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Leviticus 21-23

The Holiness of Priests

21The Lord said to Moses: Speak to the priests, the sons of Aaron, and say to them:

No one shall defile himself for a dead person among his relatives, 2except for his nearest kin: his mother, his father, his son, his daughter, his brother; 3likewise, for a virgin sister, close to him because she has had no husband, he may defile himself for her. 4But he shall not defile himself as a husband among his people and so profane himself. 5They shall not make bald spots upon their heads, or shave off the edges of their beards, or make any gashes in their flesh. 6They shall be holy to their God, and not profane the name of their God; for they offer the Lord’s offerings by fire, the food of their God; therefore they shall be holy. 7They shall not marry a prostitute or a woman who has been defiled; neither shall they marry a woman divorced from her husband. For they are holy to their God, 8and you shall treat them as holy, since they offer the food of your God; they shall be holy to you, for I the Lord, I who sanctify you, am holy. 9When the daughter of a priest profanes herself through prostitution, she profanes her father; she shall be burned to death.

10 The priest who is exalted above his fellows, on whose head the anointing-oil has been poured and who has been consecrated to wear the vestments, shall not dishevel his hair, nor tear his vestments. 11He shall not go where there is a dead body; he shall not defile himself even for his father or mother. 12He shall not go outside the sanctuary and thus profane the sanctuary of his God; for the consecration of the anointing-oil of his God is upon him: I am the Lord. 13He shall marry only a woman who is a virgin. 14A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled, a prostitute, these he shall not marry. He shall marry a virgin of his own kin, 15that he may not profane his offspring among his kin; for I am the Lord; I sanctify him.

16 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 17Speak to Aaron and say: No one of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the food of his God. 18For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, one who is blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, 19or one who has a broken foot or a broken hand, 20or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or a man with a blemish in his eyes or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. 21No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the Lord’s offerings by fire; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the food of his God. 22He may eat the food of his God, of the most holy as well as of the holy. 23But he shall not come near the curtain or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries; for I am the Lord; I sanctify them. 24Thus Moses spoke to Aaron and to his sons and to all the people of Israel.

The Use of Holy Offerings

22The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Direct Aaron and his sons to deal carefully with the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they dedicate to me, so that they may not profane my holy name; I am the Lord. 3Say to them: If anyone among all your offspring throughout your generations comes near the sacred donations, which the people of Israel dedicate to the Lord, while he is in a state of uncleanness, that person shall be cut off from my presence: I am the Lord. 4No one of Aaron’s offspring who has a leprous* disease or suffers a discharge may eat of the sacred donations until he is clean. Whoever touches anything made unclean by a corpse or a man who has had an emission of semen, 5and whoever touches any swarming thing by which he may be made unclean or any human being by whom he may be made unclean—whatever his uncleanness may be— 6the person who touches any such shall be unclean until evening and shall not eat of the sacred donations unless he has washed his body in water. 7When the sun sets he shall be clean; and afterwards he may eat of the sacred donations, for they are his food. 8That which died or was torn by wild animals he shall not eat, becoming unclean by it: I am the Lord. 9They shall keep my charge, so that they may not incur guilt and die in the sanctuary* for having profaned it: I am the Lord; I sanctify them.

10 No lay person shall eat of the sacred donations. No bound or hired servant of the priest shall eat of the sacred donations; 11but if a priest acquires anyone by purchase, the person may eat of them; and those that are born in his house may eat of his food. 12If a priest’s daughter marries a layman, she shall not eat of the offering of the sacred donations; 13but if a priest’s daughter is widowed or divorced, without offspring, and returns to her father’s house, as in her youth, she may eat of her father’s food. No lay person shall eat of it. 14If a man eats of the sacred donation unintentionally, he shall add one-fifth of its value to it, and give the sacred donation to the priest. 15No one shall profane the sacred donations of the people of Israel, which they offer to the Lord, 16causing them to bear guilt requiring a guilt-offering, by eating their sacred donations: for I am the Lord; I sanctify them.

Acceptable Offerings

17 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 18Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel and say to them: When anyone of the house of Israel or of the aliens residing in Israel presents an offering, whether in payment of a vow or as a freewill-offering that is offered to the Lord as a burnt-offering, 19to be acceptable in your behalf it shall be a male without blemish, of the cattle or the sheep or the goats. 20You shall not offer anything that has a blemish, for it will not be acceptable in your behalf.

21 When anyone offers a sacrifice of well-being to the Lord, in fulfilment of a vow or as a freewill-offering, from the herd or from the flock, to be acceptable it must be perfect; there shall be no blemish in it. 22Anything blind, or injured, or maimed, or having a discharge or an itch or scabs—these you shall not offer to the Lord or put any of them on the altar as offerings by fire to the Lord. 23An ox or a lamb that has a limb too long or too short you may present for a freewill-offering; but it will not be accepted for a vow. 24Any animal that has its testicles bruised or crushed or torn or cut, you shall not offer to the Lord; such you shall not do within your land, 25nor shall you accept any such animals from a foreigner to offer as food to your God; since they are mutilated, with a blemish in them, they shall not be accepted in your behalf.

26 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain for seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day onwards it shall be acceptable as the Lord’s offering by fire. 28But you shall not slaughter, from the herd or the flock, an animal with its young on the same day. 29When you sacrifice a thanksgiving-offering to the Lord, you shall sacrifice it so that it may be acceptable in your behalf. 30It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall not leave any of it until morning: I am the Lord.

31 Thus you shall keep my commandments and observe them: I am the Lord. 32You shall not profane my holy name, that I may be sanctified among the people of Israel: I am the Lord; I sanctify you, 33I who brought you out of the land of Egypt to be your God: I am the Lord.

Appointed Festivals

23The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 2Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: These are the appointed festivals of the Lord that you shall proclaim as holy convocations, my appointed festivals.

The Sabbath, Passover, and Unleavened Bread

For six days shall work be done; but the seventh day is a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation; you shall do no work: it is a sabbath to the Lord throughout your settlements.

These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall celebrate at the time appointed for them. 5In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight,* there shall be a passover-offering to the Lord, 6and on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to the Lord; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. 7On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. 8For seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the seventh day there shall be a holy convocation: you shall not work at your occupations.

The Offering of First Fruits

The Lord spoke to Moses: 10Speak to the people of Israel and say to them: When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11He shall raise the sheaf before the Lord, so that you may find acceptance; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall raise it. 12On the day when you raise the sheaf, you shall offer a lamb a year old, without blemish, as a burnt-offering to the Lord. 13And the grain-offering with it shall be two-tenths of an ephah of choice flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire of pleasing odour to the Lord; and the drink-offering with it shall be of wine, one-fourth of a hin. 14You shall eat no bread or parched grain or fresh ears until that very day, until you have brought the offering of your God: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your settlements.

The Festival of Weeks

15 And from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation-offering, you shall count off seven weeks; they shall be complete. 16You shall count until the day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days; then you shall present an offering of new grain to the Lord. 17You shall bring from your settlements two loaves of bread as an elevation-offering, each made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of choice flour, baked with leaven, as first fruits to the Lord. 18You shall present with the bread seven lambs a year old without blemish, one young bull, and two rams; they shall be a burnt-offering to the Lord, along with their grain-offering and their drink-offerings, an offering by fire of pleasing odour to the Lord. 19You shall also offer one male goat for a sin-offering, and two male lambs a year old as a sacrifice of well-being. 20The priest shall raise them with the bread of the first fruits as an elevation-offering before the Lord, together with the two lambs; they shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. 21On that same day you shall make proclamation; you shall hold a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. This is a statute for ever in all your settlements throughout your generations.

22 When you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest; you shall leave them for the poor and for the alien: I am the Lord your God.

The Festival of Trumpets

23 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 24Speak to the people of Israel, saying: In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of complete rest, a holy convocation commemorated with trumpet blasts. 25You shall not work at your occupations; and you shall present the Lord’s offering by fire.

The Day of Atonement

26 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 27Now, the tenth day of this seventh month is the day of atonement; it shall be a holy convocation for you: you shall deny yourselves* and present the Lord’s offering by fire; 28and you shall do no work during that entire day; for it is a day of atonement, to make atonement on your behalf before the Lord your God. 29For anyone who does not practise self-denial* during that entire day shall be cut off from the people. 30And anyone who does any work during that entire day, such a one I will destroy from the midst of the people. 31You shall do no work: it is a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your settlements. 32It shall be to you a sabbath of complete rest, and you shall deny yourselves;* on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening you shall keep your sabbath.

The Year of Jubilee

33 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 34Speak to the people of Israel, saying: On the fifteenth day of this seventh month, and lasting seven days, there shall be the festival of booths* to the Lord. 35The first day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. 36For seven days you shall present the Lord’s offerings by fire; on the eighth day you shall observe a holy convocation and present the Lord’s offerings by fire; it is a solemn assembly; you shall not work at your occupations.

37 These are the appointed festivals of the Lord, which you shall celebrate as times of holy convocation, for presenting to the Lord offerings by fire—burnt-offerings and grain-offerings, sacrifices and drink-offerings, each on its proper day— 38apart from the sabbaths of the Lord, and apart from your gifts, and apart from all your votive offerings, and apart from all your freewill-offerings, which you give to the Lord.

39 Now, the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the produce of the land, you shall keep the festival of the Lord, lasting seven days; a complete rest on the first day, and a complete rest on the eighth day. 40On the first day you shall take the fruit of majestic* trees, branches of palm trees, boughs of leafy trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days. 41You shall keep it as a festival to the Lord seven days in the year; you shall keep it in the seventh month as a statute for ever throughout your generations. 42You shall live in booths for seven days; all that are citizens in Israel shall live in booths, 43so that your generations may know that I made the people of Israel live in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.

44 Thus Moses declared to the people of Israel the appointed festivals of the Lord.

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Psalm 37

Exhortation to Patience and Trust

Of David.
1 Do not fret because of the wicked;
   do not be envious of wrongdoers,
2 for they will soon fade like the grass,
   and wither like the green herb.


3 Trust in the Lord, and do good;
   so you will live in the land, and enjoy security.
4 Take delight in the Lord,
   and he will give you the desires of your heart.


5 Commit your way to the Lord;
   trust in him, and he will act.
6 He will make your vindication shine like the light,
   and the justice of your cause like the noonday.


7 Be still before the Lord, and wait patiently for him;
   do not fret over those who prosper in their way,
   over those who carry out evil devices.


8 Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath.
   Do not fret—it leads only to evil.
9 For the wicked shall be cut off,
   but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.


10 Yet a little while, and the wicked will be no more;
   though you look diligently for their place, they will not be there.
11 But the meek shall inherit the land,
   and delight in abundant prosperity.


12 The wicked plot against the righteous,
   and gnash their teeth at them;
13 but the Lord laughs at the wicked,
   for he sees that their day is coming.


14 The wicked draw the sword and bend their bows
   to bring down the poor and needy,
   to kill those who walk uprightly;
15 their sword shall enter their own heart,
   and their bows shall be broken.


16 Better is a little that the righteous person has
   than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked shall be broken,
   but the Lord upholds the righteous.


18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
   and their heritage will abide for ever;
19 they are not put to shame in evil times,
   in the days of famine they have abundance.


20 But the wicked perish,
   and the enemies of the Lord are like the glory of the pastures;
   they vanish—like smoke they vanish away.


21 The wicked borrow, and do not pay back,
   but the righteous are generous and keep giving;
22 for those blessed by the Lord shall inherit the land,
   but those cursed by him shall be cut off.


23 Our steps* are made firm by the Lord,
   when he delights in our* way;
24 though we stumble,* we* shall not fall headlong,
   for the Lord holds us* by the hand.


25 I have been young, and now am old,
   yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken
   or their children begging bread.
26 They are ever giving liberally and lending,
   and their children become a blessing.


27 Depart from evil, and do good;
   so you shall abide for ever.
28 For the Lord loves justice;
   he will not forsake his faithful ones.


The righteous shall be kept safe for ever,
   but the children of the wicked shall be cut off.
29 The righteous shall inherit the land,
   and live in it for ever.


30 The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom,
   and their tongues speak justice.
31 The law of their God is in their hearts;
   their steps do not slip.


32 The wicked watch for the righteous,
   and seek to kill them.
33 The Lord will not abandon them to their power,
   or let them be condemned when they are brought to trial.


34 Wait for the Lord, and keep to his way,
   and he will exalt you to inherit the land;
   you will look on the destruction of the wicked.


35 I have seen the wicked oppressing,
   and towering like a cedar of Lebanon.*
36 Again I* passed by, and they were no more;
   though I sought them, they could not be found.


37 Mark the blameless, and behold the upright,
   for there is posterity for the peaceable.
38 But transgressors shall be altogether destroyed;
   the posterity of the wicked shall be cut off.


39 The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;
   he is their refuge in the time of trouble.
40 The Lord helps them and rescues them;
   he rescues them from the wicked, and saves them,
   because they take refuge in him.

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