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Leviticus 5:1

Additional Sin Offering Regulations

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 

Leviticus 5:17

Unknown trespass

5:17 “If a person sins and violates any of the Lord’s commandments which must not be violated 6  (although he did not know it at the time, 7  but later realizes he is guilty), then he will bear his punishment for iniquity 8 

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 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).

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

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

8 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.

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