Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add to it the fifth part thereof, and give it to him against whom he has trespassed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Numbers 5:7. They shall confess their sin — They shall not continue in the denial of the fact, but give glory to God, and take shame to themselves by acknowledging it. The principal — That is, the thing he took away, or what is equivalent to it. And add — Both as a compensation to the injured person for want of his goods so long, and as a penalty upon the injurious dealer, to discourage others from such attempts.
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 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 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.Leviticus 5:5 6:4.
With the principal thereof; i.e. the thing he took away, or what is equivalent to it.
The fifth part thereof is added both as a compensation to the injured person for the want of his goods so long, and for his trouble for the supposed utter loss of them, and as a penalty upon the injurious dealer to discourage others from such attempts.
Quest. How doth this agree with that law, Exodus 22:1?
Answer. That law was made against notorious and obstinate thieves, who were legally convicted of their crime, and this against more modest thieves, whose necessities might induce them to steal, and whose consciences are affected with their sin.
and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof; paying the whole of whatsoever he had in any manner defrauded his neighbour of, to which he was to add a fifth part of that; that is, as Aben Ezra interprets it, it he confesses of himself, but if there are witnesses of it he must add two fifths, and some say a fifth of a fifth:Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. make restitution for his guilt] lit. ‘restore his guilt,’ abstract for concrete; he shall restore that which he guiltily holds in possession; and similarly in Numbers 5:8.
the fifth part] The same compensation is enjoined in other cases—the eating of sacred food unwittingly (Leviticus 22:14), the redemption of an unclean animal that has been vowed (Leviticus 27:11-13), or that is a firstling (id. 27), and the redemption of tithe (id. 31).Leviticus 13), of a diseased flux, or of menstruation (Leviticus 15:2., Numbers 15:19.), and those who had become unclean through touching a corpse (Numbers 19:11., cf. Leviticus 21:1; Leviticus 22:4), whether male or female, were to be removed out of the camp, that they might not defile it by their uncleanness. The command of God, to remove these persons out of the camp, was carried out at once by the nation; and even in Canaan it was so far observed, that lepers at any rate were placed in special pest-houses outside the cities (see at Leviticus 13:45-46).
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