Article Information

Gyung-Yul Kim1
Pieter M. Venter1

1Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa

This article is based on a PhD thesis by Gyung-Yul Kim ‘The hattat ritual and the Day of Atonement in the book of Leviticus’ handed in at the University of Pretoria, 2013, in the Department of Old Testament Studies under the supervision of Prof. Pieter Venter.

This article was republished with the corrected Hebrew phrase in the second column of the third paragraph on page 3 if 10.

Correspondence to:
Gyung-Yul Kim

Postal address:
Private Bag X20, Hatfield 0028, South Africa

Received: 04 July 2013
Accepted: 28 July 2013
Published: 07 Nov. 2013
Republished: 14 Nov. 2013

How to cite this article: Kim, G.Y. & Venter, P.M., 2013, ‘The disposal of the hattat flesh’, HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 69(1), Art. #2030, 10 pages.

Copyright Notice:
© 2013. The Authors. Licensee: AOSIS OpenJournals.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
The disposal of the hattat flesh
In This Original Research...
Open Access
   • Peculiarity of the flesh disposal in the hattat ritual
Two kinds of flesh disposal: The burnt hattat and the eaten hattat
Function of the flesh disposal in the hattat ritual
   • Implication of contradiction between the texts
   • Syntactic exegesis of Leviticus 10:17
   • Functional difference between two disposals of the hattat flesh
Other implications on the contamination of the hattat flesh
   • Analogy with the remains disposal in other offerings
   • Implication of Leviticus 6:1922 [2629]
   • The entrance rites for the remains-handler and the goat sender
   • Competing interests
   • Authors’ contributions
   • English Bibles
   • Early Jewish Literature

This article investigates the criteria for the disposal of the sin offering in the book of Leviticus, the function of the different ways of disposal and the meaning of the disposal with regard to Leviticus 10:17. It is indicated that this sacrifice is intended to eliminate the offerer’s sin and the sanctuary’s impurity. The eaten hattat offering retains minor contamination by human sin or impurity, whilst the burnt hattat offering is contaminated by more severe and major sins and impurities, in appropriation with either the offerer’s socio-religious status or the gravity of the sin.


Peculiarity of the flesh disposal in the hattat ritual
The disposal of the remains of the hattat offering differs from that of the remains of the burnt offering and the peace offering.1 In the burnt offering the whole animal is burnt on the outer altar (Lv 1:8–9, 12–13),2 including the entrails that are washed with water, except for the skin that is allotted to the officiating priest (Lv 7:8). In the peace offering all fat and specific internal parts3 should be burnt on the altar (Lv 3:3–5, 14–16), and the rest of the flesh should be shared with the lay offerer and the officiating priest (Lv 7:11–34).4

The portions from the hattat offering burnt on the altar are basically the same as those of the peace offering (Lv 4:9–10), but the disposal of its remains differs between the two offerings. There are two ways to dispose of the hattat flesh. In one case the whole remains of the animal should be burnt in a clean place where the ashes are thrown outside the camp (Lv 4:11–12; 16:27; cf. Nm 19:9). In the other case its flesh is assigned to the priest (Lv 6:19–23 [29–305]).6

In this article, the following problems are discussed, namely, (1) criteria to divide the disposal of the hattat remains into the two ways; (2) the function of each disposal; (3) the meaning of Leviticus 10:17 with regard to the function of the disposal.

Two kinds of flesh disposal: The burnt hattat and the eaten hattat

The hattat sacrifices can be divided into ‘the burnt hattat sacrifice’ and ‘the eaten hattat sacrifice’, according to the ways of the disposal of its flesh (cf. Milgrom 1991:263). Why should the hattat flesh be burnt in one case, and be eaten by the priest in the other case? There are two reasons for the difference.

The first is the place of the sanctuary where the blood of the sacrifice is manipulated (Milgrom 1991:261). In case that the blood is used outside the shrine, that is, at the outer altar (Lv 4:25, 30), the meat is assigned to the officiating priest (Lv 6:19 [26]). But when it is brought into the shrine (4:6–7), the carcass, except for its suet, should be burnt ‘on the ash heap’ in ‘a clean place’ outside the camp (Lv 4:11–12) (Milgrom 1991:261). The text confirms this rule several times (Lv 6:23 [30]; 10:18; 16:27).

Secondly, this rule is not applied to the cases of the hattat rituals for the priests that were made at the cultic inauguration (Lv 8–9). In these rituals the blood of the hattat bulls for the priests was daubed on the outer altar, but the carcasses of these animals were burnt outside the camp, rather than eaten by the priest (Lv 8:17 = Ex 29:4; Lv 9:11).7 Milgrom (1991) found another rule from these cases and said:

In both cases the offerers of the hattat are the priests and not the people, and here another rule comes into play: priests are not to eat their own expiatory sacrifices (cf. 6:16). They are not to benefit from their own offenses. (p. 264; cf. Hartley 1992:61; Gane 2005:46, 88)8

In sum, there are two guidelines for the cases where the priests are not allowed to eat the flesh of the hattat sacrifices: (1) either when the blood of the victim is brought and treated in the shrine (and in the adytum as revealed in Lv 16, though only once per year);9 or (2) when the animal is offered for the priests, whether in the shrine or at the outer altar, because they cannot acquire a benefit from their own hattat offering.

In fact, these two standards can converge into one rule (2), because the hattat sacrifice, the blood of which is brought into the shrine, is always related to the priests,10 as implied in Leviticus 4:1–21 (cf. Lv 6:16 [23] where the priest should not eat his grain offering but burn it on the altar).

Function of the flesh disposal in the hattat ritual

Scholars have debated the function attached to the disposal of the hattat flesh. Their primary consensus is that the eaten hattat flesh was given to the officiating priest as a prebend for his performance of the hattat ritual on behalf of the people of Israel, as is prescribed in Leviticus 6:18–23 (25–30). But they have debated whether the disposal of the hattat flesh has an additional function, concentrating on the exegesis of Leviticus 10:17, which appears to indicate its particular function. This debate relates to the function of burning the hattat flesh outside the camp.

Implication of contradiction between the texts
Many scholars contend that since the hattat animal is declared to be most holy [holy of holies] by the texts, it could not be contaminated with sin or impurity (Lv 6:19 [26]; cf. 10:17). Consequently they deny the transference of sin and/or impurity to the hattat animal through hand imposition.11 It seems to be confirmed by the fact that either the carcass is burnt in ‘a clean place’ outside the camp, or the flesh is eaten by the priest in ‘a holy place’ inside the sanctuary. Moreover, the offerer’s forgiveness is declared before the disposal of the hattat flesh is finalised (Lv 4:20–21).

In this respect, it seems that the disposal of the hattat flesh is not connected with the removal of sin. The fact that the kipper and forgiveness for the offerer are mentioned before the instructions concerning the burning of the hattat flesh, implies that the latter may not constitute a part of the kipper process (Kiuchi 2007:97). The same can be applied to the eating of flesh in the light of Leviticus 10:17. The atonement is achieved before the priestly eating of the flesh, because the divine fire certified the effect of the hattat ritual before the disposal of the meat (Lv 9:24; Kiuchi 1987:49). Thus Kiuchi (1987) states:

With regard to the symbolic meaning of eating the hattat we do not accept the view that atonement depends on eating the hattat, simply because neither v.17 nor any other passage suggests this. (p. 51)

In addition, some scholars (e.g. Gane 2005:57) point out that in Leviticus 4 the hattat flesh is burnt in a ‘clean place’ outside the camp, and does not require the ablution of the remains handler for his entrance into the camp.

But there is a certain hint in the context and statement of Leviticus 10:17 to indicate that the hattat flesh is defiled by sin or impurity. Referring to 10:17, a number of interpreters have argued that the eating or burning of the hattat flesh serves to ‘remove or bear the iniquity’ [lift up the sin] of the offerer, because they see the verse to mean that the hattat flesh became contaminated by human’s evil.12 Keil and Delitzsch (1956:355) comment that ‘to bear the iniquity’ in 10:17 signifies ‘to take the sin of another upon one’s self, for the purpose of cancelling it, to make expiation for it.’ By eating the flesh, the priests took away the sin. Milgrom (1991:262) accepts the same idea, following Y. Kaufmann’s argument. In fact, he dismissed the view he held in 1976, saying:

Y. Kaufmann suggests that because both hattat offerings are purificatory, they are dangerous and must be eliminated either by eating or by burning (1937–56: 1. 568–569). He correctly adduces 10:17b to prove that the hattat flesh is eaten by the priests who thereby destroy Israel’s sins. (p. 333–334)

Most significantly, many commentators interpret that Moses’ anger and rebuke of Aaron for his negligence of the flesh consumption in Leviticus 10:17 may give an additional hint that the flesh is contaminated by sin or impurity, because in view of the syntax it can be understood that Moses’ anger was due to Aaron’s failure to remove the iniquity of the congregation [literally to lift up the sin] by not eating it. Therefore, 10:17 seems to support the rule that the hattat animal for the congregation should be eaten by the priest to bear or to remove the iniquity of the congregation. However, other scholars have countered it by suggesting a different interpretation on verse 17, as can be seen in the following section.

Syntactic exegesis of Leviticus 10:17
In Leviticus 10:17, Moses reproaches Aaron for his neglect to consume the flesh of the eaten hattat offering:

[Why did you not eat the hattat offering in a holy place?

It is the most holy of holies.

It was given to you to lift up the sin of the congregation and make expiation for them before the Lord.]

This is the only place in the Hebrew Bible that explains the function of the hattat disposal, giving a decisive clue to the puzzle of the atonement mechanism of the hattat offering.

In connection with this verse, two questions are raised: (1) what is the meaning of [to lift up the sin of the congregation and make expiation for them before the Lord] in Leviticus 10:17b? and (2) what is the cause of Moses’ anger? For the discussion, the word is rendered ‘iniquity,’ although it has been translated as a variety of meanings (iniquity, sin, transgression, guilt, culpability),13 depending on the divergent views of scholars on the dynamics and the atonement mechanism by the hattat ritual.

There are three interpretations of this sentence: (1) the priests simply ‘remove the iniquity or sin’ by eating the hattat flesh;14 (2) the priests eat the flesh to ‘bear the guilt’ substitutionally for persons until the Day of Atonement15; and (3) the priests ‘bear responsibility’ as their duty to purify the sanctuary on behalf of the people and they receive the flesh as a prebend for the duty.16

By interpreting the first infinitive phrase of Leviticus 10:17 the questions are posed about the meaning of the preposition [le] in its syntax and the phrase [lift up sin] in relation to its subject. With regard to the preposition , scholars, who think that the hattat flesh is not contaminated by sin or impurity, attempted to interpret it as ‘for’ or ‘because of,’ whilst rendering the phrase with ‘bear responsibility’; ‘[it was given to you] for bearing the responsibility of the community’ (Milgrom 1983:70). But as Kiuchi (1987:50), following Knierim (1965:221–222), points out, the rendering ‘responsibility’ is a neutral word so that it may be not suitable rendering it for the term [sin] that has a negative nuance. In addition, such a use of the preposition [le] in the infinitive phrase [lift up, forgive] lacks grammatical ground.

The preposition is likely to have the meaning of ‘purpose’ seen from the syntactic perspective, referring to ‘in order to remove or bear iniquity.’ It means that the officiating priest does not simply eat it as a ‘prebend’ for his responsible labour in the hattat ritual. The activity is also performed to remove or bear the iniquity of the Israelites.

As for the phrase in verse 17b, Janowski’s view (1968:239; followed by NIV) is that the first infinitive phrase ‘to remove the iniquity of the community’ is explained by the consecutive infinitive phrase ‘to make atonement for them’ . It means that ‘the priests are assigned to bear the guilt for the congregation of Israel as mediators by (Hebrew, emphasis mine) making atonement for them with the hattat sacrifice’ (Kiuchi 1987:47).17 But the meaning ‘by’ of is rare and seems not to fit the syntax.18

Concerning the meaning of the phrase several interpretations have been submitted. Generally the term is rendered either ‘iniquity’ as a kind of sin, or ‘guilt’ that connotes the consequence and responsibility for a sin. Kiuchi (1987:49) contends that throughout the hattat context, this Hebrew term generally refers to ‘guilt’ as a consequence of sin, saying that the two English terms, ‘sin’ and ‘guilt,’ which have led scholars to misunderstanding and wrong arguments, must be discriminated. Hence, Kiuchi (1987:49) translates as ‘to bear the guilt of the congregation.’

However, Kiuchi does not take the phrase ‘to bear the guilt’ as referring to the effect of the priestly eating of the flesh, posing a different interpretation about the first sentence (‘I gave it to you’) in (v. 17bα). Following Kurtz (1980:242–243), he (Kiuchi 1987:49–50) sees ‘it’ in verse 17bα as the hattat animal, instead of its flesh; thus the verse means: ‘for it (hattat) is most holy; He gave it (hattat) to you,’

According to this view, because it is the hattat animal rather than its flesh that was given to the priests as their prebend for removing the sin of Israel, eating of the flesh is not related to bearing or removing of the ‘sin.’ Rather, the very hattat animal was given to the priests so that they perform the blood manipulation on the altar in order to bear their sin: ‘through the blood manipulation the priests bear the guilt of the congregation’ (Kiuchi 1987:49; cf. p. 52). As a result, the flesh is assigned to the priests only as the prebend for their duty and ‘eating the hattat does not belong to the atoning process’ (Kiuchi 1987:51). That is, Kiuchi (1987:135) contends that the priestly eating of the hattat flesh does not serve to make atonement for the offerer, but ‘signifies that priests have substitutionarily [sic] borne the guilt of the people’ (emphasis mine);19 the priests would keep bearing the guilt of the congregation until they will transfer it to the Azazel goat through the two-hand imposition on the Day of Atonement.

However, in light of the syntactical structure of Leviticus verse 17, as displayed by Gane (2005:94–95), ‘it’ manifestly refers to the hattat ‘flesh’:

Therefore, the flesh was given to the priests, rather than the hattat animal. They should eat it to remove the sin of Israel. Furthermore, if the flesh is merely a priestly prebend, why did Moses get angry with the priestly neglect of the practice? Therefore, the syntax and context of verse 17 implies that the priestly eating is connected with the bearing or removing of the sin.

What is the meaning of by the priests? Is it ‘to bear the iniquity’ or ‘to remove iniquity’? The meaning of depends on who or what the subject is. Baruch Schwartz (1991:34–36, 1995:8–15) has made a great contribution to this issue. He (1995:9) argues that when a wrongdoer bears his sin, means ‘bearing guilt’. Ηowever, when the injured party bears the sinner’s burden, ‘it no longer rests on the shoulders of the wrongdoer; the latter is relieved of his load and of its consequences’ (Schwartz 1995:9) and thus the guilty party is released from guilt. In this case, the action may denote that the injured ‘removed sin (and guilt)’ and thereby forgiven the sin.

It seems that the answer to the meaning of in Leviticus 10:17 may be found in the priests’ religious status as mediators between God and the congregation of Israel. They are the representatives of the Israelites before God and simultaneously the ‘surrogate’ of God (Milgrom 1991:623) before the Israelites. Thus the question is: When a priest makes the action for a person’s sin, is he removing the sinner’s iniquity in place of God? Or does he take the evil on himself and bear it as a substitutionary agent for the sinner? It is very likely that the former idea is more feasible. That is, the priest performs the hattat ritual to ‘remove’ the sinner’s sin (even his own sin) and to ‘purify’ the consequence of the evil, namely, the impurity of the sancta. Thus the priest makes atonement for the sinner so that he could be forgiven.

As Gane (2005:104) says in view of Exodus 34:7 and Leviticus 10:17, the priest is involved in God’s action by eating the hattat flesh, although he interprets the phrase to be ‘[the priests] bear their culpability’20 rather than their ‘sin or iniquity.’21 Likewise, Milgrom (1991) comments on the phrase ‘to remove the iniquity of the community’ in verse 17:

true, the subject is man, not God, but in this case it is the priest who serves as the divine surrogate (italics mine) of earth and exclusively so in the sanctuary. (p. 623)

Milgrom’s view is feasible in light of the priestly cultic concept. The priests do not function as the agents for persons or for the whole congregation, who take over the guilt or iniquity from them in exchange of and in the substitute for them (contra Kiuchi and Gane), although they are the representatives of the congregation before God. Throughout the priestly literature it is the sacrificial animals which take over and bear the iniquity of the Israelites.22 The animals are slaughtered and their blood is shed in the stead of the offerers. They are substitutionary sacrifices which YHWH permits in exchange for the people of Israel. Therefore, there is no reason that the priests must bear the ‘sins’ of the Israelites as if they are substitutionary victims for them. In this regard, Milgrom (1991:262) is right, when he says that ‘the hattat is eaten by the priests who thereby destroy Israel’s sins.’ The priests carry out their duty to remove the sin of the people by eating the flesh (or by burning it under his control as well), whilst they minister in the sanctuary as ‘divine surrogate of earth.’

The final problem in this verse is the definition of the term . Is its rendering ‘iniquity’ or ‘guilt’? As noted, the interpreters and English Bibles are divided between the words ‘guilt’ and ‘iniquity.’ Lately, a new rendering, ‘culpability,’ is suggested by Gane (2005:101–102), who says that it is in ‘the sense of negative responsibility’ that the sinner may suffer the consequence of sin.23 In this respect, Gane’s rendering of ‘culpability’ is similar to Kiuchi’s (1987:49) ‘guilt’ that signifies the consequence of sin. Gane (2005:100) argues that the phrase refers to the culpability caused by the offerer’s moral fault alone, and it is not related to a person’s physical impurity. Therefore, in the hattat ritual for impurity (Lv ch. 12–15), the flesh is given to the priests purely as a prebend without bearing ‘culpability’ (Gane 2005:100). By contrast, in the hattat ritual for sin, the officiating priest bears the offerer’s ‘culpability’ for his sin as his substitute by eating the hattat flesh, and at the same time the flesh is given as his prebend for his bearing of it.

Gane’s idea is the same as Kiuchi’s (1987:115–116) in that the hattat flesh is not contaminated by sin or impurity. Therefore, it is given to the priests purely as their perquisite for their bearing their culpability as a substitutionary agent for the congregation.

However, Gane and Kiuchi differ in understanding the dynamics of the hattat blood rites. Kiuchi (1987:46–49, 126–127) contends that the officiating priest purifies the sancta with the hattat blood, and by so doing he bears the guilt of the offerer until the Day of Atonement when the high priest transfers all the guilt of Israel, as the representative of the congregation. Gane (2005:169–171) submits a unique explanation, following Johar (1988): the offerer’s sin is transferred from him to the sancta through the blood rite; blood is a vehicle to convey sin from the offerer to the sancta; the sanctuary and its sancta are in the polluted state until the Day of Atonement when the high priest purifies the accumulated impurities from each precinct of the three partite sanctuary (Gane 2005: 176–177; cf. 170, 180, 292–293, 299).

On the other hand, Milgrom (1991:623–624) argues that in Leviticus 10:17 the term denotes ‘impurity,’ the substance that is removed from the sancta, although he consistently translates it as ‘iniquity’. Milgrom’s idea comes from his conviction that the impurity of the sancta is generated by a person’s sin or impurity: there is no more sin or impurity of the offerer in the sancta after the offerer’s confession of sin or his purification of physical impurity, because it was already removed and purified through spiritual (confession or remorse of sin) or physical purification (washing or time lapse). Therefore, in Leviticus 10:17 the is the impurity of the sancta rather than sin or impurity of the offerer.

Consequently, there is an inconsistency in Milgrom’s note concerning the phrase in Leviticus 10:17. In one place he sees the destruction of ‘Israel’s sins’ as the function of the priestly flesh consumption (1991:262), but in other places he basically prefers ‘iniquity’ to ‘sin’ for the term; the ‘iniquity’ refers to the ‘impurity’ of the sancta, that is, ‘the impurity arising from Israel’s ritual and moral failings that has polluted the sanctuary’ (Milgrom 1991:624). In brief, Milgrom argues that when the priest eats the flesh, he swallows and removes the impurity of the sancta absorbed into the blood, pars pro toto of the animal, through the blood rites. In sum, according to Milgrom, when the priests perform the action, they always ‘remove the impurity’ from the sancta rather than ‘remove the sin or iniquity’ from the offerers.

By contrast, as mentioned, Gane (2005:100–102) and Kiuchi (1987:49) regard in Leviticus 10:17 as ‘guilt’ or ‘culpability,’ that is, a consequential liability of sin. Therefore, what is borne or removed by the priests is guilt or culpability, rather than the iniquity or sin of person(s). Both Gane (2005:100–102) and Kiuchi (1987:49) contend that the priests keep bearing the guilt or culpability until the Day of Atonement.

But despite this agreement, their explanations about the ritual dynamics and the atonement mechanism of the hattat sacrifice follow divergent tracks: to Kiuchi (1987:46–49, 126–127, ‘bearing the guilt’ is done through the blood rites, and not through ‘eating the flesh,’ whereas to Gane (2005:169–171), ‘bearing the culpability’ is a resultant effect of eating the flesh. Kiuchi’s idea is a logical result of his conviction that atonement is not related to the disposal of the flesh, because the atonement and forgiveness is accomplished before the flesh is eaten or burnt.

This study argues that in Leviticus 10:17 can contain the meaning of both sin and impurity, because it is convinced that the sin of the offerer is transferred to the victim through hand imposition and the impurity of the sancta is absorbed into its flesh through the blood rites (see Kim 2013). In the case of impurity, because the offerer’s ritual impurity is fully cleansed before his approach to the sanctuary, only the impurity of the altar is absorbed into the carcass and removed by the priest’s eating of the flesh. Since the impurity of the sancta is caused by human evil, ‘the iniquity’ of the congregation in verse 17 is used as an all-inclusive term that encompasses the consequence of their sin, namely, the impurity of the sancta.

Functional difference between two disposals of the hattat flesh
From the above conclusion, the following ritual dynamic is deduced from the statement of Leviticus 10:17b and the burning rite of the hattat flesh.

Eating or burning of the hattat flesh → removal of evil → atonement.

It is inferred that this rule can also be applied to the hattat offering for impurity (Lv ch. 12–15). That is, the priest would eat the flesh that absorbed the impurity from the outer altar that was defiled by the offerer’s ritual impurity (the ritual impurity defiles only the outer altar) (for the conveyance of the impurity of the sancta to the flesh through blood manipulation, see Kim 2013).

As mentioned, in the case of a ritual impurity, whereas the flesh becomes impure by transference of the impurity from the outer altar, the offerer’s impurity is not absorbed into the flesh, because it was fully cleansed through the purificatory rites.

It is inferred that in the case of the hattat offering for the priestly impurity, whether it is made by a priest or by a member of the priestly house, he or she would be obliged to offer a hattat animal for it, according to the rules in Leviticus chapters 12–15. Although the blood would be applied to the outer alter (there are no graduated hattat offerings by the offerer’s socio-religious status in Lv ch. 12–15), the priest could not eat the flesh of the hattat sacrifice offered for his impurity, because of the rule that the offerer cannot benefit from his offering. By contrast, in the case of a moral impurity, the victim becomes defiled by both the sin from the sinner and the impurity from the sancta. Therefore, when the priest eats or burns it, he would remove and destroy both the human sin or impurity and the impurity of the sancta.

To sum up, there are two types of hattat offerings: eaten type and the burnt type. There are two standards to distinguish between the two types. The flesh must be burnt: (1) when the blood of the hattat animal is brought into the shrine; (2) when the hattat animal is sacrificed for the priest himself.24 Each mode of the flesh disposal has its own function to remove the evil.

Other implications on the contamination of the hattat flesh

Even though the exegesis of Leviticus 10:17 indicates that the hattat flesh is contaminated by human sin or impurity, a number of scholars have denied that the state of the flesh becomes impure, referring to the declaration that the hattat animal is holy of holies (Lv 6:18 [25], 22 [29]; 7:6; 10:17). But there are additional hints to support the contamination of the hattat carcass.

Milgrom refers to extra biblical data to prove contamination of the hattat flesh. According to him (1991:637), the rabbis thought that the priestly ingestion of the hattat flesh led to expiation: ‘the priests eat and [thereby] the offerers are expiated’ (Sipra, Shemini 2:4; Yoma 68b) (Milgrom 1991:637). In the ancient near East there were a number of cases where sin or impurity was absorbed into the ritual substance like an animal (Milgrom 1991:264). On these grounds, Milgrom (1991:264) concludes that the same concept can be applied to the hattat sacrifice in the Bible.

To these extra biblical proofs, however, several biblical data can also be added. A question is readily raised: If the hattat animal is most holy, why did the burnt hattat offering, let alone the eaten hattat offering, have to be burnt outside the camp rather than on the outer alter in the sanctuary? After burning it why should the remains handler take the purificatory rite before his entrance into the camp?25 Such disposal of the carcass outside of the camp gives an impression that it is impure, although it is instructed that it should be burnt in a ‘clean place’ outside the camp (Lv 4:12). That is, it is likely that the carcass of the hattat animal is too unclean to be burnt on the altar of the sanctuary inside the camp. The assumption might be corroborated by the flowing four grounds: (1) analogy with the remains disposal in other offerings; (2) implication of Leviticus 6:19–22 [26–29]; (3) the juxtaposed entrance rites for the remains handler and the goat sender in Leviticus (16:16, 28); (4) the cause of Moses’ anger incurred by Aaron’s neglect to dispose of the hattat carcass in Leviticus 10. The debate on the last issue is excluded in this article due to limited space. Suffice it that Moses’ anger was caused by Aaron’s continual violation of the hattat rules stipulated in Leviticus chapters 4 and 6, which would lead to the failure of the hattat ritual, right after his two sons, Nadab and Abihu’s death incurred by their severe violation of the cultic rule rather than by Moses’ anxiety of nullification of the atonement of the congregation as believed by a group of scholars (see Kim 2013:217–220).

Analogy with the remains disposal in other offerings
In the grain offering for the priest, the cereal should be burnt on the altar (Lv 6:16 [23]), probably according to the rule that the officiating priest is not to benefit from his own offering. Significantly this offering is not burnt outside the camp, because it may be clean, in contrast to the grain offering of the hattat. The rule concerning the disposal of the peace offering flesh differs from the grain offering (Lv 7:15–21). The flesh of a thanksgiving offering must be eaten on the very day of its offering, and the offerer must leave nothing of it until the morning (Lv 7:15). The flesh of a votive or a freewill offering may be eaten on the next day, but it must be burnt outside the camp from the third day onwards (Lv 7: 16–17). It is forbidden to eat the flesh that is overdue, because it is ‘impure’ (NIV v. 18; ‘abomination’ in RSV).

From this observation a rule may be deduced: after a sacrificial ritual is finished, any unclean remains should be taken outside the camp to be burnt and destroyed. If this rule is applied to the hattat sacrifice, the conclusion is clear: The reason that the remains of the burnt hattat animal is removed and burnt outside the camp is because it became impure through the ritual process.

Implication of Leviticus 6:19–22 [26–29]
Leviticus 6:19–22 [26–29] states:

19The priest who offers it for sin shall eat it. In a holy place it shall be eaten, in the court of the tent of meeting. 20Whatever touches its flesh shall be holy and when any of its blood is splashed on a garment, you shall wash that on which it was splashed in a holy place. 21And the earthenware vessel in which it is boiled shall be broken. But if it is boiled in a bronze vessel, that shall be scoured and rinsed in water. Every male among the priests may eat of it; it is most holy. (ESV; verses numbers following MT)

The ritual washing and boiling in this passage have been traditionally interpreted as the activities to remove holiness from the garment.26 But Haran (1978:176) countered this perceived belief by suggesting a biblical principle that holiness cannot be removed (cf. Gane 2005:165–166). Holiness causes an object to come into the permanent possession of the sanctuary. He refers to Numbers 17:2–3 (16:37–38) where the censers of the rebellious Korah and his company are recycled as material for the plating of the altar, instead of being taken away to the outside of the camp, because the censers were presented before YHWH and became holy (Nm 17:3 [6:38]). It signifies that the censers were still sacred in spite of their rebellion.27

Likewise, if the garment becomes holy by contact with blood in Leviticus 6:20–21 (27–28), the holiness cannot be removed by washing (Milgrom 1991:403–404; Gane 2005:166). By the very reason, it can be confirmed that the garment did not become holy but impure by the hattat blood. It is likely that the same rule is applied to the earthenware vessel.28

Milgrom (1991) comments on Leviticus 6:20b:

The blood spots alone need to be washed out, not the entire garment. ... The garment does not become holy by coming into contact with the blood of the purification offering. Instead of being confiscated by the sanctuary, as would any object that is rendered holy, it is restored to its former status by having its so-called holiness effaced through washing. Thus the garment is actually treated as if it were impure, for it is impure clothing that always requires laundering (e.g. 11:25, 28, 40; 15:5–8, 10–11). This ambivalence of the purification offering, which will be present in even sharper form in the following verse, should occasion no surprise. The ability of the purification offering to impart impurity has already been noted … For its blood, having absorbed the impurity of the sanctum upon which it is sprinkled now contaminates everything it touches. (p. 403)

For Milgrom, Leviticus verse 6:20a relates to ‘holiness contagion,’ but verses 20b and 21 deal with the matter of ‘uncleanness contagion’ (cf. Kiuchi 1987:136). Even though the blood belongs to the most holy hattat animal, it does not convey holiness to objects. Rather, it purges the sancta by absorbing their impurity by absorption and becomes impure.

Kiuchi (1987) disagrees with Milgrom (1991:403), saying that:

this view seems to present a grave difficulty, because it assumes the coexistence of holiness and uncleanness in the same hattat, which is termed . … different topics do not necessarily mean different rules. (p. 136)

However, according to Milgrom, the coexistence of the two poles may be possible in the priestly cultic concept: ‘holiness has swallowed impurity’ (Milgrom 1991:638).29 Furthermore, Milgrom (1991:638–639) argues that within the sanctuary the priest is immune to impurity so that he can perform the perilous process of the hattat ritual that is full of impurity, while he maintains his holy state; impurity does not ‘pollute the priest as long as he serves God in the sanctuary’ (Milgrom 1991:176). Additionally it must be recalled that the holy sancta is defiled and retains the impurity generated by the person’s moral sin or ritual impurity.

As for Haran’s (1978:176) argument, it is insufficient and unsatisfactory, because the sacrificial texts testify that when a certain holy object is defiled, it can be removed and destroyed outside the camp. For instance, the holiest hattat carcass is taken away and burnt outside the camp. Therefore, attention must be given to Milgrom’s analogy between the washing of the garment and other launderings. If it is clear that laundering of clothing is always the activity to wash and remove impurity from it, a conclusion is naturally deduced: the garment became contaminated by the animal’s blood. Milgrom (1991:403–404) goes on to argue that blood absorbs the impurity of the sanctum when the priest sprinkles the blood on it, and contaminates everything that it contacts.

The contamination of blood denotes that of the entire animal,30 because blood is pars pro toto for an animal in sacrificial rituals. If it is clear that laundering of clothing is always performed to wash and remove impurity from it, it can be deduced that the garment is contaminated by the animal’s blood.

One more decisive point deserves attention. The garments mentioned in that verse are obviously the priestly apparel, which are already consecrated and dedicated to the sanctuary (Lv 8:30 = Ex 29:21; cf. Lv 6:3–4 [10–11]). That is, the garment is already holy. Therefore, it is unnatural that the contact with the blood causes the sacred contagion on the holy garment.

The entire context of Leviticus 6:19–22 [26–29] supports Milgrom’s opinion, except for the rendering of the verb in verse 20. In this context, this verb should be rendered ‘shall be holy’ or ‘must be holy’ that refers to the holy state of the priests and objects that touch the flesh (Levine 1987:246; NASB; ESV; KJV; RSV), rather than ‘become holy’ that indicates contagiousness of the holiness by touching the flesh (Milgrom 1991:403, 443–445; CJB; NRSV).31 Even though the contagion of holiness is possible in light of other biblical data (e.g. Ezk 46:20),32 it is not appropriate, however, in this context. It refers to a requirement and qualification for touching the sancta. It matches well the regulation that the holiest hattat flesh should only be eaten by the holy priests. A common Israelite cannot touch or eat holy flesh and cannot approach or contact the sancta, due to his unqualified state, namely, lack of holiness. If an unqualified person touches a sanctum, whether intentionally or advertently, he injures and contaminates the holy thing. As a result, he becomes an encroacher who incurs death on account of his infliction on the sanctum.33

It is noteworthy that Leviticus 6:19–22 (26–29) addresses a supplementary instruction that concerns the priestly consumption of the hattat flesh in an envelope structure, where the statement of the priestly consumption (vv. 19, 21) encircles verses 20–21. It is inferred that the content of verses 20–21 refers to the priestly requirements and qualifications for eating the meat. In order to eat the meat in a holy place, he ‘must be holy’ (v. 20). In addition, the contaminated garment should be washed in ‘a holy place’ (v. 20b). Probably, in the same place, the earthenware vessel – which was used in blood manipulation – should be broken, and a bronze vessel, which was used for boiling the meat, should be scoured and rinsed in water. Such activities are not seen to remove and erase holiness from the garment and utensils, because the place was holy. Rather, impurity should be removed in a holy place.

Hence it can be alleged that the garment and utensils were contaminated by the impurity of the blood, generated by human evil. It leads to the conclusion that the contamination of the flesh was caused by transference of human’s evil from the offerer and from the sancta.

The entrance rites for the remains-handler and the goat sender
Additional evidence of contamination of the hattat flesh is the entrance rite of the remains handler in parallel with that of the goat sender in Leviticus 16 (cf. Johar 1988:611). The legislation of the hattat offering in Leviticus (4:1–5:13) does not mention the entrance rite through which the remains handler should enter the camp after burning the hattat remains. This gap is filled by Leviticus 16 that stipulates the rule (v. 28). Conversely, whereas Leviticus 4 specifies ‘a clean place’ (v. 12; 6:4 [11]; cf. Nm 19:9) outside the camp where the ashes of sacrifices are discarded and where the remains handler should burn the remaining portions of the hattat sacrifice, Leviticus 16 does not mention it. To this case the theory of gap filling can also be applied. That is, it is likely that on the Day of Atonement the remains of the hattat animal are burnt in the same clean place as in Leviticus 4:12.

Significantly, in Leviticus 16 the rule for the remains handler is exactly juxtaposed to the rule of the entrance rite for the goat sender:

He (the goat-handler) ... shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. (v. 26 ESV)

He (the remains-handler) ... shall wash his clothes and bathe his body in water, and afterward he may come into the camp. (v. 28 ESV)

This juxtaposed parallel indicates that the two entrance rites have the same function: the purification of the persons that dealt with the remains and the Azazel goat. Conversely, it implies that the release of the Azazel goat has the same function as the burning of the hattat flesh outside the camp, and therefore the former is a special form of the latter (Kiuchi 1987:149).

Gane (2005:57) sees the flesh not to be contaminated in Leviticus 4, denying that the offerer’s sin or impurity does remain in the hattat animal; the offerer’s sin or impurity is transferred to the blood and finally conveyed to the sancta through the blood rite. For him and many interpreters, the burning of the flesh in a clean place outside the camp is a sign that the carcass was not contaminated. Moreover, in Leviticus 4 there is no mention of the entrance rite that requires the remains handler to wash clothes and bathe his body in water, in contrast with Leviticus 16 that demands both the goat sender and the remains handler to take the same entrance rite, without mentioning a clean place. To Gane (2005:240) this is a strong hint that the hattat flesh and the Azazel goat in Leviticus 16 are contaminated by impurity and sin respectively.

Gane’s argument is declined in terms of the gap filling.34 By the theory of gap filling, Leviticus 4 and 16 supplement each other to complete the hattat ritual system. Just as the function of the hattat blood rites and the hand imposition, on which Leviticus 4 remains silent, are stated or implied in Leviticus 16, so the entrance rite for the remains handler, which is not mentioned in Leviticus 4, is stipulated in Leviticus 16. Conversely, the clean place for burning the carcass, which is specified in Leviticus 4, is omitted in Leviticus 16. It is natural to infer that in Leviticus 4 there was the same entrance rite, and in Leviticus 16, it was performed in the same clean place.

Recently Kiuchi (2007:305–306) suggested another idea that more or less retracts his former work (Kiuchi 1987): on the Day of Atonement, whereas the goat sender is contaminated by the Azazel goat’s holiness, the remains handler is defiled by the burning of the hattat flesh. He contends that in the ordinary hattat ritual, the remains handler does not become defiled; by contrast ‘when the perfect cleansing of the sanctuary is achieved on the Day of Atonement, the burning of the flesh brings about uncleanness, and the person who handles it becomes defiled’ (Kiuchi 2007:305)

However, it is unlikely that the Azazel goat defiles the goat sender with its holiness, given that it was bearing all sins of Israel and was sent into the wildness, namely, to Azazel, the source of evil. Moreover in light of its parallel with the release rite of the bird in Leviticus 14 where the bird was bearing the impurity of the leper or the leprous house and released into the wildness outside the town (vv. 7, 53), it is unlikely that the live goat did bear ‘guilt’ instead of ‘sin or iniquity.’

That the burning of the carcass should be performed in a clean place does not necessarily mean that it must be clean. Rather, it seems that this place was designated as a particular area fixed for disposal of ritual substance (Lv 1:16; 6:4 [11]) along with the deposit of the hattat ash of the red heifer (Nm 19:9), whether the discarded ritual substance was clean or unclean. This view is reliable in light of the existence of an ‘unclean place’ outside the camp fixed for disposal of non-ritual substance like the debris of the dismantled house.35

Therefore, it is clear that both the hattat carcass and the Azazel goat are contaminated by the evils,36 and for that reason both the goat sender and the remains handler were obligated to take the same entrance rite to cleanse the defilement from them.


From the investigation on the disposal of the flesh in the hattat ritual, the following conclusions are deduced:

1. There are two standards concerning when the priest should not eat the hattat flesh but burn it outside the camp: (1) when the hattat blood is treated in the shrine or the adytum; (2) when the animal is offered for the priests. These two rules converge into one rule: the priest is not allowed to eat the hattat flesh, if the hattat is offered for him and his household or for the whole congregation including his household.

2. The exegesis of Leviticus 10:17 indicates that disposal of the hattat flesh is performed to remove and eliminate the offerer’s sin and the sanctuary’s impurity generated from the offerer’s moral sin or ritual impurity.

3. It means that the hattat flesh becomes defiled by human evils. The two kinds of disposal of the hattat flesh, the eaten hattat and the burnt hattat, function to remove and eliminate the human sin and the sanctuary’s impurity by either the priest’s eating or burning of the hattat flesh.

4. The defilement of the hattat flesh is additionally supported by several biblical indications and implications.

5. As Milgrom argued, it is assumed that whereas the eaten hattat offering retains minor contamination by human sin or impurity, the burnt hattat offering is contaminated by more severe and major sins and impurities, in appropriation with either the offerer’s socio-religious status or the gravity of the sin.


Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no financial or personal relationship(s) that may have inappropriately influenced them in writing this article.

Authors’ contributions
This article is based on a PhD thesis by G.Y.K. (University of Pretoria) handed in at the University of Pretoria, 2013, in the Department of Old Testament Studies under the supervision of P.M.V. (University of Pretoria).


Dillmann, A., 1880, Exodus und Leviticus, 2nd edn., Hirzel, Leipzig. (Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum Alten Testament, 12).

Ehrlich, A., 1968, Randglossen zur hebräischen Bibel: Texkritisches, Sprachliches und Sachliches, vol. 2, Olms, Hildesheim.

Gane, R.E., 2005, Cult and character, purification offerings, Day of Atonement and theodicy, Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake. PMCid:PMC1237136

Haran, M., 1978, Temples and Temple-Service in Ancient Israel, Clarendon Press, Oxford. PMid:102390, PMCid:PMC1668588

Hartley, J.E., 1992, Leviticus, Word Books, Dallas. (Word Biblical Commentary).

Janowski, B., 1968, Sühne als Heilsgeschehen: Studien zur Sühnetheologie der Priesterschrift und zur Wurzel KPR im Alten Orient und im Alten Testament, Neukrichner Verlag, Neukirchen-Vluyn. (Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten and Neuen Testament, 55).

Johar, N., 1983, ‘Repentance and purification: The significance and semantics of in Pentateuch’, Journal of Biblical Literature 107, 609–618.

Kaufmann, Y., 1937–1956, The history of Israel religion, 4 vols., Dvir. Tel Aviv.

Kautsch, E., 1910, Gesenius’ Hebrew grammar, transl. A.E. Cowley, Clarendon Press, Oxford.

Keil, C.F. & Delitzsch, F., 1956, Biblical commentary of the OT, vol. 2, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.

Kim, G.Y., 2013, ‘The hattat ritual and the Day of Atonement in the book of Leviticus’ PhD dissertation, Department of Old Testament Studies, University of Pretoria.

Kiuchi, N., 1987, The purification offering in the priestly literature: Its meaning and function, JSOT, Sheffield. (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series, 56).

Kiuchi, N., 2007, Leviticus, Inter Varsity Press, Nottingham.

Knierim, R., 1965, Die Hauptbegriffe für Sünde im Alten Testament, Gerd Mohn, Gütersloh.

Kurtz, J. H., 1980, Sacrificial worship of the Old Testament, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids.

Levine, B.A., 1974, In the presence of the Lord, Brill, Leiden. (Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity, 5).

Levine, B.A., 1989, The JPS Torah commentary: Leviticus, Jewish Publication Society, Philadelphia.

Matthes, J. C., 1903, ‘Der Sühnegedanke bei den Sündopfern’, Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 23, 97–119.

Milgrom, J., 1976, ‘Two kinds of hattat’, Vetus Testamentum 26, 333–337.

Milgrom, J., 1983, Studies in cultic theology and terminology, Brill, Leiden. PMCid:PMC390132

Milgrom, J., 1991, Leviticus 1–16: A new translation with introduction and commentary, Doubleday, New York.

Rendtorff, R., 2005, Canonical Hebrew Bible: A theology of the Old Testament, transl. D.E. Orton, Deo, Leiden.

Rodriguez, A., 1979, Substitution in the Hebrew Cultus, Andrews University Press, Berrien Springs, MI. (Andrews University Seminary Dissertation Series, 3).

Rodriguez, A., 1986, ‘Transfer of sin in Leviticus’, in F. Holbrook (ed.), The seventy weeks, Leviticus, and the nature of prophecy, pp. 169–197, Biblical Institute, Washington, DC. (Daniel and Revelation Committee Series, 3).

Schwartz, B. J., 1991, ‘The prohibitions concerning the “eating” of blood in Leviticus 17’, G.A. Anderson & S.M. Olyan (eds.), Priesthood and cult in Ancient Israel, pp. 34–66, Sheffield Academic Press, Sheffield. (JSOT Supplement Series, 125).

Schwartz, B.J., 1995, ‘The bearing of sin in the priestly literature’, in D. Wright, D.N. Freedmann & A. Hurvitz (eds.), Pomegranates and golden bells: Studies in Biblical, Jewish, and Near Eastern ritual, law and literature in honor of Jacob Milgrom, pp. 8–15, Eisenbrauns ,Winona Lake. PMid:7557652

Snaith, N.H., 1977, Leviticus and Numbers, Oliphants, London.

Van der Merwe, B.J., 1962, ‘The laying on of hands in the Old Testament’, Die Ou Testamentiese Werkgemeenskap in Suid-Afrika 5, 34–43.

Wenham, G.J., 1979, The book of Leviticus, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids. (New International Commentary on the Old Testament). PMCid:PMC1145849

English Bibles
CJB: The Complete Jewish Bible (1998)

ESV: English Standard Version (2001)

GWN: God’s word to the nation’s version (1995)

JPS: Jewish Publication Society OT (1917)

KJV: King James Version (1769)

NASB: New American Standard Bible (1977)

NIV: New International Version (1984)

NRSV: New Revised Standard Version (1989)

RSV: Revised Standard Version (1952)

Early Jewish Literature
b. Yoma: Babylonian Talmud Yoma

b. Zebaḥ: Babylonian Talmud Zebaḥ

Sipra: Sipra


1. The guilt offering follows the same rule of the hattat offering (Lv 7:7).

2. As for the bird hattat offering, a concessive type, the bird’s crop and feathers (or ‘contents’ [of the crop]; the meaning of the Hebrew term – contents, filth, is uncertain) should be taken away in the place of the ashes (Lv 1:16).

3. The two kidneys and the lobe of the liver (Lv 3:4, 10, 15).

4. The breast and the right thigh belonged to the priest (Lv 7:29–35), and the other flesh was assigned to the lay offerer (Lv 7:15–21). The offerer, who offered the peace offering, takes the major portion of the meat for the meal with his family and clan (Hartley 1992:100).

5. The square brackets of biblical verses refer to the numbering of the English Bibles which differ from the Hebrew Bible; hereafter it is the same throughout the article.

6. In this case, the other parts of the hattat animal, like its skin, entrails, other internal organs and dung, are not mentioned in the text. In light of the fact that the entrails are washed to remove the dung and offered on the altar, it is implied that the entails are allotted to the priests. The skin of the eaten hattat animal is also presumed to be given to them (cf. Lv 7:8), whilst the skin of the burnt hattat animal is burnt outside the camp.

7. That is the reason why Kiuchi (1987:130–131) categorises them into three types of hattat: (1) the blood rite at the outer altar and the carcass burnt outside the camp (Ex 29:12, 14 = Lv 8:15, 17; 9:9, 11); (2) the blood rite at the outer altar and the flesh consumption of the priest (Lv 4:25, 30, 34; 6:17–22 [24–29]; etc.); (3) the blood rite at the inner sancta and the carcass burnt outside the camp (Lv 4:5-12, 16–21; 16:14ff, 27; cf. 6:23 [30]; 10:18).

8. Kurtz’ view (1980:237) is that as for the hattat sacrifices (bulls) for the priests in Leviticus 8–9, they were not allowed to eat its flesh as unique cases, and burnt it outside the camp, although it is the outer altar hattat, because it was too holy for the priest to consume its flesh. But this must be denied, because the hattat sacrifice for the congregation on the eighth day service was performed on the outer altar in the same manner and should be eaten by the priests, although a goat was offered rather than a bull, unlike that for the priest.

9. The only case where the blood of the hattat goat was brought into the inner precincts is the sacrificial goat of the special hattat on the Day of Atonement. The blood of the goat is treated in the adytum, in the shrine, and in the court (on the outer altar). But in this case the goat was one of a pair that consists of the two goats equal to the value of a bull so as to be a hattat for the congregation (cf. Kim 2013, ch. 3). Therefore, in a special way this case could fall under the rule of Leviticus, which requires the hattat offering of a bull for the whole congregation.

10. Hartley (1992:63) notes: ‘Because the priests participate in this sin [of the congregation] as members of the covenant community, they may not receive any of the animal’s parts.’

11. Mattes (1903:97–119); Van der Merwe (1962:39); Snaith (1977:42); Kurtz (1980: 228–230); Kiuchi (1987:115–116). Kiuchi distinguishes between ‘sin’ and ‘guilt’ (1987:115). Kiuchi (1987:49) contends that the officiating priest bears the ‘guilt’ of the ordinary Israelites as their agent through the blood manipulation rather than the eating of the flesh. For him, the flesh is clean and not connected to ‘guilt’ or ‘sin’. On the other hand, Kiuchi (1987:114) distinguishes between the victim’s sacrificial death in the sanctuary and non-sacrificial death outside it, saying that the sacrificial death is not regarded as defiling, but giving ‘life’ in place of the sinner (Lv 17:11), whereas ‘the death of an animal outside the sanctuary may defile (e.g. Lv 11:38ff.).’ To him, therefore, it is wrong to say that the hattat sacrifice becomes impure through the hand imposition.

12. Keil and Delitzsch (1956:355); Milgrom (1991:261–262; 623–627; 635–640. For the sake of convenience, ‘evil’ is adopted to indicate both ‘sin’ and ‘impurity’ of a person.

13. The renderings are: ‘sin’ (GWN; Milgrom 1991:262); ‘iniquity’ (Milgrom 1991:623; ESV; JPS, KJV; RSV); ‘guilt’ (Kiuchi 1987:49; NASB; NIV; NRSV); ‘culpability’ (Gane 2005:104)’; ‘transgression’ (Schwartz 1991:34–36; 1995:8–15).

14. Kaufmann (1937–1956, vol. 1, pp. 568–569); Keil and Delitzsch (1956:355); Rodriguez (1979:130–136); Levine (1989:62–63); Milgrom (1991:262, 623). The rendering of [sin] in this verse as the concept of sin differs between scholars. For instance, Schwartz (1991:34–36, 1995:8–15) employs ‘transgression’: ‘so that the priests can carry away the transgression of the community.’ But most interpreters employ ‘iniquity’.

15. Kiuchi (1987:46–49); Rendtorff (2005:542); Gane (2005:99–105, 294).

16. Ehrlich (1968:37); Milgrom’s earlier view (1976:333–334).

17. Cf. Milgrom’s rendering (1983:70): ‘and I [sic] have given (the hattat) to you for bearing responsibility of the community by performing purgation rites before the Lord on their half’ (emphasis mine).

18. The meaning ‘by’ of the preposition seems to be possible in some cases of [to reconcile] in light of Kautsch (1910 § 114o) which explains that in those cases it can express motives (cf. Lv 8:15). But the precise meaning of the cases cited in Kautsch (1910) is not clear.

19. However, Kiuchi (1987:135) continues to argue that as far as the burning of the hattat carcass outside the camp is concerned, it ‘probably symbolizes “removal of guilt” [of the priests] … this rite may have some bearing on the atoning process.’ In this way, Kiuchi distinguishes between the eaten hattat and the burnt hattat concerning the function of the flesh disposal.

20. Gane’s ‘culpability’ of the congregation corresponds to Kiuchi’s ‘guilt’ of the congregation.

21. Gane (2005:100) explains the mediatorial role of the priests between the people and YHWH: ‘By eating the flesh, the priests serve as a mediatorial bridge between the Israelites and YHWH: by taking the iniquity of the people that they would otherwise continue to bear (cf. 5:1), the priests identify with them. By removing the iniquity, the priests identity with YHWH, who removes iniquity (Exod 34:7).’ Even though this statement is acceptable, his argument concerning the definition of the term in Leviticus 10:17 is not consistent between ‘iniquity’ and ‘culpability,’ as far as ‘iniquity’ is used as a meaning of sin. According to his theory of the hattat, the offerer’s sin or iniquity is conveyed to the animal with the transference of its ownership (not through hand imposition), and removed from him; but the culpability, a consequence of the sin, still remains and the priests take it substitutionally at the moment when they eat the hattat flesh.

22. Cf. Isaiah 53:4–5 that describes a human agent who bears ‘our infirmities (or grieves)’ . In this passage, however, he is the righteous servant of YHWH rather than a priest. Further, he is metaphorically portrayed as a lamb which is sheared and slaughtered as a substitute for the people of Israel. In the tradition of the New Testament as well, Jesus is depicted as a substitutionary lamb, which bears the iniquities or sins of the people (Jn 1:29, 36; Ac 8:32; 1 Cor 5:7; 1 Pt 1:19; Rv 5:6, 12). The blood of Jesus indicates that he was sacrificed as a symbolic sacrificial animal (Jn 1:7; Rm 5:9; Eph 1:7; Heb 9:12, 14; 10:19; 13:12; Rv 1:5), but not as a symbolic high priest who ministers in the sanctuary before God as representative for the people (Heb 2:17; 3:1; 7, etc. in Hebrews).

23. But this refers to the offerer’s ‘responsibility’ (= culpability) for the consequence of the evil, and not to the priestly ‘responsibility’ as their duty that is performed to offer the hattat sacrifice at the sanctuary for the sinner. The priests bear the offerer’s responsibility (= culpability) substitutionally.

24. Milgrom’s opinion (1991:625) concerning the disposal of the hattat flesh is as follows: ‘Once the blood has removed the impurities [of the sancta] they are transferred to the carcass, which must now be disposed of. Because a carcass bearing severe impurities is burnt (4:12; 16:27), it must therefore follow that the carcass bearing lesser impurities is eliminated by ingestion.’ His view is insufficient, because it is inferred that in the case of a ritual impurity, the standard cannot be its gravity of impurity. Only when the priestly household offers the hattat sacrifice for their own impurity, they could not eat it but had to burn it outside the camp.

25. As reason of the flesh burning, three suggestions are presented (see Kiuchi 1987:133). Firstly, the burning was to prevent profanation of the hattat flesh (Dillmann 1880: 422). But it must be declined, because ‘profanation could have been prevented by eating the flesh’ (Kiuchi 1987:133). Secondly, the flesh is regarded as a useless part of a sacrificial animal (Wenham 1979:158). But if it was holy, why was it useless? (Kiuchi 1987:133). Why was it not burnt on the altar, unless it could be eaten by the priest, because it was offered for the priest himself? Thirdly, because the hattat sacrifice is purificatory, probably its flesh is contaminated with sin or impurity and becomes unclean. If so, why was the eaten hattat animal consumed by the priest, since it is unclean? Our view is in favour of the third view, as argued above: The priest removed and eliminated the evil by eating the hattat flesh where mild evil was absorbed. At the same time it was given to the priest as a prebend, whilst it is still holy as a sacrifice offered to the sanctuary. For coexistence of holiness and impurity, see below.

26. For miscellaneous proponents of this opinion, see Gane (2005:166–167).

27. However, after their death penalty, their censers were not used as such for the sanctuary. Instead, the censers had to be hammered into sheets for plating of the altar. It seems to imply that the censors were contaminated so that they were purified through the hammering process and recycled to overlay the altar.

28. Milgrom (1991:404) introduces the rabbis’ interpretation that the vessel became holy; after the vessel is broken its pieces were buried in the sanctuary’s courtyard (b. Yoma 21a; b. Zebaḥ. 96a). But Milgrom (1991:405) maintains that ‘only impure earthenware needs to be broken (see Lv 11:33, 35; 15:22), because its porous nature so totally absorbs the impurity that it can never again be purified.’

29. Rodriguez (1986:196) also claims that the coexistence of impurity and holiness is possible in the context of the ritual atonement; the sin, that is transferred to the animal through hand imposition and later conveyed to the priest through the blood rites, did not affect their holiness (for his theory of the hattat dynamics, see Kim 2013, ch. 7).

30. Probably except for the suet that is offered and burnt on the altar as a soothing aroma before God.

31. The ambiguity of its meaning is well revealed in the rendering of RSV that is replaced by that of NRSV. Milgrom (1991:443–456) argues for sancta contagion, submitting several cases: (Ex 29:37; 30:26–29; Lv 6:11 [18], 20 [27]; Nm 4:15; Ezk 46:20). The problem is the interpretation of the verb in these cases. The majority of scholars, including Milgrom, have interpreted it as the meaning of a qal impf, ‘will become holy’ that indicates sancta contagion on philological and contextual grounds: the qal impf of ‘only means “become holy” and cannot denote “must be holy.”’ But Levine (1989:37, 40), followed by Hartley (1992:97) who refuses contagion of holiness, renders it as a jussive mode, ‘must be holy’ or ‘shall be holy’ (e.g. Lv 6:20).

32. For interpretation on Haggai 2:11–13 cited as an example of sancta contagion, Milgrom (1991:445, 449–450) interprets that although the priest denies the contagion of holiness through a person’s garment in which holy meat is wrapped, it is implied, however, that ‘holiness is contagious by direct contact.’ At the same time, a person who touches the sancta incurs death (e.g. Nm 4:15). Therefore, Milgrom (1991:450) concludes that ‘the sancta would appear to transmit both holiness and death to those who touch them.’ Nevertheless, some cases of Leviticus like 6:11 (18), 20 (27), apart from Exodus 29:37; 30:27, it seems that Levine’s interpretation is right; the statements are to require qualification for contacting the sancta: ‘it must be holy’ for touching the sancta.

33. However, it must be recalled that the remains handler’s activity (and maybe the goat sender) in the hattat ritual was legitimate, so he did not incur death by touching the holiest meat. But such concessive mitigation was not applied to contamination of impurity. Therefore, the remains handler and the goat sender were contaminated by the impure hattat carcass which was loaded with sin and impurity.

34. For the theory of gap filling, see Kim (2013:119–122).

35. Leviticus 14 (vv. 40, 41, 45) designates an unclean place outside the camp where contaminated stones or plaster and the debris of the dismantled house were thrown away. For discussion on the identity of a clean and an unclean place, see Milgrom (1991:262).

36. See Kim (2013:90–91, 214, 307–309) where it is argued that whereas the impurities of the sanctuary are absorbed into the special hattat animals (the sacrificial bull and goat), the sins of Israel are transferred to the Azazel goat.

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