10:17 “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the sanctuary? For it is most holy and he gave it to you to bear the iniquity of the congregation,20 to make atonement on their behalf before the Lord.
sn This translation is quite literal. On the surface it appears to mean that the priests would “bear the iniquity” of the congregation by the act of eating the sin offering (so J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:622–25, 635–40). Such a notion is, however, found nowhere else in the Levitical regulations and seems unlikely (so J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 136). A more likely interpretation is reflected in this interpretive rendering: “he gave it to you [as payment] for [your work of] bearing the iniquity of the congregation.” The previous section of the chapter deals with the prebends that the priests received for performing the ministry of the tabernacle (Lev 10:12–15). Lev 10:16–18, therefore, seems to continue the very same topic in the light of the most immediate situation (see R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:702–4).