Leviticus 21 NIV

Rules for Priests

1 The LORD said to Moses, "Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron,1 and say to them: 'A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean2 for any of his people who die,3

References for Leviticus 21:1

      2 except for a close relative, such as his mother or father,4 his son or daughter, his brother,

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          3 or an unmarried sister who is dependent on him since she has no husband--for her he may make himself unclean.5

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          4 He must not make himself unclean for people related to him by marriage,a and so defile himself.

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            • a 21:4 - Or "unclean as a leader among his people"
              5 " 'Priests must not shave6 their heads or shave off the edges of their beards7 or cut their bodies.8

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              6 They must be holy to their God9 and must not profane the name of their God.10 Because they present the offerings made to the LORD by fire,11 the food of their God,12 they are to be holy.13

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                  7 " 'They must not marry women defiled by prostitution or divorced from their husbands,14 because priests are holy to their God.15

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                      8 Regard them as holy,16 because they offer up the food of your God.17 Consider them holy, because I the LORD am holy--I who make you holy.b18

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                        • b 21:8 - Or "who sanctify you"; or "who set you apart as holy"
                          9 " 'If a priest's daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.19

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                          10 " 'The high priest, the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head20 and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments,21 must not let his hair become unkemptc or tear his clothes.22

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                            • c 21:10 - Or "not uncover his head"
                              11 He must not enter a place where there is a dead body.23 He must not make himself unclean,24 even for his father or mother,25

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                              12 nor leave the sanctuary26 of his God or desecrate it, because he has been dedicated by the anointing oil27 of his God. I am the LORD.

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                              13 " 'The woman he marries must be a virgin.28

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                              14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people,
                              15 so he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the LORD, who makes him holy.d ' "

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                                • d 21:15 - Or "who sanctifies him"; or "who sets him apart as holy"
                                  16 The LORD said to Moses,
                                  17 "Say to Aaron: 'For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect29 may come near to offer the food of his God.30

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                                      18 No man who has any defect31 may come near: no man who is blind32 or lame,33 disfigured or deformed;

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                                      19 no man with a crippled foot or hand,
                                      20 or who is hunchbacked or dwarfed, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.34

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                                      21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect35 is to come near to present the offerings made to the LORD by fire.36 He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God.37

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                                          22 He may eat the most holy food of his God,38 as well as the holy food;

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                                          23 yet because of his defect,39 he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary.40 I am the LORD, who makes them holy.e41' "

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                                            • e 21:23 - Or "who sanctifies them"; or "who sets them apart as holy"
                                              24 So Moses told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.