Worship at the Tent of Assembly
9 Then on the eighth day Moses summoned Aaron and his sons and Israel’s elders, 2 and he said to Aaron, “Take for yourself a bull calf as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering, without defect, and present them before Yahweh. 3 Then you must speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘Take a he-goat as a sin offering and a bull calf and a male sheep, yearlings without defect, as a burnt offering, 4 and an ox and a ram as fellowship offerings to sacrifice before Yahweh, and a grain offering mixed with oil, because today Yahweh will appear to you.” 5 So they took what Moses had commanded to the front of the tent of assembly, and the whole community presented themselves, and they stood before Yahweh.
6 Then Moses said, “This is the word that Yahweh commanded you to do so that the glory of Yahweh might appear to you.” 7 Then Moses said to Aaron, “Approach the altar and sacrifice your sin offering and your burnt offering, and make atonement for yourself and for the people. And sacrifice the people’s offering and make atonement for them, just as Yahweh has commanded.”
8 Then Aaron approached the altar, and he slaughtered the bull calf of the sin offering, which was for himself. 9 Then Aaron’s sons presented the blood to him, and he dipped his finger in the blood, and he put it on the altar’s horns, and he poured out the blood on the altar’s base. 10 And the fat and the kidneys and the lobe from the sin offering’s liver he turned into smoke on the altar, just as Yahweh had commanded Moses, 11 but the meat and the skin he burned with fire outside the camp.
12 Then he slaughtered the burnt offering, and Aaron’s sons brought the blood to him, and he sprinkled it on the altar all around; 13 and they brought the burnt offering to him by its pieces, as well as the head, and he turned them into smoke on the altar; 14 and he washed the inner parts and the lower leg bones, then he turned them into smoke upon the burnt offering on the altar.
15 Then he presented the people’s offering, and he took the goat of the sin offering, which was for the people, and he slaughtered it and offered it as a sin offering like the first one. 16 Then he presented the burnt offering, and he sacrificed it according to the regulation. 17 Then he presented the grain offering, and he filled his palm with some of it, and he turned it into smoke on the altar besides the morning’s burnt offering. 18 Then he slaughtered the ox and the ram, the fellowship offerings that are for the people, and Aaron’s sons brought the blood to him, and he sprinkled it on the altar all around. 19 And as for the fat portions from the ox and from the ram (the fat tail and the layer of fat and the kidneys and the lobe of the liver), 20 they placed the fat portions on the breast sections, and he turned the fat portions into smoke on the altar. 21 Then Aaron waved the breast sections and the right upper thigh as a wave offering before Yahweh, just as Moses had commanded.
22 Then Aaron lifted his hand toward the people, and he blessed them, and he came down after sacrificing the sin offering and the burnt offering and the fellowship offerings. 23 Then Moses and Aaron entered the tent of assembly. When they came out, they blessed the people, and Yahweh’s glory appeared to all the people. 24 Then a fire went out from before Yahweh, and it consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And all the people saw it, so they shouted for joy, and they fell on their faces.
The Deaths of Nadab and Abihu
10 And Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu each took his censer, and they put fire in them and placed incense on it; then they presented before Yahweh illegitimate fire, which he had not commanded them. 2 So fire went out from before Yahweh, and it consumed them so that they died before Yahweh. 3 Therefore Moses said to Aaron, “This is what Yahweh spoke, saying, ‘Among those who are close to me I will show myself holy, and in the presence of all the people I will display my glory.’ ” So Aaron was silent.
4 Then Moses summoned Mishael and Elzaphan the sons of Uzziel, Aaron’s uncle, and he said to them, “Come forward. Carry your brothers from the front of the sanctuary to outside the camp.” 5 So they came forward, and they carried them outside the camp in their tunics, just as Moses had ordered.
6 Then Moses said to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “You must not let your hair hang loosely, and you must not tear your garments, so that you will not die and he will be angry with all the community. But your brothers, all the house of Israel, may weep because of the burning that Yahweh caused, 7 but you must not go out from the entrance to the tent of assembly lest you die, because Yahweh’s anointing oil is on you.” So they did according to Moses’ word.
8 Then Yahweh spoke to Aaron, saying, 9 “You and your sons with you may not drink wine or strong drink when you come to the tent of assembly, so that you will not die—it is a lasting statute for your generations— 10 and to distinguish between the holy and the unholy, as well as between the unclean and the clean, 11 and to teach the Israelites all the rules that Yahweh has spoken to them through Moses.”
12 Then Moses spoke to Aaron and to his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “As for the remaining parts, take the remainder of the grain offering from Yahweh’s offerings made by fire and eat it, the unleavened bread, beside the altar, because it is a most holy thing. 13 And you shall eat it in a holy place, because it is your allotted portion and the allotted portion of your sons from Yahweh’s offerings made by fire, for so I have been commanded. 14 And the wave offering’s breast section and the upper thigh of the contribution offering you must eat in a clean place, you and your sons and your daughters with you, because they are given as your allotted portion and your sons’ allotted portion from the sacrifices of the Israelites’ fellowship offerings. 15 They must bring the thigh of the contribution offering and the breast section of the wave offering in addition to the offerings made by fire, consisting of the fat portions, to wave as a wave offering before Yahweh; and it will be for you and for your sons with you as a lasting rule, just as Yahweh had commanded.”
The Problem of the Uneaten Sin Offering
16 Then Moses sought all over for the goat of the sin offering and behold, it was burned up. So he was angry with Aaron’s remaining sons Eleazar and Ithamar, saying, 17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering on the sanctuary’s site, because it is a most holy thing? And he gave it to you to remove the community’s guilt, to make atonement for them before Yahweh. 18 Look, its blood was not brought inside the sanctuary. Certainly you should have eaten it in the sanctuary, as I commanded.”
19 So Aaron said to Moses, “Look, today they presented their sin offering and their burnt offering before Yahweh, and things such as these have happened to me, and if I were to eat a sin offering today, would it have been good in Yahweh’s eyes?” 20 When Moses heard, it was good in his eyes.
Clean and Unclean Animals
11 Then Yahweh spoke to Moses and to Aaron, saying to them, 2 “Speak to the Israelites, saying, ‘These are the animals that you may eat from all the animals that are on the land: 3 Any among the animals that has a divided hoof and has a split cleft in the hoof and that chews cud, such you may eat. 4 However, these you may not eat from those that chew the cud and from those that have a divided hoof: the camel, because it is a chewer of cud but it does not have a hoof that is divided—it is unclean for you; 5 and the coney, because it is a chewer of cud but it does not have a hoof that is divided—it is unclean for you; 6 and the hare, because it is a chewer of cud but it does not have a hoof that is divided—it is unclean for you; 7 and the pig, because it has a divided hoof and has a split cleft in the hoof but it does not chew cud—it is unclean for you. 8 You must not eat from their meat, and you must not touch their dead body—they are unclean for you.
9 “ ‘These you may eat from all that are in the water: any in the water that has a fin and scales, whether in the seas or in the streams—such you may eat. 10 But any that does not have a fin and scales, whether in the seas or in the streams, among all the water’s swarmers among all the living creatures that are in the water—they are a detestable thing to you. 11 And they shall be detestable to you; you must not eat from their meat, and you must detest their dead body. 12 Any that does not have a fin and scales in the water—it is a detestable thing to you.
13 “ ‘And these you must detest from the birds; they must not be eaten—they are detestable: the eagle and the vulture and the short-toed eagle, 14 and the red kite and the black kite according to its kind, 15 every crow according to its kind, 16 and the ostrich and the short-eared owl and the seagull and the hawk according to its kind, 17 and the little owl and the cormorant and the great owl, 18 and the barn owl and the desert owl and the carrion vulture, 19 and the stork, the heron according to its kind and the hoopoe and the bat.
20 “ ‘Any winged insect that walks on all fours is detestable to you. 21 Only this may you eat from any of the winged insects that walk on all fours—that which has jointed legs above its feet for leaping upon the land. 22 From these you may eat the locust according to its kind and the bald locust according to its kind and the cricket according to its kind and the grasshopper according to its kind. 23 But any other winged insect that has four legs is detestable to you. 24 And by these you shall become unclean—anyone who touches their dead body shall become unclean until the evening, 25 and anyone who carries their dead body must wash his garments, and he shall be unclean until the evening.
26 “ ‘With regard to any animal that has a divided hoof but does not split the hoof, or does not have a cud for chewing—they are unclean for you; anyone who touches them shall become unclean. 27 And anything that walks upon its paws among any of the animals that walks on all fours—they are unclean for you; anyone who touches their dead body shall become unclean until the evening, 28 and the one who carries their dead body must wash his garments, and he shall be unclean until the evening—they are unclean for you.
29 “ ‘And these are the unclean for you among the swarmers that swarm on the land: the weasel and the mouse and the thorn-tailed lizard according to its kind, 30 and the gecko and the land crocodile and the lizard and the sand lizard and the chameleon. 31 These are the unclean for you among all the swarmers; anyone who touches them at their death shall become unclean until the evening. 32 And anything on which one of them falls at their death shall become unclean: any object of wood or garment or skin or sackcloth—any object that has performed work—must be placed in water, and it shall be unclean until the evening, and then it shall be clean. 33 And any clay vessel into which one of them falls, all that is in it shall become unclean, and you must break it. 34 Any of the food that could be eaten on which water from such a vessel comes shall become unclean, and any liquid that could be drunk in any such vessel shall become unclean. 35 And anything on which one of their dead bodies falls shall become unclean: an oven or a stove must be broken—they are unclean and shall be unclean for you. 36 Surely a spring or a cistern collecting water shall be clean, but that which touches their dead body shall become unclean. 37 And when one of their dead bodies falls on any seed for sowing, it is clean. 38 But when water is put on the seed and one of their dead bodies falls on it, it is unclean for you.
39 “ ‘And when one of the animals dies that is for you to eat, the one who touches its dead body shall become unclean until the evening. 40 And the one who eats some of its dead body must wash his garments, and he shall be unclean until the evening; and the one who carries its dead body must wash his garments, and he shall be unclean until the evening.
41 “ ‘And any swarmer that swarms on the land is detestable; it must not be eaten. 42 You must not eat anything that moves upon its belly or that walks on all fours, even any with numerous feet belonging to any swarmer that swarms on the land, because they are detestable. 43 You must not defile yourselves with any swarmer that swarms, and you must not make yourselves unclean by them and so be made unclean by them, 44 because I am Yahweh your God, and you must keep yourselves sanctified, so that you shall be holy, because I am holy. And you must not make yourselves unclean with any swarmer that moves along on the land, 45 because I am Yahweh, who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be for you as God. Thus you shall be holy, because I am holy.
46 “ ‘This is the regulation of the animals and the birds and all living creatures that move along in the water and concerning all the creatures that swarm on the land, 47 to distinguish between the unclean and the clean and between the animal that is to be eaten and the animal that must not be eaten.’ ”
53 And each one went to his own house.
A Woman Caught in Adultery
8 But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Now early in the morning he came again to the temple courts. And all the people were coming, and he sat down and began to teach them.
3 Now the scribes and the Pharisees brought to him a woman caught in adultery. And standing her in their midst, 4 they said to him, testing him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery! 5 Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 (Now they were saying this to test him, so that they would have an occasion to bring charges against him.) But Jesus, bending down, began to write with his finger on the ground, taking no notice. 7 And when they persisted in asking him, straightening up he said to them, “The one of you without sin, let him throw the first stone at her!” 8 And bending down again, he wrote on the ground. 9 Now when they heard it, being convicted by their conscience, they began to depart, one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone—and the woman who was in their midst. 10 So Jesus, straightening up and seeing no one except the woman, said to her, “Where are those accusers of yours? Does no one condemn you?” 11 And she said, “No one, Lord.” So Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more.”⟧
6 Your teeth are like a flock of the ewes
that have come up from the washing,
all of them bearing twins,
and there is none bereaved among them.
7 Your cheeks behind your veil
are like halves of a pomegranate.
The Maiden’s Beauty Is Without Peer
8 Sixty queens there are, eighty concubines,
and maidens beyond number.
9 My dove, she is the one;
my perfect, she is the only one;
she is the favorite of her mother who bore her.
Maidens see her and consider her fortunate;
queens and concubines praise her:
10 “Who is this that looks down like the dawn,
beautiful as the moon,
bright as the sun,
overwhelming as an army with banners?”
“Then he slaughtered the burnt offering, and Aaron’s sons brought the blood to him, and he sprinkled it on the altar all around; and they brought the burnt offering to him by its pieces, as well as the head, and he burned them on the altar” (Lev 9:12–13). There are graphic scenes like this throughout the Bible, especially in Leviticus. But they act as a reminder of what sacrifice looks like and what it really means.
Even though Jesus would ultimately make the greatest sacrifice of all—laying down His life for the sins of others—He did not hold people’s sins against them. Although Jesus understood that He would be brutalized like the animals sacrificed during Aaron’s day, He chose to forgive people. When a woman “caught in adultery” was brought before Jesus, He did not sentence her to death, as was demanded by the Jewish authorities and laws of His time. Instead, He said, “The one of you without sin, let him throw the first stone at her!” (John 8:7). And Jesus says the same to us today. Only those without sin can throw a stone or cast judgment on others—and that’s none of us.
We shouldn’t use this as an excuse, though. We shouldn’t say, “What happens between you and God and between you and others is up to you.” Instead, we must call each other forward to follow Christ. Jesus has forgiven us, but this doesn’t excuse our sins. Similarly, we can’t use Jesus’ graciousness as an excuse to continue sinning.
We must remember grace and offer that grace to one another. Indeed, we must not judge, but we must not excuse sin in the process. In being gracious both to ourselves and others, we must remember why we have the ability to do so: Jesus died the brutal death of a sacrifice. It was His body that was torn apart and His flesh that was flung. (It’s just as harsh as it sounds.)
I don’t say any of this to make us feel guilty, but to remind all of us of the price Jesus paid for our freedom.
Jesus died so that we could be one with God, not so that we could continue to sin against the God He unified us with. As Jesus says at the end of this scene, after everyone had left, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more” (John 8:11).
In what ways are you misappropriating grace?
Author: John D. Barry & Rebecca Van Noord
Publisher: Lexham Press
Publication Date: 2012
This 365-day devotional walks you through the Bible in a year, following a custom reading plan that delves into the stories of the Bible from five unique perspectives.