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Leviticus 4:13-21

For the Whole Congregation

4:13 “‘If the whole congregation of Israel strays unintentionally 1  and the matter is not noticed by 2  the assembly, and they violate one of the Lord’s commandments, which must not be violated, 3  so they become guilty, 4:14 the assembly must present a young bull for a sin offering when the sin they have committed 4  becomes known. They must bring it before the Meeting Tent, 4:15 the elders of the congregation must lay their hands on the head of the bull before the Lord, and someone must slaughter 5  the bull before the Lord. 4:16 Then the high priest 6  must bring some of the blood of the bull to the Meeting Tent, 4:17 and that priest must dip his finger in the blood 7  and sprinkle 8  some of the blood seven times 9  before the Lord toward 10  the front of the veil-canopy. 11  4:18 He must put some of the blood on the horns of the altar 12  which is before the Lord in the Meeting Tent, and all the rest of the blood he must pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the Meeting Tent.

4:19 “‘Then the priest 13  must take all its fat 14  and offer the fat 15  up in smoke on the altar. 4:20 He must do with the rest of the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; this is what he must do with it. 16  So the priest will make atonement 17  on their behalf and they will be forgiven. 18  4:21 He 19  must bring the rest of the bull outside the camp 20  and burn it just as he burned the first bull – it is the sin offering of the assembly.

1 tn Heb “strays”; KJV “sin through ignorance.” The verb “strays” here is the verbal form of the noun in the expression “by straying” (see the note on Lev 4:2 above).

2 tn Heb “is concealed from the eyes of”; NASB, NRSV, NLT “escapes the notice of.”

3 tn Heb “and they do one from all the commandments of the Lord which must not be done” (cf. v. 2).

4 tn Heb “and the sin which they committed on it becomes known”; KJV “which they have sinned against it.” The Hebrew עָלֶיהָ (’aleha, “on it”) probably refers back to “one of the commandments” in v. 13 (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:243).

5 tn Heb “and he shall slaughter.” The singular verb seems to refer to an individual who represents the whole congregation, perhaps one of the elders referred to at the beginning of the verse, or the officiating priest (cf. v. 21). The LXX and Syriac make the verb plural, referring to “the elders of the congregation.”

6 tn Heb “the anointed priest” (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV). This refers to the high priest (cf. TEV).

7 tn The words “in the blood” are not repeated in the Hebrew text at this point, but must be supplied in the English translation for clarity.

8 tn The Hebrew verb וְהִזָּה (vÿhizzah, Hiphil of נָזָה, nazah) does indeed mean “sprinkle” or “splatter.” Contrast the different Hebrew verb translated “splash” in Lev 1:5 (זָרָק, zaraq).

9 tc The MT reads literally, “and the priest shall dip his finger from the blood and sprinkle seven times.” This is awkward. Compare v. 6, which has literally, “and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle from the blood seven times.” The MT appears to be corrupt by haplography (i.e., assuming v. 6 to be the correct form, in v. 17 the scribe skipped from “his finger” to “from the blood,” thus missing “in the blood”) and metathesis (i.e., this also resulted in a text where “from the blood” stands before “sprinkle” rather than after it; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 47).

10 tn See the note on v. 6 above.

11 tn See the note on v. 6 above.

12 sn See v. 7, where this altar is identified as the altar of fragrant incense.

13 tn Heb “Then he”; the referent has been specified in the translation for clarity. Based on the parallel statement in 4:10 and 4:31, it is the priest who performs this action rather than the person who brought the offering.

14 tn Heb “take up all its fat from it”; NASB “shall remove all its fat from it.”

sn See the full discussion of the fat regulations in Lev 4:8-9 above.

15 tn Heb “it”; the referent (the fat) has been specified in the translation for clarity. Only the fat is meant here, since the “rest” of the bull is mentioned in v. 21.

16 sn Cf. Lev 4:11-12 above for the disposition of “the [rest of] the bull.”

17 sn The focus of sin offering “atonement” was purging impurities from the tabernacle (see the note on Lev 1:4).

18 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to them” or “it shall be forgiven to them.”

19 sn See the note on the word “slaughter” in v. 15.

20 tn Heb “And he shall bring out the bull to from outside to the camp.”

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