And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is
a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it
; if he do not utter it
, then he shall bear his iniquity.
Concerning witnesses who, being adjured, refuse to tell the
Of those who contract defilement by touching unclean things
or persons, 2, 3.
Of those who bind themselves by vows or oaths, and do not
fulfil them, 4, 5.
The trespass-offering prescribed in such cases, a lamb or a
a turtle-dove or two young pigeons, 7-10;
or an ephah of fine flour with oil and frankincense, 11-13.
Other laws relative to trespasses, through ignorance in holy
Of trespasses in things unknown, 17-19.
NOTES ON CHAP. V
Verse 1. If a soul sin
] It is generally supposed that the
case referred to here is that of a person who, being demanded by
the civil magistrate to answer upon oath, refuses to tell what he
knows concerning the subject; such a one shall bear his iniquity
-shall be considered as guilty in the sight of God, of
the transgression which he has endeavoured to conceal, and must
expect to be punished by him for hiding the iniquity to which he
was privy, or suppressing the truth which, being discovered,
would have led to the exculpation of the innocent, and the
punishment of the guilty.
Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be
a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if
it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.
Verse 2. Any unclean thing
] Either the dead
body of a clean
animal, or the living
or dead carcass
of any unclean
All such persons were to wash their clothes and themselves in
clean water, and were considered as unclean till the evening, Le 11:24-31
. But if this had been neglected, they were
obliged to bring a trespass-offering
. What this meant, see in Clarke's notes on "Le 7:38"
Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be
that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it
, then he shall be guilty.
Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his
lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be
that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it
, then he shall be guilty in one of these.
Verse 4. To do evil, or to do good
] It is very likely that
rash promises are here intended; for if a man vow to do an act
that is evil, though it would be criminal to keep such an oath or
vow, yet he is guilty because he made it, and therefore must
offer the trespass-offering
. If he neglect to do the good
vowed, he is guilty, and must in both cases confess his iniquity,
and bring his trespass-offering.
And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things
, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing
Verse 5. He shall confess that he hath sinned
] Even restitution
was not sufficient without this confession, because a
man might make restitution without being much humbled
; but the
confession of sin has a direct tendency to humble the soul, and
hence it is so frequently required in the Holy Scriptures, as
there can be no salvation.
And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD
for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.
And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the LORD
; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering.a
Verse 7. If he be not able to bring a lamb
] See the
conclusion of Clarke's note on "Le 1:16"
And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that
for the sin offering first, and wring off his head from his neck, but shall not divide it
And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar: it is
a sin offering.
And he shall offer the second for
a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.b
Verse 10. He shall offer the second for a burnt-offering
The pigeon for the burnt-offering was wholly consumed, it was
the Lord's property; that for the sin-offering was the priest's
property, and was to be eaten by him after its blood had been
partly sprinkled on the side of the altar, and the rest poured
out at the bottom of the altar. See also Le 6:26
¶ But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any
frankincense thereon: for it is
a sin offering.
Verse 11. Tenth part of an ephah
] About three quarts
ephah contained a little more than seven
gallons and a half
Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even
a memorial thereof, and burn it
on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD
: it is
a sin offering.
And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant
shall be the priest's, as a meat offering.
¶ And the LORD
spake unto Moses, saying,
If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD
; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD
a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering:
Verse 15. In the holy things of the Lord
] This law seems to
relate particularly to sacrilege
, and defrauds
matters; such as the neglect to consecrate or redeem the
firstborn, the withholding of the first-fruits, tithes, and such
like; and, according to the rabbins, making any secular gain of
Divine things, keeping back any part of the price of things
dedicated to God, or withholding what man had vowed to pay. See
a long list of these things in Ainsworth
. With thy estimation
] The wrong done or the defraud committed
should be estimated at the number of shekels it was worth, or for
which it would sell. These the defrauder was to pay down, to
which he was to add a fifth
part more, and bring a ram without
blemish for a sin-offering besides. There is an obscurity in the
text, but this seems to be its meaning.
And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.
Verse 16. Shall make amends
] Make restitution for the wrong
he had done according to what is laid down in the preceding
¶ And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD
; though he wist it
not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.
And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it
not, and it shall be forgiven him.
a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD
Verse 19. He hath certainly trespassed
] And because he hath
sinned, therefore he must bring a sacrifice. On no other ground
shall he be accepted by the Lord. Reader, how dost thou stand in
the sight of thy Maker?
ON the subject of this chapter it may be proper to make the
When the infinite purity and strict justice of God are
considered, the exceeding breadth of his commandment, our
slowness of heart to believe, and our comparatively cold
performance of sacred duties, no wonder that there is sinfulness
found in our holy things
; and at what a low ebb must the
Christian life be found when this is the case! This is a sore
and degrading evil in the Church of God; but there is one even
worse than this, that is, the strenuous endeavour of many
religious people to reconcile their minds to this state of
inexcusable imperfection, and defend
it zealously, on the
supposition that it is at once both unavoidable
-unavoidable, for they think they cannot live without it;
and useful, because they suppose it tends to humble them! The
more inward sin a man has, the more pride
he will feel; the less,
the more humility
. A sense of God's infinite kindness to us, and
our constant dependence on him, will ever keep the soul in the
dust. Sin can never be necessary to the maintenance or extension
of the Christian life, it is the thing which Jesus Christ came
into the world to destroy
; and his name is called JESUS or Saviour
because he saves his people from their sins
. But how
little of the spirit and influence of his Gospel is known in the
world! He saves, unto the uttermost, them who come unto the
Father through him. But alas! how few are thus
saved! for they
will not come unto him that they might have life. Should any
Christian refuse to offer up the following prayer to God?
"Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, and from whom no
secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the
inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love
and worthily magnify
thy holy name, through Christ our Lord.