Speak unto the children of Israel, [saying]
For this law concerning the sin offering, as the rest, only belonged to them, and such as were proselyted to them:
if a soul should sin through ignorance;
sin is from the soul, though committed by the body; it is the soul that sins, ( Ezekiel 18:4 ) it includes, as Aben Ezra observes, both Israelites and proselytes; who sinned through ignorance either of the law, that such things were forbidden, or of having committed them, they being done unobserved, and through inadvertency; or were forgotten that they were done, or were done through error and mistake; these sins are what the apostle calls the errors of the people, their strayings out of the way through ignorance and inadvertency, ( Hebrews 5:2 ) ( 9:7 ) such sins as a man is overtaken with unawares, and is drawn into at once through temptation and the prevalence of corruption; these are the errors and secret faults which David distinguishes from presumptuous sins, ( Psalms 19:12 Psalms 19:13 ) :
against any of the commandments of the Lord ([concerning things]
which ought not to be done.
) The Jewish writers F13 distinguish the commandments of the Lord into affirmative and negative, and make their number to be six hundred and thirteen; two hundred and forty eight are affirmative, according to the number of bones in a man's body, and three hundred sixty five are negative ones, according to the number of the days of the year; and they observe F14, it is only the transgression of negative precepts that is here meant, and for which a sin offering was to be brought:
and shall do against any of them;
it must be something done, and not merely said: hence the Jews F15 say, that as the neglect of circumcision, and of the passover, does not come under this law, because they are affirmative precepts; so neither blasphemy, because there is nothing done, only something said: of these sins of ignorance, they give instances as follows; if any man eats the fat that is about the kidneys, thinking it is the fat that is about the heart; or that lies with a woman forbidden by the law, thinking her to be his wife; or that commits idolatry, by bowing to the idol, thinking that the law forbids sacrifice, incense, and libation, but not bowing; or that profanes the sabbath, thinking it is a common day F16.
F13 T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 23. 2.
F14 Maimon. in Misn. Horayot, c. 2. sect. 3. Bartenora in Misn. Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 1. Gersom in loc.
F15 Misn. Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 2. & Bartenora in ib. Maimon. Hilchot Shegagot, c. 1. sect. 2.
F16 Maimon & Bartenora in Misn. Ceritot, ib.