Numbers 18
The Work of the Priests and Levites
1The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons and your family are now responsible for any wrongs done against the Holy Place. You and your sons are responsible for any wrongs done against the priests. 2Bring with you your fellow Levites from your tribe. They will help you and your sons serve in the Tent of the Agreement. 3They are under your control. They will do all the work that needs to be done in the Tent. But they must not go near the things in the Holy Place or near the altar. If they do, both you and they will die. 4They will join you. They will take care of the Meeting Tent. They must do the work at the Tent. No one else may come near you.
5“You must take care of the Holy Place and the altar. Then I won’t become angry with the Israelites again. 6I myself chose your fellow Levites from among the Israelites. They are a gift given for you to the Lord. Their work is at the Meeting Tent. 7But only you and your sons may serve as priests. Only you may serve at the altar or go behind the curtain. I am giving you this gift of serving as a priest. Anyone else who comes near the Holy Place will be put to death.”
8Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself make you responsible for the offerings given to me. All the holy offerings that the Israelites give to me, I give to you. They are for you and your sons as your share. They will be your continual portion. 9Your share of the holy offerings is that part which is not burned. The people will bring me gifts as most holy offerings. These are grain or sin or penalty offerings. These will be set apart for you and your sons. 10You must eat it in a most holy place. Any male may eat it. But you must respect it as holy.
11“I also give you the offerings the Israelites present to me. I give these to you and your sons and daughters. This is your share. Anyone in your family who is clean may eat it.
12“And I give you all the best olive oil and all the best new wine and grain. This is what the Israelites give to me, the Lord. These are the first things they harvest. 13They bring to the Lord all the first things they harvest. They will be yours. Anyone in your family who is clean may eat these things.
14“Everything in Israel that is given to the Lord is yours. 15The first one born to any family will be offered to the Lord. This is true for both men and animals. And that will be yours. But you must make a payment for every firstborn son and every firstborn animal that is unclean. 16When they are one month old, you must make a payment for them. The cost will be two ounces of silver as set by the Holy Place measure.
17“But you must not make a payment for the firstborn ox or sheep or goat. Those animals are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat. This is an offering made by fire. The smell is pleasing to the Lord. 18But the meat will be yours. Also the breast that is presented and the right thigh will be yours. 19Anything the Israelites present as holy gifts I, the Lord, give to you. It goes to you, your sons and daughters. It is your continual portion. This is a lasting promise before the Lord to you and your children forever.”
20The Lord also said to Aaron, “You will not inherit any of the land. And you will not own any land among the other people. I will be yours. Out of all the Israelites, only you will inherit me.
21“The people of Israel will give a tenth of what they make. I give that tenth to the Levites. This is their payment for the work they do serving at the Meeting Tent. 22But the other Israelites must never go near the Meeting Tent. If they do, they will die for their sin. 23Only the Levites should work in the Meeting Tent. They are responsible for any sins against it. This is a rule from now on. The Levites will not get any land among the other Israelites. 24But the Israelites will give a tenth of everything they make to me. And I will give that tenth to the Levites. That is why I said about the Levites: ‘They will not get any land among the Israelites.’”
25The Lord said to Moses, 26“Speak to the Levites. Tell them: ‘You will receive a tenth of everything the Israelites make. I give that to you. But you must give a tenth of that back to the Lord. 27I will accept your offering just as much as I accept the offerings from others. They give new grain or new wine. 28In this way you will present an offering to the Lord as the other Israelites do. You will receive a tenth from the Israelites. Then you will give a tenth of that to Aaron the priest as the Lord’s share. 29Choose the best and holiest part from what you are given. This is the portion you must give to the Lord.’
30“Say to the Levites: ‘When you present the best it will be accepted as much as the grain and wine from the other people. 31You and your families may eat all that is left anywhere. This is your pay for your work in the Meeting Tent. 32And if you always give the best part to the Lord, you will never be guilty. If you do not sin against the holy offerings of the Israelites, you will not die.’”
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