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Leviticus 1-5 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Ritual of Sacrifices

A. Instructions for the Israelites

Chapter 1

Burnt Offerings. The Lord called Moses, and spoke to him from the tent of meeting: Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When any one of you[a] brings an offering of livestock to the Lord, you shall bring your offering from the herd or from the flock.

[b]If a person’s offering is a burnt offering[c] from the herd, the offering must be a male without blemish. The individual shall bring it to the entrance of the tent of meeting to find favor with the Lord, and shall lay a hand[d] on the head of the burnt offering, so that it may be acceptable to make atonement for the one who offers it. The bull shall then be slaughtered[e] before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall offer its blood by splashing it on all the sides of the altar which is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Then the burnt offering shall be flayed and cut into pieces. After Aaron’s sons, the priests, have put burning embers on the altar and laid wood on them, they shall lay the pieces of meat, together with the head and the suet, on top of the wood and the embers on the altar; but the inner organs and the shanks shall be washed with water. The priest shall then burn all of it on the altar as a burnt offering, a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord.

10 If a person’s burnt offering is from the flock, that is, a sheep or a goat, the offering must be a male without blemish. 11 It shall be slaughtered on the north side of the altar before the Lord, and Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall splash its blood on all the sides of the altar. 12 When it has been cut into pieces, the priest shall lay these, together with the head and suet, on top of the wood and the embers on the altar; 13 but the inner organs and the shanks shall be washed with water. The priest shall then offer all of it, burning it on the altar. It is a burnt offering, a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord.

14 If a person offers a bird as a burnt offering to the Lord, the offering brought must be a turtledove or a pigeon. 15 Having brought it to the altar, the priest shall wring its head off and burn it on the altar. The blood shall be drained out against the side of the altar. 16 He shall remove its crissum[f] by means of its feathers and throw it on the ash heap at the east side of the altar. 17 Then, having torn the bird open by its wings without separating the halves, the priest shall burn it on the altar, on the wood and the embers. It is a burnt offering, a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord.

Chapter 2

Grain Offerings. [g]When anyone brings a grain offering to the Lord, the offering must consist of bran flour. The offerer shall pour oil on it and put frankincense over it, and bring it to Aaron’s sons, the priests. A priest shall take a handful of the bran flour and oil, together with all the frankincense, and shall burn it on the altar as a token of the offering,[h] a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons, a most holy portion from the oblations to the Lord.

When you offer a grain offering baked in an oven, it must be in the form of unleavened cakes made of bran flour mixed with oil, or of unleavened wafers spread with oil. If your offering is a grain offering that is fried on a griddle, it must be of bran flour mixed with oil and unleavened. Break it into pieces, and pour oil over it. It is a grain offering. If your offering is a grain offering that is prepared in a pan, it must be made of bran flour, fried in oil. A grain offering that is made in any of these ways you shall bring to the Lord. It shall be presented to the priest, who shall take it to the altar. The priest shall then remove from the grain offering a token and burn it on the altar as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord. 10 The rest of the grain offering belongs to Aaron and his sons, a most holy portion from the oblations to the Lord.

11 [i]Every grain offering that you present to the Lord shall be unleavened, for you shall not burn any leaven or honey as an oblation to the Lord. 12 Such you may present to the Lord in the offering of the first produce that is processed, but they are not to be placed on the altar for a pleasing odor. 13 You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not let the salt of the covenant with your God[j] be lacking from your grain offering. On every offering you shall offer salt.

14 If you offer a grain offering of first ripe fruits to the Lord, you shall offer it in the form of fresh early grain, roasted by fire and crushed as a grain offering of your first ripe fruits. 15 You shall put oil on it and set frankincense on it. It is a grain offering. 16 The priest shall then burn some of the groats and oil, together with all the frankincense, as a token of the offering, an oblation to the Lord.

Chapter 3

Communion Sacrifices. [k]If a person’s offering is a communion sacrifice, if it is brought from the herd, be it a male or a female animal, it must be presented without blemish before the Lord. The one offering it shall lay a hand on the head of the offering. It shall then be slaughtered at the entrance of the tent of meeting. Aaron’s sons, the priests, shall splash its blood on all the sides of the altar. From the communion sacrifice the individual shall offer as an oblation to the Lord the fat[l] that covers the inner organs, and all the fat that adheres to them, as well as the two kidneys, with the fat on them near the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which is removed with the kidneys. Aaron’s sons shall burn this on the altar with the burnt offering that is on the wood and the embers, as a sweet-smelling oblation to the Lord.

If the communion sacrifice one offers to the Lord is from the flock, be it a male or a female animal, it must be presented without blemish. If one presents a lamb as an offering, that person shall bring it before the Lord, and after laying a hand on the head of the offering, it shall then be slaughtered before the tent of meeting. Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood on all the sides of the altar. From the communion sacrifice the individual shall present as an oblation to the Lord its fat: the whole fatty tail, which is removed close to the spine, the fat that covers the inner organs, and all the fat that adheres to them, 10 as well as the two kidneys, with the fat on them near the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which is removed with the kidneys. 11 The priest shall burn this on the altar as food, an oblation to the Lord.

12 If a person’s offering is a goat, the individual shall bring it before the Lord, 13 and after laying a hand on its head, it shall then be slaughtered before the tent of meeting. Aaron’s sons shall splash its blood on all the sides of the altar. 14 From this the one sacrificing shall present an offering as an oblation to the Lord: the fat that covers the inner organs, and all the fat that adheres to them, 15 as well as the two kidneys, with the fat on them near the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which is removed with the kidneys. 16 The priest shall burn these on the altar as food, a sweet-smelling oblation.

All the fat belongs to the Lord. 17 This shall be a perpetual ordinance for your descendants wherever they may dwell. You shall not eat any fat or any blood.[m]

Chapter 4

Purification Offerings. The Lord said to Moses: Tell the Israelites: When a person inadvertently[n] does wrong by violating any one of the Lord’s prohibitions—

For the Anointed Priest. If it is the anointed priest[o] who thus does wrong and thereby makes the people guilty, he shall offer to the Lord an unblemished bull of the herd as a purification offering for the wrong he committed. Bringing the bull to the entrance of the tent of meeting, before the Lord, he shall lay his hand on its head and slaughter it before the Lord. [p]The anointed priest shall then take some of the bull’s blood and bring it into the tent of meeting, where, dipping his finger in the blood, he shall sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord, toward the veil of the sanctuary. The priest shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense which stands before the Lord in the tent of meeting. The rest of the bull’s blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar for burnt offerings which is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. He shall remove all the fat of the bull of the purification offering: the fat that covers the inner organs, and all the fat that adheres to them, as well as the two kidneys, with the fat on them near the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which is removed with the kidneys, 10 just as the fat pieces are removed from the ox of the communion sacrifice. The priest shall burn these on the altar for burnt offerings. 11 [q]But the hide of the bull and its meat, with its head, shanks, inner organs and dung, 12 that is, the whole bull, shall be brought outside the camp to a clean place[r] where the ashes are deposited and there be burned in a wood fire. At the place of the ash heap, there it must be burned.

For the Community. 13 If the whole community of Israel errs[s] inadvertently and without even being aware of it violates any of the Lord’s prohibitions, and thus are guilty, 14 when the wrong that was committed becomes known, the community shall offer a bull of the herd as a purification offering. They shall bring it before the tent of meeting. 15 The elders of the community shall lay their hands on the bull’s head before the Lord. When the bull has been slaughtered before the Lord, 16 the anointed priest shall bring some of its blood into the tent of meeting, 17 and dipping his finger in the blood, he shall sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, toward the veil. 18 He shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the Lord in the tent of meeting. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar for burnt offerings which is at the entrance of the tent of meeting. 19 He shall remove all of its fat and burn it on the altar, 20 doing with this bull just as he did with the other bull of the purification offering; he will do the same thing. Thus the priest shall make atonement on their behalf, that they may be forgiven. 21 This bull shall also be brought outside the camp and burned, just as the first bull. It is a purification offering for the assembly.

For the Tribal Leader. 22 Should a tribal leader do wrong inadvertently by violating any one of the prohibitions of the Lord his God, and thus be guilty, 23 when he learns of the wrong he committed, he shall bring as his offering an unblemished male goat. 24 He shall lay his hand on its head and it shall be slaughtered in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered, before the Lord. It is a purification offering. 25 The priest shall then take some of the blood of the purification offering on his finger and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. 26 All of its fat he shall burn on the altar like the fat of the communion sacrifice. Thus the priest shall make atonement on the tribal leader’s behalf for his wrong, that he may be forgiven.

For the General Populace. 27 If anyone of the general populace does wrong inadvertently by violating one of the Lord’s prohibitions, and thus is guilty, 28 upon learning of the wrong committed, that person shall bring an unblemished she-goat as the offering for the wrong committed. 29 The wrongdoer shall lay a hand on the head of the purification offering, and the purification offering shall be slaughtered at the place of the burnt offerings. 30 The priest shall then take some of its blood on his finger and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. 31 He shall remove all the fat, just as the fat is removed from the communion sacrifice. The priest shall burn it on the altar for a sweet odor to the Lord. Thus the priest shall make atonement, so that the individual may be forgiven.

32 If, however, a person brings a lamb as a purification offering, that person shall bring an unblemished female, and 33 lay a hand on its head. It shall be slaughtered as a purification offering in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered. 34 The priest shall then take some of the blood of the purification offering on his finger and put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings. The rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. 35 He shall remove all its fat just as the fat is removed from the lamb of the communion sacrifice. The priest shall burn these on the altar with the other oblations for the Lord. Thus the priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed, that the individual may be forgiven.

Chapter 5

Special Cases for Purification Offerings.[t] If a person, either having seen or come to know something, does wrong by refusing as a witness under oath to give information, that individual shall bear the penalty; or if someone, without being aware of it, touches any unclean thing, such as the carcass of an unclean wild animal, or an unclean domestic animal, or an unclean swarming creature,[u] and thus is unclean and guilty; or if someone, without being aware of it, touches some human uncleanness, whatever kind of uncleanness this may be, and then subsequently becomes aware of guilt; or if someone, without being aware of it, rashly utters an oath with bad or good intent, whatever kind of oath this may be, and then subsequently becomes aware of guilt in regard to any of these matters— when someone is guilty in regard to any of these matters, that person shall confess the wrong committed, and make reparation to the Lord for the wrong committed: a female animal from the flock, a ewe lamb or a she-goat, as a purification offering. Thus the priest shall make atonement on the individual’s behalf for the wrong.

If, however, the person cannot afford an animal of the flock, that person shall bring to the Lord as reparation for the wrong committed two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a purification offering and the other for a burnt offering. The guilty party shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer the one for the purification offering first. Wringing its head at the neck, yet without breaking it off, he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the purification offering against the side of the altar. The rest of the blood shall be drained out against the base of the altar. It is a purification offering. 10 The other bird he shall offer as a burnt offering according to procedure. Thus the priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed, so that the individual may be forgiven.

11 If the person is unable to afford even two turtledoves or two pigeons, that person shall bring as an offering for the wrong committed one tenth of an ephah[v] of bran flour for a purification offering. The guilty party shall not put oil or place frankincense on it, because it is a purification offering. 12 The individual shall bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful as a token of the offering and burn it on the altar with the other oblations for the Lord. It is a purification offering. 13 Thus the priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed in any of the above cases, so that the individual may be forgiven. The rest of the offering, like the grain offering, shall belong to the priest.

Reparation Offerings.[w] 14 The Lord said to Moses: 15 When a person commits sacrilege by inadvertently misusing any of the Lord’s sacred objects, the wrongdoer shall bring to the Lord as reparation an unblemished ram from the flock, at the established value[x] in silver shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, as a reparation offering. 16 The wrongdoer shall also restore what has been misused of the sacred objects, adding a fifth of its value, and give this to the priest. Thus the priest shall make atonement for the person with the ram of the reparation offering, so that the individual may be forgiven.

17 If someone does wrong and violates one of the Lord’s prohibitions without realizing it, that person is guilty and shall bear the penalty. 18 The individual shall bring to the priest an unblemished ram of the flock, at the established value, for a reparation offering. The priest shall then make atonement on the offerer’s behalf for the error inadvertently and unknowingly committed so that the individual may be forgiven. 19 It is a reparation offering. The individual must make reparation to the Lord.

20 The Lord said to Moses: 21 When someone does wrong and commits sacrilege against the Lord by deceiving a neighbor about a deposit or a pledge or a stolen article, or by otherwise retaining a neighbor’s goods unjustly; 22 or if, having found a lost article, the person lies about it, swearing falsely about any of the things that a person may do wrong— 23 when someone has thus done wrong and is guilty, that person shall restore the thing that was stolen, the item unjustly retained, the item left as deposit, or the lost article that was found 24 or whatever else the individual swore falsely about. That person shall make full restitution of the thing itself, and add one fifth of its value to it, giving it to its owner at the time of reparation. 25 Then that person shall bring to the priest as reparation to the Lord an unblemished ram of the flock, at the established value, as a reparation offering. 26 The priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf before the Lord, so that the individual may be forgiven for whatever was done to incur guilt.

Footnotes:

  1. 1:2 Any one of you: women as well as men bring sacrifices (see 12:6–8; 15:28–30) and are explicitly obligated in other ritual matters (e.g., 13:29, 38; Nm 5:6; 6:2; Lk 2:24). Thus, though the Hebrew formulates sacrificial and other law with male reference, the translation reflects the inclusion of women in ritual requirements. From the herd or from the flock: the only animals which could be used as sacrificial victims were domestic animals either of the bovine class (bulls, cows and calves) or the ovine class (sheep and lambs, goats and kids). Excluded, therefore, were not only all wild animals, but also such “unclean” domestic animals as the camel and the donkey (cf. 11:1–47; 27:26–27).
  2. 1:3–5 Entrance of the tent of meeting…before the Lord: probably the forecourt from the entrance of the court to the entrance of the tent (cf. Ex 27). Thus the altar in front of the tent was entirely accessible to the laity.
  3. 1:3 The burnt offering is used for regular daily (6:1–6) offerings, public festivals (Nm 28–29), purification rituals (Lv 12:6–8; 14:19–20; 15:15, 30), and individuals’ vows and voluntary offerings (22:18–20).
  4. 1:4 Lay a hand: the imposition of a single hand for the sacrifices in chaps. 1–5 may be a means of designating the animal as belonging to the offerer. See note on 16:21. Atonement: see note on 16:6.
  5. 1:5 Shall then be slaughtered: lit., “he shall slaughter the bull.” Slaughtering is not something the offerer must do (as opposed to, for example, hand placement [v. 4] or the presentation of sacrificial portions as an elevated offering [7:29–34]). Thus the verb is construed impersonally here.
  6. 1:16 Crissum: the area around the anus of the bird, lying beneath the bird’s tail.
  7. 2:1 Grain offerings are used as independent offerings (those in this chapter and cf. 6:12–16; 8:26–27; 23:10–11), as substitutes for other offerings in a case of poverty (5:11–13), and as accompaniments to animal offerings (cf. Nm 15:1–12; 28:1–29:39; Lv 14:20; 23:12, 18, 37). Chapter 2 describes two basic types of grain offering: uncooked (vv. 1–3) and cooked (vv. 4–10). The flour (sōlet) used was made of wheat (Ex 29:2) and Jewish tradition and Semitic cognates indicate that it is a coarse rather than a fine flour.
  8. 2:2 Token of the offering: lit., “reminder.” Instead of burning the whole grain offering, only this part is burned on the altar.
  9. 2:11–12 No grain offering that is leavened can be offered on the altar. Those in 7:13 and 23:17 are leavened but not offered on the altar. The Hebrew word for “honey” may refer to fruit syrup as well as to bee honey.
  10. 2:13 The salt of the covenant with your God: partaking of salt in common was an ancient symbol of friendship and alliance. Cf. Mark 9:49–50 and Col 4:6.
  11. 3:1 The exact meaning of Hebrew shelamim, “communion sacrifice,” is not clear. It has also been rendered “gift,” “(re)payment,” “peace,” “well-being,” or “covenant” offering. This offering may be brought for a vow or voluntary offering (cf. 22:21). A distinct version of the communion sacrifice is the thanksgiving offering (7:11–15 vis-à-vis vv. 16–18).
  12. 3:3–5 Fat: only part of the offering is devoted to God, as opposed to the burnt offering (chap. 1), which is wholly burnt (except for the skin). The meat is distributed among the offerer (and the offerer’s party) and the priests (cf. 7:11–36).
  13. 3:17 Any fat or any blood: this prohibition is mentioned here because portions of this offering could be eaten by lay Israelites, who may not be entirely familiar with the prohibition (cf. 7:22–27; 19:26). The fat prohibited is only the visceral fat mentioned in 3:9–10, 14–15, not muscular fat.
  14. 4:2 Inadvertently: the concern in this chapter, and much of chap. 5, is wrongs done unintentionally. Intentional (“high-handed”) sins are punished with being “cut off” from the people (Nm 15:30–31). See note on Lv 7:20. Lord’s prohibitions: not included in the faults figured here is failure to perform positive commandments. Failing to perform positive commands, however, still renders the individual liable to other punishment (e.g., failing to observe the Passover, Nm 9:13). Cf. Nm 15:22–31.
  15. 4:3 The anointed priest: the chapter presents four cases of inadvertent wrong, arranged in descending order according to the status of the wrongdoer: high priest (vv. 3–12), entire community (vv. 13–21), tribal leader (vv. 22–26), and general populace (vv. 27–35). The higher one’s position, the more deeply the sin affects the sanctuary (vv. 5–7, 17–18 versus vv. 25, 29, 34). See note on 16:6. Purification offering: the Hebrew verb ḥiṭṭē’ means “remove sin, purify” (Lv 8:15; Ez 43:20–23; 45:18–19; cf. Ex 29:36). The offering cleansed the various places to which the blood was applied or the rooms in which it was sprinkled.
  16. 4:5–7 On the structure of the sanctuary, see Ex 26–27.
  17. 4:11–12 See note on 6:17–23.
  18. 4:12 Clean place: i.e., ritually “clean” or pure. It has nothing to do with the presence of dirt or waste. See 6:4.
  19. 4:13 Whole community…errs: this case probably complements that of vv. 3–12. There the high priest sins so that the people become guilty. Those verses deal with his requirements for atonement; vv. 13–21 deal with the people’s requirements.
  20. 5:1–13 This differs from the prescriptions for purification offerings in chap. 4 by listing four specific wrongs for which a purification offering is brought and allowing the substitution of birds and grain offerings in the case of poverty.
  21. 5:2 Swarming creature: a rather imprecise categorization that includes various small creatures in the seas, such as fish that go about in large groups or swarms (Gn 1:20; Lv 11:10); or, similarly, various winged insects that mass in the skies (Lv 11:20; Dt 14:19); and, finally, various small creatures that move in swarms on land, whether crawlers, quadrupeds, or of the multilegged variety (Lv 11:41–42). According to 11:29–30, even various rodents and lizards can be included in this category.
  22. 5:11 Ephah: see note on Is 5:10.
  23. 5:14–26 This last half of the chapter deals with a distinct sacrifice, the reparation offering (Heb. ’asham). The Hebrew root for this term has a basic meaning of “be guilty.” The noun can have a consequential sense of “that which is due from guilt,” i.e., “compensation, indemnification, reparation”; hence the translation “reparation offering,” rather than the alternatives “guilt offering” or “trespass offering.” This offering is brought most often in cases of sacrilege.
  24. 5:15 At the established value: the Hebrew term ‘erkĕkā, which in context means “(established) value,” may indicate that a person could bring the monetary equivalent of a ram instead of an actual animal. See vv. 18, 25.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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