Leviticus 21 Expanded Bible (EXB)
How Priests Must Behave
21 The Lord said to Moses, “Tell these things to Aaron’s sons, the priests: ‘A priest must not make himself unclean [C in a ritual sense] ·by touching a dead person [L for a death among his people/relatives]. 2 ·But if the dead person was one of his close relatives, he may touch him [L …except for a close relative]. The priest may make himself unclean if the dead person is his mother or father, son or daughter, brother or 3 ·unmarried [L virgin] sister who is close to him because she has no husband. The priest may make himself unclean for her if she dies. 4 But a priest must not make himself unclean ·if the dead person was only related to him by marriage [L as a husband among his people].
5 “‘Priests must not shave their heads, or shave off the edges of their beards, or cut their bodies [C as pagan priests often did]. 6 They must be holy to their God and ·show respect for [L not defile] God’s name, because they present the offerings made by fire to the Lord, which is the food of their God. So they must be holy [19:27–28].
7 “‘A priest must not marry ·a defiled prostitute [or a prostitute or a defiled woman] or a divorced woman, because he is holy to his God. 8 Treat him as holy, because he offers up the food of your God. Think of him as holy; I am the Lord who ·makes you holy [consecrates/sanctifies you], and I am holy.
9 “‘If a priest’s daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she ·shames [defiles] her father. She must be burned with fire.
10 “‘The high priest, who was ·chosen from among his brothers [L exalted among his brothers], had the ·special [L anointing] olive oil poured on his head. He was also ·appointed [consecrated] to wear the priestly clothes. So he must not let his hair go uncombed or tear his clothes [C signs of mourning]. 11 He must not go into a house where there is a dead body. He must not make himself unclean [C in a ritual sense], even if it is for his own father or mother. 12 The high priest must not go out of the ·Holy Place [sanctuary], because if he does and becomes ·unclean [defiled], he will make God’s ·Holy Place [sanctuary] unclean. The ·special oil used in appointing priests [L anointing oil] was poured on his head to separate him from the rest of the people. I am the Lord.
13 “‘The high priest must marry a woman who is a virgin. 14 He must not marry a widow, a divorced woman, or ·a defiled prostitute [or a defiled woman or a prostitute; v. 7]. He must marry a virgin from his own people 15 so ·the people will respect his children as his own [he will not defile his children]. I am the Lord. I have ·set the high priest apart for his special job [sanctified/consecrated him].’”
16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Tell Aaron: ‘If any of your descendants have ·something wrong with them [a blemish], they must never come near to offer the special food of their God. 18 Anyone who has ·something wrong with him [a blemish] must not come near: blind men, crippled men, men with damaged faces, deformed men, 19 men with a crippled foot or hand, 20 hunchbacks, dwarfs, men who have something wrong with their eyes, men who have an itching disease or a skin disease, or men who ·have damaged testicles [are eunuchs; Acts 8:27].
21 “‘If one of Aaron’s descendants has ·something wrong with him [a blemish], he cannot come near to make the offerings made by fire to the Lord. He has ·something wrong with him [a blemish]; he cannot offer the food of his God. 22 He may eat the most holy food and also the holy food. 23 But he may not go through the curtain into the ·Most Holy Place [sanctuary], and he may not go near the altar, because he has ·something wrong with him [a blemish]. He must not defile my ·Holy Place [sanctuary]. I am the Lord who makes these places holy.’”
24 So Moses told these things to Aaron, Aaron’s sons, and all the people of Israel.