The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Book of Numbers
This was the Lord’s word to Aaron: For what is done in the sanctuary, for the duties of your priesthood,✻ none but thou and thy sons with thee shall be answerable;
but all the sons of Levi are thy brethren, and these, all that come of thy father’s tribe, thou mayest call in to relieve thee by their ministry, while thou and thy sons minister in the tabernacle that bears record of me.
The Levites shall wait on thy bidding, as the service of the tabernacle requires it, yet never, at their peril and yours, having access to the things of the sanctuary, or to the altar.
They shall be content to relieve you by waiting on the needs of the tabernacle and its worship, in which no other tribe may take part.
It is for you, if you would not have my displeasure fall on Israel, to guard the sanctuary and serve the altar’s needs.
If I have separated your fellow-Levites from the rest of the people, and dedicated them as a gift to myself, I have designated them only for the menial offices of my tabernacle;
the priesthood is for thee and for thy sons. All the ceremonies of the altar, all that is hidden within the veil, belongs to the priests’ charge; it is death for any other to take part.
This, too, the Lord said to Aaron: Hereby I put the offerings made to me at thy disposal; all that the sons of Israel dedicate to me, I pass on to thee and to thy sons, a portion assigned to the priesthood by right inalienable.
All that is set apart, when offerings are made to the Lord, is my gift to thee; whatever is offered by way of bloodless sacrifice, or to atone for some fault or wrong done, and vowed to holy uses, belongs to thee and thine.
It must be eaten on holy ground, and only by men, this consecrated gift I make thee.
The first-fruits which the Israelites dedicate to me, and hold up in my presence, belong at all times to thee and to thy sons and to thy daughters as well; all that are clean of defilement in thy household may partake of them.
Do they bring me the best of their oil, their wine, their corn, or any other kind of first-fruits? It is thine;
no early fruits of the ground that are brought to the Lord but shall go to thy use; none of thy household that is clean of defilement but may partake.
All that the Israelites give in payment of their vows, is thine.
Thine, too, is every living thing that handsels the womb, and so must be offered to the Lord, be it man or beast; for the first-born of men, and for the first-born of unclean beasts, thou wilt take a ransom instead.
(The ransom-price, to be paid after one month, is five silver pieces, by sanctuary reckoning; one silver piece is worth twenty pence).✻
But there is no ransoming the first-born of ox or sheep or goat; they are set apart for the Lord. Their blood is to be shed upon the altar, and their fat burned, to please the Lord with the smell of its burning;
but the flesh-meat shall go to thy use; like the breast and the right shoulder, it is thy due.
All the sanctuary dues which the sons of Israel offer I give to thee and to thy sons and daughters by a perpetual deed of gift; it is a covenant between the Lord and thy race that time cannot alter.✻
This, too, the Lord said to Aaron: You are to hold no lands, no portion is to be assigned to you, among your fellow-Israelites. I am all thy portion; these others have their several possessions, thou hast me.
And in return for the service they do me in the tabernacle that bears record of my covenant, I have allotted to the sons of Levi the enjoyment of all the tithe Israel pays.
Never henceforward, upon pain of death, must other Israelites come near my sanctuary;
it is for the Levites only to do the work of the tabernacle, and make themselves answerable for all the people does amiss; and it shall be a law unalterable, age after age, that they possess nothing else,
but live content with the tithe which I have set apart for their use, to defray all their needs.
And the Lord bade Moses
give this charge to the Levites: When the sons of Israel pay the tithe I have assigned to you, you must offer to the Lord the first-fruits of them, the tenth part of your tithe,
as if you were paying dues from threshing-floor and wine-press of your own;
you too must offer the Lord first-fruits of all that comes to you, making them over to the high priest Aaron.
And the part of your tithe which you set aside as an offering to the Lord must be the best part, the choice part.
When you have offered all that is best and richest, you will have paid your dues, as surely as if they came from threshing-floor and wine-press of your own;
then you may enjoy the rest of the tithe, and your households with you; it is the reward of all your tabernacle service.
You must not incur guilt by keeping the best and the richest for yourselves;✻ for such misuse of the offerings which the sons of Israel make, death is the penalty.
The Holy Bible