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, Leviticus 16:1; and in what habit he should then appear, and with what offerings both for himself, and for the people, Leviticus 16:3; 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, Leviticus 16:11; and by these offerings make atonement for the holy place, the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, Leviticus 16:16; 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, Leviticus 16:20; 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, Leviticus 16:23; 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, Leviticus 16:26; 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, Leviticus 16:29.
And the Lord spake unto Moses, after the death of the two sons of Aaron,.... That is, either immediately after their death, and so this chapter would have stood in its natural order next to the tenth; or else after the above laws concerning uncleanness on various accounts were delivered out, designed to prevent the people entering into the tabernacle defiled, whereby they would have incurred the penalty of death; wherefore, as Aben Ezra observes, after the Lord had given cautions to the Israelites, that they might not die, he bid Moses to caution Aaron also, that he might not die as his sons died; these were Nadab and Abihu:
when they offered before the Lord, and died; offered strange fire, and died by flaming fire, as the Targum of Jonathan; or fire sent down from heaven, as Gersom, by lightning; see Leviticus 10:1.
And the Lord said unto Moses, speak unto Aaron thy brother,.... Who was the high priest; and what is here said to him was binding on all high priests in succession from him:
that he come not at all times into the holy place; or "holiness"
within the vail, before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; this is a description of the holy place, into which the high priest might not go at any time, or at pleasure; it was within the vail that divided between the holy place, and the most holy, where stood the mercy seat, which was a lid or covering to the ark, at the two ends of which were the cherubim, the seat of the divine Majesty; which was a type of heaven for its holiness, being the habitation of the holy God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and of holy angels, and holy men, and where only holy services are performed; and for its invisibility, where dwells the invisible God, where Christ in our nature is at present unseen by us, and the glories of which are not as yet to be beheld; only faith, hope, and love, enter within the vail, and have to do with unseen objects there; and also for what are in it, as the ark and mercy seat, types of Christ, through whom mercy is communicated in a way of justice, he being the propitiation and the fulfilling end of the law for righteousness. And this caution was given to Aaron:
that he die not; by appearing in the presence of God without his leave and order:
for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat; this one would think should be a reason why he should not die, when he came into the most holy place, because there was the mercy seat, and Jehovah on it: and besides the cloud of incense on it, he went in with, for so many understand by the cloud, the cloud of incense: thus Aben Ezra says, the sense is, that he should not enter but with incense, which would make a cloud, and so the glory not be seen, lest he should die: and Jarchi observes, that the Midrash, or the more mystical and subtle sense is, he shall not go in but with the cloud of incense on the day of atonement; but the more simple meaning, or plain sense of the words is, as the same writer notes, that whereas he did continually appear there in the pillar of cloud; and because his Shechinah or glorious Majesty is revealed there, he is cautioned not to use himself to go in, i.e. at any time; with which agrees the Targum of Jonathan,"for in my cloud the glory of my Shechinah, or divine Majesty, shall be revealed upon the mercy seat.'And this being the case, such a glory being there, though wrapped up in a cloud and thick darkness, it was dangerous to enter but by divine order.
Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place,.... The most holy place; and this was after he had offered the daily sacrifice of the morning, and had performed the rest of the service then done, as Gersom observes; such as burning the incense and trimming the lamps, for no offering preceded the daily sacrifice:
with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering; which were both for himself and his family; and such were the weakness, imperfection, and insufficiency of the Levitical priesthood, and priests, that they were obliged first to offer for their own sins, and then for the sins of the people: the meaning is not, as Aben Ezra says, that he should bring the bullock into the holy place, only that he should first give of his own a bullock for a sin offering, to atone for himself, and for the priests; nor could it be the body of the bullock he brought, only the blood of it into the most holy place, where he entered not without blood, first with the blood of the bullock, and then with the blood of the goat; for the body of the bullock for a sin offering was burnt without the camp, and the body of the ram for the burnt offering was burnt upon the altar of burnt offering; see Hebrews 9:7.
He shall put on the holy linen coat,.... Which he wore in common with other priests:
and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh; upon those parts of his body which are more secret, and less honourable flesh, meaning the same, as in Leviticus 15:2,
and shall be girded with a linen girdle and with the linen mitre shall he be attired, as the other priests were; which were an emblem of the purity and holiness of Christ, whereby he became a proper and suitable high priest, to make atonement for sin, he having none in himself; and of his mean estate of humiliation afflictions, and sufferings, whereby he expiated sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity; the high priest on the day of atonement not appearing in his golden garments, as the Jews call others worn by him, because there were some gold in them, as being unsuitable to a day of affliction and humiliation, but in garments of flax, a meaner dress; and which also were an emblem of the righteousness of Christ, and his saints, called fine linen, clean and white; which is wrought out by him, as the author of it, is in him as the subject of it, and worn by him as the Lord our righteousness, and in which, as the instilled head and representative of his people, he entered into heaven to show it to his Father, and plead it with him:
these are holy garments; and to be used only in sacred service: there were four more holy garments besides these worn by the high priest, as the breastplate, the ephod, the robe, and the plate of gold, and which also were put on at certain times on this day, as at the offering of the morning and evening sacrifice, and at the slaying and offering of the several creatures on this day
therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on; by dipping, and that in forty seahs of water, as the Targum of Jonathan; and this he did as often as he changed his garments, which were no less than five times on this day. The tradition is
And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel,.... With whom only the high priest had to do on the day of atonement; as Christ our high priest has only with the Israel of God, the elect, given him by the Father, for whom he offered up himself, and for whose sins he made reconciliation:
two kids of the goats for a sin offering; the one of which was killed, and the other let go alive, and both were but one offering, typical of Christ in both his natures, divine and human, united in one person; and who was made sin, and became a sin offering for his people:
and one ram for a burnt offering; a type of Christ, mighty to save, this creature being a strong one; and of his dolorous sufferings, this offering being burnt; and of God's gracious acceptance of his sacrifice, which was of a sweet smelling savour to him; the burnt offering following by way of thanksgiving for atonement made by the sin offering graciously accepted by the Lord.
And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself,.... That is, bring it into the court, and present it before the Lord in order to its being slain and sacrificed; for as yet it was not killed, and so could not be offered on the altar, see Leviticus 16:11; the place where the bullock was set was between the porch and the altar, his head in the south, and his face to the west, and the priest stood in the east, and his face to the west, and laid both his hands upon him, and confessed his sins, and his family's
and make atonement for himself, and for his house; for himself, for his own personal sins and for his family's sins, those of his wife and children; and it may be extended to all the priests of the house of Aaron; and some say to the Levites also, as Aben Ezra notes, though he disapproves of it: by this it appears, that Christ, the antitype of Aaron, is a more perfect and excellent priest than he, who needed not to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for his people's, for this he did once, when he offered up himself, Hebrews 7:27; and which was for his whole family, and them only, the elect of God, consisting of Jews and Gentiles; part of which is in heaven, and part on earth, and both were reconciled, or atonement made for them, by the blood of Christ; whose house and family men appear to be, when they believe and hope in him, and hold fast their faith and hope; and who are made by him priests as well as kings to God; see Ephesians 3:15 Revelation 1:6.
And he shall take the two goats,.... The sin offering for the people, a proper emblem of Christ, this creature being clean and fit for food, denoting the purity of Christ, and his being suitable and wholesome food, as his flesh is to the faith of his people; and because comely in its going, as Christ was in his going from everlasting, and in his coming, into this world, travelling in the greatness of his strength; and even by reason of its having something in it unsavoury and offensive, and which made it the fitter emblem of Christ, as a surety of his people; for though he had no sin inherent in him and natural to him, yet he appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh, and had sin imputed to him, which rendered him obnoxious to divine justice: the number of these goats was two, typical either of the two natures in Christ; his divine nature, in which he is impassable, and lives for ever, which may be signified by the goat presented alive and let go; and his human nature, in which he suffered and died, and may be fitly represented by the goat that was slain; or else of the two estates of Christ before and after his resurrection, his being put to death in the flesh and quickened in the Spirit; or rather this may signify the twofold consideration of Christ as Mediator, one with respect to his divine Father, to whom he made satisfaction by his death; and the other with respect to Satan, with whom he conflicted in life, and to whose power he was so far delivered up, as not only to be tempted, and harassed by him, but through his instigation to be brought to the dust of death; See Gill on Leviticus 16:10; and these two goats, according to the Jewish writers
and present them before the Lord, at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation; at the east of the court, and the north of the altar, as the Misnah
And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats,.... Which should be slain, and which should be kept alive, and let go: the manner of casting lots, according to the Misnah
one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat: one had written upon it, as in the above account, "for the Lord"; and the other had written upon it, "for Azazel"; directing that the goat on which the lot for the Lord fell was to be slain and offered up for a sin offering to him; and the other, on which the lot for Azazel fell, was to be kept alive and let go: now, however casual and contingent the casting of a lot may seem to men, it is certain to God, the disposal of it is of him, and according to his determination, Proverbs 16:33; and this, in the mystical sense, here denotes, that the sufferings and death of Christ were according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, and so were foretold in the Scriptures, and came to pass according to his appointment, will, and command, as was also his resurrection from the dead, John 10:18; see Acts 1:23; and likewise his conflict with Satan, John 14:30.
And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord's lot fell,.... Alluding to the manner of taking out the lot by the high priest, who, when he took it out, lifted it up with his hand, and then let it down, and put it on the head of the goat; after which he brought it to the altar to be sacrificed:
and offer him for a sin offering; an offering for the sins of the people, as a type of Christ, who made his soul an offering for sin for his people; but this was not done by Aaron until he had brought and killed the sin offering for himself; after which we read of killing this sin offering for the people, Leviticus 16:11; wherefore some take this offering here to be no other than a setting apart or devoting the goat for this service.
But the goat on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat,.... Or for Azazel, of which more hereafter in the latter part of the verse:
shall be presented alive before the Lord; this seems to be a second presentation; both the goats were presented before the Lord before the lots were cast, Leviticus 16:7; but this was afterwards, when one of the goats, according to the lot, being presented, was ordered to be killed for a sin offering, and the other according to the lot being presented alive, was ordered to remain so:
to make an atonement with him; to make an atonement for the sins of the people of Israel along with the other, for they both made one sin offering, Leviticus 16:6; and this, though spared alive for a while, yet at length was killed; and how, the Jewish writers relate, as will be after observed:
and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness; or, unto Azazel into the wilderness; which, some understand of a mountain in the wilderness called Azazel, to which the Targum of Jonathan has respect, which paraphrases the word,"to send him to die in a place strong and hard, which is in the wilderness of Zuck;'and so Saadiah Gaon, Jarchi, Kimchi, and others; and one in Aben Ezra says, it was near Mount Sinai; but as it is rightly observed by some, was this the name of a mountain, Moses would have called it the mountain Azazel, as he does other mountains by their names: nor is there any account of any such mountain in those parts, by such who have travelled in it, and if near Sinai, it was a long way to send it from Jerusalem; and for which there seems to be no reason, since there were many deserts between those two places: Aben Ezra suggests, there is a secret or mystery in the word Azazel, and says, you may know it and the mystery of his name, for he has companions in Scripture; and I will reveal to you, says he, part of it by a hint, when you are the son of thirty three, you may know its meaning, that is, by reckoning thirty three verses from Leviticus 16:8; where this word is first mentioned, which will fall on Leviticus 17:7; "they shall no more offer unto devils"; and so R. Menachem interprets Azazel of Samael, the angel of death, the devil, the prince that hath power over desolate places: there are several Christian writers of great note, that understand this of the devil, as Origen
And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself,.... In the same manner, and is to be understood in the same sense as in Leviticus 16:6,
and shall make atonement for himself and for his house: by a confession of words, as the Targum of Jonathan adds, and which Jarchi calls the second confession; for the same was made, and in the same words as before; see Gill on Leviticus 16:6,
and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself; which was a type of Christ; the creature itself was, being strong for labour, and patient in bearing the yoke; Christ had a laborious service to perform, the work of man's redemption, and he was strong for it, able to go through it, and did not only readily take upon him the yoke of the law, and became obedient to every command of his divine Father, but even to death itself, the death of the cross; the kind of sacrifice was a sin offering, and such Christ in soul and body was made for his people; in order to which, as this sacrifice, he was put to death, the use of which was, to atone for all the sins of his mystical self, his body, the church; for all his family, his children, the priests of the Lord.
And he shall take a censer,.... A fire pan, a sort of chafing dish or perfuming pot; this was a golden one, as appears from Hebrews 9:4; hence Christ, the Angel of God's presence, our interceding High Priest, is said to have such an one, Revelation 8:3; and so Josephus says
full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord; these were bright lively coals, not smoking and half extinct; and they were taken from off the altar of burnt offering, from the western side of it, as Jarchi says, which was towards the holy of holies, where the Lord had his dwelling: these burning coals denoted the sufferings of Christ, which were properly punishments for the sins he bore, flowed from the wrath of God comparable to fire, were the curses of a fiery law, and equal to the sufferings of the wicked, often expressed by fire; they were many, and very painful and excruciating, though no ways inconsistent with the love of God to him as his Son, for they were endured by him as the surety of his people, and by which he expressed his flaming love and affection for them: he himself is altar, sacrifice, and priest, the altar which sanctifies the gift; and the coals as on the altar, denote the sufferings of Christ as upon him, which he was able to bear; and the taking off the coals signifies the cessation of his sufferings; and the altar, coals, and taking of them off, being before the Lord and in his sight, show that Christ, as a divine Person, is, and always was before him; that his sufferings were ever in view, being appointed and foretold by him, and when endured were grateful to him, a sacrifice of a sweet smelling savour; and that the cessation of them was in his presence, and according to his will; and Christ now is the Lamb in the midst of the throne, as though he had been slain, where, as such, he is always beheld with pleasure and acceptance by the Lord:
and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small; both his hands, as Aben Ezra, two handfuls of this he took and put into a cup: of this sweet incense and its composition, see Exodus 30:34; this was small itself, but on the evening of the day of atonement it was put into the mortar again, as Jarchi says, and beaten very small, and so was, as expressed in the Misnah
and bring it within the vail: not the incense only, but the burning coals of fire also, the one in one hand, and the other in the other hand; so the Misnah
And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord,.... Both the incense and burning coals of fire being carried within the vail, the incense was put upon the coals, and so it burned before the Lord, whose seat was between the cherubim; and from whence it appears, that this was done, not without but within the vail: the Sadducees under the second temple would have it, that the incense was put upon the fire without the vail, wherefore the high priest, on the evening of this day, was sworn by the messengers of the sanhedrim not to make any alteration in what they should say to him; and this oath was given him in the house of Abtines, where the incense was made, with a special respect to that, since it being within the vail, they could not see it performed: the manner of his performance of this part of his service is thus related; he went in between the rails, till he came to the north; when he was come to the north, he turned his face to the south; he went on his left hand near the vail, till he came to the ark; he put the censer between the two bars, and heaped the incense upon the top of the coals, and the whole house was filled with the smoke; he then went out backwards, and prayed a short prayer in the outward house (the holy place), and he did not continue long in prayer, lest the people of Israel should be frightened
and this was done, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony; where was the Shechinah, or glorious majesty of God, and which was not to be seen, and therefore to be covered after this manner; which shows, that there is no access to God but as upon a seat of mercy and a throne of grace; and even that there is no coming to him upon that, but through the mediation and intercession of Christ:
that he die not; as his sons did, boldly intruding where, and doing what they should not: there is no approaching to God as an absolute God, and live; but through Christ the Mediator, and his intercession, believers may draw nigh and see the face of God in Christ, and live, as Jacob did, Genesis 32:30.
And he shall take of the blood of the bullock,.... When the high priest slew the bullock, the blood was received in a basin, and given to another priest, that he might keep stirring it on a foursquare bench in the temple, that so it might not thicken and congeal
and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat, eastward; with his right finger, or forefinger, as the Targum of Jonathan; and the blood sprinkled with it did not fall upon the mercy seat, as our version seems to intimate, but it was sprinkled over against it, towards the upper part of it. Aben Ezra says, that according to their interpreters, "upon the face of the mercy seat", as the words may be literally rendered, signifies above, between the two bars, and here it was the high priest stood; for, according to the Misnah
and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times; besides the first sprinkling that was upward, and those downward; so says the Misnah
Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering that is for the people,.... That upon which the lot came for the Lord, Leviticus 16:9; the high priest having sprinkled the blood of the bullock, came out of the most holy place, and went into the court of the tabernacle to the altar of burnt offering, and on the north side of that slew the goat for the sin offering, the place where all such were killed; see Leviticus 1:11. This was a type of Christ, of his being slain, and made an offering for the sins of his people:
and bring his blood within the vail: it being received into a basin, as before the blood of the bullock was, he took it, and with it went in a third time into the most holy place:
and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it upon the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat; it should be rendered "toward the mercy seat" it is by Noldius
And he shall make an atonement for the holy place,.... Even the holy of holies, as Aben Ezra interprets it, into which the high priest entered with blood for that purpose; the Targum of Jonathan adds, by a verbal confession, that is, of sin; but atonement was not made in that way, but by the blood of the bullock and goat, which was sprinkled towards the mercy seat, above and below: and this was made
because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; which heap of words shows how many and heinous the sins of the people of Israel were, being defections from God, rebellions against him, transgressions of his law, and which brought pollution and guilt upon them, which could only be expiated by blood; and though the people of Israel did not enter so much as into the holy place, where the priests at times went, and much less into the holiest of all, yet their sins in some sense entered there, and came before the Lord that dwelt there; as the sins of men do even reach up to heaven itself, and cry for wrath and vengeance: and so made the Israelites unworthy of such a favour as for the Lord to dwell among them in that most holy place, in so solemn a manner; and for their high priest to enter there, and consult the oracle of God for them, and make intercession on their account, to which atonement was necessary; even as men by their sins render themselves unworthy of entering into the heavenly state, nor can they, without the atonement and sacrifice of Christ; and to this purification of the patterns of heavenly things; and of the heavenly things or places themselves, the apostle refers, Hebrews 9:23,
and shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation that remaineth among them, in the midst of their uncleanness; that is, the court of the tabernacle where the Israelites were admitted, and where they often came in their uncleanness, either ignorantly or presumptuously, and yet notwithstanding the tabernacle remained among them; but, it was necessary that atonement should be made for the uncleanness in it, and around it, that it might continue, and they might have the privilege of coming into it, and worshipping in it. This shows that there are sins of holy things, and which attend the most solemn service, which are committed in the sanctuary of the Lord, and while waiting upon him in his house and ordinances; which must be expiated and removed. The same rites were observed, in making the atonement for this part of the sanctuary, as for the most holy place, particularly by sprinkling the blood in like manner, only, elsewhere; so says Jarchi, as he sprinkled of them both within, that is, of the blood of the bullock, and of the goat, within the vail, once above, and seven times below; so he sprinkled, by the vail without, of both of them, once above, and seven times below.
And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation,.... Not any of the priests, as Aben Ezra, no, not in the holy place where they ministered, nor in the court of the tabernacle, nor in any of the courts, nor indeed any of the people: all places were cleared
when he, the high priest:
goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place until he come out; this in the mystery of it was to signify, that atonement for sin is made only by Christ our high priest; he himself, and no other, bore our sins, and he himself purged them away, or by his sacrifice alone expiated them; his own arm wrought salvation, and of the people there were none with him to help and assist him; when he the Shepherd was smitten by the sword of justice, the sheep were scattered, all his disciples forsook him and fled; there were none to appear for him, or stand by him, or in the least to lend an assisting hand in the great work in which he was engaged; he is the only Mediator, between God and man, both of redemption and of intercession; he is the alone Saviour, to him only are sinners to look for salvation, and he is to have all the glory; he had no partner in the work, and he will have no rival in the honour of it:
and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household; his whole family, and all the priests, by the bullock of his sin offering, as Aben Ezra observes, and by carrying in the blood of it within the vail, and sprinkling it there:
and for all the congregation of Israel; by the goat of their sin offering, as the same writer notes, and doing with the blood of that as with the blood of the bullock; all typical of the atonement of Christ for his mystical self the church; for the whole family and household of God; for the general assembly and church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.
And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord,.... The golden altar, the altar of incense, which stood in the holy place without the vail, over against the most holy place, where Jehovah dwelt, and so is said to be before him; of this altar the Misnah
and make an atonement for it; where incense was daily offered up, signifying the prayers of the saints, which having many failings and imperfections in them, yea, many sins and transgressions attending them, need atonement by the blood of Christ, of which this was a type:
and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat; mixed, as the Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it; and so Jarchi asks, what is the atonement of it? he takes the blood of the bullock, and the blood of the goat, and mixes them together: the account given of this affair in the Misnah
and put it upon the horns of the altar round about; upon the four horns which were around it; and it is asked in the Misnah
And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his finger seven times,.... This was done with his right finger, or forefinger, as the Targum of Jonathan, and seven times, to denote the perfect cleansing of the altar with it. Jarchi observes, that after he, the high priest, had put the puttings (of blood) upon the horns of it, he sprinkled of it seven sprinklings on the top of it: the Misnah says
and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel; by sprinkling the blood upon it; Jarchi's note is, "and cleanse it" from what was past, "and hallow it" for time to come.
And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place,.... That is, the holy of holies, by carrying in the blood of the bullock, and of the goat there, and sprinkling them as before observed:
and the tabernacle of the congregation; the great court where the people met, and where the altar of burnt offering stood:
and the altar; the altar of incense in the holy place; and so all the parts of the tabernacle were reconciled and atoned for, even the holy of holies, the holy place, and the court of the people: all the work the day of atonement, we are told
he shall bring the live goat; that which remained alive after the other was slain, as it was to do, according to the lot that fell upon it, Leviticus 16:10; this was brought to the door of the tabernacle of the congregation, whither the high priest went, and performed the following rites.
And Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat,.... In this order as the Targum of Jonathan says, his right hand upon his left hand on the head of the live goat; this was done in the name of the people, hereby transferring their sins, and the punishment of them, to it:
and confess him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins; which takes in their sins, greater or lesser, sins of ignorance and presumption, known or not known
putting them upon the head of the goat; that is, the iniquities, transgressions, and sins of the people of Israel before confessed, and that by confession of them, with imposition of hands; and which was typical of the imputation of the sins of the people of God to Christ, of the Lord laying, or causing to meet on him the iniquities of them all, and of his being made sin by imputation for them:
and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness; whether the wilderness of Judea, or what other is intended, is not certain. The Targum of Jonathan calls it the wilderness of Zuck; which, according to the Misnah
And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited,.... Where it would never be seen, and from whence it would never return more; and so was a proper type of Christ, who has borne all the sins of all his people in his own body on the cross, and all the punishment due unto them; and so has made full satisfaction for them, and has removed them from them, as far as the east is from the west, and out of the sight of avenging justice; so that when they are sought they shall not be found, nor shall they ever return unto them, or be brought against them any more; see Isaiah 53:12,
and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness; that is, the man that was appointed to have him thither; and so the Targum of Jonathan,"and the man shall let go the goat into the wilderness of Zuck; and the goat shall go upon the mountains of Beth Chadure (or Chadudo), and a tempestuous wind from the Lord shall drive him down, and he shall die.'The manner of conducting this whole affair was this; they made for him a causeway (i.e. for the man that had the goat committed to his care, to have it out of the court, and out of the city), because of the Babylonians, who would pluck him by the hair, and say, Get out, begone, get out, begone. The nobles of Jerusalem accompanied him to the first booth, for there were ten booths from Jerusalem to Zuck, which were ninety furlongs, seven and a half to every mile; at every (i.e. twelve miles) at every booth they said to him, Lo food, lo water, and they accompanied him from booth to booth, excepting the last of them; for there was not one went with him to Zuck, but stood afar off, and observed what he did: what did he do? he parted a scarlet line, half of it he bound to the rock, and half of it he bound between his horns (the goat's), and pushed him backwards, and he rolled and went down, but before he came half way down the mountain he was dashed to pieces; then he (the man) went and sat under the last booth until it was dark--they said to the high priest, the goat is got to the wilderness; but from whence did they know that the goat was got to the wilderness? they made watchtowers or beacons, and they waved linen cloths, and so knew when the goat was come to the Wilderness
And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation,.... Having been into the most holy place a fourth time, as the Jews say, to fetch out the censer and the incense cup; wherefore the Jewish writers observe, that this verse is not in its proper place; so Jarchi from the Rabbins says, the whole section is in its order, excepting this, which was after the sacrifice of his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people; and the burning the inwards of the bullock and the goat, which were done without in the golden garments; and then he dipped himself, and washed his hands and feet, and stripped and put on the white garments, and went in to fetch the incense cup and the censer, with which he offered in the inmost place (the holy of holies):
and shall put off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the holy place; the holy of holies, that is, as Jarchi interprets it, after he had brought it (the censer) out, then he clothed himself with the golden garments for the daily evening sacrifice; and this was the order of the services (on the day of atonement); the daily morning sacrifice (was performed) in the golden garments; the service of the bullock and of the goat, and the incense of the censer, in the white garments; and his ram, and the ram of the people, and some of the additions, in the golden garments; and the bringing out of the incense cup and the censer in the white garments; and the rest of the additions, and the daily evening sacrifice, and the incense of the temple, on the inward altar, in golden garments; and the order of the Scripture, according to the services, so it was:
and shall leave them there; in one of the chambers of the tabernacle, as afterwards, in the temple, where they were laid up, never to be used more, as say the Jewish writers, Ben Gersom, and others; hence we learn, says Jarchi, that they were obliged to be laid up, and he, the high priest, might not minister in these four garments on another day of atonement.
And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place,.... In the court of the tabernacle of the congregation, where, as Aben Ezra says, they spread fine linen for him; Jarchi says, it was a place on the roof of the house of Parvah, where all the dippings and washings were made, except the first; See Gill on Leviticus 16:4; and this washing was no other than the dipping of his whole body in water; and if our Lord was baptized on this day, as some have thought, before observed, whose baptism was by dipping, Matthew 3:16; there will appear in this a great likeness between the type and the antitype:
and put on his garments and come forth; put on his golden garments, and come out of the place where he had washed himself, to the court, where was the altar of burnt offering: all which may be an emblem of Christ's putting off the pure and spotless garment of the flesh, in which he appeared in a low estate, and made atonement for sin; and of his burial, which the washing of the flesh may point at, being what was used of the dead, and which washing in baptism is a figure of; and of his resurrection from the dead, when God gave him glory, and he appeared in a glorious body, signified by his golden garments put on again:
and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people; his ram, and the people's ram, and the bullock of the people, and their seven lambs, as it is written, Numbers 29:8; so Aben Ezra, first his own, and then the people's, which order was before observed in the sin offerings:
and make an atonement for himself, and for the people; which though properly made by the sin offerings, and the carrying the blood of them into the most holy place, yet these were the completing of it, being the last of the services peculiar to the day of atonement: the service performed by the high priest after the sending away the goat into the wilderness was this; he read this "sixteenth" chapter of Leviticus, and Leviticus 23:27, if he read in linen garments, he washed his hands and his feet, he stripped himself, went down and dipped himself, and came up and wiped himself; then they brought him the golden garments, and he put them on, and washed his hands and his feet, and went out and offered his ram, and the people's ram, and the seven perfect lambs of a year old; then he washed his hands and his feet, and stripped and went down and dipped, and came up and wiped himself; then they brought him the white garments, and he put them on, and washed his hands and his feet, and went into the holy of holies to fetch out the incense cup and the censer; then he washed his hands and his feet, and stripped, and went down and dipped, and came up and wiped himself; then they brought him the golden garments, and he put them on, and he washed his hands and his feet, and went in (to the holy place) to offer the evening incense, and to him the lamps; and then he washed his hands and his feet, and stripped; and they brought him his own garments (what he usually wore when out of service), and he put them on; and they accompanied him to his house, where he made a feast for his friends, because he was come out of the sanctuary in safety
And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. The brazen altar of burnt offering, and so says Jarchi, on the outward altar; for of the inward (i.e. the altar of incense) it is written, ye shall not offer upon it strange incense, nor a burnt offering, nor a meat offering; and this fat he explains to be what was on the inwards of both the bullock and the goat; and so says Aben Ezra, the fat of the bullock for the sin offering, and the fat of the goat for a sin offering, and also the fat of the kid of the goat, which, was a sin offering for the priest, Numbers 29:11; this fat was burnt at the same time the burnt offerings were offered in Leviticus 16:24.
And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat,.... Or unto Azazel; who or what Azazel is; see Gill on Leviticus 16:10 and See Gill on Leviticus 16:21; for the goat and Azazel are different, not the same, nor to be confounded as they are in our version:
shall wash his clothes, and bathe himself in water; in forty seahs of water, according to the Targum of Jonathan; so unclean was this person reckoned by what he had to do with the goat sent away by him; which, in a typical and ceremonial sense, had all the sins of the people of Israel on it: and he and his garments were defiled as soon as he could be said to be letting go; and that was, as Gersom says, as soon as he was out of the city; for as long as he was in the city he was in the place from whence the motion was made, but as soon as he was out of it he was in the way, and then he began to be in that motion, and might be then called, "he that let him go": and from that time the clothes he had on were defiled; according to the Misnah
and afterwards come into the camp; of Israel, while in the wilderness, and into the city in later times, and so into the sanctuary, and enjoyed all civil and religious privileges as another man: and something like this obtained among the Heathens, as has been observed by many learned men, particularly out of Porphyry
And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering,.... The one for Aaron and his family, the other for the people of Israel, of which see Leviticus 16:5,
whose blood was brought in to make an atonement in the holy place; the holy of holies, where it was brought and sprinkled, as directed inLeviticus 16:14,
shall one carry forth without the camp; by command, as Aben Ezra observes; by the order of the high priest; and, perhaps, more than one was employed to carry out those carcasses, they being too large for one man, and as it seems from a following clause; and the Targum of Jonathan is,
"they shall be carried out on staves by the hands of the junior priests;
so Jarchi says
and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung; the priests, as Aben Ezra; for there were more than one concerned, as in carrying them out, so in the burning of them: the high priest was not concerned in it, for while these were burning he was reading, as observed on Leviticus 16:24; so that he that saw, the high priest when he was reading, saw not the bullock and the goat when they were burnt; and he that saw the bullock and the goat burnt, saw not the high priest when he read; not because it was not lawful, but because the way was distant, and the business of both was done together
And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water,.... In forty seahs of water, as the Targum of Jonathan; that is, everyone of those that burnt them, as Aben Ezra observes; for these being sin offerings, and had a connection with the sins of men, for whom they were offered, the persons concerned in the carrying and burning of them were equally defiled, and needed washing, as the man that led and let go the goat into the wilderness:
and afterwards he shall come into the camp; and have the liberty of conversation with men in civil and religious things, but not till evening; so long he was defiled; and according to the Misnah
And this shall be a statute for ever unto you,.... As long as the Aaronic priesthood was in being, and the Levitical dispensation lasted, until: the true Messiah came and put an end to all these rites and ceremonies; until that time this service was to be performed by the high priest in succession every year:
that in the seventh month; the month Tisri, as the Targum of Jonathan explains it, which answers to part of our September, and was the seventh month from the month Abib or Nisan, answering to part of our March; which was appointed the first month, upon the Israelites coming out of Egypt in that month, and for that reason; otherwise this seventh month, or Tisri, was the first month of the year before, and, indeed, continued to be so notwithstanding, with respect to things civil:
on the tenth day of the month; on which day, the Jews say
ye shall afflict your souls; not only by humiliation of the heart for sin, and by repentance of it, and by turning from their evil ways, but by corporeal fasting, which is chiefly meant by the affliction of their souls; so the Targum of Jonathan explains it, by abstaining from eating and from drinking, and from the use of baths, and from anointing, and from the use of shoes, and of the marriage bed; and so it is said in the Misnah
and do no work at all; no bodily work, for it was in that respect a sabbath, as it is afterwards called; the Jewish canon is, he that ate and did any work was guilty of two sins, or was obliged to two sin offerings
whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you; whether a native of the land of Israel, that was born there, and of parents who were Israelites, or one that was a proselyte to the Jewish religion, a proselyte of righteousness, as Ben Gersom interprets it; this law concerning fasting and abstinence from all servile work on the day of atonement was binding on the one as on the other,
For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you to cleanse you,.... By offering the sin offering for them; typical of the sacrifice of Christ, whose soul was made an offering for sin whereby atonement is made for it, and whose blood cleanses from all sin. Though the word "priest" is not in the text, it is rightly supplied, as it is by Aben Ezra, for by no other could, a sacrifice be offered, or atonement made; and on the day of atonement only by the high priest, who was a type of Christ our high priest, who has by his sacrifice made reconciliation for sin, and by himself has purged from it:
that ye may be clean from all your sins before the Lord; which is a general phrase, as Aben Ezra observes, and may be understood of sins of ignorance and presumption; as Christ by his blood and sacrifice has cleansed all his people from all their sins of every sort, so that they stand pure and clean, unblamable and unreproveable, before the throne of God, and in his sight; see Colossians 1:22.
It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you,.... From all servile work, as before observed; typical of a cessation from the performance of sinful works, at least from a sinful course of life, and from a dependence on works of righteousness, when a man is brought to believe in Christ, and in the atonement which he has made, see Hebrews 4:3,
and ye shall afflict your souls by a statute for ever: as long as the ceremonial law, and its statutes and ordinances lasted, which were to be until the time of reformation; and till that time came, once a year, on the day of atonement, they were to keep a severe fast, here called an afflicting of their souls; and in this respect this day differed from the seventh day sabbath, which was rather a festival than a fast, and is what led some of the Heathen writers
And the priest whom he shall anoint,.... Whom God shall anoint, or shall be anointed, that shall succeed in the high priesthood, as Aaron's sons did, the eldest of them, and none but such were anointed:
and whom he shall consecrate; or fill his hands, by putting the sacrifices into them; See Gill on Exodus 28:41 andSee Gill on Exodus 29:9, Exodus 29:24; by which, and by anointing him, and clothing him with the priestly garments, he was consecrated and installed into his office, in order
to minister in the priest's office, in his father's stead: a son of an high priest was always preferred to any other, and to him it of right belonged to succeed his father in his office: and such an one, thus consecrated,
shall make the atonement; on this day of atonement; not a common priest, but the high priest only; so Jarchi observes, this expiation of the day of atonement was not right but by an high priest; for the whole section is said concerning Aaron, and therefore it must needs be said of an high priest that comes after him, that should be as he was:
and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: that is, on the day of atonement; in which clothes all the service peculiar to that day, as it was done by Aaron, so it was to be done by all his successors.
And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary,.... The holy of holies, just in the same manner as Aaron had done, Leviticus 16:16,
and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation; the court of the tabernacle, and the holy place, and all in them, as Aaron did, in the places referred
and for the altar; see Leviticus 16:18,
and he shall make an atonement for the priests; for himself and for his family, and for all the priests, as Aaron did by his bullock of the sin offering, Leviticus 16:6,
and for all the people of the congregation of Israel; the whole body of the Israelites, and with them the Levites, as Aben Ezra observes, for they are not called priests; indeed every priest was a Levite, but not every Levite a priest; wherefore these were included not among the priests, but in the congregation of Israel. These several atonements, according to Ben Gersom, were separate and distinct, and did not hinder one another, or interfere with one another.
And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you,.... Which is the third time of its being observed, see Leviticus 16:29, to show that this was a law of considerable moment, and to be taken notice of, and strictly and closely kept by the priests, to whom these words are directed, and on whom the chief service of the day lay:
to make atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year; namely, on the tenth day of the seventh month, or Tisri, as before directed:
and he did as the Lord commanded Moses; that is, Aaron did, as the Targum of Jonathan, Aben Ezra, and Ben Gersom supply it; when the day of atonement came, as Jarchi expresses it, he did according to this order, to fulfil the decree of the king, even the King of kings; whose will it was that such a day should be yearly observed, and such and such rules performed in it; so very significant of Christ, and of the atonement to be made by him, and which has been made.
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Gill, John. "Commentary on Leviticus 16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the First Week after Epiphany