Atonement in the Pentateuch

Bryan Rocine 596547 at
Sun Sep 27 21:43:18 EDT 1998

Hi Jonathan,

In legal portions of the Tanakh, _KiP.uRiyM_ seems to be distinct from
_+ at H@:R at H_, the former resulting in the latter, lending credence to what
say, Jonathan.  See Lev 16:30 or Num 8:21.   What could result in purity
other than purgation?  Hebrews 9:22 also confirms, giving the early Jewish
Christian interpretation:  "Under the law almost all things are *purified*
with blood."  

 2 Chr 30:18 _YHWH Ha+.oB Y:KaP."R B:)aD_  "The good
YHWH pardon it"  is an interesting case.  Hezekiah requests _KiP.uRiyM_
*without* a proper purgation rite.  It seems like the decision of most
English translations to translate the _KPR_ verb using "pardon" is a good
choice.  There's some semantic 'wandering' going on here, right?  How
exceptional is the case?  

btw, Here's my face while typing with our new and improved transliteration
scheme:   /8-\
when I proofread this post I caught a number of mistakes in my
transliteration.  Have I been making a mess?  KaP."R me.  I'll keep trying.


> From: Jonathan D. Safren <yonsaf at>
> To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
> Cc: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
> Subject: Re: Atonement in the Pentateuch
> Date: Sunday, September 27, 1998 5:02 PM
> Biblical Hebrew kipper does not mean "atone" but rather "purify, purge".
> Yom Kippur was originally the Day of Purgation (of the priests, the
> people, the temple and its accoutrements. See Milgrom's commentary on
> Leviticus in the Anchor Bible series.
> --
> Jonathan D. Safren
> Dept. of Biblical Studies
> Beit Berl College
> 44905 Beit Berl Post Office
> Israel

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