Leviticus 16

Law of Atonement

1 Now the LORD spoke to Moses after 1the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they had approached the presence of the LORD and died.
2 The LORD said to Moses: "Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter2 at any time into the holy place inside * the veil, before * the mercy seat which is on the ark, or he will die; for 3 I will appear in the cloud over the mercy seat.
3 "Aaron shall enter the holy place with this: with a bull * * for a 4sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
4 "He shall put on the 5holy linen tunic, and the linen undergarments shall be next to his body, and he shall be girded with the linen sash and attired with the linen turban (these are holy garments ). Then he shall 6bathe his body in water and put them on.
5 "He shall take from the congregation of the sons of Israel 7two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.
6 "Then 8Aaron shall offer the bull for the sin offering which is for himself, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household.
7 "He shall take the two goats and present them before the LORD at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
8 "Aaron shall cast lots for the two goats, one lot for the LORD and the other lot for the scapegoat.
9 "Then Aaron shall offer the goat on which the lot for the LORD fell, and make it a sin offering.
10 "But the goat on which the lot for the scapegoat fell shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make 9atonement upon it, to send it into the wilderness as the scapegoat.
11 "Then Aaron shall offer the bull of the sin offering 10which is for himself and make atonement for himself and 11for his household, and he shall slaughter the bull of the sin offering which is for himself.
12 "He shall take a 12firepan full of coals of fire from upon the altar before * the LORD and two handfuls * of finely ground 13sweet incense, and bring it inside * the veil.
13 "He shall put the incense on the fire before the LORD, that the cloud of incense may cover the 14mercy seat that is on the ark of the testimony, 15otherwise he will die.
14 "Moreover, 16he shall take some of the blood of the bull and sprinkle it 17with his finger on the mercy seat on the east side; also in front of the mercy seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his finger seven times.
15 "Then he shall slaughter the goat of the sin offering 18which is for the people, and bring its blood inside * * the veil and do with its blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and in front of the mercy seat.
16 "19He shall make atonement for the holy place, because of the impurities of the sons of Israel and because of their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and thus he shall do for the tent of meeting which abides with them in the midst of their impurities.
17 "When he goes in to make atonement in the holy place, no one shall be in the tent of meeting until he comes out, that he may make atonement for himself and for his household and for all the assembly of Israel.
18 "Then he shall go out to the altar that is before the LORD and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat and 20put it on the horns of the altar on all sides.
19 "21With his finger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times and cleanse it, and from the impurities of the sons of Israel consecrate it.
20 "When he finishes atoning for the holy place and the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall offer the live goat.
21 "Then Aaron shall lay both of his hands on the head of the live goat, and 22confess over it all the iniquities of the sons of Israel and all their transgressions in regard to all their sins; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat and send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a man who stands in readiness.
22 "The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a solitary land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness.
23 "Then Aaron shall come into the tent of meeting and take off 23the linen garments which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there.
24 "24He shall bathe his body with water in a holy place and put on 25his clothes, and come forth and offer his burnt offering and the burnt offering of the people and make atonement for himself and for the people.
25 "Then he shall offer up in smoke the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
26 "The one who released the goat as the scapegoat 26shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water; then afterward * he shall come into the camp.
27 "But the bull of the sin offering and the goat of the sin offering, 27whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall be taken outside * * the camp, and they shall burn their hides, their flesh, and their refuse in the fire.
28 "Then the 28one who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body with water, then afterward * he shall come into the camp.

An Annual Atonement

29 "This shall be a permanent statute for you: 29in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall humble your souls and not 30do any work, whether the native, or the alien who sojourns among you;
30 for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to 31cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD.
31 "It is to be a sabbath of solemn rest for you, that you may 32humble your souls; it is a permanent statute.
32 "So the priest who is anointed and ordained * to serve as priest in his father's place shall make atonement: he shall thus put on 33the linen garments, the holy garments,
33 and make atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make atonement for the tent of meeting and for the altar. He shall also make atonement for 34the priests and for all the people of the assembly.
34 "Now you shall have this as a 35permanent statute, to 36make atonement for the sons of Israel for all their sins once every year." And just as the LORD had commanded Moses, so he did.

Leviticus 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

The great day of atonement. (1-14) The sacrifices on it, The scape-goat. (15-34)

Verses 1-14 Without entering into particulars of the sacrifices on the great day of atonement, we may notice that it was to be a statute for ever, till that dispensation be at an end. As long as we are continually sinning, we continually need the atonement. The law of afflicting our souls for sin, is a statue which will continue in force till we arrive where all tears, even those of repentance, will be wiped from our eyes. The apostle observes it as a proof that the sacrifices could not take away sin, and cleanse the conscience from it, that in them there was a remembrance made of sin every year, upon the day of atonement, ( hebrews 10:1 hebrews 10:3 ) . The repeating the sacrifices, showed there was in them but a feeble effort toward making atonement; this could be done only by offering up the body of Christ once for all; and that sacrifice needed not to be repeated.

Verses 15-34 Here are typified the two great gospel privileges, of the remission of sin, and access to God, both of which we owe to our Lord Jesus. See the expiation of guilt. Christ is both the Maker and the Matter of the atonement; for he is the Priest, the High Priest, that makes reconciliation for the sins of the people. And as Christ is the High Priest, so he is the Sacrifice with which atonement is made; for he is all in all in our reconciliation to God. Thus he was figured by the two goats. The slain goat was a type of Christ dying for our sins; the scape-goat a type of Christ rising again for our justification. The atonement is said to be completed by putting the sins of Israel upon the head of the goat, which was sent away into a wilderness, a land not inhabited; and the sending away of the goat represented the free and full remission of their sins. He shall bear upon him all their iniquities. Thus Christ, the Lamb of God, takes away the sin of the world, by taking it upon himself, ( John 1:29 ) . The entrance into heaven, which Christ made for us, was typified by the high priest's entrance into the most holy place. See ( Hebrews 9:7 ) . The high priest was to come out again; but our Lord Jesus ever lives, making intercession, and always appears in the presence of God for us. Here are typified the two great gospel duties of faith and repentance. By faith we put our hands upon the head of the offering; relying on Christ as the Lord our Righteousness, pleading his satisfaction, as that which alone is able to atone for our sins, and procure us a pardon. By repentance we afflict our souls; not only fasting for a time from the delights of the body, but inwardly sorrowing for sin, and living a life of self-denial, assuring ourselves, that if we confess our sins, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. By the atonement we obtain rest for our souls, and all the glorious liberties of the children of God. Sinner, get the blood of Christ effectually applied to thy soul, or else thou canst never look God in the face with any comfort or acceptance. Take this blood of Christ, apply it by faith, and see how it atones with God.

Cross References 36

  • 1. Leviticus 10:1, 2
  • 2. Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 6:19; Hebrews 9:7, 25
  • 3. Exodus 25:21, 22; Exodus 40:34; 1 Kings 8:10-12
  • 4. Leviticus 4:1-12; Leviticus 16:6; Hebrews 9:7
  • 5. Exodus 28:39, 42
  • 6. Exodus 30:20; Leviticus 16:24; Hebrews 10:22
  • 7. Leviticus 4:13-21; 2 Chronicles 29:21; Ezekiel 45:22
  • 8. Hebrews 5:3
  • 9. Isaiah 53:4-10; Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2
  • 10. Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:7
  • 11. Leviticus 16:33
  • 12. Leviticus 10:1; Numbers 16:18
  • 13. Exodus 30:34-38
  • 14. Exodus 25:21
  • 15. Exodus 28:43; Leviticus 22:9; Numbers 4:15, 20
  • 16. Hebrews 9:25
  • 17. Leviticus 4:6, 17
  • 18. Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 9:7, 12
  • 19. Exodus 29:36, 37; Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 2:17
  • 20. Leviticus 4:25; Ezekiel 43:20, 22
  • 21. Leviticus 16:14; Ezekiel 43:20
  • 22. Leviticus 5:5
  • 23. Leviticus 16:4; Ezekiel 42:14; Ezekiel 44:19
  • 24. Leviticus 16:4
  • 25. Exodus 28:40, 41
  • 26. Leviticus 11:25, 40
  • 27. Leviticus 6:30; Hebrews 13:11
  • 28. Numbers 19:8
  • 29. Leviticus 23:27; Numbers 29:7
  • 30. Exodus 31:14, 15
  • 31. Psalms 51:2; Jeremiah 33:8; Ephesians 5:26
  • 32. Leviticus 23:32; Ezra 8:21; Isaiah 58:3, 5; Daniel 10:12
  • 33. Leviticus 16:4
  • 34. Leviticus 16:11
  • 35. Leviticus 23:31
  • 36. Hebrews 9:7

Footnotes 20

  • [a]. Lit "propitiatory"
  • [b]. Lit "propitiatory"
  • [c]. Or "bull of the herd"
  • [d]. Lit "flesh"
  • [e]. Lit "flesh"
  • [f]. Lit "goat of removal," or else a name: "Azazel"
  • [g]. Lit "goat of removal," or else a name: "Azazel"
  • [h]. Lit "goat of removal," or else a name: "Azazel"
  • [i]. Lit "the filling of the hollow of his hands"
  • [j]. Lit "propitiatory"
  • [k]. Lit "propitiatory"
  • [l]. Lit "propitiatory"
  • [m]. Lit "propitiatory"
  • [n]. Lit "propitiatory"
  • [o]. Lit "in addition to"
  • [p]. Lit "flesh"
  • [q]. Lit "goat of removal," or else a name: "Azazel"
  • [r]. Lit "flesh"
  • [s]. Lit "he shall make atonement"
  • [t]. Lit "whose hand is filled"

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 16

This chapter treats of the day of atonement, and of the rites, sacrifices, and services of it, directs when Aaron should come into the holy of holies, Le 16:1,2; and in what habit he should then appear, and with what offerings both for himself, and for the people, Le 16:3-10; and that having slain his own sin offering, and that for the people, he should offer incense before the mercy seat, and sprinkle that with the blood of both, Le 16:11-15; and by these offerings make atonement for the holy place, the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, Le 16:16-19; and having done this, he was to take the live goat, lay his hands on it, confess over it, and put upon it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and then send it away by a fit man into the wilderness, Le 16:20-22; upon which he was to put off his linen garments, wash his flesh, and put them on again, and offer the burnt offering for himself, and for the people, Le 16:23-25; also he that let go the goat, and he that carried and burnt the sin offerings without the camp, were to wash themselves and clothes also, Le 16:26-28; the observance of this day, once a year, which was on the tenth of the seventh month, as a day of affliction and atonement, was to be a statute for ever to the children of Israel, Le 16:29-34.

Leviticus 16 Commentaries