Numbers 20

Duties of Priests and Levites

18 So the Lord said to Aaron, You and your sons and your father's house with you shall qbear iniquity connected with the sanctuary, rand you and your sons with you shall bear iniquity connected with your priesthood. And with you bring your brothers also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may sjoin you and tminister to you while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony. They shall keep guard over you and uover the whole tent, vbut shall not come near to the vessels of the sanctuary or to the altar wlest they, and you, die. They shall join you and keep guard over the tent of meeting for all the service of the tent, xand no outsider shall come near you. And you shall ykeep guard over the sanctuary and over the altar, zthat there may never again be wrath on the people of Israel. aAnd behold, I have taken your brothers the Levites from among the people of Israel. bThey are a gift to you, given to the Lord, to do the service of the tent of meeting. And cyou and your sons with you shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and dthat is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift,1 and eany outsider who comes near shall be put to death.

Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, Behold, fI have given you charge of the contributions made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel. I have given them to you gas a portion and to your sons as a perpetual due. This shall be yours of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering of theirs and every hsin offering of theirs and every iguilt offering of theirs, which they render to me, shall be most holy to you and to your sons. 10 In a most holy place shall you eat it. Every male may eat it; it is holy to you. 11 This also is yours: the contribution of their gift, all the jwave offerings of the people of Israel. I have given them to kyou, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. lEveryone who is clean in your house may eat it. 12 mAll the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, nthe firstfruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you. 13 The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, owhich they bring to the Lord, shall be yours. lEveryone who is clean in your house may eat it. 14 pEvery devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. 15 qEverything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours. Nevertheless, rthe firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16 And their redemption price s(at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels2 in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, twhich is twenty gerahs. 17 uBut the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall burn their fat as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 18 But their flesh shall be yours, as vthe breast that is waved and as the right thigh are yours. 19 wAll the holy contributions that the people of Israel present to the Lord I give to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. xIt is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord for you and for your offspring with you. 20 And the Lord said to Aaron, You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. yI am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.

21 zTo the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting, 22 aso that the people of Israel do not come near the tent of meeting, blest they bear sin and die. 23 But cthe Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting, dand they shall bear their iniquity. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the people of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24 For the tithe of the people of Israel, which ethey present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance famong the people of Israel.

25 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26 Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, ga tithe of the tithe. 27 hAnd your contribution shall be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. 28 So you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you shall give the Lord's contribution to Aaron the priest. 29 Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each its best part is to be dedicated. 30 Therefore you shall say to them, When you have offered from it the best of it, ithen the rest shall be counted to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and as produce of the winepress. 31 And you may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is jyour reward in return for your service in the tent of meeting. 32 And you shall kbear no sin by reason of it, when you have contributed the best of it. But you shall not lprofane the holy things of the people of Israel, lest you die.

Laws for Purification

19 Now the Lord spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying, This is the statute of the law that the Lord has commanded: Tell the people of Israel to bring you a red heifer without defect, in which there is no blemish, mand on which a yoke has never come. And you shall give it to Eleazar the priest, and nit shall be taken outside the camp and slaughtered before him. And Eleazar the priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and osprinkle some of its blood toward the front of the tent of meeting seven times. And the heifer shall be burned in his sight. pIts skin, its flesh, and its blood, with its dung, shall be burned. And the priest shall take qcedarwood and hyssop and scarlet yarn, and throw them into the fire burning the heifer. Then the priest rshall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. But the priest shall be unclean until evening. sThe one who burns the heifer rshall wash his clothes in water and bathe his body in water and shall be unclean until evening. And a man who is clean shall gather up tthe ashes of the heifer and deposit them outside the camp in a uclean place. And they shall be kept for the water for vimpurity for the congregation of the people of Israel; it is a sin offering. 10 And the one who gathers the ashes of the heifer rshall wash his clothes and be unclean until evening. And this shall be a perpetual statute for the people of Israel, and for the stranger who sojourns among them.

11 wWhoever touches the dead body of any person shall be unclean seven days. 12 He xshall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean. 13 Whoever touches a dead person, the body of anyone who has died, and does not cleanse himself, ydefiles the tabernacle of the Lord, zand that person shall be cut off from Israel; because the water for impurity was not thrown on him, he shall be unclean. His uncleanness is still on him.

14 This is the law when someone dies in a tent: everyone who comes into the tent and everyone who is in the tent shall be unclean seven days. 15 And every aopen vessel that has no cover fastened on it is unclean. 16 bWhoever in the open field touches someone who was killed with a sword or who died naturally, or touches a human bone or a cgrave, shall be unclean seven days. 17 For the unclean they shall take dsome ashes of the burnt sin offering, and fresh1 water shall be added in a vessel. 18 Then a clean person shall take ehyssop and dip it in the water and sprinkle it on the tent and on all the furnishings and on the persons who were there and on whoever touched the bone, or the slain or the dead or the grave. 19 And the clean person shall sprinkle it on the unclean fon the third day and on the seventh day. gThus on the seventh day he shall cleanse him, and he shall hwash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.

20 If the man who is unclean does not cleanse himself, ithat person shall be cut off from the midst of the assembly, since he has defiled the sanctuary of the Lord. Because the water for impurity has not been thrown on him, he is unclean. 21 And it shall be a statute forever for them. The one who sprinkles the water for impurity shall wash his clothes, and the one who touches the water for impurity shall be unclean until evening. 22 And jwhatever the unclean person touches shall be unclean, and anyone who touches it shall be unclean until evening.

The Death of Miriam

20 And the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came kinto the wilderness of Zin in the first month, and the people stayed in Kadesh. And lMiriam died there and was buried there.

The Waters of Meribah

mNow there was no water for the congregation. nAnd they assembled themselves together against Moses and against Aaron. And the people oquarreled with Moses and said, Would that we had perished pwhen our brothers perished before the Lord! Why have you brought the assembly of the Lord into this wilderness, that we should die here, both we and our cattle? And qwhy have you made us come up out of Egypt to bring us to this evil place? It is no place for grain or figs or vines or pomegranates, and there is no water to drink. Then Moses and Aaron went from the presence of the assembly to the entrance of the tent of meeting and rfell on their faces. sAnd the glory of the Lord appeared to them, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, tTake the staff, and assemble the congregation, you and Aaron your brother, and tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water. So uyou shall bring water out of the rock for them and give drink to the congregation and their cattle. And Moses took the staff vfrom before the Lord, as he commanded him.

Moses Strikes the Rock

10 Then Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock, and he said to them, wHear now, you rebels: shall we bring water for you out of this rock? 11 And Moses lifted up his hand and struck the rock with his staff twice, uand water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their livestock. 12 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron, Because xyou did not believe in me, yto uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them. 13 zThese are the waters of Meribah,1 where the people of Israel quarreled with the Lord, and through them he showed himself holy.

Edom Refuses Passage

14 aMoses sent messengers from Kadesh to bthe king of Edom: Thus says cyour brother Israel: You know all the hardship that we have met: 15 dhow our fathers went down to Egypt, eand we lived in Egypt a long time. fAnd the Egyptians dealt harshly with us and our fathers. 16 And gwhen we cried to the Lord, he heard our voice and hsent an angel and brought us out of Egypt. And here we are in Kadesh, a city on the edge of your territory. 17 iPlease let us pass through your land. We will not pass through field or vineyard, jor drink water from a well. We will go along the King's Highway. We will not turn aside to the right hand or to the left until we have passed through your territory. 18 But Edom said to him, You shall not pass through, lest I come out with the sword against you. 19 And the people of Israel said to him, We will go up by the highway, kand if we drink of your water, I and my livestock, lthen I will pay for it. Let me only pass through on foot, nothing more. 20 But he said, mYou shall not pass through. And Edom came out against them with a large army and with a strong force. 21 Thus Edom nrefused to give Israel passage through his territory, so Israel oturned away from him.

The Death of Aaron

22 And they journeyed from pKadesh, and the people of Israel, the whole congregation, came to qMount Hor. 23 And the Lord said to Moses and Aaron at Mount Hor, on the border of the land of Edom, 24 rLet Aaron be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land that I have given to the people of Israel, because syou rebelled against my command at the waters of Meribah. 25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son and bring them up to Mount Hor. 26 And strip Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron rshall be gathered to his people and shall die there. 27 Moses did as the Lord commanded. And they went up Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. 28 tAnd Moses stripped Aaron of his garments and put them on Eleazar his son. And Aaron died there uon the top of the mountain. Then Moses and Eleazar came down from the mountain. 29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron had perished, vall the house of Israel wept for Aaron thirty days.

Arad Destroyed

21 When wthe Canaanite, the king of Arad, who lived in xthe Negeb, heard that Israel was coming by the way of Atharim, he fought against Israel, and took some of them captive. yAnd Israel vowed a vow to the Lord and said, If you will indeed give this people into my hand, then I will devote their cities to destruction.1 And the Lord heeded the voice of Israel and gave over the Canaanites, and they devoted them and their cities to destruction. So the name of the place was called zHormah.2

The Bronze Serpent

From Mount Hor athey set out by the way to the Red Sea, bto go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. And the people cspoke against God and against Moses, dWhy have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and ewe loathe this worthless food. fThen the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and gthey bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. hAnd the people came to Moses and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. iPray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. So Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said to Moses, Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live. So jMoses made a bronze3 serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.

The Song of the Well

10 And the people of Israel set out and kcamped in Oboth. 11 kAnd they set out from Oboth and kcamped at Iye-abarim, in the wilderness that is opposite Moab, toward the sunrise. 12 From there they set out and camped in lthe Valley of Zered. 13 From there they set out and camped on the other side of the Arnon, which is in the wilderness that extends from the border of the Amorites, for the mArnon is the border of Moab, between Moab and the Amorites. 14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord,

Waheb in Suphah, and the valleys of the Arnon,

15  and the slope of the valleys

that extends to the seat of nAr,

and leans to the border of Moab.

16 And from there they continued oto Beer;4 that is the well of which the Lord said to Moses, Gather the people together, so that pI may give them water. 17 Then Israel sang this song:

Spring up, O well!Sing to it!

18  the well that the princes made,

that the nobles of the people dug,

with qthe scepter and with their staffs.

And from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah, 19 and from Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, 20 and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab by the top of Pisgah rthat looks down on the desert.5

King Sihon Defeated

21 Then sIsrael sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 tLet me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into field or vineyard. We will not drink the water of a well. We will go by the King's Highway until we have passed through your territory. 23 uBut Sihon would not allow Israel to pass through his territory. He gathered all his people together and went out against Israel to the wilderness and vcame to Jahaz and fought against Israel. 24 wAnd Israel defeated him with the edge of the sword and took possession of his land from the Arnon to the xJabbok, as far as to the Ammonites, for the border of the Ammonites was strong. 25 And Israel took all these cities, and Israel settled in all the cities of the Amorites, in Heshbon, and in all its villages. 26 For Heshbon was the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites, who had fought against the former king of Moab and taken all his land out of his hand, as far as the Arnon. 27 Therefore the yballad singers say,

Come to zHeshbon, let it be built;

let the city of Sihon be established.

28  For afire came out from zHeshbon,

flame from the city of Sihon.

It devoured nAr of Moab,

and swallowed6 the heights of the Arnon.

29  aWoe to you, O Moab!

You are undone, O people of bChemosh!

He has made his sons fugitives,

and his daughters captives,

to an Amorite king, Sihon.

30  So we overthrew them;

Heshbon, as far as cDibon, perished;

and we laid waste as far as Nophah;

fire spread as far as dMedeba.7

King Og Defeated

31 Thus Israel lived in the land of the Amorites. 32 And Moses sent to spy out eJazer, and they captured its villages and dispossessed the Amorites who were there. 33 Then they turned and went up by the way to Bashan. And Og the king of Bashan came out against them, he and all his people, to battle fat Edrei. 34 gBut the Lord said to Moses, Do not fear him, for I have given him into your hand, and all his people, and his land. And hyou shall do to him as you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who lived at Heshbon. 35 So they defeated him and his sons and all his people, until he had no survivor left. And they possessed his land.

Balak Summons Balaam

22 Then ithe people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. And jBalak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And kMoab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to lthe elders of Midian, This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field. So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, msent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor nat Pethor, which is near the River1 in the land of the people of Amaw,2 to call him, saying, Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. oCome now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.

So the elders of Moab and lthe elders of Midian departed with pthe fees for divination in their hand. And they came to Balaam and gave him Balak's message. And he said to them, Lodge here tonight, and I will bring back word to you, as the Lord speaks to me. So the princes of Moab stayed with Balaam. qAnd God came to Balaam and said, Who are these men with you? 10 And Balaam said to God, Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, has sent to me, saying, 11 Behold, a people has come out of Egypt, and it covers the face of the earth. Now come, curse them for me. Perhaps I shall be able to fight against them and drive them out. 12 God said to Balaam, You shall not go with them. You shall not curse the people, for rthey are blessed. 13 So Balaam rose in the morning and said to the princes of Balak, Go to your own land, for the Lord has refused to let me go with you. 14 So the princes of Moab rose and went to Balak and said, Balaam refuses to come with us.

15 Once again Balak sent princes, more in number and more honorable than these. 16 And they came to Balaam and said to him, Thus says Balak the son of Zippor: Let nothing hinder you from coming to me, 17 sfor I will surely do you great honor, and whatever you say to me I will do. tCome, curse this people for me. 18 But Balaam answered and said to the servants of Balak, uThough Balak were to give me his house full of silver and gold, vI could not go beyond the command of the Lord my God to do less or more. 19 So you, too, wplease stay here tonight, that I may know what more the Lord will say to me. 20 qAnd God came to Balaam at night and said to him, If the men have come to call you, rise, go with them; xbut only do what I tell you. 21 So Balaam rose in the morning and saddled his donkey and went with the princes of Moab.

Balaam's Donkey and the Angel

22 But God's anger was kindled because he went, yand the angel of the Lord took his stand in the way zas his adversary. Now he was riding on the donkey, and his two servants were with him. 23 And the donkey saw the angel of the Lord standing in the road, with a drawn sword in his hand. And the donkey turned aside out of the road and went into the field. And Balaam struck the donkey, to turn her into the road. 24 Then the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow path between the vineyards, with a wall on either side. 25 And when the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she pushed against the wall and pressed Balaam's foot against the wall. So he struck her again. 26 Then the angel of the Lord went ahead and stood in a narrow place, where there was no way to turn either to the right or to the left. 27 When the donkey saw the angel of the Lord, she lay down under Balaam. And Balaam's anger was kindled, and he struck the donkey with his staff. 28 Then the Lord aopened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times? 29 And Balaam said to the donkey, Because you have made a fool of me. I wish I had a sword in my hand, for then I would kill you. 30 And the donkey said to Balaam, Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way? And he said, No.

31 Then the Lord bopened the eyes of Balaam, and he saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, with his drawn sword in his hand. And he bowed down and fell on his face. 32 And the angel of the Lord said to him, Why have you struck your donkey these three times? Behold, I have come out cto oppose you because your way is perverse3 before me. 33 The donkey saw me and turned aside before me these three times. If she had not turned aside from me, surely just now I would have killed you and let her live. 34 Then Balaam said to the angel of the Lord, dI have sinned, for I did not know that you stood in the road against me. Now therefore, if it is evil in your sight, I will turn back. 35 And the angel of the Lord said to Balaam, Go with the men, ebut speak only the word that I tell you. So Balaam went on with the princes of Balak.

36 When Balak heard that Balaam had come, he went out to meet him at the city of Moab, fon the border formed by the Arnon, at the extremity of the border. 37 And Balak said to Balaam, Did I not send to you to call you? Why did you not come to me? Am I not able to ghonor you? 38 Balaam said to Balak, Behold, I have come to you! Have I now any power of my own to speak anything? hThe word that God puts in my mouth, that must I speak. 39 Then Balaam went with Balak, and they came to Kiriath-huzoth. 40 And Balak sacrificed oxen and sheep, and sent for Balaam and for the princes who were with him.

41 And in the morning Balak took Balaam and brought him up to Bamoth-baal, and from there he saw a fraction of the people.