Good News Translation (GNB)

Duties of Priests and Levites

181The LORD said to Aaron, “You, your sons, and the Levites must suffer the consequences of any guilt connected with serving in the Tent of my presence; but only you and your sons will suffer the consequences of service in the priesthood. 2Bring in your relatives, the tribe of Levi, to work with you and help you while you and your sons are serving at the Tent. 3They are to fulfil their duties to you and their responsibilities for the Tent, but 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. 4They are to work with you and fulfil their responsibilities for all the service in the Tent, but no unqualified person may work with you. 5You and your sons alone must fulfil the responsibilities for the Holy Place and the altar, so that my anger will not again break out against the people of Israel. 6I am the one who has chosen your relatives the Levites from among the Israelites as a gift to you. They are dedicated to me, so that they can carry out their duties in the Tent. 7But you and your sons alone shall fulfil all the responsibilities of the priesthood that concern the altar and what is in the Most Holy Place. These things are your responsibility, because I have given you the gift of the priesthood. Any unqualified person who comes near the sacred objects shall be put to death.”

The Share of the Priests

8The LORD said to Aaron, “Remember that I am giving you all the special contributions made to me that are not burnt as sacrifices. I am giving them to you and to your descendants as the part assigned to you for ever. 9Of the most sacred offerings not burnt on the altar, the following belong to you: the grain offerings, the sin offerings, and the repayment offerings. Everything that is presented to me as a sacred offering belongs to you and your sons. 10You must eat these things in a holy place, and only males may eat them; consider them holy.

11“In addition, any other special contributions that the Israelites present to me shall be yours. I am giving them to you, your sons, and your daughters for all time to come. Every member of your family who is ritually clean may eat them.

12“I am giving you all the best of the first produce which the Israelites give me each year: olive oil, wine, and corn. 13It all belongs to you. Every member of your family who is ritually clean may eat it.


Lev 27.28
“Everything in Israel that has been unconditionally dedicated to me belongs to you.

15“Every firstborn child or animal that the Israelites present to me belongs to you. But you must accept payment to buy back every firstborn child, and must also accept payment for every firstborn animal that is ritually unclean. 16Children shall be bought back at the age of one month for the fixed price of five pieces of silver, according to the official standard. 17But the firstborn of cows, sheep, and goats are not to be bought back; they belong completely to me and are to be sacrificed. Throw their blood against the altar and burn their fat as a food offering, a smell pleasing to me. 18The meat from them belongs to you, like the breast and the right hind leg of the special offering.

19“I am giving to you, to your sons, and to your daughters, for all time to come, all the special contributions which the Israelites present to me. This is an unbreakable covenant that I have made with you and your descendants.”

20The LORD said to Aaron, “You will not receive any property that can be inherited, and no part of the land of Israel will be assigned to you. I, the LORD, am all you need.”

The Share of the Levites


Lev 27.30–33
Deut 14.22–29
The LORD said, “I have given to the Levites every tithe that the people of Israel present to me. This is in payment for their service in taking care of the Tent of my presence. 22The other Israelites must no longer approach the Tent and in this way bring on themselves the penalty of death. 23From now on only the Levites will take care of the Tent and bear the full responsibility for it. This is a permanent rule that applies also to your descendants. The Levites shall have no permanent property in Israel, 24because I have given to them as their possession the tithe which the Israelites present to me as a special contribution. That is why I told them that they would have no permanent property in Israel.”

The Levites' Tithe

25The LORD commanded Moses 26to say to the Levites: “When you receive from the Israelites the tithe that the LORD gives you as your possession, you must present a tenth of it as a special contribution to the LORD. 27This special contribution will be considered as the equivalent of the offering which the farmer makes of new corn and new wine. 28In this way you also will present the special contribution that belongs to the LORD from all the tithes which you receive from the Israelites. You are to give this special contribution for the LORD to Aaron the priest. 29Give it from the best that you receive. 30When you have presented the best part, you may keep the rest, just as the farmer keeps what is left after he makes his offering. 31You and your families may eat the rest anywhere, because it is your wages for your service in the Tent. 32You will not become guilty when you eat it, as long as you have presented the best of it to the LORD. But be sure not to profane the sacred gifts of the Israelites by eating any of the gifts before the best part is offered; if you do, you will be put to death.”


Ashes of the Red Cow

191The LORD commanded Moses and Aaron 2to give the Israelites the following regulations. Bring to Moses and Aaron a red cow which has no defects and which has never been put to work, 3and they will give it to Eleazar the priest. It is to be taken outside the camp and killed in his presence.19.3 Itpresence; or He is to take it outside to the east of the camp and kill it. 4Then Eleazar is to take some of its blood and with his finger sprinkle it seven times in the direction of the Tent. 5The whole animal, including skin, meat, blood, and intestines, is to be burnt in the presence of the priest. 6Then he is to take some cedar wood, a sprig of hyssop, and a red cord and throw them into the fire. 7After that, he is to wash his clothes and pour water over himself, and then he may enter the camp; but he remains ritually unclean until evening. 8The man who burnt the cow must also wash his clothes and pour water over himself, but he also remains unclean until evening. 9

Heb 9.13
Then a man who is ritually clean is to collect the ashes of the cow and put them in a ritually clean place outside the camp, where they are to be kept for the Israelite community to use in preparing the water for removing ritual uncleanness. This ritual is performed to remove sin. 10The man who collected the ashes must wash his clothes, but he remains unclean until evening. This regulation is valid for all time to come, both for the Israelites and for the foreigners living among them.

Contact with a Corpse

11Whoever touches a corpse is ritually unclean for seven days. 12He must purify himself with the water for purification on the third day and on the seventh day, and then he will be clean. But if he does not purify himself on both the third and the seventh day, he will not be clean. 13Whoever touches a corpse and does not purify himself remains unclean, because the water for purification has not been thrown over him. He defiles the LORD's Tent, and he will no longer be considered one of God's people.

14If someone dies in a tent, anyone who is in the tent at the time of death or who enters it becomes ritually unclean for seven days. 15Every jar and pot in the tent that has no lid19.15 no lid; or no lid fastened. on it also becomes unclean. 16If someone touches a person who has been killed or has died a natural death out of doors or if someone touches a human bone or a grave, he becomes unclean for seven days.

17To remove the uncleanness, some ashes from the red cow which was burnt to remove sin shall be taken and put in a pot, and fresh water added. 18In the first case, someone who is ritually clean is to take a sprig of hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle the tent, everything in it, and the people who were there. In the second case, someone who is ritually clean is to sprinkle the water on the man who had touched the human bone or the dead body or the grave. 19On the third day and on the seventh the person who is ritually clean is to sprinkle the water on the unclean person. On the seventh day he is to purify the man, who, after washing his clothes and pouring water over himself, becomes ritually clean at sunset.

20Anyone who has become ritually unclean and does not purify himself remains unclean, because the water for purification has not been thrown over him. He defiles the LORD's Tent and will no longer be considered one of God's people. 21You are to observe this rule for all time to come. The person who sprinkles the water for purification must also wash his clothes; anyone who touches the water remains ritually unclean until evening. 22Whatever an unclean person touches is unclean, and anyone else who touches it remains unclean until evening.


Events at Kadesh

(Ex 17.1–7)

201In the first month the whole community of Israel came to the wilderness of Zin and camped at Kadesh. There Miriam died and was buried.

2There was no water where they camped, so the people gathered round Moses and Aaron 3and complained: “It would have been better if we had died in front of the LORD's Tent along with our fellow-Israelites. 4Why have you brought us out into this wilderness? Just so that we can die here with our animals? 5Why did you bring us out of Egypt into this miserable place where nothing will grow? There's no corn, no figs, no grapes, no pomegranates. There is not even any water to drink!” 6Moses and Aaron moved away from the people and stood at the entrance of the Tent. They bowed down with their faces to the ground, and the dazzling light of the LORD's presence appeared to them.

7The LORD said to Moses, 8“Take the stick that is in front of the Covenant Box, and then you and Aaron assemble the whole community. There in front of them all speak to that rock over there, and water will gush out of it. In this way you will bring water out of the rock for the people, for them and their animals to drink.” 9Moses went and got the stick, as the LORD had commanded.

10He and Aaron assembled the whole community in front of the rock, and Moses said, “Listen, you rebels! Do we have to get water out of this rock for you?” 11Then Moses raised the stick and struck the rock twice with it, and a great stream of water gushed out, and all the people and animals drank.

12But the LORD reprimanded Moses and Aaron. He said, “Because you did not have enough faith to acknowledge my holy power before the people of Israel, you will not lead them into the land that I promised to give them.”

13This happened at Meribah,20.13 Meribah: This name in Hebrew means “complaining”. where the people of Israel complained against the LORD and where he showed them that he was holy.

The King of Edom Refuses to Let Israel Pass

14Moses sent messengers from Kadesh to the king of Edom. They said, “This message is from your kinsmen, the tribes of Israel. You know the hardships we have suffered, 15how our ancestors went to Egypt, where we lived many years. The Egyptians ill-treated our ancestors and us, 16and we cried to the LORD for help. He heard our cry and sent an angel, who led us out of Egypt. Now we are at Kadesh, a town at the border of your territory. 17Please permit us to pass through your land. We and our cattle will not leave the road or go into your fields or vineyards, and we will not drink from your wells. We will stay on the main road20.17 main road; or king's highway. until we are out of your territory.”

18But the Edomites answered, “We refuse to let you pass through our country! If you try, we will march out and attack you.”

19The people of Israel said, “We will stay on the main road, and if we or our animals drink any of your water, we will pay for it — all we want is to pass through.”

20The Edomites repeated, “We refuse!” and they marched out with a powerful army to attack the people of Israel. 21Because the Edomites would not let the Israelites pass through their territory, the Israelites turned and went another way.

The Death of Aaron

22The whole community of Israel left Kadesh and arrived at Mount Hor, 23on the border of Edom. There the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 24“Aaron is not going to enter the land which I promised to give to Israel; he is going to die, because the two of you rebelled against my command at Meribah. 25Take Aaron and his son Eleazar up Mount Hor, 26and there remove Aaron's priestly robes and put them on Eleazar. Aaron is going to die there.” 27Moses did what the LORD had commanded. They went up Mount Hor in the sight of the whole community, 28

Ex 29.29
Num 33.38
Deut 10.6
and Moses removed Aaron's priestly robes and put them on Eleazar. There on the top of the mountain Aaron died, and Moses and Eleazar came back down. 29The whole community learnt that Aaron had died, and they all mourned for him for thirty days.