Leviticus 5


Concerning witnesses who, being adjured, refuse to tell the

truth, 1.

Of those who contract defilement by touching unclean things

or persons, 2, 3.

Of those who bind themselves by vows or oaths, and do not

fulfil them, 4, 5.

The trespass-offering prescribed in such cases, a lamb or a

kid, 6;

a turtle-dove or two young pigeons, 7-10;

or an ephah of fine flour with oil and frankincense, 11-13.

Other laws relative to trespasses, through ignorance in holy

things, 14-16.

Of trespasses in things unknown, 17-19.


Verse 1. 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 endeavoured 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.

Verse 2. Any unclean thing] Either the dead body of a clean

animal, or the living or dead carcass of any unclean creature.

All such persons were to wash their clothes and themselves in

clean water, and were considered as unclean till the evening,

Le 11:24-31. But if this had been neglected, they were

obliged to bring a trespass-offering. What this meant, see in

Clarke's notes on "Le 7:38".

Verse 4. To do evil, or to do good] It is very likely that

rash promises are here intended; for if a man vow to do an act

that is evil, though it would be criminal to keep such an oath or

vow, yet he is guilty because he made it, and therefore must

offer the trespass-offering. If he neglect to do the good he has

vowed, he is guilty, and must in both cases confess his iniquity,

and bring his trespass-offering.

Verse 5. He shall confess that he hath sinned] Even

restitution was not sufficient without this confession, because a

man might make restitution without being much humbled; but the

confession of sin has a direct tendency to humble the soul, and

hence it is so frequently required in the Holy Scriptures, as

without humiliation there can be no salvation.

Verse 7. If he be not able to bring a lamb] See the

conclusion of Clarke's note on "Le 1:16".

Verse 8. But shall not divide it]

See Clarke on Le 1:16.

Verse 10. He shall offer the second for a burnt-offering]

The pigeon for the burnt-offering was wholly consumed, it was

the Lord's property; that for the sin-offering was the priest's

property, and was to be eaten by him after its blood had been

partly sprinkled on the side of the altar, and the rest poured

out at the bottom of the altar. See also Le 6:26.

Verse 11. Tenth part of an ephah] About three quarts. The

ephah contained a little more than seven gallons and a half.

Verse 15. In the holy things of the Lord] This law seems to

relate particularly to sacrilege, and defrauds in spiritual

matters; such as the neglect to consecrate or redeem the

firstborn, the withholding of the first-fruits, tithes, and such

like; and, according to the rabbins, making any secular gain of

Divine things, keeping back any part of the price of things

dedicated to God, or withholding what man had vowed to pay. See

a long list of these things in Ainsworth.

With thy estimation] The wrong done or the defraud committed

should be estimated at the number of shekels it was worth, or for

which it would sell. These the defrauder was to pay down, to

which he was to add a fifth part more, and bring a ram without

blemish for a sin-offering besides. There is an obscurity in the

text, but this seems to be its meaning.

Verse 16. Shall make amends] Make restitution for the wrong

he had done according to what is laid down in the preceding


Verse 19. He hath certainly trespassed] And because he hath

sinned, therefore he must bring a sacrifice. On no other ground

shall he be accepted by the Lord. Reader, how dost thou stand in

the sight of thy Maker?

ON the subject of this chapter it may be proper to make the

following reflections.

When the infinite purity and strict justice of God are

considered, the exceeding breadth of his commandment, our

slowness of heart to believe, and our comparatively cold

performance of sacred duties, no wonder that there is sinfulness

found in our holy things; and at what a low ebb must the

Christian life be found when this is the case! This is a sore

and degrading evil in the Church of God; but there is one even

worse than this, that is, the strenuous endeavour of many

religious people to reconcile their minds to this state of

inexcusable imperfection, and defend it zealously, on the

supposition that it is at once both unavoidable and

useful-unavoidable, for they think they cannot live without it;

and useful, because they suppose it tends to humble them! The

more inward sin a man has, the more pride he will feel; the less,

the more humility. A sense of God's infinite kindness to us, and

our constant dependence on him, will ever keep the soul in the

dust. Sin can never be necessary to the maintenance or extension

of the Christian life, it is the thing which Jesus Christ came

into the world to destroy; and his name is called JESUS or

Saviour because he saves his people from their sins. But how

little of the spirit and influence of his Gospel is known in the

world! He saves, unto the uttermost, them who come unto the

Father through him. But alas! how few are thus saved! for they

will not come unto him that they might have life. Should any

Christian refuse to offer up the following prayer to God?

"Almighty God, unto whom all hearts be open, and from whom no

secrets are hid, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the

inspiration of thy Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee,

and worthily magnify thy holy name, through Christ our Lord.

Amen."-The Liturgy.

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