Leviticus 5

1 “ ‘If anyone sins because they do not speak up when they hear a public charge to testify regarding something they have seen or learned about, they will be held responsible.
2 “ ‘If anyone becomes aware that they are guilty—if they unwittingly touch anything ceremonially unclean (whether the carcass of an unclean animal, wild or domestic, or of any unclean creature that moves along the ground) and they are unaware that they have become unclean, but then they come to realize their guilt;
3 or if they touch human uncleanness (anything that would make them unclean) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt;
4 or if anyone thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil (in any matter one might carelessly swear about) even though they are unaware of it, but then they learn of it and realize their guilt—
5 when anyone becomes aware that they are guilty in any of these matters, they must confess in what way they have sinned.
6 As a penalty for the sin they have committed, they must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering[a] ; and the priest shall make atonement for them for their sin.
7 “ ‘Anyone who cannot afford a lamb is to bring two doves or two young pigeons to the LORD as a penalty for their sin—one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.
8 They are to bring them to the priest, who shall first offer the one for the sin offering. He is to wring its head from its neck, not dividing it completely,
9 and is to splash some of the blood of the sin offering against the side of the altar; the rest of the blood must be drained out at the base of the altar. It is a sin offering.
10 The priest shall then offer the other as a burnt offering in the prescribed way and make atonement for them for the sin they have committed, and they will be forgiven.
11 “ ‘If, however, they cannot afford two doves or two young pigeons, they are to bring as an offering for their sin a tenth of an ephah[b] of the finest flour for a sin offering. They must not put olive oil or incense on it, because it is a sin offering.
12 They are to bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial[c] portion and burn it on the altar on top of the food offerings presented to the LORD. It is a sin offering.
13 In this way the priest will make atonement for them for any of these sins they have committed, and they will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest, as in the case of the grain offering.’ ”

The Guilt Offering

14 The LORD said to Moses:
15 “When anyone is unfaithful to the LORD by sinning unintentionally in regard to any of the LORD’s holy things, they are to bring to the LORD as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel.[d] It is a guilt offering.
16 They must make restitution for what they have failed to do in regard to the holy things, pay an additional penalty of a fifth of its value and give it all to the priest. The priest will make atonement for them with the ram as a guilt offering, and they will be forgiven.
17 “If anyone sins and does what is forbidden in any of the LORD’s commands, even though they do not know it, they are guilty and will be held responsible.
18 They are to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for them for the wrong they have committed unintentionally, and they will be forgiven.
19 It is a guilt offering; they have been guilty of[e] wrongdoing against the LORD.”

Leviticus 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

Concerning various trespasses. (1-13) Concerning trespasses against the Lord. (14-19)

Verses 1-13 The offences here noticed are, 1. A man's concealing the truth, when he was sworn as a witness to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If, in such a case, for fear of offending one that has been his friend, or may be his enemy, a man refuses to give evidence, or gives it but in part, he shall bear his iniquity. And that is a heavy burden, which, if some course be not taken to get it removed, will sink a man to hell. Let all that are called at any time to be witnesses, think of this law, and be free and open in their evidence, and take heed of prevaricating. An oath of the Lord is a sacred thing, not to be trifled with. 2. A man's touching any thing that was ceremonially unclean. Though his touching the unclean thing only made him ceremonially defiled, yet neglecting to wash himself according to the law, was either carelessness or contempt, and contracted moral guilt. As soon as God, by his Spirit, convinces our consciences of any sin or duty, we must follow the conviction, as not ashamed to own our former mistake. 3. Rash swearing, that a man will do or not do such a thing. As if the performance of his oath afterward prove unlawful, or what cannot be done. Wisdom and watchfulness beforehand would prevent these difficulties. In these cases the offender must confess his sin, and bring his offering; but the offering was not accepted, unless accompanied with confession and humble prayer for pardon. The confession must be particular; that he hath sinned in that thing. Deceit lies in generals; many will own they have sinned, for that all must own; but their sins in any one particular they are unwilling to allow. The way to be assured of pardon, and armed against sin for the future, is to confess the exact truth. If any were very poor, they might bring some flour, and that should be accepted. Thus the expense of the sin-offering was brought lower than any other, to teach that no man's poverty shall ever bar the way of his pardon. If the sinner brought two doves, one was to be offered for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering. We must first see that our peace be made with God, and then we may expect that our services for his glory will be accepted by him. To show the loathsomeness of sin, the flour, when offered, must not be made grateful to the taste by oil, or to the smell by frankincense. God, by these sacrifices, spoke comfort to those who had offended, that they might not despair, nor pine away in their sins. Likewise caution not to offend any more, remembering how expensive and troublesome it was to make atonement.

Verses 14-19 Here are offerings to atone for trespasses against a neighbour. If a man put to his own use unwittingly, any thing dedicated to God, he was to bring this sacrifice. We are to be jealous over ourselves, to ask pardon for the sin, and make satisfaction for the wrong, which we do but suspect ourselves guilty of. The law of God is so very broad, the occasions of sin in this guilty of. The law of God is so very broad, the occasions of sin in this world are so numerous, and we are so prone to evil, that we need to fear always, and to pray always, that we may be kept from sin. Also we should look before us at every step. The true Christian daily pleads guilty before God, and seeks forgiveness through the blood of Christ. And the gospel salvation is so free, that the poorest is not shut out; and so full, that the most burdened conscience may find relief from it. Yet the evil of sin is so displayed as to cause every pardoned sinner to abhor and dread it.

Cross References 44

  • 1. Proverbs 29:24; Matthew 26:63
  • 2. ver 17; S Exodus 28:38; Leviticus 7:18; Leviticus 17:16; Leviticus 19:8; Leviticus 20:17; Leviticus 24:15; Numbers 5:31; Numbers 9:13; Numbers 15:31; Numbers 19:20; Numbers 30:15
  • 3. Lev 11:11,24-40; Deuteronomy 14:8; Isaiah 52:11
  • 4. ver 3; Leviticus 7:21; Leviticus 11:8,24; Leviticus 13:45; Numbers 19:22; Job 15:16; Psalms 51:5; Isaiah 6:5; Isaiah 64:6; Ezekiel 36:17; Haggai 2:13
  • 5. Numbers 19:11-16
  • 6. Leviticus 7:20; Leviticus 11:25; Leviticus 14:19; Leviticus 21:1; Numbers 5:2; Numbers 9:6; Numbers 19:7; Ezekiel 44:25
  • 7. Numbers 30:6,8
  • 8. Isaiah 41:23
  • 9. Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 26:40; Numbers 5:7; Joshua 7:19; 1 Kings 8:47; Proverbs 28:13
  • 10. S Leviticus 1:10; S Leviticus 4:3
  • 11. S Leviticus 4:28
  • 12. S Exodus 32:30
  • 13. ver 11; Leviticus 12:8; Leviticus 14:21; Leviticus 27:8
  • 14. Leviticus 12:8; Leviticus 14:22,30
  • 15. S Genesis 15:9; Numbers 6:10
  • 16. Leviticus 1:15
  • 17. Leviticus 1:17
  • 18. S Exodus 24:6
  • 19. Leviticus 1:15
  • 20. S Leviticus 4:7; Leviticus 4:7,18
  • 21. Leviticus 1:14-17; 1 Chronicles 15:13
  • 22. S Exodus 32:30
  • 23. S Leviticus 4:26
  • 24. S ver 7
  • 25. S Genesis 15:9
  • 26. S Exodus 16:36
  • 27. S Leviticus 2:1
  • 28. S Leviticus 2:2
  • 29. Leviticus 2:9
  • 30. S Exodus 32:30; Leviticus 4:26
  • 31. Leviticus 2:3
  • 32. S Exodus 29:41
  • 33. S Leviticus 4:2
  • 34. Leviticus 22:14
  • 35. S Exodus 29:3; Leviticus 6:6; Numbers 5:8; Numbers 6:14; Numbers 15:6; Numbers 28:11
  • 36. S Exodus 30:13
  • 37. ver 16,18; Leviticus 6:5,6; Leviticus 7:1,7; Leviticus 14:12-17; Leviticus 19:21,22; Numbers 6:12; Numbers 18:9; 1 Samuel 6:3; Ezra 10:19; Isaiah 53:10
  • 38. Leviticus 6:4
  • 39. ver 15; Leviticus 27:13; Leviticus 22:14; Numbers 5:7
  • 40. ver 15; Leviticus 4:2
  • 41. S ver 1
  • 42. Leviticus 6:6; Leviticus 14:12
  • 43. S ver 15
  • 44. 2 Kings 12:16

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Or "purification offering" ; here and throughout this chapter
  • [b]. That is, probably about 3 1/2 pounds or about 1.6 kilograms
  • [c]. Or "representative"
  • [d]. That is, about 2/5 ounce or about 12 grams
  • [e]. Or "offering; atonement has been made for their"

Chapter Summary


This chapter treats of the trespass offering, points at the sins for which it was to be made, and the matter of it; it was for secret sins, and sins of ignorance, such as refusing to bear witness in a known case, Le 5:1 touching unclean things and false swearing, Le 5:2-4 the things directed to in such cases are confession, Le 5:5 sacrifice of a lamb, or kid of the goats, Le 5:6 and in case of poverty, two turtle doves, or two young pigeons; concerning the offering of which instructions are given, Le 5:7-10 and if not able to bring them, then a meat offering of fine flour, about which rules are laid down, Le 5:11-13 and for sins committed through ignorance in holy things or sacrileges, the sacrifice of a ram is enjoined, and satisfaction ordered to be made for the injury done in the holy thing, by adding a fifth part to it, Le 5:14-16 and for sins committed ignorantly against negative precepts, only a ram is appointed for the trespass offering, Le 5:17-19.

Leviticus 5 Commentaries

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