Leviticus 21:1-22:16

Rules for the priests

1 The Lord said to Moses, ‘Say this to the priests. They must not touch a dead body. That would make them unclean. 2 It may be the body of a person from their own family. The priest can touch the dead person if it is his mother or father. He can touch the dead person if it is his son or his daughter or his brother. 3 He can touch the dead person if it is his sister. But he must not touch her if she has a husband. 4 The priest must not touch a dead person who is married to a person of his family. That would make him unclean.

5 A priest must not cut all the hair from his head. He must not cut the sides of his beard. He must not cut his body. 6 A priest must be holy. He must not speak bad words about the Lord. He is the person who sacrifices the people's burnt offerings.

7 A priest must not marry a woman who has left her husband. He must not marry a woman if men have paid her to have sex with her. He must not marry a woman whose husband has sent her away. A priest must be holy. 8 A priest is holy because he sacrifices the people's offerings to God. A priest is holy because I, the Lord, am holy.

9 A priest's daughter must not have sex with men who pay her. That would make her unclean. She would take away her father's honour. If she does not obey, you must burn her in a fire.

10 They have poured special oil on the leader of the priests' head among his brothers. He must wear special clothes. He must comb his hair. He must not tear his clothes. 11 He must not go into a room where there is a dead body. Even if it is the body of his parent, he must not go in. It will make him unclean. 12 He must not leave the house of God. He has the holy oil on his head. He must be separate. I am the Lord.

13 The leader of the priests must marry a woman who has not had sex before. 14 The woman must not have had a husband who died. She must not have a husband that she has left. Men must not have paid to have sex with her. She must be a woman from Israel's people, 15 so that their children will be holy. I am the Lord. I make priests holy.’

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 ‘Talk to Aaron. Say, “A priest who does not have a perfect body must not sacrifice the burnt offerings to God.” This rule is for now and for all time. 18 A priest who cannot see must not sacrifice the food to God. A priest who cannot walk must not sacrifice food to God. A priest with a body that is the wrong shape must not offer food to God. 19 A priest with a hand that is the wrong shape must not offer food to God. A priest with a foot that is the wrong shape must not offer food to God. 20 A priest with a back that is not straight must not offer food to God. Neither must a priest who is very small offer a food gift. A priest who has an eye illness or a skin illness must not offer food to God. Neither must a priest offer food if his testicles are spoiled. 21 If a priest's son has something wrong with his body, he must not come near to the altar. He must not give the food offering to the Lord. 22 He can eat God's holy food and God's most holy food. 23 But none of Aaron's family who is not perfect can go near the holy curtain or the altar. He would make the holy places unclean. I am the Lord. I make them holy.’

24 Moses told all these rules to Aaron, to his sons and to all Israel's people.

Leviticus 22

1 The Lord said to Moses, 2 ‘Israel's people give gifts to God. Those gifts are holy. Tell Aaron and his sons that those things are holy. Tell them that they must remember that. They must give honour to my name. I am the Lord.

3 One of your sons may not be clean. That son must not come near the Lord's holy offerings. But perhaps he may not obey my rule. He might go near to the holy gifts. The priests who are clean must punish him. They must send him away. He must go from God's house. I am the Lord. This rule is for now and for all time. 4 If a son of Aaron has a skin illness, he must not eat the holy gifts. If pus is coming from his body, he is not clean. He must not eat the holy offerings until he is clean. He might touch something that has touched a dead body. Or if he touches an unclean man, he will become unclean. The man may be unclean because semen is coming from his body. 5 Aaron's son might touch an animal that moves on its stomach. Or he might touch a person who is not clean. If he does, Aaron's son will be unclean. 6 The son of Aaron who touches any of these things will be unclean until evening. He must not eat any of the holy gifts until he washes his body. 7 When the sun goes down, he will be clean. He can eat the holy gifts. They are his food. 8 He might find something that is dead. He must not eat it. He must not eat anything that an animal has torn. It will make him unclean. I am the Lord.

9 Aaron's sons must obey God's rules. If they do not obey them, it is a sin. They will die. I am the Lord who makes people holy. 10 Only a person who is from the priest's family can eat the holy gifts. Another person who is living in the priest's house must not eat the holy gifts. If a person is being paid to work for the priest, he must not eat the holy gifts. 11 A slave can eat the holy gifts if he was born in the priest's house. Or he can eat the holy gifts if the priest bought him. 12 A priest's daughter might marry a man who is not a priest. If she has done that, she must not eat the holy food. 13 A priest's daughter's husband might send her away. Or her husband might die. She might not have any children. She may go back to live in her father's house. Then she can eat her father's food.

14 A person might make a mistake and eat a holy gift. He must give back to the priest the same food. He must also give one fifth more. 15 The priest must not give the Lord's holy gifts to people who are not from Aaron's family. The gifts would become unclean. 16 If the people eat them they are sinning. They will have to pay for their sin. I am the Lord and I make them holy.’