Additional Sin Offering Regulations
1 “‘When a person sins#tn Heb “And a person when he sins.” Most English versions translate this as the protasis of a conditional clause: “if a person sins” (NASB, NIV).sn The same expression occurs in Lev 4:2 where it introduces sins done “by straying unintentionally from any of the commandments of the Lord which must not be done” (see the notes there). Lev 5:1-13 is an additional section of sin offering regulations directed at violations other than those referred to by this expression in Lev 4:2 (see esp. 5:1-6), and expanding on the offering regulations for the common person in Lev 4:27-35 with concessions to the poor common person (5:7-13). in that he hears a public curse against one who fails to testify#tn The words “against one who fails to testify” are not in the Hebrew text, but have been supplied to make sense of the remark about the “curse” (“imprecation” or “oath”; cf. ASV “adjuration”; NIV “public charge”) for the modern reader. For the interpretation of this verse reflected in the present translation see J. Milgrom, Leviticus (AB), 1:292-97. and he is a witness (he either saw or knew what had happened#tn The words “what had happened” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.) and he does not make it known,#tn Heb “and hears a voice of curse, and he is a witness or he saw or he knew, if he does not declare.” then he will bear his punishment for iniquity.#tn Heb “and he shall bear his iniquity.” The rendering “bear the punishment (for the iniquity)” reflects the use of the word “iniquity” to refer to the punishment for iniquity (cf. NRSV, NLT “subject to punishment”). It is sometimes referred to as the consequential use of the term (cf. Lev 5:17; 7:18; 10:17; etc.). 2 Or when there is#tc The insertion of the words “when there is” is a reflection of the few Hebrew mss, Smr, and LXX that have כִּי (ki, “when, if”; cf. vv. 3 and esp. 4) rather than the MT’s אֲשֶׁר (’asher, “who”). Many English versions render this as a conditional clause (“if”). a person who touches anything ceremonially#tn The word “ceremonially” has been supplied in the translation to clarify that the uncleanness involved is ritual or ceremonial in nature. unclean, whether the carcass of an unclean wild animal, or the carcass of an unclean domesticated animal, or the carcass of an unclean creeping thing, even if he did not realize it,#tn Heb “and it is hidden from him,” meaning that the person who contracted the ceremonial uncleanness was not aware at the time what had happened, but later found out that he had become ceremonially unclean. This same phrase occurs again in both vv. 3 and 4. but he himself has become unclean and is guilty;#sn Lev 5:2-3 are parallel laws of uncleanness (contracted from animals and people, respectively), and both seem to assume that the contraction of uncleanness was originally unknown to the person (vv. 2 and 3) but became known to him or her at a later time (v. 3; i.e., “has come to know” in v. 3 is to be assumed for v. 2 as well). Uncleanness itself did not make a person “guilty” unless he or she failed to handle it according to the normal purification regulations (see, e.g., “wash his clothes and bathe with water, and he will be unclean till evening,” Lev 15:5 NIV; cf. Lev 11:39-40; 15:5-12, 16-24; Num 19, etc.). The problem here in Lev 5:2-3 is that, because the person had not been aware of his or her uncleanness, he or she had incurred guilt for not carrying out these regular procedures, and it would now be too late for that. Thus, the unclean person needs to bring a sin offering to atone for the contamination caused by his or her neglect of the purity regulations. 3 or when he touches human uncleanness with regard to anything by which he can become unclean,#tn Heb “or if he touches uncleanness of mankind to any of his uncleanness which he becomes unclean in it.” even if he did not realize it, but he himself has later come to know it and is guilty; 4 or when a person swears an oath, speaking thoughtlessly#tn Heb “to speak thoughtlessly”; cf. NAB “rashly utters an oath.” with his lips, whether to do evil or to do good, with regard to anything which the individual might speak thoughtlessly in an oath, even if he did not realize it, but he himself has later come to know it and is guilty with regard to one of these oaths#tn Heb “and is guilty to one from these,” probably referring here to any of “these” things about which one might swear a thoughtless oath (J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 45), with the word “oath” supplied in the translation for clarity. Another possibility is that “to one from these” is a dittography from v. 5 (cf. the note on v. 5a), and that v. 4 ends with “and is guilty” like vv. 2 and 3 (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:300). – 5 when an individual becomes guilty with regard to one of these things#tn Heb “and it shall happen when he becomes guilty to one from these,” referring to any of “these” possible transgressions in Lev 5:1-4. Tg. Onq., the original Greek translation, and the Latin Vulgate omit this clause, possibly due to homoioteleuton because of the repetition of “to one from these” from the end of v. 4 in v. 5a (cf. the note on v. 4b).sn What all the transgressions in Lev 5:1-4 have in common is that the time is past for handling the original situation properly (i.e., testifying in court, following purity regulations, or fulfilling an oath), so now the person has become guilty and needs to follow corrective sacrificial procedures. he must confess how he has sinned,#tn Heb “which he sinned on it”; cf. ASV “confess that wherein he hath sinned”; NCV “must tell how he sinned.” 6 and he must bring his penalty for guilt#tn In this context the word for “guilt” (אָשָׁם, ’asham) refers to the “penalty” for incurring guilt, the so-called consequential אָשָׁם (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:303; cf. the note on Lev 5:1). to the Lord for his sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, whether a female sheep or a female goat, for a sin offering. So the priest will make atonement#sn The focus of sin offering “atonement” was purging impurities from the tabernacle (see the note on Lev 1:4). on his behalf for#tn See the note on 4:26 regarding the use of מִן (min). his sin.
7 “‘If he cannot afford an animal from the flock,#tn Heb “and if his hand does not reach enough of a flock animal” (see the note on v. 11 below). The term translated “animal from the flock” (שֶׂה, seh) is often translated “lamb” (e.g., KJV, NASB, NIV, NCV) or “sheep” (e.g., NRSV, TEV, NLT), but it clearly includes either a sheep or a goat here (cf. v. 6), referring to the smaller pasture animals as opposed to the larger ones (i.e., cattle; cf. 4:3). Some English versions use the more generic “animal” (e.g., NAB, CEV). he must bring his penalty for guilt for his sin that he has committed,#tn Heb “and he shall bring his guilt which he sinned,” which is an abbreviated form of Lev 5:6, “and he shall bring his [penalty for] guilt to the Lord for his sin which he committed.” The words “for his sin” have been left out in v. 7, and “to the Lord” has been moved so that it follows the mention of the birds. two turtledoves or two young pigeons,#tn See the note on Lev 1:14 above. to the Lord, one for a sin offering and one for a burnt offering. 8 He must bring them to the priest and present first the one that is for a sin offering. The priest#tn Heb “he.” The subject (“he”) refers to the priest here, not the offerer who presented the birds to the priest (cf. v. 8a). must pinch#sn The action seems to involve both a twisting action, breaking the neck of the bird and severing its vertebrae, as well as pinching or nipping the skin, but in this case not severing the head from the main body (note the rest of this verse). its head at the nape of its neck, but must not sever the head from the body.#tn Heb “he shall not divide [it]” (see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:305). 9 Then he must sprinkle#tn The Hebrew verb וְהִזָּה (vÿhizzah, Hiphil of נָזָה, nazah) does indeed mean “sprinkle” or “splatter” (cf. Lev 4:6, 17). Contrast “splash” in Lev 1:5, etc. (זָרָק, zaraq). some of the blood of the sin offering on the wall of the altar, and the remainder of the blood#tn Heb “the remainder in the blood.” The Heb. preposition “in” (בְּ, bÿ) is used here to mean “some among” a whole collection of something. must be squeezed out at the base of the altar – it is a sin offering. 10 The second bird#tn The word “bird” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity. he must make a burnt offering according to the standard regulation.#sn The term “[standard] regulation” (מִשְׁפָּט, mishppat) here refers to the set of regulations for burnt offering birds in Lev 1:14-17. So the priest will make atonement#sn The focus of sin offering “atonement” was purging impurities from the tabernacle (see the note on Lev 1:4). on behalf of this person for#tn See the note on 4:26 with regard to מִן, min. his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.#tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).
11 “‘If he cannot afford#tn Heb “and if his hand does not reach [or is not sufficient] to”; cf. NASB “if his means are insufficient for.” The expression is the same as that in Lev 5:7 above except for the verb: נָשַׂג (nasag, “to collect, to reach, to be sufficient”) is used here, but נָגַע (nagah, “to touch, to reach”) is used in v. 7. Smr has the former in both v. 7 and 11. two turtledoves or two young pigeons,#tn See the note on Lev 1:14 above (cf. also 5:7). he must bring as his offering for his sin which he has committed#tn Heb “and he shall bring his offering which he sinned.” Like the similar expression in v. 7 above (see the note there), this is an abbreviated form of Lev 5:6, “and he shall bring his [penalty for] guilt to the Lord for his sin which he committed.” Here the words “to the Lord for his sin” have been left out, and “his [penalty for] guilt” has been changed to “his offering.” a tenth of an ephah#sn A tenth of an ephah would be about 2.3 liters, one day’s ration for a single person (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:306). English versions handle the amount somewhat differently, cf. NCV “about two quarts”; TEV “one kilogramme”; CEV “two pounds.” of choice wheat flour#tn See the note on Lev 2:1 above. for a sin offering. He must not place olive oil on it and he must not put frankincense on it, because it is a sin offering. 12 He must bring it to the priest and the priest must scoop out from it a handful as its memorial portion#sn The “memorial portion” (אַזְכָּרָה, ’azkkarah) was the part of the grain offering that was burnt on the altar (Lev 2:2), as opposed to the remainder, which was normally consumed by the priests (Lev 2:3; see the full regulations in Lev 6:14-23 [6:7-16 HT]). It was probably intended to call to mind (i.e., memorialize) before the Lord the reason for the presentation of the particular offering (see the remarks in R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 1:335-39). and offer it up in smoke on the altar on top of the other gifts of the Lord – it is a sin offering. 13 So the priest will make atonement#sn The focus of sin offering “atonement” was purging impurities from the tabernacle (see the note on Lev 1:4). on his behalf for his sin which he has committed by doing one of these things,#tn Heb “from one from these,” referring to the four kinds of violations of the law delineated in Lev 5:1-4 (see the note on Lev 5:5 above and cf. Lev 4:27). and he will be forgiven.#tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar). The remainder of the offering#tn Heb “and it”; the referent (the remaining portion of the offering) has been specified in the translation for clarity. will belong to the priest like the grain offering.’”#tn Heb “and it shall be to the priest like the grain offering,” referring to the rest of the grain that was not offered on the altar (cf. the regulations in Lev 2:3, 10).
Guilt Offering Regulations: Known Trespass
14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses:#sn The quotation introduced here extends from Lev 5:14 through 5:19, encompassing the first main section of guilt offering regulations. Compare the notes on Lev 1:1; 4:1; and 6:1 [5:20 HT]. 15 “When a person commits a trespass#tn Heb “trespasses a trespass” (verb and direct object from the same Hebrew root, מַעַל, ma’al); cf. NIV “commits a violation.” The word refers to some kind of overstepping of the boundary between that which is common (i.e., available for common use by common people) and that which is holy (i.e., to be used only for holy purposes because it has been consecrated to the Lord, see further below). See the note on Lev 10:10. and sins by straying unintentionally#tn See Lev 4:2 above for a note on “straying.” from the regulations about the Lord’s holy things,#sn Heb “from the holy things of the Lord.” The Hebrew expression here has the same structure as Lev 4:2, “from any of the commandments of the Lord.” The latter introduces the sin offering regulations and the former the guilt offering regulations. The sin offering deals with violations of “any of the commandments,” whereas the guilt offering focuses specifically on violations of regulations regarding “holy things” (i.e., things that have been consecrated to the Lord; see the full discussion in J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:320-27). then he must bring his penalty for guilt#tn Here the word for “guilt” (אָשָׁם, ’asham) refers to the “penalty” for incurring guilt, the so-called consequential use of אָשָׁם (’asham; see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:303). to the Lord, a flawless ram from the flock, convertible into silver shekels according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel,#tn Heb “in your valuation, silver of shekels, in the shekel of the sanctuary.” The translation offered here suggests that, instead of a ram, the guilt offering could be presented in the form of money (see, e.g., NRSV; J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:326-27). Others still maintain the view that it refers to the value of the ram that was offered (see, e.g., NIV “of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel”; also NAB, NLT; J. E. Hartley, Leviticus [WBC], 72-73, 81). sn The sanctuary shekel was about 10 grams (= ca. two fifths of an ounce; J. E. Shepherd, NIDOTTE 4:237-38). for a guilt offering.#tn The word for “guilt offering” (sometimes translated “reparation offering”) is the same as “guilt” earlier in the verse (rendered there “[penalty for] guilt”). One can tell which is intended only by the context.sn The primary purpose of the guilt offering was to “atone” (see the note on Lev 1:4 above) for “trespassing” on the Lord’s “holy things” (see later in this verse) or the property of others in the community (Lev 6:1-7 [5:20-26 HT]; 19:20-22; Num 5:5-10). It was closely associated with reconsecration of the Lord’s sacred things or his sacred people (see, e.g., Lev 14:12-18; Num 6:11b-12). Moreover, there was usually an associated reparation made for the trespass, including restitution of that which was violated plus one fifth of its value as a fine (Lev 5:16; 6:5 [5:24 HT]). See R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 1:557-66. 16 And whatever holy thing he violated#tn Heb “and which he sinned from the holy thing.” he must restore and must add one fifth to it and give it to the priest. So the priest will make atonement#sn Regarding “make atonement” see the note on Lev 1:4. on his behalf with the guilt offering ram and he will be forgiven.”#tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).
17 “If a person sins and violates any of the Lord’s commandments which must not be violated#tn Heb “and does one from all of the commandments of the Lord which must not be done.” (although he did not know it at the time,#tn The words “at the time” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied. but later realizes he is guilty), then he will bear his punishment for iniquity#tn Heb “and he did not know, and he shall be guilty and he shall bear his iniquity” (for the rendering “bear his punishment [for iniquity]”) see the note on Lev 5:1.) This portion of v. 17 is especially difficult. The translation offered here suggests (as in many other English versions) that the offender did not originally know that he had violated the Lord’s commandments, but then came to know it and dealt with it accordingly (cf. the corresponding sin offering section in Lev 5:1-4). Another possibility is that it refers to a situation where a person suspects that he violated something although he does not recollect it. Thus, he brings a guilt offering for his suspected violation (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:331-34, 361-63). See also R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 1:561-62. 18 and must bring a flawless ram from the flock, convertible into silver shekels,#tn The statement here is condensed. See the full expression in 5:15 and the note there. for a guilt offering to the priest. So the priest will make atonement#sn Regarding “make atonement” see the note on Lev 1:4. on his behalf for his error which he committed#tn Heb “on his straying which he strayed.” See the note on Lev 4:2. (although he himself had not known it) and he will be forgiven.#tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV and NASB both similar). 19 It is a guilt offering; he was surely guilty before the Lord.”