Leviticus chapter 4

Sin offerings for priests, for the community, for rulers, for individual people.

 


 

Note: Many people find it morally objectionable that a religion requires the killing of innocent animals.

 


 

SIN OFFERINGS

 

VERSE 1. The LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 

VERSE 2. “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone sins unintentionally, in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and does any one of them,

sins. The Hebrew word is תֶחֱטָ֤א (“chata”). It means to miss, to go wrong.

unintentionally. The Hebrew word is בִשְׁגָגָה֙ (“shegagah”). It means error or inadvertence.

Together, and in this context, they mean you broke a law, but did not know it was a law.

In our day, we usually equate sin with nefarious motives and conscious choice and guilt.

However, this verse refers to something different.

 

SIN OFFERINGS FOR PRIESTS

 

VERSE 3. if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without defect to the LORD for a sin offering.

if the anointed priest sins. When a priest sins, he not only makes himself guilty. But he also pollutes the entire community with his own guilt.

In our day, the priests who sexually abuse children, and the bishops who shelter abuser-priests, bring great guilt upon their entire church.

They pollute the entire community. With poison.

 

VERSE 4. He shall bring the bull to the door of the Tent of Meeting before the LORD; and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull, and kill the bull before the LORD.

he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull. Someone laid their hands on the head of an animal, transferring human sins to it, and killed it. This is called “scapegoating.” Read more »

kill the bull. The anointed priest kills the bull.

 

VERSE 5. The anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull, and bring it to the Tent of Meeting.

 

VERSE 6. The priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the veil of the sanctuary.

 

VERSE 7. The priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the Tent of Meeting; and he shall pour out the rest of the blood of the bull at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the Tent of Meeting.

 

VERSE 8. He shall take all the fat of the bull of the sin offering from it: the fat that covers the innards, and all the fat that is on the innards,

take all the fat. Animal fat is prized.

For this sin offering for a priest, all the fat of the poor animal is to be extracted. And burned.

This verse (and the next verse) names five fats in particular:

  • the fat that covers the innards
  • the fat that is on the innards
  • the fat that is on them [kidney fat] (verse 9)
  • [the fat] which is by the loins (verse 9)
  • the cover on the liver (verse 9)

Collectively, those are referred to as suet. Or organ fat. Or visceral fat.

They are not the kind of fat that most people are accustomed to. What most people are accustomed to is muscle fat.

Muscle fat is the fat on the edges of a piece of steak. It is what makes a steak juicy. Muscle fat is not included in this list to be removed.

 

VERSE 9. and the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the loins, and the cover on the liver, with the kidneys, he shall remove,

and the fat. Animal fat is prized.

 

VERSE 10. as it is removed from the bull of the sacrifice of peace offerings. The priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering.

 

VERSE 11. He shall carry the bull’s skin, all its meat, with its head, and with its legs, its innards, and its dung

 

VERSE 12. —all the rest of the bull—outside of the camp to a clean place where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire. It shall be burned where the ashes are poured out.

 

SIN OFFERINGS FOR THE COMMUNITY

 

VERSE 13. “ ‘If the whole congregation of Israel sins, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and are guilty;

If the whole congregation of Israel sins. Even within this ancient community led by God, there was the possibility that the entire body might commit some sin or atrocity.

Their law had provisions for this eventuality. They made amends.

In our day, there is the possibility that the church will commit some sin. While the church is the bride of Christ, it is also made up of tragically flawed humans. The priest pedophile scandal comes to mind.

How should the church make amends?

 

VERSE 14. when the sin in which they have sinned is known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for a sin offering, and bring it before the Tent of Meeting.

 

VERSE 15. The elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD; and the bull shall be killed before the LORD.

he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull. Someone laid their hands on the head of an animal, transferring human sins to it, and killed it. This is called “scapegoating.” Read more »

the bull shall be killed. Who is it that kills the bull?

 

VERSE 16. The anointed priest shall bring some of the blood of the bull to the Tent of Meeting.

 

VERSE 17. The priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, before the veil.

 

VERSE 18. He shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the Tent of Meeting; and the rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the Tent of Meeting.

 

VERSE 19. All its fat he shall take from it, and burn it on the altar.

All its fat he shall take. Animal fat is prized.

 

VERSE 20. He shall do this with the bull; as he did with the bull of the sin offering, so he shall do with this; and the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven.

 

VERSE 21. He shall carry the bull outside the camp, and burn it as he burned the first bull. It is the sin offering for the assembly.

 

SIN OFFERINGS FOR THE RULER

 

VERSE 22. “ ‘When a ruler sins, and unwittingly does any one of all the things which the LORD his God has commanded not to be done, and is guilty,

 

VERSE 23. if his sin in which he has sinned is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without defect.

 

VERSE 24. He shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD. It is a sin offering.

he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull. Someone laid their hands on the head of an animal, transferring human sins to it, and killed it. This is called “scapegoating.” Read more »

and kill it. The ruler kills the goat.

 

VERSE 25. The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering. He shall pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering.

 

VERSE 26. All its fat he shall burn on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and he will be forgiven.

All its fat. Animal fat is prized.

 

SIN OFFERINGS FOR INDIVIDUAL PEOPLE

 

VERSE 27. “ ‘If anyone of the common people sins unwittingly, in doing any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and is guilty,

 

VERSE 28. if his sin which he has sinned is made known to him, then he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without defect, for his sin which he has sinned.

a female without defect. In most of the the Book of Leviticus, the sacrificial animals were to be male. But in some cases, the animal for a sin offering was to be female. Read more »

 

VERSE 29. He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering.

he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull. Someone laid their hands on the head of an animal, transferring human sins to it, and killed it. This is called “scapegoating.” Read more »

kill the sin offering. The common person kills the goat.

 

VERSE 30. The priest shall take some of its blood with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.

 

VERSE 31. All its fat he shall take away, like the fat is taken away from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a pleasant aroma to the LORD; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.

All its fat. Animal fat is prized.

 

VERSE 32. “ ‘If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without defect.

a female without defect. In most of the the Book of Leviticus, the sacrificial animals were to be male. But in some cases, the animal for a sin offering was to be female. Read more »

 

VERSE 33. He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.

he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull. Someone laid their hands on the head of an animal, transferring human sins to it, and killed it. This is called “scapegoating.” Read more »

and kill it. The common person kills the goat.

 

VERSE 34. The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.

 

VERSE 35. He shall remove all its fat, like the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings. The priest shall burn them on the altar, on the offerings of the LORD made by fire. The priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin that he has sinned, and he will be forgiven.

remove all its fat. Animal fat is prized.

 


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LEVITICUS

CHAPTERS: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

RESOURCES: Summary, Outline, Memorize, The Scapegoat, Female Sacrificial Animals

Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.