Bible Society of South Africa

Bible Reading Plan – Day 33

Bible text(s)

The Day of Atonement

1The LORD spoke to Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron who were killed when they offered unholy fire to the LORD. 2He said, “Tell your brother Aaron that only at the proper time is he to go behind the curtain into the Most Holy Place, because that is where I appear in a cloud above the lid on the Covenant Box. If he disobeys, he will be killed. 3He may enter the Most Holy Place only after he has brought a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.”

4Then the LORD gave the following instructions. Before Aaron goes into the Most Holy Place, he must have a bath and put on the priestly garments: the linen robe and shorts, the belt, and the turban.

5The community of Israel shall give Aaron two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 6He shall offer a bull as a sacrifice to take away his own sins and those of his family. 7Then he shall take the two goats to the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence. 8There he shall draw lots, using two stones, one marked “for the LORD” and the other “for Azazel”. 9Aaron shall sacrifice the goat chosen by lot for the LORD and offer it as a sin offering. 10The goat chosen for Azazel shall be presented alive to the LORD and sent off into the desert to Azazel, in order to take away the sins of the people.

11When Aaron sacrifices the bull as the sin offering for himself and his family, 12he shall take a firepan full of burning coals from the altar and two handfuls of fine incense and bring them into the Most Holy Place. 13There in the LORD's presence he shall put the incense on the fire, and the smoke of the incense will hide the lid of the Covenant Box so that he will not see it and die. 14He shall take some of the bull's blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the lid and then sprinkle some of it seven times in front of the Covenant Box.

15After that, he shall kill the goat for the sin offering for the people, bring its blood into the Most Holy Place, and sprinkle it on the lid and then in front of the Covenant Box, as he did with the bull's blood. 16In this way he will perform the ritual to purify the Most Holy Place from the uncleanness of the people of Israel and from all their sins. He must do this to the Tent, because it stands in the middle of the camp, which is ritually unclean. 17From the time Aaron enters the Most Holy Place to perform the ritual of purification until he comes out, there must be no one in the Tent. When he has performed the ritual for himself, his family, and the whole community, 18he must then go out to the altar for burnt offerings and purify it. He must take some of the bull's blood and some of the goat's blood and put it all over the projections at the corners of the altar. 19With his finger he must sprinkle some of the blood on the altar seven times. In this way he is to purify it from the sins of the people of Israel and make it holy.

The Scapegoat

20When Aaron has finished performing the ritual to purify the Most Holy Place, the rest of the Tent of the LORD's presence, and the altar, he shall present to the LORD the live goat chosen for Azazel. 21He shall put both his hands on the goat's head and confess over it all the evils, sins, and rebellions of the people of Israel, and so transfer them to the goat's head. Then the goat is to be driven off into the desert by someone appointed to do it. 22The goat will carry all their sins away with him into some uninhabited land.

23Then Aaron shall go into the Tent, take off the priestly garments that he had put on before entering the Most Holy Place, and leave them there. 24He must bathe in a holy place and put on his own clothes. After that, he shall go out and offer the burnt offering to remove his own sins and those of the people. 25He shall burn on the altar the fat of the animal for the sin offering. 26The man who drove the goat into the desert to Azazel must wash his clothes and have a bath before he comes back into camp. 27The bull and the goat used for the sin offering, whose blood was brought into the Most Holy Place to take away sin, shall be carried outside the camp and burnt. Skin, meat, and intestines shall all be burnt. 28The one who burns them must wash his clothes and have a bath before he returns to camp.

Observing the Day of Atonement

29The following regulations are to be observed for all time to come. On the tenth day of the seventh month the Israelites and the foreigners living among them must fast and must not do any work. 30On that day the ritual is to be performed to purify them from all their sins, so that they will be ritually clean. 31That day is to be a very holy day, one on which they fast and do no work at all. These regulations are to be observed for all time to come. 32The High Priest, properly ordained and consecrated to succeed his father, is to perform the ritual of purification. He shall put on the priestly garments 33and perform the ritual to purify the Most Holy Place, the rest of the Tent of the LORD's presence, the altar, the priests, and all the people of the community. 34These regulations are to be observed for all time to come. This ritual must be performed once a year to purify the people of Israel from all their sins.

So Moses did as the Lord had commanded.

The Sacredness of Blood

1The Lord commanded Moses 2to give Aaron and his sons and all the people of Israel the following regulations. 3-4An Israelite who kills a cow or a sheep or a goat as an offering to the LORD anywhere except at the entrance of the Tent of the LORD's presence has broken the Law. He has shed blood and shall no longer be considered one of God's people. 5The meaning of this command is that the people of Israel shall now bring to the LORD the animals which they used to kill in the open country. They shall now bring them to the priest at the entrance of the Tent and kill them as fellowship offerings. 6The priest shall throw the blood against the sides of the altar at the entrance of the Tent and burn the fat to produce a smell that is pleasing to the LORD. 7The people of Israel must no longer be unfaithful to the LORD by killing their animals in the fields as sacrifices to the goat-demons. The people of Israel must keep this regulation for all time to come.

8Any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community who offers a burnt offering or any other sacrifice 9as an offering to the LORD anywhere except at the entrance of the Tent shall no longer be considered one of God's people.

10If any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community eats meat with blood still in it, the LORD will turn against him and no longer consider him one of his people. 11The life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the LORD has commanded that all blood be poured out on the altar to take away the people's sins. Blood, which is life, takes away sins. 12That is why the LORD has told the people of Israel that neither they nor any foreigner living among them shall eat any meat with blood still in it.

13If any Israelite or any foreigner living in the community hunts an animal or a bird which is ritually clean, he must pour out its blood on the ground and cover it with earth. 14The life of every living thing is in the blood, and that is why the LORD has told the people of Israel that they shall not eat any meat with blood still in it and that anyone who does so will no longer be considered one of his people.

15Any person, Israelite or foreigner, who eats meat from an animal that has died a natural death or has been killed by wild animals must wash his clothes, have a bath, and wait until evening before he is ritually clean. 16If he does not, he must suffer the consequences.

Forbidden Sexual Practices

1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the people of Israel, “I am the LORD your God. 3Do not follow the practices of the people of Egypt, where you once lived, or of the people in the land of Canaan, where I am now taking you. 4Obey my laws and do what I command. I am the LORD your God. 5Follow the practices and the laws that I give you; you will save your life by doing so. I am the LORD.”

6The LORD gave the following regulations. Do not have sexual intercourse with any of your relatives. 7Do not disgrace your father by having intercourse with your mother. You must not disgrace your own mother. 8Do not disgrace your father by having intercourse with any of his other wives. 9Do not have intercourse with your sister or your stepsister, whether or not she was brought up in the same house with you. 10Do not have intercourse with your granddaughter; that would be a disgrace to you. 11Do not have intercourse with a half-sister; she, too, is your sister. 12-13Do not have intercourse with an aunt, whether she is your father's sister or your mother's sister. 14Do not have intercourse with your uncle's wife; she, too, is your aunt. 15Do not have intercourse with your daughter-in-law 16or with your brother's wife. 17Do not have intercourse with the daughter or granddaughter of a woman with whom you have had intercourse; they may be related to you, and that would be incest. 18Do not take your wife's sister as one of your wives, as long as your wife is living.

19Do not have intercourse with a woman during her monthly period, because she is ritually unclean. 20Do not have intercourse with another man's wife; that would make you ritually unclean. 21Do not hand over any of your children to be used in the worship of the god Molech, because that would bring disgrace on the name of God, the LORD. 22No man is to have sexual relations with another man; God hates that. 23No man or woman is to have sexual relations with an animal; that perversion makes you ritually unclean.

24Do not make yourselves unclean by any of these acts, for that is how the pagans made themselves unclean, those pagans who lived in the land before you and whom the LORD is driving out so that you can go in. 25Their actions made the land unclean, and so the LORD is punishing the land and making it reject the people who lived there. 26-27They did all these disgusting things and made the land unclean, but you must not do them. All of you, whether Israelites or foreigners living with you, must keep the LORD's laws and commands, 28and then the land will not reject you, as it rejected the pagans who lived there before you. 29You know that whoever does any of these disgusting things will no longer be considered one of God's people.

30And the LORD said, “Obey the commands I give and do not follow the practices of the people who lived in the land before you, and do not make yourselves unclean by doing any of these things. I am the LORD your God.”

Laws of Holiness and Justice

1The LORD told Moses 2to say to the community of Israel, “Be holy, because I, the LORD your God, am holy. 3Each of you must respect his mother and his father, and must keep the Sabbath, as I have commanded. I am the LORD your God.

4“Do not abandon me and worship idols; do not make gods of metal and worship them. I am the LORD your God.

5“When you kill an animal for a fellowship offering, keep the regulations that I have given you, and I will accept the offering. 6The meat must be eaten on the day the animal is killed or on the next day. Any meat left on the third day must be burnt, 7because it is ritually unclean, and if anyone eats it, I will not accept the offering. 8Anyone who eats it will be guilty of treating as ordinary what is dedicated to me, and he will no longer be considered one of my people.

9“When you harvest your fields, do not cut the corn at the edges of the fields, and do not go back to cut the ears of corn that were left. 10Do not go back through your vineyard to gather the grapes that were missed or to pick up the grapes that have fallen; leave them for poor people and foreigners. I am the LORD your God.

11“Do not steal or cheat or lie. 12Do not make a promise in my name if you do not intend to keep it; that brings disgrace on my name. I am the LORD your God.

13“Do not take advantage of anyone or rob him. Do not hold back the wages of someone you have hired, not even for one night. 14Do not curse a deaf man or put something in front of a blind man so as to make him stumble over it. Obey me; I am the LORD your God.

15“Be honest and just when you make decisions in legal cases; do not show favouritism to the poor or fear the rich. 16Do not spread lies about anyone, and when someone is on trial for his life, speak out if your testimony can help him. I am the LORD.

17“Do not bear a grudge against anyone, but settle your differences with him, so that you will not commit a sin because of him. 18Do not take revenge on anyone or continue to hate him, but love your neighbour as you love yourself. I am the LORD.

19“Obey my commands. Do not crossbreed domestic animals. Do not plant two kinds of seed in the same field. Do not wear clothes made of two kinds of material.

20“If a slave woman is the recognized concubine of a man and she has not been paid for and freed, then if another man has sexual relations with her, they will be punished but not put to death, since she is a slave. 21The man shall bring a ram to the entrance of the Tent of my presence as his repayment offering, 22and with it the priest shall perform the ritual of purification to remove the man's sin, and God will forgive him.

23“When you come into the land of Canaan and plant any kind of fruit tree, consider the fruit ritually unclean for the first three years. During that time you must not eat it. 24In the fourth year all the fruit shall be dedicated as an offering to show your gratitude to me, the LORD. 25But in the fifth year you may eat the fruit. If you do all this, your trees will bear more fruit. I am the LORD your God.

26“Do not eat any meat with blood still in it. Do not practise any kind of magic. 27Do not cut the hair on the sides of your head or trim your beard 28or tattoo yourselves or cut gashes in your body to mourn for the dead. I am the LORD.

29“Do not disgrace your daughters by making them temple prostitutes; if you do, you will turn to other gods and the land will be full of immorality. 30Keep the Sabbath, and honour the place where I am worshipped. I am the LORD.

31“Do not go for advice to people who consult the spirits of the dead. If you do, you will be ritually unclean. I am the LORD your God.

32“Show respect for old people and honour them. Reverently obey me; I am the LORD.

33“Do not ill-treat foreigners who are living in your land. 34Treat them as you would a fellow-Israelite, and love them as you love yourselves. Remember that you were once foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.

35“Do not cheat anyone by using false measures of length, weight, or quantity. 36Use honest scales, honest weights, and honest measures. I am the LORD your God, and I brought you out of Egypt. 37Obey all my laws and commands. I am the LORD.”

Leviticus 16:1-19:37GNBOpen in Bible reader
Bible Society of South Africav.4.16.20
Find us on