Through the Bible – Day 51

Bible text(s)

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 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!”

Priests and Levites

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 burnt 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 firstborn son in every Israelite family, as well as the firstborn males of their flocks and herds, belong to me. But a firstborn son and every firstborn donkey must be bought back from me. 16The price for a firstborn son who is at least one month old will be five pieces of silver, weighed according to the official standards. 17However, all firstborn 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 per cent 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 per cent 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.

Becoming clean

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 ploughing. 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 burnt. 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 burnt 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.

Numbers 17:1-19:22CEVOpen in Bible reader

A man with an evil spirit

21Jesus and his disciples went to the town of Capernaum. Then on the next Sabbath he went into the Jewish meeting place and started teaching. 22Everyone was amazed at his teaching. He taught with authority, and not like the teachers of the Law of Moses. 23Suddenly a man with an evil spirit in him entered the meeting place and yelled, 24“Jesus from Nazareth, what do you want with us? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are! You are God's Holy One.”

25Jesus told the evil spirit, “Be quiet and come out of the man!” 26The spirit shook him. Then it gave a loud shout and left.

27Everyone was completely surprised and kept saying to each other, “What is this? It must be some new kind of powerful teaching! Even the evil spirits obey him.” 28News about Jesus quickly spread all over Galilee.

Jesus heals many people

29As soon as Jesus left the meeting place with James and John, they went home with Simon and Andrew. 30When they got there, Jesus was told that Simon's mother-in-law was sick in bed with fever. 31Jesus went to her. He took hold of her hand and helped her up. The fever left her, and she served them a meal.

32That evening after sunset, all who were sick or had demons in them were brought to Jesus. 33In fact, the whole town gathered around the door of the house. 34Jesus healed all kinds of terrible diseases and forced out a lot of demons. But the demons knew who he was, and he did not let them speak.

35Very early the next morning, Jesus got up and went to a place where he could be alone and pray. 36Simon and the others started looking for him. 37And when they found him, they said, “Everyone is looking for you!”

38Jesus replied, “We must go to the nearby towns, so that I can tell the good news to those people. This is why I have come.” 39Then Jesus went to Jewish meeting places everywhere in Galilee, where he preached and forced out demons.

Jesus heals a man

40A man with leprosy came to Jesus and knelt down. He begged, “You have the power to make me well, if only you wanted to.”

41Jesus felt sorry for the man. So he put his hand on him and said, “I want to! Now you are well.” 42At once the man's leprosy disappeared, and he was well.

43After Jesus strictly warned the man, he sent him on his way. 44He said, “Don't tell anyone about this. Just go and show the priest that you are well. Then take a gift to the temple as Moses commanded, and everyone will know that you have been healed.”

45The man talked about it so much and told so many people, that Jesus could no longer go openly into a town. He had to stay away from the towns, but people still came to him from everywhere.

Mark 1:21-45CEVOpen in Bible reader
Canadian Bible Societyv.4.21.8
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