A A A A A
Bible Book List

Leviticus 16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

The Great Day of Forgiveness

16 1-2 Two of Aaron’s sons had already lost their lives for disobeying the Lord,[a] so the Lord told Moses to say to Aaron:

I, the Lord, appear in a cloud over the place of mercy on the sacred chest, which is behind the inside curtain[b] of the sacred tent. And I warn you not to go there except at the proper time. Otherwise, you will die!

Before entering this most holy place, you must offer a bull as a sacrifice for your sins[c] and a ram as a sacrifice to please me.[d] You will take a bath and put on the sacred linen clothes, including the underwear, the robe, the sash, and the turban. Then the community of Israel will bring you a ram and two goats, both of them males. The goats are to be used as sacrifices for sin, and the ram is to be used as a sacrifice to please me.

Aaron, you must offer the bull as a sacrifice of forgiveness for your own sins and for the sins of your family. Then you will lead the two goats into my presence at the front of the sacred tent, where I will show you[e] which goat will be sacrificed to me and which one will be sent into the desert to the demon Azazel.[f] After you offer the first goat as a sacrifice for sin, 10 the other one must be presented to me alive, before you send it into the desert to take away the sins of the people.

11 You must offer the bull as a sacrifice to ask forgiveness for your own sins and for the sins of your family. 12 Then you will take a fire pan of live coals from the bronze altar, together with two handfuls of finely ground incense, into the most holy place. 13 There you will present them to me by placing the incense on the coals, so that the place of mercy will be covered with a cloud of smoke. Do this, or you will die right there! 14 Next, use a finger to sprinkle some of the blood on the place of mercy, which is on the lid of the sacred chest; then sprinkle blood seven times in front of the chest.

15 Aaron, you must next sacrifice the goat for the sins of the people, and you must sprinkle its blood inside the most holy place, just as you did with the blood of the bull. 16 By doing this, you will take away the sins that make both the most holy place and the people of Israel unclean. Do the same for the sacred tent, which is here among the people. 17 Only you are allowed in the sacred tent from the time you enter until the time you come out. 18 After leaving the tent, you will purify the bronze altar by smearing each of its four corners with some of the blood from the bull and from the goat. 19 Use a finger to sprinkle the altar seven times with the blood, and it will be completely clean from the sins of the people.

20 After you have purified the most holy place, the sacred tent, and the bronze altar, you must bring the live goat to the front of the tent. 21 There you will lay your hands on its head, while confessing every sin the people have committed, and you will appoint someone to lead the goat into the desert, so that it can take away their sins. 22 Finally, this goat that carries the heavy burden of Israel’s sins must be released deep in the desert.

23-24 Aaron, after this you must go inside the sacred tent, take a bath, put on your regular priestly clothes, and leave there the clothes you put on before entering the most holy place. Then you will come out and offer sacrifices to please me and sacrifices for your sins and for the sins of the people. 25 The fat from these sacrifices for sin must be sent up in smoke on the bronze altar.

26 The one who led the goat into the desert and sent it off to the demon Azazel must take a bath and wash his clothes before coming back into camp. 27 The remains of the bull and the goat whose blood was taken into the most holy place must be taken outside the camp and burned. 28 And whoever does this must take a bath and change clothes before coming back into camp.

The Lord told Moses to say to the people:

29 On the tenth day of the seventh month[g] of each year, you must go without eating to show sorrow for your sins, and no one, including foreigners who live among you, is allowed to work. 30 This is the day on which the sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins will be made in my presence, 31 and from now on, it must be celebrated each year. Go without eating and make this a day of complete rest just like the Sabbath. 32 The high priest must offer the sacrifices for cleansing from sin, while wearing the sacred linen clothes. 33 He will offer these sacrifices for the most holy place, the sacred tent, the bronze altar, all the priests, and for the whole community. 34 You must celebrate this day each year—it is the Great Day of Forgiveness[h] for all the sins of the people of Israel.

Moses did exactly as the Lord had commanded.

Footnotes:

  1. 16.1,2 lost. . . disobeying the Lord: See 10.1,2.
  2. 16.1,2 inside curtain: That separated the holy place from the most holy place.
  3. 16.3 for your sins: See 4.3-12.
  4. 16.3 sacrifice to please me: See the note at 1.1-3.
  5. 16.8 I will show you: The Hebrew text has “you must cast lots to find out.” Pieces of wood or stone (called “lots”) were used to find out what God wanted his people to do.
  6. 16.8 Azazel: It was believed that a demon named Azazel lived in the desert.
  7. 16.29 seventh month: Tishri (also called Ethanim), the seventh month of the Hebrew calendar, from about mid-September to mid-October.
  8. 16.34 Great Day of Forgiveness: Traditionally known as the Day of Atonement.

Leviticus 16 New International Version (NIV)

The Day of Atonement

16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who died when they approached the Lord. The Lord said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron that he is not to come whenever he chooses into the Most Holy Place behind the curtain in front of the atonement cover on the ark, or else he will die. For I will appear in the cloud over the atonement cover.

“This is how Aaron is to enter the Most Holy Place: He must first bring a young bull for a sin offering[a] and a ram for a burnt offering. He is to put on the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments next to his body; he is to tie the linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are sacred garments; so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on. From the Israelite community he is to take two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.

“Aaron is to offer the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household. Then he is to take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the entrance to the tent of meeting. He is to cast lots for the two goats—one lot for the Lord and the other for the scapegoat.[b] Aaron shall bring the goat whose lot falls to the Lord and sacrifice it for a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the Lord to be used for making atonement by sending it into the wilderness as a scapegoat.

11 “Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die. 14 He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

15 “He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. 16 In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17 No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

18 “Then he shall come out to the altar that is before the Lord and make atonement for it. He shall take some of the bull’s blood and some of the goat’s blood and put it on all the horns of the altar. 19 He shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and to consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.

20 “When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. 21 He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.

23 “Then Aaron is to go into the tent of meeting and take off the linen garments he put on before he entered the Most Holy Place, and he is to leave them there. 24 He shall bathe himself with water in the sanctuary area and put on his regular garments. Then he shall come out and sacrifice the burnt offering for himself and the burnt offering for the people, to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 He shall also burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.

26 “The man who releases the goat as a scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp. 27 The bull and the goat for the sin offerings, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; their hides, flesh and intestines are to be burned up. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may come into the camp.

29 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves[c] and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you— 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. 31 It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. 32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community.

34 “This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: Atonement is to be made once a year for all the sins of the Israelites.”

And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses.

Footnotes:

  1. Leviticus 16:3 Or purification offering; here and throughout this chapter
  2. Leviticus 16:8 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verses 10 and 26.
  3. Leviticus 16:29 Or must fast; also in verse 31
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Viewing of
Cross references
Footnotes