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Leviticus 4:1-5:13 Common English Bible (CEB)

The purification offering

The Lord said to Moses, Say to the Israelites: Do the following whenever someone sins unintentionally against any of the Lord’s commands, doing something that shouldn’t be done:

If it is the anointed priest who has sinned, making the people guilty of sin, he must present to the Lord a flawless bull from the herd as a purification offering[a] for the sin he has committed. He will bring the bull before the Lord at the entrance to the meeting tent and press his hand on the bull’s head. Then he will slaughter the bull before the Lord. The anointed priest will take some of the bull’s blood and take it into the meeting tent. The priest will dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord, toward the sanctuary’s inner curtain. Then the priest will put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of perfumed incense, which is in the meeting tent before the Lord. But he will pour out all the rest of the bull’s blood at the base of the altar of entirely burned offerings, which is at the meeting tent’s entrance. Then he will remove all the fat from the bull for the purification offering: the fat that covers and surrounds the insides; the two kidneys and the fat around them at the loins; and the lobe on the liver, which he will remove with the kidneys, 10 just as this is removed from the ox for the communal sacrifice of well-being. Then the priest will completely burn these on the altar of entirely burned offerings. 11 But the bull’s hide and all of its flesh, along with its head, lower legs, entrails, and dung— 12 all that remains of the bull—will be taken to a clean location outside the camp, to the ash heap. It should be burned there at the ash heap on a wood fire.

13 If it is the entire Israelite community that has done something wrong unintentionally and the deed escapes the assembly’s notice—but they’ve done something that shouldn’t be done in violation of the Lord’s commands, becoming guilty of sin— 14 once the sin that they committed becomes known, the assembly must present a bull from the herd as a purification offering. They will bring it before the meeting tent. 15 The community elders will press their hands on the bull’s head before the Lord and then slaughter it before the Lord. 16 The anointed priest will take some of the bull’s blood into the meeting tent. 17 The priest will dip his finger into the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord toward the inner curtain. 18 Then he will put some of the blood on the horns of the altar that is before the Lord in the meeting tent. But he will pour all the rest of the blood out at the base of the altar of entirely burned offerings that is at the meeting tent’s entrance. 19 Then he will remove all the fat from it and completely burn it on the altar. 20 He will do the same with this bull as he did with the other bull for the purification offering; that is exactly what he must do. In this way, the priest will make reconciliation for them, and they will be forgiven. 21 Then the priest will take the bull outside the camp and burn it, just as the first bull was burned. It is the purification offering for the assembly.

22 If a leader sins by unintentionally breaking any of the commands of the Lord his God, doing something that shouldn’t be done, and becomes guilty of sin— 23 once the sin that he committed is made known to him—he must bring as his offering a flawless male goat. 24 He will press his hand on the goat’s head. It will be slaughtered[b] at the place where an entirely burned offering would be slaughtered before the Lord. It is a purification offering. 25 The priest will take some of the blood from the purification offering and, using his finger, will put it on the horns of the altar of entirely burned offerings. But he will pour the rest of the blood out at the base of the altar of entirely burned offerings. 26 He will completely burn all of its fat on the altar just as the fat of the communal sacrifice of well-being is burned. In this way the priest will make reconciliation for the leader to remove his sin, and he will be forgiven.

27 If any ordinary person[c] sins unintentionally by breaking one of the Lord’s commands, doing something that shouldn’t be done, and becomes guilty of sin— 28 once the sin they committed is made known to them—they must bring as their offering a flawless female goat because of the sin that was committed. 29 They will press their hand on the head of the purification offering. It will be slaughtered[d] at the place for the entirely burned offerings. 30 The priest will take some of its blood and, using his finger, will put it on the horns of the altar of entirely burned offerings. But he will pour all the rest of the blood out at the base of the altar. 31 He will remove all of its fat, just as the fat from a communal sacrifice of well-being is removed. Then the priest will completely burn it on the altar as a soothing smell to the Lord. In this way, the priest will make reconciliation for them, and they will be forgiven.

32 If you offer a sheep as a purification offering, it must be a flawless female. 33 You must press your hand on the head of the purification offering. It will be slaughtered[e] as a purification offering in the place where the entirely burned offering is slaughtered. 34 Then the priest will take some of the blood from the purification offering and, using his finger, will put it on the horns of the altar of entirely burned offerings. But he will pour all the rest of the blood out at the base of the altar. 35 He will remove all of its fat, just as the fat of a sheep would be removed from the communal sacrifice of well-being. Then the priest will completely burn it on the altar along with the Lord’s food gifts. In this way, the priest will make reconciliation for you for the sin you committed, and you will be forgiven.

Unintentional sin

If you sin:

by not providing information after hearing a public solemn pledge even though you are a witness, knowing something, or having seen something so that you become liable to punishment;

or by touching some unclean thing—the dead body of an unclean wild animal, unclean livestock, or unclean swarming creature—but the fact goes unknown so that you become unclean and guilty of sin;

or by touching human uncleanness—any uncleanness that makes one unclean—and the fact goes unknown, but you later learn of it and become guilty of sin;

or by carelessly swearing to do something, whether bad or good—whatever one might swear carelessly—and the fact goes unknown, but you later learn of it and become guilty of sin concerning one of these things—

at that point, when you have become guilty of sin in one of these ways, you must confess how you have sinned and bring to the Lord as compensation for the sin that was committed a female from the flock, either a sheep or goat, as a purification offering. The priest will then make reconciliation for you, to remove your sin.

Alternative offerings

If you can’t afford an animal from the flock, you can bring to the Lord as compensation for your sin two doves or two pigeons, one as a purification offering and the other as an entirely burned offering. You will bring them to the priest, who will first present the one for the purification offering. He will pinch off its head at the back of its neck without splitting it. Then he will sprinkle some of the blood of the purification offering on the side of the altar. The rest of the blood will be drained out at the base of the altar. It is a purification offering. 10 Then, with the second bird, the priest will perform an entirely burned offering according to the regulation. In this way, the priest will make reconciliation for you because of the sin you committed, and you will be forgiven.

11 If you cannot afford two doves or two pigeons, you can bring as the offering for your sin a tenth of an ephah[f] of choice flour as a purification offering. You must not put any oil on it, nor any frankincense, because it is a purification offering. 12 You will bring it to the priest, and the priest will take a handful from it—the token portion—and will burn it completely on the altar along with the food gifts for the Lord. It is a purification offering. 13 In this way, the priest will make reconciliation for you for whichever one of the sins you committed, and you will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest like the grain offering.

Footnotes:

  1. Leviticus 4:3 Or sin offering (Heb hatta’t, which recurs frequently in Leviticus)
  2. Leviticus 4:24 Or He will slaughter it … where he would slaughter
  3. Leviticus 4:27 Or one of the people of the land
  4. Leviticus 4:29 Or They will slaughter it.
  5. Leviticus 4:33 Or You will slaughter it.
  6. Leviticus 5:11 Two quarts; one ephah is approximately twenty quarts dry.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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