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A Father's Sacrifice

By Jeff A. Benner

While working on the Mechanical Translation today, I came across a passage that I found fascinating (which is a common occurrence when working on this translation) and also shows the importance of looking at the text from a very literal perspective. Let me first show you the passage from the KJV.

Leviticus 10:16-20 - And Moses diligently sought the goat of the sin offering, and, behold, it was burnt: and he was angry with Eleazar and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron which were left alive, saying, Wherefore have ye not eaten the sin offering in the holy place, seeing it is most holy, and God hath given it you to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them before the LORD? Behold, the blood of it was not brought in within the holy place: ye should indeed have eaten it in the holy place, as I commanded. And Aaron said unto Moses, Behold, this day have they offered their sin offering and their burnt offering before the LORD; and such things have befallen me: and if I had eaten the sin offering to day, should it have been accepted in the sight of the LORD? And when Moses heard that, he was content.

Summarizing this passage, Aharon's sons were supposed to eat the goat, but instead they burned it in the fire, and Moses was angry saying they should have eaten it. Aharon then said to Moses if it would have been acceptable if he had eaten it, and this was acceptable to Moses.

Now let's take a look at the Revised Mechanical Translation for this passage.

and Mosheh (Moses) greatly sought the hairy one (the goat) of the failure (sin offering), and look, he was cremated, and he snapped upon Elazar and upon Iytamar, the sons of Aharon (Aaron), the ones being left behind, saying, why did you not eat the failure in the special area, given that she was a special thing of special things, and he gave her to you to lift up the twistedness of the company to cover over them to the face of Yhwh, though her blood was not brought to the special place within, you will surely eat her in the special place, just as I directed, and Aharon spoke to Mosheh, though today they brought near their failure and their burnt offering to the face of Yhwh, and they called me out like this, and I will eat the failure today, will it do well in the eyes of Yhwh? and Mosheh heard and it did well in his eyes,

In this translation, the beginning is pretty much the same, but instead of Mosheh saying, "you should have eaten it", he said, "you will eat it." Mosheh is going to make the sons of Aharon eat the ashes of the goat! And instead of Aharon saying, "what if I had eaten it?" He says, "what if I will eat it?" Then the passage says that it did well in Mosheh's eyes, implying that he watched Aharon eat the ashes.

What an amazing sacrifice a father did for his sons.

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