16 After the death of Aaron’s two sons, when they drew near before the Lord [offered false fire] and died,(A)
2 The Lord said to Moses, Tell Aaron your brother he [a]must not come at all times into the Holy of Holies within the veil before the mercy seat upon the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud on the mercy seat.(B)
3 But Aaron shall come into the holy enclosure in this way: with a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
4 He shall put on the holy linen undergarment, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his body, and be girded with the linen girdle or sash, and with the linen turban or miter shall he be attired; these are the holy garments; he shall bathe his body in water and then put them on.
5 He shall take [at the expense] of the congregation of the Israelites two male goats for a sin offering and one ram for a burnt offering.
6 And Aaron shall present the bull as the sin offering for himself and make atonement for himself and for his house [the other priests].
7 He shall take the two goats and present them before the Lord at the door of the Tent of Meeting.
8 Aaron shall cast lots on the two goats—one lot for the Lord, the other lot for Azazel or removal.
9 And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the Lord’s lot fell and offer him as a sin offering.
10 But the goat on which the lot fell for Azazel or removal shall be presented alive before the Lord to make atonement over him, that he may be let go into the wilderness for Azazel (for dismissal).
11 Aaron shall present the bull as the sin offering for his own sins and shall make atonement for himself and for his house [the other priests], and shall kill the bull as the sin offering for himself.
12 He shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the [bronze] altar before the Lord, and his two hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil [into the Holy of Holies],
13 And put the incense on the fire [in the censer] before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon [the ark of] the Testimony, lest he die.
14 He shall take of the bull’s blood and sprinkle it with his finger on the front [the east side] of the mercy seat, and before the mercy seat he shall sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.
15 Then shall he kill the goat of the sin offering that is for [the sins of] the people and bring its blood within the veil [into the Holy of Holies] and do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat.(C)
16 Thus he shall make atonement for the Holy Place because of the uncleanness of the Israelites and because of their transgressions, even all their sins; and so shall he do for the Tent of Meeting, that remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness.(D)
17 There shall be no man in the Tent of Meeting when the high priest goes in to make atonement in the Holy of Holies [within the veil] until he comes out and has made atonement for his own sins and those of his house [the other priests] and of all the congregation of Israel.
18 And he shall go out to the altar [of burnt offering in the court] which is before the Lord and make atonement for it, and shall take some of the blood of the bull and of the goat and put it on the horns of the altar round about.
19 And he shall sprinkle some of the blood on it with his fingers seven times and cleanse it and hallow it from the uncleanness of the Israelites.
20 And when he has finished atoning for the Holy of Holies and the Tent of Meeting and the altar [of burnt offering], he shall present the live goat;
21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat and confess over him all the iniquities of the Israelites and all their transgressions, all their sins; and he shall put them upon the head of the goat [the sin-bearer], and send him away into the wilderness by the hand of a man [b]who is timely (ready, fit).
22 The goat shall bear upon himself all their iniquities, carrying them to a land cut off (a land of forgetfulness and separation, not inhabited)! And the man leading it shall let the goat go in the wilderness.(E)
23 Aaron shall come into the Tent of Meeting and put off the linen garments which he put on when he went into the Holy of Holies, and leave them there;
24 And he shall bathe his body with water in a sacred place and put on his garments, and come forth and offer his burnt offering and that of the people, and make atonement for himself and for them.
25 And the fat of the sin offering he shall burn upon the altar.
26 The man who led the sin-bearing goat out and let him go for Azazel or removal shall wash his clothes and bathe his body, and afterward he may come into the camp.
27 The bull and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the Holy of Holies, shall be carried forth without the camp; their skins, their flesh, and their dung shall be burned with fire.(F)
28 And he who burns them shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp.
29 It shall be a statute to you forever that in the seventh month [nearly October] on the tenth day of the month you shall afflict yourselves [by fasting with penitence and humiliation] and do no work at all, either the native-born or the stranger who dwells temporarily among you.
30 For on this day atonement shall be made for you, to cleanse you; from all your sins you shall be clean before the Lord.(G)
31 It is a sabbath of [solemn] rest to you, and you shall afflict yourselves [by fasting with penitence and humiliation]; it is a statute forever.
32 And the priest who shall be anointed and consecrated to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead shall make atonement, wearing the holy linen garments;
33 He shall make atonement for the Holy Sanctuary, for the Tent of Meeting, and for the altar [of burnt offering in the court], and shall make atonement for the priests and for all the people of the assembly.
34 This shall be an everlasting statute for you, that atonement may be made for the Israelites for all their sins once a year. And Moses did as the Lord commanded him.
- Leviticus 16:2 Since the priests have been warned by the death of Nadab and Abihu to approach God with reverence and godly fear, directions are here given how the nearest approach might be made ... Within the veil none must ever come but the high priest only, and he but one day in the year. But see what a blessed change is made by the Gospel of Christ; all good Christians now have boldness to enter into the Holy of Holies, through the veil, every day (Heb. 10:19, 20); and we come boldly (not as Aaron must, with fear and trembling) to the throne of grace, or mercy seat (Heb. 4:16)... Now therefore we are welcome to come at all times into the Holy Place “not made with hands.” In the past Aaron could not come near “at all times,” lest he die; we now must come near “at all times,” that we may live. It is [keeping our] distance only that is our death (Matthew Henry, A Commentary).
- Leviticus 16:21 This is suggestive of the part the personal worker has to play in showing the sinner that Christ the great Sin-bearer has made full substitution for him, if he will accept it. Notice the qualifications of this man, sent along to complete the picture of the transaction between the sinner and his only sin-bearer. He is to be a man, says the Hebrew, “timely (ready, fit)” to do such a task.
- Leviticus 16:1 : Lev. 10:1, 2.
- Leviticus 16:2 : Heb. 9:7-15, 25-28.
- Leviticus 16:15 : Heb. 2:17.
- Leviticus 16:16 : Heb. 9:22-24.
- Leviticus 16:22 : Ps. 103:12; Isa. 53:11, 12; John 1:29.
- Leviticus 16:27 : Heb. 13:11-13.
- Leviticus 16:30 : Heb. 10:1, 2; I John 1:7, 9.