1 Then Yahweh said to Aaron: “You and your sons, and your whole family shall be responsible for the sanctuary. You and your sons with you shall suffer the guilt for any faults committed while serving as priests in the Holy Tent. 2 Let your brothers of the tribe of Levi, your father’s tribe, come with you too. They are to join you and serve you, yourselves and your sons, before the Tent of the Statement. 3 They are to be at your service and the service of the whole Tent. But let them not come near the sacred vessels or the altar, lest they die and you as well. 4 They are to help you, they are to take charge of the Tent of Meeting for the entire ministry of the Tent, and no layman shall come near you.
5 You yourselves must take charge of the sanctuary and the altar, and my anger will never again fall on the Israelites. 6 I myself have chosen your relatives, the Levites, from among the Israelites as a gift to you. They will belong to Yahweh, to serve at the Tent of Meeting. 7 But you and your sons will undertake the priestly duties in all that concerns the altar and all the sacred things that lie behind the veil. You will perform the worship services, the duties of which I entrust to your priesthood. But the lay man who comes near shall die.”
The priests’ share
8 Yahweh said to Aaron: “I myself have given you all that is set aside for me, from every offering of the people of Israel. I give it to you and to your sons as your share forever. 9 This is what shall be yours of the most holy things, of the consecrated food: every offering that the Israelites give back to me, whether it be a grain offering or a sacrifice for sin or a sacrifice of repayment is a thing most holy; it shall belong to you and your sons. 10 You may eat these most holy things. Every male may eat them. You are to consider them sacred.
11 To you also shall belong all the firstfruits that are set aside and offered by the Israelites; this I give to you, as well as to your sons and daughters, forever. Every person in your house who is clean may eat it. 12 All the best of the oil, all the best of the wine and wheat, the firstfruits given by them to Yahweh, these I give to you. 13 All the first harvest of their land which they bring to Yahweh shall be yours. Every person in your house who is clean may eat them. 14 Everything in Israel which has been dedicated to me shall be yours. 15 Every firstborn brought to Yahweh shall be yours, the firstborn of all living creatures, whether child or animal. Nevertheless, you must make the people buy back the firstborn child and the firstborn of an unclean animal. 16 They must buy back the child in the month in which it is born at the price of five pieces of silver according to the official standard. 17 The firstborn of cow, sheep and goat—these alone you shall not buy back. They are holy: you must sprinkle their blood on the altar and burn the fat as a burnt offering, a sweet-smelling offering for Yahweh; 18 the meat shall be yours, together with the breast that has been presented with the gesture of offering, and the right hind leg. 19 All that the Israelites set aside for Yahweh from the holy things, this I give to you, and to your sons and daughters, forever. This is a covenant of salt, an everlasting covenant before Yahweh, for you and your descendants after you.”
The Levites’ share
20 Yahweh said to Aaron: “You shall have no property in the land of Israel, no share of it shall be yours. It is I who will be your share and your inheritance among the people of Israel.
21 See, to the Levites I give as their in he ritance all the tithes collected in Israel, in return for their services, for the ministry they render in the Tent of Meeting. 22 In this way the Israelites will no longer go near the Tent of Meeting; this sin would carry the death to them.
23 The Levites will take care of the Tent of Meeting, and have the full responsibility for it. This is a law forever for all your descendants: because of this the Levites are to have no inheritance among the Israelites. 24 The tithe that the people of Israel set aside for Yahweh, I give to the Levites for their inheritance. For this reason I have told them that they are to have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”
25 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said, 26 “You are to say to the Levites: When you receive the tithe that the people of Israel must pay and which I am giving you as your inheritance, you are to set aside a part of this as a special contribution for Yahweh. 27 This will take the place of the offerings of new grain and new wine that all the people have to give me. 28 Thus you too will set aside a share for Yahweh, of all the tithes you receive from the Israelites, and you will give to Aaron the priest this part you have set aside for Yahweh. 29 Out of all the gifts you receive you will set aside the best as a share for Yahweh.
30 This best part that the Levites set aside shall be credited to you as an offering of the threshing floor and the wine press. 31 You may eat them anywhere, you and your families: this is your payment for serving in the Tent of Meet ing. 32 You will not be guilty of any sin be cause of this, as long as you have presented the best part to Yahweh. You will not eat any of the gifts before the best part is offered. In this way you will not defile the sacred gifts of the Israelites and you will not die.”