Click chart to enlarge
Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission
Another Overview Chart of Leviticus - Charles Swindoll
A third Overview Chart of Leviticus
|LEVITICUS THE BOOK OF
SANCTIFICATION AND WORSHIP
Adapted and modified from C. Swindoll
|Leviticus 1-17||Leviticus 18-27|
|The Way to God
|The Walk with God
|The Approach: Offerings||Practical Guidelines|
|The Representative: Priest||Chronological Observances|
|The Laws: Cleansing
Physically & Spiritually
|Ritual for Worship
Worshipping a Holy God
|Practical for Walking
Living a Holy Life
|Location: Mt Sinai for one full year|
|Theme: How sinful humanity can approach and worship a holy God|
|Key Verses: Lev 17:11, 19:2, 20:7-8|
|Christ in Leviticus: In every sacrifice, every ritual, every feast|
|Time: about 1446BC|
|THE LEVITICAL OFFERINGS
1) Sweet aroma
Heb = 'olah
1) Sweet aroma
Heb = minchah
1) Sweet aroma
Heb = selemim
1) Non-sweet aroma
Heb = chattath
Atoning sacrifice of animals with no physical defects. The required offering varied with the situation and station of the person receiving its benefits
1) Non-sweet aroma
Heb = asam
Aka - Reparation or Guilt Offering
Atoning sacrifice of a ram or lamb with no physical defects
Cp Nu 15:1-16
Cp Nu 15:17-21
Lv 7:11-21-note, Lv 7:28-34-note
Cp Deut 12:20-28
Cp Nu 15:22-31
1) To propitiate for sin in general -Lv 1:4-note
2) To signify complete dedication & consecration to God hence called the whole burnt offering.
Acceptance before God for worship & service
Maintenance of fellowship with God
Recognition of the sovereignty of God
|This offering accompanied all burnt offerings.
Signified homage & thanksgiving to God.
Recognition of God's bountiful provision
Expression of dedication, praise & thanksgiving to God
Acknowledging God as the source of provision and prosperity.
|Celebration of peace & of God's covenant faithfulness...
Generally expressed peace & fellowship between the offerer & God & thus culminated in a community meal.
1) Thank offering: express thanks for unexpected blessing or deliverance
2) Votive Offering: to express gratitude for a blessing or deliverance granted when a vow had accompanied the petition.
3) Freewill Offering: to express gratitude to God without regard to any specific blessing or deliverance.
|To atone for sins committed unknowingly, especially where no restitution was possible. Note Nu 15:30, 31: The sin offering was of no avail in cases of defiant rebellion against God.
Confession to God for impurities and offenses
Recognition of the effects of one's sins on others in the covenant community
Restoration of fellowship with God
|To atone for sins committed in ignorance, esp where restitution was possible
Confession to men for impurities and deceptions
Willingness of the repentant believer to make proper restitution
|Consists of||According to wealth:
1) Bull without blemish-Lv 1:3–9-note
3) Turtledoves or young pigeons-Lv 1:14–17-note
1) Fine flour mixed with oil and frankincense-Lv 2:1–3-note
3) Green heads of roasted grain mixed with oil and frankincense-Lv 2:14, 15-note
|According to wealth:
1) From the herd, a male or female without blemish-Lv 3:1–5-note
2) From the flock, a male or female without blemish-Lv 3:6–11-note
3) From the goats-Lv 3:12–17-note
Note: Minor imperfections were permitted when the peace offering was a freewill offering of a bull or a lamb-Lv 22:23
|1) For the high priest, a bull without blemish-Lv 4:3–12-note
2) For the congregation, a bull without blemish-Lv 4:13–21-note
3) For a ruler, a male goat without blemish-Lv 4:22–26-note
4) For a commoner, a female goat or lamb without blemish-Lv 4:27–35-note
5) In cases of poverty, two turtledoves or two young pigeons (one for a sin offering, the other for a burnt offering) could be substituted-Lv 5:7–10-note
|1) If the offense was against the Lord (tithes, offerings, etc), a ram w/o blemish was offered; restitution was reckoned according to the priest's estimate of the value of the trespass + 20% (Lv 5:15-16-note)
2) If the offense were against man, a ram w/o blemish was offered, restitution reckoned according to the priest's estimate + 20% (Lv 6:4-6-note)
|Entirety burned on the altar of burnt offering-Lv 1:9-note except the skin-Lv 7:8-note||Memorial portion burned on the altar of burnt offering-Lv 2:2, 9, 16-note||Fatty portions burned on the altar of burnt offering-Lv 3:3–5-note||1) Fatty
portions to be burned on the altar of burnt offering Lv 4:8–10-note, Lv 4:19. 26-note, Lev 4:31, 35-note
|Fat burned on altar of burnt offering-Lev 7:3-5-note|
|Skin only-Lv 7:8-note||Remainder eaten in court of tabernacle-Lv 2:3, 10-note, Lev 6:16-18-note, Lv 7:14-15-note||Breast (wave offering) & right thigh (heave offering)-Lv 7:30-34-note||Remainder eaten in holy place-Lv 7:6-7-note|
|None||None||Remainder to be eaten in the court by the offerer & family
1) Thank offering = eaten same day-Lv 7:15-note
|Consecration||Service||Fellowship||Redemption for the sinner that he is||Redemption for the sinner he commits|
|Christ||He presented Himself to the Father to do His will||He served His Father and men as Son of Man||He is the common bond of fellowship between God & man||He atoned for the guilt of sin||He atoned for the damage of sin.|
|Signifies complete dedication of life to God
1) On part of Christ-Mt 26:39-44, Mk 14:36, Lk 22:42, Php 2:5-11-note
|Signifies perfect humanity of Christ:
1) Absence of leaven ~ sinlessness of Christ-He 4:15-note, 1Jn 3:5
|Shadow of the peace believer has through Christ-Ro 5:1-2-note, 1Cor 10:16-18, 11:17-34, Col 1:20-note
NB: Only offering in which offerer shared
|Prefigures fact that Christ's death...
1) Was made sin for us - 2Cor 5:20-21-note
2) He suffered outside the gate - Heb 13:11-13-note
Cp Lv 4:3-note, 1Ti 5:20
Cp Lv 4:27-note, 1Cor 8:9-13
See Heb 9:22-note
|Shadow of Christ as our Trespass offering - Col 2:13-note
Cp Lv 5:15-note, Lv 22:14-16
Cp Lv 6:2-5-note, Eph 4:25-32, Jas 5:16
See Isa 53:10
Adapted from Believer's Bible Commentary & Irving Jensen
OUTLINE OF THE SIN OFFERING
1. The second utterance of Jehovah (Leviticus 4:1-2)
2. The sin offering for the high priest (Leviticus 4:3-12)
3. The sin offering for the congregation (Leviticus 4:13-21)
4. The sin offering for the ruler (Leviticus 4:22-26)
5. The sin offering for one of the common people (Leviticus 4:27-35)
6. The sin offering for special inadvertent offences (Leviticus 5:1-13)
(A C Gaebelein)
OUTLINE OF THE SIN OFFERING
Introduction to Sin Offering (Lev 4:1–2),
Sin Offering for Inadvertent Sin of High Priest (Lev 4:3–12),
Sin Offering for Inadvertent Sin of Congregation (Lev 4:13–21),
Sin Offering for Inadvertent Sin of Ruler (Lev 4:22–26),
Sin Offering for Inadvertent Sin of Individual (Lev 4:27–35),
Sin Offering for Specific Inadvertent Offenses (Lev 5:1–13).
SIN OFFERINGS FOR INADVERTENT SIN (Lev 4) and SINS OF OMISSION (Lev 5:1-13)
Inadvertent sin Leviticus 4
Introduction Leviticus 4:1-2
Blood sprinkled in the holy place Leviticus 4:3-21
For the high priest Leviticus 4:3-12
For the congregation Leviticus 4:13-21
Blood smeared on the brazen altar Leviticus 4:22-35
For the tribal leader Leviticus 4:22-26
For the ordinary Israelite offering a goat Leviticus 4:27-31
For the ordinary Israelite offering a lamb Leviticus 4:32-35
Sins of omission Leviticus 5:1-13
A lamb or goat offering Leviticus 5:1-6
A bird offering Leviticus 5:7-10
A flour offering Leviticus 5:11-13 (Constable)
Lev 4:1-35 for inadvertent sin
Lev 4:2 general introduction (introductory words)
Lev 4:3-21 blood sprinkled in the holy place
Lev 4:3-12 for the high priest
Lev 4:13-21 for the whole congregation
Lev 4:22-35 blood smeared on the main altar
Lev 4:22-26 for the tribal leader
Lev 4:27-31 for an ordinary person offering a goat
Lev 4:32-35 for an ordinary person offering a lamb
Lev 5:1-13 for sins of omission
Lev 5:1-6 offering—lamb or goat
Lev 5:7-10 offering—birds
Lev 5:11-13 offering—flour
I. Sacrificial System (Leviticus 1–7)
A. Prescript (Lev 1:1-2)
B. The Burnt Offerings (Lev 1:3-17; 6:8-13)
C. The Grain Offerings (Lev 2:1-16; 6:14-23)
D. The Peace Offerings (Lev 3:1-17; 7:11-36)
E. The Sin Offerings (Lev 4:1–5:13; 6:24-30)
F. The Guilt Offerings (Lev 5:14–6:7; 7:1-10)
G. Postscript (Lev 7:37-38)
Message of Leviticus 1–7: Good news! God has provided a means for sinners to be accepted and to enter His presence.
1. The Burnt Offering: 'olah (Lev 1:3-17; 6:8-13; cf. Nu 15:1-16)
♦ Acceptance before God for worship and service.
♦ Maintenance of fellowship with God.
♦ Recognition of the sovereignty of God.
2. The Grain/Non-Meat Offering: minchah (Lev 2:1-16; 6:14-23; cf. Nu 15:17-21)
♦ Recognition of God’s bountiful provision.
♦ Expression of dedication, praise, and thanksgiving to God.
3. The Peace/Fellowship Offering: selamim (Lev 3:1-17; 7:11-18; cf. Dt 12:20-28)
♦ Celebration of peace with God.
♦ Celebration of God’s covenant faithfulness.
♦ Participation in the communion/fellowship of the covenant community (fellow believers).
THE SIN OFFERINGS
Henrietta Mears has this simple outline...
Leviticus 1—Burnt Offering: "Surrender" of Christ for the world
Leviticus 2—Grain Offering: "Service" of Christ in life
Leviticus 3—Fellowship Offering: "Serenity" of Christ in life
Leviticus 4-5:13—Sin Offering: "Substitute" of Christ for sin
Leviticus 5:14-6:7—Guilt Offering: "Satisfaction" by Christ for demands of God
Then the LORD said to Moses - This same phrase occurs 23x in Leviticus and seems to be a "formula" if you will to introduce a new section - Lev 4:1; 5:14; 6:1, 8, 19, 24; 7:22, 28; 8:1; 12:1; 13:1; 14:1; 17:1; 18:1; 19:1; 20:1; 21:16; 22:1, 17, 26; 23:9; 24:1, 13. As noted below "then" is often a marker of succession, of something following something else, so to speak. Note that in the present section, the quotation in Lev 4:1 introduces a discussion of the sin offering which extends through Lev 5:13.
Then - always take note of this expression of time as it is a word that indicates something following next after in order of position, narration, or enumeration, and as you might imagine is very important in prophetic writings.
Constable - The sin offering was a very important offering since it was to be offered before any of the others. It also played a key role on the Day of Atonement. Ancient Near Easterners offered certain offerings before God incorporated these into the Mosaic Law. Moses previously mentioned burnt offerings in Genesis 12:7; 13:4, 18; 22; 26:25; 33:20; 35:1-7, and peace offerings in Genesis 31:54 and 46:1. However the sin and trespass offerings were new. They "were altogether unknown before the economy of the Sinaitic law."...There were two types of occasions that called for the sin offering: unwitting or inadvertent sins (Lev 4) and sins of omission (5:1-13). We could subdivide this section on the sin offering as follows. (Leviticus)
Rooker agrees stating that the words The LORD said to Moses make "it is clear that a new section is being introduced. The last time the text had indicated that the Lord was beginning to address Moses occurred in Lev 1:1 (“The LORD called to Moses and spoke to him”). This division may indicate that the sacrifices about to be discussed, that of the sin and guilt offerings, are of distinct nature from the previous offerings, the burnt, grain, and fellowship offerings. The difference may be due to the fact that the sin and guilt offering are to be made as a consequence to a certain offense, while the offerings of Leviticus 1–3 could be viewed as voluntary. Whereas the main issue in the burnt, grain, and fellowship offerings was the proper procedure to be followed, the main issue in the discussion in the sin and guilt offerings is the occasion that would require these sacrifices. Consequently, the new terms that dominate this section—šĕgāgâ (“inadvertence”), chatta (“sin”), ašmâ (“guilt”), and sāla (“forgive”)—are absent from the previous three chapters in discussion of the burnt, grain, and fellowship offerings." (New American Commentary)
Wenham has an interesting observation - Whereas the earlier chapters are organized around the sacrificial victim, so that the more valuable animals are dealt with before the less expensive, in these chapters the value of the animal occupies a secondary place. Here the most important distinction is between inadvertent sins and sins of omission or deliberate sins. The status of the sinners who bring the offerings is also important. Thus: Lev 4:1-35 = purification offerings for inadvertent offenses, Lev 5:1-13 = purification offerings for sins of omission; Lev 5:14-19 = reparation offerings for inadvertent sin; Lev 5:20-26 = reparation offerings for deliberate sin. Each main section begins, "If anyone (nephesh kî) sins" (Lev 4:2; 5:1, 15, 21 [6:2]), and closes with, "the priest will make atonement for him … and he shall be forgiven" (Lev 4:35; 5:13, 18, 26). Similar phrases generally mark the close of the paragraphs within each main section, but a different word for "if," im, usually. In Lev 4:22 a subordinate case is introduced by "if, whoever" (asher). This is a "rare and peculiar" (BDB 83b) use of asher. It may be used here to indicate that a different type of purification offering is about to be discussed, in which the blood is smeared on the main altar outside the tent of meeting. opens each subordinate paragraph (e.g., Lev 4:13, 27, 32; 5:7, 11, 17). (NICOT)
Deffinbaugh on the key words related to sin offering - In Lev 4 the material is organized in accordance with the social categories, from the high priest to the common Israelite. The introductory formula is, “If _____ sins." The expression, “a soothing aroma,” frequently found in Lev 1-3 is seldom found in Lev 4-5 (Lev 4:31). The term “atonement,” on the other hand, is found but once in the first 3 chapters of Leviticus (Lev 1:4), but 9 times in Lev 4-5 (Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, 5:6, 10, 13, 16, 18). The terms “guilt” and “guilty” are not found in Lev 1-3, but are each found 9 times in Lev 4-5 (Guilt - Lev 4:3; 5:1, 6-7, 15 [twice] Lev 5:16, 18-19; Guilty - Lev 4:13, 22, 27, 5:2, 3, 4, 5, 17, 19). Lev 1-3 are more concerned with the process of the sacrifice, while Lev 4-6 have more emphasis on the product of the process—forgiveness (not found once in Lev 1-3, but found 8 times in Lev 4-5 = Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, 5:10, 13, 16, 18).
Andrew Bonar introduces this next section (Lev 4:1-5:13) on the sin offering with these comments - "THE former chapters of this Book have been in substance like the first chapter of John’s first Epistle. We have been shown in type that life eternal which was manifested to us in Christ, the great Atonement. Next, we were shown that the Lord had a claim on all that is ours, and therefore must we give up ourselves and all that is ours to him. This done, we walk in fellowship with him. These things have been written to us, in the first three chapters, to the end “that we sin not”—that we may not live like the dark world around us, but may be drawn to him who draws us with his cords of love—the Lord now speaks again to “the children of Israel”—his “little children.” He points out what is to be done when they come to the knowledge of sin, of which they were not aware before. The cases are understood to be things committed, not mere omissions of duty; and how saddening to find that we grieve the Lord in so many hidden ways. We have a heart as prone to sin as the body is to weariness. (Leviticus Commentary - 500 page Pdf - a work Spurgeon described as "very precious!" - many regard this is the best older work on Leviticus)
Dr William Barrick summarizes the Sin Offering
The Sin/Purification Offering:
(Lev 4:1–5:13; 6:24-30; cf. Nu 15:22-31)
♦ Confession to God for impurities and offenses.
♦ Recognition of the effects of one’s sins might have on others in the covenant community.
♦ Restoration to fellowship with God.
Compare Leviticus 4:3 with 1 Timothy 5:20.
Compare Leviticus 4:27 with 1 Corinthians 8:9-13.
Compare Leviticus 5:5 with 1 John 1:9-note.
See Hebrews 9:22-note.
See 1Peter 1:2-note.
See 2Corinthians 5:20-21-note.
See Hebrews 13:11-12-note.
Dr William Barrick gives an overview of the Principles Involved in the Old Testament Sacrificial System (Reference)
1. Old Testament sacrifices were to be offered by believers only. Those believers were indoctrinated and obedient (i.e., they exhibited right teaching and right behavior).
2. Old Testament sacrifices were to be the outward demonstration of a vital faith. Without faith the sacrifices were worthless (cf. Hebrews 11:4-note).
3. Old Testament sacrifices did not save from sin nor forgive sins. The Levitical sacrifices included no provision for the sinful nature of mankind. The animal sacrifices were insufficient to atone for the sins of human beings—only a human life could atone for a human life.
4. Old Testament sacrifices did not take care of every sin—especially willful, defiant sin. Many sins required capital punishment—no sacrifice would avail for such sin. (Note: That no sacrifice was available for capital offenses does not mean that God did not or could not forgive capital offenses. The legal consequences required death. Such consequences should not be confused with one’s ultimate spiritual relationship to God.)
◆ Leviticus 24:10-23-note
◆ Numbers 15:30
5. Old Testament sacrifices had fellowship with God as their chief object. They outwardly symbolized forgiveness for sins, which resulted in continued communion with the covenant-keeping God of Israel.
◆ Exodus 29:42-43; 30:36
6. Old Testament sacrifices declared, emphasized, and magnified sin and its consequences.
◆ Galatians 3:21-22
7. Old Testament sacrifices declared, emphasized, and magnified God’s holiness, righteousness, love, grace, mercy, and sovereignty.
8. Old Testament sacrifices demonstrated that there was no totally independent access to God for the Old Testament believer under the Mosaic legislation.
◆ Hebrews 9:8-10-note
9. Old Testament sacrifices demonstrated that God’s desire with regard to the giving of His people did not go beyond their normal ability. The sacrificial objects (cattle, sheep, goats, doves; flour, oil, wine, and frankincense) were all immediately available to the individual Israelite. God did not require that His people bring something exotic or beyond their normal means. He did not require them to extend themselves to the point of either economical discomfort or disaster.
◆ 1 Corinthians 16:2
◆ 2 Corinthians 8:1-24 through 2Cor 9:1-27
10. Old Testament sacrifices emphasized the ministry of the priesthood.
◆ 1 Peter 2:5-note
11. Old Testament sacrifices involved the recognition of God’s covenant with His people.
12. Old Testament sacrifices were commanded by God for the maintenance of the priesthood. The covenant community provides for those who minister.
- through: Lev 5:15,17 Nu 15:22-29 Deut 19:4 1Sa 14:27 Ps 19:12 1Ti 1:13 Heb 5:2 9:7
- which ought: Lev 4:27 Ge 20:9 Jas 3:10
THE SIN OFFERING
Wenham - Most commentators regard this sacrifice as the principal expiatory offering in ancient Israel. It is the sin offering. Hertz writes: "it made the offender against the holiness of God fit to receive the Divine forgiveness." Keil says, "Sin-offerings were instituted for the purpose of putting an end to the separation between man and God that had been created by sin … and of restoring them again to the unimpaired enjoyment of the benefits of God's covenant of mercy and salvation." (NICOT)
If a person - This verse is a general introduction followed by specific descriptions of "a person". The sin offering was required of all who sinned and thus this section deals with (1) the priests (Lev 4:3–12), (2) the congregation as a whole (Lev 4:13–21), (3) rulers (Lev 4:22–26), and common individuals (Lev 4:27–35).
MacDonald makes an important distinction - The sin offering was appointed for a redeemed people. It does not speak of a sinner coming to the Lord for salvation, but of an Israelite, in covenant relationship with the Lord, seeking forgiveness. It has to do with sins committed unconsciously or unintentionally.
Sins - It is interesting that this is the first mention of sin in Leviticus. Rooker explains that "Sin constitutes a violation of the covenant by a member of the Israelite covenant community. In the Old Testament there are two categories of sin, sins committed with a high hand and sins committed inadvertently. Sins committed with the high hand are not forgiven, while sins committed inadvertently may be forgiven or atoned through the proper sacrificial procedure. Sins committed with the high hand are discussed in Numbers 15:1-41 and are comparable to the New Testament concept of sins against the Holy Spirit (Ed comment: "blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven" = Mt 12:31, Mk 3:28, Lk 12:10, probably Heb 10:26, 29 "insulted the Spirit of grace")" (NAC)
Guzik on unintentionally: The idea is not so much of an accidental sin, but of a sin committed by a person who basically loves God. The contrast to an unintentional sin is to sin presumptuously (Nu 15:30). Literally, this was “to sin with a high hand.” There was no atonement available for the one whose heart was so defiantly turned against the LORD in presumptuous sin. If your heart wasn’t turned towards the LORD, then all the animals in the world sacrificed on your behalf did you no good. (Woe!!!)
Andrew Bonar on unintentional sins - These are not sins of omission, but acts committed by a person when, at the time, he did not suppose that what he did was sin. Although he did the thing deliberately, yet he did not perceive the sin of it. So deceitful is sin, we may be committing that abominable thing which casts angels into an immediate and an eternal hell, and yet at the moment be totally unaware! Want of knowledge of the truth, and too little tender. ness of conscience, hide it from us." (Leviticus Commentary - 500 page Pdf)
MacArthur on unintentionally - The intended meaning is to stray into a sinful situation, but not necessarily to be taken completely by surprise. Nu 15:30, 31 illustrates the defiant attitude of intentional sin.
Constable - Like the burnt and meal offerings this one was compulsory, but the Israelites offered it less frequently (cf. Num. 28-29). The most important feature of this offering was the sprinkling of the blood of the sacrifice (cf. 1 John 2:1-2). "The law reminds people of sin—not just the major sins, but sins that are often overlooked, like not keeping one's word, failing to do what is right, or living in a defiled world and never considering what that does to the spiritual life."[Ross] (Leviticus)
Life Application Note - Have you ever done something wrong without realizing it until later? Although your sin was unintentional, it was still sin. God's commands served to make the Israelites aware of their sins (even the unintentional ones) so they could be forgiven for them, and to keep the people from repeating those sins. Leviticus 4 and 5 mention some of these unintentional sins and the way the Israelites could be forgiven for them. As you read more of God's laws, keep in mind that they were meant to teach and guide the people. Let them help you become more aware of sin in your life.
Wenham - Sin disrupts the relationship between God and man, and between man and man. It poses a threat to the covenant relationship by provoking divine anger. But it has other side effects as well. If someone steals something, the owner will not only feel aggrieved but hope for restitution of his property if the thief is caught. Propitiation of divine anger, it has been suggested, is an important element in the burnt offering. Restitution, it will be suggested, is the key idea in the reparation offering (Trespass Offering). Purification is the main element in the purification sacrifice (Sin Offering). Sin not only angers God and deprives Him of His due, it also makes His sanctuary unclean. A holy God cannot dwell amid uncleanness. The purification offering purifies the place of worship, so that God may be present among His people. This interpretation of the term seems to be compatible with its root meaning, and to explain the rituals of blood sprinkling peculiar to it. (NICOT) (Bolding added)
THE SIN OF IGNORANCE
Andrew Bonar - The sin through ignorance (שְׁגָגָח) is the same that David prays against in Psalm 19:12, “Who can understand his errors (שְׁגִיאוֹת)? cleanse thou me from secret things (NAS = Who can discern [his] errors? Acquit me of hidden [faults.])!” These are not sins of omission, but acts committed by a person when at the time he did not suppose that what he did was sin. (Josh.20:3, “Who kills any person in ignorance (בִשִׁגָגָה) and did not know,” i.e., did not know that his action would have had that effect. Cp. Dt. 19:4) Although he did the thing deliberately, yet he did not perceive the sin of it. So deceitful is sin, we may be committing that abominable thing which cast angels into an immediate and an eternal hell, and yet at the moment be totally unaware! (Ed: See Deceitfulness of sin) and Illustrations of it's deceitful nature!) Want of knowledge of the truth and too little tenderness of conscience hide it from us. Hardness of heart and a corrupt nature cause us to sin unperceived. But here again the form of the Son of Man appears! Jehovah, God of Israel, institutes sacrifice for sins of ignorance, and thereby discovers the same compassionate and considerate heart that appears in our High Priest, Who "can deal gently with the IGNORANT and misguided!” (Heb. 5:2-note) Amidst the types of this Tabernacle we recognize the presence of Jesus—it is His voice that shakes the curtains and speaks in the ear of Moses, “If a soul should sin through ignorance!” The same yesterday, to-day, and forever (Heb 13:8-note) (Leviticus Commentary - many regard as best older commentary)
GotQuestions - Question: "Does God view unintentional sin differently?" Answer: The book of Leviticus required different offerings based on whether a sin was intentional or unintentional. Does this mean God views unintentional sins differently? Not exactly. It is clear that God made a distinction between intentional and unintentional sins in terms of the offerings in the Old Testament. Leviticus 4:2–3 notes this example: “When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord’s commands—If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.” (Does God view unintentional sin differently)
Sins (02398)(chata') means to miss the way, to fail; to err, to swerve from truth, to go wrong. The literal use describes an accurate shot by slingshot Jdg 20:16 - they could "not miss (chata')." Pr 19:2 conveys a related meaning of chata' in those versions that translate it as "miss the way." (Pr 19:2NIV) As Vine says "From this basic meaning comes the word’s chief usage to indicate moral failure toward both God and men, and certain results of such wrongs." When man sins he has missed the mark, the goal, or the way that God has set as standard. In an ironic use, the intensive (Piel) stem can mean "purified" or "to de-sin" and to to cleanse (Ex 29:36, David's request of God to purify him - Ps 51:7, Lxx = rhantizo = to sprinkle, figuratively = inward cleansing = "hearts sprinkled" - Heb 10:22; cf purify in Nu 8:21; 19:12,13, 20; 31:19, 20, 23).
The sense of chata' in Ge 31:39 is "bore the loss (Lxx = apotinnuo = paid for)." In a related use Vine says chata "may also refer to the result of wrongdoing, as in Ge 43:9: “Then let me bear the blame forever.”
Many of the uses of chata are translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) by the verb hamartano which literally means to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize). Hamartano means to act contrary to the will and law of God. To commit a wrong. To be in error. Hamartano means to err (err is from Latin errare = to wander or to stray!) which means to wander from the right way, to deviate from the true course or purpose and so to violate an accepted standard of conduct. To err is to miss the right way. To err means to deviate from the path or line of duty. To stray by design or mistake. To err is to stray from God and/or His commandments. Hamartano means to swerve from the truth, to turn aside from the straight course charted by the Word of Truth. To swerve means to wander from any line prescribed, or from a rule of duty; to depart from what is established by law, duty or custom. In short hamartano means to miss the mark of God's perfect standard.
Chata can describe sin against another man (Ge 20:9), but most often describes sin against God, as in the first use (Ge 20:6). In a classic use by Joseph in the context of Potiphar's wife tempting him he declared "There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil, and sin against (Lxx = enantios = opposite, over against, opposed to, hostile toward) God?" (Ge 39:9) O, that God would grant us the grace to continually remember the perpetual principle that all sin is ultimately against God, and in so remembering, be strengthened to resist times of temptation and quick to confess when we do sin against Him!
In Joshua we have a "descriptive definition" of sin - “Israel has sinned (chata), and they have also transgressed My covenant which I commanded them. And they have even taken some of the things under the ban and have both stolen and deceived. Moreover, they have also put [them] among their own things. (Josh 7:11) So here we see that sin is equated with transgressing God's covenant (Mosaic covenant). Later in this chapter, we see a similar description "if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done." (Lev 4:27) Thus we see sin is equated with doing things not commanded by Jehovah.
Swanson - 1. (qal) sin, do wrong, bear blame, be guilty, i.e., commit an infraction of law or agreement, implying a penalty must be paid or forfeited (Ge 20:9; Ex 9:27); (hif) commit sin, cause guilt (Ex 23:33); 2. (piel) purify, cleanse, i.e., make an object ceremonially clean by certain actions, including an offering (Ex 29:36); (hitp) purify oneself (Nu 8:21; 19:12,13, 20; 31:19, 20, 23); 3. (qal) miss, i.e., no longer be visibly present, pertaining to an object no longer being in a normal or assumed place (Job 5:24; Pr 8:36); 4. (qal) err, miss the way, i.e., have an opinion that is a wrong view (Pr 19:2); 5. (qal) fail to reach, i.e., pertaining to having a time period cut short (Isa 65:20); 6. (piel) bear a loss, i.e., lose an object with remedy from another source (Ge 31:39); 7. (piel) offer a sin offering (Lev 9:15; 2Ch 29:24); 8.(hif) miss, i.e., take aim at a specific object but not be able to hit the object, and so have the projectile occupy a space outside what is intended (Jdg 20:16); 9. (hitp) retreat, i.e., leave an area by linear motion (Job 41:17) (Semantic Domains)
Sin (Webster's English definition) - The voluntary departure of a moral agent from a known rule of rectitude or duty, prescribed by God; any voluntary transgression of the divine law, or violation of a divine command; a wicked act; iniquity. Sin is either a positive act in which a known divine law is violated-, or it is the voluntary neglect to obey a positive divine command, or a rule of duty clearly implied in such command. Sin comprehends not actions only, but neglect of known duty, all evil thoughts, purposes, words and desires, whatever is contrary to God’s commands or law. (Webster's 1823 )
Chata is translated in NAS as bear the blame(2), bewildered(1), bore the loss(1), bring sin(1), cleanse(5), cleansed(1), cleansing(1), commit(2), commits sin(1), committed(21), done wrong(1), errs(1), fault(1), fear...loss(1), forfeits(1), indicted(1), miss(1), offended(1), offered it for sin(1), offers it for sin(1), purged(1), purified(2), purified themselves from sin(1), purify(6), purify him from uncleanness(1), purify himself from uncleanness(2), reach(1), sin(55), sin have I committed(1), sinful(1), sinned(87), sinner(7), sinning(4), sins(23).
Chata - Note frequency of use in Lev 4 and Lev 5 = The most concentrated description of sin in the entire Bible! - Total uses = 221v -
Ge 20:6, 9; 31:39; 39:9; 40:1; 42:22; 43:9; 44:32; Ex 5:16; 9:27, 34; 10:16; 20:20; 23:33; 29:36; 32:30f, 33; Lev 4:2-3, 14, 22-23, 27-28, 35; 5:1, 5-7, 10-11, 13, 15-17; Lev 6:2-4, 26; 8:15; 9:15; 14:49, 52; 19:22; Nu6:11; 8:21; 12:11; 14:40; 15:27f; 16:22; 19:12f, 19f; 21:7; 22:34; 31:19f, 23; 32:23; Deut 1:41; 9:16, 18; 19:15; 20:18; 24:4; Josh 7:11, 20; Jdg 10:10, 15; 11:27; 20:16; 1 Sam 2:25; 7:6; 12:10, 23; 14:33f; 15:24, 30; 19:4f; 24:11; 26:21; 2Sa 12:13; 19:20; 24:10, 17; 1Kgs 8:31, 33, 35, 46f, 50; 14:16, 22; 15:26, 30, 34; 16:2, 13, 19, 26; 18:9; 21:22; 22:52; 2Kgs 3:3; 10:29, 31; 13:2, 6, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:7, 21; 18:14; 21:11, 16f; 23:15; 1Chr 21:8, 17; 2Chr 6:22, 24, 26, 36f, 39; 29:24; Neh 1:6; 6:13; 9:29; 13:26; Job 1:5, 22; 2:10; 5:24; 7:20; 8:4; 10:14; 24:19; 31:30; 33:27; 35:6; 41:25; Ps 4:4; 39:1; 41:4; 51:4, 7; 78:17, 32; 106:6; 119:11; Pr 8:36; 11:31; 13:22; 14:21; 19:2; 20:2; Eccl 2:26; 5:6; 7:20, 26; 8:12; 9:2, 18; Isa 1:4; 29:21; 42:24; 43:27; 64:5; 65:20; Jer 2:35; 3:25; 8:14; 14:7, 20; 16:10; 32:35; 33:8; 37:18; 40:3; 44:23; 50:7, 14; Lam 1:8; 5:7, 16; Ezek 3:21; 14:13; 16:51; 18:4, 20, 24; 28:16; 33:12, 16; 37:23; 43:20, 22f; 45:18; Dan 9:5, 8, 11, 15; Hos 4:7; 8:11; 10:8f; 13:2; Mic 7:9; Hab 2:10; Zeph 1:17
Here are some representative uses of chata - with the exception of Ps 51:7, all the following in the Lxx use the verb hamartano
Ps 4:4 Tremble (Be angry), and do not sin; Meditate in your heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.
Ps 39:1 For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I Said, “I will guard my ways, That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle, While the wicked are in my presence.”
Ps 41:4 As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee.”
Ps 51:4 Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, And done what is evil in Thy sight, So that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, And blameless when Thou dost judge.
Ps 51:7 Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Ps 78:17 Yet they still continued to sin against Him, To rebel against the Most High in the desert.
Ps 78:32 In spite of all this they still sinned, And did not believe in His wonderful works.
Ps 106:6 We have sinned like our fathers, We have committed iniquity, we have behaved wickedly.
Ps 119:11 Thy word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against Thee.
Rooker - The root šgg has the meaning of “going astray, commit sin or error” and in relation to the commission of sin carries the connotation of sin by accident or inadvertence. According to Eichrodt it refers to sins that are the consequence of human frailty.148 This type of sin is to be distinguished from sinning in defiance against God with bĕyād rāmâ, “a high hand.” This latter category cannot be expiated, and the offender is karath, “cut off,” a term often understood as designating a premature death. The contrast between these two types of sins is illustrated in Nu 15:25, 30. The inadvertent or accidental sin (bišgāgâ) is described in Nu 35:11, 15 in reference to the manslayer who by definition is one who kills without premeditation. Thus an important component of what distinguishes the inadvertent sin from the high-handed sin is the mental state of the person who commits the offense. In our context, in reference to expiation for inadvertent sin by the sin offering, the “inadvertent” sin refers to the commission of a sin, although the offender is not immediately conscious of the fact that he has violated the law of God.
NET Note on sins unintentionally - Hebrew more literally = “And a person, when he sins in straying.” The English translation of “by straying” (בִּשְׁגָגָה [bishgagah] literally, “in going astray; in making an error”) varies greatly, but almost all suggest that this term refers to sins that were committed by mistake or done not knowing that the particular act was sinful (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:228–29). See, e.g., LXX “involuntarily”; Tg. Onq. “by neglect”; KJV “through ignorance”; ASV, RSV, NJPS “unwittingly”; NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT “unintentionally”; NAB, NEB “inadvertently”; NCV “by accident.” However, we know from Num 15:27–31 that committing a sin “by straying” is the opposite of committing a sin “defiantly” (i.e., בְּיַד רָמָה [béyad ramah] “with a raised hand,” Nu 15:30). In the latter case the person, as it were, raises his fist in presumptuous defiance against the LORD. (Ed comment: But see Nathan's accusation against King David after his sin with Bathsheba and against Uriah! "despised the Word of the LORD" = 2Sa 12:9 AND 2Sa 12:10 David had "despised" God! Yet read 2Sa 12:13!!!) Thus, he “blasphemes” the LORD and has “despised” his word, for which he should be “cut off from among his people” (Nu 15:30–31). One could not bring an offering for such a sin. The expression here in Lev 4:2 combines “by straying” with the preposition “from” which fits naturally with “straying” (i.e., “straying from” the LORD’s commandments). For sins committed “by straying” from the commandments (Lev 4 throughout) or other types of transgressions (Lev 5:1–6) there was indeed forgiveness available through the sin offering. See R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 2:94–95.
Segagah are translated in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the adverb akousios which means involuntarily (Lev 4:2, 13, 22, 27; 5:15; Num 15:24, 26, 27-29; 35:11, 15; Deut 19:4; Josh 20:3, 9; Job 31:33). There is a similar word hekousios which is the antonym of akousios and it is used in Hebrews 10:26 in the phrase "go on sinning willfully (hekousios)." The "a" prefix in akousios serves to negate the meaning of "intentional" or "willful" and thus means not intentionally, not willfully.
The related adjective (avkou,sioj) is used for segagah in Nu 15:25 (twice), Nu 15:26 and Eccl 10:5. The adjective means against the will, involuntary, inadvertent offense.
The other uses of segagah (Lev 5:18, 22:14, Eccl 5:6) are translated in the Lxx with the noun agnoia, which means literally "not knowing" and so to not have information about, to have a want of knowledge, a state of ignorance. But ignorance is not "bliss" for it leads to mistaken conduct (cf uses of agnoia in Eph 4:18, 1Pe 1:14).
Segagah - 18v - translated in NAS as error(5), mistake(1), unintentionally(14).
Leviticus 4:2 "Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, 'If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them,
22 'When a leader sins and unintentionally does any one of all the things which the LORD his God has commanded not to be done, and he becomes guilty,
27 'Now if anyone of the common people sins unintentionally in doing any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty,
Leviticus 5:15 "If a person acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against the LORD'S holy things, then he shall bring his guilt offering to the LORD: a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation in silver by shekels, in terms of the shekel of the sanctuary, for a guilt offering.
18 "He is then to bring to the priest a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally (Lxx = agnoia = want of knowledge, lack of information, ignorance, unawareness) and did not know (segagah; Lxx = ou oida = "not know") it, and it will be forgiven him.
Leviticus 22:14 'But if a man eats a holy gift unintentionally (Lxx = agnoia = want of knowledge, lack of information, ignorance, unawareness), then he shall add to it a fifth of it and shall give the holy gift to the priest.
Numbers 15:24 then it shall be, if it is done unintentionally, without the knowledge of the congregation, that all the congregation shall offer one bull for a burnt offering, as a soothing aroma to the LORD, with its grain offering and its drink offering, according to the ordinance, and one male goat for a sin offering.
25 'Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and they will be forgiven; for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error.
26 'So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven, with the alien who sojourns among them, for it happened to all the people through error.
27 'Also if one person sins unintentionally, then he shall offer a one year old female goat for a sin offering.
28 'The priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven.
29 'You shall have one law for him who does anything unintentionally, for him who is native among the sons of Israel and for the alien who sojourns among them.
Numbers 35:11 then you shall select for yourselves cities to be your cities of refuge, that the manslayer who has killed any person unintentionally may flee there.
15 'These six cities shall be for refuge for the sons of Israel, and for the alien and for the sojourner among them; that anyone who kills a person unintentionally may flee there.
Joshua 20:3 that the manslayer who kills any person unintentionally, without premeditation, may flee there, and they shall become your refuge from the avenger of blood.
9 These were the appointed cities for all the sons of Israel and for the stranger who sojourns among them, that whoever kills any person unintentionally may flee there, and not die by the hand of the avenger of blood until he stands before the congregation.
Ecclesiastes 5:6 Do not let your speech cause you to sin and do not say in the presence of the messenger of God that it was a mistake (Lxx = agnoia = want of knowledge, lack of information, ignorance, unawareness). Why should God be angry on account of your voice and destroy the work of your hands?
Ecclesiastes 10:5 There is an evil I have seen under the sun, like an error (Lxx = akousios = which goes forth from the ruler
Devotional - Does God Hold Christians Responsible for Unpremeditated and Unconscious Sins? For a believer, unconscious sins are a serious concern, but they shouldn’t be a cause for fear of abandonment or judgment by God. Because we are all sinners by nature, born into a fallen world, we are all guilty of unintentional sin (Ed: I like David's prayer in Ps 19:12-13 - a good prayer for us to pray!). We would be in a hopeless situation, however, if God required us to be aware of every specific sin in our life and then confess it in order to maintain our fellowship with Him. This would be impossible for us in our limited, fallen state. Old Testament law indicates that God looks upon unconscious sin differently from conscious sin. The law prescribed sacrifices for sins done in ignorance or weakness and without willful intent ( Leviticus 4:2-3, 13-14 ). However, Old Testament law provided no sacrifice for conscious sin: "Anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the LORD, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised the LORD’s word and broken His commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him." (Numbers 15:30-31NIV) (Ed: Defiant sins that cannot be atoned for would be analogous to the sin Jesus described - blasphemy of the Holy Spirit - which I take ultimately as total and complete and final personal rejection of the provision of the sacrifice of Jesus - a need that the Spirit convicts us of before we are saved. These people adamantly and permanently refuse His conviction and regeneration). The New Testament also distinguishes clearly between willful and unconscious sin: "That servant who knows his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with many blows. But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked." (Luke 12:47-48NIV). "If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin." (John 15:22NIV). "Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief." (1Timothy 1:13NIV). Although the Bible distinguishes between conscious and unconscious sin, when we first put our faith in Jesus Christ, He declared us “justified.” He forgave us in a legal and judicial sense. He did this once and for all, forgiving us of any and all sins: past, present, and future; conscious and unconscious. On the basis of this legal standing, God has accepted us once and for all into His eternal family ( Romans 5:1). Now, even when we sin (either consciously or unconsciously) we are in a new relationship to Him. No longer must we fear God’s condemnation and judgment (Ro 8:1, but this does not give us a pass - see Ro 6:1-3). Christ has enabled us to be God’s sons and daughters, no longer facing damnation because of sin (cf 1Thes 1:10). However, although we need no longer fear judgment because of sin, sin still interferes with our relationship with God and other people (1Jn 1:6-7), and sometimes makes it necessary for Him to discipline us as a firm but loving Father. We shouldn’t worry about our unconscious sin. Although it has destructive effects in our lives (cf Pr 28:13, Gal 6:7-8), there is so much sin dwelling within us that we can’t expect to be instantly delivered from its influence (cf Gal 5:17, 1Pe 2:11). We need to be humbled, however, by the fact that we sin in many ways that we don’t detect, and be willing to confess and renounce (Ed: Don't miss this verb "renounce" it's good but I prefer "repent!") any sin that the Holy Spirit brings into the light of our awareness. Our Father in heaven is ready to remedy the loss of communication and personal separation that occurs when we resist Him and go our own way (1 John 1:7,8 ). But to enjoy the full benefit of relationship with Him, we need to agree with Him about our sin. And it would be wise to follow King David’s example by praying, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps 139:23-24 ).
Our Daily Bread - Leviticus 4:1-3 Unintentional - Dennis Fisher (Read: Ro 3:21-26) If a person sins unintentionally . . . let him offer to the Lord . . . a young bull without blemish. —Leviticus 4:2-3 - When I was returning our grandson Alex to his family after a visit, the traffic seemed especially challenging. Fast-maneuvering cars blocked me from the correct toll lane, forcing me to go through a lane where only cars with a prepaid pass are permitted, which I didn’t have. Alex told me that my license plate would be photographed and a ticket might be mailed to me. I was frustrated because a penalty would have to be paid even though my infraction was unintentional. For the ancient Jews, a violation of God’s laws committed even in ignorance was taken very seriously. The Old Testament recognized and provided for unintentional sins through appropriate sacrifices: “If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments . . . let him offer to the Lord . . . a young bull without blemish as a sin offering” (Lev. 4:2-3). Old Testament sacrifices were more than a reminder that accidental wrongs have consequences. They were given in anticipation that God in His grace would provide atonement even for wrongs we didn’t realize we were doing. He did this through the death of Jesus in our place. God’s grace is far greater than we could ever imagine! Grace is getting what we do not deserve. Mercy is not receiving what we do deserve. Insight - Today’s passage from Romans is one of the most beautiful statements in Scripture of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Because Jesus bore our sins on the cross, He has made us righteous in God’s eyes. This righteousness comes through faith in Jesus (Ro 3:22); is given to us by God’s grace; and, best of all, is free to all who believe (Ro 3:24).
F B Meyer - Leviticus 4:2 If a soul shall sin though ignorance. Sin is something more than that of which our conscience convicts us. Our conscience may excuse or palliate our sins, or may fail to detect them for want of proper enlightenment, or may be misled by the practices and sentiments of those around. Therefore we may do things which are grievously wrong in God’s sight without realizing their evil or bemoaning it. All such sin must be met and atoned for ere God can admit us into his holy presence. Sin must be dealt with and put away, not only as it appears to us, but as it is in itself and in the sight of the All-Holy. So, in the types of Leviticus, provision was made for sins of ignorance; and the blood of Jesus cleaneth from all sin, whether known to us or not. There is more sin in us than any of us know. If we think we have passed a day without conscious sin, we have only to wait till an intenser light is flashed on our motives and intentions — for firelight to be exchanged for electric light — and we shall see specks and flaws. If we do not actually violate known commands, there may be a grievous coming short of the infinite standard of the Divine perfection. Who shall dare to say that he has loved God with all his heart, and soul, and strength? Besides, there is always the liability to sinfulness; and this needs to be perpetually met and atoned for. It is very needful, then, for us to be perpetually cleansed in the precious blood of Christ. We must ask to be forgiven for the many sins which we know not, as well as for those we know. The work of confession and forgiveness must therefore go on to life’s end, applied to each heart and conscience by the Holy Spirit.
G Campbell Morgan - Lev 4:2 - These words recognize an aspect of sin which we are at least in danger of thinking of lightly. There is a great tendency to imagine that sin is only in the will. There is a sense in which this is true. Guilt never attaches to sin until it is an act of the will. But imperfection and pollution exclude from God, even though there be no responsibility for them. God is "of purer eyes than to behold evil." This aspect of sin demands cleansing, while wilful sin needs forgiveness. I need not ask the forgiveness of God for sins which I have committed unwittingly, for pollution for which I have no responsibility. But I do need cleansing from them also. I need that "sanctification without which no man shall see the Lord." This is what was suggested by the sin-offering, the dealing with sin which sets the soul free from its pollution and paralysis. The trespass-offering suggested the dealing with sin which makes it possible for God to forgive the soul the wrong of wilful disobedience. Nothing is more clearly stamped upon these pages of Leviticus than the fact that sin must not be lightly treated. Jehovah is the God of holiness, and can make no terms with sin. But He is also the God of grace, Who provides a plenteous and perfect redemption for the sinner. All this is most perfectly emphasized in the fact that this great system was done away because it made nothing perfect. It revealed a need and promised deliverance, but nothing more. In Christ the promise was fulfilled and the need met. (Life Applications from Every Chapter of the Bible)
- priest: Lev 8:12 21:10-12 Ex 29:7,21)(a young bullock: Lev 4:14 9:2 16:6,11 Eze 43:19
- for a sin: Lev 5:6 Ex 29:14 30:10 Nu 8:8 Ezr 8:35 Ro 8:3 2Co 5:21 Heb 5:3 Heb 7:27,28
THE PRIEST AND
Compare Leviticus 4:3 with 1Ti 5:20 "Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful [of sinning.]."
Anointed Priest (Anointed priest - Lev 4:3, 5 16, 6:22) - While not definitely stated this probably refers to the high priest (cf "anointed" in Ex 29:29, Lev 16:32).
The NET Note feels "This refers to the high priest."
Anointed (04899)(mashiach/masiyah) refers to one who has had sacred oil poured ceremonially on their head, and thereby has become a person with special authority and function, with the implication of one having the choice and approval of God.
- Priests - Holman Bible Dictionary;
- Priest, Priesthood - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology;
- Priests - Torrey's Topical Textbook
Sins (chattat/chattath) - "This passage takes for granted that Israel’s priests were not perfect men. The mention of sin in the lives of these men who were committed to serving God with their whole lives adds strength to the view that the sin referred to in this chapter was the type of sin that occurs in the life of people who belong to Jehovah. Though the priests were not perfect, any sin in their lives was a serious offense against God. The fact that the priests were mentioned first indicates that sin in the life of spiritual leaders is especially dangerous. Therefore, they were obligated to be the first to confess their sins and turn from them." (Leon Hyatt)
Bring guilt on the people - When the priest sinned he involved not only himself but the whole nation, which makes one wonder why anyone would have wanted this position! Of course, the answer is it is not what they want but what God desires. He appointed men to positions then just as He does now. This passage reminds us of James 3:1 warning to teachers! (cp the role of the OT priests as the teachers - Dt 33:10) MacArthur notes that "Only the High-Priest, due to his representative position, was capable of this type of guilt infusion. For example, Achan had brought about the defeat of Israel when he held back the spoils, but the entire nation was not executed, as was his family (cf. Josh 7:22–26)." (MacArthur Study Bible) Wenham adds that "The gravity of high-priestly sin is further underlined in Lev 4:4-7, by the valuable animal he has to bring (a bull - also when the congregation sinned - Lev 4:13ff) and by the provision that he must sprinkle its blood on the veil and incense altar." (NICOT)
Schultz - “No religious or civil leader was so prominent that his sin was condoned, nor any man so insignificant that his sin was ignored.”
Guzik - If a priest needed a sin offering made on his behalf, a bull had to be sacrificed on his behalf, with the priest identifying with the victim through the laying on of hands (Lev 4:4). The presence of a separate ritual of cleansing for the sin of the priest shows that they had a great accountability before the LORD and were, in a sense, judged according to a stricter measure (Ed: This brings to mind James warning in James 3:1-2!).
GotQuestions - Question: "Why were the people guilty for a priest’s sin?" Answer: Leviticus 4:3 says, “If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the LORD a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.” If it was the priest that sinned, why were all of the people of Israel considered guilty? Two possibilities are typically presented to explain how the people are considered guilty for the sin of the priest. First, it is possible that the priest’s sin impacted the people because he is a leader as well as one of the people. In this case, the idea is that the sin of a leader influences everyone under him negatively. The second possibility is that the sin of the priest would lead other people into sin. This principle is certainly seen elsewhere in Scripture. Hosea 4:6, in particular, condemns ungodly leadership by the Jewish priests: “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests.” Second Chronicles 15:3 rues the fact that “for a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach and without the law.” The lack of godly spiritual leadership had led to an ungodly society. There is another consideration in determining why the Israelites were guilty when the priest sinned. In Leviticus 10:17 Moses asks Aaron the priest, “Why didn't you eat the sin offering in the sanctuary area? It is most holy; it was given to you to take away the guilt of the community by making atonement for them before the LORD?” The priest had to make atonement on behalf of the people. If the priest was sinful or unable to perform this duty, atonement could not be made, and the people would be in sin as a result. (Read Full Article)
Life Application Note - The sin offering was for those who (1) committed a sin without realizing it or (2) committed a sin out of weakness or negligence as opposed to outright rebellion against God. Both individuals and groups could be guilty of unintentional sin. Different animals were sacrificed for the different kinds of sin. The death of Jesus Christ was the final sin offering in the Bible (Hebrews 9:25-28 tells why).
Deffinbaugh - A number of years ago our family went to Six Flags with another family from the church. As we sat there watching the rides I turned to my friend and said, “Now here is a beautiful illustration of sin: the price is high and the ride is short.” That is just how it is with sin.
To the LORD (101x in 92v) -
Lev 1:2, 9, 13f, 17; 2:1ff, 8ff, 14, 16; 3:3, 5f, 9, 11, 14; 4:3, 31, 35; 5:6f, 15; 6:6, 15, 18, 20ff; 7:5, 11, 14, 20f, 25, 29f, 35, 38; 8:21, 28; 17:4ff, 9; 19:5, 21, 24; 21:6; 22:3, 15, 18, 21f, 24, 27, 29; 23:3, 6, 8, 12f, 16ff, 20, 25, 27, 34, 36ff, 41; 24:7; 25:2, 4; 27:2, 9, 11, 14, 16, 21ff, 26, 28, 30, 32;
Note that the sin "offering was not a soothing aroma. It was for expiation, namely, to make amends. The offerer ritually charged the sacrificial animal with his sin (cf. Isa. 53:5; 1 Pet. 2:24). The animal had to be without defect (cf. 1 Pet. 2:22). The offerer executed God's judgment for sin on the sacrificial substitute by slaying it. In every sin offering an innocent substitute replaced the sinner (cf. 2 Cor. 5:21)." (Constable)
Gordon Wenham discusses the fact "that other sacrifices also atoned for sin, notably the burnt offering (Lev 1), the peace offering (Lev 3), as well as the reparation offering (Lev 5:14– 6:7]). Simply to adopt the rendering “sin offering” for chattat/chattath obscures the precise function of this sacrifice. It most certainly has to do with sin, and deals with its consequences. But it was not the one and only atoning sacrifice, as commentators tend to suggest." (NICOT)
NET Note - The primary purpose of the “sin offering” (חַטָּאת, chatta’t) was to “purge” (כִּפֶּר, kipper, “to make atonement,” see Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, and the notes on Lev 1:4 and esp. Lev 16:20, 33) the sanctuary or its furniture in order to cleanse it from any impurities and/or (re)consecrate it for holy purposes (see, e.g., Lev 8:15; 16:19). By making this atonement the impurities of the person or community were cleansed and the people became clean.
To make atonement is the standard translation of the Hebrew term כִּפֶּר, (kipper); cf. however TEV “as a sacrifice to take away his sins” (CEV similar). The English word derives from a combination of “at” plus Middle English “one[ment],” referring primarily to reconciliation or reparation that is made in order to accomplish reconciliation. The primary meaning of the Hebrew verb, however, is “to wipe [something off (or on)]” (see esp. the goal of the sin offering, Lev 4, “to purge” the tabernacle from impurities), but in some cases it refers metaphorically to “wiping away” anything that might stand in the way of good relations by bringing a gift (see, e.g., Ge 32:20, “to appease; to pacify” as an illustration of this). The translation “make atonement” has been retained because, ultimately, the goal of either purging or appeasing was to maintain a proper relationship between the LORD (Who dwelt in the tabernacle) and Israelites in whose midst the tabernacle was pitched
Spurgeon - IN the previous chapters of the book of Leviticus you read of the burnt offering, the peace offering, and the meat offering—all types of our Lord Jesus Christ, as seen from different points of view. Those three sacrifices were sweet savor offerings, and represent the Lord Jesus in his glorious person and perfect righteousness as an offering of a sweet smell unto God. The chapter before us, the whole of which we shall require as a text, describes the sin offering, which, although quite distinct from the sweet savor offerings, is not altogether to be separated from them, for the Lord Jesus Christ viewed in any light is very dear unto his Father; and even when beheld as a sin offering is elect and precious unto God, as we shall have to show you in the type before us; still, the sin offering does not set forth the acceptance of the substitute before the Lord, but rather brings out the abhorence which God has towards sin, the putting away from his holy presence of everything upon which sin is laid. This morning, if God shall enable us, we hope to impress upon your minds, first of all, the great evil of sin; and secondly, the great and wonderful power of the blood of atonement by which sin is put away. (Read Leviticus 4:3 The Sin Offering)
Henry Law - THE SIN OFFERING Leviticus 4:3 - Sin! The sound is brief. But it presents a dark abyss of thought. No mind can trace its birth. No eye can see its death. Before the worlds it scaled the heavens, and dragged angels down. In life's first dawn it entered Eden and slew innocence. It ends not with the end of time. It ever rolls an ever-deepening course. Reader, think much of sin. It is earth's death-blow. It marred the beauty of a beauteous world. It stripped it of its lovely robe. It caused the soil to harden; the leaves to wither and decay. It turned fertility to weeds, and armed the brier with its bristling thorns. It made the clouds to blacken, and the storm to rage. It raised the tempest's roar, and plumed the lightning with its forked wings. It placed its foot upon a perfect workmanship—and left it a disordered wreck. Reader, think much of sin. It is man's ruin. Its most tremendous blight fell on our inner life. It drove the soul from peaceful fellowship with God. It changed the loving child into a hardened rebel. It robbed the mind of light. It rendered reason a bewildered maze. It made the heart a nest of unclean birds; a spring of impure streams; a whirlpool of tumultuous passions; a hot-bed of ungodly lusts; a den of God-defying schemes. It is the malady—the misery—the shame of our whole race. It is the spring of every tear. Each sigh, which rends the breast—each frown, which ploughs the brow—each pain, which racks the limbs, are cradled in its arms. It is the mother of that mighty monster—death. It digs each grave in every grave-yard. Each widow and each orphan tastes its gall. It fills each hospital with sick. It strews the battlefield with slain. It is the core in every grief. It is the worm which gnaws the root of peace. Reader, think much of sin. Its terrible destructions die not in the grave. There is a region, where its full-blown torments reign. It built the prison-house of hell. It kindled quenchless flames. It forged the chains, which bind lost sinners to their burning beds. It sharpened the undying sting of an upbraiding conscience. It arms the jailer—Satan, with his scourge. It bars the hopeless in that outer darkness, where weeping ever weeps—and wailing ever wails—and teeth forever gnash—and all is woe, which knows no respite and no end. Reader, think much of sin. It works this bitter and eternal anguish, because God's curse attends it. It raised a rebel-hand against His will. It dared to violate His holy law. It strove to lay His honor in the dust. It trampled on the statute-book of heaven. Therefore God's anger fiercely burns against it. Hence every misery follows in its succession. He must be wretched who has God against him. Reader, here is a picture, in which all horrors meet. Regard it with an earnest eye. No fiction colors it. No power can over paint the terrible reality. No artist's skill can represent a flame. The dreadful truth exceeds report. The lost writhe out eternity in fully learning the deserts of sin. These terrors are the best prelude to the tidings of the sin offering. Tears magnify the cross. The trembling heart is the best soil for seeds of peace. Hell seen beforehand, is hell escaped forever. Satan disclosed, is Satan baffled. As the bright sun behind a threatening cloud, the sin offering waits to change the frightful aspect of sin. At Sinai's base this rite steps forth to show the reconciling work of grace. Reader, receive the soul-reviving voice— Though sin is death, the sinner need not die. There is a fortress of escape. There is a remedy to heal these wounds. What though your sins be countless as the sands? They all may disappear. What though the dye of each be double crimson? Each may be washed away. The filth may all be cleansed. The debts may be wiped out. The soul may meet Jehovah's eye without one stain. There is a way, by which the vilest may stand pure. This is the blessed and the wondrous truth, which the Sin offering proclaims.—God's love decreed a plan. He willed a ransom, and His Son achieved it. Let us draw nearer to the amazing sight. When God would save, justice, and truth, and holiness proposed tremendous terms. Each sin must bear its merited load of woe. Each curse must be endured. Each violation of the holy law must drink the dregs of condemnation. Jesus comes forth to help. The guiltless One, takes the guilty place. The God-man represents His flock. He stands their ready and complete sin offering. He pays in anguish and in blood their every due. Wrath is endured. Penalties are paid. Sufferings are suffered. Agonies are agonized. The work requires infinity of woe. Infinity of woe is borne by Him. His Deity enables. His manhood qualifies. Thus sin is fully punished. Thus the redeemed are fully saved. Such are the tidings of the Sin offering. Say, is not this the truth of truths? All minds should ponder it. All hearts should welcome it. All eyes should gaze upon it. All hands should grasp it. All lips should praise it. Parents should teach it. Children should learn it. Pulpits should echo it. The cottage—the sick chamber—the dying bed, should brighten with this light. It should be the stable center of the soul—the joy of social converse—the bond of Christian fellowship. Men should walk up and down in the full freedom of redemption's plains. Until by the Spirit's aid, the eye of faith discerns a substituted sufferer, the conscience has no peace; the Bible is a locked-up page; life has no steady compass; death has no pillow of assured repose. Reader, is this truth, the light—the feast—the joy—the strength—the rapture of your soul? Does morning wake you to bring this offering to the Mercy-seat? Do you go forth with your hands resting on its head? Do you lie down with the blood sprinkled on the day's misdeeds? It should be so. In every way God sets this sacrifice before you. Christ knocks for entrance at the sinner's heart. The Spirit joys to show the God-appointed victim. And now in these poor lines another message craves attention. Come mark, then, how the Sin offering in every part proves sin to be a vanquished foe. There are indeed some grades of difference in this type, as rank or as offence might differ. The first example will illustrate all. The offender is the anointed Priest. Lev. 4:3. Sin has allured—ensnared—defiled him. But now he sees his guilt. He cannot rest until pardon be obtained. God's voice directs his course. He must bring a young unblemished bull to the tabernacle-door. Behold the proof, that God has found a ransom. This is an idle and an empty rite, unless it shows the victim of God's choice. This is but mockery, except it witnesses, that help is laid on the redeeming Jesus. The type is clear. It ushers in the Gospel antitype. Atonement is indeed provided. We are not left to hopelessness, or human schemes. Sins are our own. The remedy is His. A SOLEMN ACT is next enjoined. The offender's hands must be laid on the victim's head. This sign too, has no meaning, unless it bids the sin-lost to transmit their guilt. Without such a meaning, it is a puzzling and deceiving shadow. But God gives not an ordinance in vain. He thus consents, that sin should pass to the Sin offering. He thus instructs the heavy-laden to roll all on Christ. Reader, if sin be found adhering to yourself—if it should weigh you into nether-hell—it is not, because the chain cannot be broken—it is not, because Christ refuses to receive—it is not, because you never heard of transfer. It is, because you care not for relief. It is, because self-will retains the mass of sin. (The Gospel in Leviticus)
- bring: Lev 1:3 Ex 29:10,11
- lay his hand: Lev 1:4, 16:21 Isa 53:6 Da 9:26 1Pe 3:18
Doorway - Depicted above as "the one way" into the Tent of Meeting, a picture of course that there is one way for sinful men to come into the presence of the Holy God and that is through His Son, Christ Jesus (Jn 14:6, cf Acts 4:12).
Before the LORD (61x in 59v in Leviticus out of 259 total uses in OT) -
Lev 1:3, 5, 11; 3:1, 7, 12; 4:4, 6f, 15, 17f, 24; 5:19; 6:7, 14, 25; 7:30; 8:26f, 29; 9:2, 4f, 21, 24; 10:1f, 15, 17, 19; 12:7; 14:11f, 16, 18, 23f, 27, 29, 31; 15:14f, 30; 16:7, 10, 12f, 18, 30; 19:22; 23:11, 20, 28, 40; 24:3f, 6, 8;
Lay his hand on the head - The sacrificial enemy "bore" the penalty the individual should have borne! We see this prophesied of the Messiah "All (NO EXCEPTIONS....EXCEPT JESUS = Heb 4:15, 2Cor 5:21) of us like (DUMB) sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused (GRACE AND MERCY IN ACTION) the iniquity of us all To fall on Him (DEPICTED BY THE SINNER LAYING HIS HAND ON THE ANIMAL'S HEAD)." (Isa 53:6) Daniel describes Messiah's slaying "the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing" (Da 9:26). Peter describes the fulfillment "For Christ also died for sins once for all, [the] just for [the] unjust (THAT'S US BELOVED!), in order that (term of purpose or result) He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh (LIKE THE OT ANIMAL IN THE PLACE OF THE OFFERER), but made alive in the spirit." (1Pet 3:18)
NET Note - The primary purpose of the “sin offering” (חַטָּאת, khatta’t) was to “purge” (כִּפֶּר, kipper, “to make atonement,” see Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, and the notes on Lev 1:4 and especially Lev 16:20, 33 = Day of Atonement) the sanctuary or its furniture in order to cleanse it from any impurities and/or (re) consecrate it for holy purposes (see, e.g., Lev 8:15; 16:19). By making this atonement the impurities of the person or community were cleansed and the people became clean.
Lay his hand - Lev 1:4; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:4, 24, 29, 33; Job 9:33; Mk 7:32 - See Leviticus 4:29 for more detailed notes including discussion by C H Spurgeon. Click here for another discussion by Spurgeon.
Keil - As they were presented to effect the expiation of sins, the offerer transferred the consciousness of sin and the desire for forgiveness to the head of the animal that had been brought in his stead, by the laying on of his hand; and after this the animal was slaughtered, and suffered death for him as the wages of sin. (Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament)
Henry Law - THE SIN OFFERING - The substitute is then slain. Lev. 4:4. Sin must have death. The curse must fall. God pardons not by bidding anger to hold back. His hatred must be shown—His majesty must be maintained—His truth must be preserved. Pardons indeed abound. They freely and they gladly fly. But all proceed along a blood-stained path. Believer, your sins slew Christ. They cannot now slay you. His death is yours. Therefore you live. God's smile is on you, not because your sins are none, but because each has died in Christ. The precious rite continues to unfold the Savior's worth. It shows THREE USES OF THE OUTPOURED BLOOD.
1. The veil is sprinkled seven times. Lev. 4:6. This veil hung in front of the Mercy-seat. It was the entrance to the holiest place. The truth is manifest. They, who would enter into heaven, must plead blood shed. Reader, the blood, which flowed at Calvary, still flows within your reach. Take it by faith, and mount the holy heights. You may have heaven, as your eternal home. Your sins are no insuperable bar. Without one doubt, present the price. The gates will lift their heads. The everlasting portals will fly back.
2. Part dyed the golden-altar's horns. Lev. 4:7. This was the place where incense rose, as emblem of ascending prayer. Christ's intercession is Salvation's crown. But it prevails, because its plea is blood. The wounded hands cannot be stretched in vain. Who, also, are they, who thrive most in the growth of grace, and work most boldly in the Savior's cause? They, whose incessant prayers most sweetly savor of the dying Lamb. The bleeding cross is supplication's strength.
3. The brazen-altar drank the rest. Lev. 4:7. Thus all is used to bring assurance to the anxious heart. Each drop subserves its part. Atonement needs the whole. The whole is given. Reader, behold each altar reeking with this stream of blood, and doubt not, that God's claims are satisfied. (The Gospel in Leviticus)
- Lev 4:16,17 16:14,19 Nu 19:4 1Jn 1:7
Anointed (04899)(mashiach/masiyah from mashach = to smear, anoint) is Hebrew word that in almost all OT uses is found in a compound phrase. It is a masculine noun which can function as an adjective (as in Lev 4:3,5, 16) which means "anointed." This Hebrew word is used several times to prophetically picture the Messiah, the Christ (1Sa 2:10, 35, Da 9:25-26). In the OT, priests, prophets and kings were anointed and all these offices were fulfilled in "the Mashiach," the Messiah.
Swanson - anointed one, i.e., a person having sacred oil poured ceremonially on one’s head, and so become a person with special authority and function, with the implication of one having the choice and approval of God.
Lxx translates mashiach in this verse (and most of the 38 uses in the OT) with the adjective Christos which describes one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task; as a title for Jesus, designating him as the Messiah sent from God (Jn 1:41, Jn 4:25 [Greek = messias], Ro 6:4). BDAG - Christos = "fulfiller of Israelite expectation of a deliverer, the Anointed One, the Messiah, the Christ."
Vine - The New Testament title of Christ is derived from the Greek Christos which is exactly equivalent to the Hebrew mashiach, for it is also rooted in the idea of “to smear with oil.” So the term Christ emphasizes the special anointing of Jesus of Nazareth for His role as God’s chosen one.
Anointed (Webster's definition) - Smeared or rubbed with oil; set apart; consecrated with oil. The verb anoint means to pour oil upon; to smear or rub over with oil or unctuous substances; also to spread over, as oil. To consecrate by unction, or the use of oil. The use of oil in consecrations, was of high antiquity. Kings, prophets and priests were set apart or consecrated to their offices by the use of oil. Hence the peculiar application of the term anointed to Jesus Christ. See article on Messiah in the non-evangelical Jewish Encyclopedia. Compare - Messiah - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary. See also Kitto's discussion of the practice of Anointing.
Messiah is a "Transliteration of Hebrew word (mashiach/masiyah) meaning, “anointed one” that was translated into Greek as Christos...The Old Testament and Early Jewish Background “Anointed” carries several senses in the Old Testament. All have to do with installing a person in an office in a way that the person will be regarded as accredited by Yahweh, Israel's God. Even a pagan king such as Cyrus was qualified as the Lord's anointed (Isaiah 45:1) to execute a divinely appointed task. The usual application of the term anointed was to God's representatives within the covenant people. Prophets such as Elisha were set apart in this way (1Kings 19:16 where anoint = chrio). Israel probably saw a close link between the anointed persons and God's spirit though the link is specifically mentioned only occasionally (2Ki 2:9 ). Israelite kings were particularly hailed as Yahweh's anointed. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
The New Jewish Encyclopedia defines the MESSIAH as “a modified form of the Hebrew word Mashiah meaning ‘anointed,’ applied in the Bible to a person appointed for special function, such as High Priest or King. Later the term Messiah came to express the belief that a Redeemer, that is a divinely appointed individual, will in the end bring salvation to the Jewish people and to the entire human race” (p.317).
The Dictionary Of Jewish Lore And Legend encapsulates the term MESSIAH a bit more succinctly: “The anointed king of the House of David of Bethlehem who will be sent by God to inaugurate the final redemption in the end of days” (p.132).
See also the booklet on The Jewish Tradition of Two Messiahs
Mashiach - 38v - translated Anointed(1), anointed(34), anointed ones(2), Messiah(2).
Leviticus 4:3 if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer to the LORD a bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.
5 'Then the anointed priest is to take some of the blood of the bull and bring it to the tent of meeting,
16 'Then the anointed priest is to bring some of the blood of the bull to the tent of meeting;
Leviticus 6:22 "The anointed priest who will be in his place among his sons shall offer it. By a permanent ordinance it shall be entirely offered up in smoke to the LORD.
1 Samuel 2:10 "Those who contend with the LORD will be shattered; Against them He will thunder in the heavens, The LORD will judge the ends of the earth; And He will give strength to His king, And will exalt the horn of His anointed."
Comment - The context of this verse includes the "ends of the earth" and thus is clearly a prophecy of the Messiah Who will one day (soon) rule and reign over the entire earth. Are you "looking for the the Blessed Hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus." (Titus 2:13-note)? Remember that what you are looking for will (should) radically influence what (Who) you are living for! Is it so with you, beloved? Are you living today with such a longing and an anticipation that you might see the Son descend before the sun goes down? Maranatha! Hosanna! Hallelujah! Amen!
John MacArthur - The Lord will impose His righteous rule upon all the nations and peoples (see Isa 2:2–4). His king. Moses had already predicted the coming of a king who would exercise God’s rule over all the nations of the earth (Ge 49:8-12, 9-10; Nu 24:7–9, 17–19). It was this future, victorious king whom Hannah (1Sa 2:1-10 = "Hannah's Song" of praise) anticipated and Saul and David prefigured. His anointed. Previously in the OT, both the tabernacle and its utensils along with the priests (Aaron and his sons) had been anointed with oil. This pictured their consecrated and holy status before the Lord (Ex 30:26–30). In Samuel, first Saul (1Sa 10:1), and then David (1Sa 16:13; 2Sa 2:4; 5:3) were anointed as they were inaugurated for the kingship. From this point in the OT, it is usually the king who is referred as “the anointed (of the Lord)” (1Sa 12:3; 24:6; 26:9, 11, 16; 2Sa 1:14, 16; 19:21). The kings of Israel, particularly David, foreshadowed the Lord’s ultimate anointed king. The English word “Messiah” represents the Hebrew word used here meaning “anointed.” Thus, this ultimate King who would rule over the nations of the earth, came to be referred to as “the Messiah,” as here and 1Sa 2:35; cf. 2Sa 22:51.
J Robert Vannoy adds that "In 1 Sa 2:9–10 Hannah looks forward with prophetic insight to a time when God will cause justice to triumph in all the earth. This will be accomplished by a messianic (anointed) king. As such its reference is ultimately to Christ at his second advent, but at the same time it reflects Hannah’s anticipation of the realization of the promise of kingship for the nation of Israel (cf. Nu 23:21; Dt 17:14–15). (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary)
Henry Morris on ends of the earth, et al - This prayer of Hannah's is a remarkable prophecy, looking forward to the final triumph of the Creator over all His adversaries. It is the first such prophecy in the Bible, revealing the future explosive return of the Lord from heaven to judge all nations and to enthrone His anointed king over the whole world. Hannah was surely praying under divine inspiration, and her prayer is similar in spirit to that of the virgin Mary over a thousand years later (Luke 1:46-55). The miraculous birth of Samuel thus becomes a type of the virgin birth of Christ.
his king. Hannah's prayer refers to "His king" long before the people of Israel began requesting a king. The reference must be a prophetic forecast of the divine king that would some day rule all nations under God (Psalm 2:6-9).
his anointed. "His anointed" means "His Messiah." This is the first explicit reference in Scripture to the coming Messiah (Hebrew equivalent of the Greek "Christ," both meaning literally "the anointed one"). Hannah's inspired prophecy anticipates the later Messianic prophecies in much detail (Psalm 2, Psalm 72, Psalm 110, Isaiah 11). Hannah's son, the prophet Samuel, as the last of the judges (1 Samuel 7:15), was also the one chosen by God to anoint King David, the most complete type of the ultimate anointed one. (Defender's Study Bible)
Ronald Youndblood - מָשִׁיחַ (māšîaḥ, “anointed”; GK 5431) underlies our word “Messiah” and reminds us that great David’s greater Son, Jesus the Christ—Greek Christos (“anointed”)—would some day culminate David’s royal line (cf. this typological, eschatological use of “anointed” here as well as in v. 35; 2 Sa 22:51; 2 Ch 6:42; Pss 2:2; 89:38, 51; 132:10, 17). (Expositor's Bible Commentary, Revised Edition, 2009)
Adam Clarke quotes from the Targum which "says, וירבי מלכות משיציה viribbey malcuth Meshicheyh, "he shall multiply the kingdom of the Messiah."
Moody Bible Commentary - His anointed (Messiah; Hb. meshiach) is mentioned in the Bible in connection with the king. Hannah’s words point prophetically not merely to the Davidic dynasty, but to David’s greatest son, the Lord Jesus the Messiah. She likely knew the prophecies of Ge 49:10 or Nu 24:17, both of which prophesy the coming of the messianic King in Israel. Moreover, the coming of this King is central to the message of the books of Samuel (2Sm 7:12–16). This same expectation of the Messiah continued to thrive in the exilic and postexilic periods (Da 7:13–14; 9:24–27; Hag 2:20–23; Zech 6:11–15; 9:9; 12:10; Mal 4:4–5). The poem ends with a reference to the horn and begins with a reference to “My horn” (v. 1). With her song ended, Hannah went home with Elkanah (1 Sa 2:11).
1 Samuel 2:35 'But I will raise up for Myself a faithful priest who will do according to what is in My heart and in My soul; and I will build him an enduring house, and he will walk before My Anointed (reference to the Messiah) always.
1 Samuel 12:3 "Here I am; bear witness against me before the LORD and His anointed. Whose ox have I taken, or whose donkey have I taken, or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed, or from whose hand have I taken a bribe to blind my eyes with it? I will restore it to you."
5 He said to them, "The LORD is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day that you have found nothing in my hand." And they said, "He is witness."
1 Samuel 16:6 When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, "Surely the LORD'S anointed is before Him."
1 Samuel 24:6 So he said to his men, "Far be it from me because of the LORD that I should do this thing to my lord, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch out my hand against him, since he is the LORD'S anointed."
10 "Behold, this day your eyes have seen that the LORD had given you today into my hand in the cave, and some said to kill you, but my eye had pity on you; and I said, 'I will not stretch out my hand against my lord, for he is the LORD'S anointed (referring in context to Saul).'
1 Samuel 26:9 But David said to Abishai, "Do not destroy him, for who can stretch out his hand against the LORD'S anointed and be without guilt?"
11 "The LORD forbid that I should stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed; but now please take the spear that is at his head and the jug of water, and let us go."
16 "This thing that you have done is not good. As the LORD lives, all of you must surely die, because you did not guard your lord, the LORD'S anointed. And now, see where the king's spear is and the jug of water that was at his head."
23 "The LORD will repay each man for his righteousness and his faithfulness; for the LORD delivered you into my hand today, but I refused to stretch out my hand against the LORD'S anointed.
2 Samuel 1:14 Then David said to him, "How is it you were not afraid to stretch out your hand to destroy the LORD'S anointed?"
16 David said to him, "Your blood is on your head, for your mouth has testified against you, saying, 'I have killed the LORD'S anointed.'"
21 "O mountains of Gilboa, Let not dew or rain be on you, nor fields of offerings; For there the shield of the mighty was defiled, The shield of Saul, not anointed with oil.
2 Samuel 19:21 But Abishai the son of Zeruiah said, "Should not Shimei be put to death for this, because he cursed the LORD'S anointed?"
2 Samuel 22:51 "He is a tower of deliverance to His king, And shows lovingkindness to His anointed, To David and his descendants forever."
2 Samuel 23:1 Now these are the last words of David. David the son of Jesse declares, The man who was raised on high declares, The anointed of the God of Jacob, And the sweet psalmist of Israel,
1 Chronicles 16:22 "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm."
2 Chronicles 6:42 "O LORD God, do not turn away the face of Your anointed; remember Your lovingkindness to Your servant David." (
Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth take their stand And the rulers take counsel together Against the LORD and against His Anointed, ("against the LORD and His Christ") saying,
Tony Garland - Rabbinic views of this Anointed One (1) Babylonian Talmud identifies Him as Messiah (not David, but the son of David). (2) Early Jewish biblical commentaries on Psalm 2 understand the Anointed One to be the future Messiah, the son of David. Acts 4:25 – interprets “His Anointed” as Jesus – the offspring of David in Whom the passage finds ultimate fulfillment. The significance of the anointing = (a) The ceremonial induction of a person into a leadership position involved the pouring of oil upon the person as they were set apart for God's service, usually with a special enabling of God's Spirit. Applied to: (b) Kings such as Saul and David (1Sa 16:13). (c) David—in anticipation of the role of his Son, the Anointed One—was anointed twice (1Sa 16:13; 2Sa 5:3). (d) Priests (Ex. 30:30). (e) Prophets (1K. 19:16; Isa. 61:1). (f) Jesus the Messiah, the Christ, combines all these roles as Prophet-Priest-King. Like David, Jesus anointed with oil twice. Oil is representative of the Holy Spirit (1) Isa 61:1 - The spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD has anointed (verb form) me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (2) Isa. 11:1-2 - And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; (3) The ceremonial induction of Jesus for service occurred at His baptism by John when the Holy Spirit descended upon Him in the form of a dove. This marked the beginning of His ministry where he was anointed by the Holy Spirit. (See Tony Garland's exposition - "Why Do the Nation's Rage?)
Psalm 18:50 He gives great deliverance to His king, And shows lovingkindness to His anointed (Messiah), To David and his descendants forever.
Spurgeon - This is the winding up verse into which the writer throws a fulness of expression, indicating the most rapturous delight of gratitude. Great deliverance. The word "deliverance" is plural, to show the variety and completeness of the salvation; the adjective "great" is well placed if we consider from what, to what, and how we are saved. All this mercy is given to us in our King, the Lord's Anointed, and those are blessed indeed who as His seed may expect mercy to be built up for evermore. The Lord was faithful to the literal David, and He will not break His covenant with the spiritual David, for that would far more involve the honor of His crown and character. The Psalm concludes in the same loving spirit which shone upon its commencement; happy are they who can sing on from love to love, even as the pilgrims marched from strength to strength. (Treasury of David—Psalm 18)
Psalm 20:6 Now I know that the LORD saves His anointed; He will answer him from His holy heaven With the saving strength of His right hand.
Spurgeon - We live and learn, and what we learn we are not ashamed to acknowledge. He who thinks he knows everything will miss the joy of finding out new truth; he will never be able to cry, "now know I," for he is so wise in his own conceit that he knows all that can be revealed and more. Souls conscious of ignorance shall be taught of the Lord, and rejoice as they learn. Earnest prayer frequently leads to assured confidence. The church pleaded that the Lord Jesus might win the victory in his great struggle, and now by faith she sees him saved by the omnipotent arm. She evidently finds a sweet relish in the fragrant title of "anointed;" she thinks of him as ordained before all worlds to his great work, and then endowed with the needful qualifications by being anointed of the Spirit of the Lord; and this is evermore the choicest solace of the believer, that Jehovah himself hath anointed Jesus to be a Prince and a Saviour, and that our shield is thus the Lord's own anointed. (Treasury of David—Psalm 20)
Psalm 28:8 The LORD is their strength, And He is a saving defense to His anointed.
Spurgeon - Here behold king David as the type of our Lord Jesus, our covenant Head, our anointed Prince, through whom all blessings come to us. He has achieved full salvation for us, and we desire saving strength from Him, and as we share in the unction which is so largely shed upon Him, we expect to partake of His salvation. Glory be unto the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has magnified the power of His grace in His only begotten Son, Whom He has anointed to be a Prince and a Saviour unto His people. (Treasury of David—Psalm 28)
Psalm 84:9 Behold our shield, O God, And look upon the face of Your anointed.
Spurgeon - Here we have the nation's prayer for David; and the believer's prayer for the Son of David. Let but the Lord look upon our Lord Jesus, and we shall be shielded from all harm; let Him behold the face of His Anointed, and we shall be able to behold His face with joy. We also are anointed by the Lord's grace, and our desire is that He will look upon us with an eye of love in Christ Jesus. Our best prayers when we are in the best place are for our glorious King, and for the enjoyment of His Father's smile. (Treasury of David—Psalm 84)
Psalm 89:38 But You have cast off and rejected, You have been full of wrath against Your anointed.
Psalm 89:51 With which Your enemies have reproached, O LORD, With which they have reproached the footsteps of Your anointed.
Spurgeon - Tracking him and finding occasion to blaspheme at every turn; not only watching his words and actions, but even his harmless steps. Neither Christ nor his church can please the world, whichever way we turn scoffers will rail. Does this verse refer to the oft repeated sarcasm—"Where is the promise of his coming?" Is the reproach aimed at the delays of the Messiah, those long expected footfalls which as yet are unheard? O Lord, how long shall this threadbare taunt continue? How long? How long? (Treasury of David—Psalm 89)
Come, for creation groans
Impatient of thy stay,
Worn out with these long years of ill,
These ages of delay.
Come, in thy glorious might,
Come with the iron rod,
Scattering thy foes before thy face,
Most Mighty Son of God.
Psalm 105:15 "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm." (Treasury of David—Psalm 105)
Psalm 132:10 For the sake of David Your servant, Do not turn away the face of Your anointed.
Psalm 132:17 "There I will cause the horn of David to spring forth; I have prepared a lamp for Mine anointed.
Spurgeon - David's name was to be illustrious, and brilliant as a lamp; it was to continue shining like a lamp in the sanctuary; it was thus to be a comfort to the people, and an enlightenment to the nations. God would not suffer the light of David to go out by the extinction of his race: his holy ordinances had decreed that the house of his servant should remain in the midst of Israel. What a lamp is our Lord Jesus! A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel. As the anointed—the true Christ, he shall be the light of heaven itself. Oh for grace to receive our illumination and our consolation from Jesus Christ alone. (Treasury of David—Psalm 132)
Isaiah 45:1 Thus says the LORD to Cyrus His anointed, Whom I have taken by the right hand, To subdue nations before him And to loose the loins of kings; To open doors before him so that gates will not be shut:
Comment - Cyrus the Persian was a non-Israelite regarded as God’s anointed which here reflects not necessarily his goodness (he was a pagan worshiper), but God’s appointing or choosing an individual for a task.
Lamentations 4:20 The breath of our nostrils, the LORD'S anointed (Judah's King Zedekiah), Was captured in their pits, Of whom we had said, "Under his shadow We shall live among the nations."
Daniel 9:25-note "So you are to know and discern (THE JEWS SHOULD HAVE AND COULD HAVE RECOGNIZED "THE TIME OF THE VISITATION" OF THEIR MESSIAH FROM THIS "DIVINE TIMELINE" - See Messiah's sad commentary in Lk 19:44!) that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (7 + 62 = 69 - That leaves one "week" of 7 years [of the 70 weeks or 70 "sevens" - Da 9:24-note] unaccounted for!); it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.
Daniel 9:26-note "Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off (CRUCIFIXION) and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. And its end will come with a flood; even to the end there will be war; desolations are determined (THEN FOLLOWS Daniel 9:27-note = Daniel's Seventieth Week).
Habakkuk 3:13 You went forth for the salvation of Your people, For the salvation of Your anointed. You struck the head of the house of the evil To lay him open from thigh to neck. Selah.
Into the Tent of Meeting - He actually entered the Holy Place, the room that precedes the Holy of Holies which contained the Ark of the Covenant.
- dip: Lev 4:17,25,30,34, 8:15, 9:9, 16:14,19 Nu 19:4
- seven times: The number seven is what is called a number of perfection among the Hebrews; and is often used to denote the completion, fulness, or perfection of a thing. Lev 14:16,18,27, 25:8, 26:18,24,28 Josh 6:4,8
Blood with his finger - Ex 29:12, Lev 4:6, 17, 25, 30, 34, 8:15, 9:9, 16:14, 19, Nu 19:4
NET Note on sprinkle - The Hebrew verb וְהִזָּה (véhizzah, Hiphil of נָזָה, nazah) does indeed mean “sprinkle” or “splatter.” Contrast the different Hebrew verb meaning “splash” in Lev 1:5 (זָרָק, zaraq).
Seven times - Speaks of completeness or perfection and in context speaks of God's forgiveness, which David says is "as far as the east is from the west" (Ps 103:12 - while North and South have endpoints, there is no such endpoint for east or west!)
Seven in Leviticus (cp Ge 7:4) - Lev 4:6, 17; 8:11, 33, 35; 12:2; 13:4-5, 21, 26, 31, 33, 50, 54; 14:7-8, 16, 27, 38, 51; 15:13, 19, 24, 28; 16:14, 19; 22:27; 23:6, 8, 15, 18, 34, 36, 39-41; 25:8; 26:18, 21, 24, 28
Veil - occurs 7x in 7v in Leviticus - Lev 4:6, 17, 16:2, 12, 15, 21:23, 24:3
The veil depicted God's separation from man because of sin. When Jesus died on the Cross, His flesh having been torn by flogging, by the piercing of His hands and feet (Ps 22:16) and finally by the piercing of His side (Jn 19:34), the Veil in Herod's Temple was torn from top to bottom (if it had been natural, one would expect it to tear from bottom to top) was rent opening up the way into the Holy of holies (Mt 27:50,51 Mk15:38 Lk 23:45). And so the writer of Hebrews exhorted the Jewish readers
Since therefore, brethren, we have confidence to enter the holy place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way (Jn 10:7, 9,14:6) which He inaugurated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh, and since we have a Great Priest over the House of God, let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. (Heb 10:19-21-note; Heb 10:22-note)
Veil (06532)(paroket) means curtain and refers to Veil of the Temple (See diagram of Sanctuary) which separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies, which was the very dwelling place of God (Ex 25:8), over which the Shekinah glory cloud was manifest.
NET Note on Veil - The Hebrew term פָּרֹכֶת (paroket) is usually translated “veil” (e.g., ASV, NAB, NASB) or “curtain” (e.g., NIV, NRSV), but it seems to have stretched not only in front of but also over the top of the ark of the covenant which stood behind and under it inside the most holy place.
The Septuagint (Lxx)uses the term veil (Mt 27:51), meaning something that one stretches, a covering. The verbal form means to spread over, to cover with fabric.
Paroket - 23v - Ex 26:31, 33, 35; 27:21; 30:6; 35:12; 36:35; 38:27; 39:34; 40:3, 21-22, 26; Lev 4:6, 17; 16:2, 12, 15; 21:23; 24:3; Num 4:5; 18:7; 2 Chr 3:14
The veil of the sanctuary - What was the significance of the temple veil being torn in two when Jesus died? Answer: During the lifetime of Jesus, the holy temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish religious life. The temple was the place where animal sacrifices were carried out and worship according to the Law of Moses was followed faithfully. Hebrews 9:1-9 tells us that in the temple a veil separated the Holy of Holies—the earthly dwelling place of God’s presence—from the rest of the temple where men dwelt. This signified that man was separated from God by sin (Isaiah 59:1-2). Only the high priest was permitted to pass beyond this veil once each year (Exodus 30:10; Hebrews 9:7) to enter into God's presence for all of Israel and make atonement for their sins (Leviticus 16). Solomon's temple was 30 cubits high (1 Kings 6:2), but Herod had increased the height to 40 cubits, according to the writings of Josephus, a first century Jewish historian. There is uncertainty as to the exact measurement of a cubit, but it is safe to assume that this veil was somewhere near 60 feet high. Josephus also tells us that the veil was four inches thick and that horses tied to each side could not pull the veil apart. The book of Exodus teaches that this thick veil was fashioned from blue, purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen. So, what do we make of this? What significance does this torn veil have for us today? Above all, the tearing of the veil at the moment of Jesus' death dramatically symbolized that His sacrifice, the shedding of His own blood, was a sufficient atonement for sins. It signified that now the way into the Holy of Holies was open for all people, for all time, both Jew and Gentile. When Jesus died, the veil was torn, and God moved out of that place never again to dwell in a temple made with hands (Acts 17:24). God was through with that temple and its religious system, and the temple and Jerusalem were left “desolate” (destroyed by the Romans) in A.D. 70, just as Jesus prophesied in Luke 13:35. As long as the temple stood, it signified the continuation of the Old Covenant. Hebrews 9:8-9 refers to the age that was passing away as the new covenant was being established (Hebrews 8:13). In a sense, the veil was symbolic of Christ Himself as the only way to the Father (John 14:6). This is indicated by the fact that the high priest had to enter the Holy of Holies through the veil. Now Christ is our superior High Priest, and as believers in His finished work, we partake of His better priesthood. We can now enter the Holy of Holies through Him. Hebrews 10:19-20 says that the faithful enter into the sanctuary by the “blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which he opened for us through the veil, that is, through his flesh.” Here we see the image of Jesus’ flesh being torn for us just as He was tearing the veil for us. (Read Full Article at GotQuestions)
Leviticus 4:7 'The priest shall also put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of fragrant incense which is before the LORD in the tent of meeting; and all the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
- horns: Lev 8:15 9:9 16:18 Ex 30:1-10 Ps 118:27 Heb 9:21-15
- all the blood: Lev 4:18,34 5:9 8:15 Eph 2:13
Constable comment on the application of blood on the horns of the altar - Smearing blood on the horns of the altar symbolized purifying the whole sanctuary. The horns represented the powerful divine force of the entire altar. (Leviticus)
Altar of fragrant incense (See diagram of Sanctuary) (Ex 31:1-10) (Same as "horns of the altar which is before the LORD" - Lev 4:18) - This altar stood in the Holy Place, directly in front of the Veil that separated the inner Holy of Holies. The incense for that altar was prepared from a special mixture of spices (Ex. 30:34-38). There was to "be perpetual incense before Yahweh" symbolizing a continual sweet aroma of prayer before the LORD. Have you ever thought of your prayers as a pleasing aroma like incense to the LORD? I think if we really understood this picture, we might be much more inclined to obey Paul's command (as enabled by the Spirit) to pray without ceasing (1Th 5:17-note)
Merrill - The altar of incense (Ex 30:110) was located inside the actual tabernacle, in the Holy Place, just in front of the curtain that separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies. It was much smaller than the altar of burnt offering, which was just inside the main entrance to the courtyard (Exod. 27:1-8). The horns of both mentioned altars were vertical projections at the top corners of the altar (Exod. 27:2; 30:2). In 1 Kings 1:50-51 and 2:28 the horns of the altar (probably the bronze altar since neither Adonijah nor Joab would have the right to enter into the Holy Place of the tabernacle) were held on to by a supplicant as a means of seeking asylum (see Exod. 21:13-14). Since physical horns of animals represented physical power and might, the horns of the altar of fragrant incense represented the presence and power of this Almighty God (but not the person of God himself since this would then make it an idol). It is especially on these horns of the incense altar that the blood was to be applied when either the priest (Lev. 4:7) or the entire nation (Lev. 4:18) had sinned. It was done so that the nation could again offer incense to their God. For other individuals the blood was applied to the horns of the bronze altar (Lev. 4:25, 30, 34) since this was on a personal basis and did not affect the ability of the nation to offer worship to God as did the sin of the anointed priest or nation. (The Bible Knowledge Word Study - Gen-Deut)
Before the LORD - "at Jehovah's face" - His omniscient eye was ever watching (cp Pr 15:3, 2Chr 16:9)
Guzik - The blood of this bull was applied to the veil in the tabernacle of meeting, to the altar of incense, and to the altar of sacrifice outside the tabernacle. Sin is an offense against the holiness of God, and so the veil guarding His holy presence must receive sacrificial blood.. Sin affects our prayer life, and so the altar of incense (Lev 4:7) representing the prayers of God’s people must receive sacrificial blood. Sin makes our atonement necessary, so the altar of the burnt offering (Lev 4:7) - the place of atonement - must receive sacrificial blood.
Spurgeon's - Faith's Checkbook - Leviticus 4:7 What Sanctifies Our Offerings? - THE altar of incense is the place where saints present their prayers and praises, and it is delightful to think of it as sprinkled with the blood of the great sacrifice. This it is which makes all our worship acceptable with Jehovah: He sees the blood of his own Son, and therefore accepts our homage. It is well for us to fix our eyes upon the blood of the one offering for sin. Sin mingles even with our holy things; and our best repentance, faith, prayer, and thanksgiving could not be received of God were it not for the merit of the atoning sacrifice. Many sneer at “the blood,” but to us it is the foundation of comfort and hope. That which is on the horns of the altar is meant to be prominently before our eyes when we draw near to God. The blood gives strength to prayer, and hence it is on the altar’s horns. It is “before the Lord,” and therefore it ought to be before us. It is on the altar before we bring the incense; it is there to sanctify our offerings and gifts. Come, let us pray with confidence, since the Victim is offered, the merit has been pleaded, the blood is within the veil, and the prayers of believers must be sweet unto the Lord.
- Lev 4:19,26,31,35 3:3-5,9-11,14-16 7:3-5 16:25 Isa 53:10 John 12:27
Guzik - The fatty portions of the animal were offered to God. In this, the best was once again dedicated to God after the blood covered the sin.
Rooker on sin offering - Sin offerings of a male goat were required at each of the sacred festivals: New Moon (Num 28:15), each day of Passover (Num 28:22–24), Pentecost (Num 28:30), Rosh Hashanah (Num 29:5), the Day of Atonement (Num 29:11), and Tabernacles (Num 29:16, 19). (Ibid)
- peace offerings: Lev 23:19 Ps 32:1 1Ti 2:5,6
Ps 32:1 A Psalm of David. A Maskil. How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered!
1Tim 2:5 For there is one God, [and] one mediator also between God and men, [the] man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony [borne] at the proper time.
Henry Law - THE SIN OFFERING - This is not all. No effort is untried to deepen peace. Hence we see more than the sin offering's death. Other rites follow. Let them be marked. The costliest parts are piled upon the burning altar. Lev. 4:10. The angry fire receives them, as its prey. It burns—it blazes, until all disappears. Thus wrathful fury seized the soul of Jesus. All torments dealt most fiercely with Him. He suffered, until eternal vengeance asked no more. Reader, if you are one with Christ, hell-pains are past for you. If you are not, they still remain. Alas! how shall you bear them! (The Gospel in Leviticus)
- Lev 4:21 6:30 8:14-17 9:8-11 16:27 Ex 29:14 Nu 19:5 Ps 103:12 Heb 13:11-13
Guzik - The valuable hide and the meat of the bull were burnt outside the camp, along with the worthless portions of the bull. It could not be offered to God, but it was burned as if it were a worthless thing. All selfish motives had to be removed in the sin offering. If a priest brought the offering, the whole offering had to be destroyed. If a non-priest brought the offering, the priest could eat of it, but not the one bringing the sacrifice. You couldn’t bring a sin offering because you wanted meat or leather, but only because you wanted to get right with God. This emphasized the idea that there is no benefit to our sin. Paul expressed this attitude of heart in Philippians 3:7-8-note.
Wiersbe on hide...flesh...outside the camp - Why? For one thing, it made a distinction between the sin offering and the burnt offering so that the worshipers wouldn’t be confused as they watched. But even more, it reminded the people that the sins of the high priest and the whole congregation would pollute the whole camp; and the sin offering was too holy to remain in an unholy camp. Finally, according to Hebrews 13:10–13-note, this was a picture of our Lord Jesus Christ who died “outside the city gate … outside the camp” as our sin offering (Heb 13:12-13NIV-note). (Be Holy)
Merrill - The term "flesh" [Heb = basar - 01320] is quite common in Hebrew and is used 61x in Leviticus alone. It has a wide range of meanings such as skin, flesh, meat, body, humankind, and animals (R. Chisholm, NIDOTTE, 1:777). In Leviticus it can be used of both human (e.g., Lev. 13:2) and animal flesh (e.g., Lev. 4:11) but is also used in a more universal sense to refer to all humankind in Lev. 17:14 (3x). In Lev. 15:2 a "bodily discharge" is spoken of using the term for body. After Lev 15:3 it is clear that the discharges spoken of here were coming from the male sexual organs. The term is used as a euphemism for the male genital organ in Ge 17:11, 13, 14, 23, 24, 25 as well as in Ex 28:42. It is used again in Lev. 15:19 to refer to the woman's vagina but it is also used in Lev 15:7 to refer to any part of the man's body. Lev. 18:6 speaks of a close relative using two synonyms basar and seer (07607), could be literally translated "flesh of his flesh," and may reflect a use of Gen. 2:23 ("flesh of my flesh") although in Genesis the word seer is not used but a double use of the word basar. There Adam, speaking of the newly created woman that had been formed from his own rib, declares she is "bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh." The Hebrew people were not to seek a marriage partner from non-believing, non-Israelites (Dt. 7:3). Rather, they were to marry within the nation and, in some cases because of property considerations, even within the tribe (Nu 36:1-13). But this section defines who, even within the tribe, is too near a relative to be a permissible marriage partner. The NT also recognizes that near relatives are not permitted to marry or even to have sexual intercourse (see 1Cor. 5:1). (Ibid)
Leviticus 4:12 that is, all the rest of the bull, he is to bring out to a clean place outside the camp where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire; where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.
- Lev 13:46 Nu 5:3 15:35 19:3
- ashes: Lev 6:10,11
- burn: Ex 29:14 Nu 19:5 Heb 13:11
Wenham on sin offering in OT and NT - For the NT writers it is the blood of Christ which cleanses from the defilement of sin. Peter defines Christians as those who are "chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood" (1Pet. 1:2-note). For John, fellowship with God and with other Christians is through the blood of Jesus his Son cleansing us from all sin (1John 1:7-note). The saints in heaven "have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" (Rev 7:14-note). Thus the cleansing from sin that was secured under the old covenant through the purification offering is effected under the new covenant by the death of Christ. Whereas in the Levitical laws it was the place of worship that was purified, under the new dispensation it is the worshipper himself. (NICOT)
TSK on outside the camp - This was intended, figuratively, to express the enormity of this sin, and the availableness of the atonement. The sacrifice, as having the sin of the priest transferred from himself to it, by his confession and imposition of hands, became unclean and abominable, and was carried, as it were, out of God's sight; and thus its own offensiveness was removed, with the sin of the person in whose behalf it was offered.
Outside the camp - several of the following notes discuss this topic (this exact phrase 28x in 27v in NAS) - Ex 29:14; 33:7; Lev 4:12, 21-note; Lev 6:11-note.; Lev 8:17-note.; Lev 9:11; Lev 13:46-note.; Lev 16:27-note (good note by Richard Phillips).; Lev 17:3-note.; Lev 24:14, 23-note.; Nu 5:3-4; 12:14-15; 15:35-36; 19:3, 9; 31:13, 19; Dt 23:10, 12; Josh 6:23; Heb 13:11-note Heb 13:13-note. and "outside the gate" in Heb 13:12-note.
Criswell - The remainder of the bull (excluding the fatty portions, which were burned on the altar of burnt offering, Lev 4:8-10, 19, 20) was taken outside the camp and burned (cf. Lev 4:21; 8:17; 9:11). The deeper significance of this is found in Heb. 13:10-13-note. The burning of the sin offering outside the camp typified the death of Christ outside the gates of Jerusalem (cf. Jn 19:17-20 - see note below).
Holman Bible Dictionary on the location of Golgotha (Calvary) - Archeologists are uncertain where Calvary was located. John 19:20 and Hebrews 13:12-note say that Jesus was taken outside the city to be crucified. Mark 15:29 suggests that a road may have been nearby. Two sites are held today as Calvary. The older, more traditional Church of the Holy Sepulchre is a complex of religious shrines venerated as the place of Christ's cross and tomb. In the 4th century A.D., Queen Helena, mother of Constantine, had the site revealed to her in a vision. A pagan temple on the site was razed and a shrine built in its place. Several destructions and rebuildings have taken place over the centuries. Since 1842, a rocky hill outside the Damascus Gate has vied for veneration as Calvary. Discovered by Otto Thenius, the site gained fame when Charles Gordon wrote in 1885 that this was indeed Calvary. A garden tomb nearby, discovered in 1849, had drawn little attention until Gordon made his assertion. Executions during the first century were conducted outside the city walls. This might tend to make Gordon's Calvary the logical site. However, at the time of Jesus' crucifixion the outer wall of Jerusalem was much closer to the center of the city. This would make the traditional site more plausible.
Clean (02889)(tahor) means pure, clean, purified, genuine, unalloyed (God's Word in Ps 12:6). "It is applied concretely to substances that are genuine or unadulterated as well as describing an unstained condition of a spiritual or ceremonial nature....Clean most frequently describes the purity maintained by avoiding contact with other human beings, abstaining from eating animals, and using things that are declared ceremonially clean. Conversely, cleansing results if ritual procedures symbolizing the removal of contamination are observed." (Vine) The first use of tahor is to describe the "clean" (ceremonially, ritually clean) animals Noah was to take on the Ark (Ge 7:2) and use for burnt offerings (Ge 8:20). Most of the 20 uses of tahor in Leviticus refer to clean versus unclean (especially offerings), speaking of "ceremonial" cleanness (eg, a "clean place" in Lev 4:12, clean animal Lev 20:25, etc). When persons were clean, they could eat clean meat, but an unclean person could not (Lev. 7:19). The 7 uses in Numbers all refer to a (ceremonially) "clean" person (eg, Nu 5:28, etc) and contact with a human corpse was especially defiling so that contact with it made a person unclean for seven days (Nu 19:11).
Merrill - A place ceremonially clean (maqom)-The phrase maqom tahor is a combination of two Hebrew words, the former word is dealt with (above). It is sufficient here to understand that the sin offering was not to be placed on the altar nor was it to be burned just anywhere. Rather there was a designated physical location where it must be done. For sin offerings that were offered on behalf of the anointed priest or the entire nation (Lev. 4:3-21) the fat was removed and burned but the rest of the animal was taken outside the camp and burned at a ceremonially clean place. This place was where the ashes from the sacrifices were also taken (see below). The animal was not offered on the altar because it was being used to remove the defilement that had occurred because of the unintentional sin of the anointed priest (Lev. 4:2). Heb. 13:11-12 speaks specifically of the blood of the sin offering being carried into the Most Holy Place but with the bodies burned outside the camp. Since Hebrews speaks of the blood being carried into the Most Holy Place this could refer to the blood being sprinkled in front of the curtain and placed on the horns of the incense altar as would occur on behalf of the nation on the Day of Atonement (Lev. 16:27). The death of the animal would have occurred within the tabernacle courtyard whereas for Christ his death was outside Jerusalem's walls. This represented the removal of sin, as the removal of the bodies of sacrificial animals had done here in Leviticus. The idea of there being a designated physical location for specific events or placement of specific objects is common in Lev. God has the authority and desire to have his tabernacle represent that which is done according to a pattern. Nothing is haphazard or left to chance with this God who is concerned to teach his people holiness, respect, and obedience. (Ibid)
Henry Law - THE SIN OFFERING - Again, this is not all. The curse is linked to sin. A perfect sin offering, then, must be abhorred, as an accursed thing. Abomination must pursue it. Turn now to the type. The remnant of the victim, vile and contemned, is borne outside the camp. Lev. 4:12. It is spurned, as hateful to the sight and touch. A pile of wood is raised. Again the fire is brought, and burning work does its part. Here is clear emblem of Christ made curse for us. The garden misery showed anger wrestling with His soul. But further anguish presses in the rear. He is led out beyond the gate. The city loathes Him, as earth's refuse. He hangs conspicuously a curse for sin. Here the last vengeance falls. Blessed are they, whose curse descends on the Savior's cross. Reader, in pity to your soul, flee to the Sin offering. Make Christ by faith your own. When fears affright—when Satan claims—when death draws near—when the great judgment throne is set—place Him—your shield—before God's wrath. They cannot fail, who thus make Him their All. (The Gospel in Leviticus)
Leviticus 4:13 'Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty;
- escapes the notice: Lev 4:1,2 5:2-5,17 Nu 15:24-29 Jos 7:11,24-26 1Ti 1:13 Heb 10:26-29
- guilty: Lev 5:2-5,17 6:4 Ezra 10:19 Ho 5:15 1Co 11:27
SIN OFFERING: — THE CONGREGATION AND — UNINTENTIONAL SIN — (Lev 4:13-21)
The whole congregation - The procedure was the same as the sin offering on behalf of a priest, except that the elders of the congregation (Lev 4:15) laid their hands on the head of the bull, representing the nation.
Congregation (05712)('edah from yaad = to appoint, translated "meet" in Ex 25:22) means an assembly, congregation, multitude, swarm. The Lxx translates it with sunagoge (from sunágo - sun = together + ago = lead, thus to lead together or assemble) refers to the act of a group of people “going with one another,” thus congregating in one place. As an aside, Jewish Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the 586 b.c. destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction.
Commits error (07686)(shagah) means to to go (lead) astray (Ezek 34:6), to err, to mislead (Dt 27:18, Pr 28:10), to be deceived (hold a mistaken belief (Pr 5:23; 20:1), to wander, to make a mistake. Shagah can mean to reel or to stagger; to incline or move in walking, first to one side and then to the other (Isa 28:7 of effect of alcohol). Frequently shagah describes a wandering or aimless flock, both figuratively and literally (Ezek. 34:6).
TWOT notes that "The primary emphasis in the root shagah is on sin done inadvertently....The Scripture pinpoints at least three causes for such wandering. The first is wine and strong drink (Isa 28:7; Pr 20:1). The second is the seductive strange woman (Pr 5:20, 23) versus the love of one’s wife, which ought to “captivate” one (Pr 5:19). The third is the inability to reject evil instruction (Pr 19:27). Only Saul in the OT admits culpability at this point (1Sa 26:21).
In Pr 5:19-20 shagah speaks figuratively of "intoxication" from genuine love (Pr 5:19 where shagah = "exhilarated" - enlivened, animated, giving "vigor" to) fleshly driven "love" (Pr 5:20). Here in Lev 4:13 shagah describes the sin of ignorance (unintentional). Swanson adds that in this context, shagah means to "be in rapture, i.e., be in an attitude or emotion of very great pleasure and fondness for an object, possibly as a figurative extension of staggering around in stunned or inebriated (Pr 5:19, 20+), note: NIV translates “be captivated”."
Lxx translates shagah with a variety of verbs (see verses below), but most uses the verb planao which means literally made to wander and so to go (active sense) or be led (passive sense as of sheep in Mt 18:12-13) astray.
Stray (Webster) - To wander, as from a direct course; to deviate or go out of the way. We say, to stray from the path or road. To wander from company, or from the proper limits; as, a sheep strays from the flock. To rove; to wander from the path of duty or rectitude; to err; to deviate.
Shagah - 19v - commits error(1), committed a error(1), erred(2), exhilarated(2), go astray(1), goes astray(1), intoxicated(1), leads the astray(1), misleader(1), misleads(1), reel(3), stray(1), unwittingly(1), wander(3), wandered(1).
Leviticus 4:13 'Now if the whole congregation of Israel commits error (Lxx = agnoeo = to be unaware about one’s wrongdoing, lapse/do wrong/sin unintentionally) and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they commit any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty;
— Numbers 15:22 'But when you unwittingly fail (Lxx = diamartano = to be completely in error, miss the mark badly) and do not observe all these commandments, which the LORD has spoken to Moses,
— Deuteronomy 27:18 'Cursed is he who misleads (Lxx = planao) a blind person on the road.' And all the people shall say, 'Amen.'
— 1 Samuel 26:21 Then Saul said, "I have sinned. Return, my son David, for I will not harm you again because my life was precious in your sight this day. Behold, I have played the fool and have committed a serious error." (Lxx = agnoeo = to be unaware about one’s wrongdoing, lapse/do wrong/sin unintentionally)
— Job 6:24 "Teach me, and I will be silent; And show me how I have erred. (Lxx = planao)
— Job 12:16 "With Him are strength and sound wisdom, The misled and the misleader belong to Him.
— Job 19:4 "Even if I have truly erred (Lxx = planao), My error lodges with me.
— Psalm 119:10 With all my heart I have sought You; Do not let me wander (Lxx - apotheo/apotheomai = to push aside, thrust off from oneself, reject, refuse to listen) from Your commandments. — 21 You rebuke the arrogant, the cursed, Who wander (Lxx - ekklino = morally to deviate from a right path, to turn aside or away) from Your commandments. — 118 You have rejected all those who wander (Lxx - aphistemi - to go away, withdraw, desert) from Your statutes, For their deceitfulness is useless.
— Proverbs 5:19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love. — 20 For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner? — 23 He will die for lack of instruction, And in the greatness of his folly he will go astray (Lxx = apollumi = to destroy oneself!).
— Proverbs 19:27 Cease listening, my son, to discipline, And you will stray from the words of knowledge.
— Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, And whoever is intoxicated (Lxx = summignumi = to continually be mixed together or commingled - of a river, to be mingled with another river, of two armies = to join forces) by it is not wise.
— Proverbs 28:10 He who leads the upright astray (Lxx = planao) in an evil way Will himself fall into his own pit, But the blameless will inherit good.
— Isaiah 28:7 And these also reel (Lxx = planao = be led astray describing a fixed state - perfect tense) with wine and stagger from strong drink: The priest and the prophet reel (Lxx = planao = aorist passive) with strong drink, They are confused by wine, they stagger from strong drink; They reel (Lxx = planao = aorist passive) while having visions, They totter when rendering judgment.
— Ezekiel 34:6 "My flock wandered (Lxx = diaspeiro = have been dispersed, scattered) through all the mountains and on every high hill; My flock was scattered over all the surface of the earth, and there was no one to search or seek for them."'"
— Ezekiel 45:20 "Thus you shall do on the seventh day of the month for everyone who goes astray or is naive; so you shall make atonement for the house.
Guilty (0816)(asam) is a verb which means to be liable for a wrongdoing, implying the one who is liable will suffer or be punished for their guilt (eg, Hos 10:2). Guilt before God is the result of sin and was used of individuals (Lev 5:2–5; Nu 5:6, 7); congregations (Lev 4:13); or nations (Ezek. 25:12; Hos 13:16) In Lev 5:6-7 not only was the person guilty but restitution was to be made plus 20%, which the goal being atonement and forgiveness.
NET Note says that while asam means "are guilty," the verb is sometimes used metonymically with the meaning "to suffer the consequences of guilt," the effect being substituted for the cause.
TWOT - The primary meaning of the word asam seems to center on guilt, but moves from the act which brings guilt to the condition of guilt to the act of punishment. In any particular passage it is often difficult to determine which thrust the word has....It may denote acts of sin, responsibility for sin, punishment, and even the aftermath of punishment. Perhaps, one may hold that the ʾašam connotes the totality of alienation from God, including its consequences.
Septuagint (Lxx) translates asam in most of the uses in Lev 4 (Lev 5:17, 23, Nu 5:6-7, Jdg 21:22; Ps 34:21-22) with the verb plemmeleo which means to make a false note in music, metaphorically to do wrong, to offend, to err in something; to commit sin, to trespass. In Lev 5:4-5 (2Chr 19:10) Lxx = hamartano = to sin. Lxx in Lev 5:19 - plemmelesis = mistake in music and figuratively an offense against.
Webster's definition of guilty - having knowingly committed a crime or offense, or having violated a law by an overt act or by neglect, and by that act or neglect, being liable to punishment; not innocent.
Asam is translated in NAS as acknowledge their guilt(1), bear their guilt(1), became guilty(1), become guilty(3), becomes guilty(4), certainly guilty(1), condemned(2), desolate(1), did wrong(1), found guilty(1), go(1), guilty(9), held guilty(3), hold them guilty(1), incurred grievous guilt(1), suffer(1), unpunished*(1), wronged(1).
Asam - 32v - Lev 4:13, 22, 27; 5:2-5, 17, 19; 6:4; Nu 5:6f; Jdg 21:22; 2Chr 19:10; Ps 5:10; 34:21f; Pr 30:10; Isa 24:6; Jer 2:3; 50:7; Ezek 6:6; 22:4; 25:12; Hos 4:15; 5:15; 10:2; 13:1, 16; Joel 1:18; Hab 1:11; Zech 11:5
Proverbs 30:10 Do not slander a slave to his master, Or he will curse you and you will be found guilty (Heb = asam; Lxx = aphanizo = be destroyed.).
- Lev 4:3
Assembly - While a few (Wenham) assembly from congregation, most commentators regard these as synonymous as both describe a large group or gathering of people. Furthermore, both are translated in the Lxx with the same word sunagoge.
- elders: Ex 24:1,9 Nu 11:16,25 Deut 21:3-9
- lay: Lev 4:4 1:4 16:21
Congregation ('edah) See Note on Lev 4:13
Today in the Word (Moody Bible) on lay their hands on the head of the bull - The hand is an important tool of human communication. Some researchers have estimated that as much as sixty percent of all communication is nonverbal! Consider a few examples related to hands. When a student raises her hand in class, the teacher knows she has a question or comment. When a friend places a hand on your shoulder, you know it is an expression of support or encouragement. When a legal witness puts his hand on the Bible, it indicates his commitment to tell “the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me God.” Joining hands, as for a family prayer, demonstrates unity. When the elders of Israel (or any worshiper) laid their hands on the head of a sacrificial animal, their act signified an identification with the animal, an acceptance of responsibility for sin. This gesture was an essential part of the sin offering, the third Old Testament offering in this month’s study. The sin offering, a compulsory sacrifice, was made for unintentional sin. Also referred to as a purification offering, its purpose was to restore the worshiper to unhindered fellowship with God. On the annual Day of Atonement, a special sin offering was made for all unintentional sins of which people were not already aware, an occasion to wipe the spiritual slate clean (see Ex. 30:10). Acknowledgment and confession of sin was a key aspect of the sin offering (Lev. 5:5-6). It is thus fitting that in this sacrifice the animal was slain by the worshiper himself, rather than by a priest (Lev. 4:29). The overall procedure for the sin offering varied somewhat by person or occasion--today’s reading covers sacrifices for the entire community and for an ordinary Israelite as examples. TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Although Christians today don’t have to make sin offerings, we need to take sin just as seriously! Why? Because our holy God does.
- Lev 4:5-12 Heb 9:12-14
Then - always take note of this expression of time which often marks sequence or succession, that which is next in order of time.
- Lev 4:6,7
Seven times - See note Lev 4:6
Veil (Lev 4:6, 17, 16:2, 12, 15, 21:23, 24:3) - see discussion of paroket
Leviticus 4:18 'He shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the LORD in the tent of meeting; and all the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the tent of meeting.
- Lev 4:7
TSK on blood - The reason for pouring out the blood, which is so constantly and strictly required by the law, was in opposition to an idolatrous custom of the ancient Zabii, who "were accustomed to eat of the blood of their sacrifices, because they imagined this to be the food of their gods, with whom they thought they had such communion, by eating their meat, that they revealed to them future things."--Maimonides
Horns of the altar (See diagram of Sanctuary) (Ex 31:1-10) (Same as "altar of fragrant incense which is before the LORD" - Lev 4:7) - This altar stood in the Holy Place, directly in front of the Veil that separated the inner Holy of Holies. Its need for application of blood symbolized that sin contaminated not just God's holy people but God's holy sanctuary!
Before the LORD (61x in 59v in Leviticus out of 259 total uses in OT) -
Lev 1:3, 5, 11; 3:1, 7, 12; 4:4, 6f, 15, 17f, 24; 5:19; 6:7, 14, 25; 7:30; 8:26f, 29; 9:2, 4f, 21, 24; 10:1f, 15, 17, 19; 12:7; 14:11f, 16, 18, 23f, 27, 29, 31; 15:14f, 30; 16:7, 10, 12f, 18, 30; 19:22; 23:11, 20, 28, 40; 24:3f, 6, 8;
- Lev 4:8-10,26,31,35 5:6 6:7 12:8 14:18 Nu 15:25 Ps 22:14 Heb 1:3 Heb 9:14
- atonement: Lev 4:26 1:4 5:6 6:7 12:8 14:18 Ex 32:30 Nu 15:25 Da 9:24 Ro 5:11 Ga 3:13 Heb 1:3 2:17 9:14 10:10-12 1Jn 1:7 2:2 Rev 1:5
He shall also do with the bull just as he did - The sin offerings for both the high priest and the congregation had three components (7x sprinkling of the blood, blood on the horns of the incense altar, taking remains of bull outside the camp) which speak to the severity of the sin against God.
Make atonement (03722)(kapar) means to make atonement, to make reconciliation (to reconcile), to purge, to make propitiation (to propitiate), to pacify, to cancel. There are two main ideas regarding the meaning of kapar - (1) Kapar means to cover over sin (2) A number of resources however favor the idea that kapar means to wipe away. Richards notes that "It is often said that the idea expressed (in kapar) is one found in a possibly related Arabic root that means “to cover or conceal.” Atonement would then denote a covering that conceals a person’s sin and makes it possible for him to approach God. Although this relationship is possible, the language link is not at all certain. What is certain is the role that atonement played in the religion of Israel—a role given to atonement by God to carry a vital message about our faith."
The Septuagint-Lxx translates every use of kapar in Leviticus with the verb exilaskomai which means to propitiate, to make atonement, to appease. Thayer says that exilaskomai is used "When one endeavors to attain the goodwill of another, the word can be rendered," meaning to appease. We find such a sense in Ge 32:20 where Jacob seeks to appease his brother Esau (whom he had cheated out of the blessing of the first-born).
Will be forgiven - Don't miss the central word in forgiven - GIVE! Beloved, forgiveness is not earned or merited but given by God as a manifestation of His great grace and mercy through Christ.
Forgiveness in Leviticus (10x in 10v) - Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, 5:10, 13, 16, 18, 6:7, 19:22
As Wiersbe says "though the sacrifice of animals can’t take away sin or change the human heart, the sacrifices pointed to the perfect Sacrifice, Jesus Christ (Heb 10:1-15-note). He is our sin offering (Isa. 53:4–6, 12; Mt. 26:28; 2Cor. 5:21-note; 1Peter 2:24-note)." (Be Holy)
Forgiven (05545)(salach) means to forgive or pardon (Study all the uses below and the Septuagint words used to translate it for a better sense of the meaning of this great Hebrew word) Notice how the Spirit takes salach from it's many uses under the Old Covenant and shows its use under the New Covenant (Jer 31:34, cp Jer 31:31-33). The subject of salach is always God.
Note that forgiveness under the OT sacrificial system had one major problem -- it could provide only temporary forgiveness because it was based on the blood of animals and Heb 10:4-note says " it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away (aphaireo) sins." And this explains why year after year the high priest would carry out the ritual of the Day of Atonement for sins of the people (Lev 16:1-34, 15-16) And when the high priest died, another priest would take his place and repeat the prescribed ritual. These rituals were like a giant "finger" pointing to Jesus, the Lamb of God, unblemished and spotless (Read the contrast between the OT priests and the eternal priesthood of Jesus - Heb 7:23-26-note). The OT sacrificial system was a divinely given "shadow" of the One to come or as Paul said these were "things which are a [mere] shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ." (Col 2:17-note) The writer of Hebrews adds "By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. (Heb 10:10-14-note)
Rooker on salach - This is the unique term for forgiveness in the Old Testament, and it has only God as its subject. Many relate the non-theological, concrete meaning of the root to the Akkadian cognate, which has the meaning “to wash, sprinkle.” Theologically this root would convey the notion that forgiveness is equivalent to having sins “washed away.” The fact that only God is the subject and author of forgiveness explains the scribes’ reaction to Jesus’ announcement that the sins of the paralytic had been forgiven (Mark 2:7). Jesus’ pronouncement was in fact a claim to be equal with God. (The New American Commentary)
Vine - The first biblical occurrence is in Moses’ prayer of intercession on behalf of the Israelites: (Ex 34:9). The basic meaning undergoes no change throughout the Old Testament. God is always the subject of “forgiveness.” No other Old Testament verb means “to forgive,” although several verbs include “forgiveness” in the range of meanings given a particular context (e.g., naca and awon in Ex 32:32; kapar in Ezek. 16:63). Most occurrences of salach are in the sacrificial laws of Leviticus and Numbers. In the typology of the OT sacrifices foreshadowed the accomplished work of Jesus Christ, and the OT believer was assured of “forgiveness” based on sacrifice: (Nu 15:25, 28) (Lev. 4:26; 20, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18). The mediators of the atonement were the priests who offered the sacrifice. The sacrifice was ordained by God to promise ultimate “forgiveness” in God’s sacrifice of His own Son. Moreover, sacrifice was appropriately connected to atonement, as there is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood (Lev. 4:20; cf. Heb. 9:22). Out of His grace, God alone “forgives” sin. The Israelites experienced God’s “forgiveness” in the wilderness and in the Promised Land. As long as the Temple stood, sacrificial atonement continued and the Israelites were assured of God’s “forgiveness.” When the Temple was destroyed and sacrifices ceased, God sent the prophetic word that He graciously would restore Israel out of exile and “forgive” its sins (Jer. 31:34). The psalmist appealed to God’s great name in his request for “forgiveness” (Ps. 25:11). David praised God for the assurance of “forgiveness” of sins (Ps. 103:2-3). The Old Testament saints, while involved in sacrificial rites, put their faith in God (Ed: This last sentence is critical - do you understand what Vine is saying? He is not saying the sacrifices per se brought forgiveness. Yes, they did, but only, as the one bringing the sacrifice also brought his heart, submitted, surrendered, repentant, believing (ultimately looking forward to the Messiah, while we look back to Him).
Thoraf Gilbrant on salach - The same form occurs in Ugaritic and Akkadian, but apparently has no connection in meaning with the Hebrew forms. The Akkadian verb, for example, means "to sprinkle" in the context of ritual worship or medicine. Sālach is used exclusively to describe God's offer of pardon and forgiveness to those who have sinned against Him. None of its forms are used of one person forgiving another. Perhaps this fact helps explain NT references such as Matt. 9:2f, where Jesus is accused of blasphemy because He claimed the authority to forgive sins. God chose to pardon the nation of Israel at two crucial points in their early history: after the incident of the golden calf (Ex. 34:9) and at the time of the rebellion at Kadesh-Barnea (Num. 14:19f). It may be noted that in the second instance pardon was granted in response to the prayers of Moses. Though Israel suffered some severe chastisements, they were still always forgiven. The Law stated repeatedly that forgiveness was available through the offering of atonement in connection with prescribed sacrifices (Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35; 5:10, 13, 16, 18; 6:7; 19:22). In fact, the passive Niphal stem was used for a formal statement, "[the sins] shall be forgiven them," in many of these passages. This pardon was available for a wide variety of sins such as lying, theft, perjury or fraud (Lev. 6:1-7). In fact, it was efficacious for sins against "any of the things which the Lord has commanded" (Lev. 4:2), unless the offense was done by a defiant rebel who despised God (Num. 15:30f). God made liberal provision for the forgiveness of sins committed in error or ignorance (Num. 15:25f, 28). The Day of Atonement was singled out as the time for receiving forgiveness (Lev. 16:21, 30, 32, 34), based on the individual's humble confession of sin (Lev. 16:29, 31). Kings and prophets prayed fervently that the Lord would forgive the sins of Israel. Solomon featured the theme of forgiveness prominently in his dedicatory prayer for the Temple (1 Ki. 8:30, 34, 39, 50; 2 Chr. 6). Amos (7:2) and Daniel (9:19) also begged God to forgive the people. There were some times, however, when Israel failed to receive forgiveness. Deuteronomy 29:20 describes the rebel who will never receive pardon, and Lam. 3:42 looks back on the destruction of Judah and mourns that God eventually passed the point of forgiveness with them. The prophet Isaiah issued a call to repent and seek God because He will abundantly pardon, unlike men who refuse to forgive (Isa. 55:7f). Jeremiah predicted that forgiveness would be a central part of the New Covenant that Christ later inaugurated (Jer. 31:34; 33:8; 50:20). (Complete Biblical Library)
The Lxx translates salach in every use in Leviticus (see passages below) with the verb aphiemi which strictly speaking means to send away and then to remit, cancel or forgive (as one would a debt owed - cp Ro 6:23-note) It is interesting to review all the uses of salach and see how it is translated in Greek - while aphiemi is the most common, others include - hileos, hilaskomai, katharizo ,aphaireo. These different Greek words give us a sense of the "multi-colored" nature of the Hebrew word salach (at least as it was understood and interpreted by the Hebrew scholars who translated the Hebrew Masoretic text into Koine Greek. Interesting!)
Salach is translated in NAS as forgive(19), forgiven(13), pardon(12), pardoned(2), pardons(1).
Exodus 34:9 He said, "If now I have found favor in Your sight, O Lord, I pray, let the Lord go along in our midst, even though the people are so obstinate, and pardon (Lxx - aphaireo - take away, remove, cause a condition to cease ) our iniquity and our sin, and take us as Your own possession."
Leviticus 4:20 'He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; thus he shall do with it. So the priest shall make atonement for them, and they will be forgiven (Lxx = aphiemi - same verb used in every passage in Leviticus).
26 'All its fat he shall offer up in smoke on the altar as in the case of the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.
31 'Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.
35 'Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 5:10 'The second he shall then prepare as a burnt offering according to the ordinance. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin which he has committed, and it will be forgiven him.
13 'So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin which he has committed from one of these, and it will be forgiven him; then the rest shall become the priest's, like the grain offering.'"
16 "He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him.
18 "He is then to bring to the priest a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally and did not know it, and it will be forgiven him.
Leviticus 6:7 and the priest shall make atonement for him before the LORD, and he will be forgiven for any one of the things which he may have done to incur guilt."
Leviticus 19:22 'The priest shall also make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the LORD for his sin which he has committed, and the sin which he has committed will be forgiven him.
Numbers 14:19 "Pardon, (A command but in context = a prayer, a desire, not a command! Lxx = aphiemi) I pray, the iniquity of this people according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness, just as You also have forgiven this people, from Egypt even until now."
20 So the LORD said, "I have pardoned (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) them according to your word;
Numbers 15:25 'Then the priest shall make atonement for all the congregation of the sons of Israel, and they will be forgiven (Lxx = aphiemi = to send away, then to remit, cancel or forgive as one would a debt owed) for it was an error, and they have brought their offering, an offering by fire to the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their error.
26 'So all the congregation of the sons of Israel will be forgiven (Lxx = aphiemi), with the alien who sojourns among them, for it happened to all the people through error.
28 'The priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that he may be forgiven (not translated in Lxx)
Numbers 30:5 "But if her father should forbid her on the day he hears of it, none of her vows or her obligations by which she has bound herself shall stand; and the LORD will forgive (Lxx = katharizo = cleanse, thorough cleansing for sacred use; ritual cleansing, making Levitically clean) her because her father had forbidden her.
8 "But if on the day her husband hears of it, he forbids her, then he shall annul her vow which she is under and the rash statement of her lips by which she has bound herself; and the LORD will forgive (Lxx = katharizo) her.
12 "But if her husband indeed annuls them on the day he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning the obligation of herself shall not stand; her husband has annulled them, and the LORD will forgive (Lxx = katharizo) her.
Deuteronomy 29:20 "The LORD shall never be willing to forgive (Lxx = euilateuo = to be merciful to) him, but rather the anger of the LORD and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the LORD will blot out his name from under heaven.
1 Samuel 15:25 (Saul speaking - see Samuel's response - 1Sa 15:26-31!) "Now therefore, please pardon (Lxx - airo - to raise up, as lifting up and carrying something away remove, carry off, used of Jesus in Jn 1:29!) my sin and return with me, that I may worship the LORD."
1 Kings 8:30 "Listen to the supplication of Your servant and of Your people Israel, when they pray toward this place; hear in heaven Your dwelling place; hear and forgive (Lxx = hileos = be merciful).
34 then hear in heaven, and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You gave to their fathers.
36 then hear in heaven and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance.
39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men,
50 and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them
2 Kings 5:18 "In this matter may the LORD pardon (Lxx = hilaskomai - make propitiation) your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon (Lxx = hilaskomai - make propitiation) your servant in this matter."
2 Chronicles 6:21 "Listen to the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel when they pray toward this place; hear from Your dwelling place, from heaven; hear and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to).
25 then hear from heaven and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You have given to them and to their fathers.
27 then hear in heaven and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) the sin of Your servants and Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land which You have given to Your people for an inheritance.
30 then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive (Lxx = hilaskomai - make propitiation), and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men,
39 then hear from heaven, from Your dwelling place, their prayer and supplications, and maintain their cause and forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) Your people who have sinned against You.
2 Chronicles 7:14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) their sin and will heal their land.
Psalm 103:3 Who pardons (Lxx = euilateuo = is continually [present tense] merciful to) all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way And the unrighteous man his thoughts; And let him return to the LORD, And He will have compassion on him, And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon (Lxx = aphiemi ).
Jeremiah 5:1 "Roam to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, And look now and take note. And seek in her open squares, If you can find a man, If there is one who does justice, who seeks truth, Then I will pardon (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) her (Note: Such a one could not be found!).
7 "Why should I pardon (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) you? Your sons have forsaken Me And sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, They committed adultery And trooped to the harlot's house.
Jeremiah 31:34 (Context = prophecy of the New Covenant to Israel and Judah, not the church! [Of course the church participates but is like a wild olive grafted into the native olive plant - Ro 11:17-20] - see Jer 31:31-33) "They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them," declares the LORD, "for I will forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."
Jeremiah 33:8 'I will cleanse them from all their iniquity by which they have sinned against Me, and I will pardon (Lxx translates "will not remember" - mimnesko) all their iniquities by which they have sinned against Me and by which they have transgressed against Me.
Jeremiah 36:3 "Perhaps the house of Judah will hear all the calamity which I plan to bring on them, in order that every man will turn from his evil way; then I will forgive (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) their iniquity and their sin."
Jeremiah 50:20 'In those days and at that time,' declares the LORD, 'search will be made for the iniquity of Israel, but there will be none; and for the sins of Judah, but they will not be found; for I will pardon (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to) those whom I leave as a remnant.'
Daniel 9:19 "O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive (Lxx = hilaskomai - make propitiation)! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name."
Amos 7:2 And it came about, when it had finished eating the vegetation of the land, that I said, "Lord GOD, please pardon (Lxx = hileos = merciful, gracious, favorably disposed to)! How can Jacob stand, For he is small?"
Related Studies on Forgive, Forgiveness and Unforgiveness
- List of links related to forgiveness/unforgiveness
- Multiple illustrations and quotes related to forgiveness/unforgiveness
- Exposition of "Forgiveness" in Ephesians 4:32
- Exposition of "Forgiveness" in Colossians 3:13
- Exposition of "Forgiveness" in Matthew 6:12 and Matthew 6:14-15
- Word studies on aphesis = forgiveness; aphiemi = to forgive; charizomai = forgive, freely give
TODAY IN THE WORD - When Max Perutz died of cancer at the age of 87, he was mourned as “one of the twentieth century’s scientific giants.” A fellow scientist remarked: “The impact of Max’s work remains a foundation on which science is being undertaken today.” For his groundbreaking work in molecular biology, he shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1962. Dr. Perutz pioneered the use of X-ray crystallography in studying the body’s proteins, and notably, he determined the structure of hemoglobin, the vital molecule which carries oxygen through the blood. Oxygen in the blood brings life to the body. Similarly, blood from animal sacrifices brought spiritual life to Israel. So far this month, we’ve focused on the forgiving nature of our God. For the next several days, we’ll move on to consider some biblical roots for the idea and practice of forgiveness. The Old Testament sacrificial system is a good place to start. The major sacrifices were the burnt offering, grain offering, fellowship offering, sin offering, and guilt offering--we’ll focus on the last two of these. The sin offering was mandatory and was made for specific, unintentional sins. The guilt offering was also required, it accompanied restitution for various sins, even if the sins were unintentional. Leviticus 4-7 emphasizes the holiness of these sacrifices, the holiness of seeking forgiveness. When a man laid hands on the animal to be sacrificed, he identified with it, accepting responsibility for the sins about to be punished. The animal died in his place as his substitute. When the priest sprinkled blood, it represented atonement for sin. The animal offered needed to be unblemished or perfect. That plus restitution (in the case of the guilt offering) served as evidence of true repentance or contrition. TODAY ALONG THE WAY - In light of today’s reading, we suggest that you do additional study on the Old Testament sacrificial system. What sacrifices did the Mosaic Law require? For what reasons or on what occasions were sacrifices offered? What symbolism was involved? In what ways did these sacrifices anticipate Christ? What can the church learn from these parts of the Old Testament?
Rob Morgan - There was a story in the newspaper this week about the woman who started the terrible wildfires that ravaged parts of Colorado a couple of years ago. Her name is Terry Lynn Barton, and you might remember the story. She was an employee for the U.S. Forest Service who was suffering from a very painful broken marriage. Her estranged husband wrote her a letter; and in her anger and hurt, she burned it in a campfire. But sparks from that fire spread o ut of control so quickly that before it was all over, nearly 140,000 acres were destroyed, along with 132 homes and the forced evacuation of thousands. Terry Lynn Barton was arrested for arson, sent to prison, and fined over $42 million. This week she gave her first interview, and in it she begged forgiveness from those who had lost homes. “I can’t give them back what they lost,” she said. “I know how it feels because I lost, too. All I can say is I’m sorry. I know it’s a healing process for them as it is for me. I just hope and pray they can forgive me. To live without forgiveness is a miserable thing.” Well, she got that right. To live without forgiveness is a miserable thing. When we do things that are harmful to God, to ourselves, and to other people, we feel badly about it. Sin creates guilt, guilt creates shame, and shame damages the way we view ourselves. It’s a miserable thing to live in that endless spin cycle of sin, guilt, shame, and lowered self-esteem. That’s the way most people live.
· That’s why there are so many counselors in the world today.
· That’s why there are so many self-help books.
· That’s why there are so many therapy groups.
· That’s why there is so much substance abuse.
· That’s why the entertainment industry is such a dominate part of our world today.
But what we really need is forgiveness—an inner feeling of cleanness and wholeness—and that’s what Jesus Christ came to provide. If you want to know how He forgives sin, you can turn to any book of the New Testament, or you can turn to any book of the Old Testament. It’s the message of the whole Bible—and it’s even the message of the most avoided book in the Old Testament, which is Leviticus. In our current series of messages, we have turned to this underestimated book, and I want to share with you what we have discovered so far. The book of Leviticus opens by presenting the five different sacrifices or offerings that God prescribed for the Tabernacle altar. Each of them point to Jesus Christ. There is no question or doubt about that. The book of Hebrews confirms it. Furthermore, each of the five great sacrifices of Israel gives us a different aspect of our Lord’s sacrifice. Leviticus 1 describes the Burnt Offering. Verse 3 says: If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord... The key words are in verse 9: And the priest shall burn all on the altar. The distinguishing factor of the Burnt Offering is that it was totally consumed on the altar. This represents the totality of our Lord’s sacrifice. Leviticus 2 tells us about the Grain Offering. Leviticus 2:1 begins: When anyone offers a grain offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. This was no shedding of blood with this sacrifice. It was a grain offering, a vegetarian offering as it were. It represented, not the death of Christ, but His sinless life. It represented the nature and character of His life that was sacrificed for us. He was the Bread of Life made from fine flour. It represented His perfect humanity. Last week we looked at Leviticus 3, which tells us about the Peace Offering. Lev 3:1 says: When his offering is a sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord…. In observing the Peace Offering, the worshipper had the animal slain, its blood was sprinkled on the altar, the fat was burned, and the rest was used for food. It was a festive meal. The sprinkled blood represented the peace we now have with God through the blood of our Lord, and the festival meal represents the peace we have with His family, His body. The key word here is tranquility. The total sacrifice of our Lord’s perfect humanity brings divine tranquility into our hearts and minds. We have peace with God, peace with others, and peace with ourselves. As Ephesians 2:14 puts it: “He Himself is our Peace.” (Leviticus 4 & 5 Repairing Sin's Damage to Your Life)
- he: Lev 4:11,12
- sin offering: Lev 16:15,21 2Ch 29:21-24 Ezra 8:35 Mt 20:28 2Co 5:21 1Ti 2:5,6
Outside the camp - see Leviticus 4:11-12 Comments
Outside the camp - several of the following notes discuss this topic (this exact phrase 28x in 27v in NAS) - Ex 29:14; 33:7; Lev 4:12, 21-note; Lev 6:11-note.; Lev 8:17-note.; Lev 9:11; Lev 13:46-note.; Lev 16:27-note (good note by Richard Phillips).; Lev 17:3-note.; Lev 24:14, 23-note.; Nu 5:3-4; 12:14-15; 15:35-36; 19:3, 9; 31:13, 19; Dt 23:10, 12; Josh 6:23; Heb 13:11-note Heb 13:13-note. and "outside the gate" in Heb 13:12-note.
- Lev 4:2,13
Wenham - "The purification [sin] offering dealt with the pollution caused by sin. If sin polluted the land, it defiled particularly the house where God dwelt. The seriousness of pollution depended on the seriousness of the sin, which in turn related to the status of the sinner. If a private citizen sinned, his action polluted the sanctuary only to a limited extent. Therefore the blood of the purification offering was only smeared on the horns of the altar of burnt sacrifice. If, however, the whole nation sinned or the holiest member of the nation, the high priest, sinned, this was more serious. The blood had to be taken inside the tabernacle and sprinkled on the veil and the altar of incense. Finally over the period of a year the sins of the nation could accumulate to such an extent that they polluted even the holy of holies, where God dwelt. If he was to continue to dwell among his people, this too had to be cleansed in the annual day of atonement ceremony (see Lev. 16:1ff)." (NICOT)
Constable - Under the New Covenant the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses the believer from all sin (cf. Heb. 9-10; 1Pet. 1:2; 1John 1:7; Rev. 7:14). Thus this offering (sin offering) is now obsolete for the Christian. However sin in the believer's life can grieve the indwelling Holy Spirit (Eph. 4:30). Furthermore the New Testament reminds us that judgment is still proportionate to responsibility (cf. Luke 12:48; James 3:1). For us confession is a prerequisite to cleansing for fellowship (1John 1:9) even though Christ's death has brought purification from sin's defilement and condemnation. Confession of particular sins also had to accompany the sin offerings in Israel (Lev 5:5).
Guzik - The procedure was similar to, yet distinct from the offering for a priest or the nation at large. The sacrificial victim was a male goat, and the blood was only applied to the altar of burnt offering, and the fat was burnt on the altar - as in the peace offering. According to Leviticus 6:24-30, the rest of the animal was available for the priest.
Leader (ruler)(05387)(nasi from nasa = lift up, elevate) is strictly speaking one who is "lifted up," and thus an "exalted one," a chief, a prince, a ruler ora leader. Nasi is used today in Modern Hebrew to refer to the “President” of Israel. The translates nasi with the noun archon meaning one who has eminence in a ruling capacity (Mt 20:25).
- his sin: Lev 4:14 5:4 2Ki 22:10-13)(a kid: Lev 9:3 23:19 Nu 7:16,22,28,34 15:24 28:15,30 29:5,11,16,19 Ro 8:3
Ryrie - If a ruler sinned, he had to bring a male goat (Ed: in contrast to a bull for the priest and congregation), whose blood was put on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and poured out at its base, rather than being taken into the tent as in the other cases.
- he: Lev 4:4-35 Isa 53:6
- in the place: Lev 1:5,11 3:2,8,13 4:4,15,29,33 6:25 7:2 16:15 Ex 29:38
- a sin offering: Lev 4:3,21,31,35
Lay his hand - Lev 1:4; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:4, 24, 29, 33; Job 9:33; Mk 7:32 - See Leviticus 4:29 Commentary for more detailed notes including discussion by C H Spurgeon. Click here for another discussion by Spurgeon.
Leviticus 4:25 'Then the priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering.
- put: Lev 4:7,18,30,34 8:10,15 9:9 16:18 Isa 40:21 Ro 3:24-26 8:3,4 10:4 Heb 2:10 9:22
Criswell - If the offender was a tribal leader or a common person, then the sin offering was a goat or lamb, whose blood was smeared on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and the remainder poured out at the base (cf. Lev 4:30-34).
Leviticus 4:26 'All its fat he shall offer up in smoke on the altar as in the case of the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.
- fat: Lev 4:8-10,35, Lev 3:5 6:20-30
- atonement: Lev 4:20 Nu 15:28
Rooker describes the difference from the sin offering for the priest and the congregation - In the sin offering for the leader the blood of the animal was not to be sprinkled inside the Tent or Holy Place but rather on the horns of the altar of burnt offering. Nor was the carcass to be burned outside the camp, as was the case in the sin offerings for the high priest and the people. All of these changes indicate that the sin of the leader, while certainly grievous, was not as serious as that of the high priest or the Israelite community at large.The offering was efficacious because atonement was provided and the leader experienced forgiveness (Lev 4:26).
He will be forgiven - See Leviticus 4:20 Comment
- anyone: Heb. any soul, Lev 4:2 Nu 15:27
- common people: Lev 4:2,13 Ex 12:49 Nu 5:6 15:16,29
COMMON PEOPLE AND
Compare Leviticus 4:27 with 1Corinthians 8:9-13.
Common people - Literally "the people of the land." TSK says this is "any individual who was not a priest, king, or ruler among the people; an ordinary person. Any of these having transgressed, was obliged to bring a lamb or kid, the ceremonies being nearly the same as in the preceding cases."
Guzik - This was the same procedure for a ruler of the people, except that a female goat or a lamb could be offered instead of a male goat.
Wenham - A layman is not expected to provide such a valuable offering to atone for his sin as one of the rulers or priests. He may bring a she-goat (Lev 4:27ff.) or ewe-lamb (Lev 4:32ff.). If he is poor, he may bring instead a turtledove or pigeon (Lev 5:7ff.) or even some fine flour (Lev 5:11ff.). Here we have a sliding scale of offerings similar to that for burnt offerings in Lev. 1. Since both the burnt offering and the purification offering were obligatory in certain situations, not optional like the peace offering, the law provided for the poor by allowing them to present a cheaper offering if they could not afford a lamb or goat. The ritual when a layman brought a lamb or goat was very similar to that for the ruler. (Ibid)
- goat: Lev 4:23,32 5:6 Ge 3:15 Isa 7:14 Jer 31:22 Ro 8:3 Gal 4:4,5
- female: Lev 4:23 Gal 3:28
For his sin - A clear foreshadowing of the substitutionary atonement effected by the crucifixion of the perfect Lamb of God (2Cor 5:21).
- Lev 4:4,15,24,33 Heb 10:4-14
Lay his hand - Lev 1:4; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:4, 24, 29, 33; Job 9:33; Mk 7:32 - The animal dies in his place, as his substitute! See Leviticus 4:29 Commentary for more detailed notes including discussion by C H Spurgeon. Click here for another discussion by Spurgeon.
He shall slay (shachat) means that the offerer has to kill his own animal. What a picture of sin! It kills! It destroys! Why do we not believe this inviolable, immutable truth? The Lxx translates shachat with sphazo which means to kill and is used several times in Revelation to describe the crucifixion wounds of the Lamb of God, who was slain for the sins of the world (Rev 5:6, 9, 12-note), Peter writing that "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed." (1Pe 2:24-note) Those wounds on the Redeemer will be visible throughout eternity!
Place of the burnt offering ('olah - word study) - Where is this? At the doorway of the tent of meeting (Lev 1:3), symbolizing there is only one way provided for atonement for sin (cp the Lamb of God's statement in Jn 14:6).
Lay his hand (8x in Leviticus) - Lev 1:4; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:4, 24, 29, 33. A clear picture of substitution - the animal victim's life in place of the offerer's life.
Mention of this practice in Lev 24:14 is more difficult to explain - ESV Study Bible says "The laying on of hands prior to the stoning has been commonly explained in such a way that the congregation, having overheard the curse and become defiled, devolves the guilt onto the culprit, and his death makes atonement for the guilt. Alternatively, it may be taken as a gesture simply to indicate who it is that had cursed the name of the LORD."
This phrase lay hand on head is frequent in Leviticus - Lev 1:4 Lev 3:2 Lev 3:8 Lev 3:13 Lev 4:4 Lev 4:15 Lev 4:24 Lev 4:29 Lev 4:33 Lev 16:21 (Day of atonement) Lev 24:14. Cp Ex 29:10, 15, 19, Nu 8:12
Laying the Hand on the Sacrifice
My text says that the guilty person, who brought the sin offering, laid his hand upon its head; and this act gives a pictorial and symbolical answer to your questions, and tells you how you can come into connection with Christ, and how his great sacrifice can become available for you. You have to do to Christ, spiritually, what these Hebrews did literally....I shall speak of only two things which we may learn from my text. The first is, the intent of this symbol; and the second is, the simplicity of the symbol,—this laying of the hand of the offerer upon the head of the victim presented by him to God as a sin offering. First, then, let me try to explain THE INTENT OF THE SYMBOL. What did it mean? For these things, of which I shall speak in explaining this symbol, are necessary in order that Christ should become yours. Follow me very carefully and prayerfully, dear friend, if you do indeed desire to be saved, for it may be that the Lord will lead you into everlasting life even while I am speaking. I pray that he may do so. The first meaning of this laying of the hand upon the head of the sacrifice is this; it was a confession of sin. The offering was a sin offering; but for sin, it would not have been needed. The man who came, and laid his hand on the head of the sin offering, acknowledged, by that act and deed, that he was a sinner. If there had been anyone who was not a sinner, he would have had no right to be there. A sin offering, for a person who had no connection with sin, would have been a superfluity; why should he bring a sin offering to the Lord? So, dear friends, if you have no sin, you are not fit subjects for Christ’s saving power and grace. If you are not guilty, you do not need forgiveness. If you have never transgressed the law of God, you need not come before him with a sin offering. Only remember that, if you do think so, you are under one of the most sorrowful delusions that ever entered the brain of a madman. You are deceiving yourself, depend upon it. If you say that you have no sin, the truth is not in you. But he who brought a sin offering before the Lord said, in effect, "This is what I need, for I am a sinner. I need to have my sin taken away, for I am guilty in the sight of God. So I put my hand upon this lamb, or goat, or bullock, which is about to die, thereby confessing that I need a sacrifice in order that the sin, which I confess that I have committed, may be put away." Are you reluctant to confess that you are a sinner? If so, I pray very earnestly that you may speedily get rid of that reluctance. God does not ask you to confess your sins to any man. It would be a shame for you to do so, for you would pollute that man, whoever he might be, if you poured into his ear the sad tale of your filthiness and sin. God does not ask you to do any man the serious wrong of whispering into his ear the foul story of your transgressions. It is not to your fellow-creature, but to your God, that you are to confess your sin. Go straight to him, and say, as the prodigal said to his father, "I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight." What makes you so slow to do that? Do you imagine that he does not know about your sin, and think that you can hide anything from him? That is impossible, for “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." Is it your pride that keeps you from confessing your sin? How can you hope that God will forgive you if you will not acknowledge that you have sinned against him? Think how you act towards your own children. How ready you are again to clasp them to your bosom when they have offended against you! Yet you watch to see in them signs of relenting and repenting. (Click to read Spurgeon's entire message on Leviticus 4:29 Laying the Hand on the Sacrifice)
See also Leviticus 1:4 Commentary for more detailed notes including discussion by C H Spurgeon)
Here we have an emblem of the way in which a sacrifice becomes available for the offerer. The same ceremony is commanded in Lev 4:4, 15, 24, 33, and in other places: it is therefore important and instructive. The question with many souls is how to obtain an interest in Christ so as to be saved by him. Never could a weightier question be asked. It is certain that this is absolutely needful; but alas, it has been fearfully neglected by many. In vain did Christ die if he is not believed in. It ought to be attended to at once. The text gives us a pictorial answer to the question,—How can Christ's sacrifice become available for me? Let us learn,—
I. THE INTENT OF THE SYMBOL.
1. It was a confession of sin: else no need of a sin offering.
To this was added a confession of the desert of punishment, or why should the victim be slain?
There was also an abandonment of all other methods of removing sin. The hands were empty, and laid alone upon the sin offering.
Do this at the cross; for there alone is sin put away.
2. It was a consent to the plan of substitution.
Some raise questions as to the justice and certainty of this method of salvation; but he who is to be saved does not so, for he sees that God himself is the best judge of its rightness, and if he is content we may assuredly be so.
Substitution exceedingly honors the law, and vindicates justice.
There is no other plan which meets the case, or even fairly looks at it. Man’s sense of guilt is not met by other proposals.
But this brings rest to the most tender conscience.
What if we trace the globe around,
And search from Britain to Japan,
There shall be no religion found
So just to God, so safe to man.
3. It was an acceptance of the victim.
Jesus is the most natural substitute, for he is the second Adam, the second head of the race; the true ideal man.
He is the only person able to offer satisfaction, having a perfect humanity united with his Godhead.
He alone is acceptable to God; he may well be acceptable to us.
4. It was a believing transference of sin.
By laying on of hands sin was typically laid on the victim.
It was laid there so as to be no longer on the offerer.
5. It was a dependence—leaning on the victim.
Is there not a most sure stay in Jesus for the leaning heart?
Consider the nature of the suffering and death by which the atonement was made, and you will rest in it.
Consider the dignity and worth of the sacrifice by whom the death was endured. The glory of Christ’s person enhances the value of his atonement. Heb. 10:5–10.
Remember that none of the saints now in heaven have had any other atoning sacrifice. “Jesus only” has been the motto of all justified ones. “He offered one sacrifice for sins for ever”: Heb. 10:12.
Those of us who are saved are resting there alone; why should not you, and every anxious one?
II THE SIMPLICITY OF THE SYMBOL.
1. There were no antecedent rites. The victim was there, and hands were laid on it: nothing more. We add neither preface nor appendix to Christ: he is Alpha and Omega.
2. The offerer came in all his sin. Just as I am. It was to have his sin removed that the offerer brought the sacrifice: not because he had himself removed it.
3. There was nothing in his hand of merit, or price.
4. There was nothing on his hand. No gold ring to indicate wealth; no signet of power; no jewel of rank. The offerer came as a man, and not as learned, rich, or honourable.
5. He performed no cunning legerdemain with his hand. By leaning upon it he took the victim to be his representative; but he placed no reliance upon ceremonial performances.
6. Nothing was done to his hand. His ground of trust was the sacrifice, not his hands. He desired his hand to be clean, but upon that fact he did not rest for pardon.
Come then, dear hearer, whether saint or sinner, and lean hard upon Jesus. He taketh away the sin of the would. Trust him with your sin, and it is for ever put away. Put forth now your hand, and adopt the expiation of the redeeming Lord as your expiation.
ANECDOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS
A poor blind woman in Liverpool, after her conversion, committed many hymns to memory. She was an occasional attendant upon the old Earl of Derby, the grandfather of the present Earl. She repeated one of her hymns to him. The old Earl liked it, and encouraged her to repeat more. But one day, when repeating the hymn of Charles Wesley,
All ye that pass by, she came to the words:—
The Lord in the day of his anger did lay
Your sins on the Lamb, and he bore them away.
He said, "Stop, Mrs. Brass, don't you think it should be—
The Lord in the day of his mercy did lay?"
She did not think his criticism valid; but it proved that she was not repeating her verses to inattentive ears, and other indications showed that the blind woman was made a blessing to the dying nobleman.—Paxton Hood's Life of Isaac Watts.
When Christmas Evans was about to die, several ministers were standing round his bed. He said to them, "Preach Christ to the people, brethren. Look at me: in myself I am nothing but ruin. But look at me in Christ; I am heaven and salvation."
It is not the quantity of thy faith that shall save thee. A drop of water is as true water as the whole ocean. So a little faith is as true faith as the greatest. A child eight days old is as really a man as one of sixty years; a spark of fire is as true fire as a great flame; a sickly man is as truly living as a healthy man. So it is not the measure of thy faith that saves thee—it is the blood that it grips to that saves thee. As the weak hand of a child, that leads the spoon to the mouth, will feed it as well as the strong arm of a man; for it is not the hand that feeds thee—albeit, it puts the meat into thy mouth, but it is the meat carried into thy stomach that feeds thee. So if thou canst grip Christ ever so weakly, he will not let thee perish....The weakest hands can take a gift as well as the strongest. Now, Christ is this gift, and weak faith may grip him as well as strong faith, and Christ is as truly thine when thou hast weak faith, as when thou hast come to those triumphant joys through the strength of faith.—Welsh.
The Puritans speak of faith as a recumbency, a leaning. It needs no power to lean; it is a cessation from our own strength, and allowing our weakness to depend upon another’s power. Let no man say, “I cannot lean;” it is not a question of what you can do, but a confession of what you cannot do, and a leaving of the whole matter with Jesus. No woman could say, “I cannot swoon:” it is not a matter of power. Die into the life of Christ; let him be all in all while you are nothing at all. (Spurgeon's Sermon Notes)
TODAY IN THE WORD - In the fifteenth century, the Aztec people practiced human sacrifice on an unprecedented scale. They believed that human sacrifices were necessary to fuel the sun, and that without such sacrifices the forces of darkness would overpower their sun god, Huitzilopochtli. The Aztecs mostly sacrificed prisoners of war, which led to continuous conflicts with neighboring peoples. Thousands of enemy prisoners might be killed in a single day! Outside of God’s truth, the idea of sacrifice inevitably goes terribly wrong. But inside the Mosaic Law, animal sacrifices showed an awareness of sin and a truly repentant heart before the one true God. Today’s reading (Lev 4:29) describes the sin offering, a mandatory offering for unintentional sin, which is sometimes understood as sins of weakness, carelessness, or omission. Four examples are given at the start of chapter 5, including thoughtless oaths. Once a person became aware of such a sin, he demonstrated his penitent heart by bringing a sin offering. To offer it was to confess sin and seek forgiveness or purification, thus restoring fellowship with God. The priests sprinkled the blood of the sacrifice seven times because seven was the number of perfection or completeness. Putting the blood on the horns of the altar also pointed to atonement or cleansing from sin-God’s perfect forgiveness. The different animals in the passage go along with social roles or wealth. For example, a male goat was expected from a leader, but only flour from a very poor person. Sin offerings for priests and the community were handled more seriously, and had to be burned outside the camp, while sin offerings for leaders and other private persons could be eaten by the priests as usual. TODAY ALONG THE WAY - Given our devotional’s topic, today might be a good day for an extended time of personal confession. Begin with the words of David: “O Lord, be gracious to me; Heal my soul, for I have sinned against Thee” (Ps 41:4).
Leviticus 4:30 'The priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering; and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.
- Horns: Lev 4:25,34 Isa 42:21 Ro 8:3,4 10:4 Heb 2:10
Blood with his finger - Ex 29:12, Lev 4:6, 17, 25, 30, 34, 8:15, 9:9, 16:14, 19, Nu 19:4
Altar of burnt offering ('olah - word study) - The brazen (or bronze) altar (See schematic of Brazen Altar). (See note on the Brazen Altar and Court of the Tabernacle)
Leviticus 4:31 'Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat was removed from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall offer it up in smoke on the altar for a soothing aroma to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.
- fat: Lev 4:8-10,19,26,35 3:3-5,9-11,14-16
- soothing: Lev 1:9,13,17 3:3,5 8:21 Ex 29:18 Ezr 6:10 Job 42:8 Ps 40:6,7 Ps 51:16,17 69:30,31 Isa 42:21 53:10 Mt 3:17 Eph 5:2 Heb 1:3 Heb 9:12,14,15 10:12,14 1Pe 2:4,5 1Jn 1:7 4:9,10 Rev 5:9
- the priest: Lev 4:26,35)
Then - marker of sequence or succession.
He shall remove all its fat - This is the offerer.
Soothing Aroma= The "odor of rest" (See discussion of significance of this name)
Soothing aroma - This phrase is found 42x in NAS -
Gen 8:21; Ex 29:18, 25, 41; Lev 1:9, 13, 17; 2:2, 9, 12; 3:5, 16; 4:31; 6:15, 21; 8:21, 28; 17:6; 23:13, 18; Num 15:3, 7, 10, 13f, 24; 18:17; 28:2, 6, 8, 13, 24, 27; 29:2, 6, 8, 13, 36; Ezek 6:13; 16:19; 20:28, 41[/FONT>
Soothing (05207)(nihoah from nuach = to rest) means a quieting, soothing, tranquilizing. In 20 of the 43 uses of nichoach, this noun (usually with the sense of an adjective) is used with the phrase "burnt offering." Almost all uses describe the odor of a sacrifice as pleasing or acceptable to God. Sadly, we see this word used to describe Israel's offering to idols (Ezek 6:13-note, Ezek 15:19, Ezek 20:28), which is in stark contrast with Jehovah's assessment of His rebellious people in Ezek 20:14 where they are described as a soothing aroma! - “As a soothing aroma I shall accept you, when I bring you out from the peoples (Gentiles) and gather you from the lands where you are scattered (A prophecy that is unfulfilled, but which will be when Messiah returns and all Israel is saved - Ro 11:26-27-note); and I shall prove Myself holy among you in the sight of the nations."
He will be forgiven - See Leviticus 4:20 Comment
Forgiven (05545)(salach or see another study) means to pardon and is translated in the Lxx with the verb aphiemi which means to send off or away, to let go and then to cancel or forgives debts or sin.
Forgiveness in Leviticus (10x in 10v) - Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, 5:10, 13, 16, 18, 6:7, 19:22[/FONT>
- lamb: Lev 4:28 3:6,7 5:6 Ex 12:3,5 Isa 53:7 Lu 1:35 Jn 1:29,36 Heb 7:26 1Pe 1:18-20 2:22,24 3:18 Rev 5:6,8,9
- without defect: Lev 4:28 Eph 5:27 Heb 9:14 1Pe 2:22 3:18
Without defect (08549)(tamim) from the verb tamam = to be complete, entire or whole (literal sense in Lev 3:9, Ezek 15:5), refers to a action which is completed) has both physical (without defect) and spiritual (blameless, devout, upright) significance. Tamim has the fundamental idea of completeness or wholeness. Tamim deals primarily with a state of moral or ceremonial purity (e.g., animal sacrifices - 51x tamim refers to unblemished animals - Passover lamb in Ex 12:5 picturing of course Christ sinless perfection - 1Cor 5:7, "knew no sin" = 2Cor 5:21- note).
- Lev 4:4,29-31
Lay his hand - Lev 1:4; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:4, 24, 29, 33; Job 9:33; Mk 7:32 - See Leviticus 4:29 Commentary for more detailed notes including discussion by C H Spurgeon. Click here for another discussion by Spurgeon.
Leviticus 4:34 'The priest is to take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering, and all the rest of its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar.
- horns of the altar: Lev 4:25,30 Isa 42:21 Jn 17:19 Ro 8:1,3 10:4 2Co 5:21 Heb 2:10 Heb 10:29 1Pe 1:18-20 2:24 3:18
Henry Morris on blood of the sin-offering - The various sin offerings were offered for sins committed unintentionally, once those sins were made known (Lev 4:2,27,28). The shed blood was first sprinkled around the altar, then the bulk of the animal burned "without the camp" (Lev 4:21). The latter act was later said to typify the offering of Christ outside the camp (Heb 13:10-13).
Leviticus 4:35 'Then he shall remove all its fat, just as the fat of the lamb is removed from the sacrifice of the peace offerings, and the priest shall offer them up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the LORD. Thus the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.
- he: Lev 4:31)(Lev 1:1-6:19
- priest shall make: Lev 4:20,26,30,31 1:4 5:6,10,13 6:7 9:7 12:8 14:18,53 16:1-34 Nu 15:25 Ro 3:24-26 4:25 5:6-11,15-21 8:1,3,4 10:4 2Co 5:21 Eph 1:6,7 5:2 Col 1:14 Heb 1:3 4:14 7:26 9:14 1Pe 1:18,19 1Pe 2:22,24 3:18 1Jn 1:7 2:2 4:9,10 Rev 1:5,6
He will be forgiven- See Leviticus 4:20 Comment
Forgiven (05545)(salach or see another study) means to pardon and is translated in the Lxx with the verb aphiemi which means to send off or away, to let go and then to cancel or forgives debts or sin.
Forgiveness in Leviticus (10x in 10v) - Lev 4:20, 26, 31, 35, 5:10, 13, 16, 18, 6:7, 19:22[/FONT>
Wenham - The Christian Application of Leviticus 4-5 - As with the other sacrifices in Leviticus, the coming of Christ has made the purification offering obsolete. Christ's death has purified us from the pollutions of sin in a complete and absolute way that need never be repeated. Yet this does not mean that we have nothing to learn about sin, its effects and its remedies, from Lev. 4. The NT writers show otherwise. Their exegesis by no means exhausts the relevance of Lev. 4 for today's Church. Lev. 4 makes explicit that sin defiles the sanctuary: it makes it impossible for God to dwell among his people. Though Israel was still the chosen people, when it sinned it no longer enjoyed the benefits of God's presence (cf. Ex. 32; Lev. 10; Nu 14, etc.). In a similar way the Christian is warned not to "grieve the Spirit" (Eph. 4:30-note) by sin. God's presence is now mediated by the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer (Eph. 2:22-note); that is why Christ's death has to purify our "conscience" or "heart." There is the continued threat in the NT that sin can drive the Spirit from the believer just as under the law God could be driven from the tabernacle. The Christian is told to walk in the Spirit and be filled with the Spirit (Gal. 5:25-note; Eph. 5:18-note). Leviticus 4 also shows that the sin of Israel's leaders was considered more serious than that of ordinary people. The high priest and congregation had to offer more valuable animals than the ordinary man. So too the NT insists that God's judgment on Church members is proportionate to their responsibility. "Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required" (Luke 12:48). "We who teach will be judged with greater strictness" (Jas. 3:1). These OT laws also show that unintentional sin is just as much sin in God's sight as deliberate wrongdoing. Rash promises, unfulfilled duties are just as liable to God separating himself from us now as under the Old Covenant. They also show what should be done when our conscience convicts us. "When a man feels guilty in any of these matters he must confess how he has sinned and then bring a purification offering" (Lev 5:5-6-note). So too in the NT, confession of sin is a prerequisite of cleansing. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9-note). For a Christian the animal offering is no longer necessary, since Christ's death has brought purification, but confession is, if fellowship with God is to be reestablished. (Ibid)
There was a story in the newspaper this week about the woman who started the terrible wildfires that ravaged parts of Colorado a couple of years ago. Her name is Terry Lynn Barton, and you might remember the story. She was an employee for the U.S. Forest Service who was suffering from a very painful broken marriage. Her estranged husband wrote her a letter; and in her anger and hurt, she burned it in a campfire. But sparks from that fire spread out of control so quickly that before it was all over, nearly 140,000 acres were destroyed, along with 132 homes and the forced evacuation of thousands. Terry Lynn Barton was arrested for arson, sent to prison, and fined over $42 million.
This week she gave her first interview, and in it she begged forgiveness from those who had lost homes. “I can’t give them back what they lost,” she said. “I know how it feels because I lost, too. All I can say is I’m sorry. I know it’s a healing process for them as it is for me. I just hope and pray they can forgive me. To live without forgiveness is a miserable thing.”
Well, she got that right. To live without forgiveness is a miserable thing. When we do things that are harmful to God, to ourselves, and to other people, we feel badly about it. Sin creates guilt, guilt creates shame, and shame damages the way we view ourselves. It’s a miserable thing to live in that endless spin cycle of sin, guilt, shame, and lowered self-esteem. That’s the way most people live.
• That’s why there are so many counselors in the world today.
• That’s why there are so many self-help books.
• That’s why there are so many therapy groups.
• That’s why there is so much substance abuse.
• That’s why the entertainment industry is such a dominate part of our world today.
But what we really need is forgiveness—an inner feeling of cleanness and wholeness—and that’s what Jesus Christ came to provide. If you want to know how He forgives sin, you can turn to any book of the New Testament, or you can turn to any book of the Old Testament. It’s the message of the whole Bible—and it’s even the message of the most avoided book in the Old Testament, which is Leviticus. In our current series of messages, we have turned to this underestimated book, and I want to share with you what we have discovered so far.
The book of Leviticus opens by presenting the five different sacrifices or offerings that God prescribed for the Tabernacle altar. Each of them point to Jesus Christ. There is no question or doubt about that. The book of Hebrews confirms it. Furthermore, each of the five great sacrifices of Israel gives us a different aspect of our Lord’s sacrifice.
Leviticus 1 describes the Burnt Offering. Lev 1:3 says: If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord... The key words are in verse 9: And the priest shall burn all on the altar. The distinguishing factor of the Burnt Offering is that it was totally consumed on the altar. This represents the totality of our Lord’s sacrifice.
Leviticus 2 tells us about the Grain Offering. Leviticus 2:1 begins: When anyone offers a grain offering to the Lord, his offering shall be of fine flour. This was no shedding of blood with this sacrifice. It was a grain offering, a vegetarian offering as it were. It represented, not the death of Christ, but His sinless life. It represented the nature and character of His life that was sacrificed for us. He was the Bread of Life made from fine flour. It represented His perfect humanity.
Last week we looked at Leviticus 3, which tells us about the Peace Offering. Lev 3:1 says: When his offering is a sacrifice of a peace offering, if he offers it of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without blemish before the Lord…. In observing the Peace Offering, the worshipper had the animal slain, its blood was sprinkled on the altar, the fat was burned, and the rest was used for food. It was a festive meal. The sprinkled blood represented the peace we now have with God through the blood of our Lord, and the festival meal represents the peace we have with His family, His body. The key word here is tranquility. The total sacrifice of our Lord’s perfect humanity brings divine tranquility into our hearts and minds. We have peace with God, peace with others, and peace with ourselves. As Ephesians 2 puts it: “He Himself is our Peace.”
Now this morning I want to deal with the last couple of sacrifices. Leviticus 4 gives us the fourth sacrifice and Leviticus 5 gives us the fifth one, and they are very similar. That’s why I’m combining them into one message.
The Sin Offering
Leviticus 4 is about the sin offering. Let’s read a few verses from this chapter together.
Lev 4:1ff: Now the Lord spoke to Moses saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them…”
Then Lev 4:3 continues the thought: If the appointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering…
Lev 4:13ff: If the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which should not be done, and are guilty; when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for the sin, and bring it before the tabernacle of meeting. And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the Lord. Then the bull shall be killed before the Lord.
Lev 4:22ff: When a ruler has sinned, and done something unintentional against any of the commandments of the Lord his God in anything which should not be done, or is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a male without blemish. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it at the place where they kill the burnt offering before the Lord. It is a sin offering.
Lev 4:27ff: If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing something against any of the commands of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and is guilty, or if his sin which he has committed comes to his knowledge, then he shall bring as his offering a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has committed. And he shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering at the place of the burnt offering.
The key phrase here is: “If anyone sins.” There is an interesting word that keeps occurring and that word is unintentional. We’re sinners by nature and by choice. This sacrifice was especially for those who sinned by nature, that is, they just sinned because it is in our nature to sin. It wasn’t that we deliberately sinned out of sheer willful rebellion. In that case, when we come to repentance we have to throw ourselves on the infinite mercy of God. But this sacrifice was for the sins we commit just because we are fallible, sinful human beings. As you saw it was divided into categories. If the priest sins… if the congregation sins… if the ruler sins… if anyone from the common people sin….
What were they to do? They were to bring an animal to the Tabernacle altar and place their hand on the head of that animal. The animal was then to be slain and its blood shed. What was the significance of placing their hand on the head of the animal? It conveyed the idea of transference. God created a method of dealing with sin that allows the guilt of the sinful person to be transferred onto the head of an innocent victim.
Isaiah 53:4-6 says: Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
What do you do with guilt? Every one of us feels badly over things we’ve done in the past. If we could live our lives over again, we’d do things differently. But we can’t. There’s no “R” on the gearshift of life. We can’t go back; we can’t go in reverse. We can only go forward. So what do we do with the debris of yesterday’s sins?
We have to do some pushing. Some people push their guilt on others and blame others for their problems and failures. Some people push their guilt downward, beneath the surface of their heart where it festers and poisons. But the only effective thing to do is to push yours sins over onto the flayed shoulders of the Lord Jesus Christ. Transfer them to Him. How? By confession. By trusting His finished work on Calvary. By trusting in the power of His blood.
This sin offering was pointing toward Christ’s work on the Cross.
Hebrews 10:11-17 says: And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and lawless deeds I will remember no more.”
And there we have the key to this offering. Because Jesus bore our sins and all our guilt was transferred to Him by grace, God has developed a holy amnesia about our sins. Now in the most literal sense, this does not mean that God intellectually forgets our sins, because God is omniscient. But He forgets them in a judicial sense because Christ Himself on the cross bore the penalty for our sins.
And that’s the key word: Penalty. The Burnt offering tells us of the totality of Christ’s sacrifice, and the Grain Offering tells of the humanity that was offered. And if the Peace Offering tells of the tranquility that it brings, the Sin Offering tells us of the penalty Christ bore for you and me. Our guilt was transferred to Him.
The Trespass Offering
That leads to the final offering that was laid on the Tabernacle altar in Leviticus – the Trespass Offering, which is described for us in Leviticus 5 and 6. This offering is very similar to the Sin Offering except that it seems to stress not just the sin, but the damage sin has done to ourselves and to others.
For example, look at Lev 5:16: …and he (the sinner who is offering this sacrifice) shall make restitution for the harm he has done.
The key thought here is that Christ is the remedy for sin. He has a way of healing. He has a way of restoring.
One of the best illustrations I’ve ever read on this subject comes from the story of a missionary named Ruby Scott in her autobiography, Jungle Harvest. She was a missionary and Bible translator among an isolated tribe in the jungles of southern Mexico. She worked in a village called Chivalito. She worked very hard and gradually a church was established. Among the converts was a man named Rosendo, who was the former village drunk but who had come to Christ and was now a hard-working, faithful family man who actively loved and served the Lord. He was the president or leader of the congregation. His testimony was inspiration to the village and he was active in sharing his faith with others.
The growth of the church was a threat to the local witch doctor, a man named Lencho. He was reported to be the most powerful witch doctor in the area, and he openly vowed to destroy the growing Christian testimony in the village of Chivalito.
The church knew that a great satanic attack was coming, so they memorized verses that emphasized the power and authority of Jesus Christ. Meanwhile the witchdoctor was planning an elaborate trap for Rosendo. The whole story is too complicated and lengthy to fully relate, but the long-and-short of the story is this:
Rosendo, who had previously been enslaved by alcohol, was lured into a tangled, carefully-planned web in which he found himself in a wild drinking spree with Mexicans whom he considered to be his superiors and supervisors. Hour after hour, he refused to drink, and some time later the whole village was startled to see him stagger into town drunk. With him was the witchdoctor, pleased with the success of his plan and making fun of poor Rosendo. The Christians became the laughing stock of the village.
On Sunday, the church gathered in a somber mood. Every one of them had been ridiculed and laughed at; and, and Rosendo, who had brought reproach on the entire congregation was not present. The church tried singing a few hymns, but suddenly to everyone’s surprise, Rosendo appeared from the jungle path and stepped into the building. All eyes were on him, and as the congregational hymn ended, he motioned that he wanted to speak.
He stood up, his eyes focused on the ground, and in a clear, concise way told exactly what had happened. He gave the full story, but he did not minimize what he had done or try to excuse himself. When he finished, he quoted 1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. He told the silenced crowd that he had sinned and brought ridicule on the entire church and on the name of the Lord Himself. He said that he had earnestly confessed his sin to the Lord and sought forgiveness. And he ended by saying, “I have not only brought shame to our Lord, but to you, too. All of you have been ridiculed and taunted because of what I did. I’m sorry. I don’t know if you want to forgive me or not.”
Then he sat down and put his face in his hands.
There was silence for a few moments, and then a man named Felix stood up and asked a question that seemed out of place. He said, “Remember a few weeks ago when it rained three days without letting up?”
But Felix continued: “That rain left a huge mud puddle in our front yard. Several times Elpidio (his little boy) dashed out the door to play in the muddy water. ‘Elpidio,’ I called him, ‘get away from that mud.’ But after several attempts, he finally made his way to the puddle. Suddenly I heard an awful SPLAT and a cry. Elpidio was face down in the mud.
“Now friends,” Felix continued, “What do you think I said? Do you think I just stood there rubbing my hands together and said, ‘Well, I told you. Now it’s your problem!’ No, of course not. Elpidio is my little son and I love him. I hurried to him, picked him up, wiped the mud from his face, and held him until he quit crying.
“Friends, our brother Rosendo has fallen on his face in the mud! We have a Heavenly Father who loves him, has helped him up, and wiped the mud off him. He will hold him close and love him until the pain and embarrassment goes away. All of us have felt the splat of Rosendo’s fall. We have been laughed at—and it hurt. But our Lord suffered a much deeper hurt for the things we have done than we will ever suffer because of what Rosendo did. Rosendo has confessed his sin, and the Lord has forgiven him. Now he is asking us to forgive him, too.”
Felix paused for a long minute and looked around as if thinking about what to do. Then, in a quiet voice, he said, “Let’s take a vote. All who want to forgive Rosendo and pray for him, put up your hand.”
A moment later, Felix stepped over and touched Rosendo’s shoulder and whispered to him. Looking up, Rosendo saw that the whole room had become a sea of hands. Another member stood up quietly and began singing “How Great Thou Art” and the whole congregation sang.
And when I think that God His Son not sparing,
Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in,
That on the cross my burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away my sin.
The net result: The church in the village of Chivalito grew to capacity, the Gospel spread, the Scriptures were translated, and many souls came into the kingdom.
Jesus is our Burnt Offering: He offered Himself in totality.
He is our Grain Offering: He offered His perfect humanity.
He is our Peace Offering: He offered Himself for our tranquility.
He is our Sin Offering: He offered to bear our penalty.
He is our Trespass Offering: He offered Himself as sin’s remedy.
It’s a miserable thing to live without forgiveness. But, oh! The liberating joy of being able to sing:
…that on the cross, our burden gladly bearing,
He bled and died to take away our sin.
1”Hayman Fire Starter Praying for Forgiveness,” posted 3:45 PM MDT on July 5, 2004 on www.thedenverchannel.com. Copywrite 2004 by the Associated Press.