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Kapparah (Hebrew: כפרה, "atonements") means 'sacrifice of atonement, expiation': "Also every day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement [כפר, kippur]; and you shall offer a sin offering for the altar, when you make atonement [כפר, kaphar] for it" (Exodus 29:36). In the traditional Jewish religious ritual, Kapparah takes place on the eve of Yom Kippur: "Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a Day [Yom] of Atonement [Kippur]..." (Leviticus 23:27).

"God put Jesus forward as a sacrifice of atonement [Greek: hilasterion] for sin through his faithfulness in respect to his bloody sacrificial death" (Romans 3:25 Complete Jewish Bible).

The Greek word hilasterion appears also in Hebrew 9:5 ("above the ark were cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat [hilasterion]"); and the equivalent Hebrew word kapporeth is find in Exodus 25:17 ("Then you shall make a mercy seat [כפרת, kapporeth "propitiation"] of pure gold").

At Hebrew 9:5, it means the 'mercy seat' which formed the cover of the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies of the Temple, where the Hight Priest entered once a year, on Yom Kippur, to offer a sacrifice for sins of the people.

At Romans 3:25, it means 'propitiation, expiation, atonement' and corresponds to Hebrew כפר (kappar), which has the same meaning in the Tanakh and has the root sense of either "cover" or "wipe clean". These two root meanings both express what God does when He accepts expiation for sin: He covers the sin from His sight and/or wipes or washes it away.

The triliteral root (root containing a sequence of three consonants) of the verb "to atone" and the noun "atonement" (כפר) is the root of the related verb and noun:

  • verb 'to cover', "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover [כפר kaphar] it inside and out with pitch" (Genesis 6:14),

  • noun 'a cover', "Then you shall make a mercy seat [כפרת, kapporeth] of pure gold" (Exodus 25:17),

  • noun 'a ransom', "If there be laid on him a sum of money, then he shall give for the ransom [כפר, kopher] of his life whatsoever is laid upon him" (Exodus 21:30).

The triliteral root (כפר) is also the root of the related names of things that normally cover or protect that which is within them:

  • 'asphalt', "Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with asphalt [כפר, kopher]" (Genesis 6:14),

  • 'frost', "He give snow like wool; He scatters frost [כפור, kaphor] like ashes" (Psalm 147:16),

  • 'village', "over the storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages [כפר, kaphar], and in the strongholds, was Jehonathan the son of Uzziah" (1 Chronicles 27:25).