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Leviticus 16

Rules about the Day of Atonement

1 The LORD spoke to Moses after the two sons of Aaron died. The gift that they gave to the LORD was not holy. So they died. 2 The Most Holy Place in the Tent of Meeting is behind the curtain. The LORD said to Moses, ‘Your brother Aaron cannot go behind the curtain at any time that he wants to. Tell him that. The LORD appears in a cloud over the lid of the Covenant Box. So Aaron will die if he does not obey the LORD.

3 This is how Aaron must go into the Most Holy Place. He must bring a young bull (a male cow) for a sin offering. He must also bring a male sheep for a burnt offering. 4 He must wash his body before he puts on his special clothes. He must wear his linen robe and linen clothes next to his body. They are holy. He must tie a linen belt round his body. He must put the linen hat on his head. These clothes are holy. 5 He must take two male goats for a sin offering. And he must take a male sheep as an offering to burn on the altar. They are a gift from Israel's people.

6 Aaron must offer the bull (male cow) as an atonement to the Lord for himself, his family and his servants. 7 He must take the two goats to the door of the Tent of Meeting. They are a gift to the LORD. 8 He must use the special stones. They will help him to decide what he should do. He must decide which goat is for the LORD. And he must decide which goat he must send away. 9 Aaron must take the goat that is for the LORD. And he must kill it. It is a sin offering. 10 He must not kill the other goat. It is an atonement to the LORD. It will pay for the bad things that the people have done. It is to take away the people's punishment. He must send it away into the desert.’

16:10Verse 8 The special stones were called ‘Urim’ and ‘Thummim’. See Deuteronomy 33:8.

11 ‘Aaron must bring the bull (male cow) and he must kill it. It is his atonement for his family's sins. 12 He must take a pot of the hot material. It is burning on the altar in front of the LORD. He must fill his two hands with incense. He must take the hot material and the incense behind the curtain. 13 He must put the incense on the burning material. It is in front of the LORD. The smoke will cover the lid of the Covenant Box. So he will not die. 14 He must take with him blood from the bull. He must use his finger to shake the blood. He must shake it on to the lid of the Covenant Box. He must shake the blood in front of the lid of the Covenant Box. He must shake it seven times with his finger.

15 Aaron must kill the goat for the sin offering. It is a gift from the people. He must take the blood behind the curtain. He must shake the blood on the lid of the Covenant Box as he did with the bull's blood. And he must shake the blood in front of the lid of the Covenant Box. 16 This will make atonement for all the sins of Israel's people. This will make the Holy Place clean. Aaron must do the same for the Tent of Meeting. That is because the people have done bad things in the camp. The Tent of meeting is in the middle of the camp. 17 Aaron must give the offerings to God. He must give them for his family and he must give them for his servants. He must give them for all the people. Nobody can go into the Tent of Meeting while Aaron is in the Most Holy Place. He must be alone when he goes in. And he must be alone until he comes out. He must be alone when he gives the offerings to God. Those offerings are for himself, for his family and for all Israel's people.

18 He must go to the altar that is in front of the LORD. He must make atonement for it. He must take blood from the bull (male cow) and blood from the goat. He must put the blood on the corners of the altar. 19 He must shake blood on the altar seven times to make it clean.

A goat will carry away all the bad things that the people have done

20 Aaron must first atone for the Most Holy Place, the Tent of meeting and the altar. Then he must bring the goat that is alive. 21 He must put his hands on the goat's head. He must speak aloud all the bad things that Israel's people have done. Then all the bad things will be on the goat's head. Aaron must tell a man that he must send the goat away into the desert. 22 The goat will carry all the sins of the people into the desert. The man must send it away into the desert.

23 Aaron must go into the Tent of Meeting. He must take off the holy clothes. The holy clothes must stay in the Tent of Meeting. 24 He must wash his body in a holy place. He must put on his own clothes. He must leave the holy place. Then he must sacrifice the burnt offerings. They will make atonement for himself and for the people. 25 And he must also burn the fat from the sin offering on the altar.

26 The person who sent the goat away must wash his clothes and his body. He can return to the camp. 27 Aaron had killed a bull (male cow) and a goat. He took their blood into the Most Holy Place to make atonement. Someone must carry their dead bodies outside the camp. He must burn them. That man must burn the skin, the meat and the inside parts. 28 The man who burnt the animals must wash his clothes and his body. Then he can return to the camp.

29 On the 10th (tenth) day of the 7th (seventh) month, Israel's people must not eat any food. This is a rule that you must obey for all time. The people who are travelling with them must not eat any food. None of them must do any work. 30 This day will make them clean from all their sins. The LORD will see them as clean people. This will be the Day of Atonement. 31 It is a day when you do not eat any food. It is a day for rest. This is a rule from God and you must do this every year. 32 The High Priest is a chosen son of Aaron. And he must make atonement. He will put on the holy clothes. He will bring the people's offerings. 33 He will make atonement for the Most Holy Place. He will make atonement for the Tent of Meeting. He will make atonement for the altar. He will make atonement for the priests and for all the people.

34 He will make atonement for all the Israelites' sins once every year. This rule is for now and for all time.’

The people did everything quite as the LORD had told Moses.