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Numbers Contemporary English Version (CEV)


     Chapter 1



     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

     from Reuben,

     Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai

     from Simeon,

     Nahshon son of Amminadab

     from Judah,

     Nethanel son of Zuar

     from Issachar,

     Eliab son of Helon

     from Zebulun,

     Elishama son of Ammihud

     from Ephraim,

     Gamaliel son of Pedahzur

     from Manasseh,

     Abidan son of Gideoni

     from Benjamin,

     Ahiezer son of Ammishaddai

     from Dan,

     Pagiel son of Ochran

     from Asher,

     Eliasaph son of Deuel

     from Gad,

     and Ahira son of Enan

     from Naphtali.

     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

     603,550.

     47But those from the Levi tribe were not included 48because the LORD had said to

     Moses:

     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.



     Chapter 2



     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.



     Chapter 3



     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

     Israelites.


     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

     down.

     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

     them.

     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.



     Chapter 4



     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

     in place.

     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

     carry.



     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.



     Chapter 5



     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

     instructions.



     The Penalty for Committing a Crime



     (Leviticus 6.1-7)

     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

     offering.

     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.



     Chapter 6



     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

     must say:

     24I pray that the LORD

     will bless and protect you,

     25and that he will show you mercy

     and kindness.

     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."



     Chapter 7



     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

     the dedication."

     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.



     Chapter 8



     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

     clothes.

     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

     commanded.

     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."



     Chapter 9



     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

     everyone else?"

     8Moses said, " Wait here while I go into the sacred tent and find out what the LORD says

     about this."

     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

     time.

     14Anyone, including foreigners who live among you, can celebrate Passover, if they follow

     all the regulations.



     The Cloud over the Sacred Tent



     (Exodus 40.34-38)

     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.


     Chapter 10



     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

     Benjamin tribe.

     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."



     Chapter 11



     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.



     Chapter 12



     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.



     Chapter 13



     Twelve Men Are Sent into Canaan



     (Deuteronomy 1.19-33)

     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

     from Reuben,

     Shaphat son of Hori

     from Simeon,

     Caleb son of Jephunneh

     from Judah,

     Igal son of Joseph

     from Issachar,

     Joshua son of Nun

     from Ephraim, Palti son of Raphu

     from Benjamin,

     Gaddiel son of Sodi

     from Zebulun,

     Gaddi son of Susi

     from Manasseh,

     Ammiel son of Gemalli

     from Dan,

     Sethur son of Michael

     from Asher,

     Nahbi son of Vophsi

     from Naphtali,

     and Geuel son of Machi

     from Gad.

     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."



     Chapter 14



     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

     against us!

     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."

     13-16Moses replied:

     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



     (Deuteronomy 1.41-45)

     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.


     Chapter 15



     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

     his laws:

     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

     be forgiven.

     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

     of Egypt."



     Chapter 16



     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.



     Chapter 17



     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!"



     Chapter 18



     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

     death.



     The Priests' Share of Offerings Given to the LORD



     (Deuteronomy 18.1-8)

     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

     eat them.

     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

     mine.

     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.



     Chapter 19



     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

     unclean.

     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.



     Chapter 20



     Water from a Rock



     (Exodus 17.1-7)

     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 "

     Complaining."



     Israel Isn't Allowed To Go through Edom

     14Moses sent messengers from Israel's camp near Kadesh with this message for the king

     of Edom:

     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.



     Aaron Dies

     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.



     Chapter 21



     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:

     Let's celebrate!

     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



     (Deuteronomy 2.26-37)

     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



     (Deuteronomy 3.1-11)

     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.



     Chapter 22

     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

     said:

     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

     officials.



     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

     road.

     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

     now!"

     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.


     Chapter 23



     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.

     7Balaam said:

     " 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

     offerings.

     Balak asked, " What did the LORD say?"

     18Balaam answered:

     " 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

     against them--

     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.



     Chapter 24

     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

     will prosper

     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

     15Balaam said:

     " 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,

     bringing people

     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.



     Chapter 25



     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

     priests."

     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."



     Chapter 26



     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

     army."

     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

     Shuham.

     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.


     Chapter 27



     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

     it.



     Joshua Is Appointed Israel's Leader



     (Deuteronomy 31.1-8)

     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.



     Chapter 28



     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

     oil.


     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



     (Leviticus 23.4-8)

     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

     LORD said:



     The Sacrifices during the Harvest Festival



     (Leviticus 23.15-22)

     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:



     Chapter 29



     The Sacrifices at the Festival of Trumpets



     (Leviticus 23.23-25)

     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



     (Leviticus 23.26-32)

     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

     said:



     The Sacrifices during the Festival of Shelters



     (Leviticus 23.33-44)

     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.



     Chapter 30



     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.



     Chapter 31



     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

     to fight."

     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

     yourselves."

     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

     the Levites.

     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.


     Chapter 32



     Land East of the Jordan River Is Settled



     (Deuteronomy 3.12-22)

     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?"

     6Moses answered:

     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.

     20Moses said:

     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.



     Chapter 33



     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

     their journey:

     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.



     Chapter 34



     Israel's Borders

     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

     from Judah,

     Shemuel son of Ammihud

     from Simeon,

     Elidad son of Chislon

     from Benjamin,

     Bukki son of Jogli

     from Dan,

     Hanniel son of Ephod

     from Manasseh,

     Kemuel son of Shiphtan

     from Ephraim,

     Elizaphan son of Parnach

     from Zebulun,

     Paltiel son of Azzan

     from Issachar,

     Ahihud son of Shelomi

     from Asher,

     and Pedahel son of Ammihud

     from Naphtali."

     29These are the men the LORD commanded to help Eleazar and Joshua divide the land for

     the Israelites.



     Chapter 35



     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'

     pastureland.

     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

     finds you.

     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!



     Chapter 36



     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.