Leviticus 5

1 " 'Suppose a person has been called as a witness to something he has seen or learned about. Then if he does not tell what he knows, he has sinned. And he will be held accountable for it.
2 " 'Or suppose a person touches something that is not "clean." It could be the dead bodies of wild animals or of livestock. Or it could be the dead bodies of creatures that move along the ground. Even though he is not aware that he touched them, he has become "unclean." And he is guilty.
3 " 'Or suppose he touches something "unclean" that comes from a human being. It could be anything that would make him "unclean." Suppose he is not aware that he touched it. When he finds out about it, he will be guilty.
4 " 'Or suppose a person takes an oath and makes a promise to do something without thinking it through. It does not matter what he promised. It does not matter whether he took the oath without thinking about it carefully. And suppose he is not aware that he did not think it through. When he finds out about it, he will be guilty.
5 " 'When someone is guilty in any of those ways, he must admit he has sinned.
6 He must bring a sin offering to pay for the sin he has committed. He must bring to the LORD a female lamb or goat from the flock. The priest will sacrifice the animal. That will pay for the person's sin.
7 " 'Suppose he can't afford a lamb. Then he must get two doves or two young pigeons. He must bring them to the LORD to pay for his sin. One of them is for a sin offering. The other is for a burnt offering.
8 " 'He must bring them to the priest. The priest will offer the one for the sin offering first. He must twist its head. But he must not twist it off completely.
9 " 'Then he must sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering against the side of the altar. He must empty out the rest of the blood at the bottom of the altar. It is a sin offering.
10 " 'Then the priest will offer the other bird as a burnt offering. He must do it in the way the law requires. That will pay for the sin the person has committed. And he will be forgiven.
11 " 'But suppose he can't afford two doves or two young pigeons. Then he must bring eight cups of fine flour as an offering for his sin. It is a sin offering. He must not put olive oil or incense on it. That is because it is a sin offering.
12 " 'He must bring it to the priest. The priest must take a handful of it. He must burn that part on the altar. It will be a reminder that all good things come from the Lord. The priest must burn it on top of the offerings that are made to the LORD with fire. It is a sin offering.
13 " 'In that way the priest will pay for any of the sins the person has committed. And he will be forgiven. The rest of the offering will belong to the priest. It is the same as in the case of the grain offering.' "

Rules for Guilt Offerings

14 The LORD spoke to Moses. He said,
15 "Suppose a person sins by breaking the law. And he does it without meaning to. He sins against me or my priests by refusing to give them one of the holy things that are set apart for them. "Then he must bring me a ram from the flock. It must not have any flaws. It must be worth the required amount of silver. It must be weighed out in keeping with the standard weights that are used in the sacred tent. It is a guilt offering. It will pay for his sin.
16 "He must also pay for the holy thing he refused to give. He must add a fifth of its value to it. He must give all of it to the priest. The priest will pay for the person's sin with the ram. It is a guilt offering. And he will be forgiven.
17 "Suppose a person sins by doing something I command him not to do. Even though he does not know it, he is guilty. He will be held accountable for it.
18 "He must bring to the priest a ram from the flock as a guilt offering. It must not have any flaws. And it must be worth the required amount of money. "The priest will sacrifice the animal. That will pay for what the person has done wrong without meaning to. And he will be forgiven.
19 It is a guilt offering. He has been guilty of doing wrong against me."

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.

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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