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Leviticus 15-16 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 15

Sexual Uncleanness.[a] The Lord said to Moses and Aaron: [b]Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When any man has a genital discharge, he is thereby unclean. Such is his uncleanness from this discharge, whether his body[c] drains freely with the discharge or is blocked up from the discharge. His uncleanness is on him all the days that his body discharges or is blocked up from his discharge; this is his uncleanness. Any bed on which the man with the discharge lies is unclean, and any article on which he sits is unclean. Anyone who touches his bed shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. Whoever sits on an article on which the man with the discharge was sitting shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. Whoever touches the body of the man with the discharge shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. If the man with the discharge spits on a clean person, the latter shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. Any saddle on which the man with the discharge rides is unclean. 10 Whoever touches anything that was under him shall be unclean until evening; whoever carries any such thing shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 11 Anyone whom the man with the discharge touches with his unrinsed hands shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 12 Earthenware touched by the man with the discharge shall be broken; and every wooden article shall be rinsed with water.

13 When a man with a discharge becomes clean[d] of his discharge, he shall count seven days for his purification. Then he shall wash his garments and bathe his body in fresh water, and so he will be clean. 14 On the eighth day he shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons, and going before the Lord, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, he shall give them to the priest, 15 who shall offer them up, the one as a purification offering and the other as a burnt offering. Thus shall the priest make atonement before the Lord for the man because of his discharge.

16 [e]When a man has an emission of semen, he shall bathe his whole body in water and be unclean until evening. 17 Any piece of cloth or leather with semen on it shall be washed with water and be unclean until evening.

18 If a man has sexual relations with a woman, they shall both bathe in water and be unclean until evening.

19 [f]When a woman has a flow of blood from her body, she shall be in a state of menstrual uncleanness for seven days. Anyone who touches her shall be unclean until evening. 20 Anything on which she lies or sits during her menstrual period shall be unclean. 21 Anyone who touches her bed shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 22 Whoever touches any article on which she was sitting shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening. 23 Whether an object[g] is on the bed or on something she sat upon, when the person touches it, that person shall be unclean until evening. 24 If a man lies with her, he contracts her menstrual uncleanness and shall be unclean for seven days; every bed on which he then lies also becomes unclean.

25 [h]When a woman has a flow of blood for several days outside her menstrual period, or when her flow continues beyond the ordinary period, as long as she suffers this unclean flow she shall be unclean, just as during her menstrual period. 26 Any bed on which she lies during such a flow becomes unclean, as it would during her menstrual period, and any article on which she sits becomes unclean just as during her menstrual period. 27 Anyone who touches them becomes unclean; that person shall wash his garments, bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.

28 When she becomes clean from her flow, she shall count seven days; after this she becomes clean. 29 On the eighth day she shall take two turtledoves or two pigeons and bring them to the priest at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 30 The priest shall offer one of them as a purification offering and the other as a burnt offering. Thus shall the priest make atonement before the Lord for her because of her unclean flow.

31 You shall warn the Israelites of their uncleanness, lest they die through their uncleanness by defiling my tabernacle, which is in their midst.

32 This is the ritual for the man with a discharge, or who has an emission of semen, and thereby becomes unclean; 33 as well as for the woman who has her menstrual period; or one who has a discharge, male or female; and also for the man who lies with an unclean woman.

Chapter 16

The Day of Atonement. [i]After the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died when they encroached on the Lord’s presence, the Lord spoke to Moses and said to him: Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he pleases[j] into the inner sanctuary, inside the veil, in front of the cover on the ark, lest he die, for I reveal myself in a cloud above the ark’s cover. Only in this way may Aaron enter the inner sanctuary. He shall bring a bull of the herd for a purification offering and a ram for a burnt offering. He shall wear the sacred linen tunic, with the linen pants underneath, gird himself with the linen sash and put on the linen turban. But since these vestments are sacred, he shall not put them on until he has first bathed his body in water. From the Israelite community he shall receive two male goats for a purification offering and one ram for a burnt offering.

Aaron shall offer the bull, his purification offering, to make atonement[k] for himself and for his household. Taking the two male goats and setting them before the Lord at the entrance of the tent of meeting, he shall cast lots to determine which one is for the Lord and which for Azazel.[l] The goat that is determined by lot for the Lord, Aaron shall present and offer up as a purification offering. 10 But the goat determined by lot for Azazel he shall place before the Lord alive, so that with it he may make atonement by sending it off to Azazel in the desert.

11 Thus shall Aaron offer his bull for the purification offering, to make atonement for himself and for his family. When he has slaughtered it, 12 he shall take a censer full of glowing embers from the altar before the Lord, as well as a double handful of finely ground fragrant incense, and bringing them inside the veil, 13 there before the Lord he shall put incense on the fire, so that a cloud of incense may shield the cover that is over the covenant, else he will die. 14 Taking some of the bull’s blood, he shall sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the ark’s cover and likewise sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times in front of the cover.

15 Then he shall slaughter the goat of the people’s purification offering, and bringing its blood inside the veil, he shall do with it as he did with the bull’s blood, sprinkling it on the ark’s cover and in front of it. 16 Thus he shall purge the inner sanctuary[m] of all the Israelites’ impurities and trespasses, including all their sins. He shall do the same for the tent of meeting, which is set up among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one else may be in the tent of meeting from the time he enters the inner sanctuary to make atonement until he departs. When he has made atonement for himself and his household, as well as for the whole Israelite assembly, 18 [n]he shall come out to the altar before the Lord and purge it also. Taking some of the bull’s and the goat’s blood, he shall put it on the horns around the altar, 19 and with his finger sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times. Thus he shall purify it and sanctify it from the impurities of the Israelites.

The Scapegoat. 20 When he has finished purging the inner sanctuary, the tent of meeting and the altar, Aaron shall bring forward the live goat. 21 Laying both hands[o] on its head, he shall confess over it all the iniquities of the Israelites and their trespasses, including all their sins, and so put them on the goat’s head. He shall then have it led into the wilderness by an attendant. 22 The goat will carry off all their iniquities to an isolated region.

When the goat is dispatched into the wilderness, 23 Aaron shall go into the tent of meeting, strip off the linen vestments he had put on when he entered the inner sanctuary, and leave them in the tent of meeting. 24 After bathing his body with water in a sacred place, he shall put on his regular vestments, and then come out and offer his own and the people’s burnt offering, in atonement for himself and for the people, 25 and also burn the fat of the purification offering on the altar.

26 The man who led away the goat for Azazel shall wash his garments and bathe his body in water; only then may he enter the camp. 27 The bull and the goat of the purification offering whose blood was brought to make atonement in the inner sanctuary, shall be taken outside the camp, where their hides and flesh and dung shall be burned in the fire. 28 The one who burns them shall wash his garments and bathe his body in water; only then may he enter the camp.

The Fast. 29 This shall be an everlasting statute for you: on the tenth day of the seventh month every one of you, whether a native or a resident alien, shall humble yourselves[p] and shall do no work. 30 For on this day atonement is made for you to make you clean; of all your sins you will be cleansed before the Lord. 31 It shall be a sabbath of complete rest for you, on which you must humble yourselves—an everlasting statute.

32 This atonement is to be made by the priest who has been anointed and ordained to the priesthood in succession to his father. He shall wear the linen garments, the sacred vestments, 33 and purge the most sacred part of the sanctuary, as well as the tent of meeting, and the altar. He shall also make atonement for the priests and all the people of the assembly. 34 This, then, shall be an everlasting statute for you: once a year atonement shall be made on behalf of the Israelites for all their sins. And Moses did as the Lord had commanded him.

Footnotes:

  1. 15:1–33 Sexual discharges may be unclean partly because they involve the loss of life fluids or are otherwise involved with phenomena at the margins of life and death.
  2. 15:2–3 The uncleanness here is perhaps a discharge of pus because of urethritis (often but not solely associated with gonorrhea).
  3. 15:3 Body: here a euphemism in the Hebrew for “penis.”
  4. 15:13 Becomes clean: i.e., when his discharge ceases. The rite that follows is for purification, not a cure; see note on 14:1–32.
  5. 15:16–18 Menstrual blood, semen, and other impurities in Lv 11–15 are considered “impure” either because they are force of life whose “loss” represents death or because, as uniquely human conditions, they are symbolically incompatible with the deity and the divine abode, the sanctuary. Lv 15:16 refers to a spontaneous nocturnal emission, and either because this marks life and death boundaries or because of its uniquely human (versus divine) character, any contact with it renders the object or person ritually unclean. Thus, in 15:18 it is not the marital act itself that is polluting, but only semen.
  6. 15:19–24 This is normal menstruation.
  7. 15:23 An object: the Hebrew is unclear. This translation means that even an object on the woman’s unclean bed or chair can mediate uncleanness to another, but only if all the object touched is still on the bed or article sat upon, thus forming a chain of simultaneous contact.
  8. 15:25–30 This is menstruation outside the normal cycle or for periods longer than normal. A woman with a chronic blood flow was healed by touching the tassel of Jesus’ cloak (Mt 9:20–22; Mk 5:25–34; Lk 8:43–48).
  9. 16:1–34 This is the narrative sequel of the story in chap. 10. The ritual in chapter 16 originally may have been an emergency rite in response to unexpected pollution of the sanctuary.
  10. 16:2 Not to come whenever he pleases: access to the various parts of the sanctuary is strictly controlled. Only the high priest can enter the most holy place, and only once a year. The veil: the Letter to the Hebrews makes use of the imagery of the Day of Atonement (in Hebrew Yom Kippur) to explain Jesus’ sacrifice (Hb 9:1–14, 23–28). Ark’s cover: the meaning of kappōret is not certain. It may be connected with the verb kipper “to atone, purge” (see note on v. 6) and thus refer to this part of the ark as a focus of atonement or purification.
  11. 16:6 Make atonement: the Hebrew verb kipper refers specifically to the removal of sin and impurity (cf. Ex 30:10; Lv 6:23; 8:15; 16:16, 18, 20, 27, 33; Ez 43:20, 26; 45:20), thus “to purge” in vv. 16, 18, 20, and 33, and more generally to the consequence of the sacrificial procedure, which is atonement (cf. Lv 17:11). “Atonement” is preeminently a function of the purification sacrifice, but other sacrifices, except apparently for the communion sacrifice, achieve this as well.
  12. 16:8 Azazel: a name for a demon (meaning something like “angry/fierce god”). See note on 17:7.
  13. 16:16 Inner sanctuary: this refers to the most holy room (vv. 2, 11–15). Trespasses, including all their sins: the term for “trespasses” (Heb. pesha‘im), which has overtones of rebellion, and the phrase “all their sins” indicate that even sins committed intentionally are included (such as when the sinner “acts defiantly,” as in Nm 15:30–31). This complements the scheme found in Lv 4 (see note on 4:3): intentional sins pollute the sanctuary more and penetrate even further than inadvertent sins, namely to the most holy place. The same for the tent of meeting: this rite may be that found in 4:5–7, 16–18 where blood is sprinkled in the anterior room and blood is placed on the horns of the incense altar there. Cf. Ex 30:10.
  14. 16:18–19 Thus a third locale in the sanctuary complex, the open-air altar, is purified. See the summaries in 16:20, 33.
  15. 16:21 Both hands: this gesture is for transferring sins to the head of the goat and is apparently different in meaning from the one-handed gesture that precedes the slaughtering of sacrificial animals (1:4; 3:2; 4:4; see note on 1:4).
  16. 16:29 Humble yourselves: also v. 31. The idiom used here (Heb. ’innâ nephesh) involves mainly fasting (Ps 35:13), but probably prohibits other activities such as anointing (Dn 10:3) and sexual intercourse (2 Sm 12:15–24). Such acts of self-denial display the need for divine favor. Fasting is often undertaken in times of emergency and mourning (cf. 1 Sm 14:24; 2 Sm 1:12; 3:35; cf. Mk 2:18–22).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 63 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 63[a]

Ardent Longing for God

A psalm of David, when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

I

O God, you are my God—
    it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
    for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
    and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary
    to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life;[b]
    my lips shall ever praise you!

II

I will bless you as long as I live;
    I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated as with choice food,
    with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
I think of you upon my bed,
    I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior,
    and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

III

10 But those who seek my life will come to ruin;
    they shall go down to the depths of the netherworld!
11     Those who would hand over my life to the sword shall
    become the prey of jackals!
12 But the king shall rejoice in God;
    all who swear by the Lord[c] shall exult,
    but the mouths of liars will be shut!

Footnotes:

  1. Psalm 63 A Psalm expressing the intimate relationship between God and the worshiper. Separated from God (Ps 63:2), the psalmist longs for the divine life given in the Temple (Ps 63:3–6), which is based on a close relationship with God (Ps 63:7–9). May all my enemies be destroyed and God’s true worshipers continue in giving praise (Ps 63:10–11)!
  2. 63:4 For your love is better than life: only here in the Old Testament is anything prized above life—in this case God’s love.
  3. 63:12 All who swear by the Lord: to swear by a particular god meant that one was a worshiper of that god (Is 45:23; 48:1; Zep 1:5).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Acts 4:23-37 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Prayer of the Community. 23 After their release they went back to their own people and reported what the chief priests and elders had told them. 24 And when they heard it, they raised their voices to God with one accord and said, “Sovereign Lord, maker of heaven and earth and the sea and all that is in them, 25 you said by the holy Spirit through the mouth of our father David, your servant:

‘Why did the Gentiles rage
    and the peoples entertain folly?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand
    and the princes gathered together
        against the Lord and against his anointed.’

27 Indeed they gathered in this city against your holy servant Jesus whom you anointed, Herod[a] and Pontius Pilate, together with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do what your hand and [your] will had long ago planned to take place. 29 And now, Lord, take note of their threats, and enable your servants to speak your word with all boldness, 30 as you stretch forth [your] hand to heal, and signs and wonders are done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” 31 [b]As they prayed, the place where they were gathered shook, and they were all filled with the holy Spirit and continued to speak the word of God with boldness.

Life in the Christian Community.[c] 32 The community of believers was of one heart and mind, and no one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they had everything in common. 33 With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all. 34 There was no needy person among them, for those who owned property or houses would sell them, bring the proceeds of the sale, 35 and put them at the feet of the apostles, and they were distributed to each according to need.

36 Thus Joseph, also named by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated “son of encouragement”), a Levite, a Cypriot by birth, 37 sold a piece of property that he owned, then brought the money and put it at the feet of the apostles.

Footnotes:

  1. 4:27 Herod: Herod Antipas, ruler of Galilee and Perea from 4 B.C. to A.D. 39, who executed John the Baptist and before whom Jesus was arraigned; cf. Lk 23:6–12.
  2. 4:31 The place…shook: the earthquake is used as a sign of the divine presence in Ex 19:18; Is 6:4. Here the shaking of the building symbolizes God’s favorable response to the prayer. Luke may have had as an additional reason for using the symbol in this sense the fact that it was familiar in the Hellenistic world. Ovid and Virgil also employ it.
  3. 4:32–37 This is the second summary characterizing the Jerusalem community (see note on Acts 2:42–47). It emphasizes the system of the distribution of goods and introduces Barnabas, who appears later in Acts as the friend and companion of Paul, and who, as noted here (Acts 4:37), endeared himself to the community by a donation of money through the sale of property. This sharing of material possessions continues a practice that Luke describes during the historical ministry of Jesus (Lk 8:3) and is in accord with the sayings of Jesus in Luke’s gospel (Lk 12:33; 16:9, 11, 13).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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