Leviticus 16 The Voice (VOICE)
16 The Eternal One spoke to Moses after Aaron’s two sons died from entering into the Eternal’s presence.[a]
Eternal One (to Moses): 2 Go, talk to Aaron, and warn him that he cannot go whenever he wants beyond the veil to the holy place before the seat of mercy that covers the covenant chest. If he does, he will lose his life because I will appear in the cloud above the seat of mercy. 3 Instead, he may enter into the holy place with a bull from the herd for the purification offering for sin and a ram for the burnt offering. 4 Aaron will wash himself with water and then put on his sacred garments: the linen underclothes and the sacred linen tunic. He will tie the linen sash around his waist and put on his linen turban. 5 From the community of My people Israel, he will take two male goats as a purification offering for sin and a ram as a burnt offering. 6 Aaron will present the bull as a purification offering to cover himself and his family. 7 Then he will take the two goats and present them to Me at the entrance of the congregation tent. 8 There he will cast lots for the goats: one lot for Me and one lot for the scapegoat. 9 Whichever goat My lot falls upon, Aaron will offer that goat as a purification offering for sin. 10 Whichever goat the scapegoat’s lot falls upon, Aaron will keep it alive, bring it before Me as a covering for the people, and set it free into the wilderness.
There are two goats for the annual Day of Atonement. Lots are cast—perhaps the Urim and the Thummim—to see which goat is slaughtered for Israel’s purification before God and which goat is released into the desert. The meaning of the Hebrew term Azazel is translated “scapegoat” but is uncertain; Azazel may refer to the name of a wilderness demon or a place in the desert, or it may simply refer to the goat that takes Israel’s sin deep into the desert, that is, “scapegoat.”
Eternal One: 11 Aaron will offer the bull for the purification offering to cover his and his family’s sins; and he will slaughter it himself. 12 He will gather embers from My altar in a censer and also two handfuls of the finest, sweetest crushed incense and take it behind the veil.
13 He is to place the incense on the embers in My presence so that the cloud of incense engulfs the seat of mercy—where sins are atoned—on the covenant chest, so he will not die. 14 He must also dip his finger into the bull’s blood and sprinkle it on the east side of the seat of mercy; in all he is to sprinkle the blood seven times in front of the seat of mercy.
15 He will then slaughter the goat for the purification offering on behalf of the community’s sin, take its blood behind the veil, and do the same thing with it that he did with the bull’s blood. He will sprinkle it on and in front of the seat of mercy. 16 This is how he will cover the impurities of the sanctuary because the impurities, rebellion, and sin of the people of Israel have defiled it. He will perform the same ritual for the congregation tent since it stands in the heart of their uncleanness. 17 When the high priest enters the sanctuary to cover the impurities in the sacred space, no one else is allowed inside the tent until he comes outside again after atoning for himself, his family, and the entire community of Israel.
18 Then the priest will approach the altar that sits in My presence and cover any impurity it has by taking some of the bull’s and goat’s blood and placing it around the four horns of the altar. 19 Then he must sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times in order to purify it from the Israelites’ impurities and set it apart for My holy purposes.
20 When the priest has finished covering the impurities in the sanctuary, the entire congregation tent, and the altar, he must then present the living goat, the scapegoat. 21-22 Aaron will place both his hands on the goat’s head and confess aloud over it all the guilt, rebellion, and wrongdoings of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the sins of the people onto the goat’s head; then another man who has been selected for this special task will drive the goat into the wilderness. When the man releases the goat into the desert, it will carry all the offenses of God’s people away into the desolate wastelands.
23 Afterward, Aaron will enter the congregation tent, remove all of the linen clothing he put on when he entered, and leave them there. 24 He will wash himself with water in the sacred space, dress himself in his normal, priestly clothes, and present his own burnt offering and the burnt offering for the community to atone for himself and the community. 25 Then on the altar, he must offer up the fat of the purification offering as smoke. 26 As for the man who let the scapegoat go free, he must wash his clothes and bathe in water, and then he may reenter the community. 27 The remains of the bull and goat whose blood was used to purify the sacred space will be carried outside the camp. Their skins, meat, and dung must be burned up completely in a fire. 28 Whoever does the burning must wash his clothes and bathe in water, and then he may reenter the community.
29 This directive stands for all time: on the tenth day of the seventh month, all of you must humble yourselves and do no work—all native-born children of Israel as well as outsiders living among you. 30 This must be a day when the high priest comes before Me to cover your sins and cleanse you from all your impurities. 31 This day will be a Sabbath of sacred rest for you and you are to humble yourselves. This directive stands for all time. 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained as high priest—succeeding his father Aaron—is to make atonement and thereby cover the sins of the people. He will clothe himself in the sacred linen garments 33 and cover the impurities of the sanctuary, the congregation tent, and the altar. He will cover the priests and the entire community. 34 This directive stands for all time: atone for the sins of My people Israel once every year.
Moses did exactly what the Eternal commanded him.
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