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Leviticus 16:29-34

Context
Review of the Day of Atonement

16:29 “This is to be a perpetual statute for you. 1  In the seventh month, on the tenth day of the month, you must humble yourselves 2  and do no work of any kind, 3  both the native citizen and the foreigner who resides 4  in your midst, 16:30 for on this day atonement is to be made for you to cleanse you from all your sins; you must be clean before the Lord. 5  16:31 It is to be a Sabbath of complete rest for you, and you must humble yourselves. 6  It is a perpetual statute. 7 

16:32 “The priest who is anointed and ordained to act as high priest in place of his father 8  is to make atonement. He is to put on the linen garments, the holy garments, 16:33 and he is to purify 9  the Most Holy Place, 10  he is to purify the Meeting Tent and the altar, 11  and he is to make atonement for 12  the priests and for all the people of the assembly. 16:34 This is to be a perpetual statute for you 13  to make atonement for the Israelites for 14  all their sins once a year.” 15  So he did just as the Lord had commanded Moses. 16 

1 tn Heb “And it [feminine] shall be for you a perpetual statute.” Verse 34 begins with the same clause except for the missing demonstrative pronoun “this” here in v. 29. The LXX has “this” in both places and it suits the sense of the passage, although both the verb and the pronoun are sometimes missing in this clause elsewhere in the book (see, e.g., Lev 3:17).

2 tn Heb “you shall humble your souls.” The verb “to humble” here refers to various forms of self-denial, including but not limited to fasting (cf. Ps 35:13 and Isa 58:3, 10). The Mishnah (m. Yoma 8:1) lists abstentions from food and drink, bathing, using oil as an unguent to moisten the skin, wearing leather sandals, and sexual intercourse (cf. 2 Sam 12:16-17, 20; see the remarks in J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:1054; B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 109; and J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 242).

3 tn Heb “and all work you shall not do.”

4 tn Heb “the native and the sojourner who sojourns.”

5 tn The phrase “from all your sins” could go with the previous clause as the verse is rendered here (see, e.g., B. A. Levine, Leviticus [JPSTC], 109, and J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:1011), or it could go with the following clause (i.e., “you shall be clean from all your sins before the Lord”; see the MT accents as well as J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 221, and recent English versions, e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV).

6 tn See the note on v. 29 above.

7 tn Compare v. 29a above.

8 tn Heb “And the priest whom he shall anointed him and whom he shall fill his hand to act as priest under his father.” Imperfect active verbs are often used as passives (see, e.g., v. 27 above and the note on Lev 14:4).

9 tn Heb “to atone” (also later in this verse); see the note on “purifying the holy place” in 16:20.

10 tn Heb “the sanctuary of the holy place.” Although this is the only place this expression occurs in the OT, it clearly refers to the innermost shrine behind the veil-canopy, where the ark of the covenant was located.

11 tn Heb “and the tent of meeting and the alter he shall atone.” The repetition of the verb כִּפֶּר (kipper, “to atone”) at the beginning and end of the sequence appears to be strange, but the MT accents suggest that only “the Most Holy Place” goes with the verb at the beginning of the verse. Of course, the purging of “the Most Holy Place” has been the main emphasis of this chapter from the start (see vv. 2-3 and 11-17).

12 tn At this point in the verse the verb כִּפֶּר (kipper, “to make atonement”) takes its object with the preposition עַל (’al, “for”; literally, “upon”; contrast the first part of the verse and cf. the notes on Lev 1:4 and 16:20 above).

13 tn Heb “And this shall be for you to a statute of eternity” (cf. v. 29a above). cf. NASB “a permanent statute”; NIV “a lasting ordinance.”

14 tn Heb “from”; see note on 4:26.

15 tn Heb “one [feminine] in the year.”

16 tn The MT of Lev 16:34b reads literally, “and he did just as the Lord had commanded Moses.” This has been retained here in spite of the fact that it suggests that Aaron immediately performed the rituals outlined in Lev 16 (see, e.g., J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 224 and 243; J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:1059; note that Aaron was the one to whom Moses was to speak the regulations in this chapter, v. 2). The problem is that the chapter presents these procedures as regulations for “the tenth day of the seventh month” and calls for their fulfillment at that time (Lev 16:29; cf. Lev 23:26-32 and the remarks in P. J. Budd, Leviticus [NCBC], 237), not during the current (first) month (Exod 40:2; note also that they left Sinai in the second month, long before the next seventh month, Num 10:11). The LXX translates, “once in the year it shall be done as the Lord commanded Moses,” attaching “once in the year” to this clause rather than the former one, and rendering the verb as passive, “it shall be done” (cf. NAB, NIV, etc.). We have already observed the passive use of active verbs in this context (see the note on v. 32 above). The RSV (cf. also the NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT) translates, “And Moses did as the Lord commanded him,” ignoring the fact that the name Moses in the Hebrew text has the direct object indicator. Passive verbs, however, regularly take subjects with direct object indicators (see, e.g., v. 27 above). The NIV renders it “And it was done, as the Lord commanded Moses,” following the LXX passive translation. The NASB translates, “And just as the Lord had commanded Moses, so he did,” transposing the introductory verb to the end of the sentence and supplying “so” in order to make it fit the context.



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