In Leviticus, the Israelites are still on Mt. Sinai in the middle of the wilderness.
Leviticus is broken into 7 sections.
1 & 7 – Ritual
2 & 6 – Priesthood
3 & 5 – Purity
The 6 sections all tie into the middle section of Leviticus.
The first solution, rituals, involves alot of animal sacrifices. Leviticus begins with detailed instructions on how to make these sacrifices. Some are ways of saying “thank you” and others are ways of saying “I’m sorry”. At the end of the book are more rituals which are about observing sacred days and festivals; celebrations that retell the story of how God rescued Israel.
The second solution has to do with priests. God appoints priests as special representatives who can go into his presence on behalf of others. In the second section of the book, it tells the story of how the priests are ordained into the priesthood and the sixth section of the book explains the set of higher standards the priests have to live by.
The third solution is Purity. The third and fifth section of Leviticus concerns with whether one is pure or impure. When you’re in a pure state, you can be near God’s presence, when you’re in an impure state, you can’t. The fifth section focuses on Israel’s moral behaviour — laws about social justice, healthy relationships, having sexual integrity. Living by these laws will make Israel into morally pure people.
Some side notes:
⁃ Leviticus contains a list of pure and impure animals
⁃ Being in contact with things like skin disease, touching dead bodies, what to do with bodily fluids will make one impure
⁃ Being impure doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong or sinful — one can always be pure again
⁃ One must not enter God’s presence when impure
One time a year the priests would take two goats, and one of those goats is killed, the blood is then carried into God’s presence where it symbolically atones for Israel’s sin.
The priest puts his hand on the second goat and confesses all the sins of Israel, placing the sins on the goat. The goat then gets cast out into the wilderness forever — the scapegoat.