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Numbers 18

The work of the priests and the Levites

1 So the LORD said to Aaron, ‘You and your sons and your clan will be guilty for any wrong thing that happens in God's Holy Tent. And you and your sons will be guilty for any wrong thing that a priest does. 2 Bring the people of your tribe to the Tent of Meeting. 3 They must do the work in the Tent of Meeting. You must tell them what they should do. They must not go near anything in God's Holy Tent or the altar. If they do, you will die. They will also die. 4 The Levites must work in the Tent of Meeting. No other people must come near the Tent of Meeting when you are working in there.

5 You must work in God's Holy Tent and at the altar. If you do that, I will not be angry with the Israelites again. 6 I chose the other Levites, who are the LORD's. They are a gift to you to work in the Tent of Meeting with you. 7 But only you and your sons will be priests. You will work at the altar. I am choosing you as my priests. Any other person who comes near the Holy Place must die.’

Gifts for priests and for Levites

8 The LORD said to Aaron, ‘I am giving to you and to your family parts of the gifts that the people give to me. I am giving to you the parts that the people do not burn. They are for you and for your family, now and for always. 9 You must have a part of all the gifts. 10 All the men in your family must eat the gifts. The gifts are holy.

11 Also, you will receive part of the special gifts that the Israelites lift up in front of me. I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters for all time. Every person who lives in your houses can eat it. But they must be clean at the time.

12 I will give to you the best oil, the best wine and the best grain. The people give the first part of these to the LORD. 13 I am giving to you the best parts of the oil, wine and grain gifts that people bring to the LORD. Any person of your family who is clean can eat them.

14 Everything in Israel that should go me is yours. 15 Every first-born animal and male child that the people give to the LORD I will give to you. But you must buy them from me. 16 When they are one month old you must buy them from me for 5 shekels of silver each. The shekel must have the same weight as the shekel that the Levites use in God's Holy Tent. There are 20 gerahs in one shekel.

17 You must not buy the first-born of an ox or a sheep or a goat. Those animals are holy. Splash the blood from those animals on the altar and burn the fat from them. The smell will make the LORD happy. 18 And the meat of those animals is yours. It is like the breast and the right back leg of the special gifts that you lift up to me.

18:18See Numbers 6:20.

19 I have given all the gifts that the Israelites offer to the LORD to you, your sons and your daughters. That is a rule for all time. That is the LORD's special promise to you and to your descendants for all time.’

20 Then the LORD said to Aaron, ‘You will have no land in the Israelites' country. And your descendants will not receive any land when you die. Nothing among the Israelites will be yours. Among the Israelites, Levites do not have those things. They have me instead.

21 The Israelites give to me 10% of everything. I will give it to the Levites because they do my work in the Tent of Meeting. 22 And the other Israelites must not come near the Tent of Meeting again. If they do come near it, they will be guilty. And then they will die. 23 Only the Levites must do the work in the Tent of Meeting. And if they do anything wrong there, they will be guilty. That will be a rule for you and for all your descendants. And their children will not receive any land when they die. 24 That is because I have given the tithe of the Israelites to the Levites. The Israelites bring it as an offering to the LORD but I have given it to the Levites. I have said about them, “They will not receive any land among the Israelites as their own land.” But I have given the tithes to them instead.’

25 The LORD said to Moses, 26 ‘Also you must say to the Levites, “You will receive from the Israelites the tithe that I have given to you from them. I have not given any land to you. I have given the tithes to you instead. Then you must give some from it to the LORD. It will be a tithe of the tithe. 27 This gift will be the same as when a farmer is giving grain or wine to me. It will be special. 28 So you will give something to the LORD from your tithes, which you receive from the Israelites. And from it you will give the LORD's gift to Aaron the priest. 29 From all the gifts from the people to you, you must make separate every offering that the LORD should have. The best part of each gift is the part that you must make separate for the LORD.”

30 And you must say to them, “After you have made separate from it the best part of it, the other part will be for the Levites. They do not get food because they thresh food plants. And they do not make wine from grapes. They receive that gift instead. 31 They can eat the other part of the gift because they do the work in the Tent of Meeting. 32 And you will not be guilty because you take it. That is because you have given the best part of it to God. But you must do the right things with the holy gifts of the Israelites. If you do the right things you will not die for that reason.” ’