as a gift. But an outsider who approaches will die.

The priests’ compensation

8 The LORD spoke to Aaron: I now place you in charge of my gifts, including all the Israelites' sacred offerings. I have given them to you and your sons as an allowance. This is a permanent regulation. 9 This is what belongs to you from the most holy offerings, from the offerings by fire: all their offerings, including their grain offerings, their purification offerings, and their compensation offerings. The most holy offerings that they bring to me will be yours and your sons'. 10 You will eat it as a most holy thing. Every male may eat it. It will be holy to you. 11 This will also belong to you, your sons, and your daughters: I'm giving you the gift offerings and all the Israelites' uplifted offerings. This is a permanent regulation. Anyone who is clean in your household may eat it. 12 All the choice oil, new wine, and the grain's first harvest that they give to the LORD, I'm giving to you. 13 The early produce of everything in their land, which they bring to the LORD, will be yours. Anyone who is clean in your household may eat it. 14 Everything that is devoted to the LORD in Israel will be yours. 15 Any oldest male from the womb of any living thing that is presented to the LORD, whether human or animal, will be yours. However, you will redeem the oldest males of humans and of unclean animals. 16 Their redemption price from one month of age you will calculate at five shekels of silver according to the sanctuary shekel, which is twenty gerahs. 17 But the oldest offspring of a cow, sheep, or goat you may not redeem. They are holy. You must dash their blood on the altar and turn their fat into smoke for a soothing smell to the LORD. 18 But their meat is yours. It will be yours just as the breast of the uplifted offering and the right thigh are yours. 19 All the holy gift offerings that the Israelites raise to the LORD I have given to you, your sons, and your daughters. This is a permanent regulation. It is a covenant of salt forever in the LORD's presence, for you and your descendants. 20 The LORD said to Aaron: You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have a share among them. I am your share and your inheritance among the Israelites.

The Levites’ compensation

21 I have given all the one-tenth portions in Israel to the Levites as an inheritance. They are a reward for performing their service in the meeting tent. 22 The Israelites will no longer be able to approach the meeting tent, or they will be responsible for their sin and die. 23 The Levites will perform the service of the meeting tent, and they will be responsible for their own sins. This is a permanent regulation for all time. But they will not inherit land among the Israelites 24 because I've given the Israelites' one-tenth portion, which they have raised to the LORD as a gift offering, as an inheritance to the Levites. Therefore, I've said to them, "They won't inherit land among the Israelites." 25 The LORD spoke to Moses: 26 Speak to the Levites and say to them: When you receive from the Israelites the one-tenth portion that I have given you from them as your inheritance, you also must present a gift offering to the LORD from it, a tenth from the one-tenth portion. 27 It will be considered your gift offering, like the grain of the threshing floor and what fills the winepress. 28 In this way you will also present a gift offering to the LORD from all the one-tenth portions that you take from the Israelites. You will provide from it a gift offering to the LORD for Aaron the priest. 29 You will present each gift offering to the LORD from all your gifts, from its best portions and its holiest parts. 30 You will say to them: When you have presented the best portion, it will be considered for the Levites equivalent to the produce of the grain and the produce of the winepress. 31 You and your household may eat it anywhere, because it is payment for your service in the meeting tent. 32 You will not bear guilt after you have presented the best portion. But you must not make the sacred gifts of the Israelites impure, on penalty of death.
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