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Leviticus 16Amplified Bible (AMP)

Law of Atonement

16 Then the Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who had died when they [irreverently] approached the presence of the Lord. The Lord said to Moses,

“Tell Aaron your brother that he [a]must not enter at any time into the Holy Place inside the veil (the Holy of Holies), before the [b]mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die, for I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat. Aaron [as high priest] shall enter the Holy Place in this way: with [the blood of] a young bull as a sin offering and [the blood of] a ram as a burnt offering. He shall put on the holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be belted with the linen sash, and dressed with the linen turban (these are the holy garments). He shall bathe his body in water and put them on. He shall take from the congregation of the Israelites [at their expense] two male goats as a sin offering and one ram as a burnt offering. Then Aaron shall present the bull as the sin offering for himself, and make atonement for himself and for his house. He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord, the other lot for the [c]scapegoat. Then Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell and offer it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat on which the lot fell for the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement on it; it shall be sent into the wilderness as the scapegoat.

11 “Aaron shall present the bull as the sin offering for himself and make atonement for himself and for his household (the other priests), and he shall kill the bull as the sin offering for himself. 12 He shall take a censer full of burning coals from the [bronze] altar before the Lord, and two handfuls of finely ground sweet incense, and bring it inside the veil [into the Most Holy Place], 13 and put the incense on the fire [in the censer] before the Lord, so that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is on [the ark of] the Testimony, otherwise he will die. 14 He shall take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the east side of the mercy seat; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.

15 “Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering that is for [the sins of] the people and bring its blood within the veil [into the Most Holy Place] and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat. 16 So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place (Holy of Holies) because of the uncleanness and transgressions of the Israelites, for all their sins. He shall also do this for the Tent of Meeting which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness (impurities). 17 There shall be no person in the Tent of Meeting when the high priest goes in to make atonement in the Holy Place [within the veil] until he comes out, so that he may make atonement for himself (his own sins) and for his household and for all the congregation of Israel. 18 Then he shall go out to the altar [of burnt offering in the court] which is before the Lord and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the goat and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides. 19 With his finger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on the altar of burnt offering seven times and cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

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 of his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the wickedness of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat [the scapegoat, the sin-bearer], and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who is prepared [for the task]. 22 The goat shall carry on itself all their (the Israelites) wickedness, carrying them to a solitary (infertile) land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.

23 “Then Aaron shall come into the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy Place (Holy of Holies), and shall leave them there. 24 He shall bathe his body with water in a holy place and put on his clothes, and come out and offer his burnt offering and that of the people, and make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 And he shall offer up in smoke the fat of the sin offering on the altar. 26 The man who released the goat as the [sin-bearing] scapegoat shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. 27 The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy Place (Holy of Holies), shall be taken outside the camp; their skins, their meat, and their waste shall be burned in the fire. 28 Then he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water, and afterward he may come into the camp.

An Annual Atonement

29 “This shall be a permanent statute for you: in the seventh month (nearly October) on the tenth day of the month you shall [d]humble yourselves [by fasting] and not do any work, whether the native-born or the stranger who lives temporarily among you; 30 for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord. 31 It is a Sabbath of solemn rest for you, and you shall humble yourselves; it is a permanent statute. 32 So the priest who is anointed and ordained to serve and minister as priest in his father’s place shall make atonement: he shall wear the holy linen garments, 33 and make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the Tent of Meeting, and for the altar [of burnt offering in the court]. He shall also make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 This shall be a permanent statute for you, so that atonement may be made for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.” So he did just as the Lord had commanded Moses.

Footnotes:

  1. Leviticus 16:2 The high priest was permitted to enter the Most Holy Place only once a year. The Day of Atonement was the most sacred of all the festivals and the prescribed purpose of this inclusive sacrifice was to atone for the sins of both the nation and the individual believer, and in this way reconcile God’s chosen people to Himself. Only by carefully following all of God’s instructions, could the high priest enter God’s presence and live.
  2. Leviticus 16:2 Lit propitiatory.
  3. Leviticus 16:8 Lit goat of removal, or else a name, Heb: Azazel. This goat’s release (v 10) symbolized the carrying away of Israel’s sin.
  4. Leviticus 16:29 It is assumed by many that humbling oneself is a reference to fasting, but if so, there is no reason to limit the idea to that. The rabbis taught that it was forbidden to eat, drink, wash, anoint oneself (with oil for the hair), put on footwear, or have marital relations. Fasting was defined as eating less than the volume of a large date and drinking less than a mouthful of liquid.
Amplified Bible (AMP)

Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Leviticus 16New International Version (NIV)

The Day of Atonement

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

“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering[a] and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats 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. 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 for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat.[b] 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 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, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense 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 above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die. 14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood 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.

15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place 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, 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 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. 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.

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. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess 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 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 he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. 24 He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; 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; 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.

29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves[c] and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 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.

34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year 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
New International Version (NIV)

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