The Day of Atonement
(Leviticus 23:26–32;Numbers 29:7–11)
1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses after the death of two of Aaron’s sons when they approached the presence of the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to Moses: “Tell your brother Aaron not to enter freely into the Most Holy Place a behind the veil in front of the mercy seat b on the ark, or else he will die, because I appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.
3 This is how Aaron is to enter the Holy Place: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He is to wear the sacred linen tunic, with linen undergarments. He must tie a linen sash around him and put on the linen turban. These are holy garments, and he must bathe himself with water before he wears them. 5 And he shall take from the congregation of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.
6 Aaron is to present the bull for his sin offering and make atonement for himself and his household. 7 Then he shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting.
8 After Aaron casts lots for the two goats, one for the LORD and the other for the scapegoat, c 9 he shall present the goat chosen by lot for the LORD and sacrifice it as a sin offering. 10 But the goat chosen by lot as the scapegoat shall be presented alive before the LORD to make atonement by sending it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.
11 When Aaron presents the bull for his sin offering and makes atonement for himself and his household, he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. 12 Then he must take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the LORD, and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense, and take them inside the veil. 13 He is to put the incense on the fire before the LORD, and the cloud of incense will cover the mercy seat above the Testimony, d so that he will not die. 14 And he is to take some of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the east side of the mercy seat; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the mercy seat.
15 Aaron shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and bring its blood behind the veil, and with its blood he must do as he did with the bull’s blood: He is to sprinkle it against the mercy seat and in front of it.
16 So he shall make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the impurities and rebellious acts of the Israelites in regard to all their sins. He is to do the same for the Tent of Meeting which abides among them, because it is surrounded by their impurities. 17 No one may be in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he leaves, after he has made atonement for himself, his household, and the whole assembly of Israel.
18 Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it. He is to 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 is to sprinkle some of the blood on it with his finger seven times to cleanse it and consecrate it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.
20 When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place, the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, he is to bring forward the live goat. 21 Then he is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the iniquities and rebellious acts of the Israelites in regard to all their sins. He is to put them on the goat’s head and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man appointed for the task. 22 The goat will carry on itself all their iniquities into a solitary place, and the man will release it into the wilderness.
23 Then Aaron is to enter the Tent of Meeting, take off the linen garments he put on before entering the Most Holy Place, and leave them there. 24 He is to bathe himself with water in a holy place and put on his own clothes. Then he must go out and sacrifice his burnt offering and the people’s burnt offering to make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 He is also to burn the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
26 The man who released the goat as the scapegoat must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water; afterward he may reenter the camp.
27 The bull for the sin offering and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to make atonement, must be taken outside the camp; and their hides, flesh, and dung must be burned up. 28 The one who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself with water, and afterward he may reenter the camp.
29 This is to be a permanent statute for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month, you shall humble yourselves e and not do any work—whether the native or the foreigner who resides among you— 30 because on this day atonement will be made for you to cleanse you, and you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD. 31 It is a Sabbath of complete rest for you, that you may humble yourselves; it is a permanent statute.
32 The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest shall make atonement. He will put on the sacred linen garments 33 and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, f the Tent of Meeting, and the altar, and for the priests and all the people of the assembly. 34 This is to be a permanent statute for you, to make atonement once a year for the Israelites because of all their sins.”
And all this was done as the LORD had commanded Moses.
2 a Or the Holy Place ; also in verses 16, 17, 20, 23, and 27
2 b Or atonement cover ; here and throughout this chapter
8 c Literally the other to Azazel ; similarly twice in verse 10 and once in verse 26
13 d The Testimony refers to the stone tablets in the ark of the covenant inscribed with the Ten Commandments.
29 e Or afflict your souls or deny yourselves ; also in verse 31
33 f Or the Holy Sanctuary