15 The Lord said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.
“Any man who has a bodily discharge is ceremonially unclean. 3 This defilement is caused by his discharge, whether the discharge continues or stops. In either case the man is unclean. 4 Any bed on which the man with the discharge lies and anything on which he sits will be ceremonially unclean. 5 So if you touch the man’s bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 6 If you sit where the man with the discharge has sat, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 7 If you touch the man with the discharge, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 8 If the man spits on you, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 9 Any saddle blanket on which the man rides will be ceremonially unclean. 10 If you touch anything that was under the man, you will be unclean until evening. You must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 11 If the man touches you without first rinsing his hands, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 12 Any clay pot the man touches must be broken, and any wooden utensil he touches must be rinsed with water.
13 “When the man with the discharge is healed, he must count off seven days for the period of purification. Then he must wash his clothes and bathe himself in fresh water, and he will be ceremonially clean. 14 On the eighth day he must get two turtledoves or two young pigeons and come before the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle[a] and give his offerings to the priest. 15 The priest will offer one bird for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. Through this process, the priest will purify[b] the man before the Lord for his discharge.
16 “Whenever a man has an emission of semen, he must bathe his entire body in water, and he will remain ceremonially unclean until the next evening.[c] 17 Any clothing or leather with semen on it must be washed in water, and it will remain unclean until evening. 18 After a man and a woman have sexual intercourse, they must each bathe in water, and they will remain unclean until the next evening.
19 “Whenever a woman has her menstrual period, she will be ceremonially unclean for seven days. Anyone who touches her during that time will be unclean until evening. 20 Anything on which the woman lies or sits during the time of her period will be unclean. 21 If any of you touch her bed, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 22 If you touch any object she has sat on, you must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening. 23 This includes her bed or any other object she has sat on; you will be unclean until evening if you touch it. 24 If a man has sexual intercourse with her and her blood touches him, her menstrual impurity will be transmitted to him. He will remain unclean for seven days, and any bed on which he lies will be unclean.
25 “If a woman has a flow of blood for many days that is unrelated to her menstrual period, or if the blood continues beyond the normal period, she is ceremonially unclean. As during her menstrual period, the woman will be unclean as long as the discharge continues. 26 Any bed she lies on and any object she sits on during that time will be unclean, just as during her normal menstrual period. 27 If any of you touch these things, you will be ceremonially unclean. You must wash your clothes and bathe yourself in water, and you will remain unclean until evening.
28 “When the woman’s bleeding stops, she must count off seven days. Then she will be ceremonially clean. 29 On the eighth day she must bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons and present them to the priest at the entrance of the Tabernacle. 30 The priest will offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering. Through this process, the priest will purify her before the Lord for the ceremonial impurity caused by her bleeding.
31 “This is how you will guard the people of Israel from ceremonial uncleanness. Otherwise they would die, for their impurity would defile my Tabernacle that stands among them. 32 These are the instructions for dealing with anyone who has a bodily discharge—a man who is unclean because of an emission of semen 33 or a woman during her menstrual period. It applies to any man or woman who has a bodily discharge, and to a man who has sexual intercourse with a woman who is ceremonially unclean.”
The Day of Atonement
16 The Lord spoke to Moses after the death of Aaron’s two sons, who died after they entered the Lord’s presence and burned the wrong kind of fire before him. 2 The Lord said to Moses, “Warn your brother, Aaron, not to enter the Most Holy Place behind the inner curtain whenever he chooses; if he does, he will die. For the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—is there, and I myself am present in the cloud above the atonement cover.
3 “When Aaron enters the sanctuary area, he must follow these instructions fully. He must bring a young bull for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering. 4 He must put on his linen tunic and the linen undergarments worn next to his body. He must tie the linen sash around his waist and put the linen turban on his head. These are sacred garments, so he must bathe himself in water before he puts them on. 5 Aaron must take from the community of Israel two male goats for a sin offering and a ram for a burnt offering.
6 “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord.[d] 7 Then he must take the two male goats and present them to the Lord at the entrance of the Tabernacle.[e] 8 He is to cast sacred lots to determine which goat will be reserved as an offering to the Lord and which will carry the sins of the people to the wilderness of Azazel. 9 Aaron will then present as a sin offering the goat chosen by lot for the Lord. 10 The other goat, the scapegoat chosen by lot to be sent away, will be kept alive, standing before the Lord. When it is sent away to Azazel in the wilderness, the people will be purified and made right with the Lord.[f]
11 “Aaron will present his own bull as a sin offering to purify himself and his family, making them right with the Lord. After he has slaughtered the bull as a sin offering, 12 he will fill an incense burner with burning coals from the altar that stands before the Lord. Then he will take two handfuls of fragrant powdered incense and will carry the burner and the incense behind the inner curtain. 13 There in the Lord’s presence he will put the incense on the burning coals so that a cloud of incense will rise over the Ark’s cover—the place of atonement—that rests on the Ark of the Covenant.[g] If he follows these instructions, he will not die. 14 Then he must take some of the blood of the bull, dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it on the east side of the atonement cover. He must sprinkle blood seven times with his finger in front of the atonement cover.
15 “Then Aaron must slaughter the first goat as a sin offering for the people and carry its blood behind the inner curtain. There he will sprinkle the goat’s blood over the atonement cover and in front of it, just as he did with the bull’s blood. 16 Through this process, he will purify[h] the Most Holy Place, and he will do the same for the entire Tabernacle, because of the defiling sin and rebellion of the Israelites. 17 No one else is allowed inside the Tabernacle when Aaron enters it for the purification ceremony in the Most Holy Place. No one may enter until he comes out again after purifying himself, his family, and all the congregation of Israel, making them right with the Lord.
18 “Then Aaron will come out to purify the altar that stands before the Lord. He will do this by taking some of the blood from the bull and the goat and putting it on each of the horns of the altar. 19 Then he must sprinkle the blood with his finger seven times over the altar. In this way, he will cleanse it from Israel’s defilement and make it holy.
20 “When Aaron has finished purifying the Most Holy Place and the Tabernacle and the altar, he must present the live goat. 21 He will lay both of his hands on the goat’s head and confess over it all the wickedness, rebellion, and sins of the people of Israel. In this way, he will transfer the people’s sins to the head of the goat. Then a man specially chosen for the task will drive the goat into the wilderness. 22 As the goat goes into the wilderness, it will carry all the people’s sins upon itself into a desolate land.
23 “When Aaron goes back into the Tabernacle, he must take off the linen garments he was wearing when he entered the Most Holy Place, and he must leave the garments there. 24 Then he must bathe himself with water in a sacred place, put on his regular garments, and go out to sacrifice a burnt offering for himself and a burnt offering for the people. Through this process, he will purify himself and the people, making them right with the Lord. 25 He must then burn all the fat of the sin offering on the altar.
26 “The man chosen to drive the scapegoat into the wilderness of Azazel must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water. Then he may return to the camp.
27 “The bull and the goat presented as sin offerings, whose blood Aaron takes into the Most Holy Place for the purification ceremony, will be carried outside the camp. The animals’ hides, internal organs, and dung are all to be burned. 28 The man who burns them must wash his clothes and bathe himself in water before returning to the camp.
- 15:14 Hebrew Tent of Meeting; also in 15:29.
- 15:15 Or will make atonement for; also in 15:30.
- 15:16 Hebrew until evening; also in 15:18.
- 16:6 Or to make atonement for himself and his family; similarly in 16:11, 17b, 24, 34.
- 16:7 Hebrew Tent of Meeting; also in 16:16, 17, 20, 23, 33.
- 16:10 Or wilderness, it will make atonement for the people.
- 16:13 Hebrew that is above the Testimony. The Hebrew word for “testimony” refers to the terms of the Lord’s covenant with Israel as written on stone tablets, which were kept in the Ark, and also to the covenant itself.
- 16:16 Or make atonement for; similarly in 16:17a, 18, 20, 27, 33.
Jesus Teaches about Inner Purity
7 One day some Pharisees and teachers of religious law arrived from Jerusalem to see Jesus. 2 They noticed that some of his disciples failed to follow the Jewish ritual of hand washing before eating. 3 (The Jews, especially the Pharisees, do not eat until they have poured water over their cupped hands,[a] as required by their ancient traditions. 4 Similarly, they don’t eat anything from the market until they immerse their hands[b] in water. This is but one of many traditions they have clung to—such as their ceremonial washing of cups, pitchers, and kettles.[c])
5 So the Pharisees and teachers of religious law asked him, “Why don’t your disciples follow our age-old tradition? They eat without first performing the hand-washing ceremony.”
6 Jesus replied, “You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,
‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
7 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as commands from God.’[d]
8 For you ignore God’s law and substitute your own tradition.”
9 Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition. 10 For instance, Moses gave you this law from God: ‘Honor your father and mother,’[e] and ‘Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.’[f] 11 But you say it is all right for people to say to their parents, ‘Sorry, I can’t help you. For I have vowed to give to God what I would have given to you.’[g] 12 In this way, you let them disregard their needy parents. 13 And so you cancel the word of God in order to hand down your own tradition. And this is only one example among many others.”
14 Then Jesus called to the crowd to come and hear. “All of you listen,” he said, “and try to understand. 15 It’s not what goes into your body that defiles you; you are defiled by what comes from your heart.[h]”
17 Then Jesus went into a house to get away from the crowd, and his disciples asked him what he meant by the parable he had just used. 18 “Don’t you understand either?” he asked. “Can’t you see that the food you put into your body cannot defile you? 19 Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer.” (By saying this, he declared that every kind of food is acceptable in God’s eyes.)
20 And then he added, “It is what comes from inside that defiles you. 21 For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, 22 adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.”
- 7:3 Greek have washed with the fist.
- 7:4a Some manuscripts read sprinkle themselves.
- 7:4b Some manuscripts add and dining couches.
- 7:7 Isa 29:13 (Greek version).
- 7:10a Exod 20:12; Deut 5:16.
- 7:10b Exod 21:17 (Greek version); Lev 20:9 (Greek version).
- 7:11 Greek ‘What I would have given to you is Corban’ (that is, a gift).
- 7:15 Some manuscripts add verse 16, Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. Compare 4:9, 23.
11 Lord, don’t hold back your tender mercies from me.
Let your unfailing love and faithfulness always protect me.
12 For troubles surround me—
too many to count!
My sins pile up so high
I can’t see my way out.
They outnumber the hairs on my head.
I have lost all courage.
13 Please, Lord, rescue me!
Come quickly, Lord, and help me.
14 May those who try to destroy me
be humiliated and put to shame.
May those who take delight in my trouble
be turned back in disgrace.
15 Let them be horrified by their shame,
for they said, “Aha! We’ve got him now!”
16 But may all who search for you
be filled with joy and gladness in you.
May those who love your salvation
repeatedly shout, “The Lord is great!”
17 As for me, since I am poor and needy,
let the Lord keep me in his thoughts.
You are my helper and my savior.
O my God, do not delay.
13 Wise words come from the lips of people with understanding,
but those lacking sense will be beaten with a rod.
14 Wise people treasure knowledge,
but the babbling of a fool invites disaster.