Sin offerings

Jonathan D. Safren yonsaf at
Sun Oct 4 10:36:22 EDT 1998

Peter_Kirk at wrote:

> Jonathan Safren writes: "the type of sacrifice known as hattat, of
> which several are offered in Lev. 16, has nothing to with sin, put is
> instead a "purification offering" "
> That may be so in Lev. 16, but surely not in Leviticus 4, e.g. v.3
> (v.14 is similar):
> ...w:hiqriyb (al xa++f)tow :a$er xf+f) b.en-b.fqfr t.fmiym layhwh
> l:xa++f)t
> Here xa++f)t is used in two senses: the first is clearly a sin
> (defined in v.2 as doing what is forbidden in the Lord's commandments)
> and the verb xf+f) (qal) = "commit sin" is used; and the second is
> some kind of sacrifice. I think the repeated use of these two senses
> in such close conjunction, and of the sacrifice sense with the qal
> verb (5:6,7,11), in this part of Leviticus must imply a close link
> between the meanings.
> Also, how does he account for the use of xa++f)t and kpr (piel) in
> close connection with slx (niphal), usually translated "forgiven"
> (e.g. Lev. 4:20)? I take this to refer to some sin or offence rather
> than simply ritual impurity.

A reading of the text of Lev. 4 would appear to indicate you are right on that score;
but I wonder what Milgrom in his Anchor Bible commentary, HAL and ABD (or any other
recent commentary or study referring to these terms) have to say on that score. Since
our library is closed for the entire Sukkot holiday, I wonder if you or another lister
could check this one out.
BTW, I seem to remember a dissertation published by University Microfilms on the term
"sin: in the Bible".
Jonathan D. Safren
Dept. of Biblical Studies
Beit Berl College
44905 Beit Berl Post Office

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