CHAPTER 21 21 Sanctity of the Priesthood. 1[I] The LORD said to Moses: Speak to the priests, Aaron’s sons, and tell them: None of you shall make himself unclean for any dead person among his kindred, 2except for his nearest relatives, his mother or father, his son or daughter, his brother 3or his unmarried sister, who is of his own family while she remains single; for these he may make himself unclean. 4But as a husband among his kindred[J] he shall not make himself unclean and thus profane himself. 5The priests shall not make bald the crown of their head, nor shave the edges of their beard, nor lacerate their body. 6They shall be holy to their God, and shall not profane their God’s name, since they offer the oblations of the LORD, the food of their God; so they must be holy. 7[K] A priest shall not marry a woman debased by prostitution, nor a woman who has been divorced by her husband; for the priest is holy to his God. 8Honor him as holy for he offers the food of your God; he shall be holy to you, because I, the LORD, am holy who make you holy. 9If a priest’s daughter debases herself by prostitution, she thereby debases her father; she shall be burned with fire. 10The most exalted of the priests, upon whose head the anointing oil has been poured and who has been ordained to wear the special vestments, shall not dishevel his hair or rend his garments, 11nor shall he go near any dead person. Not even for his father or mother may he thus become unclean; 12nor shall he leave the sanctuary and 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. 14He shall not marry a widow or a woman who has been divorced or one who has been debased by prostitution, but only a virgin, taken from his kindred, he shall marry, 15so that he not profane his offspring among his kindred. I, the LORD, make him holy. Priestly Blemishes. [L] 16The LORD said to Moses: 17Say to Aaron: None of your descendants, throughout their generations, who has any blemish shall come forward to offer the food of his God. 18Anyone who has any of the following blemishes may not come forward: he who is blind, or lame, or who has a split lip, or a limb too long, 19or a broken leg or arm, 20or who is a hunchback or dwarf or has a growth in the eye, or who is afflicted with sores, scabs, or crushed testicles. 21No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any such blemish may draw near to offer the oblations of the LORD; on account of his blemish he may not draw near to offer the food of his God. 22He may, however, eat the food of his God: of the most sacred as well as sacred offerings. 23Only, he may not enter through the veil nor draw near to the altar on account of his blemish; he shall not profane my sacred precincts, for it is I, the LORD, who make them holy. 24Moses, therefore, told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.
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