Bible: Num 13-20


Spies Sent Out


The Lord spoke 2  to Moses: 13:2 Send out men to investigate 3  the land of Canaan, which I am giving 4  to the Israelites. You are to send one man from each ancestral tribe, 5  each one a leader among them.” 13:3 So Moses sent them from the wilderness of Paran at the command 6  of the Lord. All of them were leaders 7  of the Israelites.

13:4 Now these were their names: from the tribe of Reuben, Shammua son of Zaccur; 13:5 from the tribe of Simeon, Shaphat son of Hori; 13:6 from the tribe of Judah, Caleb son of Jephunneh; 13:7 from the tribe of Issachar, Igal son of Joseph; 13:8 from the tribe of Ephraim, Hoshea son of Nun; 13:9 from the tribe of Benjamin, Palti son of Raphu; 13:10 from the tribe of Zebulun, Gaddiel son of Sodi; 13:11 from the tribe 8  of Joseph, namely, the tribe of Manasseh, Gaddi son of Susi; 13:12 from the tribe of Dan, Ammiel son of Gemalli; 13:13 from the tribe of Asher, Sethur son of Michael; 13:14 from the tribe of Naphtali, Nahbi son of Vopshi; 13:15 from the tribe of Gad, Geuel son of Maki. 13:16 These are the names of the men whom Moses sent to investigate the land. And Moses gave Hoshea son of Nun the name Joshua. 9 

The Spies’ Instructions

13:17 When Moses sent 10  them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negev, 11  and then go up into the hill country 13:18 and see 12  what the land is like, 13  and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 13:19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities, 13:20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, 14  and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year 15  for the first ripe grapes. 16 

The Spies’ Activities

13:21 So they went up and investigated the land from the wilderness of Zin to Rehob, 17  at the entrance of Hamath. 18  13:22 When they went up through the Negev, they 19  came 20  to Hebron where Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, 21  descendants of Anak, were living. (Now Hebron had been built seven years before Zoan 22  in Egypt.) 13:23 When they came to the valley of Eshcol, they cut down from there a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they carried it on a staff 23  between two men, as well as some of the pomegranates and the figs. 13:24 That place was called 24  the Eshcol Valley, 25  because of the cluster 26  of grapes that the Israelites cut from there. 13:25 They returned from investigating the land after forty days.

The Spies’ Reports

13:26 They came back 27  to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community of the Israelites in the wilderness of Paran at Kadesh. 28  They reported 29  to the whole community and showed the fruit of the land. 13:27 They told Moses, 30  “We went to the land where you sent us. 31  It is indeed flowing with milk and honey, 32  and this is its fruit. 13:28 But 33  the inhabitants 34  are strong, and the cities are fortified and very large. Moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. 13:29 The Amalekites live in the land of the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites, and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live by the sea and along the banks 35  of the Jordan.” 36 

13:30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses, saying, “Let us go up 37  and occupy it, 38  for we are well able to conquer it.” 39  13:31 But the men 40  who had gone up with him said, “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are! 13:32 Then they presented the Israelites with a discouraging 41  report of the land they had investigated, saying, “The land that we passed through 42  to investigate is a land that devours 43  its inhabitants. 44  All the people we saw there 45  are of great stature. 13:33 We even saw the Nephilim 46  there (the descendants of Anak came from the Nephilim), and we seemed liked grasshoppers both to ourselves 47  and to them.” 48 


The Israelites Respond in Unbelief


Then all the community raised a loud cry, 50  and the people wept 51  that night. 14:2 And all the Israelites murmured 52  against Moses and Aaron, and the whole congregation said to them, “If only we had died 53  in the land of Egypt, or if only we had perished 54  in this wilderness! 14:3 Why has the Lord brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder? Wouldn’t it be better for us to return to Egypt? 14:4 So they said to one another, 55 Let’s appoint 56  a leader 57  and return 58  to Egypt.”

14:5 Then Moses and Aaron fell down with their faces to the ground 59  before the whole assembled community 60  of the Israelites. 14:6 And Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, two of those who had investigated the land, tore their garments. 14:7 They said to the whole community of the Israelites, “The land we passed through to investigate is an exceedingly 61  good land. 14:8 If the Lord delights in us, then he will bring us into this land and give it to us – a land that is flowing with milk and honey. 62  14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. 63  Their protection 64  has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!

14:10 However, the whole community threatened to stone them. 65  But 66  the glory 67  of the Lord appeared to all the Israelites at the tent 68  of meeting.

The Punishment from God

14:11 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise 69  me, and how long will they not believe 70  in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them? 14:12 I will strike them with the pestilence, 71  and I will disinherit them; I will make you into a nation that is greater and mightier than they!

14:13 Moses said to the Lord, “When the Egyptians hear 72  it – for you brought up this people by your power from among them – 14:14 then they will tell it to the inhabitants 73  of this land. They have heard that you, Lord, are among this people, that you, Lord, are seen face to face, 74  that your cloud stands over them, and that you go before them by day in a pillar of cloud and in a pillar of fire by night. 14:15 If you kill 75  this entire people at once, 76  then the nations that have heard of your fame will say, 14:16 Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land that he swore to them, he killed them in the wilderness.’ 14:17 So now, let the power of my Lord 77  be great, just as you have said, 14:18 The Lord is slow to anger and abounding in loyal love, 78  forgiving iniquity and transgression, 79  but by no means clearing 80  the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children until the third and fourth generations.’ 81  14:19 Please forgive 82  the iniquity of this people according to your great loyal love, 83  just as you have forgiven this people from Egypt even until now.”

14:20 Then the Lord said, “I have forgiven them as you asked. 84  14:21 But truly, as I live, 85  all the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord. 14:22 For all the people have seen my glory and my signs that I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and yet have tempted 86  me now these ten times, 87  and have not obeyed me, 88  14:23 they will by no means 89  see the land that I swore to their fathers, nor will any of them who despised me see it. 14:24 Only my servant Caleb, because he had a different spirit and has followed me fully – I will bring him into the land where he had gone, and his descendants 90  will possess it. 14:25 (Now the Amalekites and the Canaanites were living in the valleys.) 91  Tomorrow, turn and journey into the wilderness by the way of the Red Sea.”

14:26 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 14:27 How long must I bear 92  with this evil congregation 93  that murmurs against me? I have heard the complaints of the Israelites that they murmured against me. 14:28 Say to them, ‘As I live, 94  says 95  the Lord, I will surely do to you just what you have spoken in my hearing. 96  14:29 Your dead bodies 97  will fall in this wilderness – all those of you who were numbered, according to your full number, from twenty years old and upward, who have murmured against me. 14:30 You will by no means enter into the land where 98  I swore 99  to settle 100  you. The only exceptions are Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun. 14:31 But I will bring in your little ones, whom you said would become victims of war, 101  and they will enjoy 102  the land that you have despised. 14:32 But as for you, your dead bodies will fall in this wilderness, 14:33 and your children will wander 103  in the wilderness forty years and suffer for your unfaithfulness, 104  until your dead bodies lie finished 105  in the wilderness. 14:34 According to the number of the days you have investigated this land, forty days – one day for a year – you will suffer for 106  your iniquities, forty years, and you will know what it means to thwart me. 107  14:35 I, the Lord, have said, “I will surely do so to all this evil congregation that has gathered together against me. In this wilderness they will be finished, and there they will die!”’

14:36 The men whom Moses sent to investigate the land, who returned and made the whole community murmur against him by producing 108  an evil report about the land, 14:37 those men who produced the evil report about the land, died by the plague before the Lord. 14:38 But Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among 109  the men who went to investigate the land, lived. 14:39 When Moses told 110  these things to all the Israelites, the people mourned 111  greatly.

14:40 And early 112  in the morning they went up to the crest of the hill country, 113  saying, “Here we are, and we will go up to the place that the Lord commanded, 114  for we have sinned.” 115  14:41 But Moses said, “Why 116  are you now transgressing the commandment 117  of the Lord? It will not succeed! 14:42 Do not go up, for the Lord is not among you, and you will be 118  defeated before your enemies. 14:43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites are there before you, and you will fall by the sword. Because you have turned away from the Lord, the Lord will not be with you.”

14:44 But they dared 119  to go up to the crest of the hill, although 120  neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses departed from the camp. 14:45 So the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country swooped 121  down and attacked them 122  as far as Hormah. 123 


Sacrificial Rulings


The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:2 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land where you are to live, 125  which I am giving you, 126  15:3 and you make an offering by fire to the Lord from the herd or from the flock (whether a burnt offering or a sacrifice for discharging a vow or as a freewill offering or in your solemn feasts) to create a pleasing aroma to the Lord, 15:4 then the one who presents his offering to the Lord must bring 127  a grain offering of one-tenth of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with one fourth of a hin of olive oil. 128  15:5 You must also prepare one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering 129  with the burnt offering or the sacrifice for each lamb. 130  15:6 Or for a ram, you must prepare as a grain offering two-tenths of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with one-third of a hin of olive oil, 15:7 and for a drink offering you must offer one-third of a hin of wine as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:8 And when you prepare a young bull as a burnt offering or a sacrifice for discharging a vow or as a peace offering to the Lord, 15:9 then a grain offering of three-tenths of an ephah of finely ground flour mixed with half a hin of olive oil must be presented 131  with the young bull, 15:10 and you must present as the drink offering half a hin of wine with the fire offering as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:11 This is what is to be done 132  for each ox, or each ram, or each of the male lambs or the goats. 15:12 You must do so for each one according to the number that you prepare.

15:13‘Every native-born person must do these things in this way to present an offering made by fire as a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 15:14 If a resident foreigner is living 133  with you – or whoever is among you 134  in future generations 135 and prepares an offering made by fire as a pleasing aroma to the Lord, he must do it the same way you are to do it. 136  15:15 One statute must apply 137  to you who belong to the congregation and to the resident foreigner who is living among you, as a permanent 138  statute for your future generations. You and the resident foreigner will be alike 139  before the Lord. 15:16 One law and one custom must apply to you and to the resident foreigner who lives alongside you.’

Rules for First Fruits

15:17 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:18 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When you enter the land to which I am bringing you 140  15:19 and you eat 141  some of the food of the land, you must offer up a raised offering 142  to the Lord. 15:20 You must offer up a cake of the first of your finely ground flour 143  as a raised offering; as you offer the raised offering of the threshing floor, so you must offer it up. 15:21 You must give to the Lord some of the first of your finely ground flour as a raised offering in your future generations.


Rules for Unintentional Offenses


“‘If you 145  sin unintentionally and do not observe all these commandments that the Lord has spoken to Moses 15:23 all that the Lord has commanded you by the authority 146  of Moses, from the day that the Lord commanded Moses and continuing through your future generations 15:24 then if anything is done unintentionally 147  without the knowledge of 148  the community, the whole community must prepare one young bull for a burnt offering – for a pleasing aroma to the Lordalong with its grain offering and its customary drink offering, and one male goat for a purification offering. 15:25 And the priest is to make atonement 149  for the whole community of the Israelites, and they will be forgiven, 150  because it was unintentional and they have brought their offering, an offering made by fire to the Lord, and their purification offering before the Lord, for their unintentional offense. 15:26 And the whole community 151  of the Israelites and the resident foreigner who lives among them will be forgiven, since all the people were involved in the unintentional offense.

15:27‘If any person 152  sins unintentionally, then he must bring a yearling female goat for a purification offering. 15:28 And the priest must make atonement for the person who sins unintentionally – when he sins unintentionally before the Lordto make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. 15:29 You must have one law for the person who sins unintentionally, both for the native-born among the Israelites and for the resident foreigner who lives among them.

Deliberate Sin

15:30‘But the person 153  who acts defiantly, 154  whether native-born or a resident foreigner, insults 155  the Lord. 156  That person 157  must be cut off 158  from among his people. 15:31 Because he has despised 159  the word of the Lord and has broken 160  his commandment, that person 161  must be completely cut off. 162  His iniquity will be on him.’ 163 

15:32 When the Israelites were 164  in the wilderness they found a man gathering wood on the Sabbath day. 165  15:33 Those who found him gathering wood brought him to Moses and Aaron and to the whole community. 15:34 They put him in custody, because there was no clear instruction about what should be done to him. 15:35 Then the Lord said to Moses, “The man must surely be put to death; the whole community must stone 166  him with stones outside the camp.” 15:36 So the whole community took him outside the camp and stoned him to death, 167  just as the Lord commanded Moses.

Rules for Tassels

15:37 The Lord spoke to Moses: 15:38 Speak to the Israelites and tell them to make 168  tassels 169  for themselves on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and put a blue thread 170  on the tassel of the corners. 15:39 You must have this tassel so that you may look at it and remember all the commandments of the Lord and obey them and so that you do not follow 171  after your own heart and your own eyes that lead you to unfaithfulness. 172  15:40 Thus 173  you will remember and obey all my commandments and be holy to your God. 15:41 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God. I am the Lord your God.”


The Rebellion of Korah


Now Korah son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On son of Peleth, who were Reubenites, 175  took men 176  16:2 and rebelled against Moses, along with some of the Israelites, 250 leaders 177  of the community, chosen from the assembly, 178  famous men. 179  16:3 And they assembled against Moses and Aaron, saying to them, “You take too much upon yourselves, 180  seeing that the whole community is holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the community of the Lord?

16:4 When Moses heard it he fell down with his face to the ground. 181  16:5 Then he said to Korah and to all his company, “In the morning the Lord will make known who are his, and who is holy. He will cause that person 182  to approach him; the person he has chosen he will cause to approach him. 16:6 Do this, Korah, you and all your company: 183  Take censers, 16:7 put fire in them, and set incense on them before the Lord tomorrow, and the man whom the Lord chooses will be holy. You take too much upon yourselves, you sons of Levi! 16:8 Moses said to Korah, “Listen now, you sons of Levi! 16:9 Does it seem too small a thing to you that the God of Israel has separated you from the community of Israel to bring you near to himself, to perform the service of the tabernacle of the Lord, and to stand before the community to minister to them? 16:10 He has brought you near and all your brothers, the sons of Levi, with you. Do you now seek 184  the priesthood also? 16:11 Therefore you and all your company have assembled together against the Lord! And Aaron – what is he that you murmur against him? 185  16:12 Then Moses summoned 186  Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, but they said, “We will not come up. 187  16:13 Is it a small thing 188  that you have brought us up out of the land that flows with milk and honey, 189  to kill us in the wilderness? Now do you want to make yourself a prince 190  over us? 16:14 Moreover, 191  you have not brought us into a land that flows with milk and honey, nor given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards. Do you think you can blind 192  these men? We will not come up.”

16:15 Moses was very angry, and he said to the Lord, “Have no respect 193  for their offering! I have not taken so much as one donkey from them, nor have I harmed any one of them!

16:16 Then Moses said to Korah, “You and all your company present yourselves before the Lordyou and they, and Aaron – tomorrow. 16:17 And each of you 194  take his censer, put 195  incense in it, and then each of you present his censer before the Lord: 250 censers, along with you, and Aaron – each of you with his censer.” 16:18 So everyone took his censer, put fire in it, and set incense on it, and stood at the entrance of the tent of meeting, with Moses and Aaron. 16:19 When 196  Korah assembled the whole community against them at the entrance of the tent of meeting, then the glory of the Lord appeared to the whole community.

The Judgment on the Rebels

16:20 The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 16:21 Separate yourselves 197  from among this community, 198  that I may consume them in an instant.” 16:22 Then they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground 199  and said, “O God, the God of the spirits of all people, 200  will you be angry with the whole community when only one man sins? 201 

16:23 So the Lord spoke to Moses: 16:24 Tell the community: ‘Get away 202  from around the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.’ 16:25 Then Moses got up 203  and went to Dathan and Abiram; and the elders of Israel went after him. 16:26 And he said to the community, “Move away from the tents of these wicked 204  men, and do not touch anything they have, lest you be destroyed because 205  of all their sins.” 206  16:27 So they got away from the homes of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram on every side, and Dathan and Abiram came out and stationed themselves 207  in the entrances of their tents with their wives, their children, and their toddlers. 16:28 Then Moses said, “This is how 208  you will know that the Lord has sent me to do all these works, for I have not done them of my own will. 209  16:29 If these men die a natural death, 210  or if they share the fate 211  of all men, then the Lord has not sent me. 16:30 But if the Lord does something entirely new, 212  and the earth opens its mouth and swallows them up 213  along with all that they have, and they 214  go down alive to the grave, 215  then you will know that these men have despised the Lord!

16:31 When he had finished 216  speaking 217  all these words, the ground that was under them split open, 16:32 and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them, along with their households, and all Korah’s men, and all their goods. 16:33 They and all that they had went down alive into the pit, and the earth closed over them. So they perished from among the community. 16:34 All the Israelites 218  who were around them fled at their cry, 219  for they said, “What if 220  the earth swallows us too? 16:35 Then a fire 221  went out from the Lord and devoured the 250 men who offered incense.

The Atonement for the Rebellion

16:36 222  The Lord spoke to Moses: 16:37 Tell 223  Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to pick up 224  the censers out of the flame, for they are holy, and then scatter the coals of fire 225  at a distance. 16:38 As for the censers of these men who sinned at the cost of their lives, 226  they must be made 227  into hammered sheets for covering the altar, because they presented them before the Lord and sanctified them. They will become a sign to the Israelites.” 16:39 So Eleazar the priest took the bronze censers presented by those who had been burned up, and they were hammered out as a covering for the altar. 16:40 It was a memorial for the Israelites, that no outsider who is not a descendant of 228  Aaron should approach to burn incense before the Lord, that he might not become like Korah and his company – just as the Lord had spoken by the authority 229  of Moses. 16:41 But on the next day the whole community of Israelites murmured against Moses and Aaron, saying, “You have killed the Lord’s people! 230  16:42 When the community assembled 231  against Moses and Aaron, they turned toward the tent of meeting – and 232  the cloud covered it, and the glory of the Lord appeared. 16:43 Then Moses and Aaron stood before the tent of meeting.

16:44 The Lord spoke to Moses: 16:45 Get away from this community, so that I can consume them in an instant!” But they threw themselves down with their faces to the ground. 233  16:46 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Take the censer, put burning coals from the altar in it, place incense on it, and go quickly into the assembly and make atonement for them, for wrath has gone out from the Lordthe plague has begun! 16:47 So Aaron did 234  as Moses commanded 235  and ran into the middle of the assembly, where the plague was just beginning among the people. So he placed incense on the coals and made atonement for the people. 16:48 He stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped. 16:49 Now 14,700 people died in the plague, in addition to those who died in the event with Korah. 16:50 Then Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the tent of meeting, and the plague was stopped.


The Budding of Aaron’s Staff


The Lord spoke to Moses: 17:2 Speak to the Israelites, and receive from them a staff from each tribe, 237  one from every tribal leader, 238  twelve staffs; you must write each man’s name on his staff. 17:3 You must write Aaron’s name on the staff of Levi; for one staff is for the head of every tribe. 239  17:4 You must place them 240  in the tent of meeting before the ark of the covenant 241  where I meet with you. 17:5 And the staff of the man whom I choose will blossom; so I will rid myself of the complaints of the Israelites, which they murmur against you.”

17:6 So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and each of their leaders gave him a staff, one for each leader, 242  according to their tribes 243 twelve staffs; the staff of Aaron was among their staffs. 17:7 Then Moses placed the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the testimony. 244 

17:8 On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony – and 245  the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted, and brought forth buds, and produced blossoms, and yielded almonds! 246  17:9 So Moses brought out all the staffs from before the Lord to all the Israelites. They looked at them, 247  and each man took his staff.

The Memorial

17:10 The Lord said to Moses, “Bring Aaron’s staff back before the testimony to be preserved for a sign to the rebels, so that you may bring their murmurings to an end 248  before me, that they will not die.” 249  17:11 So Moses did as the Lord commanded him – this is what he did.

17:12 The Israelites said to Moses, “We are bound to die! 250  We perish, we all perish! 17:13 251  Anyone who even comes close to the tabernacle of the Lord will die! Are we all to die? 252 


Responsibilities of the Priests


The Lord said to Aaron, “You and your sons and your tribe 254  with you must bear the iniquity of the sanctuary, 255  and you and your sons with you must bear the iniquity of your priesthood.

18:2Bring with you your brothers, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, so that they may join 256  with you and minister to you while 257  you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony. 18:3 They must be responsible to care for you and to care for the entire tabernacle. However, they must not come near the furnishings of the sanctuary and the altar, or both they and you will die. 18:4 They must join 258  with you, and they will be responsible for the care of the tent of meeting, for all the service of the tent, but no unauthorized person 259  may approach you. 18:5 You will be responsible for the care of the sanctuary and the care of the altar, so that there will be 260  no more wrath on the Israelites. 18:6 I myself have chosen 261  your brothers the Levites from among the Israelites. They are given to you as a gift from the Lord, to perform the duties 262  of the tent of meeting. 18:7 But you and your sons with you are responsible for your priestly duties, for everything at the altar and within the curtain. And you must serve. I give you the priesthood as a gift for service; but the unauthorized person who approaches must be put to death.”

The Portion of the Priests

18:8 The Lord spoke to Aaron, “See, I have given you the responsibility for my raised offerings; I have given all the holy things of the Israelites to you as your priestly portion 263  and to your sons as a perpetual ordinance. 18:9 Of all the most holy offerings reserved 264  from the fire this will be yours: Every offering of theirs, whether from every grain offering or from every purification offering or from every reparation offering which they bring to me, will be most holy for you and for your sons. 18:10 You are to eat it as a most holy offering; every male may eat it. It will be holy to you.

18:11And this is yours: the raised offering of their gift, along with all the wave offerings of the Israelites. I have given them to you and to your sons and daughters with you as a perpetual ordinance. Everyone who is ceremonially clean in your household may eat of it.

18:12All the best of the olive oil and all the best of the wine and of the wheat, the first fruits of these things that they give to the Lord, I have given to you. 265  18:13 And whatever first ripe fruit in their land they bring to the Lord will be yours; everyone who is ceremonially clean in your household may eat of it.

18:14Everything devoted 266  in Israel will be yours. 18:15 The firstborn of every womb which they present to the Lord, whether human or animal, will be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn sons you must redeem, 267  and the firstborn males of unclean animals you must redeem. 18:16 And those that must be redeemed you are to redeem when they are a month old, according to your estimation, for five shekels of silver according to the sanctuary shekel (which is twenty gerahs). 18:17 But you must not redeem the firstborn of a cow or a sheep or a goat; they are holy. You must splash 268  their blood on the altar and burn their fat for an offering made by fire for a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 18:18 And their meat will be yours, just as the breast and the right hip of the raised offering is yours. 18:19 All the raised offerings of the holy things that the Israelites offer to the Lord, I have given to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual ordinance. It is a covenant of salt 269  forever before the Lord for you and for your descendants with you.”

Duties of the Levites

18:20 The Lord spoke to Aaron, “You will have no inheritance in their land, nor will you have any portion of property 270  among them – I am your portion and your inheritance among the Israelites. 18:21 See, I have given the Levites all the tithes in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they perform – the service of the tent of meeting. 18:22 No longer may the Israelites approach the tent of meeting, or else they will bear their sin 271  and die. 18:23 But the Levites must perform the service 272  of the tent of meeting, and they must bear their iniquity. 273  It will be a perpetual ordinance throughout your generations that among the Israelites the Levites 274  have no inheritance. 275  18:24 But I have given 276  to the Levites for an inheritance the tithes of the Israelites that are offered 277  to the Lord as a raised offering. That is why I said to them that among the Israelites they are to have no inheritance.”

Instructions for the Levites

18:25 The Lord spoke to Moses: 18:26 You are to speak to the Levites, and you must tell them, ‘When you receive from the Israelites the tithe that I have given you from them as your inheritance, then you are to offer up 278  from it as a raised offering to the Lord a tenth of the tithe. 18:27 And your raised offering will be credited 279  to you as though it were grain from the threshing floor or as new wine 280  from the winepress. 18:28 Thus you are to offer up a raised offering to the Lord of all your tithes which you receive from the Israelites; and you must give the Lord’s raised offering from it to Aaron the priest. 18:29 From all your gifts you must offer up every raised offering due 281  the Lord, from all the best of it, and the holiest part of it.’ 282 

18:30Therefore you will say to them, 283 When you offer up 284  the best of it, then it will be credited to the Levites as the product of the threshing floor and as the product of the winepress. 18:31 And you may 285  eat it in any place, you and your household, because it is your wages for your service in the tent of meeting. 18:32 And you will bear no sin concerning it when you offer up the best of it. And you must not profane the holy things of the Israelites, or else you will die.’ 286 


The Red Heifer Ritual


The Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron: 19:2 This is the ordinance of the law which the Lord has commanded: ‘Instruct 288  the Israelites to bring 289  you a red 290  heifer 291  without blemish, which has no defect 292  and has never carried a yoke. 19:3 You must give it to Eleazar the priest so that he can take it outside the camp, and it must be slaughtered before him. 293  19:4 Eleazar the priest is to take 294  some of its blood with his finger, and sprinkle some of the blood seven times 295  directly in front of the tent of meeting. 19:5 Then the heifer must be burned 296  in his sight – its skin, its flesh, its blood, and its offal is to be burned. 297  19:6 And the priest must take cedar wood, hyssop, 298  and scarlet wool and throw them into the midst of the fire where the heifer is burning. 299  19:7 Then the priest must wash 300  his clothes and bathe himself 301  in water, and afterward he may come 302  into the camp, but the priest will be ceremonially unclean until evening. 19:8 The one who burns it 303  must wash his clothes in water and bathe himself in water. He will be ceremonially unclean until evening.

19:9‘Then a man who is ceremonially clean must gather up the ashes of the red heifer and put them in a ceremonially clean place outside the camp. They must be kept 304  for the community of the Israelites for use in the water of purification 305 it is a purification for sin. 306  19:10 The one who gathers the ashes of the heifer must wash his clothes and be ceremonially unclean until evening. This will be a permanent ordinance both for the Israelites and the resident foreigner who lives among them.

Purification from Uncleanness

19:11‘Whoever touches 307  the corpse 308  of any person 309  will be ceremonially unclean 310  seven days. 19:12 He must purify himself 311  with water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on the third day and the seventh day, then he will not be clean. 19:13 Anyone who touches the corpse of any dead person and does not purify himself defiles the tabernacle of the Lord. And that person must be cut off from Israel, 312  because the water of purification was not sprinkled on him. He will be unclean; his uncleanness remains on him.

19:14‘This is the law: When a man dies 313  in a tent, anyone who comes into the tent and all who are in the tent will be ceremonially unclean seven days. 19:15 And every open container that has no covering fastened on it is unclean. 19:16 And whoever touches the body of someone killed with a sword in the open fields, 314  or the body of someone who died of natural causes, 315  or a human bone, or a grave, will be unclean seven days. 316 

19:17‘For a ceremonially unclean person you must take 317  some of the ashes of the heifer 318  burnt for purification from sin and pour 319  fresh running 320  water over them in a vessel. 19:18 Then a ceremonially clean person must take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle it on the tent, on all its furnishings, and on the people who were there, or on the one who touched a bone, or one killed, or one who died, or a grave. 19:19 And the clean person must sprinkle the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day; and on the seventh day he must purify him, 321  and then he must wash his clothes, and bathe in water, and he will be clean in the evening. 19:20 But the man who is unclean and does not purify himself, that person must be cut off from among the community, because he has polluted the sanctuary of the Lord; the water of purification was not sprinkled on him, so he is unclean.

19:21‘So this will be a perpetual ordinance for them: The one who sprinkles 322  the water of purification must wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water of purification will be unclean until evening. 323  19:22 And whatever the unclean person touches will be unclean, and the person who touches it will be unclean until evening.’


The Israelites Complain Again


Then the entire community of Israel 325  entered the wilderness of Zin in the first month, 326  and the people stayed in Kadesh. 327  Miriam died and was buried there. 328 

20:2 And there was no water for the community, and so they gathered themselves together against Moses and Aaron. 20:3 The people contended 329  with Moses, saying, 330 If only 331  we had died when our brothers died before the Lord! 20:4 Why 332  have you brought up the Lord’s community into this wilderness? So that 333  we and our cattle should die here? 20:5 Why 334  have you brought us up from Egypt only to bring us to 335  this dreadful place? It is no place for grain, or figs, or vines, or pomegranates; nor is there any water to drink!

Moses Responds

20:6 So Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance to the tent of meeting. They then threw themselves down with their faces to the ground, and the glory of the Lord appeared to them. 20:7 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 20:8 Take the staff and assemble the community, you and Aaron your brother, and then speak 336  to the rock before their eyes. It will pour forth 337  its water, and you will bring water out of the rock for them, and so you will give the community and their beasts water to drink.”

20:9 So Moses took the staff from before the Lord, just as he commanded him. 20:10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the community together in front of the rock, and he said to them, “Listen, you rebels, 338  must we bring 339  water out of this rock for you? 20:11 Then Moses raised his hand, and struck the rock twice with his staff. And water came out abundantly. So the community drank, and their beasts drank too.

The Lord’s Judgment

20:12 Then the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not trust me enough 340  to show me as holy 341  before 342  the Israelites, therefore you will not bring this community into the land I have given them.” 343 

20:13 These are the waters of Meribah, because the Israelites contended with the Lord, and his holiness was maintained 344  among them.


Rejection by the Edomites


Moses 346  sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom: 347  “Thus says your brother Israel: ‘You know all the hardships we have experienced, 348  20:15 how our ancestors went down into Egypt, and we lived in Egypt a long time, 349  and the Egyptians treated us and our ancestors badly. 350  20:16 So when we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice and sent a messenger, 351  and has brought us up out of Egypt. Now 352  we are here in Kadesh, a town on the edge of your country. 353  20:17 Please let us pass through 354  your country. We will not pass through the fields or through the vineyards, nor will we drink water from any well. We will go by the King’s Highway; 355  we will not turn to the right or the left until we have passed through your region.’ 356 

20:18 But Edom said to him, “You will not pass through me, 357  or I will come out against 358  you with the sword.” 20:19 Then the Israelites said to him, “We will go along the highway, and if we 359  or our cattle drink any of your water, we will pay for it. We will only pass through on our feet, without doing anything else.”

20:20 But he said, “You may not pass through.” Then Edom came out against them 360  with a large and powerful force. 361  20:21 So Edom refused to give Israel passage through his border; therefore Israel turned away from him.

Aaron’s Death

20:22 So the entire company of Israelites 362  traveled from Kadesh and came to Mount Hor. 363  20:23 And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron in Mount Hor, by the border of the land of Edom. He said: 20:24 Aaron will be gathered to his ancestors, 364  for he will not enter into the land I have given to the Israelites because both of you 365  rebelled against my word 366  at the waters of Meribah. 20:25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up on Mount Hor. 20:26 Remove Aaron’s priestly garments 367  and put them on Eleazar his son, and Aaron will be gathered to his ancestors 368  and will die there.”

20:27 So Moses did as the Lord commanded; and they went up Mount Hor in the sight 369  of the whole community. 20:28 And Moses removed Aaron’s garments and put them on his son Eleazar. So Aaron died there on the top of the mountain. And Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 20:29 When all the community saw that Aaron was dead, the whole house of Israel mourned for Aaron thirty days.

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