Fr. James' Lectionary

The Lectionary is both a reading program for completing all of Holy Scripture on a one year schedule, and a daily comment on a portion of the day's reading wedded to a poem to give an added perspective on the theme.

Location: Amherst, Virginia, United States

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Chatat--Missing the Mark: Bible Commentary on Leviticus 4 with poem by John Byrom, Self-Righteousness

Daily Readings
Job 32:1-33:7 Exodus 20:12-21 Leviticus 4 I Corinthians 10

Daily Text: Leviticus 4

Chatat—Missing the Mark
Is it not fascinating that these people of God had expiation for unintended sins, but none for deliberate sins? Plaut [185:768] writes, “The law did not permit one to do a deliberate wrong and square the account with a sacrifice, ‘The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD’ (Proverbs 15:8).” Plaut goes on to quote from the Halachah [185:773] that one who committed deliberate sin could be purged only by persistant repentance, ‘observance of the Day of Atonement and the acceptance of punitive suffering, or by death.’

‘Chatat’ means sin offering with sin understood as ‘missing the mark.’ That definition makes most sense once one understands that it is an unwitting offense, e.g., the failure to report someone else’s sin or negligence in carrying out ritual requirements.

John Byrom


“He is a sinner,” you are pleased to say.
Then love him for the sake of Christ, I pray.
If on His gracious words you place your trust,--
Second his call; which if you will not do,
You’ll be the greater sinner of the two.

Collect for the Day
O God, whose glory it is always to have mercy: Be gracious to all who have gone astray from your ways, and bring them again with penitent hearts and steadfast faith to embrace and hold fast the unchangeable truth of you Word, Jesus Christ your Son; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
[BCP:218 Second Sunday in Lent]


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