Today’s Reading: Leviticus 16-18
In Leviticus 16, God talked to Moses about instructions for Aaron and his sons. If they didn’t want to die in the temple, Aaron had to make atonement for his family. God gave instructions for the ritual that will make atonement.
Aaron had to dress in the holy garments (and undergarments) and bring a young bull to the Tabernacle for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. He went to the Israelites and for their atonement, he got a ram for burnt offering and two male goats for a sin offering. Aaron then took out a couple of lots, these were flat stones, sticks, or square shaped stones, similar to dice. Aaron cast the lots to figure out which goat would be sacrificed and which one would be the “scapegoat.”
Aaron had to first offer for his own atonement, which he did by sacrificing his bull. Then he burned the holy incense so that the smoke covered the Ark of the Covenant. He took bull blood and sprinkled it on the east side and front of the mercy seat. Then he sacrifices the chosen goat as a sin offering and sprinkles that blood on the mercy seat for the sins of the people.
Then, Aaron put his hands on the head of the scapegoat and confesses all of Israel’s sins. The scapegoat was then driven off in the wilderness.
Aaron then bathes, changes clothes, an offered the other two rams as burnt offerings.
After this, the Tabernacle and the people are pure. God commanded that every year on the tenth day of the seventh month this would be a day of atonement or Yom Kippur.
In Leviticus 17, God told the Israelites not to make sacrifices to goat-demons.
The people were making sacrifices in the fields when animals were killed, and God instructed them that no Israelite could eat meat from cattle, goats, or sheep unless it had been sacrificed at the Tabernacle.
If the people hunted wild animals for food, they had to pour out the blood and cover it with dirt.
If a person ate meat from an animal that died naturally or was torn apart by other animals, had to must wash his clothes and take a bath, and was unclean until evening.
Leviticus 18 contains rules of sexual nature.
The first several rules are about not “exposing the nakedness” of certain family members. These would be rules of incest. These incest rules were about sexual relationships with women who are widowed, divorced, or not married to someone else. These rules also made it unlawful to have sex with combinations of women within a family, such as sleeping with two sisters, sleeping with a mother and daughter, or sleeping with a wife and her sister.
Again, it was stressed not to have intercourse with a woman during her cycle.
Committing adultery was forbidden.
The people are commanded not to sacrifice their children to Molech. It was also forbidden for males to lie with one another as one lies with a female, as was intercourse with any animal.
The emphasis was the purity of God’s land. If the Israelites and the people who lived among them, polluted the holy land by performing these acts, they were told the land would spew (vomit) them out.
Go over to WB Moore’s Biblical Insights for more on today’s reading.