Numbers 18

1The Lord said to Aaron, “You, your sons, and all the people in your father’s family are now responsible for any wrong things that are done against the holy place. You and your sons are responsible for wrong things that are done against the priests. 2Bring the other Levite men from your family group to join you. They will help you and your sons do your work in the Tent of the Agreement. 3Those people from the family of Levi 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 the altar. If they do, then they will die—and you will die also. 4They will join you and work with you. They will be responsible for caring for the Meeting Tent. All the work that must be done in the Tent will be done by them. No one else may come near the place where you are. 5“You are responsible for caring for the holy place and the altar. I don’t want to become angry with the people of Israel again. 6I myself chose the Levite people from among all the people of Israel. They are like a gift to you. I gave them to you to serve the Lord and work in the Meeting Tent. 7But, Aaron, only you and your sons may serve as priests. You are the only ones that can go near the altar. You are the only ones that can go inside the curtain ˻into the Most Holy Place˼. I am giving you a gift—your service as a priest. Anyone else that comes near ˻my˼ holy place must be killed.” 8Then the Lord said to Aaron, “I myself gave you responsibility over all the special gifts people give to me. All the holy gifts that the people of Israel give to me, I give to you. You and your sons can share in these gifts. They will always belong to you. 9The people will bring sacrifices, grain offerings, sin offerings, and guilt offerings. Those offerings are most holy. Your share in the most holy offerings will come from the parts that are not burned. All those things will be for you and your sons. 10Eat those things only in the very holy place. Every male in your family may eat them, but you must remember that those offerings are holy. 11“And all the gifts that the Israelite people give as wave offerings will also be yours. I give this to you and your sons and your daughters. This is your share. Every person in your family that is clean will be able to eat it. 12“And I give you all the best olive oil and all the best new wine and grain. These are the things that the people of Israel give to me, the Lord. These are the first things that they gather in their harvest. 13When the people gather a harvest, they bring all the first things to the Lord. So these things I will give to you. And every person in your family that is clean may eat it. 14“Everything in Israel that is given to the Lord is yours. 15“A woman’s first baby and an animal’s first baby must be given to the Lord. That baby will belong to you. If the firstborn animal is unclean, then it must be bought back. If the baby is a child, that child must be bought back. ˻That child will again belong to its family.˼ 16They must make the payment when the baby is one month old. The cost will be 2 ounces of silver. You must use the official measure to weigh this silver. A shekel by the official measure is 20 gerahs. 17“But you must not make a payment for the firstborn cow, sheep, or goat. Those animals are holy. Sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn their fat. This is an offering made by fire. Its smell pleases the Lord. 18But the meat from those animals will be yours. And also the breast from a wave offering will be yours. And the right thigh from other offerings will be yours. 19Anything that the people offer as holy gifts, I, the Lord, give to you. This is your share. I give it to you and your sons and your daughters. This law will continue forever. It is an agreement with the Lord that can’t be broken. I make this promise to you and to your descendants.” 20The Lord also said to Aaron, “You will not get any of the land. And you will not own anything that the other people own. I, the Lord, will be yours. The Israelite people will get the land that I promised. But I am my gift to you. 21“The people of Israel will give one tenth of everything they have. So I give that one tenth to all the descendants of Levi. This is their payment for the work that they do while they serve at the Meeting Tent. 22But the other people of Israel must never go near that Meeting Tent. If they do, then they must be put to death! 23The Levite people who are working in the Meeting Tent are responsible for any sins against it. This is a law that will continue forever. The Levite people will not get any of the land that I promised to the other people of Israel. 24But the people of Israel will give one tenth of everything they have to me. And I will give that one tenth to the Levite people. That is why I said these words about the Levite people: Those people will not get the land that I promised the people of Israel.” 25The Lord said to Moses, 26“Speak to the Levite people and tell them: The people of Israel will give one tenth of everything they own to the Lord. That one tenth will belong to the Levite people. But you must give one tenth of that to the Lord as your offering. 27You will be given grain after it is harvested and juice from the winepress. Then that will also be your offering to the Lord. 28In this way, you will also give an offering to the Lord in the same way that the other people of Israel do. You will get the one tenth that the people of Israel give to the Lord. And then you will give one tenth of that to Aaron the priest. 29When the people of Israel give you one tenth of everything that they own, then you should choose the best and the holiest part of those things. That is the one tenth that you must give to the Lord. 30“Moses, tell the Levite people: The people of Israel will give you one tenth of their harvest and of their wine. Then you will give the best part of that to the Lord. 31You and your families can eat all that is left. This is your payment for the work you do in the Meeting Tent. 32And if you always give the best part of it to the Lord, then you will never be guilty. You will always remember that those gifts are the holy offerings from the people of Israel. And you will not die.”

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