Leviticus 5

The Law of Guilt Offerings

1 'Now if a person sins after he hears a public 1adjuration to testify when he is a witness, whether he has seen or otherwise known, if he does not tell it, then he will bear his guilt.
2 'Or if a person touches 2any unclean thing, whether a carcass of an unclean beast or the carcass of unclean cattle or a carcass of unclean swarming things, though it is hidden from him and he is unclean, then he will be guilty.
3 'Or if he touches human uncleanness, of whatever sort his uncleanness may be with which he becomes unclean, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty.
4 'Or if a person 3swears thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good, in whatever * matter a man may speak thoughtlessly with an oath, and it is hidden from him, and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty in one of these.
5 'So it shall be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall 4confess that in which he has sinned.
6 'He shall also bring his guilt offering to the LORD for his sin which he has committed, 5a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat * as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.
7 'But if he cannot afford * a lamb, then he shall bring to the LORD his guilt offering for that in which he has sinned, two turtledoves or two young pigeons, 6one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering.
8 'He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first that which is for the sin offering and shall nip its head at the front of its neck, but he 7shall not sever it.
9 'He shall also sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering 8on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out 9at the base of the altar: it is a sin offering.
10 'The second he shall then prepare as a burnt offering 10according to the ordinance. 11So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it will be forgiven him.
11 'But 12if his means are insufficient for two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then for his offering for that which he has sinned, he shall bring the tenth of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; 13he shall not put oil on it or place incense on it, for it is a sin offering.
12 'He shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful * of it as its memorial portion and offer it up in smoke on the altar, with the offerings of the LORD by fire: it is a sin offering.
13 'So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin which he has committed from 14one of these, and it will be forgiven him; then 15the rest shall become the priest's, like the grain offering.' "
14 Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,
15 "16If a person acts unfaithfully and sins 17unintentionally against the LORD'S holy things, then he shall bring his 18guilt offering to the LORD: 19a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the 20shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering.
16 "21He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. 22The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.
17 "Now if a person sins and does any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, 23though he was unaware *, still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment.
18 "He is then to bring to the priest 24a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned 25unintentionally and did not know it, and it will be forgiven him.
19 "It is a guilt offering; he was certainly guilty before 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 25

  • 1. Proverbs 29:24; Jeremiah 23:10
  • 2. Lev 11:8, 11, 24-40; Numbers 19:11-16; Deuteronomy 14:8
  • 3. Numbers 30:6, 8; Psalms 106:33
  • 4. Leviticus 16:21; Leviticus 26:40; Numbers 5:7; Proverbs 28:13
  • 5. Leviticus 4:28, 32
  • 6. Leviticus 12:6, 8; Leviticus 14:22, 30, 31
  • 7. Leviticus 1:17
  • 8. Leviticus 1:15
  • 9. Leviticus 4:7, 18
  • 10. Leviticus 1:14-17
  • 11. Leviticus 4:20, 26; Leviticus 5:13, 16
  • 12. Leviticus 14:21-32; Leviticus 27:8
  • 13. Leviticus 2:1, 2
  • 14. Leviticus 5:4, 5
  • 15. Leviticus 2:3
  • 16. Numbers 5:5-8
  • 17. Leviticus 4:2; Leviticus 22:14
  • 18. Leviticus 7:1-10
  • 19. Leviticus 6:6
  • 20. Exodus 30:13
  • 21. Leviticus 6:5; Leviticus 22:14; Numbers 5:7, 8
  • 22. Leviticus 7:2-7
  • 23. Leviticus 4:2; Leviticus 5:19
  • 24. Leviticus 5:15
  • 25. Leviticus 5:17

Footnotes 11

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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