Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 16

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-34


The Annual, Universal, National Feast of Purification. The Great Day of Atonement, and the Great Propitiation.”—Lange

Leviticus 16:1-34

1And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when 2they offered1 before the Lord, and died; and the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will 3appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. Thus [With this2] shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He shall put on the [a3] holy linen coat, and he shall have the [omit the3] linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the [a3] linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash [bathe4] his flesh in water, and so put them on. 5And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids [bucks5] of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

6And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the [om. the] congregation. 8And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat [for Azazel6]. 9And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’s lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat [for Azazel6], shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat [for Azazel6] into the wilderness.

11And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself: 12and he shall take a [the7] censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: 13and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: 14and he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon8 the mercy seat eastward [on the east side9]; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.

15Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering, that is for the people, and bring his blood within the vail, and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the 16bullock, and sprinkle it upon8 the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat: and ho shall make an atonement for the holy place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins: and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the [omit the] congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness. 17And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the [omit the] congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself, and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. 18And he shall go out unto the altar that is before the Lord, and make an atonement for it; and shall take of the blood of the bullock, and of the blood of the goat, and put it upon the horns of the altar round about. 19And he shall sprinkle of the blood upon it with his fingers seven times, and cleanse it, and hallow it from the uncleanness of the children of Israel.

20And when he hath made an end of reconciling [making atonement for10] the holy place, and the tabernacle of the [omit the] congregation, and the altar, he shall bring [offer11] the live goat: 21and Aaron shall lay both his hands12 upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their trangressions in [according to13] all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit14 man into the wilderness: 22and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited:15 and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.

23And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the [omit the] congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: 24and he shall wash [bathe4] his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. 25And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar.

26And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat [for Azazel6] shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. 27And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. 28And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.

29And this shall be a statute for ever unto you: that in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, ye shall afflict your souls, and do no work at all, whether it be one of your own country, or a stranger that sojourneth among you: 30for on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may 31be clean from all your sins before the Lord. It shall be a sabbath of rest unto you, and ye shall afflict your souls, by a statute for eLev Leviticus 16:32 And the priest, whom he [one16] shall anoint, and whom he [one16] shall consecrate to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement, and shall put on the linen clothes, even the holy garments: 33and he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary, and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the [omit the] congregation, and for the altar, and he shall make an atonement for the priests, and for all the people of the congregation. 34And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year.

And he did as the Lord commanded Moses.


Leviticus 16:1. The LXX., the Targs. of Onk., Jon. and Jerus, the Vulg. and Syr. here insert the words strange fire, as is obviously implied.

Leviticus 16:3. בְּזֹאת. There seems no reason why the Heb. should not be rendered literally.

Leviticus 16:4. The articles are not in the Heb., and should be omitted as misleading.

Leviticus 16:4. רָחַץ, see Textual Note 30 on Leviticus 14:8. The Sam. and LXX. insert the word all before his flesh.

Leviticus 16:5. שְׂעִירֵי, see Textual Note 21 on Leviticus 4:23. The same word is used also Leviticus 16:7-8, etc.; but it seems unnecessary to alter the translation throughout, as this is the only place in which the sense is affected.

Leviticus 16:8; Leviticus 16:10 (bis), 26 עֲזָאזֵל. The word occurs only here, and in the wide difference of opinion existing as to its meaning, it seems far better to retain the Heb. word unchanged, as is done in many modern critical translations. It occurs in all cases without the article. For the meaning, see exegesis.

Leviticus 16:12. It is better to retain the definite article, as expressed in the Heb.

Leviticus 16:14-15. For עַל=upon, the Sam. reads אל=before, towards.

Leviticus 16:14. קֵדְמָה=toward the east is to be connected with the mercy seat, and not with sprinkle. The high priest looking west, faced the mercy seat, and sprinkled it on the side next to him, i.e. the side toward the east. This cannot be clearly expressed in English without a slight modification of the phrase.

Leviticus 16:20. מִכַּפֵּר. See Textual Note 17 on Leviticus 6:30 (23).

Leviticus 16:20. הִקְרִיב, the same word as is used of the other goat in Leviticus 16:9, and the common word for sacrificial offering.

Leviticus 16:21. For the יָדָו of the text, 35 MSS. read יָדָיו, as in the k’ri.

Leviticus 16:21. According to is both a better translation of the prep. לְ and gives a better sense.

Leviticus 16:21. עִתִּי., ἁπ. λέγ., according to Fuerst existing or appointed at a convenient time. LXX. ἕτοιμος, Vulg. paratus. The sense of appointed would probably bettter express the Heb. than fit (so Targ. Jon., and so Rosenmueller); but there is neither sufficient certainty nor sufficient difference to make the change.

Leviticus 16:22. גְּזֵרָה. LXX. ἂβατον, Vulg. solitariam, Onk. uninhabitable, Jon. desolate, Syr. uncultivated. Lit. a land cut off. The A. V. sufficiently expresses the sense.

Leviticus 16:32. These verbs must either be rendered impersonally, or else taken in the passive, as the Heb. idiom very well allows.


Here a new Parashah of the law begins, extending through Leviticus 18:0 Amos 9:7-15 forms the parallel Proper Lesson from the prophets. That prophecy is cited by St. James at the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:16-17), and applied to the building up of the Gentiles into the Church of Christ. Wordsworth suggests that he may have selected that particular prophecy because it was associated in his mind, through the public readings in the synagogues, with the passage before us “which displays, in a figure, the work of Christ, our great High Priest, entering into the heavenly Holy of Holies, and reconciling the world to God by His own blood (Hebrews 9:7-12; Hebrews 9:24-28).”

This chapter forms the culmination of all that has gone before, of the laws both of sacrifices and of purity, and therefore forms the fitting conclusion of the whole portion of Leviticus concerned with the means of approach to God. The significance of its symbolical ritual is dwelt upon in the 9th ch. of the Ep. to the Heb. The Holy of Holies was entered only on the day and with the sacrifices here prescribed, and this day was the only day of fasting appointed in the Mosaic law. The ritual of its sacrifices was peculiar and impressive, and the goat for Azazel is something so unlike any thing else in the Levitical system as to have occasioned the utmost perplexity to expositors. In Leviticus 23:27 (Heb.) the day is called “the day of atonements (in the plural), as if this included in itself all other atonements, or at least was the most exalted and important, of them all. In Leviticus 16:31 (Heb.) it is spoken of as a “Sabbath of Sabbaths,” and by the later Jews it was commonly called simply “Joma,”=day, as the day of all days. It is probably intended by St. Luke in the expression “the fast,” Acts 27:9. See Com. there. The high-priest alone could officiate, and this he must do in a peculiar dress worn only on this day. By the ritual of this day, the imperfection and insufficiency of all other sacrifices was brought prominently into view, while yet its own imperfection was necessarily involved in its yearly repetition.

The chapter consists of two portions, of which the first (Leviticus 16:2-28) contains directions for this great annual expiation; and the second (Leviticus 16:29-34), the command for its yearly celebration. The whole of Lange’s Exegetical Notes are here given.

“1. It is first of all to be noticed that the yearly feast of atonement is mentioned twice in the Levitical law of worship, viz. once here as the culminating point of the laws and expiations of purifications; and again in Leviticus 23:0. in the midst of the feasts of the Lord for the positive sanctification of the land and the people, as a solemn prelude to the most festal and joyous of all the feasts, the feast of tabernacles. The point of unity of both lines is the thought: that Israel can then only attain to the full joys of the feast of tabernacles, when, on the great Sabbath of the seventh month—the single exclusive day of expiation and regular fast day of the year—it has humbled and purified itself before Jehovah with the confession, that all its legal atonements had not brought full purification; that the instruments of atonement, priests and altar, must themselves be atoned for; that not even by these comprehensive general supplications and general atonements could complete atonement be made; that a guilt remaining in secret must be sent home to Azazel as inexpiable under the πάρεσις of Jehovah (Romans 3:25)—an act with which the Levitical atonement sweeps out beyond itself to a future and real atonement.

“2. Corresponding to the thoughts that have been mentioned, we have:
a. The prevailing unapproachableness of the holy God, only momentarily suspended through a hypothetical, typically accomplished power of approach, as the idea of a future perfect atonement. This law was enforced by the fact that the two eldest sons of Aaron had died through approaching profanely, and by the threat that he too should die if he went behind the curtain of the Holy of holies, where Jehovah was manifested in a cloud over the mercy-seat (Jeremiah 30:21), otherwise than according to the stated conditions, once a year. (Hebrews 9:7). Leviticus 16:1-2.” [ The historical connection of this chapter with the death of Nadab and Abihu does not exclude the logical connection with the legislation of the rest of the book. The provision for the day of atonement was necessary in any case to the completeness of the Levitical system, but the command for its observance was immediately occasioned by their unauthorized act. There are no data to show the length of the interval between their death and the Divine communication contained in this chapter; but it was probably short. Leviticus 16:2. Within the vail—which separated the holy place, the outer part of the sanctuary where the priests daily ministered at the altar of incense, from the holy of holies which was never to be entered by man except as provided for in this chapter. On the significance of this arrangement see Doctrinal remarks below. The custom of having peculiarly sacred parts in the heathen temples is well known. The mercy-seat.—כַּפֹּרֶת LXX. ἱλαστήριον, Vulg., propitiatorium, and so the other ancient versions. The LXX. word is twice used in the N. T., being translated mercy-seat in Hebrews 9:5, but propitiation in Romans 3:25. The word occurs only in Ex., in this chapter, and in Numbers 7:89, and 1 Chronicles 28:11. It is evident from Exodus 25:22; Exodus 30:6; and Numbers 7:89, that it was the place appointed for the peculiar manifestation of the presence of God; and from this chapter, that it was the objective point of the highest propitiatory rites known to the law. The English word only partially conveys the sense. I will appear in the cloud.—There has been much question whether this means the light-giving cloud which overshadowed and at certain times filled the tabernacle, and which according to the Jewish authorities, was afterwards represented by the Shechinah above the ark; or whether it refers simply to the cloud of incense arising from the censer of the highpriest as he passed within the vail. The subject is ably and fully discussed by Bähr (Symb. I. c. V. § 2, IV. 2d aufl., pp. 471–481) who concludes in favor of the latter. See the authorities there cited. The determination in reality involves two separate questions: first, whether the promise of the text is personal to Aaron, or whether it is given in perpetuity to him and his successors in the high-priesthood; and second, whether, after the cessation of the wanderings in the wilderness, there ever was such a Shechinah. In regard to the latter question, later Jewish tradition, from the time of the Targums down, is certainly sufficiently emphatic in the affirmative; but for so remarkable and perpetual a miracle, higher authority is required. Bähr has shown that Philo and Josephus, as well as the Christian Fathers to the time of S. Jerome, knew nothing of it, and it is never mentioned in the Scriptures, or in the Jewish Apocryphal books. Nevertheless, the incense is not spoken of until Leviticus 16:12, and it seems unlikely that the cloud from it should be intended here. God had hitherto manifested His presence to Moses and to the people in the cloud which covered the tabernacle, and that in various localities; it would not be strange that He should now promise a similar manifestation to Aaron by the same instrumentality. That this should take place upon the mercy-seat was a consequence of Aaron’s coming before it in this highest act of propitiation. Of course this would give no ground to suppose that such a manifestation continued there perpetually, or at any other time than that on which it is here especially promised, Rosenmüller, Keil, and most other commentators, however, accept the Jewish tradition of the Shechinah.—F. G.].

b. He must next protect himself with a great sacrifice; for he is directed to take a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. By these the great faults of the priesthood on the one side, and the great duties on the other side are signified,” Leviticus 16:3. [ Come into the holy is sometimes understood in relation to Aaron’s entrance into the tabernacle merely, because these offerings were offered before he passed beyond the court at all; but as the point of the whole ritual is the entrance into the holy of holies, the words are more fitly interpreted in relation to this. Full account is given of the ritual of the sin offering in Leviticus 16:11-14; Leviticus 16:27-28; the sacrifice of the priestly burnt offering was at the same time with that of the people at the conclusion of the other sacrifices (Leviticus 16:24).—F. G.].

c. After this, he is to make himself the atoner for the collective priesthood. All the high-priestly ornaments were laid aside, and he was clothed with a linen coat over linen drawers, and girt with a linen girdle. The linen cap completed the attire. Even this enrobing must be preceded by a religious lustration” (Leviticus 16:4).” [This clothing is called the holy garments, Leviticus 16:4; Leviticus 16:32; and it is separated from that of the common priests by a white linen girdle in place of the ordinary priestly girdle wrought in needle-work with “blue and purple and scarlet” (Exodus 39:29). The high-priest is thus to lay aside his “golden garments” of authority, and to be clad in pure white as symbolical of holiness. This symbolism was increased by his bathing himself before putting on these garments, and again when he exchanged them (Leviticus 16:24) for his official robes. These bathings were not the mere ordinary bathings of the hands and feet, but of the whole body.—F. G.].

d. Only in such guise can he receive the means of atonement for the congregation involved with him in guilt, the two he-goats, which in the more general sense, are appointed for a sin offering. In the presentation of the burnt offering, however, the congregation was equalized with the high-priest himself. But how inconsiderable is the he-goat in comparison with the young bullock, Leviticus 16:5.” [He shall take of the congregation.— Inasmuch as these sacrifices were for the people, the victims were supplied by them, as the former ones had been by Aaron. The fact that the two goats together constitute the sin offering is to be particularly noted. The high-priest’s sin offering was a bullock, as provided in Leviticus 4:3, and the ordinary sin offering for the whole congregation was the same (ib. 14); here it is changed to two goats to meet the particular ritual provided, but they together constitute a single sin offering. In the same way two birds were required for the purification of the leper (Leviticus 14:4), or to “make atonement for the leprous house (ib. 53) one of which was set free; and so also in the sin offering of the poor (v. 7), two doves were required which were differently treated, but together made up a single sacrifice. The burnt offering, both for the high-priest and for the congregation, was not a bullock, but an inferior victim was prescribed, probably to avoid withdrawing the attention from the other sacrifices, and thus to bring out with greater force the significance of the whole work of the day as an atonement for sin.—F. G.].

e. Now follows the ordinance for the atonement in a shorter statement. The sin offerings were placed together before the sanctuary, presented before the Lord; the bullock and the two he-goats; since the guilt is indeed different, but yet also common.” [The text, however, distinctly separates the presentation of Aaron’s bullock (Leviticus 16:6) from that of the he-goats for the people (Leviticus 16:7); and this is in accordance with the order of the actual sacrifice which follows. It seems also necessary to the idea that Aaron must first make an atonement for himself and for his house before proceeding to offer for the people.—F. G.]. “But now the mysterious act was performed: the lot was cast over the two he-goats, while the lot of the one was called for Jehovah, that of the other for Azazel. On the various significations of this, see below. Meantime, only the directions which belong to both are spoken of. Leviticus 16:9-10.” [6–10. The עָלָה used in Leviticus 16:9-10 of the lots refers to the coming up of the lot out of the urn. Keil. Aaron’s bullock is now offered, not sacrificed, for this comes afterwards, Leviticus 16:11; the same is true also of the other sin offerings. According to Jewish tradition, this offering was accompanied by the high-priest’s making a solemn confession of sin, the form of which is given in Massechet Joma c. 3, § 8 (Patrick). His house is not his immediate, personal family, but the whole order of priests, and perhaps it also included the Levites after they were separated from the congregation.—The two goats of Leviticus 16:7 were to be, according to Jewish tradition, of the same size, color, and value, and as nearly alike in every way as possible. Both of them alike Aaron was directed to present before the Lord, but the word used for this act (הֶעֱמִיד) is a different one from that used of Aaron’s offering of the bullock (הִקְרִיב), and does not appear to be used in a sacrificial sense. The lots were then cast, and only the one upon which the LORD’S lot fell was Aaron at present to offer (הִקְרִיב) for a sin offering (Leviticus 16:8) as he had already done with his own bullock; the other, on which the lot fell for Azazel was to be presented alive (יָעֳמַד־חַי) before the Lord (Leviticus 16:10). This difference in the treatment of the two goats from the outset is too important to be overlooked; but subsequently the other was also offered(Leviticus 16:20), and it is expressly said that Aaron should make an atonement with him.—Thus it is clear that the goat for Azazel, while forming part of the one sin offering and used for the purpose of atonement, was yet offered to the Lord, in the sacrificial sense, separately from the other.—F. G.].

f. The sacrificial acts follow these preparations. Aaron must slay the sin offering of the priesthood in the court. Then he first brings a large offering of incense (both hands full of I sweet incense) into the holy of holies, a cloud of the fulness of prayer, which covers the whole mercy-seat, as this covers the law, the evidence of the guilt of sin. With this preparatory entrance only is made possible the principal entrance for fulfilling the priestly atonement, without Aaron’s dying in that entrance. Then he comes back, brings the vessel of blood, and first sprinkles with his finger blood upon the mercy-seat on its front side, as if to express the thought that there is an atonement in the blood; then he sprinkles before the Kaporeth” [mercy-seat] “with his fingers (plural) seven times, as if to express the whole historical work of the blood of martyrdom which the blood-sprinkling of the Kaporeth” [mercy-seat] “crowned.” [Leviticus 16:11-14. It is important to the understanding of this day to keep the order of its rites distinctly in view. They have been clearly stated above: (1) the high priest slew the bullock for the priestly sin offering; (2) then he entered the holy of holies with the golden censer (comp. Hebrews 9:4) full of burning incense; (3) taking the blood of his own sin offering, he again entered the holy of holies and sprinkled the blood, first upon the front side of the mercy-seat, and then seven times before it; (4) he again came out to slay the goat for the sin offering of the people (Leviticus 16:15).—F. G.]. “Now first follows the atonement for the people. Aaron takes the vessel of blood of the people’s atonement, and performs the two sprinklings in the holy of holies as before. Here also the distinction is made upon the mercy-seat and before the mercy-seat. But as Aaron does not make atonement for his private guilt, of which mention was made in chap. 4, but for the faults in his sacrificial service itself, so is it also with the atonement for the people. For their private sins they have brought their sacrifices during the course of the year; now they have, in connection with the priesthood, to atone generally for the subtle sins in all their atonements and offerings.” [Yet it would give an imperfect view of the purpose of the great day of atonement to suppose it restricted simply to atoning for defects in the various sacrifices of the past year, nor probably does Lange mean to be so understood. It was rather an expression of the inherent insufficiency of those sacrifices; an acknowledgment that, notwithstanding all those propitiations, there still remained an alienation between a sinful people and a perfectly holy God. It was the design of this day to acknowledge this, and by the most solemn and expressive types, symbolically to remove it; yet in the provision for its annual repetition, its own insufficiency to this end stands confessed, and with especial clearness it points forward to the only true remedy in Him who should really obtain the victory over the power of evil.—F. G.] “So first atonement was made for the sanctuary of the Temple” [or Tabernacle] “in the holy of holies (which indeed had itself remained unapproachable for sin as well as the sinner), and then from the holy of holies outward, for the tabernacle of congregation, which had been particularly exposed to defilement in the midst of the impurities of the people. That by the tabernacle of congregation is meant the court, is shown by the command that no one should enter it while he accomplishes the atonement.” [On the other hand, Keil understands “the holy place of the tabernacle” in contradistinction to the “holy of holies,” which is called throughout this chapter simply “the holy.” So also Rosenmüller and others. And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of congregation.— The object of this was not to guard the privacy of the ceremony, but simply because all were regarded as defiled and to be atoned for, and every thing defiled must be excluded during the process of atonement.—F. G.] “The whole religion of the people appears as in abeyance while the high-priest was consummating the atonement. And fitly were these atoning acts so named. After the high-priest had completed the atonement in the holy of holies, he went back into the sanctuary, and there sprinkled the altar of incense. In a manner entirely analogous to the sprinkling upon the mercy-seat, he first sprinkled the horns of the altar of incense, and then the altar itself seven times.” [The analogy is still more completely carried out by the change of words in the Heb. put it (נָתַן) upon the horns of the altar.… he shall sprinkle (הִזָּה) of the blood upon it.— F. G.] “Only in this sprinkling, the blood of the bullock is joined with the blood of the he-goat, as indeed the prayers of both priest and people rise together to God, and in like manner also their faults in prayer. It is remarkable that the act of sprinkling in the court (at the altar of burnt offering) seems to follow the act of sprinkling in the holy of holies, and not till then the sprinkling of the altar of incense in the temple” [tabernacle], “which is here called par excellence the altar. In this connection the passage Exodus 30:10 is worthy of note. Accordingly the atonement for this altar was the last act of sacrifice, and thereby the atonement for the theocratic prayer became the last point in the atonement, as indeed it had certainly been the basis for the first.” [The ceremonies of propitiation began by carrying the burning incense, symbolizing prayer, within the vail; then the blood was sprinkled upon the instruments of propitiation, the mercy-seat and the brazen altar, and finally upon the altar of incense itself which was connected with the symbolism of prayer.—F. G.] “This ordinance seems to be connected with the thought that the altar of incense in its relation to Jehovah (the altar that is before the LORD) was reckoned as belonging to the holy of holies, as also the Epistle to the Hebrews seems to understand. After all this comes the treatment of the living he-goat, designated for Azazel. This goat was brought into the court. Here the high-priest must lay both his hands (his hand in the singular was said of the offerer Leviticus 1:4; Leviticus 3:2; Leviticus 4:4; Leviticus 4:24) upon the head of the goat and confess upon it all the misdeeds (עֲוֹנֹת) of the children of Israel, and all their breaches of allegiance (deadly sins, crimes) (תִּשְׁעֵיהֶם), which belong to all their sins, which are not included either in the sins to be atoned for, or which have already been atoned for (לְכָּל־חַטֹאתָם), and shall lay these upon the head of the goat, and shall send it away (hunt it away) into the wilderness by means of a man who stood ready for that purpose (therefore instantly). The object, however, is that the he-goat shall bear away all the sins, as if they had been laid upon him, into a desolate place. So shall he send him away into the wilderness, properly speaking, into a complete solitude, into a bare place in the midst of the wilderness, to the most desolate spot. So fearful indeed is the burden of guilt of this beast, that the man who has driven away the goat must first, outside the camp, wash his clothes and bathe himself before he may come back again into the camp. This is the contagious power of the deadly sins. It is to be considered that sins done with uplifted hand could not be removed by Levitical sacrifice.”

“But further, they could not all be discovered and blotted out by the penalty of death, the Cherem. Thus there remained, after all the atonements and penalties, an unatoned and unpardonable residue, the hidden guilt of Israel, which crept on in darkness through its history until the crucifixion of Christ (Romans 3:25). From this the congregation of Israel could only be freed by a symbolical act, in which they hunted away this burden of guilt with the sin-goat of double power, to him to whom this guilt belonged, to the Azazel in the wilderness. That the solitude inside the pasturage of the wilderness was considered as a region of evil spirits is plain from passages of the Old and New Testaments (Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; Matthew 12:43 ss.); that further, the dismissing of the unpardonable sins could be considered as a giving over of the sinner, with his sin, to its author, is shown by the act of excommunication of Paul (1 Corinthians 5:5), and that the idea or conception of a diabolical opposing spirit was handed down from patriarchal times, is plain, backwards, from Genesis 3:0, and forwards, from the position of Satan in Job, and other places. The name Azazel corresponds throughout to this conception. Whether the עֲזָאזֵל be derived from עָזַל, it means (from the verb in Pihel) the one that is always hiding, separating himself; or from אָזַל, the one that is always removing himself, the escaping one, the old one every where and nowhere; and one can only say simply that the various explanations which are most divergent from this conception are only to be accounted for from the want of understanding the undoubtedly very obscure and solemn idea of the text. Thus Knobel finds himself authorized by the text and the grammar to explain “our author considered Azazel as an evil being in the wilderness.” To be sure, it is his purpose to assert in this connection that the devil does not appear in the old Hebrew books, and was not a dweller in the wilderness. [Similarly Kalisch argues, upon the same grounds, that this book must be later than the time of Zechariah!”—F. G.] That the teaching concerning the devil has only been gradually developed from the obscurest forms; that the devil appears in Scripture in connection with subordinate demons; that further, he is described in the New Testament as a dweller in the wilderness;17 that finally, the conception of natural or spectral “Desert fiends” would be a dualistic one, contravening the spirit of the Old Testament—all this is overlooked in his skilfully prepared antithesis. But when Merx, in opposition to the interpretation of the passage of Satan, declares that the Old Testament consciousness is never dualistic, he has not learned to distinguish dualism from the biblical teaching in regard to Satan; and, as regards the further exposition, that the idea of Satan was foreign to the Old Testament, it is a pure assumption, with which he sets himself in opposition to the best recognized passages. The lately advanced proposition, “this thought does not appear any where else in Scripture,” denies the conception of ἅπαξ λεγόμενα, and can only be described as bad Hermeneutics, without mentioning that we have here nothing to do with a ἅπαξ λεγόμενον. Into what adventurousness Exegesis was brought when it passed to the thought, that the absolutely or relatively (for the Old Testament economy) inexpiable sins were given over to the kingdom of darkness for earlier or later judgment, is shown by the interpretations that are given:—Azazel signifies a locality in the wilderness; a desolate place; a mountain (while it is forgotten that the people journeyed from station to station); or the buck goat itself (from עֵז and עָזַל, caper emissarius, “the scapegoat” (der ledige Bock18) according to Luther); or Azazel is a demon, to whom this goat is brought as a sacrifice; or the word is an abstraction, and signifies the whole sending away, like the characteristic hesitation of the LXX. between ἀποπομπή and ἀποπομπαῖος, in which two different expositions are brought out.” [In regard to the meaning of Azazel: in the great variety of etymologies given for the word by scholars of the highest standing, it may be assumed as certain that nothing can be positively determined by the etymology. See the Lexicons and Bochart, Hieroz. I., lib. II. c. 54 (Tom. I., p. 745 seq. ed. Rosen.); Spencer, de leg. L. III. Diss. 8, Sect. 2 (p. 1041 s. ed. Tübing.). Not only the roots themselves are varied, but their signification also, and still further the signification of the compound. Little light can be had from the Ancient Versions. The Sam., and the Targs. of Onk., Jon., and Jerus., retain the word unchanged; so also does the Syriac, but in Walton’s Polyglott this is parenthetically translated Deus fortissimus, for which, however, there seems to be no more authority than in the Hebrew; the Vulg. has caprus emissarius; the LXX. renders in Leviticus 16:8, τῷ� (which Josephus also uses), in Leviticus 16:10 eἰς τὴν�, in Leviticus 16:26 tὸν χίμαρον τὸν διεσταλμένον εἰς ἄφεσιν; Symm. ἀπερχόμενος; Aq. ἀπολελυμένος (or, according to Theodoret, ἀπολυόμενος; Theod. ἀφιέμενος. All these versions, it will be observed, either retain the word unchanged, or else refer it to the goat itself in the general sense of Luther, and the A. V. scape-goat. The old Italic, too, has ad dimissionem. The Jewish authorities differ, R. Saadias Gaon being quoted by Spencer, and Kimchi by Münster and others for the interpretation rough mountain of God, but many of them explaining the word of the Devil. Of the Christian Fathers, Origen (contra Cels. 6), and a Christian poet cited by Epiphanius (Hæres, xxxiv.) from Irenæus, identify Azazel with the Devil; on the other hand, Theodoret (Qu. xxii. in Lev.) and Cyril (Glaph.) concur with the interpretation of Jerome. Suidas and Hesychius make the LXX. ἀποπομπή–ἀποτροπή—averruncus, the averter of evil. (See Suicer Thes. S. V. ἀποπμπαῖος.) The great majority of modern commentators agree with Spencer and Rosenmüller in interpreting the word itself of the Devil, although Bähr, Winer, and Tholuck contend for the sense complete removal. The Book of Enoch, so called, uses the name, or one so like it as to be evidently meant for the same, several times (Leviticus 8:1; Leviticus 10:12; Leviticus 13:1), in a way that shows the author understood by it the Devil; but this book, being an apocryphal composition, probably of the second century, (see Excursus It. in my com. on S. Jude), can add nothing to the authorities already cited. The writers who adopt this sense differ very widely in regard to the object of the goat for Azazel, some considering him as a sacrifice to appease the evil spirit, others as sent “to deride and triumph over him in his own dominion,” and others as simply “sent away to him as to one banished from the realm of grace.” (Clark.) See the dissertations, among others, by Spencer and one by Hengstenberg in his Egypt and the Books of Moses.

In this great variety of interpretation of the word and of the meaning of the ritual, we are fairly remanded to the text itself with the conviction that nothing is certain except what is positively stated there. These points at least, are clear: (1) the two goats together constitute one sin offering, ver 5; and also in Leviticus 16:10, the goat for Azazel is expressly said to be presented before the LORD to make an atonement with him.לְכפַּרֵ עָליָו according to invariable usage, denotes the object of the expiation; “to expiate it, i.e., to make it the object of expiation, or make expiation with it.” Keil.) Nevertheless a distinction is observed in the text in the purpose of the expiation effected by each of the goats. The blood of the one that was slain is used only for making atonement for the holy places, Leviticus 16:15-19; after this it is expressly said, and when he hath made an end of making atonement for the holy place,etc. The expiation for these was then finished, and as yet no expiation had been made for the sins of the people. Then follows, he shall bring the live goat, and on his head the high-priest lays the sins of the people to be borne away. The two goats then constitute one sin offering, but one is used to expiate the holy places, the other to bear away the sins of the people. (2) The two goats were not offered together in the sacrificial sense, but only caused to stand before the Lord for the purpose of casting lots, Leviticus 16:7; afterwards the goat for sacrifice was offered (Leviticus 16:9) by himself, and the goat for Azazel (Leviticus 16:20) was offered by himself. (3) The lot was cast by Aaron as the officiating high-priest, and was plainly intended to place the choice of the goats entirely in the hands of the Lord Himself. (4) The preposition used is precisely the same in regard to both the goats: for (לְ) the Lord,for Azazel; in view of this it is impossible to understand Azazel as in any way designating the goat itself, so that the interpretation of the LXX. Vulg. and A. V. is untenable as a literal translation, although as a paraphrase, it very well expresses the sense. On the other hand, this by no means implies, as so often assumed, that Azazel must be a personal being. It would be perfectly consonant to the usage of language that one goat should be for the Lord, and the other for anything, or place, or “abstraction;” for the knife, for the wilderness, for the bearing away of sin. (5) The word Azazel is elsewhere unknown to the Scriptures, and there is no satisfactory evidence that, except as taken from this passage, it ever was a word known to any language. (6) Finally it is to be borne in mind that this is not the only case in which two victims, treated with different ritual, constituted together a single sin offering. The same thing occurred in the two birds of the sin offering of the poor (v. 7–10), of which one was treated according to the ritual of the sin offering, and the other according to that of the burnt offering, yet both together constituted the sin offering. Another analogy is in the two birds for the purification of the leprous man or house, one killed, the other set free. These last, however, were not a sacrifice.

In view of these facts why may it not be supposed that the word Azazel was somewhat vague and indeterminate in its signification to the ancient Israelites themselves, just as Redemption is to the Christian? So far as our sinful condition is concerned, nothing can be plainer or more vitally important; but when the question is asked, “To whom is this redemption paid?” no certain and satisfactory answer has been, or can be given. May it not have been in the same way with this word to the Israelites? That their sins were borne away was most clearly taught; but looking upon these sins as concrete realities, the question might arise, “Whither were they carried?” The answer is in the first place to the wilderness, “to the place of banishment from God;” and then further to Azazel. It was not necessary that the word should be clearly understood; in fact the more vague its meaning, the more perfect the symbolism. The typical system could not explain further. The main point is well brought out in the translations of the LXX. the Vulg. and the A. V., After every other part of the atonement for the holy places had been completed (Leviticus 16:20) this goat was appointed for the symbolic bearing away of the sins of the people, first into the wilderness, a wide, indefinite place, and then further to Azazel, a wide, indefinite word. All this very emphatically symbolized to the people the utter removal of the burden of their sins, without attempting to define precisely what became of them. The only danger that could be supposed of similar vagueness entered into the New Testament account of the great Sacrifice for sins, to set at rest the endless theories which aim in vain at explaining the modus operandi of the Divine atonement—except that whatever that term had been, learning and ability would have been hopelessly devoted to ascertain its meaning, as has already been the case with Azazel.—F. G.]

“After the atoning sacrifice was completed in the way described, Aaron must prepare to present the burnt offering. It is very significant that he had to lay aside in the court the linen garments, the garments of expiation, and bathe his flesh with water, and then only, in his own high-priestly robes, present his burnt offering and that of the people, a ram for himself, and a ram for the people. Moreover, when it is said, he shall both make an atonement for himself, and for the people (Leviticus 16:24), it is certainly implied in the expression that the typical burnt offering signified only a typical Interim for the real Burnt offering (Romans 12:1), provided the expression is not to be considered as a final recapitulation. The contrast between the he-goat which had been slain as a sin offering to Jehovah, and the goat, of the Azazel is also expressed in this: that the fat of the first came upon the altar with the burnt offering, while even the man who drove away the Azazel goat had to undergo a lustration.” [Aaron’s bathing himself (Leviticus 16:24) seems also to be connected with his having symbolically laid the sins of the people upon the head of the goat. The same lustration was also required of him who burnt the flesh of the other goat and of the bullock without the camp (Leviticus 16:28), as is noticed by Lange below. The object of these requirements is evidently to express by every possible symbolism the defiling nature of sin. In Leviticus 16:27 the word for burning is שָׂרַפ, which as noted under Leviticus 4:12, is never used of sacrificial burning.—F. G.] “The sin offerings indeed, the bullock and the goat, in their remainder of skin, flesh and bones, were carried without the camp, and there burned; as was to be done with the sin offerings of the high-priest and of the congregation according to Leviticus 4:1-21, as if these pieces were considered a Cherem.“ [The law required that the flesh of all sin offerings whose blood was brought within the sanctuary, should be burned without the camp. See on Leviticus 10:18.—F. G.] “But it has certainly this meaning: that these pieces were here neutralized and removed with a becoming reverence for their signification. On account of this important idea, the fulfiller of this work was also subjected to a lustration, Leviticus 16:28.”

“As a supplement, partly a repetition, it is now said, that the children of Israel shall on this day afflict their souls; that this law shall be an everlasting law; the day a great Sabbath on which all work shall be stopped; that it shall be Israel’s atonement from all their sins which the high-priest should execute, and that once a year. It also remains not unnoticed that the ordinance in regard to this was observed at that time.
“For the literature, see Keil, p. 113, 14, ” etc. [Trans. page 398. See also the authorities in Smith’s Bib. Dict. art. Atonement, Day of, and in Winer, art. Versöhnungstag.—F. G.]

[Leviticus 16:29. In the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year, which according to Josephus (I. 3, § 3), was the first of the civil year. The old Hebrew name for this month was Ethanim, the post-captivity name Tisri. On the first day of this month was appointed the Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24), celebrated as a Sabbath and by “an holy convocation;” on the tenth was the great Day of Atonement, provided for in this chapter, and again mentioned Leviticus 23:26-32; and on the fifteenth day began the feast of tabernacles, lasting for a week (Leviticus 23:33-43). The deportment required of the people on the Day of Atonement is more fully expressed in Leviticus 23:0. Here it is simply described as a day in which ye shall afflict your souls,i.e. devote yourselves to penitence and humiliation. This would of course include fasting; but the distinctive word for fasting, צוּם or צוֹם, so common afterwards, does not occur in the Pentateuch or Joshua. It was further provided that the people should do no work at all, not merely no servile work, as was provided for on various other occasions, but absolutely no work. And this ordinance was extended to the stranger that sojourneth among you. Various laws were made obligatory upon the stranger, as the observance of the fourth commandment, Exodus 20:10; the abstinence from blood, Leviticus 17:10; certain laws of sexual purity, Leviticus 18:26; the law against giving of one’s seed to Molech, Leviticus 20:2; and against blasphemy, Leviticus 24:16. These were all laws so essential to the Hebrew theocracy that every one who came within the sphere of their exercise was bound to respect them. They apply to every one staying for however long or short a time within the bounds of Israel, and it is a mistake to restrict them (Clark) to those of other races permanently domiciled among the Israelites, as will at once appear from a consideration of the character of several of these laws. Leviticus 16:34. He did as the LORD commanded Moses,i.e. in announcing the law. Perhaps also the expression may include the observance of the day when the time came round which could only have been several months later, the Israelites having departed from Mount Sinai on the twentieth day of the second month (Numbers 10:11), while all the legislation in Leviticus was given during their sojourn there (Leviticus 26:46; Leviticus 27:34).—F. G.]


I. The vail shutting out the Holy of Holies set forth, in speaking symbol, the unapproachableness and unknowableness of God. Even the high priest, entering once in the year, must obscure his view in the very cloud of incense with which he approached. The same truth was more feebly taught in the arrangements of the heathen temples, and was set forth in the speculations of heathen philosophy. In the Jewish Scriptures it is declared with the utmost emphasis and clearness. In the New Testament too, we are taught that He can be revealed to man only by Him who is both God and man. Thus the latest conclusion of modern philosophy, that behind all that can be discovered of nature there is an “Unknowable,” a “power inscrutable to the human intellect” is taught in Scripture from beginning to end. Even when the vail was rent asunder at the crucifixion of Christ, and a new and living way was consecrated for us into the holy of holies, it became a way to the knowledge and apprehension of God rather practically and spiritually than intellectually. The finite and the Infinite can meet only in Him who is both.
II. The high-priest was warned to enter within the vail only in the way and at the time prescribed, lest he die. His official and symbolic holiness did not make him personally holy, so that he could bear to enter as he pleased the presence of the holy God, but only covered his official service. This was not prevented or rendered unavailing by his own personal unworthiness. So here is taught the great principle that “the unworthiness of ministers hinders not the effect of the sacraments;” that the grace of God accompanies the acts of those whom He has appointed in that which He has given them to do, although this treasure be placed “in earthen vessels.”

III. The dress of Aaron when he passed within the vail was evidently significant. Ordinarily, when he ministered as high-priest and in the presence of the people, his robes were of the utmost splendor, symbolizing his high office as the typical mediator between God and the congregation; but now in the highest act of that mediation, when alone before God, these are to be laid aside, and the whole purpose of the dress is to symbolize that perfect purity with which only he may enter the presence of the immediate dwelling-place of God.

IV. In Aaron’s first offering of a sin offering for himself is very strongly set forth the imperfection of the Levitical law. The one on whose mediation the people must depend for forgiveness must yet first make propitiation for himself. And in the provision for the annual repetion of this day, its insufficiency is apparent, see Hebrews 10:1-3. Here then again, as so constantly in every part of its provisions, the law of sacrifice proclaims itself as but a temporary institution until that which is perfect should come.

V. By the goat for Azazel again, the same thing is taught. “It is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins” (Hebrews 10:4); therefore after all symbolism had been exhausted in the sacrifice of bulls and of goats, the sins were yet laid upon the head of the goat for Azazel, and sent away into the wilderness. The sins thus sent away are not to be looked upon as different sins from those for which propitiation was offered, nor as a residue of these unatoned for; but as the same sins, as all the sins of the children of Israel (Leviticus 16:21). Atonements had been made for these throughout the year; a further and higher atonement had at this moment been made; but that all these were inherently ineffectual was now shown by the goat for Azazel.

VI. The Christian Fathers, with that instinct which often seizes upon a truth without recognizing accurately the process by which it is reached, generally considered the goat for Azazel as a type of Christ, some of them in one way, some in another. Cyril thought him a type of the risen Christ, and the wilderness to which he was sent, a type of heaven. Theodoret makes him a type of the Divine nature of Christ, which was necessary to the perfection of His atonement, and yet incapable of suffering. The type seems really to consist in this: that the sins for which all the Levitical sacrifices were unable really to atone, were symbolically borne away by the goat; even as our iniquities are truly laid upon Christ, and He has borne them away. Isaiah 53:4-6.

VII. The incense formed a prominent and essential part of the ritual of the day of atonement. This is not to be forgotten in its relation to the antitype. It is not on Christ’s sacrifice alone that we depend for the forgiveness of our sins, but upon His intercession also.
VIII. On the day of atonement no work whatever was to be done: the propitiation for sin was not only the paramount duty, taking the place of everything that interfered with it; but it was to be all-absorbing. The people had no duties to perform directly in connection with the service of atonement; but still they must do no work. The propitiation for sin must be the one thing on that day done in all the camp of Israel; and meanwhile the whole congregation were to “afflict their souls.” Though the propitiation of sins be wrought for us, and not by us, yet must it bring to us the lowliness and humiliation of repentance.

IX. Aaron was to make an atonement (Leviticus 16:20) for the holy of holies, for the tabernacle, and for the altar; but these had already been sanctified at their first consecration, and the atonement now made must be perpetually repeated year by year. It is plain from this that there was no effective remedy for the inherent weakness and sinfulness of man, which contaminated even his most holy things, until the coming of that Son of man who should be without sin. The high-priest entered the holy of holies, and thus approached the symbolic dwelling-place of God; but he did not thereby open the way to others, or even to himself except for this same typical entrance, “the Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest” (Hebrews 9:8); the only atonement which could really open the way for man to heaven itself must be offered before the throne of Jehovah by Him who alone could offer an all-sufficent sacrifice for the sin of the world.

X. “The rites were not in any proper sense supplemental, but were a solemn gathering up, as it were, of all other rites of atonement, so as to make them point more expressively to the revelation to come of God’s gracious purpose to man, in sending His Son to be delivered for our offences, and to rise again for our justification to be our great High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec, and to enter for us within the vail (Romans 4:25; Hebrews 6:20). The day of atonement expanded the meaning of every sin offering, in the same way as the services for Good Friday and Ash Wednesday expand the meaning of our Litany days throughout the year, and Easter Day, that of our Sundays.” Clark.


The day of atonement “forms a contrast to the defilement of the sanctuary by the sons of Aaron, their rash intrusion, their strange fire, their moral death and fearful destruction. (Leviticus 16:1). It depends—as far as concerns the understanding—upon a great dread, a great world-historic preparation, and earnest religious prayers and actions. It is performed for the whole people, and this means for all humanity. But it points also, by its several particulars out from the Old Testament and into the New. The high-priest is not yet clean, not yet the righteous; he must first offer for himself (see the Ep. to the Heb.). He is not one with his sacrifice and sacrificial blood, although he must represent the approximation to this unity in the disrobing himself of his high-priestly majesty. But even the sin offering availed only for sins of weakness (Leviticus 24:16; Numbers 15:30), and not for sins of malice, of rebellion, of outrage with a high hand. These were everywhere, when they were discovered, punished with death. But since all were not discovered, a deadly sin steals through the life of Israel, and accumulates—as a token of which the goat of the sin offering is sent, through the goat of the Azazel, into the wilderness as a curse offering to the author of the demon-like sin.” [The same application may be made of the different views given of the sins borne away by the goat, and of Azazel in the Exegetical.—F. G.]. “Thus the law lightens the darkest night-side of Israel and of the human race. But Christ has shown the chain and tradition of these secret faults in His denunciation, Matthew 23:30 ss., and Paul has shown (Romans 3:0) how Christ, before the tribunal of God. has also atoned for these hitherto inexpiable sins (on the distinction between πάρεσις and ἄφεσις see Cocceius), and has moreover no scruple in declaring that Christ also has become a curse offering for us (Galatians 3:13).” [The κατάρα of Galatians 3:13 may well be compared with the ἁμαρτίαν ἐποίησεν of 2 Corinthians 5:21. It cannot possibly denote that Christ became a “curse offering” in the sense which Lange attributes to the Azazel-goat (although something approaching even this view of the atonement was held in Christian antiquity. See Oxenham’s Cath. doct. of the Atonement, 2d ed., pp. 114–124); but rather means that he took upon Himself the curse which belonged to us.—F. G.]. “The New Testament atonement is indeed conditioned on faith in its objective application to individual men, although in its universal objective force it is absolutely unconditioned. Of itself also, the shadowy representative of this great future atonement produced in Israel a calm, thankful, and festive disposition, the foundation for the joyous feast of Tabernacles. The Old Testament sanctuary itself, in all its parts (Leviticus 16:33), was again expiated and cleansed, in a typical way, by this atonement. As the ground for this lies the thought: that without such purifications from time to time, a priestly institution is in danger of sinking into the deepest and most corrupting corruption. The acts for sanctifying the holy people extend to the end of Leviticus 16:0; in Leviticus 17:0 follow the sacred observances.” Lange.

The congregation of Israel were wholly excluded from even the typical holy of holies, yet were they required to be holy; when on one day of the year their high-priest passed within the vail, they must “afflict their souls” and do no manner of work; but for us, our Great High-Priest has passed within the vail, and opened a new and living way for us to follow; “let us then draw near with a true heart” (Hebrews 10:22). The hope of thus entering the true holy of holies at the end of his pilgrimage brings with it to the Christian a closer communion with God on his journey thither; for that is not reserved for the end, but in spirit even now he has “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus” (ib. 19). Only all depends upon the Propitiation which the day of atonement typified.

The fearful contagion of sin is shown by the purification of those who had to do with the propitiation for sin; even Aaron must bathe himself and change his robes, and the men who took charge of the two goats of the sin offering, who led into the wilderness the one for Azazel, or burnt the flesh of the one slain in sacrifice, must wash their clothes and bathe their flesh before they could return to the camp. Hereby is shadowed forth the exceeding pollution of sin.

The sacrifices of this day were performed by the high-priest alone, and especially when he made atonement for the holy places no man might be within the court. “Thus the high-priest prefigured Christ, who accomplished the work of atonement ‘alone, and of the people there was none with Him; His own arm brought salvation’ (Isaiah 63:5).” Wordsworth.

The holy of holies was never entered by anyone except at this time; yet (Leviticus 16:16) atonement must be made for it because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel.—Upon this Calvin (in Leviticus 16:16) remarks, “Moses distinctly says that the sanctuary must be purified not from its own uncleannesses, but from those of the children of Israel. Now the reality of this figure is to be regarded for our advantage. God appears to us in His only Begotten Son through baptism and the holy supper: these are the pledges of our sanctification: but such is our corruption that we do not cease, as far as in us lies, to profane these instruments of the Spirit, by which God sanctifieth us. But since no flocks may be slain, it becomes us to mourn, and earnestly to pray that our uncleanness, by which baptism and the holy supper are vitiated, Christ may wash away and cleanse by the sprinkling of His own blood.”


Leviticus 16:1; Leviticus 16:1. The LXX., the Targs. of Onk., Jon. and Jerus, the Vulg. and Syr. here insert the words strange fire, as is obviously implied.

Leviticus 16:3; Leviticus 16:3. בְּזֹאת. There seems no reason why the Heb. should not be rendered literally.

Leviticus 16:4; Leviticus 16:4. The articles are not in the Heb., and should be omitted as misleading.

Leviticus 16:4; Leviticus 16:4. רָחַץ, see Textual Note 30 on Leviticus 14:8. The Sam. and LXX. insert the word all before his flesh.

Leviticus 16:5; Leviticus 16:5. שְׂעִירֵי, see Textual Note 21 on Leviticus 4:23. The same word is used also Leviticus 16:7-8, etc.; but it seems unnecessary to alter the translation throughout, as this is the only place in which the sense is affected.

Leviticus 16:8; Leviticus 16:8; Leviticus 16:10 (bis), 26 עֲזָאזֵל. The word occurs only here, and in the wide difference of opinion existing as to its meaning, it seems far better to retain the Heb. word unchanged, as is done in many modern critical translations. It occurs in all cases without the article. For the meaning, see exegesis.

Leviticus 16:12; Leviticus 16:12. It is better to retain the definite article, as expressed in the Heb.

Leviticus 16:14-15; Leviticus 16:14-15. For עַל=upon, the Sam. reads אל=before, towards.

Leviticus 16:14; Leviticus 16:14. קֵדְמָה=toward the east is to be connected with the mercy seat, and not with sprinkle. The high priest looking west, faced the mercy seat, and sprinkled it on the side next to him, i.e. the side toward the east. This cannot be clearly expressed in English without a slight modification of the phrase.

Leviticus 16:20; Leviticus 16:20. מִכַּפֵּר. See Textual Note 17 on Leviticus 6:30 (23).

Leviticus 16:20; Leviticus 16:20. הִקְרִיב, the same word as is used of the other goat in Leviticus 16:9, and the common word for sacrificial offering.

Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 16:21. For the יָדָו of the text, 35 MSS. read יָדָיו, as in the k’ri.

Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 16:21. According to is both a better translation of the prep. לְ and gives a better sense.

Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 16:21. עִתִּי., ἁπ. λέγ., according to Fuerst existing or appointed at a convenient time. LXX. ἕτοιμος, Vulg. paratus. The sense of appointed would probably bettter express the Heb. than fit (so Targ. Jon., and so Rosenmueller); but there is neither sufficient certainty nor sufficient difference to make the change.

Leviticus 16:22; Leviticus 16:22. גְּזֵרָה. LXX. ἂβατον, Vulg. solitariam, Onk. uninhabitable, Jon. desolate, Syr. uncultivated. Lit. a land cut off. The A. V. sufficiently expresses the sense.

Leviticus 16:32; Leviticus 16:32. These verbs must either be rendered impersonally, or else taken in the passive, as the Heb. idiom very well allows.

[17][This statement is probably founded upon two facts—first, that of our Lord’s having been led into the wilderness “to be tempted of the Devil;” but tins does not imply that the Devil is in any especial sense a dweller in the wilderness, but only that this was a favorable situation for him to ply his temptations; and second, that certain men possessed of evil spirits sought solitary places. Other passages of the N. T. certainly present the Devil as eminently cosmopolitan.—F. G.]

[18]“Hiller indeed thinks, that the scape-goat (der ledige Bock) signifies that the people are set free by the expiation; only since they could not have let it run free in Jerusalem, they sent it into the wilderness!”

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Leviticus 16". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/leviticus-16.html. 1857-84.
Ads FreeProfile