ha-Seifer Torat ha-Kohanim /
The Book of Priestly Teaching
Va-yiqra / Leviticus

(for an explanation of the format, notes and conventions used in this translation, please see the page on The Translation of the Torah and the Prophets. For an explanation of my methodology, see the page on The Original Torah Project).

If you have any questions, please email me at: shmuliq.parzal@googlemail.com

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS IS AN INTERPRETATIVE ADAPTATION OF THE HEBREW TEXT, NOT A LITERAL TRANSLATION. The intent is to give the modern reader an understanding of the sense and intent of the original, rather than a word for word rendering. Unless one is conversant in the idioms of Hebrew, and in the nuances of ancient Israelite culture, a literal rendering will only give you the words, but not the message.

words in italics without brackets – words not found in the traditional Masoretic text, but attested in one or more other Bible version (Samaritan Pentateuch [SP], Dead Sea Scrolls Bible [DSS], Greek Septuagint [LXX]).

[words in square brackets] words implied by the Hebrew words, inserted to help give the sense of the Hebrew words in natural, Modern English.

{words in brace brackets} words not in any version of the biblical text, but inserted to help explain a cultural or historical detail that would have been implicitly understood by an ancient Hebrew, but which might not be by a modern reader; also, words inserted for narrative clarification (like a midrash to explain something vital to an understanding of the narrative, but which is unclear in the traditional text). These should be considered as ‘in-text footnotes’, rather than face accusations of ‘adding to Torah’, since one of the purposes of this translation is to clarify the narrative, in order to make the meaning of the story clearer.

{words in italics in brace brackets} – hypothetical, reconstructed words, theorised to have been in the original text; the second purpose of this translation is to try to reconstruct what might have been the original text of the Bible.

(‘words in italics in plain brackets’) translations of Hebrew names, the meanings of which are important to understand in English.

Page last updated on: 31st Jan 2020

(Leviticus now: 100% translated)

Chapter 1: The Laws on how to offer up the Whole Burnt Offering

 

1:1 Now Yahveh called to Mosheh and spoke to him from the Tent of Meeting, saying,

1:2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘Whenever any one of you presents an offering to Yahveh, you shall select your offering of animals from the herds [of cattle] or the flocks [of sheep or goats].

1:3 If his offering is a burnt-offering from the herds [of cattle], he shall present it, a male without defect; he shall offer it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, so that it may be accepted for him in the presence of Yahveh.

1:4 He shall lay his [right] hand on the head of the [prospective] burnt-offering, that it may be accepted on his behalf to make expiation for him.

1:5 He shall slaughter the young bull in the presence of Yahveh; and Aharon’s sons the priests shall bring forward the blood, and sprinkle the blood around on the altar which is at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

1:6 They shall then skin the burnt-offering and cut it into its [constituent] parts.

1:7 The sons of Aharon the priests shall set alight the altar, and arrange wood on the fire.

1:8 Then Aharon’s sons the priests shall arrange the pieces, the head and the [innard-]fat upon the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar.

1:9 Its entrails, however, and its legs they shall wash with water. And the priests shall offer all of it up in [burning] smoke on the altar as a whole-burnt-offering; it is a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

1:10 But if his offering is from the flock – from the sheep or from the goats – as a burnt-offering, he shall present a male without defect; he shall offer it at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, {so that it may be accepted for him in the presence of Yahveh}.

1:11 [LXX 1:10b, cf MT 1:4] He shall lay his [right] hand on its head, {so that it may be accepted on his behalf to make expiation for him}.

1:12 [1:11] He shall slaughter it on the northward side of the altar in the presence of Yahveh, and Aharon’s sons the priests shall sprinkle its blood on the altar all around.

1:13 [1:12] They shall then cut it into its [constituent] pieces with its head and its [innard-]fat, and the priests shall arrange them upon the wood which is on the fire that is on the altar.

1:14 [1:13] The entrails, however, and the legs {they} shall wash with water. And the priests shall present all of it, and offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar; it is a whole-burnt-offering, a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

1:15 [1:14] But if his offering to Yahveh is a burnt-offering [selected] from the birds, then he shall bring his offering from the turtledoves or from young pigeons.

1:16 [1:15] The priest shall bring it to the altar, and wring off its head and offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar; but its blood is to be drained out on the side of the altar.

1:17 [1:16] He shall also remove its crop and its feathers, and cast [them] eastward [away from] the altar, to the site of the ash-heap.

1:18 [1:17] Then he shall tear off its wings, but shall not cut {the bird} up [completely]. And the priest shall offer it up in [burning] smoke upon the altar on the wood which is on the fire; it is a whole-burnt-offering, a fire-offering to Yahveh, of a rich and pleasing aroma.

 

Chapter 2: The Grain-Offering

 

2:1 ‘Now whenever anyone presents a grain-offering as an offering to Yahveh, his offering shall be of fine semolina-flour, and he shall pour oil on it and put frankincense on it; it is a grain-offering {made by fire to Yahveh}.

2:2 He shall then bring it to Aharon’s sons the priests; and they shall take a handful of it, from its fine flour and its oil with all of its frankincense. And the priest shall offer [this] up in [burning] smoke as his token-portion on the altar – a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

2:3 The remainder of the grain-offering belongs to Aharon and his sons; [it is] a thing most holy [out] of {all} the fire-offerings to Yahveh.

2:4 However, when you present a sacrifice of a grain-offering baked in an oven, it shall be of unleavened cakes of fine semolina-flour mixed with oil, or unleavened wafers coated with oil.

2:5 If your sacrifice is a grain-offering baked on a griddle, it shall be unleavened flatbread of fine semolina-flour, mixed with oil;

2:6 you shall break it into pieces and pour oil on it; it is a grain-offering {made by fire to Yahveh}.

2:7 Now if your sacrifice is a grain-offering made in a pan, it shall be made of fine semolina-flour with oil.

2:8 When you bring in the grain-offering which is made of these things to Yahveh, it shall be presented to the priest and he shall bring it to the altar.

2:9 The priest shall then remove from the grain-offering his token-portion, and shall offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar, as a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

2:10 The remainder of the grain-offering belongs to Aharon and his sons; [it is] a thing most holy [out] of {all} the fire-offerings to Yahveh.

2:11 No grain-offering which you present to Yahveh shall be made with leaven; for you shall not offer up in smoke any leaven or any fruit-syrup as a fire-offering to Yahveh.

2:12 However, if these are being offered as choicest-fruit offerings, you may present them to Yahveh, but they shall not {be burned to make them} ascend as a rich and pleasing aroma on the altar.

2:13 Nevertheless, every one of your grain-offerings you shall season with salt, so that the salt of the Covenant of your God shall not be lacking from your grain-offerings; with all your offerings you shall offer salt.

2:14 Also, whenever you bring a grain-offering of first-ripened grain to Yahveh, you shall bring fresh heads of grain roasted in the fire – grits of new growth – for the grain-offering of your first-ripened grain.

2:15 You shall then put oil on it and lay incense on it; it is a grain-offering {made by fire to Yahveh}.

2:16 The priest shall then offer up in [burning] smoke his token-portion, part of its grits and its oil with all its incense as a fire-offering to Yahveh, {a rich and pleasing aroma}.

 

Notes:

1:4, 1:11 ‘he shall lay his right hand’ – whereas the scapegoat had two hands laid on its head, the whole burnt offering had only one hand laid on its head, presumably the right hand, signifying ownership. This ritual act may have been accompanied by a silent prayer, and symbolises that (a) the animal is being offered on his behalf, and (b) he is setting apart this animal solely for this use.

1:5-6, 1:9 In the Masoretic text, the offerer (the lay Israelite) is the one who not only slaughters the animal, but also cuts it up and washes its parts. However, in the Samaritan Torah and the Septuagint, the lay Israelite only slaughters the animal; it is the priests (‘they’) who cut up and wash the parts. Would every Israelite making an animal sacrifice know how to butcher an animal? Those offering bulls would be well-to-do people – would they know how to butcher an animal? In practical terms, the priests in Temple times carried out the whole process, interpreting ‘he shall slaughter the young bull’ as ‘the young bull shall be slaughtered’ i.e. making the slaughterer and later the butcher ambiguous.

2:11fruit-syrup: the Hebrew word is devash. This is often translated as ‘honey’, but bees were not widely kept in ancient Israel. This word more likely refers to the sticky syrup produced by boiling down the juice of certain fruits, mostly dates. Hence the reference in the following verse mentioning ‘choicest-fruit offerings’.

Chapter 3: The Fellowship-Offering and the Fire-Offering

 

3:1 ‘Now if his offering is a fellowship-offering to Yahveh, then if he selects it from the herds [of cattle], whether [it be] male or female, he shall present it without defect in the presence Yahveh.

3:2 He shall lay his [right] hand on the head of his offering, and then slaughter it [at] the entrance of the Tent of Meeting; and Aharon’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of burnt-offering all around.

3:3 From the sacrifice of [the] fellowship-offering, he shall present a fire-offering to Yahveh: the fat that covers the entrails and all the fat that is on the entrails,

3:4 along with the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, {the fat} which is on the loins, and the [caudate] lobe of the liver, which he shall remove along with the kidneys.

3:5 Then Aharon’s sons the priests shall offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar upon the burnt-offering, which is on the wood that is on the fire upon the altar; it is a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

3:6 But if his offering for the fellowship-offering to Yahveh is from the flocks [of sheep or goats], he shall present it, [be it] male or female, without defect.

3:7 If he should present a sheep for his {fellowship-}offering, then he shall bring it forward into the presence of Yahveh;

3:8 then he shall lay his [right] hand on the head of his offering, and slaughter it in front of the Tent of Meeting; and Aharon’s sons the priests shall sprinkle the blood on the altar all around.

3:9 From the fellowship-offering, he shall present as a fire-offering to Yahveh its fat: the entire fatty tail which he shall remove close to the backbone, the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat that is on the entrails,

3:10 along with the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, {the fat} which is on the loins, and the [caudate] lobe of the liver, which he shall remove along with the kidneys.

3:11 Then the priest shall offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar as {a form of fellowship} meal; it is a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

3:12 Moreover, if his offering is a goat, then he shall bring it forward into the presence of Yahveh,

3:13 and he shall lay his [right] hand on its head and slaughter it in front of the Tent of Meeting, and the sons of Aharon the priests shall sprinkle its blood on the altar all around.

3:14 From his {fellowship-}offering he shall present a fire-offering to Yahveh: the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat that is on the entrails,

3:15 along with the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, {the fat} which is on the loins, and the [caudate] lobe of the liver, which he shall remove along with the kidneys.

3:16 The priest shall offer them up in [burning] smoke on the altar as {a form of fellowship} meal; [it is] a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh; all [innard]-fat [belongs to] Yahveh.

3:17 It is a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwellings: you shall not consume any [innard]-fat or any blood.’”

Notes:

3:17 – ‘the innard fat’ – this prohibition is not about the general fat around the muscles and skin, but specifically the fat in the abdominal region (and in the case of a sheep, its entire fatty tail; the breed of sheep owned by ancient Israelites was the kind that possessed a long, broad tail).

Chapter 4: The Purificatory Sin-Offering for Unintentional Sin: the Purificatory Sin-Offering for the High Priest

 

4:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

4:2 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally [regarding] any of the things which Yahveh has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them,

4:3 then if {it is} the anointed [High] Priest {who} has sinned so as to bring {incurred} guilt upon the people, let him offer up to Yahveh a bull without defect as a [purificatory] sin-offering for the sin he has committed.

4:4 He shall bring the bull to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting in the presence of Yahveh, and he shall lay his [right] hand on the head of the bull, and slaughter the bull in the presence of Yahveh.

4:5 Then the anointed [High] Priest is to take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the Tent of Meeting,

4:6 and the priest shall dip his forefinger in the blood, and sprinkle some of the blood seven times with his finger in the presence of Yahveh, in front of the [entrance-]curtain of the sanctuary.

4:7 The priest shall also put some of the blood of the bull on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense which is in front of {the Ark of} Yahveh inside the Tent of Meeting; but all the {remaining} blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt-offering which is [outside] at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

4:8 He shall remove from it all the [innard-]fat of the bull of the sin-offering: the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat which is on the entrails,

4:9 the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, {the fat} which is on the loins, and the [caudate] lobe of the liver, which he shall remove along with the kidneys,

4:10 just as they are removed from the ox of the fellowship-offering; and the priest is to offer them up in [burning] smoke on the altar of burnt-offering.

4:11 [4:11-12a] But the hide of the bull and all its meat [and bones], along with its head, its legs, its entrails and its dung – that is, all the rest of the bull –

4:12 [4:12b] they are to bring out to a [ritually] clean place outside the camp where the ashes {from the altar of burnt-offering} are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; {in the place} where the ashes are poured out, it shall be burned.

 

The Purificatory Sin-Offering for the whole Congregation of Israel

 

4:13 Now if {it is} the Congregation of Israel as a whole {who} sins unintentionally, and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly [of elders], and they commit any of the things which Yahveh has commanded not to be done, and they {thereby} incur guilt,

4:14 then when the sin which they have committed becomes known, the assembly [of elders] shall select a bull of the herd without defect for a [purificatory] sin-offering, and bring it in front of the Tent of Meeting.

4:15 Then the elders of the Congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull in the presence of Yahveh, and the bull shall be slaughtered in the presence of Yahveh.

4:16 Then the anointed [High] Priest is to bring some of the blood of the bull to the Tent of Meeting;

4:17 and the priest shall dip his forefinger in the blood and sprinkle the blood seven times in the presence of Yahveh, in front of the [entrance-]curtain {of the sanctuary}.

4:18 Then the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incensewhich is in front of {the Ark of} Yahveh inside the Tent of Meeting; but all the {remaining} blood {of the bull} he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt-offering which is [outside] at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

4:19 He shall remove from it all its [innard-]fat, and offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar.

4:20 He shall also do with [this] bull just as he did with the bull of the sin-offering {for the High Priest}; in the exact same manner he shall do with it. In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for them, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for them.

4:21 Then he is to bring out {all the remains of} the bull to {a ritually clean place} outside the camp, and burn it just as he burned the first bull {for the High Priest}; it is the [purificatory] sin-offering for the Congregation {of Israel as a whole}.

 

The Purificatory Sin-Offering for a Tribal Chieftain or a Leader of the People

 

4:22 If {it is} a [tribal] chieftain {or any leader of the people} {who} sins unintentionally, and does any one of all the things which Yahveh his God has commanded not to be done, and he {thereby} incurs guilt,

4:23 then if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his [purificatory] sin-offering a kid-goat, a male without defect.

4:24 He shall lay his [right] hand on the head of the male goat, and it will be slaughtered in the place where they slay the burnt-offering in the presence of Yahveh; it is a [purificatory] sin-offering.

4:25 Then the [attending] priest is to take some of the blood of the sin-offering with his forefinger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering; but {the rest of} its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt-offering.

4:26 All its [innard-]fat he shall offer up in [burning] smoke on the altar as {in the case of} the fat of the fellowship-offering. In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for him in regard to his sin, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him.

 

The Purificatory Sin-Offering for Ordinary Israelites

 

4:27 Now if {it is} any one of the common people {who} sins unintentionally by doing any of the things which Yahveh has commanded not to be done, and {thereby} incurs guilt,

4:28 then if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring for his [purificatory] sin-offering a goat – a female without defect – for his sin which he has committed.

4:29 He shall lay his [right] hand on the head of the sin-offering, and the sin-offering shall be slaughtered at the place where the burnt-offerings are slaughtered.

4:30 The [attending] priest shall take some of its blood with his forefinger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering; and all {the rest of} its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.

4:31 Then he shall remove all its [innard-]fat, just as the fat was removed from the fellowship-offering; and the priest shall offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh. In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for him, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him.

4:32 But if he brings a lamb as his sacrifice for a [purificatory] sin-offering, he shall present it, a female without defect.

4:33 He shall lay his [right] hand on the head of the sin-offering, and it shall be slaughtered as a sin-offering in the place where they slaughter the burnt-offerings {in the presence of Yahveh; it is a purificatory sin-offering}.

4:34 The [attending] priest is to take some of the blood of the sin-offering with his forefinger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering; but all {the rest of} its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.

4:35 Then he shall remove all its [innard-]fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the fellowship-offering, and the priest shall offer them up in [burning] smoke on the altar, on the fire-offerings to Yahveh. In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him.

 

Chapter 5: Sin-Offerings for Sins of Omission

 

5:1 “Now if a person sins {in the instance where}, after hearing a public proclamation {calling for witnesses to testify in a case} where he is a witness, whether he has seen {something} or otherwise known {something}, if he does not come forward, then he will be responsible for the guilt he incurs.

5:2 Or if a person touches any unclean thing, whether [it be] the carcass of a ritually unclean beast or the carcass of ritually unclean cattle, or the carcass of ritually unclean swarming creatures, even though the fact has escaped him and he becomes ritually unclean, then he will incur guilt.

5:3 Or if he touches that which is ritually unclean, of whatever {type} his ritual uncleanness {may} be so that he becomes ritually unclean, and although he has known it, the fact has escaped him, but later he realises his guilt;

5:4 Or if a person swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do or not do any matter at all, in whatever matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and he has completely forgotten about, and then later he realises his guilt in any of these matters,

5:5 So it shall be when he realises his guilt in one of these things, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.

5:6 He shall also bring to Yahveh as penalty for his sin which he has committed, a female from the flock – a sheep or a goat – as a sin-offering. In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual on his behalf for his sin which he has sinned, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him.

5:7 But if he cannot afford a lamb, then he shall present to Yahveh as penalty for that in which he has sinned, two turtledoves or two young pigeons, one for a sin-offering and the other for a whole-burnt-offering.

5:8 He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first that which is for the sin-offering, and the priest shall nip its head at the front of its neck, but he shall not sever it.

5:9 He shall also sprinkle some of the blood of the sin-offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar: it is a sin-offering.

5:10 The second he shall then prepare as a whole-burnt-offering according to the ordinance {previously described}. In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him.

5:11 But if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then as his sacrifice for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an ephah of fine flour as a sin-offering; he shall not pour oil on it or place incense on it, for it is a sin-offering.

5:12 He shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it as its token-portion, and offer it up in smoke on the altar, together with the fire-offerings to Yahveh; it is a sin-offering.

5:13 In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for him concerning his sin which he has committed in any of these matters, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him; then {the rest} shall become the priest’s, just as in the case of the grain-offering.’”

 

The Guilt-Offerings for Inadvertent Acts

 

5:14 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

5:15 “If a person commits a trespass and sins unintentionally with regard to Yahveh’s holy gift-offerings, then he shall bring his guilt-offering to Yahveh: a ram without defect from the flock, or the equivalent in shekels of silver {to purchase one}, in {terms of} the shekel of the sanctuary, as a guilt-offering.

5:16 He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned with regard to the holy gift-offerings, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then perform the expiation ritual for him with the ram of the guilt-offering, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him.

5:17 Now if a person sins and does any of the things which Yahveh has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, still he incurs guilt and shall bear his penalty.

5:18 He is then to bring to the priest a ram without defect from the flock, or the equivalent {in shekels of silver} {to purchase one}, for a guilt-offering. In this way the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally and did not know {it}, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him.

5:19 It is a guilt-offering; he certainly incurred guilt in the presence of Yahveh.”

 

The Guilt-Offering for Dishonest Acts

 

5:20 [X: 6:1, J: 5:20] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

5:21 [X: 6:2, J: 5:21] “When a person sins and commits a trespass against Yahveh, by deceiving his companion in regard to a deposit or a security entrusted {to him}, or through robbery, or {if} he has extorted from his companion,

5:22 [X: 6:3, J: 5:22] or has found what was lost and lied about it and sworn falsely, so that he sins in regard to any one of the things a person may do;

5:23 [X: 6:4, J: 5:23] then it shall be, when he sins in this way and incurs guilt, that he must restore what he obtained by robbery or what he got by extortion, or the deposit which was entrusted to him or the lost thing which he found,

5:24 [X: 6:5, J: 5:24] or anything about which he swore falsely; he shall make restitution for it in full and add to it one-fifth more. He shall give it to the one to whom it belongs on the day {he presents} his guilt-offering.

5:25 [X: 6:6, J: 5:25] Then he shall bring to the priest his guilt-offering to Yahveh: a ram without defect from the flock, or the equivalent {in shekels of silver} {to purchase one}, for a guilt-offering,

5:26 [X: 6:7, J: 5:26] and the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for him in the presence of Yahveh, and the forgiveness-process will be completed for him, with regard to any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt.”

 

Chapter 6: Concering various Rituals to be performed by the Priests: the Ritual surrounding the Whole-burnt-offering

 

6:1 [X: 6:8, J: 6:1] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

6:2 [X: 6:9, J: 6:2] “Command Aharon and his sons, saying, ‘This is the teaching [with regard to] the whole-burnt-offering: the burnt-offering itself {shall remain} on the hearth upon the {bronze} altar all night until the morning, and the fire on the altar is to be kept burning on it.

6:3 [X: 6:10, J: 6:3] {In the morning}, the priest is to put on his {white} linen robe, and [underneath] he shall put on breeches upon his body; then he shall gather up the ashes {to} which the fire has reduced the burnt-offering on the altar, and place them beside the altar {on the east side}.

6:4 [X: 6:11, J: 6:4] Then he shall take off his garments and put on other garments, and carry the ashes outside the camp to a {ritually} pure place.

6:5 [X: 6:12, J: 6:5] The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it. It shall not [be allowed to] go out, but the {attending} priest shall feed [more] wood onto it each and every morning; and he shall lay out the whole-burnt-offering on it, and offer up in [burning] smoke the [innard-]fat portions of the fellowship-offerings on it.

6:6 [X: 6:13, J: 6:6] A perpetual fire shall be kept burning on the [bronze] altar; it is not to go out.

 

The Ritual surrounding the Grain-Offering

 

6:7 [X: 6:14, J: 6:7] ‘Now this is the teaching [with regard to] the grain-offering: the sons of Aharon shall present it in the presence of Yahveh in front of the altar.

6:8 [X: 6:15, J: 6:8] {The attending priest} shall take up from it a [closed] handful of the fine flour of the grain-offering, together with some of its oil and all of the frankincense that is on the grain-offering, and he shall offer it up in [burning] smoke on the altar, a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma, as its token-portion to Yahveh.

6:9 [X: 6:16, J: 6:9] What is left of it shall be eaten by Aharon and his sons. It shall be eaten [in the form of] unleavened cakes in a holy place; {therefore}, they are to eat it in the [outer] court of the Tent of Meeting.

6:10 [X: 6:17, J: 6:10] It shall not be baked with leaven. I have given it as their share from among [the] fire-offerings to Yahveh; it is most holy, like the sin-offerings and the guilt-offerings.

6:11 [X: 6:18, J: 6:11] Any male among the sons of Aharon may eat it; throughout your generations, it is a permanent due {to you} from among the fire-offerings to Yahveh. Whoever comes into contact with them will become consecrated.’”

 

The Ritual of the daily Grain-Offering presented by the Priests

 

6:12 [X: 6:19, J: 6:12] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

6:13 [X: 6:20, J: 6:13] “This is {the teaching with regard to} the {daily} offering which Aharon and his sons are to present to Yahveh, {beginning} on the day when {they are} anointed: a tenth of an eifah of fine semolina-flour {shall be presented} as a regular {daily} grain-offering, half of it in the morning, and half of it in the evening.

6:14 [X: 6:21, J: 6:14] It shall be prepared with oil on a griddle. Once it has been {well} baked, you shall bring it forward {to the altar}. You shall present the {daily} grain-offering in baked, crumbled-up pieces as {a fire-offering}, a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

6:15 [X: 6:22, J: 6:15] The anointed {High} Priest [who succeeds him] in his place from among his sons shall offer it {daily into perpetuity}. As a perpetual ordinance, it shall be offered up {and burned up} completely in smoke to Yahveh.

6:16 [X: 6:23, J: 6:16] In this way, every grain-offering for the priest [himself] shall be burned up completely; it shall not be eaten.”

 

The Ritual surrounding the Sin-Offering

 

6:17 [X: 6:24, J: 6:17] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

6:18 [X: 6:25, J: 6:18] “Speak to Aharon and to his sons, saying, ‘This is the teaching [with regard to] the sin-offering: in the place where the whole-burnt-offering is slaughtered, the sin-offering shall [also] be slaughtered in the presence of Yahveh; it is most holy.

6:19 [X: 6:26, J: 6:19] The {very same} priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. It shall be eaten in a holy place – in the [outer] court of the Tent of Meeting.

6:20 [X: 6:27, J: 6:20] Anyone who comes into contact with its flesh will become consecrated; and when any of its blood splashes on a garment, you shall wash off in a holy place whatever was splashed, {so that the sanctified blood does not later come into contact with anything ritually unclean}.

6:21 [X: 6:28, J: 6:21] Also, the earthenware vessel in which it was boiled must be broken; but if it was boiled in a bronze vessel, then it shall be scoured and rinsed in water, {so that no sanctified particles of meat later come into contact with anything ritually unclean}.

6:22 [X: 6:29, J: 6:22] Any male among the priests may eat of [the sin-offering]; it is most holy.

6:23 [X: 6:30, J: 6:23] But no sin-offering, of which any of the blood has been brought into the Tent of Meeting to perform the expiation ritual in the Holy Place, shall be eaten; it must be [completely] burned up with fire.

 

The Ritual surrounding the Guilt-Offering

 

6:24 [7:1] Now this is the teaching [with regard to] the guilt-offering, [since] it is most holy.

6:25 [7:2] In the place where {the animal for} the whole-burnt-offering is slaughtered, they are to slaughter {the animal for} the guilt-offering, and {the attending priest} shall sprinkle its blood around on the altar.

6:26 [7:3] Then he shall offer up from it all its [innard-]fat: the fatty tail and the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat that is on the entrails,

6:27 [7:4] along with the two kidneys with the fat that is on them, {the fat} which is on the loins, and the [caudate] lobe of the liver he shall remove with the kidneys.

6:28 [7:5] The priest shall offer them up in [burning] smoke on the altar as a fire-offering to Yahveh; it is a guilt-offering.

6:29 [7:6] Any male among the priests may eat of it. It shall be eaten in a holy place, [since] it is most holy.

6:30 [7:7] The guilt-offering is like the sin-offering – the law is the same for them [both]: the priest who makes expiation with it shall have it.

6:31 [7:8] Also, the priest who presents any person’s burnt-offering, that [same] priest shall have for himself the skin of the burnt-offering which he has presented.

6:32 [7:9] Likewise, every grain-offering that is baked in an oven, and everything prepared in a pan or on a griddle shall belong to the priest who presents it.

6:33 [7:10] Every grain-offering, {whether} mixed with oil or dry, shall belong to all the sons of Aharon, without distinction.

 

Chapter 7: The Ritual for various types of Fellowship-Offerings: the Thanksgiving-Offering

 

7:1 [7:11] ‘Now this is the teaching [with regard to] the fellowship-offering which is to be presented to Yahveh:

7:2 [7:12] If [a person] offers it by way of thanksgiving, then in addition to the sacrifice of thanksgiving he shall offer up unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes {of well}kneaded fine semolina-flour mixed with oil.

7:3 [7:13] With the sacrifice of his fellowship-offerings for thanksgiving, he shall present his offering with loaves of leavened bread.

7:4 [7:14] Of this he shall present one of every {type of} {bread-}offering as a dedicated gift-offering to Yahveh; it shall belong to the {same} priest who sprinkled the blood of the fellowship-offerings.

7:5 [7:15] Now {as for} the meat of the sacrifice of his fellowship-offerings of thanksgiving, it shall be eaten on the [same] day it is offered; he shall not leave any of it over until morning.

 

The Ritual for Votive- or Freewill Offerings

 

7:6 [7:16] However, if the sacrifice of his offering is a votive or a freewill offering, it may be eaten on the [same] day that he presents his sacrifice, and whatever is left of it may be eaten on the next day;

7:7 [7:17] but whatever is left over from the meat of the sacrifice on the third day must be burned up with fire.

7:8 [7:18] Therefore, if any of the meat of the sacrifice of his fellowship-offerings should {ever} be eaten on the third day, he who offers it will not be accepted, and it will not be reckoned to his {credit}. It will be [considered] desecrated meat, and the person who eats of it will be responsible for {the incurred guilt of} his {own} iniquity.

 

The Meat of Sacrifices is not to be eaten in a State of Ritual Impurity

 

7:9 [7:19] Furthermore, the meat that touches anything [ritually] unclean must not be eaten; it must be burned up with fire. As for the meat {of sacrifices which has not been defiled by anything ritually unclean}, anyone who is [ritually] clean may eat {such} meat.

7:10 [7:20] However, the person who eats the flesh of the fellowship-offerings which belong to Yahveh, while in [a state of ritual] impurity, that person shall be cut off from his people.

7:11 [7:21] When anyone touches anything [ritually] unclean, whether it be human [ritual] impurity, or a [ritually] unclean [kosher] animal, or any non-kosher animal, and then eats of the meat of the fellowship-offerings which belong to Yahveh, that person shall be cut off from his people.’”

 

Prohibition against eating Innard-Fat and against consuming Blood

 

7:12 [7:22] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

7:13 [7:23] “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘You shall not eat [the innard-]fat {from} an ox, a sheep or a goat.

7:14 [7:24] Now, the [innard-]fat of [a kosher animal] which dies [of natural causes], and the [innard-]fat of [a kosher animal] torn apart [by wild beasts] may be put to any other use, but you must certainly not eat it;

7:15 [7:25] for whoever eats the [innard-]fat of the animal from which a fire-offering has been presented to Yahveh, the very same person who consumes it shall be cut off from his people.

7:16 [7:26] Nor shall you consume any blood, either of bird or beast, in any of your dwellings.

7:17 [7:27] Any person who consumes blood, that very same person shall be cut off from his people.’”

 

The Priest’s Portion

 

7:18 [7:28] Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

7:19 [7:29] “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘He who offers the sacrifice of his fellowship-offerings to Yahveh shall present {part of} his offering {to the priest} from the sacrifice of his fellowship-offerings.

7:20 [7:30] His own hands are to bring [the] fire-offerings to Yahveh. He shall bring the [innard-]fat with the breast, that the breast may be waved as a wave-offering before Yahveh.

7:21 [7:31] The priest shall then offer up the [innard-]fat in [burning] smoke {on} the altar, but the breast-meat shall belong to Aharon and his sons.

7:22 [7:32] You shall [also] give the right thigh to the priest as a dedicated portion from among the sacrifices of your fellowship-offerings.

7:23 [7:33] The one among the sons of Aharon who offers the blood of the fellowship-offerings and the [innard-]fat, the right thigh shall be his as {his} due portion.

7:24 [7:34] For I have taken the breast of the wave-offering and the thigh of the dedicated gift-offering from the Israelites from among the sacrifices of their fellowship-offerings, and have given them over to Aharon the priest and to his sons as {their} eternal due from the Israelites.’”

7:25 [7:35] This is {the teaching} [with regard to] the consecrated portion for Aharon and the consecrated portion for his sons from among the fire-offerings to Yahveh, {beginning from} that day when [Mosheh] presented them to serve as priests to Yahveh.

7:26 [7:36] These {portions} Yahveh commanded to be given to them from the Israelites, {beginning from} the day that [God] anointed them. It was to be {their} due forever throughout their generations.

 

Summary

 

7:27 [7:37] These are the teachings [with regard to] the burnt-offering, the grain-offering, the sin-offering, the guilt-offering, the ordination-offering and the fellowship-offering,

7:28 [7:38] which Yahveh commanded Mosheh at Mount Sinai on the day that [God] commanded the Israelites to present their offerings to Yahveh in the wilderness of Sinai.

 

The Ordination Ceremonies for the Priests

 

Chapter 8: The Consecration Rituals for the Priests

 

8:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

8:2 “Take Aharon and his sons with him, and the [sacral] vestments, the anointing oil, the bull of the sin-offering, the two rams and the basket of unleavened bread,

8:3 and assemble the entire congregation {of Israel} at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, {at the easternmost side of the courtyard and beyond}.”

8:4 So Mosheh did just as Yahveh commanded him. Once the congregation was assembled {before} the entrance of the Tent of Meeting,

8:5 Mosheh said to the congregation, “This is the [order of ritual] which Yahveh has commanded to be followed.”

8:6 Then Mosheh had Aharon and his sons approach, and had them wash [their hands and feet] with water.

8:7 He put the undertunic on [Aharon] and girded him with the waist-sash, then clothed him with the [outer] robe and put the tabard over him; then he girded him with the skilfully woven waist-sash of the tabard, which he tied {around} him.

8:8 He then placed the chest-pouch on him, and inside the chest-pouch he put the Lights-stone and the Perfections-stone.

8:9 He also placed the domed mitre on his head, and on the mitre, at its front, he placed the golden frontlet – the holy diadem – just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

8:10 Mosheh then took the anointing oil and anointed the Tabernacle and everything that was in it, and [so] consecrated them.

8:11 He sprinkled some of [the oil] on the altar seven times, and anointed the altar and all its utensils, and the laver and its stand, to consecrate them.

8:12 Then he poured some of the anointing oil on Aharon’s head and anointed him, to consecrate him.

8:13 Next Mosheh had Aharon’s sons approach, and clothed them with tunics, and girded them with waist-sashes and wound turbans {around their heads}, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

The Sacrifices for the Consecration of the Altar, and for the Ordination of the Priests

 

8:14 Then [Mosheh] brought [forward] the bull of the sin-offering, and Aharon and his sons laid their hands on the head of the bull of the sin-offering.

8:15 Next Mosheh slaughtered {it}, and taking the blood with his forefinger, he put {some of it} around on the horns of the altar, and {so} purified the altar. Then he poured out {the rest of} the blood at the base of the altar and consecrated it, so performing the expiation ritual for it.

8:16 He also took all the fat that was on the entrails, the [caudate] lobe of the liver, along with the two kidneys and their fat; and Mosheh offered it [all] up in [burning] smoke on the altar.

8:17 But {the rest of} the bull – its hide, its flesh and its dung – he burned in the fire outside the camp, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

8:18 Then he presented the ram of the whole-burnt-offering, and Aharon and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.

8:19 Mosheh slaughtered {it} and sprinkled the blood around on the altar.

8:20 When he had cut the ram into its [constituent] parts, Mosheh offered up the head, the parts [of the body] and the innard-fat in [burning] smoke.

8:21 After he had washed the entrails and the legs with water, Mosheh offered up the whole ram in [burning] smoke on the altar. It was a whole-burnt-offering as a rich and pleasing aroma; it was a fire-offering to Yahveh, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

8:22 Then he presented the second ram, the ram of ordination, and Aharon and his sons laid their hands on the head of the ram.

8:23 Mosheh slaughtered {it} and took some of its blood and put it on the [upper] ridge of Aharon’s right ear, and on the thumb of his right hand and on the big toe of his right foot.

8:24 He also had Aharon’s sons approach; and Mosheh put some of the blood on the [upper] ridge of their right ear, and on the thumb of their right hand and on the big toe of their right foot. Mosheh then sprinkled {the rest of} the blood around {every side of} the altar.

8:25 He took the [innard-]fat, and the fatty tail, and all the fat that was on the entrails, along with the [caudate] lobe of the liver, the two kidneys with their fat and the right thigh.

8:26 From the basket of unleavened bread that was [presented] before Yahveh, [Mosheh] took one unleavened flat-bread, one cake of bread {mixed with} oil and one wafer, and placed {them} on the portions of fat and on the right thigh.

8:27 He then put all {these} in the palms of Aharon and in the palms of his sons, and {they} presented them as a wave-offering before Yahveh.

8:28 Then Mosheh took them from their hands and offered them up in [burning] smoke on the altar with the burnt-offering. They were an ordination-offering for a rich and pleasing aroma; it was a fire-offering to Yahveh.

8:29 Mosheh also took the breast and waved it as a wave-offering before Yahveh; it was Mosheh’s portion of the ram of ordination, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

The Anointing of Aharon and his Sons

 

8:30 Then Mosheh took some of the anointing oil and some of the blood which was on the altar, and sprinkled it on Aharon, on his vestments, on his sons, and on the vestments of his sons with him; and [thus] he consecrated Aharon, his vestments, and his sons, and the vestments of his sons with him.

 

The Meat of the Ordination-Offering

 

8:31 Then Mosheh said to Aharon and to his sons, “Boil the flesh {of the ordination-offering} at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, in the sacred area, and eat it there together with the bread which is in the basket of the ordination-offering, just as I commanded, saying, ‘Aharon and his sons shall eat it.’

8:32 Anything that remains {uneaten} of the flesh and of the bread, you shall burn in the fire {of the altar}.

 

The Consecration to last Seven Days

 

8:33 You shall not leave {the sacred area} outside the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days, until the day that the ordination period is completed – the period of your consecration; for [at the end of] seven days, {the office and functions of priesthood} will be placed in your hands.

8:34 Yahveh has commanded {you} to do just as has been done this day, {each day for seven days}, to perform the expiation ritual on your behalf.

8:35 Moreover, you shall remain {in the sacred area} at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, day and night for seven days, observing {all} the rites of Yahveh, {and guarding against all violations} so that you will not die, for so I have been commanded.”

8:36 Thus Aharon and his sons did all the things which Yahveh had commanded through Mosheh.

Notes

8:3 {at the easternmost side of the courtyard and beyond} – It is obvious that you could not fit the entire congregation of Israel into the courtyard of the Tabernacle. Instead, there was an area to the east of the ash heap by the altar, beyond which the ordinary Israelites were not permitted to proceed westwards – there may even have been a line of low posts indicating this demarcation. This ‘secular’ area of the courtyard would have been filled with Israelites for the ceremony, and the majority would have spilled out beyond the east side of the courtyard.

8:6 ‘and had them wash [their hands and feet] with water’ – the Hebrew word rachatsimplies washing only the hands and feet, not the whole body.

8:33 ‘You shall not leave {the sacred area} outside the entrance of the Tent of Meeting’ – the sacred area is the area between the entrance of the Tent of Meeting and the bronze altar. This is the area into which the Israelites were not permitted to step. It is not openly mentioned in the MT, but is explicitly mentioned in the SP and the LXX.

8:34 ‘{each day for seven days}’ – see Ex 29:35-37; this entire ritual is to be repeated each day for seven days.

Chapter 9: The Priests perform the first services, and the Glory of God appears

 

9:1 Now it so happened on the eighth day [that] Mosheh summoned Aharon and his sons and the elders of Israel;

9:2 and he said to Aharon, “Take for yourself a calf – a young bull – for a sin-offering, and a ram for a burnt-offering, [both] without defect, and offer {them} up in the presence of Yahveh.

9:3 Then you shall speak to the elders of the Israelites, saying, ‘Take a male goat for a sin-offering; also a calf and a lamb, [both] one year old, without defect, for a whole-burnt-offering,

9:4 and an ox and a ram for fellowship-offerings, to sacrifice in the presence of Yahveh, and a grain-offering mixed with oil; for today {the Glory of} Yahveh will appear to you.’’”

9:5 So they brought what Mosheh had instructed to the front of the Tent of Meeting, and the whole congregation drew near and stood before Yahveh.

9:6 Mosheh said, “This is the ritual which Yahveh has commanded you to perform, so that the Glory of Yahveh may appear to you.”

9:7 Then Mosheh said to Aharon, “Approach the altar, and offer your sin-offerings and your whole-burnt-offerings, so that you may make expiation for yourself and for the people; then make the offering for the people, that you may make expiation {specifically} for them, just as Yahveh has commanded.”

9:8 So Aharon approached the altar, and slaughtered the calf of the sin-offering which was for himself.

9:9 Aharon’s sons presented the blood to him; and he dipped his [fore]finger in the blood, and put {some} on the horns of the altar, and poured out {the rest of} the blood at the base of the altar.

9:10 Then the [innard-]fat, the kidneys and the [caudate] lobe of the liver of the sin-offering, he offered up in [burning] smoke upon the altar, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

9:11 The flesh, [the bones] and the skin, however, he burned in flames outside the camp.

9:12 Then he slaughtered the whole-burnt-offering; and Aharon’s sons handed the blood over to him, and he sprinkled it around on the altar.

9:13 They handed him {the body of} the burnt-offering in pieces, together with the head, and he offered {them} up in [burning] smoke upon the altar.

9:14 However, the entrails and the legs he washed [separately], and offered them up in [burning] smoke with the burnt-offering on the altar as well.

9:15 Then he presented the people’s offering, and took the goat of the sin-offering which was for the people, and slaughtered it and offered it up for sin, just like the first one.

9:16 He also presented {the calf and the lamb for} the whole-burnt-offering, and offered [them] up in accordance with the ordinance [previously given].

9:17 Next he presented the grain-offering, and filled his hands with some of [the flour], and offered {it} up in [burning] smoke on the altar, in addition to the morning’s burnt-offering.

9:18 Then he slaughtered the ox and the ram – the [sacred] greeting-sacrifices which were for the people; and Aharon’s sons handed the blood to him and he sprinkled it around on the altar.

9:19 As for the fatty portions from the ox and from the ram – the fatty tail, the {fat} covering {the innards}, the kidneys and the [caudate] lobe of the liver –  

9:20 he held these fatty portions over the breast-portions; then he offered up [the fatty portions] in [burning] smoke on the altar.

9:21 However, the breast-portions and the right thigh Aharon waved as a wave-offering before Yahveh, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

9:22 Then Aharon lifted up his hands toward the people, and blessed them {with the three-fold blessing}, having stepped down after making the sin-offerings, the burnt-offerings and the fellowship-offerings.

9:23 Then Mosheh and Aharon went into the Tent of Meeting. When they came out and blessed the whole congregation, the Glory of Yahveh appeared to all the people.

9:24 Then fire came out from the presence of Yahveh, and it consumed the burnt-offerings and the portions of fat from the fellowship-offerings on the altar; and when all the people saw {this}, they cried out {with shouts of joyful wonder}, and prostrated themselves {with their faces to the ground}.

 

Chapter 10: The Deaths of Nadav and Avihu; Instructions about the right and wrong way to conduct Sanctuary Ritual

 

10:1 Now Nadav and Avihu, two of the sons of Aharon, took their respective firepans, and after putting burning coals in them {from an oven}, placed incense on them, and they drew near [to] the presence of Yahveh {with} an unconsecrated {incense-offering by} fire, which Yahveh had not commanded them {to bring}.

10:2 Then fire came out from the presence of Yahveh and consumed them, and they died in the presence of Yahveh.

10:3 [10:3a] Then Mosheh said to Aharon, “This is what Yahveh meant when [God] said,

10:4 [10:3b] ‘I must be treated as holy by those who draw near to Me,

so that before all the people I may be honoured.’’”

10:5 [10:3c] So Aharon, therefore, remained silent.

10:6 [10:4] Thereupon Mosheh called to Mīshā’eil and Eltsāfān, the sons of Aharon’s uncle `Uzzī’eil, and said to them, “Come forward, bear your cousins away from the front of the Tabernacle, {and take them} outside of the camp.”

10:7 [10:5] So they came forward, and they carried them by their tunics to the outside of the camp, just as Mosheh had instructed.

10:8 [10:6] Then Mosheh said to Aharon and to his sons Elė`āzār and Īthāmār, “Do not uncover your heads [and dishevel your hair] {in mourning}, nor tear your clothes {in grief}, so that you will not die, and so that {God’s Glory} will not [break forth] against the whole congregation. But your kinsmen – indeed, the whole house of Israel – shall bewail the intense burning which Yahveh{’s Glory} has brought about.

10:9 [10:7] You should not even depart from the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, lest you die; for Yahveh’s {sacred} anointing oil is [still] upon you.” So they did as Mosheh had bidden.

 

The Prohibition on imbibing Alcohol when serving in the Sanctuary

 

10:10 [10:8] Then Yahveh spoke to Aharon, saying,

10:11 [10:9] “Do not drink any wine or strong drink – neither you, nor your sons with you – when you come into the Tent of Meeting, so that you will not die; it is a perpetual statute throughout your generations;

10:12 [10:10] for you must make a distinction between the holy and the profane, and between the [ritually] unclean and the [ritually] clean,

10:13 [10:11] and you must teach the Israelites all the statutes which Yahveh has proclaimed to them through Mosheh.”

 

The Consumption of the Allotted Portions in the Sacred Area

 

10:14 [10:12] Then Mosheh spoke to Aharon, and to his surviving sons, Elė`āzār and Īthāmār, {saying}, “Take the grain-offering that is left over from Yahveh’s fire-offerings, and eat it {in the form of} unleavened bread beside the altar, for it is most holy.

10:15 [10:13] You shall eat it, moreover, in the sacred area {in front of the Tent of Meeting}, because it is your due and your descendants’ due from among Yahveh’s fire-offerings; for thus I have been commanded.

10:16 [10:14] However, the breast of the wave-offering, and the thigh of the dedicated gift-offering you may eat in any [ritually] clean place – you and your sons and your daughters with you; for they have been assigned {these portions} as your due and your descendants’ due from the [sacred] greeting-sacrifices [made by] the Israelites.

10:17 [10:15] [The Israelites] shall bring the thigh [given as] a dedicated gift-offering, and the breast [given as] a wave-offering, along with the fire-offerings of the portions of [innard-]fat, to present as a wave-offering before Yahveh; thus it shall be an allotment due to you and to your sons and your daughters with you for all time, just as Yahveh has commanded.”

 

The proper use of the Sin-Offering sacrificed during the Dedication of the Tabernacle

 

10:18 [10:16] Then Mosheh enquired unrelentingly after the goat of the sin-offering, for he found out that it had been [completely] burned up {on the altar}. So he was angry with Aharon’s surviving sons Ele`azar and Īthāmār, and he said,

10:19 [10:17] “Why did you not eat the sin-offering in the sacred area? For it is most holy, and [God] gave it to you to bear away the sin-guilt of the congregation, and to make expiation for them before Yahveh.

10:20 [10:18] Look, since its blood was not brought inside – into the Tabernacle – you should unquestionably have eaten it in the sacred {area}, just as I commanded.”

10:21 [10:19] But Aharon spoke to Mosheh, {and said}, “Behold, this [very] day they presented their sin-offerings and their burnt-offerings before Yahveh. However, the misfortune {of my sons’ deaths} has befallen me; if I had then eaten a sin-offering today, would Yahveh have approved?”

10:22 [10:20] When Mosheh heard {that}, he was satisfied.

 

Rules Concerning what is ritually clean and unclean

 

Chapter 11: Ritually clean and unclean animals

 

11:1 Now Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying to them,

11:2 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘These are the creatures which you may eat from among all the animals that are on the earth:

11:3 Any animal that has [true] split hooves, with a completely divided hoof, {and which} chews the cud – that [animal] you may eat.

11:4 However, you are not to eat of these [animals], among those which chew the cud, or among those which have a split hoof: the camel, for although it chews the cud, it does not have a split hoof; it [is] unclean to you.

11:5 Likewise, the hyrax, for although it chews the cud, it does not have a split hoof; it [is] unclean to you;

11:6 the hare also, for although it chews the cud, it does not have a split hoof; it [is] unclean to you;

11:7 and the pig, for although it has a split hoof, thus [making it] a cleft-hoofed [animal], it does not chew the cud; it [is] unclean to you.

11:8 You shall not eat of their flesh nor [even] touch their carcasses; they [are] unclean to you.

 

Ritually clean and unclean sea creatures

 

11:9 Now, of these you may eat whatever [lives] in the water: every [creature] that has fins and scales, [that lives] in the water, in the seas or in the rivers, those you may eat.

11:10 But whatever [lives] in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins or scales – [anything] among any {kind of life that} swarms in the water, and among all the living creatures that [dwell] in the water, they are absolutely forbidden for you;

11:11 and their flesh shall be forbidden to you – you shall not eat of it; and their carcasses you shall [also] regard as forbidden.

11:12 Whatever [dwells] in the water [that] does not have [both] fins and scales is absolutely forbidden to you .

 

Ritually unclean winged creatures

 

11:13 [11:13a] Now these you shall regard as forbidden among the birds – they are absolutely forbidden, not to be eaten:

11:14 [11:13b-14] eagles, vultures, buzzards, kites or falcons of any kind,

11:15 and no ravens {or crows} of any kind at all;

11:16 ostriches, harriers, gulls or hawks of any kind;

11:17 [11:17-18a] also {owls of any kind} – {such as} the little owl, the eagle-owl or the barn owl;

11:18 [11:18b-19a] also cormorants, bitterns, pelicans, storks, herons [or egrets] of any kind;

11:19 [11:19b] also the hoopoe, and bats {of any kind}.

Ritually clean and unclean insects

11:20 All the winged insects that creep along [the ground] are to be considered absolutely forbidden to you.

11:21 However, these you may eat among all the winged insects that creep along [the ground]: those that have above their feet jointed legs with which to jump on the ground.

11:22 These of them you may eat: locusts of any kind, longhead-hoppers of any kind, crickets of any kind, and grasshoppers of any kind.

11:23 But all other winged insects that creep along [the ground] are absolutely forbidden to you.

 

The Contracting of ritual impurity by touching carcasses of ritually unclean animals

 

11:24 By these [things], moreover, you will be made [ritually] unclean: whoever touches their carcasses becomes [ritually] unclean until evening,

11:25 and whoever picks up any [part] of their carcasses shall wash his clothes, but [still] be {considered} [ritually] unclean until evening.

11:26 Concerning all the animals which have true hooves, but do not have a completely cleft hoof, or which do not chew the cud, they are [ritually] unclean to you; and whoever touches {their carcasses} becomes [ritually] unclean.

11:27 Also, whatever walks on its paws, among all the creatures that walk on [all] fours, are [ritually] unclean to you; whoever touches their carcasses becomes [ritually] unclean until evening;

11:28 and the one who picks up {any part of} their carcasses shall wash his clothes and be [ritually] unclean until evening; they are [ritually] unclean to you.

 

Ritually unclean crawling animals

 

11:29 [11:29a] Now these are the [ritually] unclean [creatures] to you among the crawling things which crawl upon the earth:

11:30: [11:29b] moles, mice [and rats], and tortoises of any kind;

11:31 [11:30], monitor lizards, crocodiles, sand-lizards, skinks, chameleons [and geckos] {of any kind}.

11:32 [11:31] These are the [ritually] unclean {creatures} to you among all the crawling things; and whoever touches them when they are dead becomes [ritually] unclean until evening.

 

Ritual Contamination of Vessels

 

11:33 [11:32] Also, anything onto which one of them may fall when they are dead becomes [ritually] unclean, including any wooden articles, or items of clothing, or animal hides, or sackcloth – any article of which use is made – it shall be put into {living} water. It shall be {considered} [ritually] unclean until evening, then it becomes [ritually] clean.

11:34 [11:33] As for any earthenware vessel into which one of them may fall, whatever is in it becomes [ritually] unclean, and you shall break the vessel [itself].

11:35 [11:34] Any {dry} food which is to be eaten, which has become dampened by water, shall become [ritually] unclean {if it then comes into contact with the carcasses of ritually unclean animals}, and {likewise} any liquid which is to be drunk in [any kind of] vessel shall become [ritually] unclean.

11:36 [11:35] Everything, moreover, on which part of their carcass may fall becomes [ritually] unclean; a [clay] oven or a stove must be smashed; they have become [ritually] unclean, and shall remain {permanently} [ritually] unclean to you.

 

Ritual Contamination of other items

 

11:37 [11:36] However, a spring of water or a cistern which collects [living] water shall be [ritually] clean, although the one who touches the carcass {of the contaminating animal} shall be {considered} [ritually] unclean.

11:38 [11:37] If such a carcass falls on any {dry} seed-grain which is to be sown, it is clean.

11:39 [11:38] However, if water is put on the seed and such a carcass [then] falls onto it, it is unclean to you.

11:40 [11:39] Also if one of the livestock-animals dies which you have [kept] for food, the one who touches its carcass becomes [ritually] unclean until evening.

11:41 [11:40] Anyone who eats some of its carcass shall wash his clothes and remain [ritually] unclean until evening; and anyone who picks up its carcass shall wash his clothes and remain [ritually] unclean until evening.

 

The religious aspect of ritual cleanliness

 

11:42 [11:41] Now every crawling thing that crawls on the earth is absolutely forbidden; it is not to be eaten.

11:43 [11:42] Anything that moves along on its belly, and anything that walks on all fours, including anything that has many feet among the crawling things that crawl on the earth, you shall not eat them, for they are absolutely forbidden.

11:44 [11:43] Do not render yourselves ritually unfit through any of the crawling things that crawl {on the ground}; you shall not defile yourselves with them, so that you become [ritually] unclean.

11:45 [11:44] For I am Yahveh your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And do not defile yourselves with any of the crawling things that creep about on the earth.

11:46 [11:45] For I am Yahveh who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; therefore you shall be holy, for I am holy.

11:47 [11:46] This is the teaching regarding the beasts and the winged creatures, and every living thing that moves about in the waters, and everything that crawls about on the earth,

11:48 [11:47] to make a distinction between the [ritually] unclean and the [ritually] clean, and between the creatures which may be eaten, and the creatures which may not be eaten.

Notes:

11:10 (and elsewhere) ‘absolutely forbidden’ – this is usually translated as ‘detestable’, ‘abhorrent’ or ‘abominable’. With regard to animals, they refer to creatures that don’t impart ritual uncleanness by touching the living animal, but nevertheless are not to be eaten or offered in ritual worship. Their dead bodies do, however, confer ritual uncleanness.

11:13-19 – forbidden birds: some of these birds are no longer identifiable, but they are types of birds (bird genera or bird families), rather than specific species. However we choose to translate the names, they should be translated with this in mind.

           Three types of birds are listed, which should help us avoid other similar types of birds: predatory birds (raptors), carrion-eaters, and fishing birds. Notably, the bat was considered a type of bird by the ancients.

11:22 ‘longhead-hoppers’ – Hebrew sol`am. This is probably the Truxalis genus, a type of grasshopper with a long head.

11:33‘it shall be put into living water’ – this refers to a stream, a lake into which a river flows, a natural collection of rainwater, or a miqveh (ritual immersion pool).

11:33-34 – contaminated objects: porous materials that are absorbent can be cleansed, but porous items that are not absorbent (such as clay or earthenware items) cannot be ritually cleansed, so have to be broken to put them beyond use.

11:35-36 – food that has been dampened by water: it is the water that absorbs the impurity, hence dry grain does not absorb impurity (see 11:38).

Chapter 12: Ritual Purification of a Mother after Childbirth

 

12:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

12:2 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘When a woman conceives and gives birth to a male [child], then she shall be [ritually] unclean for seven days; as in the days of the [ritual] impurity of her menstruation, she shall be [ritually] unclean.

12:3 On the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised.

12:4 Then she shall wait thirty-three days before being ritually purified [from the] blood {of childbirth}; she shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor enter {the courtyard of} the Sanctuary until the days of her purification-period are completed.

12:5 But if she bears a female [child], then she shall be [ritually] unclean for two weeks; as in [the case of] her menstruation, {she shall be ritually unclean}; and she shall wait sixty-six days before being ritually purified [from the] blood {of childbirth}.

12:6 When the days of her purification-period are completed, {whether it be} for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring a yearling lamb for a burnt-offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin-offering, [bringing it] to the priest at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

12:7 Then he shall present it in the presence of Yahveh, and the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for her, and she shall be cleansed from {the ritual impurity caused by} the flow of her blood. This is the teaching for [the woman] who gives birth, {whether it be to} a male or a female [child].

12:8 But if she does not have sufficient means for a lamb, then she shall take two turtledoves or two young pigeons, the one for a burnt-offering and the other for a sin-offering; and the priest shall perform the expiation ritual for her, and she will be [made ritually] clean.’ ”

 

Chapter 13: Skin Conditions: Inflammations, Rashes and Shiny Patches

 

13:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying,

13:2 “When a person has on the skin of his body an inflammation, rash or shiny patch, and [it looks like] it is developing into the early signs of a skin-disease on the skin of his body, then he shall be brought to Aharon the {High} Priest, or to one of his sons the priests.

13:3 The priest shall visually examine the affected area on the skin of [his] body, and if the hair in the affected area has turned white, and the affected area appears to be deeper than the skin of his body, it is [the] early signs of a skin-disease; once the priest has visually examined it, he shall pronounce him unclean.

13:4 But if [he has a] shiny patch [which] is white on the skin of his body, and it does not appear to be deeper than the skin, and the hair on it has not turned white, then the priest shall isolate the affected person for seven days.

13:5 The priest shall visually examine him on the seventh day, and if in his view the affected area has not changed – {that is}, [if] the affected area has not spread on the skin – then the priest shall isolate him for seven more days.

13:6 The priest shall visually examine him again on the seventh day {after that}, and if the affected area has faded and the infection has not spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him clean; it is [only] a rash. And [the person] shall wash his clothes and be [ritually] clean.

13:7 But if the rash spreads further on the skin after he has shown himself to the priest for his [ritual] cleansing, he shall appear again to the priest.

13:8 The priest shall visually examine him, and if the rash has spread on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a {more serious} skin-disease.

 

Chronic Skin-Diseases

 

13:9 When the signs of a {more serious} skin-disease are [found] on a [person], then he shall be brought to the priest.

13:10 The priest shall then visually examine {him}, and if [he discovers that] there is a white swelling in the skin, and it has turned the hair white, and there is oozing raw flesh in the inflammation,

13:11 it is a chronic skin-disease on the skin of his body, and the priest shall pronounce him unclean; {there is} no {need to} isolate him {further to discover the nature of the disease} – he is unclean.

13:12 However, if the skin-condition spreads more widely on the skin, so that the skin-condition covers all the skin of the affected person from head to foot, wherever the priest might look,

13:13 then the priest shall visually examine him, and if he discovers that the skin-condition has covered all of his body, {but has turned white}, he shall pronounce the affected person clean, {for the skin is healing}; it has all turned white, [so] he is clean.

13:14 But immediately that raw flesh reappears on him, he shall be [considered] unclean.

13:15 The priest shall visually examine the raw flesh, and he shall pronounce [such a person] unclean; the raw flesh is unclean – it is leprosy.

13:16 Otherwise, if the raw flesh turns again and is changed to white, then he shall come to the priest,

13:17 and the priest shall visually examine him, and if he discovers that the affected areas have [indeed] turned white, then the priest shall pronounce the affected person clean; he is clean, {for the skin is healing}.

 

Skin Ulcers

 

13:18 When the body has had an ulcer on its skin and it is healed,

13:19 and in the place of the ulcer there is a white swelling or a reddish-white, shiny patch, then it shall be shown to the priest;

13:20 and the priest shall visually examine [it]; and if he discovers that it appears to be deeper than [the surface of] the skin, and the hair on it has turned white, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is the infectious sign of skin-disease, which has broken out in the ulcer.

13:21 But if the priest visually examines it, and [finds that] there are no white hairs in it, and it is not deeper than the skin but is faded, then the priest shall isolate him for seven days;

13:22 and if it spreads further on the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is [the] infectious sign {of an ulcer}.

13:23 But if the shiny patch remains in its place and does not spread, it is [only] the scar of the ulcer, and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

 

Skin burns

 

13:24 Now if by chance the body sustains in its skin a burn by fire, and the raw [flesh] of the burn becomes a shiny patch, reddish-white, or white,

13:25 then the priest shall visually examine it. And if the hair in the bright spot has indeed turned white, and it appears to be deeper than the skin, it is a skin-infection; it has broken out in the burn. Therefore, the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a sign of a skin-infection.

13:26 But if the priest visually examines it, and [finds that] there is no white hair in the shiny patch and it is no deeper than the skin, but is faint, then the priest shall isolate him for seven days;

13:27 and the priest shall visually examine him on the seventh day. If it spreads further in the skin, then the priest shall pronounce him unclean; it is a sign of a skin-infection.

13:28 But if the shiny patch remains in its place and has not spread in the skin, but is faint, it is the swelling from the burn; and the priest shall pronounce him clean, for it is [only] the scar from the burn.

 

Skin-Afflictions of the Scalp and Face

 

13:29 “Now if a man or a woman has an infectious mark on [their] scalp, or {if a man has an infectious mark} on {his face} in {the area of} his beard,

13:30 then the priest shall visually examine the affected area, and if he discovers that it appears to be deeper than the skin, and there are thin yellowish hairs in it, then the priest shall pronounce [that person] unclean; it is a favus-infection; it is {a type of} [scaly] skin-disease of the scalp or of the beard.

13:31 But if the priest visually examines the affected area of the infection, and he discovers that it appears to be no deeper than the skin, and there are no black hairs in it, then the priest shall isolate {the person with} the scaly infectious mark for seven days.

13:32 On the seventh day the priest shall visually examine the affected area, and if he discovers that the infection has not spread, and no yellowish hair has grown in it, and the appearance of the scaly infection is no deeper than the skin,

13:33 then he shall shave himself, but he shall not shave {the area of} the scaly infection; and the priest shall isolate {the person with} the scaly infection for a second [period of] seven days.

13:34 Then on the seventh day the priest shall visually examine the scaly infection, and if he discovers that the infection has not spread in the skin, and it appears to be no deeper than the skin, the priest shall pronounce him clean; and he shall wash his clothes and be clean.

13:35 However, if the scaly infection continues to spread further on the skin after his being declared clean,

13:36 then the priest shall visually examine him, and if he discovers that the infection has spread in the skin, the priest need not look for the yellowish hair; he is {definitely} unclean.

13:37 However if, in his view, the scaly infection is static, and black hair has grown in it, then the infection has healed – he is clean; and the priest shall pronounce him clean.

 

Various Tetter conditions on the Body

 

13:38 When a man or a woman has [multiple] discoloured blotches on the skin of the body, {or} white blotches,

13:39 then the priest shall visually examine {them}, and if he discovers that the discoloured blotches on the skin of their body are a faint white, it is a tetter condition that has broken out on the skin; he is clean.

 

Loss of hair on the Scalp

 

13:40 Now if a man loses the hair of his head, he is {simply} bald; he is clean.

13:41 If he has lost his hair from the front of his scalp and has a bald forehead, then he is clean.

13:42 But if on his bald scalp or his bald forehead, there develops a reddish-white infected area, it is a skin-disease breaking out on his bald scalp or on his bald forehead.

13:43 In such a case, the priest shall visually examine him; and if he discovers that the swelling [around] the infected area is reddish-white on his bald head or on his bald forehead, similar to the appearance of skin-diseases on the skin of the body,

13:44 he is someone who has contracted a contagious skin-disease, so he is unclean. The priest shall without hesitation pronounce him unclean, {since} he has a contagious area on his head.

 

The Prescribed Attire of those with Contagious Skin-Diseases

 

13:45 Thereafter, {this} contagious person who has the contagious patches {on his skin}, he shall make tears on his clothing, and the hair of his head shall be uncovered; and {whenever he is out in public} he shall cover {his mouth and} his moustache and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’

13:46 The whole time that he has the contagious patches on him, he shall remain unclean. {Since} he is unclean, he shall live alone, and his dwelling shall be outside the camp.

 

Mould on Cloth and Garments

 

13:47 When a garment has a patch of mould [or mildew] on it, whether it be a woollen garment or a linen garment,

13:48 whether [it be] in the warp or the weft, whether [it be of] linen or wool, or of leather or on any article made of leather,

13:49 then if the patch {is whitish-grey, or} becomes greenish or reddish-black on the cloth, or in the warp or in the weft, or in the leather, or in any article [made] of leather, it is a patch of mould [or mildew], and shall be shown to the priest.

13:50 Then the priest shall visually examine {the item with} the mouldy patch, and shall quarantine {the item with} the mouldy patch for seven days.

13:51 [The priest] shall then visually examine the mouldy patch on the seventh day; if the mouldy patch has spread on the garment, whether in the warp or in the weft, or in the leather, whatever the purpose for which the leather is used, the afflicted [article] has a serious outbreak of mould; it is unclean.

13:52 So [the owner] shall burn the garment, whether [the affliction be] {in} the warp or the weft, in wool or in linen, or {on} any article of leather in which the mouldy patch occurs, for it is a serious outbreak of mould; it shall be burned in fire.

13:53 But if the priest should visually examine [the item], and he discovers that the mouldy patch has not spread on the garment, either in the warp or in the weft, or on any article of leather,

13:54 then the priest shall order [the owner] to wash [the thing] in which the mouldy patch [occurs], and he shall quarantine it for a second [period of] seven days.

13:55 After [the article with] the mouldy patch has been washed, the priest shall again visually examine [it], and if he discovers that the affected patch has not changed its colour, even though the patch has not spread, it is [still] unclean; you shall burn it in fire, {regardless of} whether the eaten-away area is on the inside or the outside of it.

13:56 Or when the priest visually examines {the garment}, and he discovers that the mouldy patch has faded after it has been washed, then he shall tear [the affected area] out of the garment, whether from the warp or from the weft, or out of the leather.

13:57 Now if [the mould or mildew] appears again in the garment, whether [it be] in the warp or in the weft, or in any article of leather, it is a {new} outbreak; the article with the mouldy patch shall be burned in fire.

13:58 On the other hand, any garment from which the mouldy patch has disappeared when you washed it, whether from the warp or the weft, or any article of leather, it shall then be washed a second time and will be clean.”

13:59 This is the teaching for patches of mould [or mildew] in a garment of wool or linen, whether in the warp or in the weft, or in any article of leather, for pronouncing it clean or unclean.

 

Notes:

         Throughout chapter 13, mention is made of skin-diseases, skin-conditions or afflictions. In Hebrew, the word used to cover all conditions is tsara’at, whether it be in humans or in clothing. The ancient Hebrews did not have the scientific knowledge to classify skin-diseases, only the practical knowledge to know what was contagious and what wasn’t. Each type of condition described, would in modern science cover several, quite disparate types of diseases; the earlier tendency to describe all of them as leprosy does not fit in with what we know of leprosy (Hansen’s Disease). I have therefore done my best to avoid calling anything leprosy, and I have been generally vague in naming the conditions.

13:30favus-infection: a condition which results in scaly skin

13:39Tetter conditions – this covers any skin condition that produces spots, blotches or eruptions on the skin, but is not contagious, such as eczema, vitiligo or psoriasis.

13:47mould or mildew: mould is green or black, and mildew is white or grey; they are different types of fungus.

13:49‘then if the patch {is whitish-grey, or} becomes greenish or reddish-black on the cloth’ – Both mould and mildew would have been classed as tsara`at, but only the colours of mould are mentioned in the text.

Chapter 14: The Ritual for the Cleansing of Someone who has recovered from a Contagious Skin-Disease

 

14:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

14:2 [14:2a] “This shall be the ritual for the [person who has recovered from a contagious skin-disease] on the day of his cleansing.

14:3 [14:2b-3] Now he shall be brought to the priest, the priest having come out to {his place of quarantine} outside of the camp. Thereupon the priest shall visually examine {him}; and if he discovers that the infection of a contagious skin-disease has been healed in the [sufferer],

14:4 then the priest shall give orders to take two live, [ritually] clean birds, some cedar wood, a scarlet cord and some hyssop for the one who is to be cleansed.

14:5 The priest shall then give orders to slay one of the birds in an earthenware vessel over running water.

14:6 {As for} the {remaining} live bird, he shall take it together with the cedar wood, the scarlet cord and the hyssop, and he shall dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was slain over running water.

14:7 He shall then sprinkle seven times the one who is to be [ritually] cleansed from the contagious skin-disease, and he shall pronounce him clean; then he shall release the live bird over [an] open field {outside the camp}.

14:8 The one to be cleansed shall then wash his clothes, shave off all his hair, then bathe in water and be clean. Now after [that], he may re-enter the camp, but he shall remain outside his tent for seven days.

14:9 Then it will be, that on the seventh day he shall [again] shave off all his hair: he shall shave his head, his beard and his eyebrows – that is, he shall shave all his hair [completely]. He shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in water and be clean.

 

The Guilt-Offering and the Sin-Offering for the Person who has recovered from a Contagious Skin-Disease

 

14:10 Now on the eighth day, he is to take two, yearling male lambs without blemish, and a yearling ewe lamb without blemish, and three-tenths {of an eifah of} fine semolina-flour mixed with oil for a grain-offering, and one lōgh of [olive] oil;

14:11 and the purifying priest shall stand the man to be [ritually] cleansed, together with [all the aforesaid items], in the presence of Yahveh at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

14:12 Then the priest shall take one [of the] male lambs and present it as a guilt-offering, together with the lōgh of [olive] oil, and wave them as a wave-offering before Yahveh.

14:13 Next, [this] male lamb shall be slaughtered in the place where they slaughter [the animals for] the sin-offering and the whole-burnt-offering, in a sacred place – because just as the sin-offering belongs to the priest, so also [does] the guilt-offering; it is most holy.

14:14 The priest shall then take some of the blood of the guilt-offering, and the priest shall put {it} on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, and on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.

14:15 The priest shall also take some of the lōgh of [olive] oil, and pour {it} into his [own] left palm;

14:16 the priest shall then dip the forefinger of his right-hand into the oil that is in his left palm, and with his forefinger sprinkle some of the oil seven times in the presence of Yahveh, {towards the entrance of the Tent of Meeting}.

14:17 Of the remaining oil which is in his palm, {with the forefinger of his right-hand} the priest shall put some on the right earlobe of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot – upon {the same places as} the blood of the guilt-offering.

14:18 Then the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s palm, he shall put over the head of the one being cleansed. In this way, the priest shall perform the expiation ritual on his behalf in the presence of Yahveh.

14:19 The priest shall next make the sin-offering, and so [continue] the expiation ritual for the one to be cleansed from his [ritual] impurity. Then afterward, he shall slaughter {the second male lamb as} the whole-burnt-offering.

14:20 The priest shall then offer up the burnt-offering and the grain-offering on the altar in the presence of Yahveh. In this way, the priest shall [complete] the expiation ritual for him, and he will be [ritually] clean.

 

The Ritual for a Poor Person recovering from contagious Skin-Disease

 

14:21 However, if he is poor and does not have sufficient means within his reach, then he is to take one male lamb for a guilt-offering, and wave {it} to perform the expiation ritual for him, together with one-tenth {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with oil as a grain-offering, and a lōgh of [olive] oil,

14:22 and two turtledoves or two young pigeons which are within his means; one [of them] shall be a sin-offering, and the [other] one a whole-burnt-offering.

14:23 Then on the eighth day, he shall bring them for his cleansing to the priest, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, into the presence of Yahveh.

14:24 The priest shall take the lamb of the guilt-offering and [the] lōgh of [olive] oil, and he shall wave them as a wave-offering in the presence of Yahveh.

14:25 Next he shall slaughter [this] lamb as a guilt-offering; and the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt-offering, and put {it} on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot.

14:26 The priest shall also pour some of the oil into his [own] left palm;

14:27 and with [the] forefinger of his right-hand, the priest shall sprinkle some of the oil that is in his left palm seven times in the presence of Yahveh, {towards the entrance of the Tent of Meeting}.

14:28 The priest shall then put some of the oil that is in his palm on the lobe of the right ear of the one to be cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot – upon {the same} places {as the} blood of the guilt-offering.

14:29 Moreover, the rest of the oil that is in the priest’s palm he shall put over the head of the one to be cleansed, to perform the expiation ritual on his behalf in the presence of Yahveh.

14:30 He shall then make an offering of one of the turtledoves or young pigeons – from whatever he was able to afford.

14:31 {He shall offer up} whatever he can afford – one [of them] as a sin-offering and the other {one} as a burnt-offering, in addition to the grain-offering. In this way, the priest shall [complete] the expiation ritual on behalf of the one to be [ritually] cleansed in the presence of Yahveh.

14:32 This is the teaching {for the person} in whom there is an infection of contagious skin-disease, whose means are limited for his [ritual] purification.”

 

Instructions for dealing with Mould in Houses

 

14:33 Yahveh spoke [further] to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying:

14:34 “Once you have entered the land of Cana`an, which I am giving you for an inheritance, and I put a patch of [mould] inside a house in the land of your inheritance,

14:35 then the one who owns the house shall come and inform the priest, saying, ‘{Something} like a patch {of mould} has become visible to me inside the house.’

14:36 The priest shall then give strict instructions that they empty the house before the priest goes in to visually examine the patch, so that everything in the house need not become [ritually] unclean; and after [everything has been removed], the priest shall go in to visually examine the house.

14:37 So he shall visually examine the patch, and if he discovers that the patch on the walls of the house has greenish or reddish-black depressions, and appears deeper than {the surface of} the wall,

14:38 then the priest shall exit the house by the [main] doorway, and quarantine the house for seven days.

14:39 The priest shall return on the seventh day and make an inspection. If he discovers that the [mouldy] patch has [actually] spread in the walls of the house,

14:40 then the priest shall order [the owners] to tear out the stones which have the infected areas in them, and throw them away in a [ritually] unclean place outside the city.

14:41 They shall have the house scraped all around inside, and they shall dump the plaster that they scrape off in a [ritually] unclean place outside the city.

14:42 Then they shall take other stones and replace {those} stones, and they shall take other plaster and re-plaster the house.

14:43 If, however, the [mouldy] patch returns, and breaks out again in the house after they have torn out the stones and scraped the house, and after it has been re-plastered,

14:44 then the priest shall come back in and make [another] [visual] inspection. If he discovers that the [mouldy] patch has indeed spread in the house, it is a malignant infestation in the house; it is unclean.

14:45 They shall therefore tear down the {entire} house – its stones, its timbers, and all the plaster of the house, and they shall remove {them} to a [ritually] unclean place outside the city.

14:46 Moreover, whoever goes into the house during the time that [the priest] has quarantined it, becomes [ritually] unclean until evening.

14:47 Likewise, whoever lies down in the house shall wash his clothes, and whoever eats in the house shall wash his clothes.

 

The Ritual Cleansing of a House that has recovered from Mould

 

14:48 If, on the other hand, the priest comes in and makes a [visual] inspection, and he discovers that the [mouldy] patch has not spread in the house after the house has been re-plastered, then the priest shall pronounce the house [ritually] clean, because the patch has cleared up.

14:49 To cleanse the house then, [the priest] shall take two birds, some cedar wood, a scarlet cord and some hyssop,

14:50 and he shall slaughter one of the birds in an earthenware vessel over running water.

14:51 Then he shall take the cedar wood, the scarlet cord and the hyssop, together with the live bird, and dip them in the blood of the slaughtered bird as well as in the running water, and sprinkle the house seven times.

14:52 He shall thus [ritually] purify the house with the blood of the bird and with the running water, along with the live bird, the cedar wood, the scarlet cord and the hyssop.

14:53 However, he shall release the live bird over [an] open field outside the city. In this way he shall perform the expiation ritual for the house, and it will become [ritually] clean.”

 

Summary

 

14:54 This is the teaching for any sign of skin-disease [or mould] – that is, for a scaly favus-infection,

14:55 for a mouldy garment or a house,

14:56 and for an inflammation, rash or shiny patch –  

14:57 to teach {the Israelites the distinction between} when they are [ritually] unclean and when they are [ritually] clean. This is the teaching [with regard to] skin-disease [and mould].

 

Chapter 15: Discharges from the Sexual Organs

 

Abnormal Discharges in Men

 

15:1 Yahveh also spoke to Mosheh and to Aharon, saying,

15:2 “Speak to the Israelites, and say to them, ‘When any man has an [abnormal] discharge from his member, his discharge is [ritually] unclean.

15:3 And this shall be the teaching [about] his [ritual] impurity with regard to his discharge: whether his member runs [freely] with its discharge, or whether his member is blocked up, he is [ritually] unclean; {that is}, for the whole time his member {either} flows with a discharge, or his member is blocked up by its discharge, it remains {the cause of} his [ritual] impurity.

15:4 Any bedding on which the man with the discharge lies becomes unclean, and any item {of furniture} on which he sits becomes unclean.

15:5 Furthermore, anyone who touches his bedding shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening;

15:6 and whoever sits on any item [of furniture] on which the man with the discharge has been sitting, shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.

15:7 Also, whoever touches the body of the man with the discharge shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.

15:8 Even if the man with the discharge spits on someone who is [ritually] clean, then he too must wash his clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.

15:9 Any saddle on which the man with the discharge rides becomes [ritually] unclean;

15:10 and whoever touches any of the {riding} accessories which have been under him shall be unclean until evening; and [the person] who carries them shall wash [their] clothes and bathe in water, and be unclean until evening.

15:11 If someone with a discharge, without having rinsed his hands in water, then touches another person, that person must wash their clothes and bathe in water, and shall be [ritually] unclean until evening.

15:12 However, any earthenware vessel which the person with the discharge touches must be broken, and any wooden vessel must be rinsed in water.

 

The Ritual Cleansing of a Man when he recovers from an abnormal Discharge

 

15:13 Now when the man with the discharge recovers from his discharge, then he shall count off for himself seven days {to prepare} for his cleansing {from the day the discharge ceased}; he shall then wash his clothes and bathe his body in living water, and will become [ritually] clean.

15:14 Then on the eighth day he shall take for himself two turtledoves or two young pigeons, and come to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting into the presence of Yahveh, and give them to the priest;

15:15 and the priest shall offer them, one [of them] for a sin-offering and the {other} one for a burnt-offering. In this way, the priest shall perform the expiation ritual on his behalf in the presence of Yahveh, {to purify him} of his [abnormal] discharge.

 

Seminal Emissions

 

15:16 Now if a man has a seminal emission, he shall bathe his whole body in water, and be [ritually] unclean until evening.

15:17 As for any garment or any leather [item] on which a seminal emission [falls], it shall be washed with water and be [ritually] unclean until evening.

15:18 If a man lies with a woman {so that} there is a seminal emission, they shall both bathe in water, and be [ritually] unclean until evening.

 

Menstrual Discharge

 

15:19 When a woman has a discharge, {then if} [the] discharge [from] her uterus is blood, she shall remain in her menstrual impurity for seven days; and whoever touches her shall be [ritually] unclean until evening.

15:20 Everything on which she lies during her menstrual impurity shall be [ritually] unclean, and everything on which she sits shall be [ritually] unclean.

15:21 Anyone who touches her bedding shall wash their clothes and bathe in water, and be [ritually] unclean until evening.

15:22 Whoever touches any item {of furniture} on which she sits shall wash their clothes and bathe in water, and be [ritually] unclean until evening.

15:23 Whether it be the bedding or the item {of furniture} on which she has been sitting, then if someone touches it, they shall be [ritually] unclean until evening.

15:24 If a man actually lies with her, then the [ritual] impurity of her menstruation shall be on him {as if he himself had gone through menstruation}; he shall therefore be unclean for seven days, and any bedding on which he [himself] lies {during that time} shall be [ritually] unclean.

 

Abnormal Discharges in Women

 

15:25 Now if a woman has an [abnormal] discharge of her blood for many days, [outside] the {normal} period of her menstrual impurity; or if she has a discharge {of blood} {which continues} beyond {her normal} period, {then for} the whole time of her [ritually] impure discharge she shall continue as though {she were} in her menstrual impurity; she is [ritually] unclean.

15:26 Any bed on which she lies during the whole time of her [abnormal] discharge shall be for her like her bed during menstruation; and any item {of furniture} on which she sits shall be [ritually] unclean, just like her ritual impurity during the time {of her menstruation}.

15:27 Likewise, whoever touches {her bedding or furniture} shall be [ritually] unclean, and shall wash their clothes and bathe in water, and be [ritually] unclean until evening.

 

The Ritual Cleansing of a Woman after her Period or any abnormal Discharge

 

15:28 When she recovers from her discharge {of blood}, she shall count off for herself seven days {after the bleeding has ceased}; and afterward she will be [ritually] clean.

15:29 Then on the eighth day she shall take for herself two turtledoves or two young pigeons, and bring them to the priest, {into the presence of Yahveh} at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

15:30 The priest shall offer one [of them] for a sin-offering and the [other] one for a burnt-offering. In this way, the priest shall perform the expiation ritual on her behalf in the presence of Yahveh, {to cleanse her} of her [ritually] impure discharge.

 

Summary

 

15:31 In this way, you shall make the Israelites wary of their {times of} [ritual] impurity, so that they will not die [as a result of] their [ritual] impurity by defiling My Tabernacle that is in their midst.”

15:32 This is the teaching for the {man} with an [abnormal] discharge, and for the man who has a seminal emission so that he becomes [ritually] unclean by it;

15:33 [15:33a] and for the woman who is ill [during the time of] her menstrual impurity;

15:34 [15:33b] {it is the teaching} for the one who has a discharge, whether a male or a female, or for a man who lies with a [ritually] unclean woman.

 

Chapter 16: The Rituals for the Day of Expiations

 

16:1 Now Yahveh spoke to Mosheh after the death of the two sons of Aharon, when they approached {the Glory of} Yahveh {with unauthorised fire} and died.

16:2 So Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Tell your brother Aharon that he must not come at [just] any {random} time {he chooses} into the Holy {of Holies}, {entering} inside the veil in front of the expiation-seat which is on the Ark, or he will die; for {My Glory} will appear in cloud over the expiation-seat.

16:3 {Instead}, this is how Aharon shall come to the holy {sanctuary}: with a young bull for a sin-offering, and a ram for a whole-burnt-offering.

16:4 He shall put on the sacral, [white] linen tunic – the linen undergarments being next to his body; and he shall be girded with the [white] linen sash and adorned with the [domed] linen mitre. These are holy garments, so once he has bathed his whole body in water, he shall then put them on.

 

The Two Goats and the Bull of Sin-Offering

 

16:5 He shall then take from the congregation of the Israelites two {identical} male goats for a sin-offering, and one ram for a whole-burnt-offering;

16:6 however, for himself Aharon will be offering the bull of the sin-offering, so that he may perform the expiation ritual for himself and for his household.

16:7 So he shall take the two goats, and stand them in the presence of Yahveh at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting.

16:8 Aharon shall cast lots for the two goats: one lot for Yahveh, and the other lot for the `Azzā Zeil (‘Fortress of Shadow’).

16:9 Then Aharon shall bring forward the goat designated by lot for Yahveh, and he shall make it [the] sin-offering.

16:10 But the goat designated by lot for the `Azzā Zeil (‘Fortress of Shadow’) shall be presented alive before Yahveh, to perform the expiation ritual upon it, by sending it into the wilderness for the `Azzā Zeil.

16:11 Then Aharon shall offer his bull of sin-offering, to perform the expiation ritual for himself and for his household – that is, he shall slaughter his bull of sin-offering, {and collect some of its blood in a bowl}.

 

The Expiation Ritual in front of the Expiation-Seat

 

16:12 He shall then take a firepan full of live coals from atop the altar – {coals taken from} the presence of Yahveh – and two handfuls of finely ground, sweet incense, and bring {it together with the blood of the bull} inside the veil.

16:13 He shall put the incense on the [live coals] in the presence of Yahveh, so that the cloud of incense may [completely] envelope the expiation-seat that is on {the ark of} the testimony, otherwise he will die.

16:14 Thereafter, he shall take some of the blood of the bull, and sprinkle {it} with his {right} forefinger on the surface of the expiation-seat on the east {side}; also, in front of the expiation-seat he shall sprinkle some of the blood with his forefinger seven times.

16:15 Then {he shall go back outside}, and slaughter the goat of the sin-offering, {designated by lot for Yahveh} – which is for the people – and bring its blood back inside the veil, and do with its blood just as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on [both] {the east side of} the expiation-seat, and in front of the expiation-seat.

16:16 He shall thus perform the expiation ritual for the Holy {of Holies}, because of the [ritual] impurities of the Israelites and because of their transgressions, whatever their sins {may have been}; and in this way he shall be so doing for the Tent of Meeting, which [stands] among them in the midst of their [ritual] impurities.

16:17 When he goes in to perform the expiation ritual in the Holy {of Holies}, no [other] person shall be in the Tent of Meeting until he comes out, so that he may perform the expiation ritual for himself and for his household, and for the whole assembly of Israel.

 

The Cleansing Ritual for the Altar

 

16:18 Then he shall go out to the altar {of burnt-offering} that is in the presence of Yahveh, and perform the expiation ritual for it; he shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the blood of the goat, and put it on the horns of the altar on all sides.

16:19 With his {right} forefinger he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it seven times and cleanse it, and so reconsecrate it from the [ritual] impurities of the Israelites.

 

The Ritual for Releasing the Goat for the `Azzā Zeil

 

16:20 When he has finished making expiation for the Holy {of Holies}, the Tent of Meeting and the altar {of burnt-offering}, he shall bring forward the live goat.

16:21 Then Aharon shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, and confess over it all the iniquities of the Israelites and all their transgressions, whatever their sins {may have been}; and he shall lay them on the head of the goat, and send {it} away into the wilderness at the hand of a man [who has been specifically selected for the task].

16:22 The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to a [remote and] deserted region; and {there} he shall release the goat {alive} into the wilderness.

16:23 [16:26] {Before he returns to the camp}, the one who released the {live} goat for the `Azzā Zeil (‘Fortress of Shadow’) shall launder his clothes and bathe his {whole} body with water; [only] afterward he shall come [back] into the camp.

 

Aharon’s Bathing Ritual before Offering up the Ram of Burnt-Offering

 

16:24 [16:23] Meanwhile, Aharon shall approach {the sacred area beside} the Tent of Meeting, {and enter a temporary cubicle}; he shall take off the [white] linen garments which he put on before he went into the Holy {of Holies}, and shall leave them there {in the cubicle}.

16:25 [16:24] {While still in the screened-off cubicle} in the sacred area, he shall bathe his {whole} body with water, and don his {golden} vestments; on coming out he shall then offer {the ram of} burnt-offering for himself and for the people, having just made expiation for himself and for the people.

16:26 [16:25] Then he shall offer up in [burning] smoke the [innard-]fat of the {two} sin-offerings on the altar.

16:27 But {the carcasses of} the bull of sin-offering and the goat of sin-offering, whose blood was brought inside {the Tent of Meeting} to perform the expiation ritual in the Holy {of Holies}, shall be taken outside the camp, and they shall burn their hides, their flesh [and bones}, and their offal in {the flames of} the fire.

16:28 Then the one who burns them shall launder his clothes and bathe his {whole} body with water; [only] afterward he shall come back into the camp.

 

Summary of the Day of Expiations

 

16:29 {So this} shall be an eternal statute for you: in the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you shall afflict your appetites and not do any work – neither the native-born, nor the alien who sojourns among you;

16:30 for it is on this day that expiation shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be made clean from all your sins before Yahveh.

16:31 It is to be a sabbath of complete rest for you, so that you may afflict your appetites; it is an eternal statute.

16:32 In this way the priest who has been anointed and installed to serve as {High} Priest in his father’s place shall perform the expiation ritual: he shall thus put on the [white] linen garments – the sacral garments –  

16:33 and perform the expiation ritual for the holy sanctuary; he shall perform the expiation ritual {for the Holy of Holies}, for the Tent of Meeting and for the altar {of burnt-offering}. He shall also perform the expiation ritual for the priests and for all the people of the assembly {of Israel}.

16:34 [16:34a] In this way you shall have this as an eternal statute, to perform the expiation rituals for the Israelites for all their sins once every year.”

16:35 [16:34b] And just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh, {so} he did.

Notes:

16:8 (and elsewhere): `Azza Zeil: This term divides up either as az azeil, or as azza zeil – the word for ‘God’ is therefore not a part of the term, and is not a personal name. It cannot therefore be the name of a demon, since Torah forbids offering sacrifices to demons (see Lev 17:7). Many translations render it in English as scapegoat (as if the words read as ‘eiz azel: the goat who departs), but this cannot be correct either, because in 16:10 & 16:26, the goat itself is sent to Azza Zeil.

             I propose that the reason why no one can come up with a reasonable rendering of this term, is because everyone assumes it is Hebrew. However, my theory is that, like the term El Shadday, the term is not Hebrew, but is actually an older, proto-Semitic term. The closest Hebrew words to these are `azzah: fortress, and tseil: shadow. In the apocryphal “Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs”, the Testament of Levi relates an account of journeying to a dark place where “the shadows of sin” are removed from souls after death to cleanse them, so that the souls can then go on to enter heaven. I believe this `Azza Zeil is this ‘fortress of shadow’, where souls are cleansed of their unrepented sins after death.

             Therefore, the goat that is slaughtered and offered as a sin-offering, represents the human soul that is purified by the Glory of God after death; and the identical goat that is sent away alive into the wilderness, represents the sins that are removed from the human soul, and remain in the `Azza Zeil. The prophet Yeshua` called this place, “the Outer Darkness”.

16:12 (and elsewhere): the expiation rituals to cleanse the Holy of Holies, the Tent of Meeting and the altar of burnt-offering: it is not the blood which cleanses these things; the blood that has been brought into the Holy of Holies is sanctified by the Glory of God. Having been sanctified, that holiness (of God) is then transferred to the Ark, the Tent and the altar, so cleansing them by God’s Glory. The blood itself represents the souls of the Israelites; during the year, they have committed unintentional missteps, and so a kind of ‘fog’ of ritual impurity has built up around all the holiest items in the Sanctuary. This ritual cleanses the Israelites of their missteps, sanctifies the blood, and the sanctified blood then reconsecrates the holy items. The blood is only a means of transmitting the holiness of God.

16:24-28Aaron’s ritual bathing: the way in which the text describes it, it sounds like Aaron takes off his clothing inside the Tent of Meeting. This would mean that he would be naked in a holy place in the presence of God! Throughout the ages, sages have sought to get to grips with these verses. Since it would be unacceptable for anyone to be naked inside the Tabernacle, the conclusion has always been that there are details missing. There must have been a temporary cubicle set up in the sacred area to the south of the Tabernacle (since the slaughtering racks were on the north side in the sacred area). Aaron must have got changed and bathed inside this temporary cubicle.

              The ‘sacred area’, which is referred to constantly in the Torah, refers to a north-south zone that separates the area on the west side of the compound from the area east of the compound (the east section contains the altar and the Tabernacle). This ‘sacred area’ ran from the north to the south of the compound, and consisted of the area directly in front of the Tabernacle, to the area just west of the altar. Some scholars have suggested the line on the west was delineated by a line of low poles, to indicate to the ordinary Israelites the line beyond which they could not go. Whenever the priest ate their sacred offerings, it was always within this ‘sacred area’.

The Holiness Code

 

Chapter 17: The Prohibition on offering up Sacrifices outside the Sanctuary, that have not then been brought before the Tent of Meeting

 

17:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

17:2 “Speak to Aharon and to his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them, ‘This is the decree which Yahveh has commanded, saying,

17:3 “{This is the teaching with regard to} any person from the house of Israel, or {from among}the aliens who sojourn among you, who slaughters an ox or a lamb or a goat {as a sacrifice} within the camp, or who slaughters it outside the camp {for sacrifice},

17:4 [17:4a] and does not then bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to present {it}, in order to offer it as a burnt-offering or a fellowship-offering in the presence of Yahveh, to be acceptable as a rich and pleasing aroma.

17:5 [17:4b] {This teaching applies especially} to those who slaughter [animals] outside {the camp as sacrifices}, and do not then present [them] at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer [them] as sacrificial offerings to Yahveh, in front of the Tabernacle of Yahveh: bloodguilt is to be imputed to that person, {as if he had committed the murder of a human being}. He has shed blood, and that man shall be cut off from among his people.

17:6 [17:5] The reason {for this teaching} is so that the Israelites {shall be obliged to} bring their sacrificial offerings which they were sacrificing in the open countryside, and bring them in to Yahveh, at the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to the priest, and sacrifice them as sacrificial fellowship-offerings to Yahveh.

17:7 [17:6] In such case, the priest shall sprinkle the blood on the altar of Yahveh [at the] entrance of the Tent of Meeting, and offer up the [innard-]fat in [burning] smoke as a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

17:8 [17:7] Then they shall no longer offer up their sacrificial-offerings to wilderness-demons, with whom they have been prostituting themselves. This shall be a permanent statute for them throughout their generations.”’

17:9 [17:8] “Therefore you shall say to them, ‘Any person from the house of Israel, or from among the aliens who sojourn among [you], who offers up a burnt-offering or {any kind of} sacrifice {outside the Sanctuary},

17:10 [17:9] and does not then bring it to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting to offer it to Yahveh, that person shall be cut off from his people.

 

The Prohibition on Consuming Blood

 

17:11 [17:10] Furthermore, any person from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among {you}, who consumes any blood, I will set My Presence against that living person who consumes blood, and I will cut him off from among his people.

17:12 [17:11] For the life-force of the body is in the blood, and I Myself have assigned it to you for performing the expiation ritual on the altar for your souls; for it is the blood [symbolising] the life-force that makes expiation.’

17:13 [17:12] That is why I am saying to the Israelites, ‘No living person among you may consume blood, nor may any alien who sojourns among you consume blood.’

 

The Disposal of the Blood of Animals killed for Food

 

17:14 [17:13] Furthermore, if any person from the house of Israel, or from among the aliens who sojourn among you, while hunting catches a beast or a bird which may be eaten, he shall pour out its blood and cover it up with earth.

17:15 [17:14] For [the] life-force of every creature [is] its blood; [its blood] is its life-force. That is why I am saying to the Israelites, ‘You are not to consume the blood of any [living] creature, for the life-force of every creature is its blood; whoever consumes it shall be cut off {from his people}.’

 

The Prohibition on Consuming Animals found already dead

 

17:16 [17:15] If any living person – whether he is a native-born or an alien – eats the carcass {of an animal which has died naturally}, or has been torn apart {by wild beasts}, he shall wash his clothes and bathe in water, and remain [ritually] unclean until evening; then he will become [ritually] clean.

17:17 [17:16] But if he does not wash {his clothes} or bathe his body, then he shall be held responsible for his own [incurred] sin-guilt.”

Notes:

17:1-10 – In the Masoretic text, it is not immediately clear that the prohibition on killing animals outside the Sanctuary only refers to animals killed for sacrifice. It initially reads as if even food animals are not to be killed outside the Sanctuary. MT Lev 17:5 however suggests that this passage refers only to the sacrificial offerings of animals. MT Lev 17:13 furthermore suggests that animals killed only for food need not be brought to the Sanctuary. The missing text – which appears in the SP, LXX and the DSS – clearly says that these laws in HTT 17:1-10 only refer to animals killed for sacrifice (see end of HTT 17:4).

17:5bloodguilt is to be imputed to that person– sacrificing an animal and shedding its blood outside the Sanctuary, is considered as bad as shedding the blood of a human being.

17:8‘wilderness-demons’ – The Hebrew word here is literally, se`irim: goats. However, this word in this passage has always been understood to refer to demons that lived in the scrubby desert or the open wilderness, and were half-goat, half human (like Greek satyrs). I decided to go with the translation of ‘wilderness-demons’ rather than ‘goat-demons’, because they were not fully goat, or ‘satyrs’, because few people know what those are. This verse also puts paid to the idea that ‘Azazel was a demon that lived in the wilderness – Torah clearly states that Israelites are not to offer up any sacrifices to demons in the wilderness.

Chapter 18: Sexual Prohibitions

 

18:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

18:2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘I am Yahveh your God.

18:3 You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you used to live, nor shall you do what is done in the land of Cana`an into which I am bringing you; nor shall you follow their established practices.

18:4 {Instead}, it is My teachings you are to carry out, and My practices you are to keep, {and so} live in accordance with them; I am Yahveh your God.

18:5 Above all you shall follow My practices and My teachings, by which a human being may live if he does them; I am Yahveh.

 

Prohibition on Sexual Relations within certain degrees of kindred

 

18:6 None of you shall approach any blood relative of [yours] to have sexual relations with them; I am Yahveh.

18:7 You shall not bring shame to your father by having sexual relations with your mother. She is your mother; you are not to have sexual relations with her.

18:8 You shall not have sexual relations with your father’s wife; that would bring shame to your father.

18:9 [With regard to] the family honour of your sister, {whether it be} your father’s daughter or your mother’s daughter, whether {she was} born in the [same] house or born elsewhere, you shall not have sexual relations with her.

18:10 [With regard to] the family honour of your son’s daughter or your daughter’s daughter, you shall not have sexual relations with them; for their family shame will [also] be yours.

18:11 [With regard to] the family honour of your father’s wife’s daughter, born to your father, she is your sister; you shall not have sexual relations with her.

18:12 You shall not have sexual relations with your father’s sister; she is your father’s blood relative.

18:13 You shall not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister, for she is your mother’s blood relative.

18:14 You shall not bring shame to your father’s brother – you shall not approach his wife; she is your aunt.

18:15 You shall not have sexual relations with your daughter-in-law; she is your son’s wife, [so] you shall not have sexual relations with her.

18:16 You shall not have sexual relations with your brother’s wife; that would bring shame to your brother.

18:17 You shall not have sexual relations with a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter, to have sexual relations with them; they are blood relatives, and it would [therefore] be [a form of] depravity.

18:18 You shall not marry a woman [in addition] to her sister {in case she becomes} a rival {to her}; {nor shall you} have sexual relations with her while [her sister] is alive.

 

Forbidden Pagan Practices

 

18:19 Furthermore, you shall not approach a woman to have sexual relations with her during {the period of} her menstrual impurity.

18:20 You shall not have intercourse with, and so impregnate, the wife of your fellow man, to become defiled with her.

18:21 You shall not offer up any of your offspring {as sin-offerings} in the worship of Molekh, so that you do not profane the name of your God; I am Yahveh.

18:22 You shall not lie with a male in the same way as one beds a woman; that is a detestable thing.

18:23 Also, you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion.

 

The Reason for these Prohibitions

 

18:24 Do not defile yourselves by {engaging in} any of these {behaviours}; for the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled by all of these {very same behaviours}.

18:25 As a result {of these behaviours}, the Land has become defiled; therefore I am going to visit {punishment} upon it {because of their} iniquity, so that the Land will vomit out its inhabitants.

18:26 But as for you, you are to keep My practices and My teachings, and you shall [therefore] not engage in any of these detestable activities, {neither} the native-born, nor the alien who sojourns among you;

18:27 for the people of the Land who existed before you have engaged in all these detestable activities, and the Land has [thereby] become defiled.

18:28 Therefore, if you defile the Land, it will vomit you out just as it has vomited out the nations that were {there} before you.

18:29 For whoever engages in any of these detestable things, the individuals who do {these things} shall be cut off from among their people.

18:30 In this way you are to keep My observances, so that you do not engage in any of the detestable practices which have been practiced before you, in order not to defile yourselves by them; I am Yahveh your God.’”

Notes:

18:3-4‘practices’: the Hebrew word used here is chuqqah. This refers to an established practice that has become accepted law – this is how it is used in reference to the practices of Egypt and Canaan. When it is used of the God of Israel, it refers to a law that is not explicitly stated, but would naturally follow from the principles and ethics of Yahveh. Mitsvot(commandments) are God’s laws that are explicitly stated; chuqot (practices) are God’s laws that are not explicitly stated, but logically follow from God’s principles.

18:6-18‘sexual relations’: the word used in Hebrew (`ervāh) literally means ‘nakedness’. In its wider use of the term, it implies ‘vulnerablity’. With that in mind, it can also mean ‘shame’ or ‘dishonour’, hence in 18:9-11, even ‘family honour’.

18:21‘offering children to Molekh’: Some commentators suggest that this merely means passing a child between two fires, or over a fire, and that the child remains alive. However, we actually know that child sacrifice was historically a common feature of Syro-Phoenician (Canaanite) religion. Nearby some Phoenician temples, the graves of hundreds of children have been found, sacrificed to the Phoenician gods.

              It was believed that by sacrificing your children – especially your firstborn – you could be permanently absolved of your sins; the children were put to death as sacrifices for sin. This was however considered an abhorrent practice by Yahveh. The contention therefore from Talmidis with Paul’s theology, is that if God at that time considered sacrificing a child for sin abhorrent, why would God change His mind and allow it in the case of ‘Jesus’?

18:22‘homosexual practices’: If this verse were a simple, outright condemnation of homosexuality, then all it would need to say would be, ‘You (masculine singular) shall not lie with a man.’ Or else, ‘A man shall not lie with a man’ – that would have been sufficient, and no further clarification would have been needed. However, it actually goes on to say, ‘in the same way as one beds a woman’. It is also significant that the Hebrew Bible does not have any similar laws about female homosexuality.

              We therefore need to understand the ancient mindset, and how they understood the act of intercourse. In ancient times, the act of sex was considered something initiated by a man – that he took a woman to possess her – and I believe this is what is specifically being prohibited by this verse – a man taking another man to possess him, or using intercourse as an act of domination, in the same way as he might ‘possess’ a woman (as the ancients saw it). This ‘taking a sexual partner to possess them’ is obviously not an acceptable part of our modern way of thinking, but we have to bear it in mind if we wish to understand the purpose of this prohibition, and so avoid any hateful or bigoted interpretation of the verse.

Chapter 19: Moral and Religious Regulations

 

19:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying:

19:2 “Speak to the entire congregation of the Israelites and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I, Yahveh your God, am holy.

19:3 Each one [of you] shall have respect for [your] mother and [your] father, and you shall keep My sabbaths; I am Yahveh your God.

19:4 Do not turn to idols [of false godlings] {for help}, or make for yourselves molten gods; I am Yahveh your God, {and I alone am holy}.

 

The Fellowship-Offering

 

19:5 Now when you sacrifice a fellowship-offering to Yahveh, you shall offer it so that it may be acceptable on your behalf.

19:6 It may be eaten {either on} the same day you sacrifice it, or on the next day; but what remains by the third day must be [completely] burnt up with fire.

19:7 So if it is eaten at all on the third day, it {will be considered} desecrated meat; it will not be accepted.

19:8 Anyone who eats it will be responsible for his [own] [incurred] sin-guilt, for he has desecrated something sanctified [to] Yahveh; and that person shall be cut off from his people.

 

General ethical practices and moral principles

 

19:9 Now when you [come to] reap the harvest of your land, you shall not completely reap to the [very] corners of your field, nor shall you gather up the stray ears of grain from your harvest.

19:10 You shall not pick bare [the branches of] your vineyard, nor shall you gather up the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall [instead] leave them for the needy and for the alien; I am Yahveh your God.

19:11 You shall not steal, nor spread falsehoods, nor lie to one another.

19:12 You shall not swear falsely by My Name, and thereby desecrate the Name of your God; I am Yahveh.

19:13 [19:13a] You shall not defraud your fellow human beings, nor commit robbery.

19:14 [19:13b] The wages of a hired worker are not to remain with you overnight until morning.

19:15 [19:14] You shall not use insulting language to a deaf person, {knowing they cannot hear you}, nor place a stumbling block before the blind, {knowing they cannot see it}, but you shall [instead] have a reverent respect for {the ethics of} your God; I am Yahveh.

19:16 [19:15] You shall not render unfair decisions in judgment; you shall not show partiality to the underprivileged, nor show deference for the mighty, rather you are to judge your fellows with [equal] fairness.

19:17 [19:16] You shall not go about as a gossipmonger among your people, nor shall you profit from the suffering of your fellow human being; I am Yahveh.

19:18 [19:17] You shall not hate your kinsfolk in your heart; you shall however reprove your fellows, so that you do not incur sin-guilt because of them.

19:19 [19:18] You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against members of your [own] people, rather you shall love your fellow human being as yourself; I am Yahveh.

 

Prohibition on mixing Different Kinds of things together

 

19:20 [19:19] You are to keep My practices. You shall not breed together two kinds of your livestock; furthermore, you shall not sow your field or your vineyard with two kinds of seed, nor wear a garment upon you of two kinds {of thread}, {such as} sha`aṭneiz-cloth, {which is of mixed wool and linen}.

 

The Laws on Female slaves who are already taken

 

19:21 [19:20] Now if a man has intercourse with a woman and impregnates her, but she is a slave-girl intended for {another} man, and has in no way been redeemed or given her freedom, he shall compensate him; he shall not, {however}, be put to death, because she was not a free [woman].

19:22 [19:21] He shall {instead} bring his guilt-offering to Yahveh, to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting – {he shall present} a ram for a guilt-offering.

19:23 [19:22] The priest shall then perform the expiation ritual for him, with the ram of the guilt-offering in the presence of Yahveh for his sin which he has committed; then the forgiveness-process will be completed for him, with regard to the sin which he has committed.

 

The Care of Fruit Trees

 

19:24 [19:23] When you enter the Land, and you plant all [kinds of] trees for food, you must [first] purge away {their} [ritual] uncleanness; you shall therefore leave uncut the buds of their fruit, {and consider their fruit forbidden}. Three years they shall be left uncut {and forbidden} to you; {they} shall not be eaten.

19:25 [19:24] But in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, {and given as} a jubilation-offering to Yahveh.

19:26 [19:25] Then in the fifth year, you may eat of its fruit, so that its yield may increase for you; I [alone] am Yahveh your God, {and I will do this}.

 

Canaanite Pagan Customs not to be followed

 

19:27 [19:26a] You shall not eat {anything} together with the blood {still in it}.

19:28 [19:26b] You shall not practice divination or interpret omens.

19:29 [19:31] Do not consult mediums or those who conjure up spirits; do not seek them out so that you become defiled by them – I am Yahveh your God, {and I am holy}.

19:30 [19:27] You shall not shave off the sides of your scalp {in mourning}, nor disfigure the sides of your beard.

19:31 [19:28] You shall not make any cuts in your body {to honour} the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves; I am Yahveh your God.

19:32 [19:29] Do not defile your daughter by turning her into a prostitute, lest the Land thereby fall into harlotry, and the Land becomes filled with depravity.

 

God’s Customs to be followed instead

 

19:33 [19:30] You shall {instead} keep My sabbaths, and hold My sanctuary in reverence; I am Yahveh.

19:34 [19:32] You shall rise up before the grey-haired and show deference to the aged, and {in so doing} you will be showing reverent respect for your God; I am Yahveh.

19:35 [19:33] When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress [or ill-treat] them.

19:36 [19:34] The aliens who sojourn with you shall {instead} be {treated by} you as the native-born among you, and you shall love [them] as yourself, for you were [once] aliens sojourning in the land of Egypt; I am Yahveh your God.

19:37 [19:35] You shall not be dishonest in your measures of length, weight or capacity.

19:38 [19:36] You shall [therefore] have just weighing scales, just weights, a just eifah, and a just hīn; I am Yahveh your God, who brought you out from the land of Egypt.

19:39 [19:37] Be careful then to observe all My practices and all My ordinances and do them; I am Yahveh.’”

 

Chapter 20: Penalties for breaking the Holiness Laws

 

20:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

20:2 “You shall also say to the Israelites: ‘Any person from {among} the Israelites, or from {among} the aliens sojourning in Israel who gives any of his offspring to Molekh, shall surely be put to death; the people of the Land shall pelt him [to death] with stones.

20:3 I will also set My Presence against that man, and I will cut him off from among his people, because he has given some of his offspring to Molekh, {and in so doing} has defiled My sanctuary and desecrated My holy Name.

20:4 If the people of the Land, however, should ever turn a blind eye to that man when he gives any of his offspring to Molekh, and do not put him to death,

20:5 then I Myself will set My Presence against that man and against his clan; and from among their people I will cut off both him, and all those who prostituted themselves {to side with} him, to prostitute themselves after Molekh.

20:6 As for the person who consults mediums and those who conjure up spirits, to prostitute themselves after them, I will also set My Presence against that person, and I will cut them off from among their people.

20:7 [20:27] Furthermore, any man or woman who is a medium or a conjuror of spirits shall surely be put to death. You shall pelt them [to death] with stones; {the incurred guilt for shedding} their blood is upon them.

20:8 [20:7] You shall consecrate yourselves therefore and be holy, for I, Yahveh your God, am holy.

 

Against Cursing one’s Parents

 

20:9 [20:8] You shall keep My statutes and practice them; I am Yahveh who sanctifies you.

20:10 [20:9] If {there is} anyone who curses his father or his mother, he shall surely be put to death; he has cursed his father or his mother, so {the incurred guilt for shedding} his blood is upon him.

 

Sexual Offences

 

20:11 [20:10] Whoever commits adultery with the wife of another man – if anyone commits adultery with the wife of his fellow man – both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

20:12 [20:11] If {there is} a man who lies with his father’s wife, he has brought shame to his father’s honour; both of them shall surely be put to death, {and the incurred guilt for shedding} their blood is upon them.

20:13 [20:12] If {there is} a man who lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have engaged in perversion, so {the incurred guilt for shedding} their blood is upon them.

20:14 [20:13] If a man lies with a male in the same way as one beds a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They must be put to death; {the incurred guilt for shedding} their blood is upon them.

20:15 [20:14] If {there is} a man who marries a woman and her mother, it is [a form of] depravity; both he and they shall be burned with fire, so that there will be no depravity in your midst.

20:16 [20:15] If {there is} a man who lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death; you must also destroy the animal.

20:17 [20:16] If {there is} a woman who approaches any animal to mate with it, you shall kill the woman along with the animal; they shall surely be put to death. {The incurred guilt for shedding} their blood is upon them.

20:18 [20:17] If {there is} a man who takes his sister {in marriage} – his father’s daughter or his mother’s daughter – so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be publicly banished in the sight of the members of their kinsfolk. He has brought shame to his sister’s honour; he is responsible for his [own] [incurred] sin-guilt.

20:19 [20:18] If {there is} a man who lies with a menstruating woman, and has intercourse with her, then [not only] has he laid bare her flow [of blood], but she [herself] has exposed the flow of her [own] blood; therefore both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

20:20 [20:19] You shall not have sexual relations with your mother’s sister or your father’s sister, for such a person has brought shame to his blood relative; they will [both] be responsible for their [own] [incurred] sin-guilt.

20:21 [20:20] If {there is} a man who lies with his uncle’s wife, he has brought shame to his uncle’s honour; they will be responsible for {the consequences of their own} sin: they will [both] die childless.

20:22 [20:21] If {there is} a man who takes his brother’s wife {in marriage}, it is a repulsive thing {to do}; he has brought shame to his brother’s honour. They will be childless.

 

The Reason for the Penalties

 

20:23 [20:22] You are therefore to keep all My statutes and all My ordinances and practise them, so that the land to which I am bringing you to settle will not vomit you out.

20:24 [20:23] Moreover, you shall not follow the practices of the nations which I will drive out before you, for they engaged in all these things, and I was disgusted with them.

20:25 [20:24] That is why I said to you, “You [are the ones who] shall inherit their soil, and I Myself will give it to you to possess it, a land overflowing in abundant natural bounty.” I am Yahveh your God, who has separated you out from among the [other] peoples [of the earth].

20:26 [20:25] You are therefore to make a distinction between the [ritually] clean animals and the unclean, and between the [ritually] unclean birds and the clean; and you shall not let yourselves become [ritually] contaminated through any animal or bird, or through anything that creeps on the ground, which I have separated out for you [by reason of] their ritual impurity .

20:27 [20:26] In this way you are to be holy to Me, for I, Yahveh, am holy; and I have set you apart from the [other] peoples [of the earth] to be Mine.

 

Chapter 21: The Holiness of the Priesthood

 

Funerals and Mourning Practices

 

21:1 [21:1a] Then Yahveh said to Mosheh, “Speak to the priests, the sons of Aharon, and say to them:

21:2 [21:1b-2] ‘No one shall [ritually] pollute himself {by attending a funeral} for a {dead} person among his kinsfolk, except for his blood-relatives who are nearest to him: his mother and his father, his son and his daughter and his brother;

21:3 also for his virgin sister, who is near to him, who has not been [betrothed] to any man; for her he may become [ritually] polluted.

21:4 However, he shall not make himself [ritually] unclean {for a sister who has taken} a husband among his kinsfolk, {for this} would [ritually] pollute him.

21:5 [No priest] shall create any baldness on their heads for the dead, nor shave off the edges of their beards, nor make any gashes in their flesh {in mourning}.

21:6 They shall [instead] be holy to their God and not desecrate the Name of their God; for they present the fire-offerings to Yahveh, the food [belonging to] their God, therefore they shall be holy.

 

Marriage of Priests

 

21:7 They shall not take [in marriage] a woman who is a prostitute, or a woman who has been defiled [by another man]; nor shall they take [in marriage] a woman divorced from her husband, for he is holy to Yahveh his God.

21:8 You shall consider him holy, therefore, for he offers the food [belonging to] Yahveh your God – he shall be holy [among] you; for I, Yahveh, who sanctifies them, am holy.

21:9 As for the daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by fornication, she profanes her father’s house; she shall be burned with fire.

 

Laws for the High Priest pertaining to Mourning and Marriage

 

21:10 The priest who is the highest among his brothers, on whose head the anointing oil has been poured, and who has been ordained to wear the {sacral} garments, shall not dishevel his [hair] nor tear his clothes {when he is in mourning};

21:11 nor shall he go near any dead person, nor [ritually] pollute himself {even} for his father or his mother;

21:12 nor shall he go out of the Sanctuary, nor desecrate the Tabernacle of his God, for the crowning diadem of his God’s anointing oil is upon him; I am Yahveh.

21:13 He shall take a wife who is still a virgin.

21:14 A widow, or a divorced woman, or a woman who has been defiled [by another man], or a prostitute, these he may not take {in marriage}; but rather he is to marry a virgin from his [own] people,

21:15 so that he will not pollute {the line of} his descendants among his kinsfolk; for I am Yahveh who sanctifies him.’”

 

Disabled Priests are not to approach the Altar or the Tabernacle

 

21:16 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

21:17 “Speak to Aharon, saying, ‘No man [among] your [direct] descendants throughout their generations who has a physical defect, shall approach {the altar} to offer the food [belonging to] his God.

21:18 For no man who has {any of these} blemishes shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or [a man] who has a disfigured {face}, or any deformity [of the limbs],

21:19 or a man who has a broken leg [or foot], or a broken hand,

21:20 or a hunchback or a dwarf, or {a man who has} a defect in his eye, or {has} disfigured skin or scabs or crushed testicles.

21:21 No man among the descendants of Aharon the priest who has a physical disability is to approach {the altar} to offer Yahveh’s fire-offerings; {since} he has a blemish, he shall not approach to offer the food [belonging to] his God.

21:22 He may, however, {still} eat the food [belonging to] his God, {both} of the most holy and of the holy;

21:23 only because he has a blemish, he shall not come near the curtain {at the entrance of the Tabernacle} or approach the altar, so that he will not desecrate My sacred places, for I, Yahveh, have sanctified them.’”

21:24 So Mosheh spoke to Aharon and to his sons and to all the Israelites.

 

Chapter 22: Maintaining Holiness when consuming consecrated Food

 

With Regard to the Priests

 

22:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

22:2 “Tell Aharon and his sons to be scrupulous with the holy {gifts} of the Israelites which they dedicate to Me, in case they desecrate My holy Name; I am Yahveh, {and I am holy}.

22:3 Say to them, ‘If any man among all your descendants throughout your generations partakes of the holy {gifts} which the Israelites dedicate to Yahveh, while he is in a state of [ritual] impurity, that person shall be cut off from before Me; I am Yahveh.

22:4 No man of the descendants of Aharon, who has a skin disease or who has a discharge, may eat of the holy {gifts} until he is [ritually] clean. And if anyone touches anything made [ritually] unclean by a corpse, or if a man has a seminal emission,

22:5 or if a man touches any [ritually] unclean teeming things by which he is made unclean, or {if he touches} any man by whom he is made [ritually] unclean, whatever his [ritual] impurity {may be},

22:6 {then} any person who touches any such thing shall be [ritually] unclean until evening, and he shall not eat of the holy {gifts} unless he has bathed his body in water.

22:7 But as soon as the sun sets, he will be clean, and afterwards he shall eat of the holy {gifts}, for it is his food {rightfully due to him}.

22:8 He shall not eat {the flesh of an animal} which dies {naturally}, or has been torn apart [by wild animals], {and so} become [ritually] unclean by it; I am Yahveh.

22:9 They shall therefore keep My charge, so that they will not incur sin-guilt because of it, and die thereby because they have desecrated [the holy gifts]; I am Yahveh who sanctifies them.

 

With Regard to Lay People

 

22:10 No lay person, however, is to eat the holy {gifts}; nor shall a sojourner [staying] with the priest or a hired man eat of the holy {gifts}.

22:11 However, if a priest buys a slave as {his} property with his [own] money, that person may eat of it, and {all} those who are born in his household may eat of his {consecrated} food.

22:12 If a priest’s daughter is married to a layman, she shall not eat of the offering of the holy {gifts}.

22:13 But if a priest’s daughter becomes a widow or divorced, and has no child and returns to her father’s household as in her youth {before she was married}, she shall eat of her father’s {consecrated} food; but no layman may eat of it.

22:14 However, if a man eats a holy {gift} unintentionally, then he shall add to it a fifth of it, and shall give the holy {gift} to the priests.

22:15 [The laity] shall not desecrate the holy {gifts} of the Israelites which they offer to Yahveh,

22:16 and {so} cause them to incur sin-guilt for eating their holy {gifts}; for I am Yahveh who sanctifies them.’”

 

The Physical Condition of Sacrificial Animals

 

22:17 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

22:18 “Speak to Aharon and to his sons and to all the Israelites and say to them, ‘Any man of the house of Israel, or of the aliens who are living among Israel who presents his offering, whether it be any of their votive [offerings], or any of their freewill-offerings, which they present to Yahveh as a burnt-offering –  

22:19 in order for it to be acceptable on your behalf, {it must be} a male without defect from {your herds of} cattle, sheep, or goats.

22:20 Whatever {animals} have a defect, you shall not offer, for [they] will not be accepted on your behalf.

22:21 When a man offers a fellowship-offering to Yahveh in fulfilment of a special vow or for a freewill-offering, from {your} herds [of cattle] or from {your} flocks [of sheep or goats], it must be hale [and healthy] to be accepted; there shall be no defect in it.

22:22 Those {that are} blind, or [have] broken limbs, or are maimed, or having running sores or mange or scabs, you shall not offer to Yahveh, nor present them as a fire-offering on the altar to Yahveh.

22:23 In respect of an ox or a lamb which has an overgrown or stunted {limb}, you may present it as a freewill-offering, but for a vow it will not be accepted.

22:24 Also, anything {with its testicles} bruised or crushed or torn or cut, you shall not offer to Yahveh; for in your land you shall not [practice such mutilations],

22:25 nor shall you accept any such [mutilated animals] from the hand of a foreigner for offering as the food {consecrated to} your God; for their corruption is in them – they have a defect, {so} they shall not be accepted on your behalf.’”

 

On Sacrificing Animals

 

22:26 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

22:27 “When an ox or a sheep or a goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother, and from the eighth day on it will be acceptable as a sacrifice of a fire-offering to Yahveh.

22:28 However, {whether} it be an ox or a sheep [or a goat], you shall not kill {both} it and its young on the self-same day.

22:29 When you sacrifice a thanksgiving-sacrifice to Yahveh, you shall offer it in such a way that it may be acceptable on your behalf.

22:30 It shall be eaten on the same day; you shall leave none of it until morning – I am Yahveh.

22:31 In this way you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am Yahveh.

22:32 [23:32a] You shall not desecrate My holy Name, but I will be sanctified among the Israelites;

22:33 [23:32b-33] I am Yahveh who sanctifies you, who brought you out from the land of Egypt to be your God; I am Yahveh.”

 

Chapter 23: The Rituals for the Holy Days and Annual Festivals

 

23:1 Yahveh spoke again to Mosheh, saying,

23:2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘{With regard to} Yahveh’s appointed times which you shall proclaim as holy convocations – these are My appointed times:

 

Concerning the Sabbath

 

23:3 For six days {your regular} work may be done, but on the seventh day there shall be a sabbath of complete rest, a holy convocation. You shall not do any work; it is a sabbath {dedicated} to Yahveh in all your dwellings, {wherever you may live}.

 

Concerning the Passover Sacrifice and the Festival of Unleavened Bread

 

23:4 These are the appointed times of Yahveh – holy convocations which you shall proclaim at the times appointed for them:

23:5 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is Yahveh’s Passover-sacrifice.

23:6 Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to Yahveh; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.

23:7 On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your regular occupations at all.

23:8 But for seven days you shall present a fire-offering to Yahveh. And on the seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall not work at your regular occupations at all.’”

 

Concerning the Waving of the First Sheaf of the Barley Harvest

 

23:9 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

23:10 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you, and you reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest.

23:11 He shall wave the sheaf before Yahveh for it to be acceptable {on your behalf}; on the day after the sabbath {after the Passover}, the priest shall wave it.

23:12 Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect as a burnt-offering to Yahveh.

23:13 Its grain-offering shall be two-tenths {of an eifah} of fine semolina-flour mixed with oil, a fire-offering to Yahveh {as} a rich and pleasing aroma, together with its drink offering – a quarter of a hīn of wine.

23:14 Until this same day – until you have brought in the {first-fruits} offering of your God – you shall eat neither bread {made from that year’s grain}, nor roasted grain {from that year’s harvest}, nor any new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places, {wherever you may live}.

 

Concerning the Festival of Weeks

 

23:15 You shall also count off for yourselves from the day after the sabbath {after Passover} – {that is}, {starting} from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave-offering; there shall be seven whole sabbaths.

23:16 You shall count off fifty days, until {you arrive at} the day after the seventh sabbath; then you shall present an offering of new grain to Yahveh.

23:17 You shall bring in from your dwelling places bread for a wave-offering – two loaves made of two-tenths {of an eifah}; they shall be of fine semolina-flour, baked with leaven as first-fruits to Yahveh.

23:18 Along with the bread, you shall present seven one-year-old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be burnt-offerings to Yahveh, together with their grain-offerings and their drink-offerings, a fire-offering of a rich and pleasing aroma to Yahveh.

23:19 You shall also offer one male goat for a sin-offering, and two male lambs one year old for a fellowship-offering.

23:20 The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first-fruits for a wave-offering with the two lambs before Yahveh; they are to be holy to Yahveh, {as food} for the priest.

23:21 On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall not engage in your regular occupations. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations, {wherever you may live}.

23:22 Furthermore, when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, nor gather the gleanings of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien; I am Yahveh your God, {and I am compassionate}.’”

 

Concerning the Day of Shout and Trumpet

 

23:23 Again Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

23:24 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘In the seventh month on the first [day] of the month you shall have a {day of} rest, a commemoration [celebrated] with shouting and trumpeting – a holy convocation.

23:25 You shall not engage in your regular occupations, but you shall present a fire-offering to Yahveh.’”

 

Concerning the Day of the Expiations

 

23:26 Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

23:27 “Now mark well: the tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Expiations; it shall be a holy convocation for you, and you shall afflict your appetites and present a fire-offering to Yahveh.

23:28 You shall not do any work at all at any time during the entire day, for it is a day of expiation, {set apart} for performing the expiation rituals on your behalf before Yahveh your God.

23:29 If there is any person who does not afflict his appetite throughout this whole day, he shall be cut off from his people.

23:30 As for any person who does any work on this same day, I will cause that person to perish among his people.

23:31 You shall do no work at all. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places, {wherever you may live}.

23:32 It is to be a sabbath of complete rest to you, and you shall afflict your appetites, {commencing} on the ninth of the month at evening; from evening until evening you shall keep your sabbath.”

 

Concerning the Festival of Booths

 

23:33 Again Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

23:34 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘On the fifteenth of this seventh month is the Festival of Booths, {to be celebrated} for seven days to Yahveh.

23:35 On the first day is a holy convocation; you shall not engage in your regular occupations at all.

23:36 For seven days you shall present a fire-offering to Yahveh. And on the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation and present a fire-offering to Yahveh; it is a {sacred} assembly. You shall not engage in your regular occupations.

 

Conclusion

 

23:37 These are the appointed times of Yahveh which you shall proclaim as holy convocations, to present fire-offerings to Yahveh – burnt-offerings and grain-offerings, sacrifices and drink offerings, {each} day’s rituals on their own day –  

23:38 besides {those of} the sabbaths of Yahveh, and besides your gifts and besides all your votive- and freewill-offerings which you give to Yahveh.

 

Special Instructions for the Festival of Booths

 

23:39 Now mark well: on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in the crops of the Land, you shall celebrate the Festival of Yahveh for seven days, with a rest on the first day and a rest on the eighth day.

23:40 Now on the first day you shall take for yourselves the fruit of healthy trees, palm branches, boughs of leafy trees and {branches of} willows of the brook, {and you shall build booths for yourselves out of these things}; in this way you shall rejoice before Yahveh your God for seven days.

23:41 You shall thus celebrate it as a festival to Yahveh for seven days in the year. It {shall be} a perpetual statute throughout your generations; you shall celebrate it in the seventh month.

23:42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days; all the citizens in Israel shall dwell in {such} shanties,

23:43 so that your {future} generations may know that I had the Israelites dwell in shanties when I {first} brought them out from the land of Egypt. I am Yahveh your God.’”

23:44 So Mosheh declared to the Israelites the appointed times of Yahveh.

Notes:

23:42-43 – ‘shanties’: the phrase, ‘when I brought them out of Egypt’ does not refer to the whole 40 years (when they actually lived in tents, not booths), but specifically to the first night they came out of Egypt and went to a place called Sukkot – a Shantytown – where they lived in temporary shanties or booths (as per theory posited by Rabbi David Fohrman).

 

Chapter 24: Additional Ritual Prescriptions inside the Tent of Meeting

 

24:1 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

24:2 “Command the Israelites that they bring to you clear oil from beaten olives for the lighting, so that a regular lamps-[service] may be offered up.

24:3 Outside the veil {that is in front of the Ark of the} Testimony in the Tent of Meeting, Aharon and his sons shall, at regular intervals, tend [the lighting] from evening to morning in the presence of Yahveh; {it shall be} a perpetual statute throughout your generations.

24:4 At regular intervals, [they] shall tend to the lamps on the pure {gold} lampstand in the presence of Yahveh until morning.

24:5 Then you shall take fine semolina-flour and bake it into twelve loaves; two-tenths {of an eifah} shall be {used for} each loaf.

24:6 You shall set them {in} two rows, six [loaves] {to} a row, on the pure {gold} table in the presence of Yahveh.

24:7 You shall [also] put clear frankincense on each row, so that it may become a token-offering for the bread, {in place of} a fire-offering to Yahveh.

24:8 Sabbath day after sabbath day, they shall be set out in the presence of Yahveh on a regular basis; it is an everlasting covenant on behalf of the Israelites.

24:9 [The loaves] shall be for Aharon and his sons, and they shall eat [them] in the sacred area; for [they are] most holy to [them] from Yahveh’s fire-offerings, {their rightful} due forever.”

 

The Law against Using God’s Name to curse

 

24:10 Now the son of an Israelite woman, he being the son of an Egyptian man, went out among the Israelites; and the Israelite woman’s son and a man who [was an] Israelite got into a brawl with each other in the camp.

24:11 However, the son of the Israelite woman blasphemed the Name by using it to cuss. So they brought him to Mosheh. Now his mother’s name was Shlomīth, the daughter of Divrī, of the tribe of Dān.

24:12 They put him in custody until [such time as] it should be made clear to them by a pronouncement of Yahveh {what they should do with him}.

24:13 Then Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

24:14 “Have the one who has cursed taken outside the camp, and let everyone who heard him lay their hands on his head {to confirm his blood-guilt}; then the whole congregation shall stone him.

24:15 Then you shall speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘If anyone curses his God, then he will be responsible {for the consequences of} his sin.

24:16 [24:16a] Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of Yahveh shall be condemned to death; and all the congregation shall not fail to stone him.

24:17 [24:16b] The sojourner and the native alike, when [they] blaspheme the Name of Yahveh, shall be put to death.

 

The Laws against striking Blows against others causing permanent Injury or Death

 

24:18 [24:17] Now if a man strikes a mortal blow against any human being, he shall surely be put to death.

24:19 [24:18] The one who strikes a mortal blow against a [domestic] animal shall make restitution for it, a life for a life.

24:20 [24:19] If a man maims his fellow human being, then just as he has done, so shall {the same} be done {in equal measure} to him:

24:21 [24:20] broken [bone] for broken [bone], eye for eye, tooth for tooth; just as he has injured a man, so shall {the same injury} be inflicted on him.

24:22 [24:21] Thus the one who strikes [and kills] an animal shall make restitution for it, but the one who strikes [and kills] a man shall be put to death.

24:23 [24:22] There shall be one standard for {all of} you; it shall be {the same} for the sojourner as well as the native-born, for I am Yahveh your God.’”

24:24 [24:23a] Then Mosheh spoke to the Israelites, and they brought the one who had cursed {using God’s Name} outside the camp, and they pelted him with stones.

24:25 [24::23b] Thus the Israelites did, just as Yahveh had commanded Mosheh.

 

Notes:

24:20-21 – The law of equal retribution: although the law as written, expected that the injury inflicted on a victim be imposed on the peretrator, it was never interpreted or carried out this way. The sensibilities of people who had a heart for God, meant that inflicting injury upon another human being was too harsh a punishment.

Chapter 25: The Holy Years

 

The Sabbatical year

 

25:1 Yahveh then spoke to Mosheh at Mount Sinai, saying,

25:2 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I am going to give you, then the land shall have a sabbath {of rest} [dedicated] to Yahveh.

25:3 Six years you shall sow your fields, and six years you shall prune your vineyards and gather in [their] crops,

25:4 but during the seventh year the land shall have a sabbath of rest, a sabbath [dedicated] to Yahveh; you shall not sow your fields, nor prune your vineyards.

25:5 Now, you shall not reap [whatever grows of its own accord from the fallen seeds] of your harvest, nor shall you pick the grapes of your forbidden vines; the land shall have a sabbatical year.

25:6 However, {whatever} the Land {yields of its own accord during} the sabbath {year}, you shall have as food – yourself, as well as your male and female slaves, and your hired men and your contracted foreign workers who sojourn with you.

25:7 Even your livestock and the [wild] animals that [live] in your Land shall have all its [natural] yield to eat.

25:8 [25:20] However, in case you should say, “What are we going to eat in the seventh year if we do not sow or harvest our crops?”

25:9 [25:21] then I will so ordain My blessing for you in the sixth year, that it will bring forth itscrops {sufficient} for three years.

25:10 [25:22] So, when you begin sowing [seed] for the eighth year, you will still be able to eat old grain from the crops {of the sixth year}; you will be eating {old grain} until the ninth year when itscrops come in.

 

The Jubilee Year

 

25:11 [25:8] You shall also count off seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years, so that you have the [full] period of the seven sabbaths of years, {that is}, forty-nine years.

25:12 [25:9] You shall then sound a ram’s horn publicly on the tenth day of the seventh month {of the forty-ninth year}; on the Day of Expiations you shall sound a shofar all throughout your land.

25:13 [25:10a] You shall thus consecrate the {following} fiftieth year, and proclaim a cancellation {of all debts} throughout the Land to all its inhabitants.

25:14 [25:10b] It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own [ancestral] property, and each of you shall return to his [own] clan.

25:15 [25:11] You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap [whatever grows of its own accord], nor gather in {from} its forbidden vines.

25:16 [25:12] For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You may however eat [the year’s] [natural] yield from the field.

25:17 [25:13] In this Year of Jubilee, each of you shall return to his own [ancestral] property.

25:18 [25:14] Now, if you make a sale {of your ancestral property} to your fellow [Israelite], or you buy {ancestral property} directly from your fellow [Israelite], you shall not defraud one another {when buying it back}.

25:19 [25:15] Corresponding to the number of [crop-]years after the Jubilee {Year}, {you shall calculate a price accordingly}, and you shall buy {at that price} from your fellow [Israelite]; he is to sell to you {at a price} according to the number of years of crops.

25:20 [25:16] In proportion to the greater amount of years {after the Jubilee} you shall increase its price, and in proportion to the lesser amount of years you shall diminish its price, for {in selling you his land}, {it is actually} a number of [annual] crops he is selling to you.

25:21 [25:17] Therefore, you shall not defraud one another {when buying back your ancestral property}, but you shall have reverence for your God; for I am Yahveh your God.

25:22 [25:18] You shall thus observe My statutes and [faithfully] keep My judgments; you shall carry them out, so that you may live securely in the Land.

25:23 [25:19] In this way, the Land will yield its produce, so that you can eat your fill and live securely on it.

 

The Redemption of the Land

 

25:24 [25:23] The Land, moreover, shall not be sold irredeemably; for all the earth is Mine, and you are {but} aliens and sojourners with Me.

25:25 [25:24] Thus for every piece of your property {that you sell off}, you are to make {legal} provision for {the possibility of} the land being sold back to you.

25:26 [25:25] {The reason for this, is so that} if a fellow countryman of yours falls into such dire straits, that he has to sell part of his [ancestral] property, then his nearest kinsman will be able to come and buy back what his relative has sold.

25:27 [25:26] Or in case a man has no kinsman, but recovers his financial strength so that he gains sufficient to buy back {his ancestral property},

25:28 [25:27] then he shall calculate the years since its sale, and refund the balance to the man to whom he sold it, and so return to his [ancestral] property.

25:29 [25:28] But if he has not found sufficient means to get it back for himself, then what he has sold shall remain in the hands of its purchaser until the Year of Jubilee; then at the Jubilee it shall revert {to its original owner}, so that he may return to his [ancestral] property.

 

The Redemption of Domestic Property without any Arable Land

 

25:30 [25:29] Likewise, if someone sells a domestic dwelling in a walled city, then his redemption rights remain valid up to a full year from its sale; his right of redemption lasts a full year.

25:31 [25:30] However, if it is not bought back for him within the space of a full year, then the [domestic] property that is in the walled city passes permanently {and irredeemably} to its purchaser throughout the generations {of his descendants}; it does not revert in the Jubilee.

25:32 [25:31] The houses within villages, however, since they have no surrounding wall, shall be considered as open fields; they have redemption rights and revert back {to their original owners} in the Jubilee.

 

The Cities of the Levites to have a permanent Right of Redemption

 

25:33 [25:32] As for cities of the Levites, the Levites have a permanent right of redemption for the houses in the cities which are their possession.

25:34 [25:33] Therefore, whatever belongs to the Levites may be redeemed {at any time}, and a house sale in the city of {Levitical} possession reverts in the Jubilee, for the houses of the cities of the Levites are their {permanent} possession among the Israelites.

25:35 [25:34] However, pasture fields adjoining their cities shall not be sold, for that is their perpetual possession.

 

Notes:

25:24-29 – the Redemption of Land: As a result of the Exiles, it was not possible to have records of the tenure of ancestral lands. In addition, the owners of the lands belonging to the northern tribes never returned, so rather than having all the northern lands permanently empty, the laws of the Jubilee Year with regard to land redemption were permanently suspended.

Chapter 26: Redemption of People

 

The Support and Redemption of Israelites who become poor

 

26:1 {Yahveh spoke further to Mosheh and said,}

26:2 [25:35] “Now if a countryman of yours becomes poor, so that his ability {to sustain himself adequately} among you falters, then you are to support him, {as you would} a resident or bonded worker, so that your countryman may [continue to] live {as a free man} among you.

26:3 [25:36] Do not take interest or excess charges from him, but rather you shall have reverence for your God, so that your countryman may [continue to] live among you {as a free man}; I am Yahveh.

26:4 [25:37] You shall not loan him your silver at interest, nor shall you lend your provisions for profit.

26:5 [25:38] I am Yahveh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan {and} to be your God.

26:6 [25:39] Now if [one of] your countryman among you becomes so poor that he {has to} sell himself to you, you shall not subject him to the servitude of a slave.

26:7 [25:40] He shall remain with you as a hired worker or a bonded labourer; he shall serve with you [only] until the Year of Jubilee.

26:8 [25:41] At that time, he shall depart from you – he, {his wife} and his children with him – and he shall go back to his clan, so that he may return to his ancestral property.

26:9 [25:42] For they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt; they are not to be bought and sold like slaves [in] an auction.

26:10 [25:43] You shall not rule over him with ruthless labour {while he works for you}, but rather you shall have reverence for your God.

 

The Purchase and Inheritance of Foreign Slaves

 

26:11 [25:44] Such male and female slaves that you do have – {they are to come} [only] from the pagan nations that surround you; [only] from them may you purchase male and female slaves.

26:12 [25:45] You may also buy {slaves} from the offspring of the bonded foreign workers who sojourn among you, as well as from their clans who [dwell] among you, whom they will have begotten in your land; they may also become your possession.

26:13 [25:46a] You may even bequeath them to your children after you, to take possession {of them} as a permanent inheritance; you may keep [only] them as slaves.

26:14 [25:46b] However, in respect of your [own] countrymen, the Israelites, you shall not rule over one another with ruthless labour.

 

The Permanent Right of Redemption of an Israelite from a Resident Foreigner

 

26:15 [25:47] Now if the resources of a resident alien or a foreign worker who sojourns among you should increase, and the resources of [one of] your countrymen should diminish, so that he has to sell himself to the [said] foreigner {who dwells} among you, or to a member of the foreigner’s clan,

26:16 [25:48a] then he shall have {permanent} redemption rights after he has been sold.

26:17 [25:48b-49] One of his brothers may redeem him; or his uncle, or his uncle’s son, may redeem him; or one of his blood relatives from his clan may redeem him; or if he prospers again, he may redeem himself.

26:18 [25:50] In this case he shall calculate – together with his purchaser – {the total} from the year that he sold himself to him, up until the Year of Jubilee; and the [redemption] price of his sale shall correspond to the number of years {of service lost to the purchaser}. {It is} like {the calculation of} the [years] of a hired man {that} he shall be with him.

26:19 [25:51] So if there are still many years {to go before the Year of Jubilee}, accordingly he shall refund his redemption price from the money with which he was bought;

26:20 [25:52] and if few years remain until the Year of Jubilee, he shall calculate accordingly with [his purchaser]. In proportion to his years {of service lost}, he is to refund {the amount for} his redemption.

26:21 [25:53] [The Israelite] shall be with [the foreign purchaser] like a man {who is} hired year by year; he shall not rule over him with ruthless labour before your eyes.

26:22 [25:54] Even if he is not redeemed by these {means}, he shall still depart in the Year of Jubilee – he, {his wife} and his children with him.

26:23 [25:55] For the Israelites are My servants; they are My servants whom I brought out from the land of Egypt. I am Yahveh your God.

 

Overriding principles for an Israelite debt-slave to be mindful of, when serving in the household of a pagan Resident Foreigner

 

26:24 [26:1] Moreover, {be ever vigilant} not to make for yourselves worthless idols or carved images; nor shall you raise up for yourselves Baal-stones {or Asherah-poles}, nor shall you place in your land any stones with carved figures to bow down to them; for I am Yahveh your God.

26:25 [26:2] Rather, you shall keep My sabbaths and have reverence for My sanctuary; I am Yahveh.

 

Chapter 27: On Blessings and Curses

 

God’s Blessings for keeping the Covenant

 

27:1 {Then Yahveh spoke further to Mosheh, saying,}

27:2 [26:3] If you live according to My principles, and carefully observe My commandments,

27:3 [26:4] then I shall give you {the early and late} rains in their due season, so that the Land will yield its produce, and the trees of the field will bear their fruit.

27:4 [26:5a] Indeed, {the Land will produce so much}, that your threshing {of grain} will take you until {the time of the} grape-gathering, and your grape-gathering will take you until sowing-time.

27:5 [26:10] {You will have so much food, that} you will still be eating the old store of grain {by the time of the new harvest}, so that you will have to clear out the old grain to make way for the new.

27:6 [26:5b] You will thus [be able to] eat your food until you are full, and you will live safely [and securely] in your land.

27:7 [26:6a] I shall also grant peace in the Land, so that you may [go to your sleep] with nothing to make you [lie awake with] worry.

27:8 [26:6b] I shall also eliminate dangerous animals from the Land, and no {warring} sword will pass through your land.

27:9 [26:7] Furthermore, you will {be able to} chase {and overcome} your enemies, and they will fall by the sword before you–

27:10 [26:8] five of you will {be able to} chase off a hundred, and a hundred of you will {be able to} chase off ten thousand. Thus your enemies will fall by the sword before you.

27:11 [26:9] In all these ways I will bestow My good favour upon you; I will [also] make you fruitful and cause you to multiply, and I will thereby confirm My covenant with you.

27:12 [26:11] Moreover, I will establish My dwelling right in your midst, because My [Glory] will not {have any cause to} hold you in contempt.

27:13 [26:12] [My Presence] will move about [freely] among you; I will be your God, and you shall be My people.

27:14 [26:13] I [and I alone] am Yahveh your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt so that {you} would no longer be their slaves; I broke the bars of your yoke, and I enabled you to walk upright {with dignity}.

 

The Consequences of actively rejecting the Covenant

 

27:15 [26:14] But if you do not listen to Me, and do not carry out any of these commandments –  

27:16 [26:15] if instead, you despise My principles, and hold My teachings in such utter contempt, that you do not act upon any of My commandments, {and so} break My covenant,

27:17 [26:16a] I, in turn, will do this to you: I will send upon you all kinds of miseries – {such as} consumption and fever, which will waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away;

27:17 [26:16b] also, you will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will eat it up.

27:18 [26:17] I will set My Presence against you, so that you will be struck down before your enemies; and your foes will hold such thrall over you, that you will flee even when no one is pursuing you.

27:19 [26:18] If, after these things, you still do not listen to Me, then I will [proceed to] punish you seven times more for your sins.

27:20 [26:19] I will break down your prideful power; I will also make your skies {as dry} as iron, and your earth {as barren} as bronze.

27:21 [26:20] Your exertion will be spent in vain, for your land will not yield its produce and the trees of the field will not yield their fruit.

27:22 [26:21] If you {continue to} act with hostility against Me, and are [still] unwilling to listen to Me, then I will continue with blows against you seven times more according to your sins:

27:23 [26:22] I will unleash the wild beasts among you, which will bereave you of your children, wipe out your cattle and reduce you in number, so that your roads will lie deserted.

27:24 [26:23] And if even by these things you are not {persuaded to} turn back to Me, but {continue to} act with hostility against Me,

27:25 [26:24] then I in turn will {continue to} act with hostility against you; and I Myself will strike you seven times for your sins.

27:26 [26:25] I will bring upon you an avenging sword, which will enforce the threats of the Covenant; and when you gather together into your cities, I will send pestilence among you, so {that you become so weak} that you are delivered into enemy hands.

27:27 [26:26] Then I will break off your life-support of bread, so that even though ten women might bake your bread in one oven, they will have to allocate your bread in rationed amounts; and you will eat and never be satisfied.

27:28 [26:27] Yet if in spite of this you still do not obey Me, but {continue to} act with hostility against Me,

27:29 [26:28] then I will {continue to} act with wrathful hostility against you, and I Myself will punish you seven times for your sins.

27:30 [26:29] Eventually, {famine will make you so desperate that} you will eat the flesh of your sons, and you will consume the flesh of your daughters.

27:31 [26:30] I will then destroy your cultic high places, and cut down your incense altars, and heap your lifeless remains on the lifeless remains of your idols, for My {Glory] will hold you in contempt.

27:32 [26:31] I will turn your cities into ruins, and lay waste to your sanctuaries, and I will refuse to smell the pleasing aromas of your sacrifices.

27:33 [26:32] I Myself will make the land so desolate, that even your enemies who settle in it will be looking upon it with disgust.

 

Exile: the ultimate punishment for rejecting the Covenant

 

27:34 [26:33] You, however, I will scatter among the nations; and I will unsheath the sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become ruins.

27:35 [26:34] Then the Land will {finally} enjoy its sabbath[-year]s all the days of the desolation, while you are in your enemies’ lands; then the land will rest and be repaid its sabbath[-year]s.

27:36 [26:35] All the [years] of {its} desolation, it will observe the rest which it did not observe during your sabbath[-year]s while you were living in it.

27:37 [26:36] As for those of you who may be left in the lands of their enemies, I will also bring faintness into their hearts, so that even the sound of a driven leaf will put them to flight; and even when no one is pursuing, they will flee as though from the sword, and they will fall.

27:38 [26:37] They will therefore stumble over each other as if {running} from the sword, although no one is pursuing; and you will have {no strength} to stand upright before your enemies.

27:39 [26:38] Rather, you will rot away among the nations, and your enemies’ lands will consume you.

 

The Blessings awaiting those who return to God

 

27:40 [26:39] Eventually, those of you who are left will become heartsick over their guilt in the lands of their enemies; more than that: they will become heartsick over the guilty deeds of their ancestors.

27:41 [26:40] Then they will confess their guilt and the guilt of their ancestors, with regard to the unfaithfulness which they committed against Me, and also regarding how they acted with hostility against Me,  

27:42 [26:41a] so that I too had to act with hostility against them, when I caused them to waste away in the lands of their enemies.

27:43 [26:41b] Then when their uncircumcised hearts become humbled, so that they {come to} make amends for their guilt,

27:44 [26:42] I will then remember My covenant with Ya`aqov, and I will remember also My covenant with Yitzchāq, and My covenant with Avrāhām as well, and I will remember the Land.

27:45 [26:43a] For the Land will have been abandoned by them, making up for its {unobserved} sabbath[-year]s while it lies desolate without them.

27:46 [26:43b] They, meanwhile, will be making amends for their guilt, for the very reason that they deliberately rejected My teachings, and they themselves abhorred My principles.

27:47 [26:44] Yet in spite of this, when they are in the lands of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, so breaking My covenant with them; {I will never do this}, for I am Yahveh their God.

27:48 [26:45] On the contrary, for their sake I will remember the covenant with their forbears, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the nations, so that I might be their God; I am Yahveh.’”

27:49 [26:46] These then are the principles, teachings and laws which Yahveh established between Himself and the Israelites through Mosheh at Mount Sinai.

 

Chapter 28: Appendix – the Funding of Sanctuary Costs through Votive and Redemption Charges

 

Amounts to be received in lieu of Persons vowed as Votive Offerings

 

28:1 [27:1] Again, Yahveh spoke to Mosheh, saying,

28:2 [27:2] “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘ If any person makes a vow to devote their equivalent value {in shekels of silver to God as} a votive offering, {then each person shall be valued according to the following scale} [for] persons [vowed] to Yahveh:

28:3 [27:3] If {you are paying the} equivalent value for males from twenty years right up to sixty years of age, then their equivalent value shall be fifty shekels of silver, according to the shekel-weight of the Sanctuary.

28:4 [27:4] Or if it is [for] females, then [their] equivalent value shall be thirty shekels.

28:5 [27:5] If it is {for persons} from five years right up to twenty years of age, then the equivalent value for males shall be twenty shekels, and for females ten shekels.

28:6 [27:6] But if {the vowed individual is} from a month right up to five years old, then their equivalent value shall be five shekels of silver for males, and for females [their] equivalent value shall be three shekels of silver.

28:7 [27:7] If {the individual who has been vowed is} from sixty years of age and upward, then if it is a male, their equivalent value shall be fifteen shekels, and {if it is} for a female, ten shekels.

28:8 [27:8] But if {the person being presented as a votive offering} is poorer than his equivalent value {in shekels of silver}, then he shall station himself before the priest, and the priest shall {adjust the} [votive] value {required from} him; according to the means {available to} the one who made the solemn vow, the priest shall {adjust the} [votive] value {required from} him.

 

Redeeming Animals given as Votive Offerings

 

28:9 [27:9] Now if [the votive offering] is a [ritually clean] animal, {of the kind} which can be presented as a sacrifice to Yahveh, any such {animal} that one gives to Yahveh shall be holy, {and so shall belong permanently to God}.

28:10 [27:10a] [The one making the votive offering] shall not replace it or exchange [another animal for] it – {that is}, a good {animal} for a bad [one], or [even] a bad {animal} for a good [one],

28:11 [27:10b] because if he does exchange animal for animal, then both it and its substitute become holy, {and so both end up belonging permanently to God anyway}.

28:12 [27:11] However, if [the votive offering] is any {type of} [ritually] unclean animal, {of the kind} which cannot be presented as a sacrifice to Yahveh, then he shall station the animal before the priest.

28:13 [27:12] The priest shall then set a {redemption} value on it; {regardless of} whether {the priest’s valuation} is higher or lower {than the market price}, just as the priest assesses its value, so shall [the valuation] stand.

28:14 [27:13] Then if [the one making the votive offering] should ever {wish to} redeem [the animal], he shall add one-fifth to its assessed value {in shekels of silver}.

 

Redeeming Houses given as Votive Offerings

 

28:15 [27:14] Now if a man consecrates his house {as a votive offering} to be holy to Yahveh, then the priest shall {set a redemption} value {on} it; and {regardless of} whether {the priest’s valuation} is higher or lower {than the market value}, just as the priest assesses its value, so shall [the valuation] stand.

28:16 [27:15] Then if the one who consecrated [his house] should ever {wish to} redeem his house, he shall add one-fifth of its equivalent value {in} silver to it, so that it may {once more} belong to him.

 

Redemption values for fields given as Votive Offerings

 

28:17 [27:16] Furthermore, if a man consecrates to Yahveh any part of the fields of his [ancestral] property {as a votive offering}, then their assessed {redemption} value shall be {proportionate} to the seed {required for them}: at {the rate of} fifty shekels of silver for [every] chómer of barley seed.

28:18 [27:17] If he consecrates his field during the Year of Jubilee, then its assessed value shall stand.

28:19 [27:18] If he consecrates his field after the Jubilee [Year], however, then the priest shall calculate the {redemption} price for him, proportionate to the years that are left until the {next} Year of Jubilee; and its assessed value shall be accordingly reduced.

28:20 [27:19] If the one who consecrates his fields should ever wish to redeem them, then he shall add one-fifth of their assessed value to them, so that they may pass [back] to him.

28:21 [27:20] However, if he cannot redeem the field, because he has {since} sold the field to another man, it may no longer be redeemed;

28:22 [27:21] because when it {is supposed to} revert {to the original owner} in the Jubilee [Year], the field shall {instead} become holy to Yahveh, like a field proscribed {as forfeit}; it shall belong to the priests as their inherited property.

28:23 [27:22] Or if, {as a votive offering}, he consecrates to Yahveh a field which he has bought – one which is not {actually} a part of the fields of his [ancestral] property –  

28:24 [27:23] then the priest shall calculate for him the amount {in crop-years} of its equivalent value up until the Year of Jubilee; and on that day he shall dedicate its assessed value as holy to Yahveh.

28:25 [27:24] In the Year of Jubilee, the field shall revert to the one from whom he bought it, to whom the ancestral right of the land belongs.

28:26 [27:25] Every valuation {in silver}, moreover, shall be according to the Sanctuary-shekel – the shekel being twenty geirāhs.

 

Redemption of the firstborn of non-kosher animals

 

28:27 [27:26] Now take note with regard to the firstborn, which as firstlings among your livestock belong to Yahveh: no man may consecrate them {as part of a votive offering}, whether it be an ox or a sheep, [for] they [already] belong to Yahveh.

28:28 [27:27a] However, if {the firstling is one from} among the unclean animals, then [the owner] shall pay a redemption price for it according to its equivalent value {in shekels of silver}, and add one-fifth to it.

28:29 [27:27b] But if it is not redeemed, then it shall be sold at its assessed value.

 

What has been proscribed under vow of forfeit to God cannot be redeemed

 

28:30 [27:28] Furthermore, take careful note with regard to anything which a man vows to devote to Yahveh as proscribed property, {and so forfeit in the event of failure to fulfil his vow} – {that is}, anything out of whatever belongs to him, {whether it be of} persons or animals, or {even} of the fields of his [ancestral] property: they shall not be sold or redeemed, [for] anything that has been proscribed {as forfeit} shall remain completely consecrated to Yahveh.

28:31 [27:29] However, no condemned person who has been proscribed {and condemned to death for the sin of worshipping other gods} shall be ransomed; he shall surely be put to death.

 

Redemption of tithes

 

28:32 [27:30] In the same way, all the tithes of the Land – {whether} of the seed from the ground or of the fruit of the trees – belongs to Yahveh; they are holy to Yahveh, {and so belong permanently to God}.

28:33 [27:31] If, therefore, a man should ever {wish to} redeem any of his tithes, he must add one-fifth {of their value in silver} to them.

28:34 [27:32] All tithes of your herds [of cattle], or of your flocks [of sheep or goats] – whatever passes {to be counted} under the herder’s staff – every tenth one shall be holy to Yahveh.

28:35 [27:33] [The herder] is not to check [to see] whether {the tenth one is} good or bad, nor should he exchange it; for if he does exchange it, then both it and its substitute will become holy {to Yahveh}; therefore, they shall not be redeemed.’”

28:36 [27:34] These are the commandments which Yahveh commanded Mosheh {to proclaim} to the Israelites at Mount Sinai.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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