Leviticus 4

1 And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,
2 Speak to the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin unwillingly before the Lord, in any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which he ought not to do, and shall do some of them;
3 if the anointed priest sin so as to cause the people to sin, then shall he bring for his sin, which he has sinned, an unblemished calf of the herd to the Lord for his sin.
4 And he shall bring the calf to the door of the tabernacle of witness before the Lord, and he shall put his hand on the head of the calf before the Lord, and shall slay the calf in the presence of the Lord.
5 And the anointed priest who has been consecrated having received of the blood of the calf, shall then bring it into the tabernacle of witness.
6 And the priest shall dip his finger into the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, over against the holy veil.
7 And the priest shall put of the blood of the calf on the horns of the altar of the compound incense which is before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of witness; and all the blood of the calf shall he pour out by the foot of the altar of whole-burnt-offerings, which is by the doors of the tabernacle of witness.
8 and all the fat of the calf of the sin-offering shall he take off from it; the fat that covers the inwards, and all the fat that is on the inwards,
9 and the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is on the thighs, and the caul that is on the liver with the kidneys, them shall he take away,
10 as he takes it away from the calf of the sacrifice of peace-offering, so shall the priest offer it on the altar of burnt-offering.
11 And the skin of the calf, and all his flesh with the head and the extremities and the belly and the dung,
12 and they shall carry out the whole calf out of the camp into a clean place, where they pour out the ashes, and they shall consume it there on wood with fire: it shall be burnt on the ashes poured out.
13 And if the whole congregation of Israel trespass ignorantly, and a thing should escape the notice of the congregation, and they should do one thing forbidden of any of the commands of the Lord, which ought not to be done, and should transgress:
14 and the sin wherein they have sinned should become known to them, then shall the congregation bring an unblemished calf of the herd for a sin-offering, and they shall bring it to the doors of the tabernacle of witness.
15 And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the calf before the Lord, and they shall slay the calf before the Lord.
16 And the anointed priest shall bring in of the blood of the calf into the tabernacle of witness.
17 And the priest shall dip his finger into some of the blood of the calf, and shall sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil of the sanctuary.
18 And the priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of the incense of composition, which is before the Lord, which is in the tabernacle of witness; and he shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of whole-burnt-offerings, which is by the door of the tabernacle of witness.
19 And he shall take away all the fat from it, and shall offer it up on the altar.
20 And he shall do to the calf as he did to the calf of the sin-offering, so shall it be done; and the priest shall make atonement for them, and the trespass shall be forgiven them.
21 And they shall carry forth the calf whole without the camp, and they shall burn the calf as they burnt the former calf: it is the sin-offering of the congregation.
22 And if a ruler sin, and break one of all the commands of the Lord his God, which ought not to be done, unwillingly, and shall sin and trespass,
23 and his trespass wherein he has sinned, be known to him, then shall he offer for his gift a kid of the goats, a male without blemish.
24 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the kid, and they shall kill it in the place where they kill the whole-burnt-offerings before the Lord; it is a sin-offering.
25 And the priest shall put some of the blood of the sin-offering with his finger on the horns of the altar of whole-burnt-offering; and he shall pour out all its blood by the bottom of the altar of whole-burnt-offerings.
26 And he shall offer up all his fat on the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace-offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.
27 And if a soul of the people of the land should sin unwillingly, in doing a thing any of the commandments of the Lord, which ought not to be done, and shall transgress,
28 and his sin should be known to him, wherein he has sinned, then shall he bring a kid of the goats, a female without blemish shall he bring for his sin, which he has sinned.
29 And he shall lay his hand on the head of his sin-offering, and they shall slay the kid of the sin-offering in the place where they slay the whole-burnt-offerings.
30 And the priest shall take of its blood with his finger, and shall put it on the horns of the altar of whole-burnt-offerings; and all its blood he shall pour forth by the foot of the altar.
31 And he shall take away all the fat, as the fat is taken away from the sacrifice of peace-offering, and the priest shall offer it on the altar for a smell of sweet savour to the Lord; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and shall be forgiven him.
32 And if he should offer a lamb for his sin-offering, he shall offer it a female without blemish.
33 And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin-offerings, and they shall kill it in the place where they kill the whole-burnt-offerings.
34 And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering with his finger, and shall put it on the horns of the altar of whole-burnt-offerings, and he shall pour out all its blood by the bottom of the altar of whole-burnt-offering.
35 And he shall take away all his fat, as the fat of the lamb of the sacrifice of peace-offering is taken away, and the priest shall put it on the altar for a whole-burnt-offering to the Lord; and the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.

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