Leviticus 16

 

וַיְדַבֵּר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה אַחֲרֵי מֹות שְׁנֵי בְּנֵי אַהֲרֹן בְּקָרְבָתָם לִפְנֵי־יְהוָה וַיָּמֻתוּ   16:1

Levi. 16:1  And the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron on their approaching before the Lord and they died,

וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל־מֹשֶׁה דַּבֵּר אֶל־אַהֲרֹן אָחִיךָ וְאַל־יָבֹא בְכָל־עֵת אֶל־הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת אֶל־פְּנֵי   16:2

הַכַּפֹּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל־הָאָרֹן וְלֹא יָמוּת כִּי בֶּעָנָן אֵרָאֶה עַל־הַכַּפֹּרֶת

Levi. 16:2  and the Lord said to Moses, “Speak to Aaron, your brother, that he shall not come in just any time to the sacred place within the veil before the ark cover that is on the ark, so he will not die, for I will appear in the cloud over the ark cover.”

I believe that the instructions which follow in verses 16:3 to 16:28 are for Aaron to follow to atone for his sons’ desecration of the Tabernacle.  As we shall see later in this chapter, these instructions are also for Yom Kippur every year for the high priests who follow Aaron.  Thus these verses do not dictate a procedure for any other time except after Aaron’s sons’ death (a one-time procedure), but do dictate a procedure on Yom Kippur (an everlasting annual event).  For this reason, I have worded commandment 204 as I have.  We shall learn of this in v. 16:32, the Commandments of this chapter are also for the high priests who will descend from Aaron.

בְּזֹאת יָבֹא אַהֲרֹן אֶל־הַקֹּדֶשׁ בְּפַר בֶּן־בָּקָר לְחַטָּאת וְאַיִל לְעֹלָה   16:3

Levi. 16:3  “Aaron shall come in to the sacred place with these:  With a bullock of the herd for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.”

כְּתֹנֶת־בַּד קֹדֶשׁ יִלְבָּשׁ וּמִכְנְסֵי־בַד יִהְיוּ עַל־בְּשָׂרֹו וּבְאַבְנֵט בַּד יַחְגֹּר וּבְמִצְנֶפֶת בַּד יִצְנֹף בִּגְדֵי־קֹדֶשׁ  16:4

הֵם וְרָחַץ בַּמַּיִם אֶת־בְּשָׂרֹו וּלְבֵשָׁם

Levi. 16:4  “He shall put on a holy linen tunic, and linen breeches shall be over his flesh, and he shall be girded with a linen sash, and he shall be attired with a linen miter; they are holy garments.  But he shall bathe his flesh in water, then put them on.”

I imagine the high priest did not have to wear the mantle of the ephod and the breast plate with the thummim and urim (Exod. 39:22 - 26), or the crown of gold on this occasion  (Exod. 39:30).

וּמֵאֵת עֲדַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל יִקַּח שְׁנֵי־שְׂעִירֵי עִזִּים לְחַטָּאת וְאַיִל אֶחָד לְעֹלָה   16:5

Levi. 16:5  “And from the congregation of the children of Israel he shall take two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.”                 [Return to Levi. 16 notes]

וְהִקְרִיב אַהֲרֹן אֶת־פַּר הַחַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר־לֹו וְכִפֶּר בַּעֲדֹו וּבְעַד בֵּיתֹו   16:6

Levi. 16:6  “And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin offering which is his and make atonement on behalf of himself and on behalf of his house.”

וְלָקַח אֶת־שְׁנֵי הַשְּׂעִירִם וְהֶעֱמִיד אֹתָם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה פֶּתַח אֹהֶל מֹועֵד   16:7

Levi. 16:7  “And he shall take the two goats and set them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting.”

וְנָתַן אַהֲרֹן עַל־שְׁנֵי הַשְּׂעִירִם גֹּורָלֹות גֹּורָל אֶחָד לַיהוָה וְגֹורָל אֶחָד לַעֲזָאזֵל   16:8

Levi. 16:8  “And Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats, one lot for the Lord and one lot for a scapegoat.”

Part of the last word in this verse is lzEaz"[], Azazel, omitting the first lamed.  It is usually taken as the name of an unknown entity called Azazel, perhaps a fallen angel.  There is a great deal of mystery and controversy surrounding this word.  The word may be variously translated according to how it is broken up, as God is strong, God strengthens, the departing goat, or the escaping goat, the last accounting for the translation I’ve used above.  Some believe the word is the name of a cliff near Jerusalem.  I find it very difficult to accept this possibility.  It will be centuries before the Israelites will occupy Jerusalem.  Still others believe it refers to a mountain near Sinai.  From these beliefs, it was understood by some that the goat was pushed from a high place to its death (see vss. 16:10, 16:21, 16:22, and 16:26) .

וְהִקְרִיב אַהֲרֹן אֶת־הַשָּׂעִיר אֲשֶׁר עָלָה עָלָיו הַגֹּורָל לַיהוָה וְעָשָׂהוּ חַטָּאת   16:9

Levi. 16:9  “And Aaron shall present the goat on which the lot is cast for the Lord, and offer it, a sin offering.”

וְהַשָּׂעִיר אֲשֶׁר עָלָה עָלָיו הַגֹּורָל לַעֲזָאזֵל יָעֳמַד־חַי לִפְנֵי יְהוָה לְכַפֵּר עָלָיו לְשַׁלַּח אֹתֹו לַעֲזָאזֵל   16:10

הַמִּדְבָּרָה

Levi. 16:10   “And the goat on which the lot is cast for a scapegoat shall remain alive before the Lord to make atonement for it, to send it away for a scapegoat of the wilderness.”

וְהִקְרִיב אַהֲרֹן אֶת־פַּר הַחַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר־לֹו וְכִפֶּר בַּעֲדֹו וּבְעַד בֵּיתֹו וְשָׁחַט אֶת־פַּר הַחַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר־   16:11

לֹו

Levi. 16:11   “And Aaron shall present the bullock of the sin offering which is his and make atonement on behalf of himself and on behalf of his house, and shall slaughter the bullock of the sin offering which is his.”

וְלָקַח מְלֹא־הַמַּחְתָּה גַּחֲלֵי־אֵשׁ מֵעַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ מִלִּפְנֵי יְהוָה וּמְלֹא חָפְנָיו קְטֹרֶת סַמִּים דַּקָּה וְהֵבִיא   16:12

מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת

Levi. 16:12   “And he shall take a censer full of fiery coals from the altar from before the Lord and fill his hand of sweet incense beaten small and bring inside of the veil.”

וְנָתַן אֶת־הַקְּטֹרֶת עַל־הָאֵשׁ לִפְנֵי יְהוָה וְכִסָּה עֲןַן הַקְּטֹרֶת אֶת־הַכַּפֹּרֶת אֲשֶׁר עַל־הָעֵדוּת וְלֹא   16:13

יָמוּת

Levi. 16:13   “And he shall put the incense on the fire before the Lord so the cloud of the incense will cover the ark cover that is over the testimony; then he shall not die.”

וְלָקַח מִדַּם הַפָּר וְהִזָּה בְאֶצְבָּעֹו עַל־פְּנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת קֵדְמָה וְלִפְנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת יַזֶּה שֶׁבַע־פְּעָמִים מִן־הַדָּם   16:14

בְּאֶצְבָּעֹו

Levi. 16:14   ‘Then he shall take some of the blood of the bullock and sprinkle with his finger on the eastern side of the ark cover, and he shall sprinkle seven times before the ark cover from the blood on his finger.”

וְשָׁחַט אֶת־שְׂעִיר הַחַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר לָעָם וְהֵבִיא אֶת־דָּמֹו אֶל־מִבֵּית לַפָּרֹכֶת וְעָשָׂה אֶת־דָּמֹו כַּאֲשֶׁר    16:15

עָשָׂה לְדַם הַפָּר וְהִזָּה אֹתֹו עַל־הַכַּפֹּרֶת וְלִפְנֵי הַכַּפֹּרֶת

Levi. 16:15   “Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering that is the people’s and bring its blood to within the veil and offer its blood as he did for the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it on the ark cover and before the ark cover.”

וְכִפֶּר עַל־הַקֹּדֶשׁ מִטֻּמְאֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּמִפִּשְׁעֵיהֶם לְכָל־חַטֹּאתָם וְכֵן יַעֲשֶׂה לְאֹהֶל מֹועֵד הַשֹּׁכֵן   16:16

אִתָּם בְּתֹוךְ טֻמְאֹתָם

Levi. 16:16   “So he shall make atonement for the sacred place because of the uncleannesses of the children of Israel and their trespasses, for all their sins.  And so shall he do for the tent of meeting that is staying with them in the midst of their uncleannesses.”

וְכָל־אָדָם לֹא־יִהְיֶה בְּאֹהֶל מֹועֵד בְּבֹאֹו לְכַפֵּר בַּקֹּדֶשׁ עַד־צֵאתֹו וְכִפֶּר בַּעֲדֹו וּבְעַד בֵּיתֹו וּבְעַד   16:17

כָּל־קְהַל יִשְׂרָאֵל

Levi. 16:17   “And none of the men shall be at the tent of meeting on his going in to make atonement in the sacred place until his coming out and he will have made atonement on behalf of himself and on behalf of his house and on behalf of the whole assembly of Israel.”

The part of the verse I have translated as “And none of the men shall be at the tent of meeting ...” is usually translated as “And none of the men shall be in the tent of meeting ....”  According to my theory that no others but the high priest (and Moses) was permitted in the tent of meeting, I’ve used an alternative for the prefix in the word lh,aoB. that can be translated in a variety of ways, including in and at.

וְיָצָא אֶל־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ אֲשֶׁר לִפְנֵי־יְהוָה וְכִפֶּר עָלָיו וְלָקַח מִדַּם הַפָּר וּמִדַּם הַשָּׂעִיר וְנָתַן עַל־קַרְנֹות   16:18

הַמִּזְבֵּחַ סָבִיב

Levi. 16:18   “And he shall go out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it and shall take some of the blood of the bullock and some of the blood of the goat and put on the horns of the altar all around.”

וְהִזָּה עָלָיו מִן־הַדָּם בְּאֶצְבָּעֹו שֶׁבַע פְּעָמִים וְטִהֲרֹו וְקִדְּשֹׁו מִטֻּמְאֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   16:19

Levi. 16:19   “And he shall sprinkle on it from the blood on his finger seven times and purify it and sanctify it from the uncleannesses of the children of Israel.”

וְכִלָּה מִכַּפֵּר אֶת־הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְאֶת־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וְאֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְהִקְרִיב אֶת־הַשָּׂעִיר הֶחָי   16:20

Levi. 16:20   “When he will have finished purging the sacred place and the tent of meeting and the altar, then he shall present the live goat.”

וְסָמַךְ אַהֲרֹן אֶת־שְׁתֵּי (יָדֹו) [יָדָיו] עַל רֹאשׁ הַשָּׂעִיר הַחַי וְהִתְוַדָּה עָלָיו אֶת־כָּל־עֲוֹנֹת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל   16:21

וְאֶת־כָּל־פִּשְׁעֵיהֶם לְכָל־חַטֹּאתָם וְנָתַן אֹתָם עַל־רֹאשׁ הַשָּׂעִיר וְשִׁלַּח בְּיַד־אִישׁ עִתִּי הַמִּדְבָּרָה

Levi. 16:21   “And Aaron shall lay both his hands [or his left hand] on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel and their transgressions, for all their sins, and put them on the head of the goat, and send in the hand of an able man of the wilderness.”

This verse contains an apparent error, in the fifth word.  The seemingly incorrect word is in the parentheses and the allegedly correct word is in the brackets.  If the alleged incorrect word is indeed correct, the translation would be “… his second hand …,” which would imply his left hand if he were right-handed.  Thus I suspect the word may not be in error (see Levi. 9:22) and the appropriate translation would be “And Aaron shall lay his left hand ...,” which is what I have put in the brackets of the translation.

 “וְנָשָׂא הַשָּׂעִיר עָלָיו אֶת־כָּל־עֲוֹנֹתָם אֶל־אֶרֶץ גְּזֵרָה וְשִׁלַּח אֶת־הַשָּׂעִיר בַּמִּדְבָּר   16:22

Levi. 16:22   “And the goat shall carry on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land, and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.”

וּבָא אַהֲרֹן אֶל־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וּפָשַׁט אֶת־בִּגְדֵי הַבָּד אֲשֶׁר לָבַשׁ בְּבֹאֹו אֶל־הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְהִנִּיחָם שָׁם   16:23

Levi. 16:23   “And Aaron shall go in to the tent of meeting and remove the garments of linen which he had worn on his going in to the sacred place and shall leave them there.”

וְרָחַץ אֶת־בְּשָׂרֹו בַמַּיִם בְּמָקֹום קָדֹושׁ וְלָבַשׁ אֶת־בְּגָדָיו וְיָצָא וְעָשָׂה אֶת־עֹלָתֹו וְאֶת־עֹלַת הָעָם    16:24

וְכִפֶּר בַּעֲדֹו וּבְעַד הָעָם

Levi. 16:24   “And he shall bathe his flesh in water in a holy place and put on his garments and come forth and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement on behalf of himself and on behalf of the people.”

וְאֵת חֵלֶב הַחַטָּאת יַקְטִיר הַמִּזְבֵּחָה   16:25

Levi. 16:25   “And he shall make the fat of the sin offering smoke on the altar.”

וְהַמְשַׁלֵּחַ אֶת־הַשָּׂעִיר לַעֲזָאזֵל יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ אֶת־בְּשָׂרֹו בַּמָּיִם וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן יָבֹוא אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה   16:26

Levi. 16:26   “And the one releasing the goat for a scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water, and after this he may come in to the camp.”

This verse (along with v. 16:28) offers support for my belief that bathing in water does not necessarily mean going to a public bath (a mikvah), a belief I expressed regarding Levi. 15:6.  I don’t imagine there would have been a mikvah built outside the camp.

וְאֵת פַּר הַחַטָּאת וְאֵת שְׂעִיר הַחַטָּאת אֲשֶׁר הוּבָא אֶת־דָּםָם לְכַפֵּר בַּקֹּדֶשׁ יֹוצִיא אֶל־מִחוּץ   16:27

לַמַּחֲנֶה וְשָׂרְפוּ בָאֵשׁ אֶת־עֹרֹתָם וְאֶת־בְּשָׂרָם וְאֶת־פִּרְשָׁם

Levi. 16:27   “And the bullock of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the sanctuary, shall be brought out to the outskirts of the camp, and their skins and their flesh and their dung shall be burned in fire.

וְהַשֹּׂרֵף אֹתָם יְכַבֵּס בְּגָדָיו וְרָחַץ אֶת־בְּשָׂרֹו בַּמָּיִם וְאַחֲרֵי־כֵן יָבֹוא אֶל־הַמַּחֲנֶה   16:28

Levi. 16:28   “And the one burning them shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water, and after this he may come in to the camp.”

וְהָיְתָה לָכֶם לְחֻקַּת עֹולָם בַּחֹדֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִי בֶּעָשֹׂור לַחֹדֶשׁ תְּעַנּוּ אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם וְכָל־מְלָאכָה לֹא   16:29

תַעֲשׂוּ הָאֶזְרָח וְהַגֵּר הַגָּר בְּתֹוכְכֶם

Levi. 16:29   “And it shall be for an everlasting statute for you:  In the seventh month, on the month’s tenth day, you shall afflict your souls, and you shall not do any work, neither the home-born nor the stranger sojourning among you.”

Two issues need to be addressed regarding this verse.  What does it mean to afflict your soul and what does the last phrase mean?    more>>

כִּי־בַיֹּום הַזֶּה יְכַפֵּר עֲלֵיכֶם לְטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם מִכֹּל חַטֹּאתֵיכֶם לִפְנֵי יְהוָה תִּטְהָרוּ   16:30

Levi. 16:30   “For on this day atonement shall be made for yourselves to cleanse you; you shall be cleansed from all your sins before the Lord.”

This is Yom Kippur, the day of atonement.  Contrary to what we have been led to believe by the sages and rabbis, the atonement of our sins, as mentioned in this verse, appears to be unconditional, requiring from us only that we afflict our souls and bring offerings (to be described later in Numbers).  On this day we are cleansed as a result of the high priest’s following the procedures of the prescribed cleansing.  There seem to be no restrictions on this annual cleansing.  It is part of our covenant with the Lord.  To me this seems altogether reasonable.  A forgiving, understanding, patient, all-seeing, loving God recognizes our failings, and, because He has selected us from all the peoples of the earth for His purpose, He forgives our trespasses with no conditions.  The slate is wiped clean every Yom Kippur.  I believe that is why God calls the day a solemn Sabbath:  We are to understand and recognize our mysterious place before the Lord, acknowledging His unfailing but incomprehensible love for us.  A marvel that transcends our understanding, inspiring humility and sober wonder in us!               [Return to Numb. 15:26]

שַׁבַּת שַׁבָּתֹון הִיא לָכֶם וְעִנִּיתֶם אֶת־נַפְשֹׁתֵיכֶם חֻקַּת עֹולָם   16:31

Levi. 16:31   “It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall afflict your souls, an everlasting statute.”

Notice that the day of Yom Kippur is called a Sabbath of solemn rest, as opposed to the weekly Sabbath which is a Sabbath of complete (joyful) rest.   See Exod. 16:23 notes.

וְכִפֶּר הַכֹּהֵן אֲשֶׁר־יִמְשַׁח אֹתֹו וַאֲשֶׁר יְמַלֵּא אֶת־יָדֹו לְכַהֵן תַּחַת אָבִיו וְלָבַשׁ אֶת־בִּגְדֵי הַבָּד בִּגְדֵי   16:32

הַקֹּדֶשׁ

Levi. 16:32   “And the priest who shall be anointed to it and who shall have completed his consecration to be priest in place of his father shall make atonement.  And he shall put on the linen garments, the holy garments.”

Interesting questions are inspired by this verse.  Who is to do the consecrating after Moses?  Shall it be the outgoing high priest before his death?  Does the old high priest retire once he has consecrated his first born son? 

וְכִפֶּר אֶת־מִקְדַּשׁ הַקֹּדֶשׁ וְאֶת־אֹהֶל מֹועֵד וְאֶת־הַמִּזְבֵּחַ יְכַפֵּר וְעַל הַכֹּהֲנִים וְעַל־כָּל־עַם הַקָּהָל   16:33

יְכַפֵּר

Levi. 16:33   “And he shall purge the holy sacred place and the tent of meeting and the altar; he shall make atonement.  And he shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.”

וְהָיְתָה־זֹּאת לָכֶם לְחֻקַּת עֹולָם לְכַפֵּר עַל־בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִכָּל־חַטֹּאתָם אַחַת בַּשָּׁנָה וַיַּעַשׂ כַּאֲשֶׁר   16:34

צִוָּה יְהוָה אֶת־מֹשֶׁה

Levi. 16:34   “And this shall be for an everlasting statute for you, to make atonement for the children of Israel because of all their sins once each year.”  And it was done as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Torah Commandments in this Chapter

183. The high priest shall not enter within the veil at just any time.    V. 16:2

184. The high priest shall follow the procedures for Yom Kippur.    Vss. 16:3-16:34

185. The person releasing the scapegoat shall wash himself, then may

         reenter the camp.    V. 16:26

186. The person burning the bullock and goat of the sin offering shall wash

         his clothes and bathe himself, then may reenter the camp.    V. 16:28

187. You shall afflict your soul on Yom Kippur.    V. 16:29

188. You shall do no manner of work on Yom Kippur.    V. 16:29

 

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