And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,And the Lord spake ... Israel - This formula is the commencement of a distinct section of the Law.
Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:If a soul shall sin - The sin-offering was a new thing, instituted by the Law. The older kinds of sacrifice Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 3:1 when offered by individuals were purely voluntary: no special occasions were prescribed. But it was plainly commanded that he who was conscious that he had committed a sin should bring his sin-offering. In the abridged rules for sin-offerings in Numbers 15:22-31, the kind of sin for which sin-offerings were accepted is contrasted with that which cut off the perpetrator from among his people (compare Leviticus 4:22 with Leviticus 4:30). The two classes are distinguished in the language of our Bible as sin through ignorance and presumptuous sin. The distinction is clearly recognized in Psalm 19:12-13 and Hebrews 10:26-27. It seems evident that the classification thus indicated refers immediately to the relation of the conscience to God, not to outward practices, nor, immediately, to outward actions.
The presumptuous sinner, literally he who sinned "with a high hand," might or might not have committed such a crime as to incur punishment from the civil law: it was enough that he had with deliberate purpose rebelled against God (see Proverbs 2:13-15), and ipso facto was "cut off from among his people" and alienated from the divine covenant (see Leviticus 7:20; Exodus 31:14; compare Matthew 12:31; 1 John 5:16). But the other kind of sin, that for which the sin-offering was appointed, was of a more complicated nature. It appears to have included the entire range of "sins, negligences and ignorances" for which we are accustomed to ask forgiveness. sin-offerings were required not only when the conscience accused the offender of having yielded to temptation, but sometimes for what were breaches of the Law committed strictly in ignorance Leviticus 4:13, Leviticus 4:23, Leviticus 4:28; Leviticus 5:17, and sometimes on account of ceremonial pollution. They are thus to be regarded as protests against everything which is opposed to the holiness and purity of the divine Law. They were, in short, to be offered by the worshipper as a relief to the conscience whenever he felt the need of atonement.
If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the sin of the people; then let him bring for his sin, which he hath sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the LORD for a sin offering.The priest that is anointed - i. e. the high priest. (Compare Leviticus 8:12; Leviticus 21:10; Exodus 29:7). On the anointing of the other priests see the note at Leviticus 8:13.
The graduation of the sin-offerings is remarkable. It might seem that the distinction addressed itself more pointedly to each individual according to his rank and consequent responsibility (see Leviticus 4:32).
According to the sin of the people - Rather, to bring guilt on the people. The whole nation is concerned in every transgression of its representative.
And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of the tabernacle of the congregation before the LORD; and shall lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock before the LORD.
And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bullock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congregation:The treatment of the blood was special in the sin-offerings. In the inferior sin-offerings it was smeared on the horns of the altar of burnt-offering Leviticus 4:25, Leviticus 4:30, Leviticus 4:34, while in this offering for the high priest, and in that for the nation, the high priest himself sprinkled the blood seven times within the tabernacle and smeared it on the horns of the altar of incense Leviticus 4:6-7, Leviticus 4:17-18. The different modes of sprinkling appear to have marked successive degrees of consecration in advancing from the altar of burnt-offering to the presence of Yahweh within the veil.
And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the vail of the sanctuary.Before the vail of the sanctuary - This is generally understood to mean the floor of the holy place in front of the veil.
And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.Pour - All the blood that was left after the sprinkling and the smearing should be disposed of in such a manner as to suit the decorum of divine service. It had no sacrificial significance.
And he shall take off from it all the fat of the bullock for the sin offering; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
And the two kidneys, and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away,
As it was taken off from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the burnt offering.
And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung,
Even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt.A clean place where the ashes are poured out See Leviticus 1:16 note. It was a place free from impurities, not like those referred to in Leviticus 14:40, Leviticus 14:45. The flesh, though it was burned in an ordinary way, and not sent up in the fire of the altar (see Leviticus 1:9 note), was not to be confounded with carrion, but was associated with the remains of the sacrifices. The priests could not eat the flesh of this victim or of that offered for the sin of the congregation, as they ate that of other sin-offerings Leviticus 6:26. Compare Leviticus 10:17-18, because they were in these cases in the position of offerers. Leviticus 16:27; Hebrews 13:11. The same rule was observed in regard to the meat-offering of the priests, Leviticus 6:23. It was only of the peace-offering that the offerer himself could partake.
And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty;Congregation ... assembly - Each of the Hebrew words signifies the people in a collected body. It does not appear that there is any difference between them in the connection in which they are here used.
When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle of the congregation.When the sin ... is known - Compare 1 Samuel 14:31-35.
And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands upon the head of the bullock before the LORD: and the bullock shall be killed before the LORD.In this case the imposition of hands is performed by the elders in behalf of the nation. But in other respects the rites were performed by the high priest in the same manner as in the sin-offering for himself.
And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation:
And the priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, even before the vail.
And he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the tabernacle of the congregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of the altar of the burnt offering, which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.The altar ... in the tabernacle - i. e. the altar of incense (compare Leviticus 4:5-7).
And he shall take all his fat from him, and burn it upon the altar.
And he shall do with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin offering, so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them.
And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp, and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin offering for the congregation.
When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD his God concerning things which should not be done, and is guilty;Ruler - Either the head of a tribe Numbers 1:4-16, or the head of a division of a tribe (Numbers 34:18; compare Joshua 22:30).
Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:Or if his sin - Rather, And if his sin.
Come to his knowledge - i. e. when he had become conscious of his sin.
A kid of the goats - A shaggy he-goat, in distinction from a smooth-haired he-goat. It was the regular sin-offering at the yearly festivals Leviticus 16:9, Leviticus 16:15; Numbers 28:15, Numbers 28:22, Numbers 28:30, and at the consecration of the priests Leviticus 9:3; while the smooth-haired goat appears to have been generally offered for the other sacrifices Psalm 50:9; Isaiah 1:11.
And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD: it is a sin offering.See Leviticus 1:11.
And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt offering.
And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings: and the priest shall make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.
And if any one of the common people sin through ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and be guilty;The common people - literally, as in the margin, "the people of the land." Compare Leviticus 20:2, Leviticus 20:4; 2 Kings 11:18. It was the ordinary designation of the people, as distinguished from the priests and the rulers.
Or if his sin, which he hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he hath sinned.A kid of the goats - A shaggy she-goat.
And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay the sin offering in the place of the burnt offering.
And the priest shall take of the blood thereof with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar.
And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a sweet savour unto the LORD; and the priest shall make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him.
And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish.A lamb - A sheep. See Leviticus 3:7 note. Three points are to be observed in regard to the victims for sin-offerings.
(a) The common people had to offer a female, as the less valuable animaI; they might present either a sheep or a goat to suit their convenience:
(b) the rulers had always to offer a male-goat:
(c) the goat was preferred to the sheep, unlike the victim for a peace-offering or burnt-offering.
The sin-offerings were not accompanied by meat-offerings or drink-offerings. See Numbers 15:3-11.
And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the sin offering, and slay it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering.
And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom of the altar:
And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him.