Leviticus 16-18 Common English Bible (CEB)
The Day of Reconciliation
16 After the death of Aaron’s two sons, which happened when they approached the Lord and died, the Lord spoke to Moses: 2 Tell your brother Aaron that he cannot come whenever he wants into the holy area inside the inner curtain, to the front of the cover[a] that is on the chest, or else he will die, because I am present[b] in the cloud above the cover. 3 No, but Aaron must enter the holy area as follows: with a bull from the herd as a purification offering and a ram as an entirely burned offering. 4 Aaron must dress in a holy linen tunic and wear linen undergarments on his body. He must tie a linen sash around himself and wrap a linen turban around his head. These are holy clothes—Aaron will first bathe his body in water and then put them on. 5 He will take from the Israelite community two male goats for a purification offering and one ram for an entirely burned offering.
6 Aaron will offer the bull as a purification offering to make reconciliation for himself and his household. 7 He will take the two male goats and place them before the Lord at the meeting tent’s entrance. 8 Aaron will cast lots over the two goats: one lot labeled “the Lord’s” and the other lot labeled “Azazel’s.”[c] 9 Aaron will present the goat selected by the Lord’s lot and perform a purification offering with it. 10 But the goat selected by Azazel’s lot will be left standing alive before the Lord in order to make reconciliation upon it[d] by sending it away into the wilderness to Azazel.
11 Aaron will offer the bull for his purification offering to make reconciliation for himself and his household. He will slaughter the bull for his purification offering. 12 Then he will take an incense pan full of burning coals from the altar, from before the Lord, and two handfuls of finely ground perfumed incense and bring them inside the inner curtain. 13 He will put the incense on the fire before the Lord so that the cloud of incense conceals the cover that is on top of the covenant document, or else he will die. 14 He will take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the cover from the east side. He will then sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times in front of the cover. 15 Then he will slaughter the goat for the people’s purification offering, bring the blood inside the inner curtain, and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: he will sprinkle it on the cover and in front of the cover. 16 In this way, he will make reconciliation for the inner holy area because of the pollution of the Israelites and because of their rebellious sins, as well as for all their other sins.
Aaron must do the same for the meeting tent, which is with them among their pollution. 17 No one can be in the meeting tent from the time Aaron enters to make reconciliation in the inner holy area until the time he comes out. He will make reconciliation for himself, for his household, and for the whole assembly of Israel.
18 Aaron will then go to the altar that is before the Lord and make reconciliation for it: He will take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on each of the altar’s horns. 19 He will sprinkle some of the blood on the altar with his finger seven times. In this way, he will purify it and make it holy again from the Israelites’ pollution.
20 When Aaron has finished reconciling the inner holy area, the rest of the meeting tent, and the altar, he will bring forward the live goat. 21 Aaron will press both his hands on its head and confess over it all the Israelites’ offenses and all their rebellious sins, as well as all their other sins, putting all these on the goat’s head. Then he will send it away into the wilderness with someone designated for the job.[e] 22 The goat will carry on itself all their offenses to a desolate region, then the goat will be released into the wild.
23 After this, Aaron will enter the meeting tent, take off the linen clothes he was wearing when he entered the inner holy area, and will leave them there. 24 He will bathe his body in water in a holy place and dress in his priestly clothing. Then he will go out and perform the entirely burned offerings for himself and for the people. In this way, he will make reconciliation for himself and for the people. 25 He will completely burn the fat of the purification offering on the altar. 26 The one who set the goat free for Azazel must wash their clothes and bathe their body in water; after that they can return to the camp. 27 The bull and the goat for the purification offerings, whose blood was brought in to make reconciliation in the inner holy area, will be taken outside the camp. Their hides, flesh, and dung will be burned with fire. 28 The person who burns them must wash their clothes and bathe their body in water; after that, they can return to the camp.
29 This will be a permanent rule for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month,[f] you must deny yourselves. You must not do any work—neither the citizen nor the immigrant who lives among you. 30 On that day reconciliation will be made for you in order to cleanse you. You will be clean before the Lord from all your sins. 31 It will be a Sabbath of special rest for you, and you will deny yourselves. This is a permanent rule.
Conclusion concerning the Day of Reconciliation
32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to serve as priest after his father will perform the reconciliation, wearing the holy linen clothes. 33 He will reconcile the holiest part of the sanctuary and will do the same for the meeting tent and the altar. He will make reconciliation for the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 34 This will be a permanent rule for you, in order to make reconciliation for the Israelites from all their sins once a year.
It was done just as the Lord commanded Moses.
Sacrifice at the sanctuary
17 The Lord said to Moses, 2 Say to Aaron, to his sons, and to all the Israelites: This is what the Lord has commanded: 3 Anyone from the house of Israel who slaughters an ox, sheep, or goat inside or outside the camp 4 but does not bring it to the meeting tent’s entrance to present it as an offering to the Lord in front of the Lord’s dwelling[g] will be considered guilty of bloodshed; they have spilled blood. They will be cut off from their people. 5 This will make the Israelites bring the communal sacrifices, which they are sacrificing in the countryside, to the Lord, to the priest at the meeting tent’s entrance, and sacrifice them as communal sacrifices of well-being to the Lord. 6 The priest will toss the blood against the Lord’s altar at the meeting tent’s entrance and burn the fat completely as a soothing smell to the Lord. 7 The Israelites must no longer sacrifice their communal sacrifices to the goat demons that they follow so faithlessly.[h] This will be a permanent rule for them throughout their future generations. 8 You will also say to them: Anyone from Israel’s house or from the immigrants who live with you who offers up an entirely burned offering or communal sacrifice 9 without bringing it to the meeting tent’s entrance in order to offer it to the Lord will be cut off from their people.
Consuming blood forbidden
10 I will oppose the person who consumes blood—whether they are from Israel’s house or from the immigrants who live with you—and I will cut them off from their people. 11 A creature’s life is in the blood. I have provided you the blood to make reconciliation for your lives on the altar, because the blood reconciles by means of the life.[i] 12 That is why I have told the Israelites: No one among you can consume blood, nor can the immigrant who lives with you consume blood.
13 Anyone who hunts any animal or bird that can be eaten—whether the hunter is an Israelite or an immigrant who lives with you—must drain its blood out and cover it with dirt. 14 Again: for every creature’s life, its blood is its life. That is why I have told the Israelites: You must not consume any creature’s blood because every creature’s life is its blood. Anyone who consumes it will be cut off.
15 Anyone, whether citizen or immigrant, who eats an animal that has died naturally or that was killed by another animal, must wash their clothes, bathe in water, and will be unclean until evening. At that time, they will be clean again. 16 If they do not wash or bathe their body, they will be liable to punishment.
18 The Lord said to Moses, 2 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: I am the Lord your God. 3 You must not do things like they are done in the land of Egypt, where you used to live. And you must not do things like they are done in the land of Canaan, where I am bringing you. You must not follow the practices[j] of those places. 4 No, my regulations and my rules are the ones you must keep by following them: I am the Lord your God. 5 You must keep my rules and my regulations; by doing them one will live; I am the Lord.
6 No one is allowed to approach any blood relative for sexual contact:[k] I am the Lord. 7 You must not uncover your father’s nakedness, which is your mother’s nakedness. She is your mother; you must not have sexual contact with her. 8 You must not uncover the nakedness of your father’s wife; it is your father’s nakedness. 9 You must not have sexual contact with your sister—regardless of whether she is your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether born into the same household as you or outside it. 10 You must not have sexual contact with your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, because their nakedness is your own nakedness.[l] 11 You must not have sexual contact with the daughter of your father’s wife, who was born into your father’s family; she is your sister. 12 You must not have sexual contact with your father’s sister; she is your father’s blood relative. 13 You must not have sexual contact with your mother’s sister because she is your mother’s blood relative. 14 You will not uncover the nakedness of your father’s brother—that is, you will not approach his wife for sex; she is your aunt. 15 You must not have sexual contact with your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife. You must not have sexual contact with her. 16 You will not uncover the nakedness of your brother’s wife; it is your brother’s nakedness.
17 You must not have sexual contact with a woman and her daughter. You will not marry her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, thereby uncovering her nakedness. They are her blood relatives; it is shameful. 18 You must not marry your wife’s sister as a rival and have sexual contact with her while her sister is alive. 19 You must not approach a woman for sexual contact during her menstrual uncleanness. 20 You must not have sexual relations with the wife of your fellow Israelite, becoming unclean by it.
21 You must not give any of your children[m] to offer them over to Molech so that you do not defile your God’s name: I am the Lord. 22 You must not have sexual intercourse with a man as you would with a woman; it is a detestable practice. 23 You will not have sexual relations with any animal, becoming unclean by it. Nor will a woman present herself before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.
Warning against uncleanness and moral pollution
24 Do not make yourselves unclean in any of these ways because that is how the nations that I am throwing out before you became unclean. 25 That is also how the land became unclean, and I held it liable for punishment, and the land vomited out its inhabitants. 26 But all of you must keep my rules and my regulations. You must not do any of these detestable things, neither citizen nor immigrant who lives with you (27 because the people who had the land before you did all of these detestable things and the land became unclean), 28 so that the land does not vomit you out because you have made it unclean, just as it vomited out the nations that were before you. 29 Anyone who does any of these detestable things will be cut off from their people. 30 You must keep my requirement of not doing any of the detestable practices[n] that were done before you arrived so that you don’t make yourselves unclean by them; I am the Lord your God.