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Leviticus 5:4-19

Context
5:4 or when a person swears an oath, speaking thoughtlessly 1  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 2 5:5 when an individual becomes guilty with regard to one of these things 3  he must confess how he has sinned, 4  5:6 and he must bring his penalty for guilt 5  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 6  on his behalf for 7  his sin.

5:7 “‘If he cannot afford an animal from the flock, 8  he must bring his penalty for guilt for his sin that he has committed, 9  two turtledoves or two young pigeons, 10  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 11  must pinch 12  its head at the nape of its neck, but must not sever the head from the body. 13  5:9 Then he must sprinkle 14  some of the blood of the sin offering on the wall of the altar, and the remainder of the blood 15  must be squeezed out at the base of the altar – it is a sin offering. 5:10 The second bird 16  he must make a burnt offering according to the standard regulation. 17  So the priest will make atonement 18  on behalf of this person for 19  his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven. 20 

5:11 “‘If he cannot afford 21  two turtledoves or two young pigeons, 22  he must bring as his offering for his sin which he has committed 23  a tenth of an ephah 24  of choice wheat flour 25  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 26  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 27  on his behalf for his sin which he has committed by doing one of these things, 28  and he will be forgiven. 29  The remainder of the offering 30  will belong to the priest like the grain offering.’” 31 

Guilt Offering Regulations: Known Trespass

5:14 Then the Lord spoke to Moses: 32  5:15 “When a person commits a trespass 33  and sins by straying unintentionally 34  from the regulations about the Lord’s holy things, 35  then he must bring his penalty for guilt 36  to the Lord, a flawless ram from the flock, convertible into silver shekels according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel, 37  for a guilt offering. 38  5:16 And whatever holy thing he violated 39  he must restore and must add one fifth to it and give it to the priest. So the priest will make atonement 40  on his behalf with the guilt offering ram and he will be forgiven.” 41 

Unknown trespass

5:17 “If a person sins and violates any of the Lord’s commandments which must not be violated 42  (although he did not know it at the time, 43  but later realizes he is guilty), then he will bear his punishment for iniquity 44  5:18 and must bring a flawless ram from the flock, convertible into silver shekels, 45  for a guilt offering to the priest. So the priest will make atonement 46  on his behalf for his error which he committed 47  (although he himself had not known it) and he will be forgiven. 48  5:19 It is a guilt offering; he was surely guilty before the Lord.”

1 tn Heb “to speak thoughtlessly”; cf. NAB “rashly utters an oath.”

2 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).

3 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.

4 tn Heb “which he sinned on it”; cf. ASV “confess that wherein he hath sinned”; NCV “must tell how he sinned.”

5 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).

6 sn The focus of sin offering “atonement” was purging impurities from the tabernacle (see the note on Lev 1:4).

7 tn See the note on 4:26 regarding the use of מִן (min).

8 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).

9 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.

10 tn See the note on Lev 1:14 above.

11 tn Heb “he.” The subject (“he”) refers to the priest here, not the offerer who presented the birds to the priest (cf. v. 8a).

12 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).

13 tn Heb “he shall not divide [it]” (see J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:305).

14 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).

15 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.

16 tn The word “bird” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarity.

17 sn The term “[standard] regulation” (מִשְׁפָּט, mishppat) here refers to the set of regulations for burnt offering birds in Lev 1:14-17.

18 sn The focus of sin offering “atonement” was purging impurities from the tabernacle (see the note on Lev 1:4).

19 tn See the note on 4:26 with regard to מִן, min.

20 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).

21 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.

22 tn See the note on Lev 1:14 above (cf. also 5:7).

23 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.”

24 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.”

25 tn See the note on Lev 2:1 above.

26 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).

27 sn The focus of sin offering “atonement” was purging impurities from the tabernacle (see the note on Lev 1:4).

28 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).

29 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).

30 tn Heb “and it”; the referent (the remaining portion of the offering) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

31 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).

32 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].

33 tn Heb “trespasses a trespass” (verb and direct object from the same Hebrew root, מַעַל, maal); 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.

34 tn See Lev 4:2 above for a note on “straying.”

35 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).

36 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).

37 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).

38 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.

39 tn Heb “and which he sinned from the holy thing.”

40 sn Regarding “make atonement” see the note on Lev 1:4.

41 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV similar).

42 tn Heb “and does one from all of the commandments of the Lord which must not be done.”

43 tn The words “at the time” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.

44 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.

45 tn The statement here is condensed. See the full expression in 5:15 and the note there.

46 sn Regarding “make atonement” see the note on Lev 1:4.

47 tn Heb “on his straying which he strayed.” See the note on Lev 4:2.

48 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV and NASB both similar).



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