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16. The Day of Atonement

And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died; 2And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat. 3Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering. 4He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on. 5And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering. 6And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house. 7And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. 8And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. 9And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord’S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness. 11And Aaron shall bring the bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself, and for his house, and shall kill the bullock of the sin offering which is for himself: 12And he shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from off the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the vail: 13And he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy seat that is upon the testimony, that he die not: 14And he shall take of the blood of the bullock, and sprinkle it with his finger upon the mercy seat eastward; and before the mercy seat shall he sprinkle of the blood with his finger seven times.

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

20And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, and the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar, he shall bring the live goat: 21And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness. 23And Aaron shall come into the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall put off the linen garments, which he put on when he went into the holy place, and shall leave them there: 24And he shall wash his flesh with water in the holy place, and put on his garments, and come forth, and offer his burnt offering, and the burnt offering of the people, and make an atonement for himself, and for the people. 25And the fat of the sin offering shall he burn upon the altar. 26And he that let go the goat for the scapegoat shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward come into the camp. 27And the bullock for the sin offering, and the goat for the sin offering, whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place, shall one carry forth without the camp; and they shall burn in the fire their skins, and their flesh, and their dung. 28And he that burneth them shall wash his clothes, and bathe his flesh in water, and afterward he shall come into the camp.

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

3. Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place. The rites and formality are now described; first, that Aaron should put on the holy garments, and wash his person; secondly, that he should offer a bullock and ram for a burnt-offering; thirdly, that he should take two goats from the people, one of which should be sent away alive, and the other slain in sacrifice. We have stated elsewhere why the priests were to be dressed in garments different from others, since he who is the mediator between God and men should be free from all impurity and stain; and since no mortal could truly supply this, a type was substituted in place of the reality, from whence believers might learn that another Mediator was to be expected; because the dignity of the sons of Aaron was only typical, and not true and substantial. For whenever the priest stripped himself of his own garments, and assumed those which were holy and separated from common use, it was equivalent to declaring openly that he represented another person. But if this symbol were not sufficient, the ablution again taught that none of the sons of Aaron was the genuine propitiator; for how could he purify others, who himself required purification, and made open confession of his uncleanness? A third symbol also was added; for he who by a sacrifice of his own atoned for himself and his house, how was he capable of meriting God’s favor for others? Thus then the holy fathers were reminded, that under the image of a mortal man, another Mediator was promised, who, for the reconciliation of the human race, should present Himself before God with perfect and more than angelical purity. Besides, in the person of the priest there was exhibited to the people a spectacle of the corruption whereby the whole human race is defiled, so as to be abominable to God; for if the priest, both chosen by God, and graced with the sacred unction, was still unworthy on the score of his uncleanness to come near the altar, what dignity could be discoverable in the people? And hence to us now-a-days also very useful instruction is derived; viz., that when the question arises how God is to be propitiated, we are not to look this way and that way; since out of Christ there is no purity and innocence which can satisfy the justice of God.

7. And he shall take the two goats. A twofold mode of expiation is here presented to us; for one of the two goats was offered in sacrifice according to the provisions of the Law, the other was sent away to be an outcast, or offscouring (κάθαρμα vel περίψημα 242242     The two Greek words here used are the same as those employed in 1 Corinthians 4:13 ως περικαθάρματα (or, with others, ὡσπερεὶ καθάρματα) τῦ κόσμυ ἐγενήθημεν, πάντων περίψημα ἕως ἄρτι· which our A. V. translates, “we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.” Commentators seem to be agreed that they are citative by St. Paul of the Hebrew words in Lamentations 3:45, which A.V. translates “offscouring and refuse.” C. (Comment. on Cor., vol. 1, p. 1650 says that κάθαρμα “denotes a man who, by public execrations is devoted, with the view to the cleansing of a city, etc." ) The fulfillment of both figures, however, was manifested in Christ, since He was both the Lamb of God, whose offering blotted out the sins of the world, and, that He might be as an offscouring, (κάθαρμα,) His comeliness was destroyed, and He was rejected of men. A more subtle speculation might indeed be advanced, viz., that after the goat was presented, its sending away was a type of the resurrection of Christ; as if the slaying of the one goat testified that the satisfaction for sins was to be sought in the death of Christ; whilst the preservation and dismissal of the other shewed, that after Christ had been offered for sin, and had borne the curse of men, He still remained alive. I embrace, however, what is more simple and certain, and am satisfied with that; i.e., that the goat which departed alive and free, was an atonement, 243243     “Piaculum.” — Lat.Une beste maudite.” — Fr. that by its departure and flight the people might be assured that their sins were put away and vanished. This was the only expiatory sacrifice in the Law without blood; nor does this contradict the statement of the Apostle, for since two goats were offered together, it was enough that the death of one should take place, and that its blood should be shed for expiation; for the lot was not cast until both goats had been brought to the door of the tabernacle; and thus although the priest presented one of them alive “to make an atonement with him,” as Moses expressly says, yet God was not propitiated without blood, since the efficacy of the expiation depended on the sacrifice of the other goat. As to the word Azazel, 244244     C. adopts the opinion of S. M. in regarding Azazel as the name of a place. Most lexicographers agree that, עזאזל cannot well mean anything else than what is its necessary translation, if divided thus עז אזל, viz., the goat departing. — W although commentators differ, I doubt not but that it designates the place to which the scape-goat was driven. It is certainly a compound word, equivalent to “the departure of the goat,” which the Greeks have translated, whether properly or not I cannot say, ἀποπομπαῖον I am afraid that the expiation is decidedly too subtle which some interpreters give, that the goat was so called as “the repeller of evils,” just as the Gentiles 245245     Thus Jupiter is addressed: —
   Δῶρον ἀλεξικάκοιο Διὸς — Orph. Λίθικα, i.

   and Lactantius says, that an image of Apollonius was worshipped at Ephesus, “sub Herculis Alexieaci nomine constitutum.” — De Just. v. 3.
invented certain gods, called ἀλεξικάκους. What I have said agrees best with the departure of the goat; although I differ from the Jews, who conceive that this place was contiguous to Mount Sinai; as if the lot for Azazel were not cast every year, when the people were very far away from Mount Sinai. Let it suffice, then, that some solitary and most uninhabitable spot was chosen whither the goat should be driven, lest the curse of God should rest upon the people.


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