Leviticus 16


The solemn yearly expiation for the high priest, who must not

come at all times into the holy place, 1, 2.

He must take a bullock for a sin-offering, and a ram for a

burnt-offering, bathe himself, and be dressed in his sacerdotal

robes, 3, 4.

He shall take two goats, one of which is to be determined by

lot to be a sacrifice; the other to be a scapegoat, 5-10.

He shall offer a bullock for himself and for his family, 11-14.

And shall kill the goat as a sin-offering for the people, and

sprinkle its blood upon the mercy-seat, and hallow the altar of

burnt-offerings, 15-19.

The scapegoat shall be then brought, on the head of which he

shall lay his hands, and confess the iniquities of the children

of Israel; after which the goat shall be permitted to escape to

the wilderness, 20-22.

After this Aaron shall bathe himself, and make a burnt-offering

for himself and for the people, 23-28.

This is to be an everlasting statute, and the day on which the

atonement is to be made shall be a Sabbath, or day of rest,

through all their generations, 29-34.


Verse 1. After the death of the two sons of Aaron] It

appears from this verse that the natural place of this chapter

is immediately after the tenth, where probably it originally

stood; but the transposition, if it did take place, must be very

ancient, as all the versions acknowledge this chapter in the

place in which it now stands.

Verse 2. That he come not at all times into the holy place]

By the holy place we are to understand here what is ordinarily

called the Holy of Holies, or most holy place; that place within

the veil where the ark of the covenant, &c., were laid up; and

where God manifested his presence between the cherubim. In

ordinary cases the high priest could enter this place only once

in the year, that is, on the day of annual atonement; but in

extraordinary cases he might enter more frequently, viz., while

in the wilderness, in decamping and encamping, he must enter to

take down or adjust the things; and on solemn pressing public

occasions, he was obliged to enter in order to consult the Lord:

but he never entered without the deepest reverence and due


That it may appear that the grand subject of this chapter, the

ordinance of the scape-goat, typified the death and resurrection

of Christ, and the atonement thereby made, I beg leave to refer

to Heb 9:7-12, and Heb 9:24-26, which I shall here transcribe,

because it is a key to the whole of this chapter. "Into the

second [tabernacle] went the high priest alone once every year,

not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the

errors of the people. The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the

way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as

the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for

the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and

sacrifices that could not make him that did the service perfect,

as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and

drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on

them until the time of reformation. But Christ being come, a

high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more

perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of

this building; neither by the BLOOD of GOATS and CALVES, but by

his OWN BLOOD; he entered into the holy place, having obtained

eternal redemption for us. For Christ is not entered into the

holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true;

but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for

us: nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high

priest entereth into the holy place every year with the blood of

others; (for then must he often have suffered since the

foundation of the world;) but now once in the end of the world,


Verse 3. With a young bullock for a sin-offering]

The bullock was presented as a sin-offering for himself, his

family, the whole priesthood, and probably the Levites. The

ram was for a burnt-offering, to signify that he and his

associates were wholly consecrated, and to be wholly employed in

this work of the ministry. The ceremonies with which these two

sacrifices were accompanied are detailed in the following verses.

Verse 4. He shall put on the holy linen coat] He was not to

dress in his pontifical garments, but in the simple sacerdotal

vestments, or those of the Levites, because it was a day of

humiliation; and as he was to offer sacrifices for his own sins,

it was necessary that he should appear in habits suited to the

occasion. Hence he has neither the robe, the ephod, the

breastplate, the mitre, &c.; these constituted his dress of

dignity as the high priest of God, ministering for others and

the representative of Christ: but now he appears, before God as

a sinner, offering an atonement for his transgressions, and his

garments are those of humiliation.

Verse 7. And he shall take the two goats] It is allowed on

all hands that this ceremony, taken in all its parts, pointed

out the Lord Jesus dying for our sins and rising again for our

justification; being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by

the Spirit. Two goats are brought, one to be slain as a

sacrifice for sin, the other to have the transgressions of the

people confessed over his head, and then to be sent away into

the wilderness. The animal by this act was represented as

bearing away or carrying off the sins of the people. The two

goats made only one sacrifice, yet only one of them was slain.

One animal could not point out both the Divine and human nature

of Christ, nor show both his death and resurrection, for the

goat that was killed could not be made alive. The Divine and

human natures in Christ were essential to the grand expiation:

yet the human nature alone suffered, for the Divine nature could

not suffer; but its presence in the human nature, while

agonizing unto death, stamped those agonies, and the consequent

death, with infinite merit. The goat therefore that was slain

prefigured his human nature and its death; the goat that escaped

pointed out his resurrection. The one shows the atonement for

sin, as the ground of justification; the other Christ's victory,

and the total removal of sin in the sanctification of the soul.

Concerning these ceremonies we shall see farther particulars as

we proceed.

According to Maimonides fifteen beasts were offered on this

day. "The daily, or morning and evening sacrifice, was offered

as usual: besides a bullock, a ram, and seven lambs, all

burnt-offerings; and a goat for a sin-offering, which was eaten

in the evening. Then a bullock for a sin-offering, and this

they burnt; and a ram for a burnt-offering: these both for the

high priest. Then the ram for the consecration, (see Le 16:5)

which is called the people's ram. They brought also for the

congregation two he-goats; the one for a sin-offering, the other

for a scape-goat. Thus all the beasts offered on this great

solemn day were FIFTEEN: the two daily sacrifices, one bullock,

two rams, and seven lambs: all of these burnt-offerings. Two

goats for sin-offerings; one offered without and eaten on the

evening, the other offered within and burnt; and one bullock for

a sin-offering for the high priest. The service of all these

fifteen beasts is performed on this day by the high priest

only." See Maimonides and Ainsworth on the place.

Verse 8. Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats] The Jews

inform us that there were two lots made either of wood, stone,

or any kind of metal. On one was written LASHSHEM, for the

NAME, i. e., JEHOVAH, which the Jews will neither write nor

pronounce: on the other was written LAAZAZEL, for the

SCAPE-GOAT: then they put the two lots into a vessel which was

called kalpey, the goats standing with their faces towards

the west. Then the priest came, and the goats stood before him,

one on the right hand and the other on the left; the kalpey was

then shaken, and the priest put in both his hands and brought

out a lot in each: that which was in his right hand he laid on

the goat that was on his right, and that in his left hand he

laid on the goat that was on his left; and according to what was

written on the lots, the scape-goat and the goat for sacrifice

were ascertained. See the Mishna, in Tract. Yoma.

The determining this solemn business by lot, the disposal of

which is with the Lord, Pr 16:33, shows that God alone was to

select and point out the person by whom this great atonement was

to be made; hence he says: Behold I lay in Zion a stone, elect

(that is, chosen by himself) and precious-of infinite value.

Verse 10. To be the scape-goat] azazel, from

az, a goat, and azal, to dismiss; the

dismissed or sent away goat, to distinguish it from the goat

that was to be offered in sacrifice. Most ancient nations had

vicarious sacrifices, to which they transferred by certain rites

and ceremonies the guilt of the community at large, in the same

manner in which the scapegoat was used by the Jews. The white

bull that was sacrificed by the Egyptians to their god Apis was

of this kind; they cut off the head of the victim which they had

sacrificed, and after having loaded it with execrations, "that if

there be any evil hanging over them or the land of Egypt, it may

be poured out upon that head," they either sold it to the Greeks

or threw it into the Nile.-See HEROD. Euterp., p. 104, edit. Gale.

Petronius Arbiter says that it was a custom among the ancient

inhabitants of Marseilles, whenever they were afflicted by any

pestilence, to take one of the poorer citizens who offered

himself for the purpose, and having fed him a whole year with

the purest and best food, they adorned him with vervain, and

clothed him with sacred vestments: they then led him round their

city, loading him with execrations; and having prayed that all

the evils to which the city was exposed might fall upon him,

they then precipitated him from the top of a rock.-Satiricon,

in fine.

Suidas, under the word περιψημα, observes that it was a custom

to devote a man annually to death for the safety of the people,

with these words, περιψημαημωνγενου, Be thou our purifier;

and, having said so, to throw him into the sea as a sacrifice to

Neptune. It was probably to this custom that Virgil alludes

when speaking of the pilot Palinurus, who fell into the sea and

was drowned, he says:-

Unum pro multis dabiter caput.-AEn., lib. v., ver. 815.

"One life is given for the preservation of many."

But the nearest resemblance to the scapegoat of the Hebrews

is found in the Ashummeed Jugg of the Hindoos, where a horse is

used instead of a goat, the description of which I shall here

introduce from Mr. Halhed's Code of Gentoo Laws; Introduction,

p. xix.

"That the curious," says he, "may form some idea of this

Gentoo sacrifice when reduced to a symbol, as well as from the

subsequent plain account given of it in a chapter of the Code,

sec. ix., p. 127, an explanation of it is here inserted from

Darul Shek�h's famous Persian translation of some commentaries

upon the four Beids, or original Scriptures of Hindostan. The

work itself is extremely scarce, and it was by mere accident

that this little specimen was procured:-

"The Ashummeed Jugg does not merely consist in the performance

of that ceremony which is open to the inspection of the world,

namely, in bringing a horse and sacrificing him; but Ashummeed

is to be taken in a mystic signification, as implying that the

sacrificer must look upon himself to be typified in that horse,

such as he shall be described; because the religious duty of the

Ashummeed Jugg comprehends all those other religious duties to

the performance of which the wise and holy direct all their

actions, and by which all the sincere professors of every

different faith aim at perfection. The mystic signification

thereof is as follows: The head of that unblemished horse is the

symbol of the morning; his eyes are the sun; his breath, the

wind; his wide-opening mouth is the bish-waner, or that innate

warmth which invigorates all the world; his body typifies one

entire year; his back, paradise; his belly, the plains; his

hoof, this earth; his sides, the four quarters of the heavens;

the bones thereof, the intermediate spaces between the four

quarters; the rest of his limbs represent all distinct matter;

the places where those limbs meet, or his joints, imply the

months, and halves of the months, which are called peche,

(or fortnights;) his feet signify night and day; and night and

day are of four kinds: 1. The night and day of Brihma; 2. The

night and day of angels; 3. The night and day of the world of the

spirits of deceased ancestors; 4. The night and day of mortals.

These four kinds are typified in his four feet. The rest of his

bones are the constellations of the fixed stars, which are the

twenty-eight stages of the moon's course, called the lunar year;

his flesh is the clouds; his food, the sand; his tendons,

the rivers; his spleen and liver, the mountains; the hair

of his body, the vegetables; and his long hair, the trees; the

forepart of his body typifies the first half of the day, and the

hinder part, the latter half; his yawning is the flash of

the lightning, and his turning himself is the thunder of the

cloud; his urine represents the rain, and his mental

reflection is his only speech. The golden vessels which are

prepared before the horse is let loose are the light of the day,

and the place where those vessels are kept is a type of the ocean

of the east; the silver vessels which are prepared after the horse

is let loose are the light of the night, and the place where those

vessels are kept is a type of the ocean of the west. These two

sorts of vessels are always before and after the horse. The

Arabian horse, which on account of his swiftness is called Hy, is

the performer of the journeys of angels; the Tajee, which is of

the race of Persian horses, is the performer of the journeys of

the Kundherps, (or good spirits;) the Wazba, which is of the race

of the deformed Tazee horses, is the performer of the journeys of

the Jins, (or demons;) and the Ashov, which is of the race of

Turkish horses, is the performer of the journeys of mankind:

this one horse which performs these several services on account

of his four different sorts of riders, obtains the four

different appellations. The place where this horse remains is

the great ocean, which signifies the great spirit of Perm-Atma,

or the universal soul, which proceeds also from that Perm-Atma,

and is comprehended in the same Perm-Atma. The intent of this

sacrifice is, that a man should consider himself to be in the

place of that horse, and look upon all these articles as

typified in himself; and conceiving the Atma (or Divine soul) to

be an ocean, should let all thought of self be absorbed in that


This sacrifice is explained, in sec. ix., p. 127, of the Code

of Hindoo Laws, thus:-

"An Ashummeed Jugg is when a person, having commenced a Jugg,

(i. e., religious ceremony,) writes various articles upon a

scroll of paper on a horse's neck, and dismisses the horse,

sending along with the horse a stout and valiant person,

equipped with the best necessaries and accoutrements to

accompany the horse day and night whithersoever he shall choose

to go; and if any creature, either man, genius, or dragon,

should seize the horse, that man opposes such attempt, and

having gained the victory upon a battle, again gives the horse

his freedom. If any one in this world, or in heaven, or beneath

the earth, would seize this horse, and the horse of himself

comes to the house of the celebrator of the Jugg, upon killing

that horse he must throw the flesh of him upon the fire of the

Juk, and utter the prayers of his deity; such a Jugg is called a

Jugg Ashummeed, and the merit of it as a religious work is


This is a most curious circumstance; and the coincidence

between the religious rites of two people who probably never had

any intercourse with each other, is very remarkable. I would

not however say that the Hindoo ceremony could not have been

borrowed from the Jews; (though it is very unlikely;) no more

than I should say, as some have done, that the Jewish rite was

borrowed from the Egyptian sacrifice to Apis mentioned above,

which is still more unlikely.

See particularly Clarke's note on "Le 1:4".

Verse 21. Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head, &c.]

What this imposition of hands meant

see in Clarke's notes on "Ex 29:10", and "Le 1:4".

And confess over him all the iniquities-transgressions-sins]

The three terms used here, INIQUITIES, avonoth, from

avah, to pervert, distort, or turn aside; TRANSGRESSIONS,

peshaim, from pasha, to transgress, to

rebel; and SINS, chattaoth, from chata, to

miss the mark, are supposed by the Jews to comprise every thing

that implies a breach of the Divine law, or an offence against

God. See Clarke on Ge 12:13. Maimonides gives us the

confession in the following words:-

"O Lord, thy people, the house of Israel, have sinned and

done iniquity, and trespassed before thee. O Lord, make

atonement now for the iniquities and transgressions and sins

that thy people, the house of Israel, have sinned and

transgressed against thee; as it is written in the law of Moses

thy servant, saying: That in this day he shall make atonement

for you, to cleanse you from all your sins before the Lord, and

ye shall be clean."-See the Mishna, vol. ii., p. 329.

When this confession was finished, the goat was sent by a

proper hand to the wilderness, and there let loose; and nothing

farther was ever heard of it. Did not all this signify that

Christ has so carried and borne away our sins, that against them

who receive him as the only true atoning sacrifice they should

never more be brought to remembrance?

On the head of the scape-goat, a piece of scarlet cloth was

tied, and the tradition of the Jews states that if God accepted

the sacrifice, the scarlet cloth turned white while the goat was

led to the desert; but if God had not accepted this expiation,

the redness continued, and the rest of the year was spent in


From the foundation of the Church of God it was ever believed

by his followers, that there were certain infallible tokens by

which he discovered to genuine believers his acceptance of them

and their services. This was sometimes done by a fire from

heaven consuming the sacrifice; sometimes by an oracular

communication to the priest or prophet; and at other times,

according to the Jewish account, by changing the fillet or cloth

on the head of the scape-goat from scarlet to white: but most

commonly, and especially under the Gospel dispensation, he gives

this assurance to true believers by the testimony of his Spirit

in their consciences, that he has forgiven their iniquities,

transgressions, and sins, for his sake who has carried their

griefs, and borne their sorrows.

Verse 26. He that let go the goat-shall wash, &c.] Not only

the person who led him away, but the priest who consecrated him,

was reputed unclean, because the goat himself was unclean, being

considered as bearing the sins of the whole congregation. On

this account both the priest and the person who led him to the

wilderness were obliged to wash their clothes and bathe

themselves, before they could come into the camp.

Verse 29. The seventh month, on the tenth day of the month]

The commandment of fasting, and sanctifying this tenth day, is

again repeated Le 23:27-32; but in the last verse it is

called the ninth day at even, because the Jewish day began with

the evening. The sacrifices which the day of atonement should

have more than other days, are mentioned Nu 29:7-11; and the

jubilee which was celebrated every fiftieth year was solemnly

proclaimed by sound of trumpet on this tenth day, Le 25:8,9.

A shadow, says Mr. Ainsworth, of that acceptable year of the

Lord, the year of freedom, which Christ has proclaimed by the

trumpet of his Gospel, Lu 4:18-21; 2Co 6:2. This seventh

month was Tisri, and answers to a part of our September and

October. It was the seventh of the sacred and the first

month of the civil year.

THE great day of atonement, and the sacrifices, rites, and

ceremonies prescribed for it, were commanded to be solemnized by

the Jews through the whole of their dispensation, and as long as

God should acknowledge them for his people: yet in the present

day scarcely a shadow of these things remains; there is no

longer a scape-goat, nor a goat for sacrifice, provided by them

in any place. They are sinners, and they are without an

atonement. How strange it is that they do not see that the

essence of their religion is gone, and that consequently God has

thrown them entirely out of covenant with himself! The true

expiation, the Christ crucified, they refuse to receive, and are

consequently without temple, altar, scape-goat, atonement, or

any means of salvation! The state of the Gentile world is bad,

but that of the Jews is doubly deplorable. Their total excision

excepted, wrath is come upon them to the uttermost. What a

proof is this of the truth of the predictions in their own law,

and of those in the Gospel of Christ! Who, with the Jews and

the Bible before his eyes, can doubt the truth of that Bible as

a Divine revelation? Had this people been extinct, we might

have doubted whether there were ever a people on the earth that

acknowledged such a law, or observed such ordinances; but the

people, their law, and their prophets are still in being, and

all proclaim what God has wrought, and that he has now ceased to

work among them, because they have refused to receive and profit

by the great atonement; and yet he preserves them alive, and in

a state of complete separation from all the people of the earth

in all places of their dispersion! How powerfully does the

preservation of the Jews as a distinct people bear testimony at

once to the truth of their own law which they acknowledge, and

the Gospel of Christ which they reject!

2. But while the Jews sit in thick darkness, because of the

veil that is on their hearts, though the light of the glory of

God is shining all around them, but not into them because of

their unbelief; in what state are those who profess to see their

unbelief and obstinacy, acknowledge the truth of the New

Testament, and yet are living without an atonement applied to

their souls for the removal of their iniquities, transgressions,

and sins? These are also in the gall of bitterness, and bond of

iniquity. An all-sufficient Saviour held out in the New

Testament, can do them no more good than a scape-goat and day of

atonement described in the law can do the Jews. As well may a

man imagine that the word bread can nourish his body, as that

the name Christ can save his soul. Both must be received and

applied in order that the man may live.

3. The Jews prepared themselves to get benefit from this most

solemn ordinance by the deepest humiliations. According to

their canons, they were obliged to abstain from all meat and

drink-from the bath-from anointing themselves-to go barefoot-

and to be in a state of perfect continency. He who is likely to

get benefit for his soul through the redemption that is in Christ,

must humble himself under the mighty hand of God, confess his

iniquity, abstain from every appearance of evil, and believe on

him who died for his offences, and rose again for his

justification. The soul that seeks not shall not find, even

under the Gospel of Christ.

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