Leviticus 4

1 And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
2 Speak unto the sons of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done and shall do any of them,
3 if the priest that is anointed sins according to the guiltiness of the people, he shall offer for his sin, which he has committed, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for his sin.
4 And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the testimony before the LORD and shall lay his hand upon the bullock’s head and kill the bullock before the LORD.
5 And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock’s blood and bring it to the tabernacle of the testimony;
6 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the veil of the sanctuary.
7 And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of aromatic incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of the testimony, and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the testimony.
8 And he shall take off all the fat of the bullock for the sin: the fat that covers the intestines and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
9 and the two kidneys and the fat that is upon them, and that which is upon the flanks and with the kidneys he shall take away the caul above the liver,
10 as it was taken off from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace; and the priest shall incense them upon the altar of the burnt offering.
11 And the skin of the bullock and all its flesh, with its head and with its legs, and his intestines and his dung,
12 even the whole bullock he shall carry forth outside the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes with the burnt fat are poured out and burn it on the wood with fire, where the ashes with the burnt fat are poured out shall it be burnt.
13 And if the whole congregation of Israel sins through ignorance and the thing was hid from the eyes of the assembly and they have done something against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done and are guilty,
14 when the sin, which they have committed, is understood, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock as the sin and bring it before the tabernacle of the testimony.
15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD, and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.
16 And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock’s blood to the tabernacle of the testimony.
17 And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the veil.
18 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 testimony 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 testimony.
19 And he shall take all the fat and incense it upon the altar.
20 And he shall do with this bullock as he did with the bullock of the sin, so shall he do with this; and thus the priest shall reconcile them, and they shall obtain forgiveness.
21 And he shall carry forth the bullock outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bullock; it is the sin of the congregation.
22 When the prince has sinned and done something through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done and is guilty,
23 as soon as he is notified of his sin, which he has committed, then he shall bring his offering, a he goat, a male without blemish.
24 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the he goat and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD; it is sin.
25 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin with his finger and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering and shall pour out its blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering;
26 and he shall burn all its fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace; thus shall the priest reconcile him as concerning his sin, and he shall have forgiveness.
27 And if any one of the people of the land sins through ignorance, by doing something against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and is guilty,
28 as soon as his sin, which he has committed, comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering, a she goat, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed.
29 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin and slay the sin in the place of the burnt offering.
30 Then the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering and shall pour out all its blood at the bottom of the altar.
31 And he shall take away all its fat, as the fat was taken away from off the sacrifice of peace; and the priest shall incense it upon the altar in a very acceptable aroma unto the LORD; and thus shall the priest reconcile him, and he shall have forgiveness.
32 And if he brings a lamb as his offering, as the sin, he shall bring a female without blemish.
33 And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin and slay the sin in the place where they kill the burnt offering.
34 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering and shall pour out all its blood at the bottom of the altar.
35 And he shall take away all its fat, as the fat of the lamb of the sacrifice of peace was taken away; and the priest shall incense it upon the altar in an offering on fire unto the LORD; and thus shall the priest reconcile him from his sin that he has committed, and he shall have forgiveness.

Leviticus 4 Commentary

Chapter 4

The sin-offering of ignorance for the priest. (1-12) For the whole congregation. (13-21) For a ruler. (22-26) For any of the people. (27-35)

Verses 1-12 Burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and peace-offerings, had been offered before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai; and in these the patriarchs had respect to sin, to make atonement for it. But the Jews were now put into a way of making atonement for sin, more particularly by sacrifice, as a shadow of good things to come; yet the substance is Christ, and that one offering of himself, by which he put away sin. The sins for which the sin-offerings were appointed are supposed to be open acts. They are supposed to be sins of commission, things which ought not to have been done. Omissions are sins, and must come into judgment: yet what had been omitted at one time, might be done at another; but a sin committed was past recall. They are supposed to be sins committed through ignorance. The law begins with the case of the anointed priest. It is evident that God never had any infallible priest in his church upon earth, when even the high priest was liable to fall into sins of ignorance. All pretensions to act without error are sure marks of Antichrist. The beast was to be carried without the camp, and there burned to ashes. This was a sign of the duty of repentance, which is the putting away sin as a detestable thing, which our soul hates. The sin-offering is called sin. What they did to that, we must do to our sins; the body of sin must be destroyed, ( Romans 6:6 ) . The apostle applies the carrying this sacrifice without the camp to Christ, ( Hebrews 13:11-13 ) .

Verses 13-21 If the leaders of the people, through mistake, caused them to err, an offering must be brought, that wrath might not come upon the whole congregation. When sacrifices were offered, the persons, on whose behalf they were devoted, were to lay their hands on the heads of the victims, and to confess their sins. The elders were to do so, when the sacrifices were offered for the whole congregation. The load of sin was supposed then to be borne by the guiltless animal. When the offering is completed, it is said, atonement is made, and the sin shall be forgiven. The saving of churches and kingdoms from ruin, is owing to the satisfaction and mediation of Christ.

Verses 22-26 Those who have power to call others to account, are themselves accountable to the Ruler of rulers. The sin of the ruler, committed through ignorance, must come to his knowledge, either by the check of his own conscience, or by the reproof of his friends; both which even the best and greatest, not only should submit to, but be thankful for. That which I see not, teach thou me, and, Show me wherein I have erred, are prayers we should put up to God every day; that if, through ignorance, we fall into sin, we may not through ignorance abide in it.

Verses 27-35 Here is the law of the sin-offering for a common person. To be able to plead, when charged with sin, that we did it ignorantly, and through the surprise of temptation, will not bring us off, if we have no interest in that great plea, Christ hath died. The sins of ignorance committed by a common person, needed a sacrifice; the greatest are not above, the meanest are not below Divine justice. None, if offenders, were overlooked. Here rich and poor meet together; they are alike sinners, and welcome to Christ. From all these laws concerning the sin-offerings, we may learn to hate sin, and to watch against it; and to value Christ, the great and true Sin-offering, whose blood cleanses from all sin, which it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away. For us to err, with the Bible in our hands, is the effect of pride, sloth, and carelessness. We need to use frequent self-examination, with serious study of the Scriptures, and earnest prayer for the convincing influences of God the Holy Spirit; that we may detect our sins of ignorance, repent, and obtain forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO LEVITICUS 4

This chapter contains the law of the sin offering, which was offered for sins committed through ignorance, error, and mistake, Le 4:1,2 and gives an account of the matter of them, and the rites belonging thereunto, which were different according to the persons for whom it was made, as for the anointed priest, Le 4:3-12 for the whole congregation, Le 4:13-21 and for the ruler, Le 4:22-26 and for any of the common people, Le 4:27-35.

Leviticus 4 Commentaries