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
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people:

But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother.

And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled.

But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself.

They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

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

They shall not take a wife that is a whore, or profane; neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband: for he is holy unto his God.

Thou shalt sanctify him therefore; for he offereth the bread of thy God: he shall be holy unto thee: for I the Lord, which sanctify you, am holy.

And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.

10 And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes;

11 Neither shall he go in to any dead body, nor defile himself for his father, or for his mother;

12 Neither shall he go out of the sanctuary, nor profane the sanctuary of his God; for the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him: I am the Lord.

13 And he shall take a wife in her virginity.

14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or profane, or an harlot, these shall he not take: but he shall take a virgin of his own people to wife.

15 Neither shall he profane his seed among his people: for I the Lord do sanctify him.

16 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,

17 Speak unto Aaron, saying, Whosoever he be of thy seed in their generations that hath any blemish, let him not approach to offer the bread of his God.

18 For whatsoever man he be that hath a blemish, he shall not approach: a blind man, or a lame, or he that hath a flat nose, or any thing superfluous,

19 Or a man that is brokenfooted, or brokenhanded,

20 Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy, or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;

21 No man that hath a blemish of the seed of Aaron the priest shall come nigh to offer the offerings of the Lord made by fire: he hath a blemish; he shall not come nigh to offer the bread of his God.

22 He shall eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy, and of the holy.

23 Only he shall not go in unto the vail, nor come nigh unto the altar, because he hath a blemish; that he profane not my sanctuaries: for I the Lord do sanctify them.

24 And Moses told it unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel.

Bible Gateway Sponsors