Answered by: BibleAsk Team


Does Leviticus 4:18 refer to altar of sacrifice or the altar of incense?

“And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.” Leviticus 4:18

There were two different occasions when the blood of animals was sprinkled on the altar of sacrifice and another when it was sprinkled on the alter of incense.

In the regular daily sacrifices that were done for the sins of the people, the blood was sprinkled on the altar of burnt offering in the outer court or placed upon its horns.

But when the anointed priest himself sinned, the blood was carried into the sanctuary itself. This was without a doubt due to his sin which was seen as more serious than that of anyone else in God’s eyes.

When the priest sinned, he dipped his finger in some of the blood and sprinkled it seven times before the veil, “before the Lord.” Also, he put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of incense, which is also said to be “before the Lord” (v. 7). It should be noted that the priest did not sprinkle the blood on the veil, but before it. He used only one finger in sprinkling.

This sprinkling was done only when the anointed priest or when the whole congregation sinned corporately. It is not known how often the high priest sinned and brought a bullock as an offering nor how often the congregation sinned. It is probably that these two occasions did not occur often.

Besides sprinkling the blood before the veil, the priest also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of incense. In doing so he touched each horn in turn, making a mark of blood with his finger, thus recording the fact that sin had been done and that an offering had been brought.

The blood that he placed on the horns was from an animal that bore sin. This necessitated that there should be made “an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year” (Ex. 30:10). The unused portion of the blood was poured out at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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