Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Leviticus 5:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

If a soul sin - It is generally supposed that the case referred to here is that of a person who, being demanded by the civil magistrate to answer upon oath, refuses to tell what he knows concerning the subject; such a one shall bear his iniquity - shall be considered as guilty in the sight of God, of the transgression which he has endeavored to conceal, and must expect to be punished by him for hiding the iniquity to which he was privy, or suppressing the truth which, being discovered, would have led to the exculpation of the innocent, and the punishment of the guilty.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible
Verses 1-13

Special occasions are mentioned on which sin-offerings are to be made with a particular confession of the offence for which atonement is sought Leviticus 5:5.

Leviticus 5:1

Swearing - Adjuration. The case appears to be that of one who has been put upon his oath as a witness by a magistrate, and fails to utter all he has seen and heard (compare the marginal references. and Proverbs 29:24; Numbers 5:21).

Leviticus 5:2-3

Hid from him - Either through forgetfulness or indifference, so that purification had been neglected. In such a case there had been a guilty negligence, and a sin-offering was required. On the essential connection between impurity and the sin-offering, see Leviticus 12:1.

Leviticus 5:4

Pronouncing - Idly speaking Psalm 106:33. The reference is to an oath to do something uttered in recklessness or passion and forgotten as soon as uttered.

Leviticus 5:6

His trespass offering - Rather, as his forfeit, that is, whatever is due for his offence. The term “trespass-offering” is out of place here, since it has become the current designation for a distinct kind of sin-offering mentioned in the next section (see Leviticus 5:14 note).

A lamb or a kid of the goats - A sheep Leviticus 4:32 or a shaggy she-goat Leviticus 4:23.

Leviticus 5:7-10

See Leviticus 1:14-16; Leviticus 12:8. In the larger offerings of the ox and the sheep, the fat which was burned upon the altar represented, like the burnt-offering, the dedication of the worshipper; in this case, the same meaning was conveyed by one of the birds being treated as a distinct burnt-offering.

Leviticus 5:7

A lamb - One of the flock, either a sheep or a goat.

For his trespass, which he hath committed - As his forfeit for the sin he hath committed.

Leviticus 5:11

tenth part of an ephah i. e. - “the tenth deal;” probably less than half a gallon. See Leviticus 19:36 note. This sin-offering of meal was distinguished from the ordinary מנחה mı̂nchāh Leviticus 2:1 by the absence of oil and frankincense.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The offences here noticed are, 1. A man's concealing the truth, when he was sworn as a witness to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If, in such a case, for fear of offending one that has been his friend, or may be his enemy, a man refuses to give evidence, or gives it but in part, he shall bear his iniquity. And that is a heavy burden, which, if some course be not taken to get it removed, will sink a man to hell. Let all that are called at any time to be witnesses, think of this law, and be free and open in their evidence, and take heed of prevaricating. An oath of the Lord is a sacred thing, not to be trifled with. 2. A man's touching any thing that was ceremonially unclean. Though his touching the unclean thing only made him ceremonially defiled, yet neglecting to wash himself according to the law, was either carelessness or contempt, and contracted moral guilt. As soon as God, by his Spirit, convinces our consciences of any sin or duty, we must follow the conviction, as not ashamed to own our former mistake. 3. Rash swearing, that a man will do or not do such a thing. As if the performance of his oath afterward prove unlawful, or what cannot be done. Wisdom and watchfulness beforehand would prevent these difficulties. In these cases the offender must confess his sin, and bring his offering; but the offering was not accepted, unless accompanied with confession and humble prayer for pardon. The confession must be particular; that he hath sinned in that thing. Deceit lies in generals; many will own they have sinned, for that all must own; but their sins in any one particular they are unwilling to allow. The way to be assured of pardon, and armed against sin for the future, is to confess the exact truth. If any were very poor, they might bring some flour, and that should be accepted. Thus the expense of the sin-offering was brought lower than any other, to teach that no man's poverty shall ever bar the way of his pardon. If the sinner brought two doves, one was to be offered for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering. We must first see that our peace be made with God, and then we may expect that our services for his glory will be accepted by him. To show the loathsomeness of sin, the flour, when offered, must not be made grateful to the taste by oil, or to the smell by frankincense. God, by these sacrifices, spoke comfort to those who had offended, that they might not despair, nor pine away in their sins. Likewise caution not to offend any more, remembering how expensive and troublesome it was to make atonement.