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Numbers Contemporary English Version (CEV)
The People of Israel Are Counted
1The people of Israel had left Egypt and were living in the Sinai Desert. Then on the first
day of the second month of the second year, Moses was in the sacred tent when the
LORD said: 2-3I want you and Aaron to find out how many people are in each of Israel's
clans and families. And make a list of all the men twenty years and older who are able to
fight in battle. 4-15The following twelve family leaders, one from each tribe, will help you:
Elizur son of Shedeur
Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai
Nahshon son of Amminadab
Nethanel son of Zuar
Eliab son of Helon
Elishama son of Ammihud
Gamaliel son of Pedahzur
Abidan son of Gideoni
Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai
Pagiel son of Ochran
Eliasaph son of Deuel
and Ahira son of Enan
16-17Moses and Aaron, together with these twelve tribal leaders, 18called together the
people that same day. They were counted according to their clans and families. Then
Moses and the others listed the names of the men twenty years and older, 19just as the
LORD had commanded. 20-46The number of men from each tribe who were at least
twenty years old and strong enough to fight in Israel's army was as follows:
46,500 from Reuben,
the oldest son of Jacob, 59,300 from Simeon,
45,650 from Gad,
74,600 from Judah,
54,400 from Issachar,
57,400 from Zebulun,
40,500 from Ephraim,
32,200 from Manasseh,
35,400 from Benjamin,
62,700 from Dan,
41,500 from Asher,
53,400 from Naphtali.
The total number of men registered by Moses, Aaron, and the twelve leaders was
47But those from the Levi tribe were not included 48because the LORD had said to
49When you count the Israelites, do not include those from the Levi tribe. 50-51Instead,
give them the job of caring for the sacred tent, its furnishings, and the objects used for
worship. They will camp around the tent, and whenever you move, they will take it down,
carry it to the new camp, and set it up again. Anyone else who tries to go near it must
be put to death.
52The rest of the Israelites will camp in their own groups and under their own banners.
53But the Levites will camp around the sacred tent to make sure that no one goes near it
and makes me furious with the Israelites.
54The people of Israel did everything the LORD had commanded.
Instructions for Setting Up Israel's Camp
1The LORD told Moses and Aaron 2how the Israelites should arrange their camp:
Each tribe must set up camp under its own banner and under the flags of its ancestral
families. These camps will be arranged around the sacred tent, but not close to it.
3-4Judah and the tribes that march with it must set up camp on the east side of the
sacred tent, under their own banner. The 74,600 troops of the tribe of Judah will be
arranged by divisions and led by Nahshon son of Amminadab. 5-6On one side of Judah will
be the tribe of Issachar, with Nethanel son of Zuar as the leader of its 54,400 troops.
7-8On the other side will be the tribe of Zebulun, with Eliab son of Helon as the leader of
its 57,400 troops. 9These 186,400 troops will march into battle first.
10-11Reuben and the tribes that march with it must set up camp on the south side of the
sacred tent, under their own banner. The 46,500 troops of the tribe of Reuben will be
arranged by divisions and led by Elizur son of Shedeur. 12-13On one side of Reuben will
be the tribe of Simeon, with Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai as the leader of its 59,300
troops. 14-15On the other side will be the tribe of Gad, with Eliasaph son of Deuel as the
leader of its 45,650 troops. 16These 151,450 troops will march into battle second.
17Marching behind Reuben will be the Levites, arranged in groups, just as they are
camped. They will carry the sacred tent and their own banners.
18-19Ephraim and the tribes that march with it must set up camp on the west side of the
sacred tent, under their own banner. The 40,500 troops of the tribe of Ephraim will be
arranged by divisions and led by Elishama son of Ammihud. 20-21On one side of Ephraim
will be the tribe of Manasseh, with Gamaliel son of Pedahzur as the leader of its 32,200
troops. 22-23On the other side will be the tribe of Benjamin, with Abidan son of Gideoni
as the leader of its 35,400 troops. 24These 108,100 troops will march into battle third.
25-26Dan and the tribes that march with it must set up camp on the north side of the
sacred tent, under their own banner. The 62,700 troops of the tribe of Dan will be
arranged by divisions and led by Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai. 27-28On one side of Dan
will be the tribe of Asher, with Pagiel son of Ochran as the leader of its 41,500 troops.
29-30On the other side will be the tribe of Naphtali with Ahira son of Enan as the leader
of its 53,400 troops. 31These 157,600 troops will march into battle last.
32So all the Israelites in the camp were counted according to their ancestral families. The
troops were arranged by divisions and totaled 603,550. 33The only Israelites not included
were the Levites, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
34Israel did everything the LORD had told Moses. They arranged their camp according to
clans and families, with each tribe under its own banner. And that was the order by which
they marched into battle.
The Sons of Aaron
1When the LORD talked with Moses on Mount Sinai, 2Aaron's four sons, Nadab, Abihu,
Eleazar, and Ithamar, 3were the ones to be ordained as priests. 4But the LORD killed
Nadab and Abihu in the Sinai Desert when they used fire that was unacceptable in their
offering to the LORD. And because Nadab and Abihu had no sons, only Eleazar and
Ithamar served as priests with their father Aaron.
The Duties of the Levites
5The LORD said to Moses:
6Assign the Levi tribe to Aaron the priest. They will be his assistants 7and will work at
the sacred tent for him and for all the Israelites. 8The Levites will serve the community
by being responsible for the furnishings of the tent. 9They are assigned to help Aaron and
his sons, 10who have been appointed to be priests. Anyone else who tries to perform the
duties of a priest must be put to death.
11-13Moses, I have chosen these Levites from all Israel, and they will belong to me in a
special way. When I killed the first-born sons of the Egyptians, I decided that the
first-born sons in every Israelite family and the first-born males of their flocks and herds
would be mine. But now I accept these Levites in place of the first-born sons of the
The Levites Are Counted
14In the Sinai Desert the LORD said to Moses, 15" Now I want you to count the men and
boys in the Levi tribe by families and by clans. Include every one at least a month old."
16So Moses obeyed and counted them.
17Levi's three sons, Gershon, Kohath, and Merari, had become the heads of their own
clans. 18Gershon's sons were Libni and Shimei. 19Kohath's sons were Amram, Izhar,
Hebron, and Uzziel. 20And Merari's sons were Mahli and Mushi. These were the sons and
grandsons of Levi, and they had become the leaders of the Levite clans.
21The two Gershon clans were the Libnites and Shimeites, 22and they had seven
thousand five hundred men and boys at least one month old. 23The Gershonites were to
camp on the west side of the sacred tent, 24under the leadership of Eliasaph son of Lael.
25Their duties at the tent included taking care of the tent itself, along with its outer
covering, the curtain for the entrance, 26the curtains hanging inside the courtyard
around the tent, as well as the curtain and ropes for the entrance to the courtyard and
its altar. The Gershonites were responsible for setting these things up and taking them
27The four Kohath clans were the Amramites, Izharites, Hebronites, and the Uzzielites,
28and they had eight thousand six hundred men and boys at least one month old. 29The
Kohathites were to camp on the south side of the sacred tent, 30under the leadership of
Elizaphan son of Uzziel. 31Their duties at the tent included taking care of the sacred
chest, the table for the sacred bread, the lampstand, the altars, the objects used for
worship, and the curtain in front of the most holy place. The Kohathites were responsible
for setting these things up and taking them down. 32Eleazar son of Aaron was the head
of the Levite leaders, and he made sure that the work at the sacred tent was done.
33The two Merari clans were the Mahlites and the Mushites, 34and they had six thousand
two hundred men and boys at least one month old. 35The Merarites were to camp on the
north side of the sacred tent, under the leadership of Zuriel son of Abihail. 36-37Their
duties included taking care of the tent frames and the pieces that held the tent up: the
bars, the posts, the stands, and its other equipment. They were also in charge of the
posts that supported the courtyard, as well as their stands, tent pegs, and ropes. The
Merari clans were responsible for setting these things up and taking them down.
38Moses, Aaron, and his sons were to camp in front of the sacred tent, on the east side,
and to make sure that the Israelites worshiped in the proper way. Anyone else who tried
to do the work of Moses and Aaron was to be put to death.
39So Moses and Aaron obeyed the LORD and counted the Levites by their clans. The
total number of Levites at least one month old was twenty-two thousand.
The Levites Are Accepted as Substitutes for the First-Born Sons
40The LORD said to Moses, " Make a list and count the first-born sons at least one month
old in each of the Israelite families. 41They belong to me, but I will accept the Levites as
substitutes for them, and I will accept the Levites' livestock as substitutes for the
Israelites' first-born livestock."
42Moses obeyed the LORD and counted the first-born sons; 43there were 22,273 of
44Then the LORD said, 45" The Levites will belong to me and will take the place of the
first-born sons; their livestock will take the place of the Israelites' first-born livestock.
46But since there are more first-born sons than Levites, the extra two hundred
seventy-three men and boys must be bought back from me. 47For each one, you are to
collect five pieces of silver, weighed according to the official standards. 48This money
must then be given to Aaron and his sons."
49Moses collected the silver from the extra two hundred seventy-three first-born men
and boys, 50and it amounted to one thousand three hundred sixty-five pieces of silver,
weighed according to the official standards. 51Then he gave it to Aaron and his sons,
just as the LORD had commanded.
The Duties of the Kohathite Clans
1The LORD told Moses and Aaron:
2-3Find out how many men between the ages of thirty and fifty are in the four Levite
clans of Kohath. Count only those who are able to work at the sacred tent.
4The Kohathites will be responsible for carrying the sacred objects used in worship at the
sacred tent. 5When the Israelites are ready to move their camp, Aaron and his sons will
enter the tent and take down the curtain that separates the sacred chest from the rest
of the tent. They will cover the chest with this curtain, 6and then with a piece of fine
leather, and cover it all with a solid blue cloth. After this they will put the carrying poles
7Next, Aaron and his sons will use another blue cloth to cover the table for the sacred
bread. On the cloth they will place the dishes, the bowls for incense, the cups, the jugs
for wine, as well as the bread itself. 8They are to cover all of this with a bright red cloth,
and then with a piece of fine leather, before putting the carrying poles in place. 9With
another blue cloth they will cover the lampstand, along with the lamps, the lamp snuffers,
the fire pans, and the jars of oil for the lamps. 10All of this will then be covered with a
piece of fine leather and placed on a carrying frame.
11The gold incense altar is to be covered with a blue cloth, and then with a piece of fine
leather, before its carrying poles are put in place. 12Next, Aaron and his sons will take
blue cloth and wrap all the objects used in worship at the sacred tent. These will need to
be covered with a piece of fine leather, then placed on a carrying frame.
13They are to remove the ashes from the bronze altar and cover it with a purple cloth.
14On that cloth will be placed the utensils used at the altar, including the fire pans, the
meat forks, the shovels, and the sprinkling bowls. All of this will then be covered with a
piece of fine leather, before the carrying poles are put in place.
15When the camp is ready to be moved, the Kohathites will be responsible for carrying
the sacred objects and the furnishings of the sacred tent. But Aaron and his sons must
have already covered those things so the Kohathites won't touch them and die.
16Eleazar son of Aaron the priest will be in charge of the oil for the lamps, the
sweet-smelling incense, the grain for the sacrifices, and the olive oil used for dedications
and ordinations. Eleazar is responsible for seeing that the sacred tent, its furnishings, and
the sacred objects are taken care of.
17-20The Kohathites must not go near or even look at the sacred objects until Aaron and
his sons have covered those objects. If they do, their entire clan will be wiped out. So
make sure that Aaron and his sons go into the tent with them and tell them what to
The Duties of the Gershonite Clans
21The LORD said to Moses:
22-23Find out how many men between the ages of thirty and fifty are in the two Levite
clans of Gershon. Count only those who are able to work at the sacred tent.
24The Gershonites will be responsible 25for carrying the curtains of the sacred tent, its
two outer coverings, the curtain for the entrance to the tent, 26the curtains hanging
around the courtyard of the tent, and the curtain and ropes for the entrance to the
courtyard. The Gershonites are to do whatever needs to be done to take care of these
things, 27and they will carry them wherever Aaron and his sons tell them to. 28These are
the duties of the Gershonites at the sacred tent, and Ithamar son of Aaron will make sure
they do their work.
The Duties of the Merarite Clans
29-30The LORD said:
Moses, find out how many men between thirty and fifty are in the two Levite clans of
Merari, but count only those who are able to work at the sacred tent.
31The Merarites will be responsible for carrying the frames of the tent and its other
pieces, including the bars, the posts, the stands, 32as well as the posts that support the
courtyard, together with their stands, tent pegs, and ropes. The Merarites are to be told
exactly what objects they are to carry, 33and Ithamar son of Aaron will make sure they
do their work.
The Levites Are Counted Again
34-49Moses, Aaron, and the other Israelite leaders obeyed the LORD and counted the
Levi tribe by families and clans, to find out how many men there were between the ages
of thirty and fifty who could work at the sacred tent. There were two thousand seven
hundred fifty Kohathites, two thousand six hundred thirty Gershonites, and three
thousand two hundred Merarites, making a total of eight thousand five hundred eighty.
Then they were all assigned their duties.
People Are Sent Outside the Camp
1The LORD told Moses 2-3to say to the people of Israel, " Put out of the camp everyone
who has leprosy or a bodily discharge or who has touched a dead body. Now that I live
among my people, their camp must be kept clean." 4The Israelites obeyed the LORD's
The Penalty for Committing a Crime
5The LORD told Moses 6to say to the community of Israel:
If any of you commit a crime against someone, you have sinned against me. 7You must
confess your guilt and pay the victim in full for whatever damage has been done, plus a
fine of twenty percent. 8If the victim has no relative who can accept this money, it
belongs to me and will be paid to the priest. In addition to that payment, you must take a
ram for the priest to sacrifice so your sin will be forgiven.
9-10When you make a donation to the sacred tent, that money belongs only to the
priest, and each priest will keep what is given to him.
A Suspicious Husband
11The LORD told Moses 12-14to say to the people of Israel:
Suppose a man becomes jealous and suspects that his wife has been unfaithful, but he
has no proof. 15He must take his wife to the priest, together with two pounds of ground
barley as an offering to find out if she is guilty. No olive oil or incense is to be put on that
16The priest is to have the woman stand at my altar, 17where he will pour sacred water
into a clay jar and stir in some dust from the floor of the sacred tent. 18-22Next, he will
remove her veil, then hand her the barley offering, and say, " If you have been faithful to
your husband, this water won't harm you. But if you have been unfaithful, it will bring
down the LORD's curse--you will never be able to give birth to a child, and everyone will
curse your name."
Then the woman will answer, " If I am guilty, let it happen just as you say."
23The priest will write these curses on special paper and wash them off into the bitter
water, 24so that when the woman drinks this water, the curses will enter her body. 25He
will take the barley offering from her and lift it up in dedication to me, the LORD. Then he
will place it on my altar 26and burn part of it as a sacrifice. After that, the woman must
drink the bitter water. 27If the woman has been unfaithful, the water will immediately
make her unable to have children, and she will be a curse among her people. 28But if she
is innocent, her body will not be harmed, and she will still be able to have children.
29-30This is the ceremony that must take place at my altar when a husband suspects
that his wife has been unfaithful. The priest must have the woman stand in my presence
and carefully follow these instructions. 31If the husband is wrong, he will not be
punished; but if his wife is guilty, she will be punished.
Rules for Nazirites
1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel:
If any of you want to dedicate yourself to me by vowing to become a Nazirite, 3you must
no longer drink any wine or beer or use any kind of vinegar. Don't drink grape juice or eat
grapes or raisins-- 4not even the seeds or skins.
5Even the hair of a Nazirite is sacred to me, and as long as you are a Nazirite, you must
never cut your hair.
6During the time that you are a Nazirite, you must never go close to a dead body, 7-8not
even that of your father, mother, brother, or sister. That would make you unclean. Your
hair is the sign that you are dedicated to me, so remain holy.
9If someone suddenly dies near you, your hair is no longer sacred, and you must shave it
seven days later during the ceremony to make you clean. 10Then on the next day, bring
two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the sacred tent. 11He will offer one of the
birds as a sacrifice for sin and the other as a sacrifice to please me. You will then be
forgiven for being too near a dead body, and your hair will again become sacred. 12But
the dead body made you unacceptable, so you must make another vow to become a
Nazirite and be dedicated once more. Finally, a year-old ram must be offered as the
sacrifice to make things right. 13When you have completed your promised time of being a
Nazirite, go to the sacred tent 14and offer three animals that have nothing wrong with
them: a year-old ram as a sacrifice to please me, a year-old female lamb as a sacrifice
for sin, and a full-grown ram as a sacrifice to ask my blessing. 15Wine offerings and grain
sacrifices must also be brought with these animals. Finally, you are to bring a basket of
bread made with your finest flour and olive oil, but without yeast. Also bring some thin
wafers brushed with oil. 16The priest will take these gifts to my altar and offer them, so
that I will be pleased and will forgive you. 17Then he will sacrifice the ram and offer the
wine, grain, and bread.
18After that, you will stand at the entrance to the sacred tent, shave your head, and
put the hair in the fire where the priest has offered the sacrifice to ask my blessing.
19Once the meat from the ram's shoulder has been boiled, the priest will take it, along
with one loaf of bread and one wafer brushed with oil, and give them to you. 20You will
hand them back to the priest, who will lift them up in dedication to me. Then he can eat
the meat from the ram's shoulder, its choice ribs, and its hind leg, because this is his
share of the sacrifice. After this, you will no longer be a Nazirite and will be free to drink
wine. 21These are the requirements for Nazirites. However, if you can afford to offer
more, you must do so.
The Blessing for the People
22The LORD told Moses, 23" When Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel, they
24I pray that the LORD
will bless and protect you,
25and that he will show you mercy
26May the LORD be good to you
and give you peace."
27Then the LORD said, " If Aaron and his sons ask me to bless the Israelites, I will give
them my blessing."
The Leaders Bring Gifts to the Sacred Tent
1When Moses had finished setting up the sacred tent, he dedicated it to the LORD,
together with its furnishings, the altar, and its equipment. 2Then the twelve tribal leaders
of Israel, the same men who had been in charge of counting the people, came to the tent
3with gifts for the LORD. They brought six strong carts and twelve oxen--one ox from
each leader and a cart from every two. 4The LORD said to Moses, 5" Accept these gifts,
so the Levites can use them here at the sacred tent for carrying the sacred things."
6Then Moses took the carts and oxen and gave them to the Levites, 7-8who were under
the leadership of Ithamar son of Aaron. Moses gave two carts and four oxen to the
Gershonites for their work, and four carts and eight oxen to the Merarites for their work.
9But Moses did not give any to the Kohathites, because they were in charge of the
sacred objects that had to be carried on their shoulders.
10On the day the altar was dedicated, the twelve leaders brought offerings for its
dedication. 11The LORD said to Moses, " Each day one leader is to give his offering for
12-83So each leader brought the following gifts:
a silver bowl that weighed over three pounds and a silver sprinkling bowl weighing almost
two pounds, both of them filled with flour and olive oil as grain sacrifices and weighed
according to the official standards;
a small gold dish filled with incense;
a young bull, a full-grown ram, and a year-old ram as sacrifices to please the LORD; a
goat as a sacrifice for sin; and two bulls, five full-grown rams, five goats, and five rams a
year old as sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing. The tribal leaders brought their gifts and
offerings in the following order:
On the first day
Nahshon from Judah,
on the second day
Nethanel from Issachar,
on the third day
Eliab from Zebulun,
on the fourth day
Elizur from Reuben,
on the fifth day
Shelumiel from Simeon,
on the sixth day
Eliasaph from Gad,
on the seventh day
Elishama from Ephraim,
on the eighth day
Gamaliel from Manasseh,
on the ninth day
Abidan from Benjamin,
on the tenth day
Ahiezer from Dan,
on the eleventh day
Pagiel from Asher,
on the twelfth day
Ahira from Naphtali.
84-88And so when the altar was dedicated to the LORD, these twelve leaders brought
the following gifts:
twelve silver bowls and twelve silver sprinkling bowls, weighing a total of about sixty
pounds, according to the official standards;
twelve gold dishes filled with incense and weighing about three pounds;
twelve bulls, twelve full-grown rams, and twelve rams a year old as sacrifices to please
the LORD, along with the proper grain sacrifices;
twelve goats as sacrifices for sin;
and twenty-four bulls, sixty full-grown rams, sixty goats, and sixty rams a year old as
sacrifices to ask the LORD's blessing.
89Whenever Moses needed to talk with the LORD, he went into the sacred tent, where
he heard the LORD's voice coming from between the two winged creatures above the lid
of the sacred chest.
Aaron Puts the Gold Lamps in Place
1The LORD said to Moses, 2" Tell Aaron to put the seven lamps on the lampstand so they
shine toward the front."
3Aaron obeyed and placed the lamps as he was told. 4The lampstand was made of
hammered gold from its base to the decorative flowers on top, exactly like the pattern
the LORD had described to Moses.
Instructions for Ordaining the Levites
5The LORD said to Moses:
6The Levites must be acceptable to me before they begin working at the sacred tent. So
separate them from the rest of the Israelites 7and sprinkle them with the water that
washes away their sins. Then have them shave their entire bodies and wash their
8They are to bring a bull and its proper grain sacrifice of flour mixed with olive oil. And
they must bring a second bull as a sacrifice for sin.
9Then you, Moses, will call together all the people of Israel and have the Levites go to
my sacred tent, 10where the people will place their hands on them. 11Aaron will present
the Levites to me as a gift from the people, so that the Levites will do my work.
12After this, the Levites are to place their hands on the heads of the bulls. Then one of
the bulls will be sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin, and the other to make sure that I am
pleased. 13The Levites will stand at my altar in front of Aaron and his sons, who will then
dedicate the Levites to me.
14This ceremony will show that the Levites are different from the other Israelites and
belong to me in a special way. 15After they have been made acceptable and have been
dedicated, they will be allowed to work at my sacred tent. 16They are mine and will take
the place of the first-born Israelite sons. 17When I killed the oldest sons of the
Egyptians, I decided that the first-born sons in each Israelite family would be mine, as
well as every first-born male from their flocks and herds. 18But now I have chosen these
Levites as substitutes for the first-born sons, 19and I have given them as gifts to Aaron
and his sons to serve at the sacred tent. I will hold them responsible for what happens to
anyone who gets too close to the sacred tent.
The Levites Are Dedicated to the LORD
20Moses, Aaron, and the other Israelites made sure that the Levites did everything the
LORD had commanded. 21The Levites sprinkled themselves with the water of forgiveness
and washed their clothes. Then Aaron brought them to the altar and offered sacrifices to
forgive their sins and make them acceptable to the LORD. 22After this, the Levites
worked at the sacred tent as assistants to Aaron and his sons, just as the LORD had
23The LORD also told Moses, 24-25" Levites who are between the ages of twenty-five
and fifty can work at my sacred tent. But once they turn fifty, they must retire. 26They
may help the other Levites in their duties, but they must no longer be responsible for any
work themselves. Remember this when you assign their duties."
Regulations for Celebrating Passover
1During the first month of Israel's second year in the Sinai Desert, the LORD had told
Moses 2to say to the people, " Celebrate Passover 3in the evening of the fourteenth day
of this month and do it by following all the regulations." 4-5Moses told the people what
the LORD had said, and they celebrated Passover there in the desert in the evening of
the fourteenth day of the first month. 6Some people in Israel's camp had touched a dead
body and had become unfit to worship the LORD, and they could not celebrate Passover.
But they asked Moses and Aaron, 7" Even though we have touched a dead body, why
can't we celebrate Passover and offer sacrifices to the LORD at the same time as
8Moses said, " Wait here while I go into the sacred tent and find out what the LORD says
9The LORD then told Moses 10to say to the community of Israel:
If any of you or your descendants touch a dead body and become unfit to worship me, or
if you are away on a long journey, you may still celebrate Passover. 11But it must be
done in the second month, in the evening of the fourteenth day. Eat the Passover lamb
with thin bread and bitter herbs, 12and don't leave any of it until morning or break any of
the animal's bones. Be sure to follow these regulations. 13But if any of you refuse to
celebrate Passover when you are not away on a journey, you will no longer belong to my
people. You will be punished because you did not offer sacrifices to me at the proper
14Anyone, including foreigners who live among you, can celebrate Passover, if they follow
all the regulations.
The Cloud over the Sacred Tent
15-16As soon as the sacred tent was set up, a thick cloud appeared and covered it. The
cloud was there each day, and during the night, a fire could be seen in it. 17-19The LORD
used this cloud to tell the Israelites when to move their camp and where to set it up
again. As long as the cloud covered the tent, the Israelites did not break camp. But when
the cloud moved, they followed it, and wherever it stopped, they camped and stayed
there, 20-22whether it was only one night, a few days, a month, or even a year. As long
as the cloud remained over the tent, the Israelites stayed where they were. But when
the cloud moved, so did the Israelites. 23They obeyed the LORD's commands and went
wherever he directed Moses.
The Silver Trumpets
1The LORD told Moses:
2Have someone make two trumpets out of hammered silver. These will be used to call the
people together and to give the signal for moving your camp. 3If both trumpets are
blown, everyone is to meet with you at the entrance to the sacred tent. 4But if just one
is blown, only the twelve tribal leaders need to come together.
5-6Give a signal on a trumpet when it is time to break camp. The first blast will be the
signal for the tribes camped on the east side, and the second blast will be the signal for
those on the south. 7But when you want everyone to come together, sound a different
signal on the trumpet. 8The priests of Aaron's family will be the ones to blow the
trumpets, and this law will never change.
9Whenever you go into battle against an enemy attacking your land, give a warning
signal on the trumpets. Then I, the LORD, will hear it and rescue you. 10During the
celebration of the New Moon Festival and other religious festivals, sound the trumpets
while you offer sacrifices. This will be a reminder that I am the LORD your God.
The Israelites Begin Their Journey
11On the twentieth day of the second month of that same year, the cloud over the
sacred tent moved on. 12So the Israelites broke camp and left the Sinai Desert. And
some time later, the cloud stopped in the Paran Desert. 13This was the first time the
LORD had told Moses to command the people of Israel to move on. 14Judah and the
tribes that camped alongside it marched out first, carrying their banner. Nahshon son of
Amminadab was the leader of the Judah tribe, 15Nethanel son of Zuar was the leader of
the Issachar tribe, 16and Eliab son of Helon was the leader of the Zebulun tribe.
17The sacred tent had been taken down, and the Gershonites and the Merarites carried
it, marching behind the Judah camp.
18Reuben and the tribes that camped alongside it marched out second, carrying their
banner. Elizur son of Shedeur was the leader of the Reuben tribe, 19Shelumiel son of
Zurishaddai was the leader of the Simeon tribe, 20and Eliasaph son of Deuel was the
leader of the Gad tribe.
21Next were the Kohathites, carrying the objects for the sacred tent, which was to be
set up before they arrived at the new camp.
22Ephraim and the tribes that camped alongside it marched next, carrying their banner.
Elishama son of Ammihud was the leader of the Ephraim tribe, 23Gamaliel son of Pedahzur
was the leader of the Manasseh tribe, 24and Abidan son of Gideoni was the leader of the
25Dan and the tribes that camped alongside it were to protect the Israelites against an
attack from behind, and so they marched last, carrying their banner. Ahiezer son of
Ammishaddai was the leader of the tribe of Dan, 26Pagiel son of Ochran was the leader of
the Asher tribe, 27and Ahira son of Enan was the leader of the Naphtali tribe.
28This was the order in which the Israelites marched each time they moved their camp.
29Hobab the Midianite, the father-in-law of Moses, was there. And Moses said to him, "
We're leaving for the place the LORD has promised us. He has said that all will go well for
us. So come along, and we will make sure that all goes well for you." 30" No, I won't go,"
Hobab answered. " I'm returning home to be with my own people."
31" Please go with us!" Moses said. " You can be our guide because you know the places
to camp in the desert. 32Besides that, if you go, we will give you a share of the good
things the LORD gives us."
33The people of Israel began their journey from Mount Sinai. They traveled three days,
and the Levites who carried the sacred chest led the way, so the LORD could show them
where to camp. 34And the cloud always stayed with them. 35Each day as the Israelites
began their journey, Moses would pray, " Our LORD, defeat your enemies and make them
run!" 36And when they stopped to set up camp, he would pray, " Our LORD, stay close to
Israel's thousands and thousands of people."
The Israelites Complain
1One day the Israelites started complaining about their troubles. The LORD heard them
and became so angry that he destroyed the outer edges of their camp with fire.
2When the people begged Moses to help, he prayed, and the fire went out. 3They named
the place " Burning," because in his anger the LORD had set their camp on fire.
The People Grumble about Being Hungry
4One day some worthless foreigners among the Israelites became greedy for food, and
even the Israelites themselves began moaning, " We don't have any meat! 5In Egypt we
could eat all the fish we wanted, and there were cucumbers, melons, onions, and garlic.
6But we're starving out here, and the only food we have is this manna."
7The manna was like small whitish seeds 8-9and tasted like something baked with sweet
olive oil. It appeared at night with the dew. In the morning the people would collect the
manna, grind or crush it into flour, then boil it and make it into thin wafers.
10The Israelites stood around their tents complaining. Moses heard them and was upset
that they had made the LORD angry. 11He prayed:
I am your servant, LORD, so why are you doing this to me? What have I done to deserve
this? You've made me responsible for all these people, 12but they're not my children. You
told me to nurse them along and to carry them to the land you promised their ancestors.
13They keep whining for meat, but where can I get meat for them? 14This job is too
much for me. How can I take care of all these people by myself? 15If this is the way
you're going to treat me, just kill me now and end my miserable life!
Seventy Leaders Are Chosen To Help Moses
16The LORD said to Moses:
Choose seventy of Israel's respected leaders and go with them to the sacred tent.
17While I am talking with you there, I will give them some of your authority, so they can
share responsibility for my people. You will no longer have to care for them by yourself.
18As for the Israelites, I have heard them complaining about not having meat and about
being better off in Egypt. So tell them to make themselves acceptable to me, because
tomorrow they will have meat. 19-20In fact, they will have meat day after day for a
whole month--not just a few days, or even ten or twenty. They turned against me and
wanted to return to Egypt. Now they will eat meat until they get sick of it.
21Moses replied, " At least six hundred thousand grown men are here with me. How can
you say there will be enough meat to feed them and their families for a whole month?
22Even if we butchered all of our sheep and cattle, or caught every fish in the sea, we
wouldn't have enough to feed them."
23The LORD answered, " I can do anything! Watch and you'll see my words come true."
24Moses told the people what the LORD had said. Then he chose seventy respected
leaders and went with them to the sacred tent. While the leaders stood in a circle around
the tent, Moses went inside, 25and the LORD spoke with him. Then the LORD took some
authority from Moses and gave it to the seventy leaders. And when the LORD's Spirit took
control of them, they started shouting like prophets. But they did it only this one time.
26Eldad and Medad were two leaders who had not gone to the tent. But when the Spirit
took control of them, they began shouting like prophets right there in camp. 27A boy ran
to Moses and told him about Eldad and Medad.
28Joshua was there helping Moses, as he had done since he was young. And he said to
Moses, " Sir, you must stop them!" 29But Moses replied, " Are you concerned what this
might do to me? I wish the LORD would give his Spirit to all his people so everyone could
be a prophet." 30Then Moses and the seventy leaders went back to camp.
The LORD Sends Quails
31Some time later the LORD sent a strong wind that blew quails in from the sea until
Israel's camp was completely surrounded with birds, piled up about three feet high for
miles in every direction. 32The people picked up quails for two days--each person filled at
least fifty bushels. Then they spread them out to dry. 33But before the meat could be
eaten, the LORD became angry and sent a disease through the camp.
34After they had buried the people who had been so greedy for meat, they called the
place " Graves for the Greedy." 35Israel then broke camp and traveled to Hazeroth.
Miriam and Aaron Are Jealous of Moses
1-3Although Moses was the most humble person in all the world, Miriam and Aaron started
complaining, " Moses had no right to marry that woman from Ethiopia! Who does he think
he is? The LORD has spoken to us, not just to him." The LORD heard their complaint 4and
told Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to come to the entrance of the sacred tent. 5There the
LORD appeared in a cloud and told Aaron and Miriam to come closer. 6Then after
commanding them to listen carefully, he said:
" I, the LORD, speak to prophets
in visions and dreams.
7But my servant Moses
is the leader of my people.
8He sees me face to face,
and everything I say to him
is perfectly clear.
You have no right to criticize
my servant Moses."
9The LORD became angry at Aaron and Miriam. And after the LORD left 10and the cloud
disappeared from over the sacred tent, Miriam's skin turned white with leprosy. When
Aaron saw what had happened to her, 11he said to Moses, " Sir, please don't punish us
for doing such a foolish thing. 12Don't let Miriam's flesh rot away like a child born dead!"
13Moses prayed, " LORD God, please heal her."
14But the LORD replied, " Miriam would be disgraced for seven days if her father had
punished her by spitting in her face. So make her stay outside the camp for seven days,
before coming back."
15The people of Israel did not move their camp until Miriam returned seven days later.
16Then they left Hazeroth and set up camp in the Paran Desert.
Twelve Men Are Sent into Canaan
1The LORD said to Moses, 2" Choose a leader from each tribe and send them into Canaan
to explore the land I am giving you."
3So Moses sent twelve tribal leaders from Israel's camp in the Paran Desert 4-16with
orders to explore the land of Canaan. And here are their names:
Shammua son of Zaccur
Shaphat son of Hori
Caleb son of Jephunneh
Igal son of Joseph
Joshua son of Nun
from Ephraim, Palti son of Raphu
Gaddiel son of Sodi
Gaddi son of Susi
Ammiel son of Gemalli
Sethur son of Michael
Nahbi son of Vophsi
and Geuel son of Machi
17Before Moses sent them into Canaan, he said:
After you go through the Southern Desert of Canaan, continue north into the hill country
18and find out what those regions are like. Be sure to remember how many people live
there, how strong they are, 19-20and if they live in open towns or walled cities. See if
the land is good for growing crops and find out what kinds of trees grow there. It's time
for grapes to ripen, so try to bring back some of the fruit that grows there.
21The twelve men left to explore Canaan from the Zin Desert in the south all the way to
the town of Rehob near Lebo-Hamath in the north. 22As they went through the Southern
Desert, they came to the town of Hebron, which was seven years older than the
Egyptian town of Zoan. In Hebron, they saw the three Anakim clans of Ahiman, Sheshai,
and Talmai. 23-24When they got to Bunch Valley, they cut off a branch with such a huge
bunch of grapes, that it took two men to carry it on a pole. That's why the place was
called Bunch Valley. Along with the grapes, they also took back pomegranates and figs.
The Men Report Back to the People
25After exploring the land of Canaan forty days, 26the twelve men returned to Kadesh in
the Paran Desert and told Moses, Aaron, and the people what they had seen. They
showed them the fruit 27and said:
Look at this fruit! The land we explored is rich with milk and honey. 28But the people who
live there are strong, and their cities are large and walled. We even saw the three Anakim
clans. 29Besides that, the Amalekites live in the Southern Desert; the Hittites, Jebusites,
and Amorites are in the hill country; and the Canaanites live along the Mediterranean Sea
and the Jordan River. 30Caleb calmed down the crowd and said, " Let's go and take the
land. I know we can do it!"
31But the other men replied, " Those people are much too strong for us." 32Then they
started spreading rumors and saying, " We won't be able to grow anything in that soil.
And the people are like giants. 33In fact, we saw the Nephilim who are the ancestors of
the Anakim. They were so big that we felt as small as grasshoppers."
The Israelites Rebel against Moses
1After the Israelites heard the report from the twelve men who had explored Canaan, the
people cried all night 2and complained to Moses and Aaron, " We wish we had died in
Egypt or somewhere out here in the desert! 3Is the LORD leading us into Canaan, just to
have us killed and our women and children captured? We'd be better off in Egypt." 4Then
they said to one another, " Let's choose our own leader and go back."
5Moses and Aaron bowed down to pray in front of the crowd. 6Joshua and Caleb tore
their clothes in sorrow 7and said:
We saw the land ourselves, and it's very good. 8If we obey the LORD, he will surely give
us that land rich with milk and honey. 9So don't rebel. We have no reason to be afraid of
the people who live there. The LORD is on our side, and they won't stand a chance
10The crowd threatened to stone Moses and Aaron to death. But just then, the LORD
appeared in a cloud at the sacred tent.
Moses Prays for the People
11The LORD said to Moses, " I have done great things for these people, and they still
reject me by refusing to believe in my power. 12So they will no longer be my people. I will
destroy them, but I will make you the ancestor of a nation even stronger than theirs."
With your mighty power you rescued your people from Egypt, so please don't destroy us
here in the desert. If you do, the Egyptians will hear about it and tell the people of
Canaan. Those Canaanites already know that we are your people, and that we see you
face to face. And they have heard how you lead us with a thick cloud during the day and
flaming fire at night. But if you kill us, they will claim it was because you weren't powerful
enough to lead us into Canaan as you promised.
17Show us your great power, LORD. You promised 18that you love to show mercy and
kindness. And you said that you are very patient, but that you will punish everyone guilty
of doing wrong--not only them but their children and grandchildren as well.
19You are merciful, and you treat people better than they deserve. So please forgive
these people, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt.
20Then the LORD said to Moses:
In answer to your prayer, I do forgive them. 21But as surely as I live and my power has
no limit, 22-23I swear that not one of these Israelites will enter the land I promised to
give their ancestors. These people have seen my power in Egypt and in the desert, but
they will never see Canaan. They have disobeyed and tested me too many times.
24But my servant Caleb isn't like the others. So because he has faith in me, I will allow
him to cross into Canaan, and his descendants will settle there.
25Now listen, Moses! The Amalekites and the Canaanites live in the valleys of Canaan.
And tomorrow morning, you'll need to turn around and head back into the desert toward
the Red Sea.
The Israelites Are Punished for Complaining
26The LORD told Moses and Aaron 27-28to give this message to the people of Israel:
You sinful people have complained against me too many times! Now I swear by my own
life that I will give you exactly what you wanted. 29You will die right here in the desert,
and your dead bodies will cover the ground. You have insulted me, and none of you men
who are over twenty years old 30will enter the land that I solemnly promised to give you
as your own--only Caleb and Joshua will go in. 31You were worried that your own children
would be captured. But I, the LORD, will let them enter the land you have rejected.
32You will die here in the desert! 33Your children will wander around in this desert forty
years, suffering because of your sins, until all of you are dead. 34I will cruelly punish you
every day for the next forty years--one year for each day that the land was explored.
35You sinful people who ganged up against me will die here in the desert.
36Ten of the men sent to explore the land had brought back bad news and had made the
people complain against the LORD. 37So he sent a deadly disease that killed those men,
38but he let Joshua and Caleb live.
The Israelites Fail To Enter Canaan
39The people of Israel were very sad after Moses gave them the LORD's message. 40So
they got up early the next morning and got ready to head toward the hill country of
Canaan. They said, " We were wrong to complain about the LORD. Let's go into the land
that he promised us."
41But Moses replied, " You're disobeying the LORD! Your plan won't work, 42-43so don't
even try it. The LORD refuses to help you, because you turned your backs on him. The
Amalekites and the Canaanites are your enemies, and they will attack and defeat you."
44But the Israelites ignored Moses and marched toward the hill country, even though the
sacred chest and Moses did not go with them. 45The Amalekites and the Canaanites
came down from the hill country, defeated the Israelites, and chased them as far as the
town of Hormah.
Laws about Sacrifices
1The LORD told Moses 2to give the Israelites the following laws about offering sacrifices:
3Bulls or rams or goats are the animals that you may burn on the altar as sacrifices to
please me. You may also offer sacrifices voluntarily or because you made a promise, or
because they are part of your regular religious ceremonies. The smell of the smoke from
these sacrifices is pleasing to me. 4-5If you sacrifice a young ram or goat, you must also
offer two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of olive oil as a grain sacrifice. A
quart of wine must also be poured on the altar.
6-7And if the animal is a full-grown ram, you must offer four pounds of flour mixed with
one and a half quarts of olive oil. One and a half quarts of wine must also be poured on
the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me.
8If a bull is offered as a sacrifice to please me or to ask my blessing, 9you must offer six
pounds of flour mixed with two quarts of olive oil. 10Two quarts of wine must also be
poured on the altar. The smell of this smoke is pleasing to me. 11-13If you are a native
Israelite, you must obey these rules each time you offer a bull, a ram, or a goat as a
sacrifice. 14And the foreigners who live among you must also follow these rules.
15-16This law will never change. I am the LORD, and I consider all people the same,
whether they are Israelites or foreigners living among you.
17-19When you eat food in the land that I am giving you, remember to set aside some of
it as an offering to me. 20From the first batch of bread dough that you make after each
new grain harvest, make a loaf of bread and offer it to me, just as you offer grain. 21All
your descendants must follow this law and offer part of the first batch of bread dough.
22-23The LORD also told Moses to tell the people what must be done if they ever disobey
24If all of you disobey one of my laws without meaning to, you must offer a bull as a
sacrifice to please me, together with a grain sacrifice, a wine offering, and a goat as a
sacrifice for sin. 25Then the priest will pray and ask me to forgive you. And since you did
not mean to do wrong, and you offered sacrifices, 26the sin of everyone--both Israelites
and foreigners among you--will be forgiven.
27But if one of you does wrong without meaning to, you must sacrifice a year-old female
goat as a sacrifice for sin. 28The priest will then ask me to forgive you, and your sin will
29The law will be the same for anyone who does wrong without meaning to, whether an
Israelite or a foreigner living among you.
30-31But if one of you does wrong on purpose, whether Israelite or foreigner, you have
sinned against me by disobeying my laws. You will be sent away and will no longer live
among the people of Israel.
A Man Put to Death for Gathering Firewood on the Sabbath
32Once, while the Israelites were traveling through the desert, a man was caught
gathering firewood on the Sabbath. 33He was taken to Moses, Aaron, and the rest of the
community. 34But no one knew what to do with him, so he was not allowed to leave.
35Then the LORD said to Moses, " Tell the people to take that man outside the camp and
stone him to death!" 36So he was killed, just as the LORD had commanded Moses.
The Tassels on the People's Clothes
37The LORD told Moses 38to say to the people of Israel, " Sew tassels onto the bottom
edge of your clothes and tie a purple string to each tassel. 39-40These will remind you
that you must obey my laws and teachings. And when you do, you will be dedicated to
me and won't follow your own sinful desires. 41I am the LORD your God who led you out
Korah, Dathan, and Abiram Lead a Rebellion
1-2Korah son of Izhar was a Levite from the Kohathite clan. One day he called together
Dathan, Abiram, and On from the Reuben tribe, and the four of them decided to rebel
against Moses. So they asked two hundred fifty respected Israelite leaders for their
support, and together they went to Moses 3and Aaron and said, " Why do you think
you're so much better than anyone else? We're part of the LORD's holy people, and he's
with all of us. What makes you think you're the only ones in charge?" 4When Moses heard
this, he knelt down to pray. 5Then he said to Korah and his followers: Tomorrow morning
the LORD will show us the person he has chosen to be his priest, and that man will
faithfully serve him.
6-7Korah, now here is what you and your followers must do: Get some fire pans, fill them
with coals and incense, and place them near the sacred tent. And the man the LORD
chooses will be his priest. Korah, this time you Levites have gone too far! 8-9You know
that the God of Israel has chosen you Levites from all Israel to serve him by being in
charge of the sacred tent and by helping the community to worship in the proper way.
What more do you want? 10The LORD has given you a special responsibility, and now,
Korah, you think you should also be his priest. 11You and your followers have rebelled
against the LORD, not against Aaron.
12Then Moses sent for Dathan and Abiram, but they sent back this message: " We won't
come! 13It's bad enough that you took us from our rich farmland in Egypt to let us die
here in the desert. Now you also want to boss us around! 14You keep promising us rich
farmlands with fertile fields and vineyards--but where are they? Stop trying to trick these
people. No, we won't come to see you."
15Moses was very angry and said to the LORD, " Don't listen to these men! I haven't
done anything wrong to them. I haven't taken as much as a donkey."
16Then he said to Korah, " Tomorrow you and your followers must go with Aaron to the
LORD's sacred tent. 17Each of you take along your fire pan with incense in it and offer
the incense to the LORD."
18The next day the men placed incense and coals in their fire pans and stood with Moses
and Aaron at the entrance to the sacred tent. 19Meanwhile, Korah had convinced the
rest of the Israelites to rebel against their two leaders.
When that happened, the LORD appeared in all his glory 20and said to Moses and Aaron,
21" Get away from the rest of the Israelites so I can kill them right now!"
22But the two men bowed down and prayed, " Our God, you gave these people life. Why
would you punish everyone here when only one man has sinned?"
23The LORD answered Moses, 24" Tell the people to stay away from the tents of Korah,
Dathan, and Abiram."
25Moses walked over to Dathan and Abiram, and the other leaders of Israel followed.
26Then Moses warned the people, " Get away from the tents of these sinful men! Don't
touch anything that belongs to them or you'll be wiped out." 27So everyone moved away
from those tents, except Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and their families.
28Moses said to the crowd, " The LORD has chosen me and told me to do these things--it
wasn't my idea. And here's how you will know: 29If these men die a natural death, it
means the LORD hasn't chosen me. 30But suppose the LORD does something that has
never been done before. For example, what if a huge crack appears in the ground, and
these men and their families fall into it and are buried alive, together with everything they
own? Then you will know they have turned their backs on the LORD!"
31As soon as Moses said this, the ground under the men opened up 32-33and swallowed
them alive, together with their families and everything they owned. Then the ground
closed back up, and they were gone.
34The rest of the Israelites heard their screams, so they ran off, shouting, " We don't
want that to happen to us!"
35Suddenly the LORD sent a fire that burned up the two hundred fifty men who had
offered incense to him.
36Then the LORD said to Moses, 37" Tell Aaron's son Eleazar to take the fire pans from
the smoldering fire and scatter the coals. The pans are now sacred, 38because they
were used for offering incense to me. Have them hammered into a thin layer of bronze as
a covering for the altar. Those men died because of their sin, and now their fire pans will
become a warning for the rest of the community."
39Eleazar collected the pans and had them hammered into a thin layer of bronze as a
covering for the altar, 40just as the LORD had told Moses. The pans were a warning to
the Israelites that only Aaron's descendants would be allowed to offer incense to the
LORD. Anyone else who tried would be punished like Korah and his followers.
The Israelites Rebel and Are Punished
41The next day the people of Israel again complained against Moses and Aaron, " The
two of you killed some of the LORD's people!"
42As the people crowded around them, Moses and Aaron turned toward the sacred tent,
and the LORD appeared in his glory in the cloud covering the tent. 43So Moses and Aaron
walked to the front of the tent, 44where the LORD said to them, 45" Stand back! I am
going to wipe out these Israelites once and for all."
They immediately bowed down and prayed. 46Then Moses told Aaron, " Grab your fire pan
and fill it with hot coals from the altar. Put incense in it, then quickly take it to where the
people are and offer it to the LORD, so they can be forgiven. The LORD is very angry, and
people have already started dying!"
47-48Aaron did exactly what he had been told. He ran over to the crowd of people and
stood between the dead bodies and the people who were still alive. He placed the
incense on the pan, then offered it to the LORD and asked him to forgive the people's sin.
The disease immediately stopped spreading, and no one else died from it. 49But fourteen
thousand seven hundred Israelites were dead, not counting those who had died with
Korah and his followers.
50Aaron walked back and stood with Moses at the sacred tent.
Aaron's Walking Stick Blooms and Produces Almonds
1The LORD told Moses:
2-3Call together the twelve tribes of Israel and tell the leader of each tribe to write his
name on the walking stick he carries as a symbol of his authority. Make sure Aaron's
name is written on the one from the Levi tribe, then collect all the sticks.
4Place these sticks in the tent right in front of the sacred chest where I appear to you.
5I will then choose a man to be my priest, and his stick will sprout. After that happens, I
won't have to listen to any more complaints about you.
6Moses told the people what the LORD had commanded, and they gave him the walking
sticks from the twelve tribal leaders, including Aaron's from the Levi tribe. 7Moses took
them and placed them in the LORD's sacred tent.
8The next day when Moses went into the tent, flowers and almonds were already growing
on Aaron's stick. 9Moses brought the twelve sticks out of the tent and showed them to
the people. Each of the leaders found his own and took it.
10But the LORD told Moses, " Put Aaron's stick back! Let it stay near the sacred chest as
a warning to anyone who might think about rebelling. If these people don't stop their
grumbling about me, I will wipe them out." 11Moses did what he was told.
12The Israelites cried out to Moses, " We're done for 13and doomed if we even get near
the sacred tent!"
The Duties of the Priests and Levites
1The LORD said to Aaron:
You, your sons, and the other Levites of the Kohath clan, are responsible for what
happens at the sacred tent. And you and your sons will be responsible for what the
priests do. 2The Levites are your relatives and are here to help you in your service at the
tent. 3You must see that they perform their duties. But if they go near any of the sacred
objects or the altar, all of you will die. 4No one else is allowed to take care of the sacred
tent or to do anything connected with it. 5Follow these instructions, so I won't become
angry and punish the Israelites ever again. 6I alone chose the Levites from all the other
tribes to belong to me, and I have given them to you as your helpers. 7But only you and
your sons can serve as priests at the altar and in the most holy place. Your work as
priests is a gift from me, and anyone else who tries to do that work must be put to
The Priests' Share of Offerings Given to the LORD
8-9The LORD said to Aaron:
I have put you in charge of the sacred gifts and sacrifices that the Israelites bring to me.
And from now on, you, your sons, and your descendants will receive part of the sacrifices
for sin, as well as part of the grain sacrifices, and the sacrifices to make things right.
Your share of these sacrifices will be the parts not burned on the altar. 10Since these
things are sacred, they must be eaten near the sacred tent, but only men are allowed to
11You will also receive part of the special gifts and offerings that the Israelites bring to
me. Any member of your family who is clean and acceptable for worship can eat these
things. 12For example, when the Israelites bring me the first batches of oil, wine, and
grain, you can have the best parts of those gifts. 13And the first part of the crops from
their fields and vineyards also belongs to you. The people will offer this to me, then
anyone in your family who is clean may have some of it.
14Everything in Israel that has been completely dedicated to me will now belong to you.
15The first-born son in every Israelite family, as well as the first-born males of their
flocks and herds, belong to me. But a first-born son and every first-born donkey must be
bought back from me. 16The price for a first-born son who is at least one month old will
be five pieces of silver, weighed according to the official standards. 17However, all
first-born cattle, sheep, and goats belong to me and cannot be bought back. Splatter
their blood on the altar and send their fat up in smoke, so I can smell it and be pleased.
18You are allowed to eat the meat of those animals, just as you can eat the choice ribs
and the right hind leg of the special sacrifices. 19From now on, the sacred offerings that
the Israelites give to me will belong to you, your sons, and your daughters. This is my
promise to you and your descendants, and it will never change.
20You will not receive any land in Israel as your own. I am the LORD, and I will give you
whatever you need.
What the Levites Receive
The LORD said to Aaron:
21Ten percent of the Israelites' crops and one out of every ten of their newborn animals
belong to me. But I am giving all this to the Levites as their pay for the work they do at
the sacred tent. 22-23They are the only ones allowed to work at the tent, and they
must not let anyone else come near it. Those who do must be put to death, and the
Levites will also be punished. This law will never change.
Since the Levites won't be given any land in Israel as their own, 24they will be given the
crops and newborn animals that the Israelites offer to me.
What the Levites Must Give
25The LORD told Moses 26to say to the Levites:
When you receive from the people of Israel ten percent of their crops and newborn
animals, you must offer a tenth of that to me. 27Just as the Israelites give me part of
their grain and wine, you must set aside part of what you receive 28as an offering to me.
That amount must then be given to Aaron, 29so the best of what you receive will be
30After you have dedicated the best parts to me, you can eat the rest, just as the
Israelites eat part of their grain and wine after offering them to me. 31Your share may be
eaten anywhere by anyone in your family, because it is your pay for working at the
sacred tent. 32You won't be punished for eating it, as long as you have already offered
the best parts to me. The gifts and sacrifices brought by the people must remain sacred,
and if you eat any part of them before they are offered to me, you will be put to death.
The Ceremony To Wash Away Sin
1-2The LORD gave Moses and Aaron the following law:
The people of Israel must bring Moses a reddish-brown cow that has nothing wrong with
it and that has never been used for plowing. 3Moses will give it to Eleazar the priest,
then it will be led outside the camp and killed while Eleazar watches. 4He will dip his finger
into the blood and sprinkle it seven times in the direction of the sacred tent. 5Then the
whole cow, including its skin, meat, blood, and insides must be burned. 6A priest is to
throw a stick of cedar wood, a hyssop branch, and a piece of red yarn into the fire.
7After the ceremony, the priest is to take a bath and wash his clothes. Only then can he
go back into the camp, but he remains unclean and unfit for worship until evening. 8The
man who burned the cow must also wash his clothes and take a bath, but he is also
unclean until evening.
9A man who isn't unclean must collect the ashes of the burnt cow and store them
outside the camp in a clean place. The people of Israel can mix these ashes with the
water used in the ceremony to wash away sin. 10The man who collects the ashes must
wash his clothes, but will remain unclean until evening. This law must always be obeyed
by the people of Israel and the foreigners living among them.
What Must Be Done after Touching a Dead Body
The LORD said:
11If you touch a dead body, you will be unclean for seven days. 12But if you wash with
the water mixed with the cow's ashes on the third day and again on the seventh day,
you will be clean and acceptable for worship. You must wash yourself on those days; if
you don't, you will remain unclean. 13Suppose you touch a dead body, but refuse to be
made clean by washing with the water mixed with ashes. You will be guilty of making my
sacred tent unclean and will no longer belong to the people of Israel.
14If someone dies in a tent while you are there, you will be unclean for seven days. And
anyone who later enters the tent will also be unclean. 15Any open jar in the tent is
16If you touch the body of someone who was killed or who died of old age, or if you
touch a human bone or a grave, you will be unclean for seven days.
17-18Before you can be made clean, someone who is clean must take some of the ashes
from the burnt cow and stir them into a pot of spring water. That same person must dip a
hyssop branch in the water and ashes, then sprinkle it on the tent and everything in it,
including everyone who was inside. If you have touched a human bone, a grave, or a
dead body, you must be sprinkled with that water. 19If this is done on the third day and
on the seventh day, you will be clean. Then after you take a bath and wash your
clothes, you can worship that evening.
20If you are unclean and refuse to be made clean by washing with the water mixed with
ashes, you will be guilty of making my sacred tent unclean, and you will no longer belong
to the people of Israel. 21These laws will never change.
The man who sprinkled the water and the ashes on you when you were unclean must also
wash his clothes. And whoever touches this water is unclean until evening. 22When you
are unclean, everything you touch becomes unclean, and anyone who touches you will be
unclean until evening.
Water from a Rock
1The people of Israel arrived at the Zin Desert during the first month and set up camp
near the town of Kadesh. It was there that Miriam died and was buried. 2The Israelites
had no water, so they went to Moses and Aaron 3and complained, " Moses, we'd be
better off if we had died along with the others in front of the LORD's sacred tent. 4You
brought us into this desert, and now we and our livestock are going to die! 5Egypt was
better than this horrible place. At least there we had grain and figs and grapevines and
pomegranates. But now we don't even have any water." 6Moses and Aaron went to the
entrance to the sacred tent, where they bowed down. The LORD appeared to them in all
of his glory 7-8and said, " Moses, get your walking stick. Then you and Aaron call the
people together and command that rock to give you water. That's how you will provide
water for the people of Israel and their livestock." 9Moses obeyed and took his stick from
the sacred tent. 10After he and Aaron had gathered the people around the rock, he said,
" Look, you rebellious people, and you will see water flow from this rock!" 11He raised his
stick in the air and struck the rock two times. At once, water gushed from the rock, and
the people and their livestock had water to drink.
12But the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, " Because you refused to believe in my power,
these people did not respect me. And so, you will not be the ones to lead them into the
land I have promised."
13The Israelites had complained against the LORD, and he had shown them his holy
power by giving them water to drink. So they named the place Meribah, which means "
Israel Isn't Allowed To Go through Edom
14Moses sent messengers from Israel's camp near Kadesh with this message for the king
We are Israelites, your own relatives, and we're sure you have heard the terrible things
that have happened to us. 15Our ancestors settled in Egypt and lived there a long time.
But later the Egyptians were cruel to us, 16and when we begged our LORD for help, he
answered our prayer and brought us out of that land.
Now we are camped at the border of your territory, near the town of Kadesh. 17Please
let us go through your country. We won't go near your fields and vineyards, and we won't
drink any water from your wells. We will stay on the main road until we leave your
territory. 18But the Edomite king answered, " No, I won't let you go through our country!
And if you try, we will attack you."
19Moses sent back this message: " We promise to stay on the main road, and if any of us
or our livestock drink your water, we will pay for it. We just want to pass through."
20But the Edomite king insisted, " You can't go through our land!"
Then Edom sent out its strongest troops 21to keep Israel from passing through its
territory. So the Israelites had to go in another direction.
22After the Israelites had left Kadesh and had gone as far as Mount Hor 23on the
Edomite border, the LORD said, 24" Aaron, this is where you will die. You and Moses
disobeyed me at Meribah, and so you will not enter the land I promised the Israelites.
25Moses, go with Aaron and his son Eleazar to the top of the mountain. 26Then take
Aaron's priestly robe from him and place it on Eleazar. Aaron will die there."
27Moses obeyed, and everyone watched as he and Aaron and Eleazar walked to the top
of Mount Hor. 28Moses then took the priestly robe from Aaron and placed it on Eleazar.
Aaron died there.
When Moses and Eleazar came down, 29the people knew that Aaron had died, and they
mourned his death for thirty days.
Israel Defeats the Canaanites at Hormah
1The Canaanite king of Arad lived in the Southern Desert of Canaan, and when he heard
that the Israelites were on their way to the village of Atharim, he attacked and took
some of them hostage.
2The Israelites prayed, " Our LORD, if you will help us defeat these Canaanites, we will
completely destroy their towns and everything in them, to show that they belong to
you." 3The LORD answered their prayer and helped them wipe out the Canaanite army
and completely destroy their towns. That's why one of the towns is named Hormah,
which means " Destroyed Place."
Moses Makes a Bronze Snake
4The Israelites had to go around the territory of Edom, so when they left Mount Hor,
they headed south toward the Red Sea. But along the way, the people became so
impatient 5that they complained against God and said to Moses, " Did you bring us out of
Egypt, just to let us die in the desert? There's no water out here, and we can't stand this
awful food!" 6Then the LORD sent poisonous snakes that bit and killed many of them.
7Some of the people went to Moses and admitted, " It was wrong of us to insult you and
the LORD. Now please ask him to make these snakes go away."
Moses prayed, 8and the LORD answered, " Make a snake out of bronze and place it on
top of a pole. Anyone who gets bitten can look at the snake and won't die."
9Moses obeyed the LORD. And all of those who looked at the bronze snake lived, even
though they had been bitten by the poisonous snakes.
Israel's Journey to Moab
10As the Israelites continued their journey to Canaan, they camped at Oboth, 11then at
Iye-Abarim in the desert east of Moab, 12and then in the Zered Gorge. 13After that, they
crossed the Arnon River gorge and camped in the Moabite desert bordering Amorite
territory. The Arnon was the border between the Moabites and the Amorites. 14A song in
The Book of the LORD's Battles mentions the town of Waheb with its creeks in the
territory of Suphah. It also mentions the Arnon River, 15with its valleys that lie alongside
the Moabite border and extend to the town of Ar. 16From the Arnon, the Israelites went
to the well near the town of Beer, where the LORD had said to Moses, " Call the people
together, and I will give them water to drink."
17That's also the same well the Israelites sang about in this song:
The well has given us water.
18With their royal scepters,
our leaders pointed out
where to dig the well.
The Israelites left the desert and camped near the town of Mattanah, 19then at Nahaliel,
and then at Bamoth. 20Finally, they reached Moabite territory, where they camped near
Mount Pisgah in a valley overlooking the desert north of the Dead Sea.
Israel Defeats King Sihon the Amorite
21The Israelites sent this message to King Sihon of the Amorites:
22Please let us pass through your territory. We promise to stay away from your fields and
vineyards, and we won't drink any water from your wells. As long as we're in your land,
we won't get off the main road. 23But Sihon refused to let Israel travel through his land.
Instead, he called together his entire army and marched into the desert to attack Israel
near the town of Jahaz. 24Israel defeated them and took over the Amorite territory from
the Arnon River gorge in the south to the Jabbok River gorge in the north. Beyond the
Jabbok was the territory of the Ammonites, who were much stronger than Israel.
25The Israelites settled in the Amorite towns, including the capital city of Heshbon with
its surrounding villages. 26King Sihon had ruled from Heshbon, after defeating the
Moabites and taking over their land north of the Arnon River gorge. 27That's why the
Amorites had written this poem about Heshbon:
Come and rebuild Heshbon,
King Sihon's capital city!
28His armies marched out
like fiery flames,
burning down the town of Ar
and destroying the hills along the Arnon River.
29You Moabites are done for!
Your god Chemosh
deserted your people;
they were captured, taken away
by King Sihon the Amorite.
30We completely defeated Moab.
The towns of Heshbon and Dibon,
of Nophah and Medeba
are ruined and gone. 31After the Israelites had settled in the Amorite territory, 32Moses
sent some men to explore the town of Jazer. Later, the Israelites captured the villages
surrounding it and forced out the Amorites who lived there.
Israel Defeats King Og of Bashan
33The Israelites headed toward the region of Bashan, where King Og ruled, and he led his
entire army to Edrei to meet Israel in battle.
34The LORD said to Moses, " Don't be afraid of Og. I will help you defeat him and his
army, just as you did King Sihon who ruled in Heshbon. Og's territory will be yours."
35So the Israelites wiped out Og, his family, and his entire army--there were no
survivors. Then Israel took over the land of Bashan.
1Israel moved from there to the hills of Moab, where they camped across the Jordan River
from the town of Jericho.
King Balak of Moab Hires Balaam To Curse Israel
2-3When King Balak of Moab and his people heard how many Israelites there were and
what they had done to the Amorites, he and the Moabites were terrified and panicked.
4They said to the Midianite leaders, " That bunch of Israelites will wipe out everything in
sight, like a bull eating grass in a field." So King Balak 5sent a message to Balaam son of
Beor who lived among his relatives in the town of Pethor near the Euphrates River. It
I need your help. A huge group of people has come here from Egypt and settled near my
territory. 6They are too powerful for us to defeat, so would you come and place a curse
on them? Maybe then we can run them off. I know that anyone you bless will be
successful, but anyone you curse will fail.
7The leaders of Moab and Midian left and took along money to pay Balaam for his work.
When they got to his house, they gave him Balak's message.
8" Spend the night here," Balaam replied, " and tomorrow I will tell you the LORD's
answer." So the officials stayed at his house.
9During the night, God asked Balaam, " Who are these people at your house?"
10" They are messengers from King Balak of Moab," Balaam answered. " He sent them
11to ask me to go to Moab and place a curse on the people who have come there from
Egypt. They have settled everywhere around him, and he wants to run them off."
12But God replied, " Don't go with Balak's messengers. I have blessed those people who
have come from Egypt, so don't curse them."
13The next morning, Balaam said to Balak's officials, " Go on back home. The LORD says I
cannot go with you."
14The officials left and told Balak that Balaam refused to come.
15Then Balak sent a larger group of officials, who were even more important than the
first ones. 16They went to Balaam and told him that Balak had said, " Balaam, if you come
to Moab, 17I'll pay you very well and do whatever you ask. Just come and place a curse
on these people."
18Balaam answered, " Even if Balak offered me a palace full of silver or gold, I wouldn't do
anything to disobey the LORD my God. 19You are welcome to spend the night here, just
as the others did. I will find out if the LORD has something else to say about this."
20That night, God said, " Balaam, I'll let you go to Moab with Balak's messengers, but do
only what I say."
21So Balaam got up the next morning and saddled his donkey, then left with the Moabite
Balaam and His Donkey Meet an Angel
22Balaam was riding his donkey to Moab, and two of his servants were with him. But God
was angry that Balaam had gone, so one of the LORD's angels stood in the road to stop
him. 23When Balaam's donkey saw the angel standing there with a sword, it walked off
the road and into an open field. Balaam had to beat the donkey to get it back on the
24Then the angel stood between two vineyards, in a narrow path with a stone wall on
each side. 25When the donkey saw the angel, it walked so close to one of the walls that
Balaam's foot scraped against the wall. Balaam beat the donkey again.
26The angel moved once more and stood in a spot so narrow that there was no room for
the donkey to go around. 27So it just lay down. Balaam lost his temper, then picked up a
stick and smacked the donkey.
28When that happened, the LORD told the donkey to speak, and it asked Balaam, " What
have I done to you that made you beat me three times?"
29" You made me look stupid!" Balaam answered. " If I had a sword, I'd kill you here and
30" But you're my owner," replied the donkey, " and you've ridden me many times. Have I
ever done anything like this before?"
" No," Balaam admitted.
31Just then, the LORD let Balaam see the angel standing in the road, holding a sword,
and Balaam bowed down.
32The angel said, " You had no right to treat your donkey like that! I was the one who
blocked your way, because I don't think you should go to Moab. 33If your donkey had not
seen me and stopped those three times, I would have killed you and let the donkey live."
34Balaam replied, " I was wrong. I didn't know you were trying to stop me. If you don't
think I should go, I'll return home right now."
35" It's all right for you to go," the LORD's angel answered. " But you must say only what
I tell you." So Balaam went on with Balak's officials.
King Balak Meets Balaam
36When Balak heard that Balaam was coming, he went to meet him at the town of Ir,
which is on the northern border of Moab. 37Balak asked, " Why didn't you come when I
invited you the first time? Did you think I wasn't going to pay you?"
38" I'm here now," Balaam answered. " But I will say only what God tells me to say."
39They left and went to the town of Kiriath-Huzoth, 40where Balak sacrificed cattle and
sheep and gave some of the meat to Balaam and the officials who were with him.
41The next morning, Balak took Balaam to the town of Bamoth-Baal. From there, Balaam
could see some of the Israelites.
Balaam's First Message
1Balaam said to Balak, " Build seven altars here, then bring seven bulls and seven rams."
2After Balak had done this, they sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar. 3Then Balaam
said, " Wait here beside your offerings, and I'll go somewhere to be alone. Maybe the
LORD will appear to me. If he does, I will tell you everything he says." And he left.
4When God appeared to him, Balaam said, " I have built seven altars and have sacrificed
a bull and a ram on each one."
5The LORD gave Balaam a message, then sent him back to tell Balak. 6When Balaam
returned, he found Balak and his officials standing beside the offerings.
" King Balak of Moab brought me
from the hills of Syria
to curse Israel
and announce its doom.
8But I can't go against God!
He did not curse
or condemn Israel.
9" From the mountain peaks,
I look down and see Israel,
the obedient people of God.
10They are living alone in peace.
And though they are many,
they don't bother
the other nations.
" I hope to obey God
for as long as I live
and to die in such peace."
11Balak said, " What are you doing? I asked you to come and place a curse on my
enemies. But you have blessed them instead!"
12Balaam answered, " I can say only what the LORD tells me."
Balaam's Second Message
13Balak said to Balaam, " Let's go somewhere else. Maybe if you see a smaller part of the
Israelites, you will be able to curse them for me." 14So he took Balaam to a field on top
of Mount Pisgah where lookouts were stationed. Then he built seven altars there and
sacrificed a bull and a ram on each one. 15" Wait here beside your offerings," Balaam
said. " The LORD will appear to me over there."
16The LORD appeared to Balaam and gave him another message, then he told him to go
and tell Balak. 17Balaam went back and saw him and his officials standing beside the
Balak asked, " What did the LORD say?"
" Pay close attention
to my words--
19God is no mere human!
He doesn't tell lies
or change his mind.
God always keeps his promises.
20" My command from God
was to bless these people,
and there's nothing I can do
to change what he has done.
21Israel's king is the LORD God.
He lives there with them
and intends them no harm.
22With the strength of a wild ox,
God led Israel out of Egypt.
23No magic charms can work
just look what God has done
for his people.
24They are like angry lions
ready to attack;
and they won't rest
until their victim
is gobbled down."
25Balak shouted, " If you're not going to curse Israel, then at least don't bless them."
26" I've already told you," Balaam answered. " I will say only what the LORD tells me."
Balaam's Third Message
27Balak said to Balaam, " Come on, let's try another place. Maybe God will let you curse
Israel from there." 28So he took Balaam to Mount Peor overlooking the desert north of
the Dead Sea.
29Balaam said, " Build seven altars here, then bring me seven bulls and seven rams."
30After Balak had done what Balaam asked, he sacrificed a bull and a ram on each altar.
1Balaam was sure that the LORD would tell him to bless Israel again. So he did not use
any magic to find out what the LORD wanted him to do, as he had the first two times.
Instead, he looked out toward the desert 2and saw the tribes of Israel camped below.
Just then, God's Spirit took control of him, 3and Balaam said:
" I am the son of Beor,
and my words are true, so listen to my message!
4It comes from the LORD,
the God All-Powerful.
I bowed down to him
and saw a vision of Israel.
5" People of Israel,
your camp is lovely.
6It's like a grove of palm trees or a garden beside a river.
You are like tall aloe trees
that the LORD has planted,
or like cedars
growing near water.
7You and your descendants
like an orchard
beside a stream.
Your king will rule with power
and be a greater king
than Agag the Amalekite. 8With the strength of a wild ox,
God led you out of Egypt.
You will defeat your enemies,
shooting them with arrows and crushing their bones.
9Like a lion you lie down,
resting after an attack.
Who would dare disturb you?
" Anyone who blesses you
will be blessed;
anyone who curses you
will be cursed."
10When Balak heard this, he was so furious that he pounded his fist against his hand and
said, " I called you here to place a curse on my enemies, and you've blessed them three
times. 11Leave now and go home! I told you I would pay you well, but since the LORD
didn't let you do what I asked, you won't be paid."
12Balaam answered, " I told your messengers 13that even if you offered me a palace full
of silver or gold, I would still obey the LORD. And I explained that I would say only what
he told me. 14So I'm going back home, but I'm leaving you with a warning about what the
Israelites will someday do to your nation."
Balaam's Fourth Message
" I am the son of Beor,
and my words are true, so listen to my message!
16My knowledge comes
from God Most High,
the LORD All-Powerful.
I bowed down to him
and saw a vision of Israel.
17" What I saw in my vision
hasn't happened yet.
But someday, a king of Israel
will appear like a star.
He will wipe out you Moabites and destroy those tribes who live in the desert. 18Israel
will conquer Edom
and capture the land
of that enemy nation.
19The king of Israel will rule
and destroy the survivors
of every town there. 20" And I saw this vision
about the Amalekites: Their nation is now great,
but it will someday
disappear forever. 21" And this is what I saw
about the Kenites: They think they're safe,
living among the rocks,
22but they will be wiped out
when Assyria conquers them. 23" No one can survive
if God plans destruction. 24Ships will come from Cyprus,
who will invade
the lands of Assyria and Eber.
But finally, Cyprus itself
will be ruined."
25After Balaam finished, he started home, and Balak also left.
The Israelites Worship Baal
1While the Israelites were camped at Acacia, some of the men had sex with Moabite
women. 2These women then invited the men to ceremonies where sacrifices were offered
to their gods. The men ate the meat from the sacrifices and worshiped the Moabite gods.
3The LORD was angry with Israel because they had worshiped the god Baal Peor. 4So he
said to Moses, " Take the Israelite leaders who are responsible for this and have them
killed in front of my sacred tent where everyone can see. Maybe then I will stop being
angry with the Israelites."
5Moses told Israel's officials, " Each of you must put to death any of your men who
worshiped Baal." 6Later, Moses and the people were at the sacred tent, crying, when one
of the Israelite men brought a Midianite woman to meet his family. 7Phinehas, the
grandson of Aaron the priest, saw the couple and left the crowd. He found a spear 8and
followed the man into his tent, where he ran the spear through the man and into the
woman's stomach. The LORD immediately stopped punishing Israel with a deadly disease,
9but twenty-four thousand Israelites had already died. 10The LORD said to Moses, 11" In
my anger, I would have wiped out the Israelites if Phinehas had not been faithful to me.
12-13But instead of punishing them, I forgave them. So because of the loyalty that
Phinehas showed, I solemnly promise that he and his descendants will always be my
14The Israelite man that was killed was Zimri son of Salu, who was one of the leaders of
the Simeon tribe. 15And the Midianite woman killed with him was Cozbi, the daughter of a
Midianite clan leader named Zur.
16The LORD told Moses, 17-18" The Midianites are now enemies of Israel, so attack and
defeat them! They tricked the people of Israel into worshiping their god at Peor, and they
are responsible for the death of Cozbi, the daughter of one of their own leaders."
The Israelites Are Counted a Second Time
1After the LORD had stopped the deadly disease from killing the Israelites, he said to
Moses and Eleazar son of Aaron, 2" I want you to find out how many Israelites are in
each family. And list every man twenty years and older who is able to serve in Israel's
3Israel was now camped in the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from the town of
Jericho. Moses and Eleazar told them 4what the LORD had said about counting the men
twenty years and older, just as Moses and their ancestors had done when they left
Egypt. 5-7There were 43,730 men from the tribe of Reuben, the oldest son of Jacob.
These men were from the clans of Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 8Pallu was the
father of Eliab 9and the grandfather of Nemuel, Dathan, and Abiram. These are the same
Dathan and Abiram who had been chosen by the people, but who followed Korah and
rebelled against Moses, Aaron, and the LORD. 10That's when the LORD made the earth
open up and swallow Dathan, Abiram, and Korah. At the same time, fire destroyed two
hundred fifty men as a warning to the other Israelites. 11But the Korahite clan wasn't
destroyed. 12-14There were 22,200 men from the tribe of Simeon; they were from the
clans of Nemuel, Jamin, Jachin, Zerah, and Shaul.
15-18There were 40,500 men from the tribe of Gad; they were from the clans of Zephon,
Haggi, Shuni, Ozni, Eri, Arod, and Areli.
19-22There were 76,500 men from the tribe of Judah; they were from the clans of
Shelah, Perez, Zerah, Hezron, and Hamul. Judah's sons Er and Onan had died in Canaan.
23-25There were 64,300 men from the tribe of Issachar; they were from the clans of
Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron.
26-27There were 60,500 men from the tribe of Zebulun; they were from the clans of
Sered, Elon, and Jahleel.
28-34There were 52,700 men from the tribe of Manasseh son of Joseph; they were from
the clan of Machir, the clan of Gilead his son, and the clans of his six grandsons: Iezer,
Helek, Asriel, Shechem, Shemida, and Hepher. Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons, but
he had five daughters: Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 35-37There were
32,500 men from the tribe of Ephraim son of Joseph; they were from the clans of
Shuthelah, Becher, Tahan, and Eran the son of Shuthelah.
38-41There were 45,600 men from the tribe of Benjamin; they were from the clans of
Bela, Ashbel, Ahiram, Shephupham, Hupham, as well as from Ard and Naaman, the two
sons of Bela.
42-43There were 64,400 men from the tribe of Dan; they were all from the clan of
44-47There were 53,400 men from the tribe of Asher; they were from the clans of Imnah,
Ishvi, and Beriah, and from the two clans of Heber and Malchiel, the sons of Beriah.
Asher's daughter was Serah.
48-50There were 45,400 men from the tribe of Naphtali; they were from the clans of
Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem.
51The total number of Israelite men listed was 601,730.
52The LORD said to Moses, 53" Divide the land of Canaan among these tribes, according
to the number of people in each one, 54so the larger tribes have more land than the
smaller ones. 55-56I will show you what land to give each tribe, and they will receive as
much land as they need, according to the number of people in it." 57The tribe of Levi
included the clans of the Gershonites, Kohathites, Merarites, 58as well as the clans of
Libni, Hebron, Mahli, Mushi, and Korah. Kohath the Levite was the father of Amram, 59the
husband of Levi's daughter Jochebed, who was born in Egypt. Amram and Jochebed's
three children were Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. 60Aaron was the father of Nadab, Abihu,
Eleazar, and Ithamar. 61But Nadab and Abihu had died when they offered fire that was
unacceptable to the LORD. 62In the tribe of Levi there were 23,000 men and boys at
least a month old. They were not listed with the other tribes, because they would not
receive any land in Canaan.
63Moses and Eleazar counted the Israelites while they were camped in the hills of Moab
across the Jordan River from Jericho. 64None of the people that Moses and Aaron had
counted in the Sinai Desert were still alive, 65except Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua
son of Nun. The LORD had said that everyone else would die there in the desert.
The Daughters of Zelophehad Are Given Land
1Zelophehad was from the Manasseh tribe, and he had five daughters, whose names
were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah. 2One day his daughters went to the
sacred tent, where they met with Moses, Eleazar, and some other leaders of Israel, as
well as a large crowd of Israelites. The young women said:
3You know that our father died in the desert. But it was for something he did wrong, not
for joining with Korah in rebelling against the LORD.
Our father left no sons 4to carry on his family name. But why should his name die out for
that reason? Give us some land like the rest of his relatives in our clan, so our father's
name can live on.
5Moses asked the LORD what should be done, 6and the LORD answered:
7Zelophehad's daughters are right. They should each be given part of the land their
father would have received.
8Tell the Israelites that when a man dies without a son, his daughter will inherit his land.
9If he has no daughter, his brothers will inherit the land. 10But if he has no brothers, his
father's brothers will inherit the land. 11And if his father has no brothers, the land must
be given to his nearest relative in the clan. This is my law, and the Israelites must obey
Joshua Is Appointed Israel's Leader
12The LORD said to Moses, " One day you will go up into the Abarim Mountains, and from
there you will see the land I am giving the Israelites. 13After you have seen it, you will
die, just like your brother Aaron, 14because both of you disobeyed me at Meribah near
the town of Kadesh in the Zin Desert. When the Israelites insulted me there, you didn't
believe in my holy power." 15Moses replied, 16" You are the LORD God, and you know
what is in everyone's heart. So I ask you to appoint a leader for Israel. 17Your people
need someone to lead them into battle, or else they will be like sheep wandering around
without a shepherd."
18The LORD answered, " Joshua son of Nun can do the job. Place your hands on him to
show that he is the one to take your place. 19Then go with him and have him stand in
front of Eleazar the priest and the Israelites. Appoint Joshua as their new leader 20and
tell them they must now obey him, just as they obey you. 21But Joshua must depend on
Eleazar to find out from me what I want him to do as he leads Israel into battle." 22Moses
followed the LORD's instructions and took Joshua to Eleazar and the people, 23then he
placed his hands on Joshua and appointed him Israel's leader.
Regular Daily Sacrifices
(Exodus 29.38-43; Leviticus 6.8-13)
1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel:
Offer sacrifices to me at the appointed times of worship, so that I will smell the smoke
and be pleased.
3Each day offer two rams a year old as sacrifices to please me. The animals must have
nothing wrong with them; 4one will be sacrificed in the morning, and the other in the
evening. 5Along with each of them, two pounds of your finest flour mixed with a quart of
olive oil must be offered as a grain sacrifice. 6This sacrifice to please me was first offered
on Mount Sinai. 7Finally, along with each of these two sacrifices, a quart of wine must be
poured on the altar as a drink offering. 8The second ram will be sacrificed that evening,
along with the other offerings, just like the one sacrificed that morning. The smell of the
smoke from these sacrifices will please me.
The Sacrifice on the Sabbath
The LORD said:
9-10On the Sabbath, in addition to the regular daily sacrifices, you must sacrifice two
rams a year old to please me. These rams must have nothing wrong with them, and they
will be sacrificed with a drink offering and four pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive
The Sacrifices on the First Day of the Month
The LORD said:
11On the first day of each month, bring to the altar two bulls, one full-grown ram, and
seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices
to please me. 12Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with
each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the
ram, 13and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young
rams. The smell of the smoke from these sacrifices will please me. 14-15Offer two quarts
of wine as a drink offering with each bull, one and a half quarts with the ram, and one
quart with each of the young rams.
Finally, you must offer a goat as a sacrifice for sin. These sacrifices are to be offered on
the first day of each month, in addition to the regular daily sacrifices. The LORD said:
The Sacrifices during Passover and the Festival of Thin Bread
16Celebrate Passover in honor of me on the fourteenth day of the first month of each
year. 17The following day will begin the Festival of Thin Bread, which will last for a week.
During this time you must honor me by eating bread made without yeast. 18On the first
day of this festival, you must rest from your work and come together for worship. 19Bring
to the altar two bulls, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing
wrong with them. And then offer these as sacrifices to please me. 20Six pounds of your
finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four
pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 21and two pounds of flour
mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams. 22Also offer a goat as a
sacrifice for the sins of the people. 23-24All of these are to be offered in addition to the
regular daily sacrifices, and the smoke from them will please me. 25Then on the last day
of the festival, you must once again rest from work and come together for worship. The
The Sacrifices during the Harvest Festival
26On the first day of the Harvest Festival, you must rest from your work, come together
for worship, and bring a sacrifice of new grain. 27Offer two young bulls, one full-grown
ram, and seven rams a year old as sacrifices to please me. 28Six pounds of your finest
flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds
of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram, 29and two pounds of flour mixed with
oil must be offered with each of the young rams. 30Also offer a goat as a sacrifice for
sin. 31The animals must have nothing wrong with them and are to be sacrificed along
with the regular daily sacrifices. The LORD said:
The Sacrifices at the Festival of Trumpets
1On the first day of the seventh month, you must rest from your work and come together
to celebrate at the sound of the trumpets. 2Bring to the altar one bull, one full-grown
ram, and seven rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. And then offer these
as sacrifices to please me. 3Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be
offered with the bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be
offered with the ram, 4and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each
of the young rams. 5You must also offer a goat as a sacrifice for sin. 6These sacrifices
will be made in addition to the regular daily sacrifices and the sacrifices for the first day
of the month. The smoke from these sacrifices will please me. The LORD said:
The Sacrifices on the Great Day of Forgiveness
7The tenth day of the seventh month is the Great Day of Forgiveness. On that day you
must rest from all work and come together for worship. Show sorrow for your sins by
going without food, 8and bring to the altar one young bull, one full-grown ram, and seven
rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices to
please me. 9Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with olive oil must be offered with the
bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with the ram,
10and two pounds of flour mixed with oil must be offered with each of the young rams.
11A goat must also be sacrificed for the sins of the people. You will offer these sacrifices
in addition to the sacrifice to ask forgiveness and the regular daily sacrifices. The LORD
The Sacrifices during the Festival of Shelters
12Beginning on the fifteenth day of the seventh month and continuing for seven days,
everyone must celebrate the Festival of Shelters in honor of me. 13On the first day, you
must rest from your work and come together for worship. Bring to the altar thirteen bulls,
two full-grown rams, and fourteen rams a year old that have nothing wrong with them.
Then offer these as sacrifices to please me. 14Six pounds of your finest flour mixed with
olive oil must be offered with each bull as a grain sacrifice. Four pounds of flour mixed
with oil must be offered with each of the rams, 15and two pounds of flour mixed with oil
must be offered with each of the young rams. 16You must also offer a goat as a sacrifice
for sin. These are to be offered in addition to the regular daily sacrifices. 17-34For the
next six days of the festival, you will sacrifice one less bull than the day before, so that
on the seventh day, seven bulls will be sacrificed. The other sacrifices and offerings must
remain the same for each of these days.
35On the eighth day, you must once again rest from your work and come together for
worship. 36Bring to the altar one bull, one full-grown ram, and seven rams a year old that
have nothing wrong with them. Then offer these as sacrifices to please me. 37You must
also offer the proper grain sacrifices and drink offerings of wine with each animal. 38And
offer a goat as the sacrifice to ask forgiveness for the people. These sacrifices are made
in addition to the regular daily sacrifices. 39You must offer all these sacrifices to me at
the appointed times of worship, together with any offerings that are voluntarily given or
given because of a promise.
40Moses told the people of Israel everything the LORD had told him about the sacrifices.
Making Promises to the LORD
1The LORD told Moses to say to Israel's tribal leaders:
2When one of you men makes a promise to the LORD, you must keep your word.
3Suppose a young woman who is still living with her parents makes a promise to the
LORD. 4If her father hears about it and says nothing, she must keep her promise. 5But if
he hears about it and objects, then she no longer has to keep her promise. The LORD will
forgive her, because her father did not agree with the promise.
6-7Suppose a woman makes a promise to the LORD and then gets married. If her husband
later hears about the promise but says nothing, she must do what she said, whether she
meant it or not. 8But if her husband hears about the promise and objects, she no longer
has to keep it, and the LORD will forgive her.
9Widows and divorced women must keep every promise they make to the LORD.
10Suppose a married woman makes a promise to the LORD. 11If her husband hears about
the promise and says nothing, she must do what she said. 12But if he hears about the
promise and does object, she no longer has to keep it. The LORD will forgive her, because
her husband would not allow her to keep the promise. 13Her husband has the final say
about any promises she makes to the LORD. 14If her husband hears about a promise and
says nothing about it for a whole day, she must do what she said--since he did not
object, the promise must be kept. 15But if he waits until the next day to stop her from
keeping her promise, he is the one who must be punished.
16These are the laws that the LORD gave Moses about husbands and wives, and about
young daughters who still live at home.
Israel's War against Midian
1The LORD said to Moses, 2" Before you die, make sure that the Midianites are punished
for what they did to Israel." 3Then Moses told the people, " The LORD wants to punish
the Midianites. So have our men prepare for battle. 4Each tribe will send a thousand men
5Twelve thousand men were picked from the tribes of Israel, and after they were
prepared for battle, 6Moses sent them off to war. Phinehas the son of Eleazar went with
them and took along some things from the sacred tent and the trumpets for sounding the
battle signal. 7The Israelites fought against the Midianites, just as the LORD had
commanded Moses. They killed all the men, 8including Balaam son of Beor and the five
Midianite kings, Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur, and Reba. 9The Israelites captured every woman
and child, then led away the Midianites' cattle and sheep, and took everything else that
belonged to them. 10They also burned down the Midianite towns and villages.
11Israel's soldiers gathered together everything they had taken from the Midianites,
including the captives and the animals. 12-13Then they returned to their own camp in
the hills of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho, where Moses, Eleazar, and the
other Israelite leaders met the troops outside camp.
14Moses became angry with the army commanders 15and said, " I can't believe you let
the women live! 16They are the ones who followed Balaam's advice and invited our people
to worship the god Baal Peor. That's why the LORD punished us by killing so many of our
people. 17You must put to death every boy and all the women who have ever had sex.
18But do not kill the young women who have never had sex. You may keep them for
19Then Moses said to the soldiers, " If you killed anyone or touched a dead body, you are
unclean and have to stay outside the camp for seven days. On the third and seventh
days, you must go through a ceremony to make yourselves and your captives clean.
20Then wash your clothes and anything made from animal skin, goat's hair, or wood."
21-23Eleazar then explained, " If you need to purify something that won't burn, such as
gold, silver, bronze, iron, tin, or lead, you must first place it in a hot fire. After you take it
out, sprinkle it with the water that purifies. Everything else should only be sprinkled with
the water. Do all of this, just as the LORD commanded Moses. 24Wash your clothes on
the seventh day, and after that, you will be clean and may return to the camp."
Everything Taken from the Midianites Is Divided
25The LORD told Moses:
26-27Make a list of everything taken from the Midianites, including the captives and the
animals. Then divide them between the soldiers and the rest of the people. Eleazar the
priest and the family leaders will help you.
28-29From the half that belongs to the soldiers, set aside for the LORD one out of every
five hundred people or animals and give these to Eleazar.
30From the half that belongs to the people, set aside one out of every fifty and give
these to the Levites in charge of the sacred tent.
31Moses and Eleazar followed the LORD's instructions 32-35and listed everything that had
been taken from the Midianites. The list included 675,000 sheep and goats, 72,000 cattle,
61,000 donkeys, and 32,000 young women who had never had sex.
36-47Each half included 337,500 sheep and goats, 36,000 cattle, 30,500 donkeys, and
16,000 young women. From the half that belonged to the soldiers, Moses counted out
675 sheep and goats, 72 cattle, 61 donkeys, and 32 women and gave them to Eleazar to
be dedicated to the LORD. Then from the half that belonged to the people, Moses set
aside one out of every fifty animals and women, as the LORD had said, and gave them to
48The army commanders went to Moses 49and said, " Sir, we have counted our troops,
and not one soldier is missing. 50So we want to give the LORD all the gold jewelry we
took from the Midianites. It's our gift to him for watching over us and our troops."
51Moses and Eleazar accepted the jewelry from the commanders, 52and its total weight
was over four hundred pounds. 53This did not include the things that the soldiers had
kept for themselves. 54So Moses and Eleazar placed the gold in the LORD's sacred tent
to remind Israel of what had happened.
Land East of the Jordan River Is Settled
1The tribes of Reuben and Gad owned a lot of cattle and sheep, and they saw that the
regions of Jazer and Gilead had good pastureland. 2So they went to Moses, Eleazar, and
the other leaders of Israel and said, 3-4" The LORD has helped us capture the land
around the towns of Ataroth, Dibon, Jazer, Nimrah, Heshbon, Elealeh, Sebam, Nebo, and
Beon. That's good pastureland, and since we own cattle and sheep, 5would you let us
stay here east of the Jordan River and have this land as our own?"
You mean you'd stay here while the rest of the Israelites go into battle? 7If you did that,
it would discourage the others from crossing over into the land the LORD promised them.
8This is exactly what happened when I sent your ancestors from Kadesh-Barnea to
explore the land. 9They went as far as Eshcol Valley, then returned and told the people
that we should not enter it. 10The LORD became very angry. 11And he said that no one
who was twenty years or older when they left Egypt would enter the land he had
promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Not one of those people believed in the LORD's
power, 12except Caleb and Joshua. They remained faithful to the LORD, 13but he was so
angry with the others that he forced them to wander around in the desert forty years. By
that time everyone who had sinned against him had died. 14Now you people of Reuben
and Gad are doing the same thing and making the LORD even angrier. 15If you reject the
LORD, he will once again abandon his people and leave them here in the desert. And you
will be to blame!
16The men from Reuben and Gad replied:
Let us build places to keep our sheep and goats, and towns for our wives and children,
17where they can stay and be safe. Then we'll prepare to fight and lead the other tribes
into battle. 18We will stay with them until they have settled in their own tribal lands.
19The land on this side of the Jordan River will be ours, so we won't expect to receive
any on the other side.
You promised that you would be ready to fight for the LORD. 21You also agreed to cross
the Jordan and stay with the rest of the Israelites, until the LORD forces our enemies out
of the land. If you do these things, 22then after the LORD helps Israel capture the land,
you can return to your own land. You will no longer have to stay with the others. 23But if
you don't keep your promise, you will sin against the LORD and be punished.
24Go ahead and build towns for your wives and children, and places for your sheep and
goats. Just be sure to do what you have promised.
25The men from Reuben and Gad answered:
Sir, we will do just what you have said. 26Our wives and children and sheep and cattle
will stay here in the towns in Gilead. 27But those of us who are prepared for battle will
cross the Jordan and fight for the LORD.
28Then Moses said to Eleazar, Joshua, and the family leaders, 29" Make sure that the
tribes of Gad and Reuben prepare for battle and cross the Jordan River with you. If they
do, then after the land is in your control, give them the region of Gilead as their tribal
land. 30But if they break their promise, they will receive land on the other side of the
Jordan, like the rest of the tribes."
31The tribes of Gad and Reuben replied, " We are your servants and will do whatever the
LORD has commanded. 32We will cross the Jordan River, ready to fight for the LORD in
Canaan. But the land we will inherit as our own will be on this side of the river."
33So Moses gave the tribes of Gad, Reuben, and half of Manasseh the territory and
towns that King Sihon the Amorite had ruled, as well as the territory and towns that King
Og of Bashan had ruled. 34The tribe of Gad rebuilt the towns of Dibon, Ataroth, Aroer,
35Atroth-Shophan, Jazer, Jogbehah, 36Beth-Nimrah, and Beth-Haran. They built walls
around them and also built places to keep their sheep and goats.
37The tribe of Reuben rebuilt Heshbon, Elealeh, Kiriathaim, 38Sibmah, as well as the
towns that used to be known as Nebo and Baal-Meon. They renamed all those places.
39The clan of Machir from the tribe of East Manasseh went to the region of Gilead,
captured its towns, and forced out the Amorites. 40So Moses gave the Machirites the
region of Gilead, and they settled there.
41Jair from the Manasseh tribe captured villages and renamed them " Villages of Jair."
42Nobah captured the town of Kenath with its villages and renamed it Nobah.
Israel's Journey from Egypt to Moab
1As Israel traveled from Egypt under the command of Moses and Aaron, 2Moses kept a
list of the places they camped, just as the LORD had instructed. Here is the record of
3-4Israel left the Egyptian city of Rameses on the fifteenth day of the first month. This
was the day after the LORD had punished Egypt's gods by killing the first-born sons in
every Egyptian family. So while the Egyptians were burying the bodies, they watched the
Israelites proudly leave their country. 5After the Israelites left Rameses, they camped at
Succoth, 6and from there, they moved their camp to Etham on the edge of the desert.
7Then they turned back toward Pi-Hahiroth, east of Baal-Zephon, and camped near
Migdol. 8They left Pi-Hahiroth, crossed the Red Sea, then walked three days into the
Etham Desert and camped at Marah. 9Next, they camped at Elim, where there were
twelve springs of water and seventy palm trees. 10They left Elim and camped near the
Red Sea, 11then turned east and camped along the western edge of the Sinai Desert.
12-14From there they went to Dophkah, Alush, and Rephidim, where they had no water.
15They left Rephidim and finally reached the Sinai Desert. 16-36As Israel traveled from
the Sinai Desert to Kadesh in the Zin Desert, they camped at Kibroth-Hattaavah,
Hazeroth, Rithmah, Rimmon-Perez, Libnah, Rissah, Kehelathah, Mount Shepher, Haradah,
Makheloth, Tahath, Terah, Mithkah, Hashmonah, Moseroth, Bene-Jaakan, Hor-Haggidgad,
Jotbathah, Abronah, Ezion-Geber, and finally Kadesh. 37When they left Kadesh, they
came to Mount Hor, on the border of Edom.
38That's where the LORD commanded Aaron the priest to go to the top of the mountain.
Aaron died there on the first day of the fifth month, forty years after the Israelites left
Egypt. 39He was one hundred twenty-three years old at the time. 40It was then that the
Canaanite king of Arad, who lived in the Southern Desert of Canaan, heard that Israel
was headed that way.
41-47The Israelites left Mount Hor and headed toward Moab. Along the way, they
camped at Zalmonah, Punon, Oboth, Iye-Abarim in the territory of Moab, Dibon-Gad,
Almon-Diblathaim, at a place near Mount Nebo in the Abarim Mountains, 48and finally in
the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho. 49Their camp stretched from
Beth-Jeshimoth to Acacia.
The LORD's Command To Conquer Canaan
50While Israel was camped in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho,
the LORD told Moses 51to give the people of Israel this message:
When you cross the Jordan River and enter Canaan, 52you must force out the people
living there. Destroy their idols and tear down their altars. 53Then settle in the land--I
have given it to you as your own.
54I will show you how to divide the land among the tribes, according to the number of
clans in each one, so that the larger tribes will have more land than the smaller ones. 55If
you don't force out all the people there, they will be like pointed sticks in your eyes and
thorns in your back. They will always be trouble for you, 56and I will treat you as cruelly
as I planned on treating them.
1The LORD told Moses 2to tell the people of Israel that their land in Canaan would have
the following borders:
3The southern border will be the Zin Desert and the northwest part of Edom. This border
will begin at the south end of the Dead Sea. 4It will go west from there, but will turn
southward to include Scorpion Pass, the village of Zin, and the town of Kadesh-Barnea.
From there, the border will continue to Hazar-Addar and on to Azmon. 5It will run along
the Egyptian Gorge and end at the Mediterranean Sea.
6The western border will be the Mediterranean Sea.
7The northern border will begin at the Mediterranean, then continue eastward to Mount
Hor. 8After that, it will run to Lebo-Hamath and across to Zedad, which is the northern
edge of your land. 9From Zedad, the border will continue east to Ziphron and end at
Hazar-Enan. 10The eastern border will begin at Hazar-Enan in the north, then run south
to Shepham, 11and on down to Riblah on the east side of Ain. From there, it will go south
to the eastern hills of Lake Galilee, 12then follow the Jordan River down to the north end
of the Dead Sea. The land within those four borders will belong to you.
13Then Moses told the people, " You will receive the land inside these borders. It will be
yours, but the LORD has commanded you to divide it among the nine and a half tribes.
14The tribes of Reuben, Gad, and East Manasseh have already been given their land
15across from Jericho, east of the Jordan River."
The Leaders Who Will Divide the Land
16The LORD said to Moses, 17" Eleazar the priest and Joshua son of Nun will divide the
land for the Israelites. 18One leader from each tribe will help them, 19-28and here is the
list of their names:
Caleb son of Jephunneh
Shemuel son of Ammihud
Elidad son of Chislon
Bukki son of Jogli
Hanniel son of Ephod
Kemuel son of Shiphtan
Elizaphan son of Parnach
Paltiel son of Azzan
Ahihud son of Shelomi
and Pedahel son of Ammihud
29These are the men the LORD commanded to help Eleazar and Joshua divide the land for
The Towns for the Levites
1While the people of Israel were still camped in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan
River from Jericho, the LORD told Moses 2to say to them:
When you receive your tribal lands, you must give towns and pastures to the Levi tribe.
3That way, the Levites will have towns to live in and pastures for their animals. 4-5The
pasture around each of these towns must be in the shape of a square, with the town
itself in the center. The pasture is to measure three thousand feet on each side, with
fifteen hundred feet of land outside each of the town walls. This will be the Levites'
6Six of the towns you give them will be Safe Towns where a person who has accidentally
killed someone can run for protection. But you will also give the Levites forty-two other
towns, 7so they will have a total of forty-eight towns with their surrounding pastures.
8Since the towns for the Levites must come from Israel's own tribal lands, the larger
tribes will give more towns than the smaller ones.
The Safe Towns
(Deuteronomy 19.1-13; Joshua 20.1-9)
9The LORD then told Moses 10to tell the people of Israel:
After you have crossed the Jordan River and are settled in Canaan, 11choose Safe
Towns, where a person who has accidentally killed someone can run for protection. 12If
the victim's relatives think it was murder, they might try to take revenge. Anyone
accused of murder can run to one of these Safe Towns for protection and not be killed
before a trial is held. 13There are to be six of these Safe Towns, 14three on each side of
the Jordan River. 15They will be places of protection for anyone who lives in Israel and
accidentally kills someone.
Laws about Murder and Accidental Killing
The LORD said:
16-18Suppose you hit someone with a piece of iron or a large stone or a dangerous
wooden tool. If that person dies, then you are a murderer and must be put to death 19by
one of the victim's relatives. He will take revenge for his relative's death as soon as he
20-21Or suppose you get angry and kill someone by pushing or hitting or by throwing
something. You are a murderer and must be put to death by one of the victim's relatives.
22-24But if you are not angry and accidentally kill someone in any of these ways, the
townspeople must hold a trial and decide if you are guilty. 25If they decide that you are
innocent, you will be protected from the victim's relative and sent to stay in one of the
Safe Towns until the high priest dies. 26But if you ever leave the Safe Town 27and are
killed by the victim's relative, he cannot be punished for killing you. 28You must stay
inside the town until the high priest dies; only then can you go back home.
29The community of Israel must always obey these laws.
30Death is the penalty for murder. But no one accused of murder can be put to death
unless there are at least two witnesses to the crime. 31You cannot give someone money
to escape the death penalty; you must pay with your own life! 32And if you have been
proven innocent of murder and are living in a Safe Town, you cannot pay to go back
home; you must stay there until the high priest dies.
33-34I, the LORD, live among you people of Israel, so your land must be kept pure. But
when a murder takes place, blood pollutes the land, and it becomes unclean. If that
happens, the murderer must be put to death, so the land will be clean again. Keep murder
out of Israel!
The Laws about Married Women and Land
1One day the family leaders from the Gilead clan of the Manasseh tribe went to Moses
and the other family leaders of Israel 2and said, " Sir, the LORD has said that he will show
36.2 Zelophehad: See also 26.28-34; 27.1-11. / what land 3But if they marry men from
other tribes of Israel, the land they receive will become part of that tribe's inheritance
and will no longer belong to us. 4Even when land is returned to its original owner in the
Year of Celebration, we will not get back Zelophehad's land--it will belong to the tribe
into which his daughters married."
5So Moses told the people that the LORD had said:
These men from the Manasseh tribe are right. 6I will allow Zelophehad's daughters to
marry anyone, as long as those men belong to one of the clans of the Manasseh tribe.
7Tribal land must not be given to another tribe--it will remain the property of the tribe
that received it. 8-9In the future, any daughter who inherits land must marry someone
from her own tribe. Israel's tribal land is never to be passed from one tribe to another.
10-11Mahlah, Tirzah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Noah the daughters of Zelophehad obeyed the
LORD and married their uncles' sons 12and remained part of the Manasseh tribe. So their
land stayed in their father's clan.
13These are the laws that the LORD gave to Moses and the Israelites while they were
camped in the lowlands of Moab across the Jordan River from Jericho.