Atonement

Leviticus 3-5: Paying for your sins

While Moses now had a collection of tasty sacrificial recipes, the Lord added a footnote that the Israelites must not eat any fat nor blood. He then outlined several possible scenarios in which a person may unintentionally sin, and the various types of animals to be sacrificed, the methods to be used, and where and how to splash the blood. For example:

  • If it was a priest unintentionally sins, he must sacrifice a bull, and take a bowl of blood into the tent. He must then dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, and burn the fat and organs of the bull, but burn the rest of the animal outside the tent.
  • If a person accidentally touches something ceremonially unclean, such as the carcass of an unclean animal (whatever that is – we haven’t been advised yet), when they finally do realize their idiotic mistake, they must pay for their sin by sacrificing a female lamb.
  • If a person sins, but is so poor that they can’t afford to sacrifice a lamb, they must sacrifice two pigeons. If they’re poorer still and can’t even afford that, they’re not off the hook – everybody pays. The poorest of the poor must sacrifice some of their best grain.

Of course, these don’t override previous punishments. For example, if one accidentally does work on the Sabbath – say by lighting a fire before they realize it’s Sabbath Day – they must be put to death. Similarly, if in a temporary lapse of judgement a person curses his mother or father, they must be put to death.

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