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Leviticus 4:3-12

Context
For the Priest

4:3 “‘If the high priest 1  sins so that the people are guilty, 2  on account of the sin he has committed he must present a flawless young bull to the Lord 3  for a sin offering. 4  4:4 He must bring the bull to the entrance of the Meeting Tent before the Lord, lay his hand on the head of the bull, and slaughter the bull before the Lord. 4:5 Then that high priest must take some of the blood 5  of the bull and bring it to the Meeting Tent. 4:6 The priest must dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle 6  some of it 7  seven times before the Lord toward 8  the front of the veil-canopy 9  of the sanctuary. 4:7 The priest must put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense that is before the Lord in the Meeting Tent, and all the rest of the bull’s blood he must pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering that is at the entrance of the Meeting Tent.

4:8 “‘Then he must take up all the fat from the sin offering bull: 10  the fat covering the entrails 11  and all the fat surrounding the entrails, 12  4:9 the two kidneys with the fat on their sinews, and the protruding lobe on the liver (which he is to remove along with the kidneys) 13  4:10 – just as it is taken from the ox of the peace offering sacrifice 14  – and the priest must offer them up in smoke on the altar of burnt offering. 4:11 But the hide of the bull, all its flesh along with its head and its legs, its entrails, and its dung – 4:12 all the rest of the bull 15  – he must bring outside the camp 16  to a ceremonially clean place, 17  to the fatty ash pile, 18  and he must burn 19  it on a wood fire; it must be burned on the fatty ash pile.

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

2 tn Heb “to the guilt of the people”; NRSV “thus bringing guilt on the people.”

3 tn Heb “and he shall offer on his sin which he sinned, a bull, a son of the herd, flawless.”

4 sn The word for “sin offering” (sometimes translated “purification offering”) is the same as the word for “sin” earlier in the verse. One can tell which rendering is intended only by the context. The primary purpose of the “sin offering” (חַטָּאת, khattat) was to “purge” (כִּפֶּר, kipper, “to make atonement,” see 4:20, 26, 31, 35, and the notes on Lev 1:4 and esp. Lev 16:20, 33) the sanctuary or its furniture in order to cleanse it from any impurities and/or (re)consecrate it for holy purposes (see, e.g., Lev 8:15; 16:19). By making this atonement the impurities of the person or community were cleansed and the people became clean. See R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:93-103.

5 tn Heb “from the blood of the bull” (and similarly throughout this chapter).

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

7 tn Heb “of the blood.” The relative pronoun (“it”) has been used in the translation here for stylistic reasons.

8 tn The particle here translated “toward” usually serves as a direct object indicator or a preposition meaning “with.” With the verb of motion it probably means “toward,” “in the direction of” (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:234; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 60); cf. NAB, CEV.

9 tn The Hebrew term פָּרֹכֶת (parokhet) is usually translated “veil” (e.g., ASV, NAB, NASB) or “curtain” (e.g., NIV, NRSV), but it seems to have stretched not only in front of but also over the top of the ark of the covenant which stood behind and under it inside the most holy place (see R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 3:687-89).

10 tn Heb “all the fat of the bull of the sin offering he shall take up from it.”

11 tc The MT has here the preposition עַל (’al, “on, upon” [i.e., “which covers on the entrails,” as awkward in Hebrew as it is in English]), but Smr, LXX, Syriac, and Targums read אֶת (’et), which is what would be expected (i.e., “which covers the entrails”; cf. Lev 3:3, 9, 14). It may have been mistakenly inserted here under the influence of “on (עַל) the entrails” at the end of the verse.

12 tn Heb “and all the fat on the entrails.” The fat layer that covers the entrails as a whole (i.e., “that covers the entrails”) is different from the fat that surrounds and adheres to the various organs (“on the entrails,” i.e., surrounding them; J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:205-7).

13 tn Heb “and the protruding lobe on the liver on the kidneys he shall remove it.”

14 tn Heb “taken up from”; KJV, ASV “taken off from”; NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV “removed.” See the notes on Lev 3:3-4 above (cf. also 3:9-10, 14-15).

15 tn All of v. 11 is a so-called casus pendens (also known as an extraposition or a nominative absolute), which means that it anticipates the next verse, being the full description of “all (the rest of) the bull” (lit. “all the bull”) at the beginning of v. 12 (actually after the first verb of the verse; see the next note below).

16 tn Heb “And he (the offerer) shall bring out all the bull to from outside to the camp to a clean place.”

17 tn Heb “a clean place,” but referring to a place that is ceremonially clean. This has been specified in the translation for clarity.

18 tn Heb “the pouring out [place] of fatty ash.”

19 tn Heb “burn with fire.” This expression is somewhat redundant in English, so the translation collocates “fire” with “wood,” thus “a wood fire.”



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