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Leviticus 14:12-18

Context

14:12 “The priest is to take one male lamb 1  and present it for a guilt offering 2  along with the log of olive oil and present them as a wave offering before the Lord. 3  14:13 He must then slaughter 4  the male lamb in the place where 5  the sin offering 6  and the burnt offering 7  are slaughtered, 8  in the sanctuary, because, like the sin offering, the guilt offering belongs to the priest; 9  it is most holy. 14:14 Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the guilt offering and put it on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, 10  on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe 11  of his right foot. 14:15 The priest will then take some of the log of olive oil and pour it into his own left hand. 12  14:16 Then the priest is to dip his right forefinger into the olive oil 13  that is in his left hand, and sprinkle some of the olive oil with his finger seven times before the Lord. 14:17 The priest will then put some of the rest of the olive oil that is in his hand 14  on the right earlobe of the one being cleansed, on the thumb of his right hand, and on the big toe of his right foot, on the blood of the guilt offering, 14:18 and the remainder of the olive oil 15  that is in his hand the priest is to put on the head of the one being cleansed. So the priest is to make atonement for him before the Lord.

1 tn Heb “And the priest shall take the one lamb.”

2 tn See the note on Lev 5:15 above. The primary purpose of the “guilt offering” (אָשָׁם, ’asham) was to “atone” (כִּפֶּר, kipper, “to make atonement,” see v. 18 below and the note on Lev 1:4) for “trespassing” on the Lord’s “holy things,” whether sacred objects or sacred people. It is, therefore, closely associated with the reconsecration of the Lord’s holy people as, for example, here and in the case of the corpse contaminated Nazirite (Num 6:11b-12). Since the nation of Israel was “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” to the Lord (Exod 19:6; cf. the blood splashed on all the people in Exod 24:8), the skin diseased person was essentially a member of the “holy nation” who had been expelled from the community. Therefore, he or she had been desecrated and the guilt offering was essential to restoring him or her to the community. In fact, the manipulation of blood and oil in the guilt offering ritual procedure for the healed person (see vv. 14-18 below) is reminiscent of that employed for the ordination offering in the consecration of the holy Aaronic priests of the nation (Exod 29:19-21; Lev 8:22-30).

3 tn Heb “wave them [as] a wave offering before the Lord” (NAB similar). See the note on Lev 7:30 and the literature cited there. Other possible translations include “elevate them [as] an elevation offering before the Lord” (cf. NRSV) or “present them [as] a presentation offering before the Lord.” To be sure, the actual physical “waving” of a male lamb seems unlikely, but some waving gesture may have been performed in the presentation of the offering (cf. also the “waving” of the Levites as a “wave offering” in Num 8:11, etc.).

4 tn Heb “And he shall slaughter.”

5 tn Heb “in the place which.”

6 sn See the note on Lev 4:3 regarding the term “sin offering.”

7 sn See the note on Lev 1:3 regarding the “burnt offering.”

8 tn Since the priest himself presents this offering as a wave offering (v. 12), it would seem that the offering is already in his hands and he would, therefore, be the one who slaughtered the male lamb in this instance rather than the offerer. Smr and LXX make the second verb “to slaughter” plural rather than singular, which suggests that it is to be taken as an impersonal passive (see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:852).

9 tn Heb “the guilt offering, it [is] to the Lord.” Regarding the “guilt offering,” see the note on Lev 5:15.

10 tn Heb “and the priest shall put [literally ‘give’] on the lobe of the ear of the one being cleansed, the right one.”

11 tn The term for “big toe” (בֹּהֶן, bohen) is the same as that for “thumb.” It refers to the larger appendage on either the hand or the foot.

12 tn Heb “And the priest…shall pour on the left hand of the priest.” As the Rabbis observe, the repetition of “priest” as the expressed subject of both verbs in this verse may suggest that two priests were involved in this ritual (see m. Nega’im 14:8, referred to by J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:852), but the seemingly unnecessary repetition of “priest” in several verses throughout the chapter argues against this (see esp. vv. 3, 14, 18, 20, 24, and 26). Moreover, in this case, “priest” may be repeated to avoid confusing the priest’s hand with that of the one being cleansed (cf. v. 14).

13 tn Heb “his right finger from the oil.”

14 tn Heb “on his hand.”

15 tn Heb “and the remainder in the oil.”



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