February 14: Day 45

Reading: Numbers 17-18, Psalm 45 (ESV)

Numbers 17

Aaron's Staff Buds

1 The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2"Speak to the people of Israel, and get from them staffs, one for each fathers' house, from all their chiefs according to their fathers' houses, twelve staffs. Write each man's name on his staff, 3and write Aaron's name on the staff of Levi. For there shall be one staff for the head of each fathers' house. 4Then you shall deposit them in the tent of meeting before the testimony, where I meet with you. 5And the staff of the man whom I choose shall sprout. Thus I will make to cease from me the grumblings of the people of Israel, which they grumble against you." 6Moses spoke to the people of Israel. And all their chiefs gave him staffs, one for each chief, according to their fathers' houses, twelve staffs. And the staff of Aaron was among their staffs. 7And Moses deposited the staffs before the Lord in the tent of the testimony.

8On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds. 9Then Moses brought out all the staffs from before the Lord to all the people of Israel. And they looked, and each man took his staff. 10And the Lord said to Moses, "Put back the staff of Aaron before the testimony, to be kept as a sign for the rebels, that you may make an end of their grumblings against me, lest they die." 11Thus did Moses; as the Lord commanded him, so he did.

12And the people of Israel said to Moses, "Behold, we perish, we are undone, we are all undone. 13Everyone who comes near, who comes near to the tabernacle of the Lord, shall die. Are we all to perish?"


Numbers 18

Duties of Priests and Levites

1So the Lord said to Aaron, "You and your sons and your father's house with you shall bear iniquity connected with the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you shall bear iniquity connected with your priesthood. 2And with you bring your brothers also, the tribe of Levi, the tribe of your father, that they may join you and minister to you while you and your sons with you are before the tent of the testimony. 3They shall keep guard over you and over the whole tent, but shall not come near to the vessels of the sanctuary or to the altar lest they, and you, die. 4They shall join you and keep guard over the tent of meeting for all the service of the tent, and no outsider shall come near you. 5And you shall keep guard over the sanctuary and over the altar, that there may never again be wrath on the people of Israel. 6And behold, I have taken your brothers the Levites from among the people of Israel. They are a gift to you, given to the Lord, to do the service of the tent of meeting. 7And you and your sons with you shall guard your priesthood for all that concerns the altar and that is within the veil; and you shall serve. I give your priesthood as a gift, and any outsider who comes near shall be put to death."

8Then the Lord spoke to Aaron, "Behold, I have given you charge of the contributions made to me, all the consecrated things of the people of Israel. I have given them to you as a portion and to your sons as a perpetual due. 9This shall be yours of the most holy things, reserved from the fire: every offering of theirs, every grain offering of theirs and every sin offering of theirs and every guilt offering of theirs, which they render to me, shall be most holy to you and to your sons. 10In a most holy place shall you eat it. Every male may eat it; it is holy to you. 11This also is yours: the contribution of their gift, all the wave offerings of the people of Israel. I have given them to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. 12All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the firstfruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you. 13The first ripe fruits of all that is in their land, which they bring to the Lord, shall be yours. Everyone who is clean in your house may eat it. 14Every devoted thing in Israel shall be yours. 15Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs. 17But the firstborn of a cow, or the firstborn of a sheep, or the firstborn of a goat, you shall not redeem; they are holy. You shall sprinkle their blood on the altar and shall burn their fat as a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. 18But their flesh shall be yours, as the breast that is waved and as the right thigh are yours. 19All the holy contributions that the people of Israel present to the Lord I give to you, and to your sons and daughters with you, as a perpetual due. It is a covenant of salt forever before the Lord for you and for your offspring with you." 20And the Lord said to Aaron, "You shall have no inheritance in their land, neither shall you have any portion among them. I am your portion and your inheritance among the people of Israel.

21"To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting, 22so that the people of Israel do not come near the tent of meeting, lest they bear sin and die. 23But the Levites shall do the service of the tent of meeting, and they shall bear their iniquity. It shall be a perpetual statute throughout your generations, and among the people of Israel they shall have no inheritance. 24For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel."

25And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 26"Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, 'When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe. 27And your contribution shall be counted to you as though it were the grain of the threshing floor, and as the fullness of the winepress. 28So you shall also present a contribution to the Lord from all your tithes, which you receive from the people of Israel. And from it you shall give the Lord's contribution to Aaron the priest. 29Out of all the gifts to you, you shall present every contribution due to the Lord; from each its best part is to be dedicated.' 30Therefore you shall say to them, 'When you have offered from it the best of it, then the rest shall be counted to the Levites as produce of the threshing floor, and as produce of the winepress. 31And you may eat it in any place, you and your households, for it is your reward in return for your service in the tent of meeting. 32And you shall bear no sin by reason of it, when you have contributed the best of it. But you shall not profane the holy things of the people of Israel, lest you die.'"


Psalm 45

Your Throne, O God, Is Forever

To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song.


1 My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;

I address my verses to the king;

my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men;

grace is poured upon your lips;

therefore God has blessed you forever.

3 Gird your sword on your thigh, O mighty one,

in your splendor and majesty!

4 In your majesty ride out victoriously

for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;

let your right hand teach you awesome deeds!

5 Your arrows are sharp

in the heart of the king's enemies;

the peoples fall under you.

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.

The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness;

7 you have loved righteousness and hated wickedness.

Therefore God, your God, has anointed you

with the oil of gladness beyond your companions;

8 your robes are all fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.

From ivory palaces stringed instruments make you glad;

9 daughters of kings are among your ladies of honor;

at your right hand stands the queen in gold of Ophir.

10 Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline your ear:

forget your people and your father's house,

11 and the king will desire your beauty.

Since he is your lord, bow to him.

12 The people of Tyre will seek your favor with gifts,

the richest of the people.

13 All glorious is the princess in her chamber, with robes interwoven with gold.

14 In many-colored robes she is led to the king,

with her virgin companions following behind her.

15 With joy and gladness they are led along

as they enter the palace of the king.

16 In place of your fathers shall be your sons;

you will make them princes in all the earth.

17 I will cause your name to be remembered in all generations;

therefore nations will praise you forever and ever.