Rulers or Regular Folk. Leviticus 4: 22 - 35

But what if the chieftain, the politician, the rich and powerful leaders, rather than the corrupt priest or cultural icon, or the community at large, is the unintentional or unwitting agent of doing wrong or failing to do right?   Without imputing intention or conspiracy, what can we do to make it right and keep those privileges for those folks?

Right away, you’ll notice that the tariff is lower: a male goat without blemish is cheaper than a bull! He has to stand publicly with his hand on the head of the billy-goat being slaughtered, to make the connection to his sin and its consequences.  Implicit is the requirement that the sinner pays for his own goat, since he is ‘the goat’.  (Scape-goats are coming later in Leviticus!)

You might miss in the silence that the disposition of the carcass and hide after the blood and guts are brought close, offered up, and made holy.  Do we throw it beyond the pale and on the ash heap?  I don’t think so.  Perhaps the silence leaves discretion for the priests, to signal as a matter of sentencing the scale of the guilt being expiated.

Finally in this week, we get to ordinary folk making right their unintentional or inadvertent sins.  The tariff is lower, a female goat, or a female sheep, and the process is similar to that for a ruler, including the discretion of the priest in expiation to determine the disposition of the rest of the remains after the blood and guts. 

Who stands up to admit our errors anymore?  When they do, who can calibrate a response without demonizing them and destroying them?  Is our own culture and legal system so superior to Leviticus’ cult?  What is your own inadvertence, which you would like to make right?
 

22 When a ruler sins, doing unintentionally any one of all the things that by commandments of the Lord his God ought not to be done, and incurs guilt, 

23 once the sin that he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a male goat without blemish.
 
24 He shall lay his hand on the head of the goat; it shall be slaughtered at the spot where the burnt-offering is slaughtered before the Lord; it is a sin-offering.
 
25 The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin-offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt-offering. 
 
26 All its fat he shall turn into smoke on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of well-being. Thus the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin, and he shall be forgiven.
 
27 If anyone of the ordinary people among you sins unintentionally in doing any one of the things that by the Lord’s commandments ought not to be done, and incurs guilt, 

28 when the sin that you have committed is made known to you, you shall bring a female goat
without blemish as your offering, for the sin that you have committed. 
 
29 You shall lay your hand on the head of the sin-offering; and the sin-offering shall be slaughtered at the place of the burnt-offering. 
 
30 The priest shall take some of its blood with his fingerand put it on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, and he shall pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar.

31 He shall remove all its fat, as the fat is removed from the offering of well-being, and the priest shall turn it into smoke on the altar for a pleasing odour to the Lord. Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf, and you shall be forgiven.
 
32 If the offering you bring as a sin-offering is a sheep, you shall bring a female without blemish. 
 
33 You shall lay your hand on the head of the sin-offering; and it shall be slaughtered as a sin-offering  at the spot where the burnt-offering is slaughtered. 
 
34 The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin-offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, and pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar.
 
35 You shall remove all its fat, as the fat of the sheep is removed from the sacrifice of well-being, and the priest shall turn it into smoke on the altar, with the offerings by fire to the Lord. 
 
Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed, and you shall be forgiven.