5:1 “‘When a person sins 1 in that he hears a public curse against one who fails to testify 2 and he is a witness (he either saw or knew what had happened 3 ) and he does not make it known, 4 then he will bear his punishment for iniquity. 5 5:2 Or when there is 6 a person who touches anything ceremonially 7 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, 8 but he himself has become unclean and is guilty; 9 5:3 or when he touches human uncleanness with regard to anything by which he can become unclean, 10 even if he did not realize it, but he himself has later come to know it and is guilty; 5:4 or when a person swears an oath, speaking thoughtlessly 11 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 12 – 5:5 when an individual becomes guilty with regard to one of these things 13 he must confess how he has sinned, 14 5:6 and he must bring his penalty for guilt 15 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 16 on his behalf for 17 his sin.
5:7 “‘If he cannot afford an animal from the flock, 18 he must bring his penalty for guilt for his sin that he has committed, 19 two turtledoves or two young pigeons, 20 to the Lord, one for a sin offering and one for a burnt offering. 5:8 He must bring them to the priest and present first the one that is for a sin offering. The priest 21 must pinch 22 its head at the nape of its neck, but must not sever the head from the body. 23 5:9 Then he must sprinkle 24 some of the blood of the sin offering on the wall of the altar, and the remainder of the blood 25 must be squeezed out at the base of the altar – it is a sin offering. 5:10 The second bird 26 he must make a burnt offering according to the standard regulation. 27 So the priest will make atonement 28 on behalf of this person for 29 his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven. 30
5:11 “‘If he cannot afford 31 two turtledoves or two young pigeons, 32 he must bring as his offering for his sin which he has committed 33 a tenth of an ephah 34 of choice wheat flour 35 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. 5:12 He must bring it to the priest and the priest must scoop out from it a handful as its memorial portion 36 and offer it up in smoke on the altar on top of the other gifts of the Lord – it is a sin offering. 5:13 So the priest will make atonement 37 on his behalf for his sin which he has committed by doing one of these things, 38 and he will be forgiven. 39 The remainder of the offering 40 will belong to the priest like the grain offering.’” 41
1 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
2 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.
3 tn The words “what had happened” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.
4 tn Heb “and hears a voice of curse, and he is a witness or he saw or he knew, if he does not declare.”
5 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.).
6 tc The insertion of the words “when there is” is a reflection of the few Hebrew
7 tn The word “ceremonially” has been supplied in the translation to clarify that the uncleanness involved is ritual or ceremonial in nature.
8 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.
9 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.
10 tn Heb “or if he touches uncleanness of mankind to any of his uncleanness which he becomes unclean in it.”
11 tn Heb “to speak thoughtlessly”; cf. NAB “rashly utters an oath.”
12 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).
13 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.
14 tn Heb “which he sinned on it”; cf. ASV “confess that wherein he hath sinned”; NCV “must tell how he sinned.”
15 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).
18 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).
19 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
22 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).
23 tn Heb “he shall not divide [it]” (see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:305).
25 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.
26 tn The word “bird” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.
30 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).
31 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.
33 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
34 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.”
36 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
39 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).
40 tn Heb “and it”; the referent (the remaining portion of the offering) has been specified in the translation for clarity.