Note: at the end of today’s Portion of Bible Text, you will find my thoughts on the verses. B.K.
4 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:
3 If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering.
4 And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock’s head, and kill the bullock before the Lord.
5 And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock’s blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:
6 And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, before the vail of the sanctuary.
7 And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
8 And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
9 And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away,
10 As it was taken off from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the burnt offering.
11 And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung,
12 Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.
In Leviticus 4 the discussion of laws for sacrifice centers on the sacrifice for a sin offering. It begins by saying, “If a soul shall sin through ignorance…” and continues to delineate the offerings required to be sacrificed by those who commit sin.
Verse 3 mentions the sin of the priest and tells how the sacrifice for the sin offering will be carried out.
My thought originally was that the sin offering, a bullock, might be a more expensive offering than the young kid or lamb that was to be offered for a “firstfruits” offering or a “peace offering because the lamb and kid were required offerings for all Israelites while the sin offering was conditional upon a sin being committed. However, after looking ahead, I see that while the offering for sin of the entire community is a bullock, the sin offering for a ruler and for the common people is not an expensive bullock but a young goat without blemish. (We will see this as we continue reading Leviticus 4.) Apparently because the priests held a higher position in the community, they must make a greater sacrifice.
You will note that the preparation of the bullock however was much the same as that of the kid or lamb for the other sacrifices. As I read the instructions, I continue to believe that cleanliness and safety of the food sources was a primary motivation to the careful instructions given by the Lord. This is reinforced by this final verse of today’s selection:
“Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.”
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