Leviticus 21
Holman Christian Standard Bible  Par ▾ 

The Holiness of the Priests

1The LORD said to Moses: “Speak to Aaron’s sons, the priests, and tell them: A priest is not to make himself ceremonially unclean for a dead person among his relatives,a 2except for his immediate family: his mother, father, son, daughter, or brother. 3He may make himself unclean for his young unmarried sister in his immediate family. 4He is not to make himself unclean for those related to him by marriageb and so defile himself.

5Priests may not make bald spots on their heads, shave the edge of their beards, or make gashes on their bodies.c 6They are to be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God.d For they present the fire offerings to Yahweh, the food of their God, and they must be holy. 7They are not to marry a woman defiled by prostitution.e, f They are not to marry one divorcedg by her husband, for the priest is holy to his God. 8You are to consider him holy since he presents the food of your God. He will be holy to you because I, Yahweh who sets you apart, am holy. 9If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by promiscuity,h, i she defiles her father; she must be burned up.j

10The priest who is highest among his brothers, who has had the anointing oil poured on his head and has been ordainedk to wear the garments, must not dishevel his hairl or tear his garments.m 11He must not go near any dead person or make himself unclean even for his father or mother.n 12He must not leave the sanctuary or he will desecrate the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him;o I am Yahweh.

13He is to marry a woman who is a virgin. 14He is not to marry a widow,p a divorced woman,q or one defiled by prostitution. He is to marry a virgin from his own people, 15so that he does not corrupt his bloodliner among his people, for I am Yahweh who sets him apart.”

Physical Defects and Priests

16The LORD spoke to Moses: 17Tell Aaron: None of your descendants throughout your generations who has a physical defects is to come near to present the foodt of his God. 18No man who has any defect is to come near: no man who is blind, lame, facially disfigured, or deformed; 19no man who has a broken foot or hand, 20or who is a hunchback or a dwarf,u, v or who has an eye defect, a festering rash, scabs,w or a crushed testicle.x 21No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a defect is to come near to present the fire offerings to the LORD. He has a defect and is not to come near to present the food of his God. 22He may eat the food of his God from what is especially holy as well as from what is holy. 23But because he has a defect, he must not go near the curtainy or approach the altar. He is not to desecrate My sanctuaries, for I am Yahweh who sets them apart.”z 24Moses said this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.

a. 21:1 Nm 5:2-3; 6:6; 19:11-13; 31:19; Ezk 44:25
b. 21:4 Lit unclean a husband among his people
c. 21:5 Lv 19:27-28
d. 21:6 Ex 20:7; Lv 20:3; Jn 10:25
e. 21:7 Or a prostitute or a defiled woman
f. 21:7 Gn 34:31
g. 21:7 Dt 22:19,29; 24:1,3; Mal 2:16; Mt 1:19; 5:31-32; 19:3-9
h. 21:9 Or prostitution
i. 21:9 Dt 22:21
j. 21:9 Gn 38:24; Lv 20:14; Jdg 15:6; Rv 17:16
k. 21:10 Lit and one has filled his hand
l. 21:10 Or not uncover his head
m. 21:10 Lv 10:6; Ezk 44:20; Mk 14:63
n. 21:11 Ezk 44:25
o. 21:12 Lv 10:7
p. 21:14 Ex 22:22
q. 21:14 Lv 21:7; 22:13; Nm 30:10; Ezk 44:22
r. 21:15 Lit not profane his seed
s. 21:17 Nm 19:2
t. 21:17 Lv 3:11
u. 21:20 Or or emaciated
v. 21:20 Gn 41:3-4,6-7,23-24; Ex 16:14; Lv 13:30; 16:12; 1Kg 19:12; Is 29:5; 40:15,22
w. 21:20 Lv 22:22
x. 21:18-20 Lv 22:24; Dt 23:1
y. 21:23 Mk 15:38; Heb 6:19
z. 21:23 Ex 31:13; Lv 20:8; 21:8,15; 22:9,16,32; Ezk 20:12
Leviticus 20
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