Leviticus 19-21 Bible in Basic English

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Laws of Holiness and Justice

19 1  And the Lord said to Moses, 2  Say to all the people of Israel, You are to be holy, for I, the Lord your God, am holy. 3  Let every man give honour to his mother and to his father and keep my Sabbaths: I am the Lord your God. 4  Do not go after false gods, and do not make metal images of gods for yourselves: I am the Lord your God. 5  And when you give a peace offering to the Lord, do it in the way which is pleasing to the Lord. 6  Let it be used for food on the same day on which it is offered, or on the day after; and whatever is over on the third day is to be burned with fire. 7  If any of it is used for food on the third day, it is a disgusting thing and will not be pleasing to the Lord. 8  And as for anyone who takes it for food, his sin will be on him, for he has put shame on the holy thing of the Lord: he will be cut off from his people. 9  And when you get in the grain from your land, do not let all the grain be cut from the edges of the field, or take up what has been dropped on the earth after the getting in of the grain. 10  And do not take all the grapes from your vine-garden, or the fruit dropped on the earth; let the poor man, and the man from another country, have these: I am the Lord your God.

11  Do not take anyone's property or be false in act or word to another. 12  And do not take an oath in my name falsely, putting shame on the name of your God: I am the Lord. 13  Do not be cruel to your neighbour or take what is his; do not keep back a servant's payment from him all night till the morning. 14  Do not put a curse on those who have no hearing, or put a cause of falling in the way of the blind, but keep the fear of your God before you: I am the Lord. 15  Do no wrong in your judging: do not give thought to the position of the poor, or honour to the position of the great; but be a judge to your neighbour in righteousness. 16  Do not go about saying untrue things among your people, or take away the life of your neighbour by false witness: I am the Lord. 17  Let there be no hate in your heart for your brother; but you may make a protest to your neighbour, so that he may be stopped from doing evil. 18  Do not make attempts to get equal with one who has done you wrong, or keep hard feelings against the children of your people, but have love for your neighbour as for yourself: I am the Lord.

19  Keep my laws. Do not let your cattle have offspring by those of a different sort; do not put mixed seed into your field; do not put on a robe made of two sorts of cloth. 20  If any man has sex relations with a servant-woman who has given her word to be married to a man, and has not been made free for a price or in any other way, the thing will be looked into; but they will not be put to death because she was not a free woman. 21  Let him take his offering for wrongdoing to the Lord, to the door of the Tent of meeting; let him give a male sheep as an offering for wrongdoing. 22  And the priest will take away his sin before the Lord with the sheep which is offered for his wrongdoing, and he will have forgiveness for the sin which he has done. 23  And when you have come into the land, and have put in all sorts of fruit-trees, their fruit will be as if they had not had circumcision, and for three years their fruit may not be used for food. 24  And in the fourth year all the fruit will be holy as a praise-offering to the Lord. 25  But in the fifth year you may take the fruit and the increase of it for your food: I am the Lord your God. 26  Nothing may be used for food with its blood in it; you may not make use of strange arts, or go in search of signs and wonders. 27  The ends of the hair round your face and on your chin may not be cut off. 28  You may not make cuts in your flesh in respect for the dead, or have marks printed on your bodies: I am the Lord. 29  Do not make your daughter common by letting her become a loose woman, for fear that the land may become full of shame.

30  Keep my Sabbaths and have respect for my holy place: I am the Lord. 31  Do not go after those who make use of spirits, or wonder-workers; do not go in their ways or become unclean through them: I am the Lord your God. 32  Get up from your seats before the white-haired, and give honour to the old, and let the fear of your God be before you: I am the Lord. 33  And if a man from another country is living in your land with you, do not make life hard for him; 34  Let him be to you as one of your countrymen and have love for him as for yourself; for you were living in a strange land, in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. 35  Do not make false decisions in questions of yard-sticks and weights and measures. 36  Have true scales, true weights and measures for all things: I am the Lord your God, who took you out of the land of Egypt; 37  You are to keep all my rules and my decisions and do them: I am the Lord.

The Penalties for Acts of Immorality

20 1  And the Lord said to Moses, 2  Again, say to the children of Israel, If any man of the children of Israel, or any other man living in Israel, gives his offspring to Molech, he is certainly to be put to death: he is to be stoned by the people of the land; 3  And my face will be turned against that man, and he will be cut off from his people; because he has given his offspring to Molech, making my holy place unclean, and making my holy name common. 4  And if the people of the land do not take note of that man when he gives his offspring to Molech, and do not put him to death, 5  Then my face will be turned against him and his family, and he and all those who do evil with him will be cut off from among their people. 6  And whoever goes after those who make use of spirits and wonder-workers, doing evil with them, against him will my face be turned, and he will be cut off from among his people. 7  So make and keep yourselves holy, for I am the Lord your God. 8  And keep my rules and do them: I am the Lord, who make you holy. 9  Every man cursing his father or his mother is certainly to be put to death; because of his curse on his father or his mother, his blood will be on him.

10  And if a man has sex relations with another man's wife, even the wife of his neighbour, he and she are certainly to be put to death. 11  And the man who has sex relations with his father's wife has put shame on his father: the two of them are to be put to death; their blood will be on them. 12  And if a man has sex relations with his son's wife, the two of them are to be put to death: it is unnatural; their blood will be on them. 13  And if a man has sex relations with a man, the two of them have done a disgusting thing: let them be put to death; their blood will be on them. 14  And if a man takes as wife a woman and her mother, it is an act of shame; let them be burned with fire, all three of them, so that there may be no shame among you. 15  And if a man has sex relations with a beast, let him be put to death, and let the beast be put to destruction. 16  And if a woman goes near a beast and has sex relations with it, you will put an end to the woman and the beast: their blood will be on them. 17  And if a man takes his sister, daughter of his father or his mother, and has sex relations with her and she with him, it is an act of shame: they are to be cut off before the children of their people; he has had sex relations with his sister, and his sin will be on him. 18  And if a man has sex relations with a woman at the time when she is unwell, he has seen her fountain and she has let the fountain of her blood be uncovered, and the two of them are to be cut off from among their people. 19  And you may not have sex connection with your mother's sister or your father's sister, for they are his near relations: their sin will be on them. 20  And if a man has sex relations with the wife of his father's brother, he has put shame on his father's brother: their sin will be on them; till the day of their death they will have no children. 21  And if a man takes his brother's wife, it is an unclean act; he has put shame on his brother; they will have no children.

22  So then, keep my rules and my decisions and do them, so that the land which I am giving you as your resting-place may not violently send you out again. 23  And do not keep the rules of the nations which I am driving out before you; for they did all these things, and for that reason my soul was turned against them. 24  But I have said to you, You will take their land and I will give it to you for your heritage, a land flowing with milk and honey: I am the Lord your God who have made you separate from all other peoples. 25  So then, make division between the clean beast and the unclean, and between the clean bird and the unclean: do not make yourselves disgusting by any beast or bird or anything which goes flat on the earth, which has been marked by me as unclean for you. 26  And you are to be holy to me; for I the Lord am holy and have made you separate from the nations, so that you may be my people. 27  Any man or woman who makes use of spirits, or who is a wonder-worker, is to be put to death: they are to be stoned with stones: their blood will be on them.

The Holiness of the Priests

21 1  And the Lord said to Moses, Say to the priests, the sons of Aaron, Let no man make himself unclean for the dead among his people; 2  But only for his near relations, for his mother or his father, his son or his daughter, and his brother; 3  And for his sister, a virgin, for she is his near relation and has had no husband, he may make himself unclean. 4  But let him, being a chief among his people, not make himself unclean in such a way as to put shame on himself. 5  They are not to have their hair cut off for the dead, or the hair on their chins cut short, or make cuts in their flesh. 6  Let them be holy to their God and not make the name of their God common; for the fire offerings of the Lord and the bread of their God are offered by them, and they are to be holy. 7  They may not take as wife a loose or common woman, or one who has been put away by her husband: for the priest is holy to his God. 8  And he is to be holy in your eyes, for by him the bread of your God is offered; he is to be holy in your eyes, for I the Lord, who make you holy, am holy. 9  And if the daughter of a priest makes herself common and by her loose behaviour puts shame on her father, let her be burned with fire.

10  And he who is the chief priest among his brothers, on whose head the holy oil has been put, who is marked out to put on the holy robes, may not let his hair go loose or have his clothing out of order as a sign of sorrow. 11  He may not go near any dead body or make himself unclean for his father or his mother; 12  He may not go out of the holy place or make the holy place of his God common; for the crown of the holy oil of his God is on him: I am the Lord. 13  And let him take as his wife one who has not had relations with a man. 14  A widow, or one whose husband has put her away, or a common woman of loose behaviour, may not be the wife of a priest; but let him take a virgin from among his people. 15  And he may not make his seed unclean among his people, for I the Lord have made him holy.

16  And the Lord said to Moses, 17  Say to Aaron, If a man of your family, in any generation, is damaged in body, let him not come near to make the offering of the bread of his God. 18  For any man whose body is damaged may not come near: one who is blind, or has not the use of his legs, or one who has a broken nose or any unnatural growth, 19  Or a man with broken feet or hands, 20  Or one whose back is bent, or one who is unnaturally small, or one who has a damaged eye, or whose skin is diseased, or whose sex parts are damaged; 21  No man of the offspring of Aaron whose body is damaged in any way may come near to give the fire offerings of the Lord: he is damaged, he may not come near to make the offerings. 22  He may take of the bread of God, the holy and the most holy; 23  But he may not go inside the veil or come near the altar, because he is damaged; and he may not make my holy places common; for I the Lord have made them holy. 24  These are the words which Moses said to Aaron and to his sons and to all the children of Israel.

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