The Holiness of the Priests

1 The Lord said to Moses: "Speak to Aaron's sons, the priests, and tell them: A priest is not to make himself ceremonially unclean for a [dead] person among his relatives,a

References for Leviticus 21:1

    • a 21:1 - Nm 5:2-3; 19:11-13; Ezk 44:25
      2 except for his immediate family: his mother, father, son, daughter, or brother.
      3 He may make himself unclean for his young unmarried sister in his immediate family.
      4 He is not to make himself unclean for those related to him by marriageb and so defile himself.

      References for Leviticus 21:4

        • b 21:4 - Lit unclean a husband among his people
          5 "Priests may not make bald spots on their heads, shave the edge of their beards, or make gashes on their bodies.c

          References for Leviticus 21:5

            • c 21:5 - Lv 19:27-28; Dt 14:1; Ezk 44:20
              6 They are to be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God,d because they present the fire offerings to the Lord, the food of their God. They must be holy.

              References for Leviticus 21:6

                • d 21:6 - Lv 18:21; 22:32
                  7 They are not to marry a woman defiled by prostitutione f or divorced by her husband, for the priest is holy to his God.

                  References for Leviticus 21:7

                    • e 21:7 - Or a woman who has been deflowered
                    • f 21:7 - Dt 24:1-4; Hs 1:2
                      8 You are to consider him holy since he presents the food of your God. He will be holy to you because I, the Lord who sets you apart, am holy.
                      9 If a priest's daughter defiles herself by promiscuity,g she defiles her father; she must be burned up.h

                      References for Leviticus 21:9

                        • g 21:9 - Or prostitution
                        • h 21:9 - Lv 20:14; Gn 38:24; Jdg 15:6
                          10 "The priest who is highest among his brothers, who has had the anointing oil poured on his head and has been ordainedi to wear the garments, must not dishevel his hairj or tear his garments.k

                          References for Leviticus 21:10

                            • i 21:10 - Lit and one has filled his hand
                            • j 21:10 - Or not uncover his head
                            • k 21:10 - Lv 10:6; Ezk 44:20
                              11 He must not go near any dead person or make himself unclean [even] for his father or mother.l

                              References for Leviticus 21:11

                                  12 He must not leave the sanctuary or he will desecrate the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him;m I am the Lord.

                                  References for Leviticus 21:12

                                      13 "He is to marry a woman who is a virgin.
                                      14 He is not to marry a widow, a divorced woman, or one defiled by prostitution. He is to marry a virgin from his own people,
                                      15 so that he does not corrupt his bloodlinen among his people, for I am the Lord who sets him apart."o

                                      References for Leviticus 21:15

                                        • n 21:15 - Lit not profane his seed
                                        • o 21:15 - Ex 39:30

                                          Physical Defects and Priests

                                          16 The Lord spoke to Moses:

                                          References for Leviticus 21:16

                                              17 "Tell Aaron: None of your descendants throughout your generations who has a physical defect is to come near to present the food of his God.
                                              18 No man who has any defect is to come near: no man who is blind, lame, facially disfigured, or deformed;
                                              19 no man who has a broken foot or hand,
                                              20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf,p or who has an eye defect, a festering rash, scabs, or a crushed testicle.q

                                              References for Leviticus 21:20

                                                • p 21:20 - Or or emaciated
                                                • q 21:20 - Lv 22:25; Dt 23:1; Dn 1:4
                                                  21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to present the fire offerings to the Lord. He has a defect and is not to come near to present the food of his God.
                                                  22 He may eat the food of his God from what is especially holy as well as from what is holy.
                                                  23 But because he has a defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar. He is not to desecrate My sanctuaries, for I am the Lord who sets them apart."
                                                  24 Moses said [this] to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.