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The Day of Atonement

16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they drew near before the Lord and died. The Lord said to Moses:

Tell your brother Aaron not to come just at any time into the sanctuary inside the curtain before the mercy seat[a] that is upon the ark, or he will die; for I appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.[b] Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and shall have the linen undergarments next to his body, fasten the linen sash, and wear the linen turban; these are the holy vestments. He shall bathe his body in water, and then put them on. He shall take from the congregation of the people of Israel two male goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

Aaron shall offer the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting; and Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord and the other lot for Azazel.[c] Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot fell for the Lord, and offer it as a sin offering; 10 but the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel[d] shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over it, that it may be sent away into the wilderness to Azazel.[e]

11 Aaron shall present the bull as a sin offering for himself, and shall make atonement for himself and for his house; he shall slaughter the bull as a sin offering for himself. 12 He shall take a censer full of coals of fire from the altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of crushed sweet incense, and he shall bring it inside the curtain 13 and put the incense on the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat[f] that is upon the covenant,[g] or he will die. 14 He shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the mercy seat,[h] and before the mercy seat[i] he shall sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times.

15 He shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering that is for the people and bring its blood inside the curtain, and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, sprinkling it upon the mercy seat[j] and before the mercy seat.[k] 16 Thus he shall make atonement for the sanctuary, because of the uncleannesses of the people of Israel, and because of their transgressions, all their sins; and so he shall do for the tent of meeting, which remains with them in the midst of their uncleannesses. 17 No one shall be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters to make atonement in the sanctuary until he comes out and has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel. 18 Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement on its behalf, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on each of the horns of the altar. 19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times, and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleannesses of the people of Israel.

20 When he has finished atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall present the live goat. 21 Then Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the people of Israel, and all their transgressions, all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and sending it away into the wilderness by means of someone designated for the task.[l] 22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a barren region; and the goat shall be set free in the wilderness.

23 Then Aaron shall enter the tent of meeting, and shall take off the linen vestments that he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there. 24 He shall bathe his body in water in a holy place, and put on his vestments; then he shall come out and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people, making atonement for himself and for the people. 25 The fat of the sin offering he shall turn into smoke on the altar. 26 The one who sets the goat free for Azazel[m] shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward may come into the camp. 27 The bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside the camp; their skin and their flesh and their dung shall be consumed in fire. 28 The one who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward may come into the camp.

29 This shall be a statute to you forever: In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall deny yourselves,[n] and shall do no work, neither the citizen nor the alien who resides among you. 30 For on this day atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord. 31 It is a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall deny yourselves;[o] it is a statute forever. 32 The priest who is anointed and consecrated as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement, wearing the linen vestments, the holy vestments. 33 He shall make atonement for the sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar, and he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 This shall be an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the people of Israel once in the year for all their sins. And Moses did as the Lord had commanded him.

Footnotes

  1. Leviticus 16:2 Or the cover
  2. Leviticus 16:2 Or the cover
  3. Leviticus 16:8 Traditionally rendered a scapegoat
  4. Leviticus 16:10 Traditionally rendered a scapegoat
  5. Leviticus 16:10 Traditionally rendered a scapegoat
  6. Leviticus 16:13 Or the cover
  7. Leviticus 16:13 Or treaty, or testament; Heb eduth
  8. Leviticus 16:14 Or the cover
  9. Leviticus 16:14 Or the cover
  10. Leviticus 16:15 Or the cover
  11. Leviticus 16:15 Or the cover
  12. Leviticus 16:21 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  13. Leviticus 16:26 Traditionally rendered a scapegoat
  14. Leviticus 16:29 Or shall fast
  15. Leviticus 16:31 Or shall fast

The Day of Atonement(A)

16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord.(B) The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses(C) into the Most Holy Place(D) behind the curtain(E) in front of the atonement cover(F) on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear(G) in the cloud(H) over the atonement cover.

“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place:(I) He must first bring a young bull(J) for a sin offering[a] and a ram for a burnt offering.(K) He is to put on the sacred linen tunic,(L) with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban.(M) These are sacred garments;(N) so he must bathe himself with water(O) before he puts them on.(P) From the Israelite community(Q) he is to take two male goats(R) for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

“Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household.(S) Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots(T) for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat.[b](U) Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement(V) by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household,(W) and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals(X) from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense(Y) and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover(Z) above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die.(AA) 14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood(AB) and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.(AC)

15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people(AD) and take its blood behind the curtain(AE) and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle(AF) it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement(AG) for the Most Holy Place(AH) because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting,(AI) which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

18 “Then he shall come out to the altar(AJ) that is before the Lord and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar.(AK) 19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.(AL)

20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat.(AM) 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat(AN) and confess(AO) over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins(AP) to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

23 “Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments(AQ) he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there.(AR) 24 He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area(AS) and put on his regular garments.(AT) Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people,(AU) to make atonement for himself and for the people.(AV) 25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat(AW) must wash his clothes(AX) and bathe himself with water;(AY) afterward he may come into the camp. 27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp;(AZ) their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.(BA)

29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance(BB) for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month(BC) you must deny yourselves[c](BD) and not do any work(BE)—whether native-born(BF) or a foreigner residing among you— 30 because on this day atonement will be made(BG) for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins.(BH) 31 It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves;(BI) it is a lasting ordinance.(BJ) 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained(BK) to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments(BL) 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.(BM)

34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance(BN) for you: Atonement is to be made once a year(BO) for all the sins of the Israelites.”

And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Footnotes

  1. Leviticus 16:3 Or purification offering; here and throughout this chapter
  2. Leviticus 16:8 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verses 10 and 26.
  3. Leviticus 16:29 Or must fast; also in verse 31

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