Atonement in the Pentateuch

Peter_Kirk at Peter_Kirk at
Tue Sep 29 01:03:00 EDT 1998

Ben Crick writes, concerning Leviticus 8:15:

To my mind, a more accurate rendition would be:
"and he poured the blood upon the base of the altar, *and he 
sanctified it, to make atonement thereupon*".

The atonement is not for the profanity of the altar, but for the sins
of the people, on whose behalf sin-offerings *are going to be 
continuously offered upon* this newly-consecrated altar.


This interpretation may be possible for this verse, but unfortunately 
it does not work for Leviticus 14:53: w:kipper (al-habbayit w:+ at h"r 
(read "wetaher" at the end!), as clearly the formerly "leprous" house 
was not going to be used as an altar, it was simply being made clean 
by the ceremony (including blood sacrifice) described here. Indeed 
14:53 is parallel with 14:20: w:kipper (@l at yw hakkoh"n w:+ at h"r - which 
describes the cleansing of the formerly "leprous" person. So I think 
we must go back to the idea of the altar, the house and the person 
being cleansed or purged through the ceremony.

Peter Kirk

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