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Leviticus 10:16-20

Context
The Problem with the Inaugural Sin Offering

10:16 Later Moses sought diligently for the sin offering male goat, 1  but it had actually been burnt. 2  So he became angry at Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s remaining sons, saying, 10:17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the sanctuary? For it is most holy and he gave it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, 3  to make atonement on their behalf before the Lord. 10:18 See here! 4  Its blood was not brought into the holy place within! 5  You should certainly have eaten it in the sanctuary just as I commanded!” 10:19 But Aaron spoke to Moses, “See here! 6  Just today they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord and such things as these have happened to me! If I had eaten a sin offering today would the Lord have been pleased?” 7  10:20 When Moses heard this explanation, he was satisfied. 8 

1 sn This is the very same male goat offered in Lev 9:15 (cf. the note on Lev 10:1 above).

2 tn Heb “but behold, it had been burnt” (KJV and NASB both similar).

3 sn This translation is quite literal. On the surface it appears to mean that the priests would “bear the iniquity” of the congregation by the act of eating the sin offering (so J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:622-25, 635-40). Such a notion is, however, found nowhere else in the Levitical regulations and seems unlikely (so J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 136). A more likely interpretation is reflected in this interpretive rendering: “he gave it to you [as payment] for [your work of] bearing the iniquity of the congregation.” The previous section of the chapter deals with the prebends that the priests received for performing the ministry of the tabernacle (Lev 10:12-15). Lev 10:16-18, therefore, seems to continue the very same topic in the light of the most immediate situation (see R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:702-4).

4 tn Or “Behold!” (so KJV, ASV, NASB).

5 sn The term here rendered “within” refers to the bringing of the blood inside the holy place for application to the altar of incense rather than to the altar of burnt offering in the courtyard of the tabernacle (cf. Lev 4:7, 16-18; 6:30 [23 HT]).

6 tn Or “Behold!” (so KJV, ASV, NASB); NRSV “See.”

7 tn Heb “today they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before the Lord, and like these things have happened to me, and (if) I had eaten sin offering today would it be good in the eyes of the Lord?” The idiom “would it be good in the eyes of [the Lord]” has been translated “would [the Lord] have been pleased.” Cf. NRSV “would it have been agreeable to the Lord?”; CEV, NLT “Would the Lord have approved?”

8 tn Heb “it was good in his eyes” (an idiom). Cf. KJV “he was content”; NLT “he approved.”



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