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Leviticus 1:2

Context
1:2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘When 1  someone 2  among you presents an offering 3  to the Lord, 4  you 5  must present your offering from the domesticated animals, either from the herd or from the flock. 6 

Leviticus 4:2

Context
4:2 “Tell the Israelites, ‘When a person sins by straying unintentionally 7  from any of the Lord’s commandments which must not be violated, and violates any 8  one of them 9 

1 tn “When” here translates the MT’s כִּי (ki, “if, when”), which regularly introduces main clauses in legislative contexts (see, e.g., Lev 2:1, 4; 4:2, etc.) in contrast to אִם (’im, “if”), which usually introduces subordinate sections (see, e.g., Lev 1:3, 10, 14; 2:5, 7, 14; 4:3, 13, etc.; cf. כִּי in Exod 21:2 and 7 as opposed to אִם in vv. 3, 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11).

sn Lev 1:1-2 serves as a heading for Lev 1-3 (i.e., the basic regulations regarding the presentation of the burnt, grain, and peace offerings) and, at the same time, leads directly into the section on “burnt offerings” in Lev 1:3. In turn, Lev 1:3-17 divides into three subsections, all introduced by אִם “if” (Lev 1:3-9, 10-13, and 14-17, respectively). Similar patterns are discernible throughout Lev 1:2-6:7 [5:26 HT].

2 tn Heb “a man, human being” (אָדָם, ’adam), which in this case refers to any person among “mankind,” male or female, since women could also bring such offerings (see, e.g., Lev 12:6-8; 15:29-30; cf. HALOT 14 s.v. I אָדָם); cf. NIV “any of you.”

3 tn The verb “presents” is cognate to the noun “offering” in v. 2 and throughout the book of Leviticus (both from the root קרב [qrb]). One could translate the verb “offers,” but this becomes awkward and, in fact, inaccurate in some passages. For example, in Lev 9:9 this verb is used for the presenting or giving of the blood to Aaron so that he could offer it to the Lord. The blood is certainly not being “offered” as an offering to Aaron there.

4 tn The whole clause reads more literally, “A human being (אָדָם, ’adam), if he brings from among you an offering to the Lord.”

5 tn The shift to the second person plural verb here corresponds to the previous second person plural pronoun “among you.” It is distinct from the regular pattern of third person singular verbs throughout the rest of Lev 1-3. This too labels Lev 1:1-2 as an introduction to all of Lev 1-3, not just the burnt offering regulations in Lev 1 (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:146; cf. note 3 above).

6 tn Heb “from the domesticated animal, from the herd, and from the flock.” It is clear from the subsequent division between animals from the “herd” (בָּקָר, baqar, in Lev 1:3-9) and the “flock” (צֹאן, tson; see Lev 1:10-13) that the term for “domesticated animal” (בְּהֵמָה, bÿhemah) is a general term meant to introduce the category of pastoral quadrupeds. The stronger disjunctive accent over בְּהֵמָה in the MT as well as the lack of a vav (ו) between it and בָּקָר also suggest בְּהֵמָה is an overall category that includes both “herd” and “flock” quadrupeds.

sn The bird category (Lev 1:14-17) is not included in this introduction because bird offerings were, by and large, concessions to the poor (cf., e.g., Lev 5:7-10; 12:8; 14:21-32) and, therefore, not considered to be one of the primary categories of animal offerings.

7 tn Heb “And a person, when he sins in straying.” The English translation of “by straying” (בִּשְׁגָגָה [bishgagah] literally, “in going astray; in making an error”) varies greatly, but almost all suggest that this term refers to sins that were committed by mistake or done not knowing that the particular act was sinful (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:228-29). See, e.g., LXX “involuntarily”; Tg. Onq. “by neglect”; KJV “through ignorance”; ASV, RSV, NJPS “unwittingly”; NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “unintentionally”; NAB, NEB “inadvertently”; NCV “by accident.” However, we know from Num 15:27-31 that committing a sin “by straying” is the opposite of committing a sin “defiantly” (i.e., בְּיַד רָמָה [bÿyad ramah] “with a raised hand,” v. 30). In the latter case the person, as it were, raises his fist in presumptuous defiance against the Lord. Thus, he “blasphemes” the Lord and has “despised” his word, for which he should be “cut off from among his people” (Num 15:30-31). One could not bring an offering for such a sin. The expression here in Lev 4:2 combines “by straying” with the preposition “from” which fits naturally with “straying” (i.e., “straying from” the Lord’s commandments). For sins committed “by straying” from the commandments (Lev 4 throughout) or other types of transgressions (Lev 5:1-6) there was indeed forgiveness available through the sin offering. See R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:94-95.

8 tn This is an emphatic use of the preposition מִן (min; see R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 56-57, §325).

9 tn The “when” clause (כִּי, ki) breaks off here before its resolution, thus creating an open-ended introduction to the following subsections, which are introduced by “if” (אִם [’im] vv. 3, 13, 27, 32). Also, the last part of the verse reads literally, “which must not be done and does from one from them.”



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