Números 18

1 Jehovah said to Aaron: »You, your sons, and your family will be responsible for any sins against the holy place. You and your sons will also be responsible for any sins you commit when you work as priests.

2 »Bring the other Levites from your ancestor’s tribe to join you and help you and your sons serve in front of the tent of the words of my promise.

3 »They are to fulfill their duties to you and their responsibilities for the tent. However they must not have any contact with sacred objects in the Holy Place or with the altar. If they do, both they and you will be put to death.

4 »They are to work with you and fulfill their responsibilities for all the service in the tent. No unqualified person may work with you.

5 »You and your sons alone must fulfill the responsibilities for the Holy Place and the altar. That way my anger will not again break out against the people of Israel.

6 »I chose the other Levites from among the Israelites to help you. They are a gift given to Jehovah to do the necessary work at the tent of meeting.

7 »Only you and your sons may do the work of priests, everything done at the altar and under the canopy. This is my gift to you: You may serve me as priests. Anyone else who comes near the holy place to do this work must die.«

8 Jehovah said to Aaron: »I have placed you in charge of all the contributions given to me. I have given you and your descendants all the holy gifts from the Israelites as your share. These contributions will be yours from generation to generation.

9 »That part of the most holy offerings that is not burned belongs to you. It may come from a grain offering, an offering for sin, or a guilt offering. Whatever is brought to me, as a most holy offering will belong to you and your sons.

10 »Eat it in a most holy place. Any male may eat it. You must consider it holy.

11 »The contributions that come as gifts taken from the offerings presented by the Israelites are also yours. I give these to you, your sons, and your daughters. They will be yours from generation to generation. Anyone in your household who is clean may eat them.

12 »I also give you the first of the produce they give Jehovah. It is the best of all the olive oil and the best of the new wine and fresh grain.

13 »The first of all produce harvested in their land that they bring to Jehovah are yours. Anyone in your household who is clean may eat it.

14 »Anything in Israel that is claimed by Jehovah is yours.

15 »Every firstborn male, human or animal that is brought to Jehovah is yours. But you must buy back every firstborn son and the firstborn male of any unclean animal.

16 »When they are one month old, you must buy them back at the fixed price of two ounces of silver using the standard weight of the holy place.

17 »You must never buy back a firstborn bull, sheep, or goat. They are holy. Throw the blood from these animals against the altar. Burn the fat as an offering by fire, a soothing aroma to Jehovah.

18 »The meat is yours, like the breast and the right thigh that are presented.

19 »I have given you, your sons, and your daughters all the holy contributions which the Israelites offer to Jehovah. These contributions will be yours from generation to generation. It is an everlasting promise of salt in Jehovah’s presence for you and your descendants.«

20 Jehovah said to Aaron: »You will have no land or property of your own as the other Israelites will have. I am your possession and your property among the Israelites.

21 »I have given the Levites one-tenth of every Israelite’s income. This is in return for the work they do at the tent of meeting.

22 »The other Israelites must never again come near the tent of meeting. Otherwise, they will suffer the consequences of their sin and die.

23 »Only the Levites will do the work at the tent of meeting. They are responsible for their own sins. This is a long lasting law for future generations. They will own no property, as the other Israelites will.

24 »Instead, I will give the Levites what the Israelites contribute to Jehovah, one-tenth of the Israelites’ income. This is why I said about them: They will own no property as the other Israelites do.«

25 Jehovah said to Moses:

26 »Speak to the Levites and say to them: ‘You will take one-tenth of the Israelites’ income that I am giving you as your property. When you do, you must contribute one-tenth of that income as your contribution to Jehovah.

27 »‘Your contribution will be considered to be grain from the threshing floor or juice from the winepress.

28 »‘You will also contribute one-tenth of your income to Jehovah out of all that you receive from the Israelites’ income. You will give Jehovah’s contribution to the priest Aaron.

29 »‘Out of all the gifts you receive, you must contribute the best and holiest parts to Jehovah.’

30 »Also tell them: ‘When you contribute the best part, your contribution will be considered to be produce from the threshing floor or winepress.

31 »‘You and your households may eat it anywhere. This is because it is the wages you receive for your work at the tent of meeting.

32 »‘When you contribute the best part, you will not suffer the consequences of any sin. You will not be dishonoring the holy offerings given by the Israelites, and you will not die.’«