Leviticus Chapter 5

So far, the book of Leviticus contains details regarding sacrifices and offerings that were to be given by the Israelites. There were three types of offerings given as sacrifices: sin offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings. Offerings were made for sins that were known as well as unknown, so that they could be forgiven completely and be in harmony with the Lord. The book of Leviticus continues as follows:

1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.
2 Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.
3 Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.
4 Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.
5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:
6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the Lord for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.
7 And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the Lord; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering.
8 And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off his head from his neck, but shall not divide it asunder:
9 And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar: it is a sin offering.
10 And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.

It is interesting to read those things they were considered guilty of and needed repairing. In verse one, it sounds like if one heard swearing (making an oath) and did not confess it, then he would bear the sin, or be held accountable for that sin. They sinned if they touched anything considered unclean, unholy, or that would defile their bodies. When they were aware of anything that had brought sin upon themselves, they were to confess that thing to the Lord and bring a trespass offering to the tabernacle. The footnote says the hebrew meaning of this, is a guilt sacrifice. This was a sin offering of a female lamb or goat. If they were not able to bring one of these, they were also allowed to bring two turtledoves or pigeons for a sin and burnt offering. First, the sin offering, which in this case was sacrificed and then had the blood sprinkled on the side of the altar and poured at the bottom of the altar. Then, the burnt offering as the Lord had directed. After the atonement was made by the priest, the person was forgiven of the sin.

11 But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering.
12 Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: it is a sin offering.
13 And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest’s, as a meat offering.

If an animal sacrifice was not possible, the individual was to bring a tenth of an “ephah” of flour as the sin offering. The priests took a handful to burn on the altar and after atonement was made by that offering, the person was forgiven. Then the remaining flour was part of the meat offering for the priests to eat.

14 And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying,
15 If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the Lord; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the Lord a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering:
16 And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.

The Lord told Moses that those who sinned in the laws of the Lord, in ignorance, were to bring a trespass offering of a unblemished ram as well as payment in silver. The person was to make recompense for the sin and add a fifth more, which would be given to the priest. Then the priest would make an atonement for the person, with the offered ram. Then the person would be forgiven.

17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.
18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him.
19 It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord.

Anyone who sinned against the commandments of the Lord, even if he did not know it, he was guilty and was to bring a ram for a trespass offering. The priest would make an atonement for the individual for those sins he was ignorant of, and he would be forgiven.

I know that I do not fully understand all the description of sins in this chapter. I think I may understand more over time. In the meantime, we learn in the bible dictionary, that trespass offerings were a type of sin offering. It also says that the offerings were in a specific order. In the entry for sacrifices we read, “It is noteworthy that when the three offerings were offered together, the sin always preceded the burnt, and the burnt the peace offerings. Thus the order of the symbolizing sacrifices was the order of atonement, sanctification, and fellowship with the Lord.” There is wisdom in the order of this. When we repent, we seek for the cleansing power of the atonement in our own lives. Then it is through the blood of Christ, that we are sanctified. This gives greater meaning and purpose to partaking of the sacrament and symbolically taking in the blood of Christ. Finally, when we are clean and sanctified, we find ourselves in harmony with the Lord and are more fully capable of doing His will.

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