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Leviticus 4:22-26

For the Leader

4:22 “‘Whenever 1  a leader, by straying unintentionally, 2  sins and violates one of the commandments of the Lord his God which must not be violated, 3  and he pleads guilty, 4:23 or his sin that he committed 4  is made known to him, 5  he must bring a flawless male goat as his offering. 6  4:24 He must lay his hand on the head of the male goat and slaughter 7  it in the place where the burnt offering is slaughtered before the Lord – it is a sin offering. 4:25 Then the priest must take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and he must pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 4:26 Then the priest 8  must offer all of its fat up in smoke on the altar like the fat of the peace offering sacrifice. So the priest will make atonement 9  on his behalf for 10  his sin and he will be forgiven. 11 

1 tn This section begins with the relative pronoun אֲשֶׁר (’asher) which usually means “who” or “which,” but here means “whenever.”

2 tn See the Lev 4:2 note on “straying.”

3 tn Heb “and does one from all the commandments of the Lord his God which must not be done”; cf. NRSV “ought not to be done”; NIV “does what is forbidden in any of the commands.”

4 tn Heb “or his sin which he sinned in it is made known to him”; NAB “if he learns of the sin he committed.”

5 tn Lev 4:22b-23a is difficult. The present translation suggests that there are two possible legal situations envisioned, separated by the Hebrew אוֹ (’o, “or”) at the beginning of v. 23. Lev 4:22b refers to any case in which the leader readily admits his guilt (i.e., “pleads guilty”), whereas v. 23a refers to cases where the leader is convicted of his guilt by legal action (“his sin…is made known to him”). See R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:95-96; Lev 4:27-28; and esp. the notes on Lev 5:1 below.

6 tn Heb “a he-goat of goats, a male without defect”; cf. NLT “with no physical defects.”

7 tn The LXX has a plural form here and also for the same verb later in the verse. See the note on Lev 1:5a.

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

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

10 tn Heb “from.” In this phrase the preposition מִן (min) may be referring to the reason or cause (“on account of, because of”; GKC 383 §119.z). As J. E. Hartley (Leviticus [WBC], 47) points out, “from” may refer to the removal of the sin, but is an awkward expression. Hartley also suggests that the phrasing might be “an elliptical expression for יְכַפֵּר עַל־לְטַהֵר אֶת־מִן, ‘he will make expiation for…to cleanse…from…,’ as in 16:30.”

11 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).

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