|Day when the high priest offered sacrifices for Israel's
The high priest put blood on the horns of the altar on the Day of
Altar from Megiddo
10th - 9th cent. B.C.
The Day of Atonement was the most solemn day of the Jewish year. It took
place in the fall. The high priest was called upon to enter the inner
part of the sanctuary, or "holy of holies," in order to make
atonement for the people. A bull and goat were slain in the outer courtyard.
Then the high priest sprinkled some of the blood before the mercy seat
in the inner chamber. This was the only time during the year that anyone
was allowed to enter the holy of holies. After this, the high priest put
blood on the horns of the altar in the forecourt. The high priest also
placed his hands on a live goat, confessed the sins of the people, then
released the goat into the wilderness as a way of removing sin from the
community (hence the term "scape goat"). The book of Hebrews
draws on the ritual of the Day of Atonement when depicting the sacrificial
death of Jesus.
Lev 16 - Day
of Atonement ritual