Numbers 5:6
Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty;
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Numbers 5:6. Any sin that men commit — Hebrew, any sins of men; that is, sins against men, as deceits or wrongs, whereby other men are injured, of which he manifestly speaks. Against the Lord — Which words may be added, to show that such injuries done to men are also sins against God, who hath commanded justice to men, as well as religion to himself. Guilty — That is, shall be sensible of his guilt, convicted in his conscience.

5:1-10 The camp was to be cleansed. The purity of the church must be kept as carefully as the peace and order of it. Every polluted Israelite must be separated. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. The greater profession of religion any house or family makes, the more they are obliged to put away iniquity far from them. If a man overreach or defraud his brother in any matter, it is a trespass against the Lord, who strictly charges and commands us to do justly. What is to be done when a man's awakened conscience charges him with guilt of this kind, though done long ago? He must confess his sin, confess it to God, confess it to his neighbour, and take shame to himself; though it go against him to own himself in a lie, yet he must do it. Satisfaction must be made for the offence done to God, as well as for the loss sustained by the neighbour; restitution in that case is not enough without faith and repentance. While that which is wrongly gotten is knowingly kept, the guilt remains on the conscience, and is not done away by sacrifice or offering, prayers or tears; for it is the same act of sin persisted in. This is the doctrine of right reason, and of the word of God. It detects hypocrites, and directs the tender conscience to proper conduct, which, springing from faith in Christ, will make way for inward peace.The law of restitution: a passage supplementary to Leviticus 5:5, etc., Leviticus 6:5, etc.6-8. When a man or a woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord—This is a wrong or injury done by one man to the property of another, and as it is called "a trespass against the Lord," it is implied, in the case supposed, that the offense has been aggravated by prevaricating—by a false oath, or a fraudulent lie in denying it, which is a "trespass" committed against God, who is the sole judge of what is falsely sworn or spoken (Ac 5:3, 4).

and that person be guilty—that is, from the obvious tenor of the passage, conscience-smitten, or brought to a sense and conviction of his evil conduct. (See on [62]Le 6:2). In that case, there must be: first, confession, a penitential acknowledgment of sin; secondly, restitution of the property, or the giving of an equivalent, with the additional fine of a fifth part, both as a compensation to the person defrauded, and as a penalty inflicted on the injurer, to deter others from the commission of similar trespasses. (See on [63]Ex 22:1). The difference between the law recorded in that passage and this is that the one was enacted against flagrant and determined thieves, the other against those whose necessities might have urged them into fraud, and whose consciences were distressed by their sin. This law also supposes the injured party to be dead, in which case, the compensation due to his representatives was to be paid to the priest, who, as God's deputy, received the required satisfaction.

Any sin that men commit, Heb. any sins of men, i.e. either,

1. Of common infirmity, or such sins as men commit through human frailty; for if this were done knowingly and willingly, a greater punishment was appointed. See Leviticus 6:5,6. Or rather,

2. Sins against men, or belonging to men, to wit, deceits or wrongs, whereby other men are injured, of which he manifestly speaks, as appears from Numbers 5:7,8; so this is a genitive case of the object, as Matthew 12:31, blasphemy of the Spirit (for so it is in the Greek) is blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, as it is called Mark 3:29 Luke 12:10; and power of all flesh, John 17:2, is power over all flesh; and power of spirits, Matthew 10:1, is power over or against spirits, Luke 9:1; and prayer of God, Luke 6:12, is prayer directed unto God; and the spoil of the poor, Isaiah 3:14, is the spoil taken from the poor; and violence of the children of Judah, Joel 3:19, is violence against them, as we translate it.

To do a trespass against the Lord; which words may be added, either,

1. To express a new sin, of prevaricating or dealing falsely with God, either by a false oath, which is a special injury to God, or by a lie or simple denial that he hath taken any thing of his neighbour’s, which also God takes as a sin especially concerning himself, who in such cases is the only judge of what is falsely said or sworn. See Acts 5:3,4. Or,

2. To aggravate the former sin, and to show that such injuries done to men are also sins against God. who hath commended justice to men as well as religion to himself. But the former is more probable, both because here is a ram of atonement to be offered to God for the special injury clone to him, as well as satisfaction is to be made to the man whom he injured; and especially by comparing this with the parallel place, Leviticus 6:2, &c. And that person be guilty, i.e. shall be sensible of his guilt, or be convicted in his conscience of his sin; for otherwise this might seem a mere tautology, if it were only meant of being really guilty of sin, which was expressed before in those words, when one shall commit any sin, i.e. be guilty of any sin.

Speak unto the children of Israel,.... Put them in mind of the following law, that they observe it; and which is here repeated, because of two new things in it, as Jarchi observes, the one relates to confession, teaching that there is no fifth part nor trespass offering by witnesses, till a man confesses the thing; and the other is, concerning taking anything away by violence from a proselyte, which is to be given to the priests; see the original law in Leviticus 6:1,

when a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit; or, "any of the sins of men" (e), which are commonly done by men, and men are subject to through the infirmity of the flesh, and the temptations of Satan; or "any sin against man" (f), so some, as this referred to is expressly said to be, Numbers 5:7,

to do a trespass against the Lord; for every sin against man is also against the Lord, being a breach of his command; as David's sin against Uriah was a sin against the Lord, Psalm 51:4; though the Jews understand it particularly of lying and swearing falsely, appealing to God, and calling him to be a witness to a falsehood; and so the Targum of Onkelos seems to interpret it:

and the person be guilty; and knows he is so, and even knew it when he took an oath to the contrary; see Leviticus 6:3.

(e) "ex omnibus peccatis hominis", Montanus. (f) "Ex omnibus peccatis contra hominem", Tigurine version; so Patrick.

Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin {b} that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty;

(b) Commit any fault willingly.

6. to da a trespass against the Lord] in acting unfaithfully towards Jehovah. To sin against one’s fellow men involves breaking faith with God; cf. Leviticus 6:2.

Verse 6. - Shall commit any sin that men commit. Literally, "[one] of all the transgressions of men," i.e., the wrongs current amongst men. To do a trespass against the Lord. This qualifies the former expression, and restricts its reference to the sins mentioned in Leviticus 6:2, 8, 5, viz., wrongs done to the property of another. Such wrongs, perhaps because they were considered legitimate as long as they were not found out, were taken up by the Lord himself as involving a trespass against his own righteousness. Numbers 5:6Restitution in Case of a Trespass. - No crime against the property of a neighbour was to remain without expiation in the congregation of Israel, which was encamped or dwelt around the sanctuary of Jehovah; and the wrong committed was not to remain without restitution, because such crimes involved unfaithfulness (מעל, see Leviticus 5:15) towards Jehovah. "If a man or a woman do one of the sins of men, to commit unfaithfulness against Jehovah, and the same soul has incurred guilt, they shall confess their sin which they have done, and (the doer) shall recompense his debt according to its sum" (בּראשׁו, as in Leviticus 6:5), etc. האדם מכּל־חטּאת, one of the sins occurring among men, not "a sin against a man" (Luther, Ros., etc.). The meaning is a sin, with which a מעל was committed against Jehovah, i.e., one of the acts described in Leviticus 6:3-4, by which injury was done to the property of a neighbour, whereby a man brought a debt upon himself, for the wiping out of which a material restitution of the other's property was prescribed, together with the addition of a fifth of its value, and also the presentation of a sin-offering (Leviticus 6:4-7). To guard against that disturbance of fellowship and peace in the congregation, which would arise from such trespasses as these, the law already given in Leviticus 6:1 is here renewed and supplemented by the additional stipulation, that if the man who had been unjustly deprived of some of his property had no Gol, to whom restitution could be made for the debt, the compensation should be paid to Jehovah for the priests. The Gol was the nearest relative, upon whom the obligation rested to redeem a person who had fallen into slavery through poverty (Leviticus 25:25). The allusion to the Gol in this connection presupposes that the injured person was no longer alive. To this there are appended, in Numbers 5:9 and Numbers 5:10, the directions which are substantially connected with this, viz., that every heave-offering (Terumah, see at Leviticus 2:9) in the holy gifts of the children of Israel, which they presented to the priest, was to belong to him (the priest), and also all the holy gifts which were brought by different individuals. The reference is not to literal sacrifices, i.e., gifts intended for the altar, but to dedicatory offerings, first-fruits, and such like. את־קדשׁיו אישׁ, "with regard to every man's, his holy him (the priest) shall they be; what any man gives to the priest shall belong to him." The second clause serves to explain and confirm the first. את: as far, with regard to, quoad (see Ewald, 277, d; Ges. 117, 2, note).
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