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21 The Lord said to Moses, Speak to the priests [exclusive of the high priest], the sons of Aaron, and say to them that none of them shall defile himself for the dead among his people [by touching a corpse or assisting in preparing it for burial],

Except for his near [blood] kin, for his mother, father, son, daughter, brother,

And for his sister, a virgin, who is near to him because she has had no husband; for her he may be defiled.

He shall not even defile himself, being a [bereaved] husband [his wife not being his blood kin] or being a chief man among his people, and so profane himself.

The priests [like the other Israelite men] shall not shave the crown of their heads or clip off the corners of their beard or make any cuttings in their flesh.

They shall be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God; for they offer the offerings made by fire to the Lord, the bread of their God; therefore they shall be holy.

They shall not take a wife who is a harlot or polluted or profane or divorced, for [the priest] is holy to his God.

You shall consecrate him therefore, for he offers the bread of your God; he shall be holy to you, for I the Lord Who sanctifies you am holy.

The daughter of any priest who profanes herself by playing the harlot profanes her father; she shall be burned with fire [after being stoned].(A)

10 But he who is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured and who is consecrated to put on the [sacred] garments, shall not let the hair of his head hang loose or rend his clothes [in mourning],

11 Neither shall he go in where any dead body lies nor defile himself [by doing so, even] for his father or for his mother;

12 Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary nor desecrate or make ceremonially unclean the sanctuary of his God, for the crown or consecration of the anointing oil of his God is upon him. I am the Lord.

13 He shall take a wife in her virginity.

14 A widow or a divorced woman or a woman who is polluted or profane or a harlot, these he shall not marry, but he shall take as his wife a virgin of his own people,(B)

15 That he may not profane or dishonor his children among his people; for I the Lord do sanctify the high priest.

16 And the Lord said to Moses,

17 Say to Aaron, Any one of your sons in their successive generations who has any blemish, let him not come near to offer the bread of his God.

18 For no man who has a blemish shall approach [God’s altar to serve as priest], a man blind or lame, or he who has a disfigured face or a limb too long,

19 Or who has a fractured foot or hand,

20 Or is a hunchback, or a dwarf, or has a defect in his eye, or has scurvy or itch, or scabs or skin trouble, or has damaged testicles.

21 No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish and is disfigured or deformed shall come near [the altar] to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire. He has a blemish; he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God.

22 He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things,

23 But he shall not come within the veil or come near the altar [of incense], because he has a blemish, that he may not desecrate and make unclean My sanctuaries and hallowed things; for I the Lord do sanctify them.(C)

24 And Moses told it to Aaron and to his sons and to all the Israelites.

Rules for Priests

21 The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron,(A) and say to them: ‘A priest must not make himself ceremonially unclean(B) for any of his people who die,(C) except for a close relative, such as his mother or father,(D) his son or daughter, his brother, or an unmarried sister who is dependent on him since she has no husband—for her he may make himself unclean.(E) He must not make himself unclean for people related to him by marriage,[a] and so defile himself.

“‘Priests must not shave(F) their heads or shave off the edges of their beards(G) or cut their bodies.(H) They must be holy to their God(I) and must not profane the name of their God.(J) Because they present the food offerings to the Lord,(K) the food of their God,(L) they are to be holy.(M)

“‘They must not marry women defiled by prostitution or divorced from their husbands,(N) because priests are holy to their God.(O) Regard them as holy,(P) because they offer up the food of your God.(Q) Consider them holy, because I the Lord am holy—I who make you holy.(R)

“‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; she must be burned in the fire.(S)

10 “‘The high priest, the one among his brothers who has had the anointing oil poured on his head(T) and who has been ordained to wear the priestly garments,(U) must not let his hair become unkempt[b] or tear his clothes.(V) 11 He must not enter a place where there is a dead body.(W) He must not make himself unclean,(X) even for his father or mother,(Y) 12 nor leave the sanctuary(Z) of his God or desecrate it, because he has been dedicated by the anointing oil(AA) of his God. I am the Lord.

13 “‘The woman he marries must be a virgin.(AB) 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or a woman defiled by prostitution, but only a virgin from his own people, 15 so that he will not defile his offspring among his people. I am the Lord, who makes him holy.’”

16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect(AC) may come near to offer the food of his God.(AD) 18 No man who has any defect(AE) may come near: no man who is blind(AF) or lame,(AG) disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles.(AH) 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect(AI) is to come near to present the food offerings to the Lord.(AJ) He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God.(AK) 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God,(AL) as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect,(AM) he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary.(AN) I am the Lord, who makes them holy.(AO)’”

24 So Moses told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.

Footnotes

  1. Leviticus 21:4 Or unclean as a leader among his people
  2. Leviticus 21:10 Or not uncover his head

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