36Then the LORD said to Moses, 37“Tell Eleazar son of Aaron the priest to remove the bronze firepans from the remains of the men who have been burnt, and scatter the coals from the firepans somewhere else, because the firepans are holy. 38They became holy when they were presented at the LORD's altar. So take the firepans of these men who were put to death for their sin, beat them into thin plates, and make a covering for the altar. It will be a warning to the people of Israel.” 39So Eleazar the priest took the firepans and had them beaten into thin plates to make a covering for the altar. 40This was a warning to the Israelites that no one who was not a descendant of Aaron should come to the altar to burn incense for the LORD. Otherwise he would be destroyed like Korah and his men. All this was done as the LORD had commanded Eleazar through Moses.
Aaron Saves the People
41The next day the whole community complained against Moses and Aaron and said, “You have killed some of the LORD's people.” 42After they had all gathered to protest to Moses and Aaron, they turned towards the Tent and saw that the cloud was covering it and that the dazzling light of the LORD's presence had appeared. 43Moses and Aaron went and stood in front of the Tent, 44and the LORD said to Moses, 45“Stand back from these people, and I will destroy them on the spot!”
The two of them bowed down with their faces to the ground, 46and Moses said to Aaron, “Take your firepan, put live coals from the altar in it, and put some incense on the coals. Then hurry with it to the people and perform the ritual of purification for them. Hurry! The LORD's anger has already broken out and an epidemic has already begun.” 47Aaron obeyed, took his firepan and ran into the middle of the assembled people. When he saw that the plague had already begun, he put the incense on the coals and performed the ritual of purification for the people. 48This stopped the plague, and he was left standing between the living and the dead. 49The number of people who died was 14,700, not counting those who died in Korah's rebellion. 50When the plague had stopped, Aaron returned to Moses at the entrance of the Tent.
1The LORD said to Moses, 2“Tell the people of Israel to give you twelve sticks, one from the leader of each tribe. Write each man's name on his stick 3and then write Aaron's name on the stick representing Levi. There will be one stick for each tribal leader. 4Take them to the Tent of my presence and put them in front of the Covenant Box, where I meet you. 5Then the stick of the man I have chosen will sprout. In this way I will put a stop to the constant complaining of these Israelites against you.”
6So Moses spoke to the Israelites, and each of their leaders gave him a stick, one for each tribe, twelve in all, and Aaron's stick was put with them. 7Moses then put all the sticks in the Tent in front of the LORD's Covenant Box.
8The next day, when Moses went into the Tent, he saw that Aaron's stick, representing the tribe of Levi, had sprouted. It had budded, blossomed, and produced ripe almonds! 9Moses took all the sticks and showed them to the Israelites. They saw what had happened, and each leader took his own stick back. 10The LORD said to Moses, “Put Aaron's stick back in front of the Covenant Box. It is to be kept as a warning to the rebel Israelites that they will die unless their complaining stops.” 11Moses did as the LORD commanded.
12The people of Israel said to Moses, “Then that's the end of us! 13If anyone who even comes near the Tent must die, then we are all as good as dead!”
Duties of Priests and Levites
1The 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.
14“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
21The 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
1The 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.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. 9Then 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 lid 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.