Leviticus 21

Instructions for Priests

1The Lord gave Moses these instructions for Aaron's sons, the priests:

Touching a dead body will make you unclean. So don't go near a dead relative, 2except your mother, father, son, daughter, brother, 3or an unmarried sister, who has no husband to take care of her. 4Don't make yourself unclean by attending the funeral of someone related to you by marriage. 5 Don't shave any part of your head or trim your beard or cut yourself to show that you are mourning. 6I am the Lord your God, and I have chosen you alone to offer sacrifices of food to me on the altar. That's why you must keep yourselves holy. 7Don't marry a divorced woman or a woman who has served as a temple prostitute. You are holy, 8because I am holy. And so, you must be treated with proper respect, since you offer food sacrifices to me, the God of holiness.

9If any of you priests has a daughter who disgraces you by serving as a temple prostitute, she must be burned to death.

10If you are the high priest, you must not mess up your hair or tear your clothes in order to mourn for the dead. 11Don't make yourself unclean by going near a dead body, not even that of your own father or mother. 12If you leave the sacred place to attend a funeral, both you and the sacred place become unclean, because you are the high priest.

13If you are the high priest, you must marry only a virgin 14from your own tribe. Don't marry a divorced woman or any other woman who has already had sex, including a temple prostitute. 15In this way, your descendants will be qualified to serve me. Remember—I am the Lord, and I have chosen you.

16The Lord told Moses 17-18to say to Aaron:

No descendant of yours can ever serve as my priest if he is blind or lame, if his face is disfigured, if one leg is shorter than the other, 19if either a foot or a hand is paralyzed, 20if he is a hunchback or a dwarf, if an eye or his skin is diseased, or if his testicles have been damaged. 21These men may not serve as my priests and burn sacrifices to me. 22They may eat the food offerings presented to me, 23but they may not enter the sacred place or serve me at the altar. Remember—I am the Lord, the one who makes a priest holy.

24Moses told all of this to Aaron, his sons, and the people of Israel.