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1-3 The Lord spoke to Moses from the sacred tent and gave him instructions for the community of Israel to follow when they offered sacrifices.

Sacrifices To Please the Lord

The Lord said:

Sacrifices to please me[a] must be completely burned on the bronze altar.[b]

Bulls or rams or goats[c] are the animals to be used for these sacrifices. If the animal is a bull, it must not have anything wrong with it. Lead it to the entrance of the sacred tent, and I will let you know if it is[d] acceptable to me. Lay your hand on its head, and I will accept the animal as a sacrifice for taking away your sins.

After the bull is killed in my presence, some priests from Aaron’s family will offer its blood to me by splattering it against the four sides of the altar.

Skin the bull and cut it up, while the priests pile wood on the altar fire to make it start blazing. 8-9 Wash the bull’s insides and hind legs, so the priests can lay them on the altar with the head, the fat, and the rest of the animal. A priest will then send all of it up in smoke with a smell that pleases me.

10 If you sacrifice a ram or a goat, it must not have anything wrong with it. 11 Lead the animal to the north side of the altar, where it is to be killed in my presence. Then some of the priests will splatter its blood against the four sides of the altar.

12-13 Cut up the animal and wash its insides and hind legs. A priest will put these parts on the altar with the head, the fat, and the rest of the animal. Then he will send all of it up in smoke with a smell that pleases me.

14 If you offer a bird for this kind of sacrifice, it must be a dove or a pigeon. 15 A priest will take the bird to the bronze altar, where he will wring its neck and put its head on the fire. Then he will drain out its blood on one side of the altar, 16 remove the bird’s craw with what is in it,[e] and throw them on the ash heap at the east side of the altar.[f] 17 Finally, he will take the bird by its wings, tear it partially open,[g] and send it up in smoke with a smell that pleases me.

Sacrifices To Give Thanks to the Lord

The Lord said:

When you offer sacrifices to give thanks to me,[h] you must use only your finest flour. Put it in a dish, sprinkle olive oil and incense on the flour, and take it to the priests from Aaron’s family. One of them will scoop up the incense together with a handful of the flour and oil. Then, to show that the whole offering belongs to me, the priest will lay this part on the bronze altar and send it up in smoke with a smell that pleases me. The rest of this sacrifice is for the priests; it is very holy because it was offered to me.

If you bake bread in an oven for this sacrifice, use only your finest flour, but without any yeast. You may make the flour into a loaf mixed with olive oil, or you may make it into thin wafers and brush them with oil.

If you cook bread in a shallow pan for this sacrifice, use only your finest flour. Mix it with olive oil, but do not use any yeast. Then break the bread into small pieces and sprinkle them with oil. If you cook your bread in a pan with a lid on it, you must also use the finest flour mixed with oil.

You may prepare sacrifices to give thanks in any of these three ways. Bring your sacrifice to a priest, and he will take it to the bronze altar. Then, to show that the whole offering belongs to me, the priest will lay part of it on the altar and send it up in smoke with a smell that pleases me. 10 The rest of this sacrifice is for the priests; it is very holy because it was offered to me.

11 Yeast and honey must never be burned on the altar, so don’t ever mix either of these in a grain sacrifice. 12 You may offer either of them separately,[i] when you present the first part of your harvest to me, but they must never be burned on the altar.

13 Salt is offered when you make an agreement with me, so sprinkle salt on these sacrifices.

14 Freshly cut grain, either roasted or coarsely ground,[j] must be used when you offer the first part of your grain harvest. 15 You must mix in some olive oil and put incense on top, because this is a grain sacrifice. 16 A priest will sprinkle all of the incense and some of the grain and oil on the altar and send them up in smoke to show that the whole offering belongs to me.

Sacrifices To Ask the Lord’s Blessing

The Lord said:

When you offer sacrifices to ask my blessing,[k] you may offer either a bull or a cow, but there must be nothing wrong with the animal. Lead it to the entrance of the sacred tent, lay your hand on its head, and have it killed there. A priest from Aaron’s family will splatter its blood against the four sides of the altar.

Offer all of the fat on the animal’s insides, as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat. Some of the priests will lay these pieces on the altar and send them up in smoke with a smell that pleases me, together with the sacrifice that is offered to please me.[l]

Instead of a bull or a cow, you may offer any sheep or goat that has nothing wrong with it. If you offer a sheep, you must present it to me at the entrance to the sacred tent. Lay your hand on its head and have it killed there. A priest will then splatter its blood against the four sides of the altar.

Offer the fat on the tail, the tailbone, and the insides, 10 as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat. 11 One of the priests will lay these pieces on the altar and send them up in smoke as a food offering for me.

12 If you offer a goat, you must also present it to me 13 at the entrance to the sacred tent. Lay your hand on its head and have it killed there. A priest will then splatter its blood against the four sides of the altar.

14 Offer all of the fat on the animal’s insides, 15 as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat. 16 One of the priests will put these pieces on the altar and send them up in smoke as a food offering with a smell that pleases me.

All fat belongs to me. 17 So you and your descendants must never eat any fat or any blood, not even in the privacy of your own homes.[m] This law will never change.

Sacrifices for Sin

The Lord told Moses to say to the community of Israel:

Offer a sacrifice to ask forgiveness when you sin by accidentally doing something I have told you not to do.

When the High Priest Sins

The Lord said:

When the high priest sins, he makes everyone else guilty too. And so, he must sacrifice a young bull that has nothing wrong with it. The priest will lead the bull to the entrance of the sacred tent, lay his hand on its head, and kill it there. He will take a bowl of the blood inside the tent, dip a finger in the blood, and sprinkle some of it seven times toward the sacred chest behind the curtain. Then, in my presence, he will smear some of the blood on each of the four corners of the incense altar, before pouring out the rest at the foot of the bronze altar[n] near the entrance to the tent.

8-10 The priest will remove the fat from the bull, just as he does when he sacrifices a bull to ask my blessing.[o] This includes the fat on the insides, as well as the lower part of the liver and the two kidneys with their fat. He will then send it all up in smoke.

11-12 The skin and flesh of the bull, together with its legs, insides, and the food still in its stomach, are to be taken outside the camp and burned on a wood fire near the ash heap.[p]

When the Whole Nation Sins

The Lord said:

13 When the nation of Israel disobeys me without meaning to, the whole nation is still guilty. 14 Once you realize what has happened, you must sacrifice a young bull to ask my forgiveness. Lead the bull to the entrance of the sacred tent, 15 where your tribal leaders will lay their hands on its head, before having it killed in my presence.

16 The priest will take a bowl of the animal’s blood inside the sacred tent, 17 dip a finger in the blood, and sprinkle some of it seven times toward the sacred chest behind the curtain. 18 Then, in my presence, he must smear some of the blood on each of the four corners of the incense altar, before pouring out the rest at the foot of the bronze altar[q] near the entrance to the tent. 19-21 After this, the priest will remove the fat from the bull and send it up in smoke on the altar. Finally, he will burn its remains outside the camp, just as he did with the other bull. By this sacrifice the sin of the whole nation will be forgiven.

When a Tribal Leader Sins

The Lord God said:

22 Any tribal leader who disobeys me without meaning to is still guilty. 23 As soon as the leader realizes what has happened, he must sacrifice a goat[r] that has nothing wrong with it. 24 This is a sacrifice for sin. So he will lay his hand on the animal’s head, before having it killed in my presence at the north side of the bronze altar. 25 The priest will dip a finger in the blood, smear some of it on each of the four corners of the altar, and pour out the rest at the foot of the altar. 26 Then he must send all of the fat up in smoke, just as he does when a sacrifice is offered to ask my blessing.[s] By this sacrifice the leader’s sin will be forgiven.

When Ordinary People Sin

The Lord said:

27 When any of you ordinary people disobey me without meaning to, you are still guilty. 28 As soon as you realize what you have done, you must sacrifice a female goat that has nothing wrong with it. 29 Lead the goat to the north side of the bronze altar and lay your hand on its head, before having it killed. 30 Then a priest will dip a finger in the blood; he will smear some of it on each of the four corners of the altar and pour out the rest at the foot of the altar. 31 After this, the priest will remove all of the fat, just as he does when an animal is sacrificed to ask my blessing.[t] The priest will then send the fat up in smoke with a smell that pleases me. This animal is sacrificed so that I will forgive you ordinary people when you sin.

32 If you offer a lamb instead of a goat as a sacrifice for sin, it must be a female that has nothing wrong with it. 33 Lead the lamb to the altar and lay your hand on its head, before having it killed. 34 The priest will dip a finger in the blood, smear some of it on each of the four corners of the altar, and pour out the rest at the foot of the altar. 35 After this, all of the fat must be removed, just as when an animal is sacrificed to ask my blessing. Then the priest will send it up in smoke to me, together with a food offering, and your sin will be forgiven.

Footnotes

  1. 1.1-3 Sacrifices to please me: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “whole burnt offerings” because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such sacrifices was to please the Lord with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV they are often called “sacrifices to please the Lord.”
  2. 1.1-3 bronze altar: This altar for offering sacrifices was in front of the entrance to the sacred tent; it was made of acacia wood covered with bronze. A smaller altar for offering incense was inside the tent; it was made of acacia wood covered with gold.
  3. 1.1-3 goats: Hebrew “male goats.”
  4. 1.1-3 if it is: Or “if you are.”
  5. 1.16 with what is in it: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  6. 1.16 ash heap at the east side of the altar: Ashes were piled here, then once a day they were taken to the ash heap outside the camp (see 4.11,12; 6.10,11).
  7. 1.17 tear it partially open: Or “tear it open without pulling off the wings.”
  8. 2.1 sacrifices to give thanks to me: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “grain offerings.” A main purpose of such sacrifices was to thank the Lord with a gift of grain, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called “sacrifices to give thanks to the Lord.”
  9. 2.12 You. . . separately: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 2.14 either. . . ground: Or “roasted and coarsely ground.”
  11. 3.1 sacrifices to ask my blessing: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “peace offerings” or “offerings of well-being.” A main purpose was to ask for the Lord’s blessing, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called “sacrifices to ask the Lord’s blessing.”
  12. 3.5 sacrifice. . . to please me: See the note at 1.1-3.
  13. 3.17 not even. . . homes: Or “no matter where you live.”
  14. 4.7 incense altar. . . bronze altar: See the note at 1.1-3.
  15. 4.8-10 to ask my blessing: See the note at 3.1.
  16. 4.11,12 ash heap: See the note at 1.16.
  17. 4.18 incense altar. . . bronze altar: See the note at 1.1-3.
  18. 4.23 goat: See the note at 1.1-3.
  19. 4.26,31 sacrifice. . . blessing: See the note at 3.1.
  20. 4.26,31 sacrifice. . . blessing: See the note at 3.1.

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