Leviticus 16-18 The Message Bible

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The Day of Atonement

16 1  After the death of Aaron's two sons - they died when they came before God with strange fire - God spoke to Moses: 2  "Tell your brother Aaron not to enter into the Holy of Holies, barging inside the curtain that's before the Atonement-Cover on the Chest whenever he feels like it, lest he die, because I am present in the Cloud over the Atonement-Cover. 3  "This is the procedure for Aaron when he enters the Holy Place: He will bring a young bull for an Absolution-Offering and a ram for a Whole-Burnt-Offering; 4  he will put on the holy linen tunic and the linen underwear, tie the linen sash around him, and put on the linen turban. These are the sacred vestments so he must bathe himself with water before he puts them on.

5  Then from the Israelite community he will bring two male goats for an Absolution-Offering and a Whole-Burnt-Offering. 6  "Aaron will offer the bull for his own Absolution-Offering in order to make atonement for himself and his household. 7  Then he will set the two goats before God at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting 8  and cast lots over the two goats, one lot for God and the other lot for Azazel. 9  He will offer the goat on which the lot to God falls as an Absolution-Offering. 10  The goat on which the lot for Azazel falls will be sent out into the wilderness to Azazel to make atonement. 11  "Aaron will present his bull for an Absolution-Offering to make atonement for himself and his household. He will slaughter his bull for the Absolution-Offering. 12  He will take a censer full of burning coals from the Altar before God and two handfuls of finely ground aromatic incense and bring them inside the curtain and 13  put the incense on the fire before God; the smoke of the incense will cover the Atonement-Cover which is over The Testimony so that he doesn't die. 14  He will take some of the bull's blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the front of the Atonement-Cover, then sprinkle the blood before the Atonement-Cover seven times.

15  "Next he will slaughter the goat designated as the Absolution-Offering for the people and bring the blood inside the curtain. He will repeat what he does with the bull's blood, sprinkling it on and before the Atonement-Cover. 16  In this way he will make atonement for the Holy of Holies because of the uncleannesses of the Israelites, their acts of rebellion, and all their other sins. He will do the same thing for the Tent of Meeting which dwells among the people in the midst of their uncleanness. 17  There is to be no one in the Tent of Meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Holy of Holies until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household, and the whole community of Israel. 18  "Then he will come out to the Altar that is before God and make atonement for it. He will take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and smear it all around the four horns of the Altar. 19  With his finger he will sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times to purify and consecrate it from the uncleannesses of the Israelites.

20  "When Aaron finishes making atonement for the Holy of Holies, the Tent of Meeting, and the Altar, he will bring up the live goat, 21  lay both hands on the live goat's head, and confess all the iniquities of the People of Israel, all their acts of rebellion, all their sins. He will put all the sins on the goat's head and send it off into the wilderness, led out by a man standing by and ready. 22  The goat will carry all their iniquities to an empty wasteland; the man will let him loose out there in the wilderness. 23  "Finally, Aaron will come into the Tent of Meeting and take off the linen clothes in which he dressed to enter the Holy of Holies and leave them there. 24  He will bathe in water in a Holy Place, put on his priestly vestments, offer the Whole-Burnt-Offering for himself and the Whole-Burnt-Offering for the people, making atonement for himself and the people, 25  and burn the fat of the Absolution-Offering on the Altar. 26  "The man who takes the goat out to Azazel in the wilderness then will wash his clothes and bathe himself with water. After that he will be permitted to come back into the camp. 27  The bull for the Absolution-Offering and the goat for the Absolution-Offering, whose blood has been taken into the Holy of Holies to make atonement, are to be taken outside the camp and burned - their hides, their meat, and their entrails. 28  The man assigned to burn them up will then wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he is free to come back into the camp.

29  "This is standard practice for you, a perpetual ordinance. On the tenth day of the seventh month, both the citizen and the foreigner living with you are to enter into a solemn fast and refrain from all work, 30  because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. In the presence of God you will be made clean of all your sins. 31  It is a Sabbath of all Sabbaths. You must fast. It is a perpetual ordinance. 32  "The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father is to make the atonement: He puts on the sacred linen garments; 33  He purges the Holy of Holies by making atonement; He purges the Tent of Meeting and the Altar by making atonement; He makes atonement for the priests and all the congregation. 34  "This is a perpetual ordinance for you: Once a year atonement is to be made for all the sins of the People of Israel." And Aaron did it, just as God commanded Moses.

One Place of Sacrifice

17 1  God spoke to Moses, 2  "Speak to Aaron and his sons and all the Israelites. Tell them, This is what God commands: 3  Any and every man who slaughters an ox or lamb or goat inside or outside the camp 4  instead of bringing it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer it to God in front of The Dwelling of God - that man is considered guilty of bloodshed; he has shed blood and must be cut off from his people. 5  This is so the Israelites will bring to God the sacrifices that they're in the habit of sacrificing out in the open fields. They must bring them to God and the priest at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and sacrifice them as Peace-Offerings to God. 6  The priest will splash the blood on the Altar of God at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting and burn the fat as a pleasing fragrance to God. 7  They must no longer offer their sacrifices to goat-demons - a kind of religious orgy. This is a perpetual decree down through the generations. 8  "Tell them: Any Israelite or foreigner living among them who offers a Whole-Burnt-Offering or Peace-Offering 9  but doesn't bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to sacrifice it to God, that person must be cut off from his people.

The Eating of Blood Forbidden

10  "If any Israelite or foreigner living among them eats blood, I will disown that person and cut him off from his people, 11  for the life of an animal is in the blood. I have provided the blood for you to make atonement for your lives on the Altar; it is the blood, the life, that makes atonement. 12  That's why I tell the People of Israel, 'Don't eat blood.' The same goes for the foreigner who lives among you, 'Don't eat blood.' 13  "Any and every Israelite - this also goes for the foreigners - who hunts down an animal or bird that is edible, must bleed it and cover the blood with dirt, 14  because the life of every animal is its blood - the blood is its life. That's why I tell the Israelites, 'Don't eat the blood of any animal because the life of every animal is its blood. Anyone who eats the blood must be cut off.' 15  "Anyone, whether native or foreigner, who eats from an animal that is found dead or mauled must wash his clothes and bathe in water; he remains unclean until evening and is then clean. 16  If he doesn't wash or bathe his body, he'll be held responsible for his actions."

Acts of Immorality Forbidden

18 1  God spoke to Moses, 2  "Speak to the People of Israel. Tell them: I am God, your God. 3  Don't live like the people of Egypt where you used to live, and don't live like the people of Canaan where I'm bringing you. Don't do what they do. 4  Obey my laws and live by my decrees. I am your God. 5  Keep my decrees and laws: The person who obeys them lives by them. I am God.

6  "Don't have sex with a close relative. I am God. 7  "Don't violate your father by having sex with your mother. She is your mother. Don't have sex with her. 8  "Don't have sex with your father's wife. That violates your father. 9  "Don't have sex with your sister, whether she's your father's daughter or your mother's, whether she was born in the same house or elsewhere. 10  "Don't have sex with your son's daughter or your daughter's daughter. That would violate your own body. 11  "Don't have sex with the daughter of your father's wife born to your father. She is your sister. 12  "Don't have sex with your father's sister; she is your aunt, closely related to your father. 13  "Don't have sex with your mother's sister; she is your aunt, closely related to your mother. 14  "Don't violate your father's brother, your uncle, by having sex with his wife. She is your aunt. 15  "Don't have sex with your daughter-in-law. She is your son's wife; don't have sex with her. 16  "Don't have sex with your brother's wife; that would violate your brother. 17  "Don't have sex with both a woman and her daughter. And don't have sex with her granddaughters either. They are her close relatives. That is wicked. 18  "Don't marry your wife's sister as a rival wife and have sex with her while your wife is living.

19  "Don't have sex with a woman during the time of her menstrual period when she is unclean. 20  "Don't have sex with your neighbor's wife and violate yourself by her. 21  "Don't give any of your children to be burned in sacrifice to the god Molech - an act of sheer blasphemy of your God. I am God. 22  "Don't have sex with a man as one does with a woman. That is abhorrent. 23  "Don't have sex with an animal and violate yourself by it. A woman must not have sex with an animal. That is perverse. 24  "Don't pollute yourself in any of these ways. This is how the nations became polluted, the ones that I am going to drive out of the land before you. 25  Even the land itself became polluted and I punished it for its iniquities - the land vomited up its inhabitants. 26  You must keep my decrees and laws - natives and foreigners both. You must not do any of these abhorrent things. 27  The people who lived in this land before you arrived did all these things and polluted the land. 28  And if you pollute it, the land will vomit you up just as it vomited up the nations that preceded you. 29  "Those who do any of these abhorrent things will be cut off from their people. 30  Keep to what I tell you; don't engage in any of the abhorrent acts that were practiced before you came. Don't pollute yourselves with them. I am God, your God."

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