Numbers 18
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Duties of Priests and Levites

1So the LORD said to Aaron, “You, your sons, and your father’s house must bear the iniquity involving the sanctuary. And you and your sons alone must bear the iniquity involving your priesthood. 2But bring with you also your brothers from the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may join you and assist you and your sons before the Tent of the Testimony. 3And they shall attend to your duties and to the duties of all the Tent; but they must not come near to the furnishings of the sanctuary or the altar, or both they and you will die. 4They are to join you and attend to the duties of the Tent of Meeting, doing all the work at the Tent; but no outsider may come near you.

5And you shall attend to the duties of the sanctuary and of the altar, so that wrath may not fall on the Israelites again. 6Behold, I Myself have selected your fellow Levites from the Israelites as a gift to you, dedicated to the LORD to perform the service for the Tent of Meeting. 7But only you and your sons shall attend to your priesthood for everything concerning the altar and what is inside the veil, and you are to perform that service. I am giving you the work of the priesthood as a gift, but any outsider who comes near the sanctuary must be put to death.”

Offerings for Priests and Levites

8Then the LORD said to Aaron, “Behold, I have put you in charge of My offerings. As for all the sacred offerings of the Israelites, I have given them to you and your sons as a portion and a permanent statute. 9A portion of the most holy offerings reserved from the fire will be yours. From all the offerings they render to Me as most holy offerings, whether grain offerings or sin offerings or guilt offerings, that part belongs to you and your sons. 10You are to eat it in a most holy place. Every male may eat it; it shall be holy to you.

11And this is yours as well: the offering of their gifts, along with all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I have given this to you and your sons and daughters as a permanent statute. Every ceremonially clean person in your household may eat it. 12I give you all the freshest olive oil and all the finest new wine and grain that the Israelites give to the LORD as their firstfruits. 13The firstfruits of everything in their land that they bring to the LORD will belong to you. Every ceremonially clean person in your household may eat them.

14Every devoted thinga in Israel belongs to you. 15The firstborn of every womb, whether man or beast, that is offered to the LORD belongs to you. But you must surely redeem every firstborn son and every firstborn male of unclean animals. 16You are to pay the redemption price for a month-old male according to your valuation: five shekels of silver,b according to the sanctuary shekel, which is twenty gerahs.

17But you must not redeem the firstborn of an ox, a sheep, or a goat; they are holy. You are to sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat as an offering made by fire, a pleasing aroma to the LORD. 18And their meat belongs to you, just as the breast and right thigh of the wave offering belong to you.

19All the holy offerings that the Israelites present to the LORD I give to you and to your sons and daughters as a permanent statute. It is a permanent covenant of salt before the LORD for you and your offspring.”

20Then the LORD said to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the Israelites.

21Behold, I have given to the Levites all the tithes in Israel as an inheritance in return for the work they do, the service of the Tent of Meeting. 22No longer may the Israelites come near the Tent of Meeting, or they will incur guilt and die.

23The Levites are to perform the work of the Tent of Meeting, and they must bear their iniquity. This is a permanent statute for the generations to come. The Levites will not receive an inheritance among the Israelites. 24For I have given the Levites as their inheritance the tithe that the Israelites present to the LORD as a contribution. That is why I told them that they would not receive an inheritance among the Israelites.”

25And the LORD instructed Moses, 26“Speak to the Levites and tell them: ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe that I have given you as your inheritance, you must present part of it as an offering to the LORD—a tithe of the tithe. 27Your offering will be reckoned to you as grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress. 28So you are to present an offering to the LORD from every tithe you receive from the Israelites, and from it give the LORD’s offering to Aaron the priest. 29You must present the offering due the LORD from all the best of every gift, the holiest part of it.’

30Therefore say to the Levites, ‘When you have presented the best part, it will be reckoned to you as the produce of the threshing floor or the winepress. 31And you and your households may eat the rest of it anywhere; it is the compensation for your work at the Tent of Meeting. 32Once you have presented the best part of it, you will not incur guilt because of it. But you must not defile the sacred offerings of the Israelites, or else you will die.’”


14 a The Hebrew term refers to giving over things or persons to the LORD.
16 b That is, approximately 2 ounces or 57 grams

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