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.