Leviticus 21
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Holiness Required of Priests
(1 Timothy 4:6-16)

1Then the LORD said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron’s sons, the priests, and tell them: ‘A priest is not to defile himself for a dead person among his people, 2except for his immediate family—his mother, father, son, daughter, or brother, 3or his unmarried sister who is near to him, since she has no husband. 4He is not to defile himself for those related to him by marriage, and so profane himself.

5Priests must not make bald spots on their heads, shave off the edges of their beards, or make cuts in their bodies. 6They must be holy to their God and not profane the name of their God. For they present the offerings made by fire to the LORD, the food of their God. So they must be holy.

7A priest must not marry a woman defiled by prostitution or divorced by her husband, for the priest is holy to his God. 8You are to regard him as holy, since he presents the food of your God. He shall be holy to you, because I the LORD am holy—I who set you apart. 9If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by prostituting herself, she profanes her father; she must be burned in the fire.

10The priest who is highest among his brothers, who has had the anointing oil poured on his head and has been ordained to wear the priestly garments, must not let his hair hang loosea or tear his garments. 11He must not go near any dead body; he must not defile himself, even for his father or mother. 12He must not leave or desecrate the sanctuary of his God, for the consecration of the anointing oil of his God is on him. I am the LORD.

13The woman he marries must be a virgin. 14He is not to marry a widow, a divorced woman, or one defiled by prostitution. He is to marry a virgin from his own people, 15so that he does not defile his offspring among his people, for I am the LORD who sanctifies him.’”

Restrictions against Those with Blemishes

16Then the LORD said to Moses, 17“Say to Aaron, ‘For the generations to come, none of your descendants who has a physical defect may approach to offer the food of his God.

18No man who has any defect may approach—no man who is blind, lame, disfigured, or deformed; 19no man who has a broken foot or hand, 20or who is a hunchback or dwarf, or who has an eye defect, a festering rash, scabs, or a crushed testicle.

21No descendant of Aaron the priest who has a defect shall approach to present the offerings made by fire to the LORD. Since he has a defect, he is not to come near to offer the food of his God. 22He may eat the most holy food of his God as well as the holy food, 23but because he has a defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, so as not to desecrate My sanctuaries. For I am the LORD who sanctifies them.’”

24Moses told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites.

Footnotes:

10 a Or must not uncover his head

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