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the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 4

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-35

Chapter 4

Now as we get into chapter four, we get in now to the sin offerings. First of all, God said, "if a soul should sin through ignorance against any of the commandments" (Leviticus 4:2; Leviticus 4:2 )-It is interesting to note that sins of ignorance needed forgiveness. We hear so often ignorance of the law is no excuse. This actually comes from God because God made provision for those sins of ignorance. Quite often sin is related to ignorance. Transgression is never really related to ignorance. Sin is related to ignorance because there is a vast difference between sin and trespass, and thus, the difference between the sin offering and the trespass offering.

Sins were often due to ignorance, "I didn't know." The word sin has as its root word "missing the mark." In Greek "hamartia," "the missing of the mark." Now I could be trying to hit the mark and still miss. That is still sin. There are a lot of people who are sinning who don't want to sin. They are trying not to sin. They are doing their best not to sin, but they are still sinning. They are still missing the mark for the word "sin" means to miss the mark.

Trespass is not ignorance. It's more than missing the mark, for it is missing the mark deliberately. I know what I am doing. I know that God doesn't want me to do it. I do it anyhow. That's a trespass. It's a deliberate, willful act against God. So often when you are dealing with sin, you deal with ignorance. The person didn't know, yet the sin needed taking care of. You remember Jesus when he was being nailed to the cross, prayed, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do." ( Luke 23:24 ) It was a sin of ignorance, and yet it needed the forgiveness of God. "Father, forgive them." They needed that forgiveness, though the sin was being done by them in ignorance, not really knowing what they were doing.

And so, if a man sinned against the Lord-ignorance, he was to

bring a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a sin offering ( Leviticus 4:3 ),

And again the idea of putting on your hand upon its head, transferring the guilt, slaying it, the blood being taken in by the priest,

dipping his finger in the blood, sprinkling the blood seven times before the veil of the sanctuary. And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar... ; and shall pour out the blood of the bullock at the bottom of the altar... ( Leviticus 4:6-7 )

And then also they were to take a part of the bullock and to place it upon the altar and burn it on the fire, mainly the fat and the kidneys, and all.

And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with his head, and his legs, and the inwards, and all, even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out shall he be burnt ( Leviticus 4:11-12 ).

So the whole skin and everything was taken outside of the camp and there burnt with fire in this place where they would carry the ashes of the burnt offerings and all. There was a place outside of the camp they would carry them and lay them out, and at that place is where the skin and all. Now the skin of the-coming back to the first offering, the offering of consecration, those hides could be kept by the priest. And they would make them into coats and wear them and all. So the sheepskin coats and so forth would be worn by the priests, because they got the hides of those offerings. But with a sin offering, the priest couldn't keep the hides. They were to be taken out and burnt completely with fire outside of the camp.

And the whole congregation of Israel sinned through ignorance, and the thing is hid from the eyes of the assembly, they've done somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which should not be done, and are guilty; when the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known, to the congregation, they shall offer a young bullock for the sin, and bring him before the tabernacle ( Leviticus 4:13-14 ).

And so forth, and thus the sin offering following the same routine. A sin offering for the congregation and then the sin offering for the rulers. In verse twenty-two, the same idea of ignorance, the rulers and so forth. And then they were to bring a kid of the goats, a male without blemish, and it was to be offered in the same manner as the bullock before the Lord.

And then, we get down to us in verse twenty-seven.

And if any of the commoners sin through ignorance [and so it comes down to every one of us], while he doeth somewhat against any of the commandments of the Lord concerning things which ought not to be done, and is guilty; if the sin, which he has sinned, comes to his knowledge: then he shall bring an offering, of the kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his sin which he has sinned ( Leviticus 4:27-28 ).

Now the rulers brought the male kid of the goats and the commoners brought a female kid of the goats. And they would lay their hand upon the head of the sin offering, and the priest would go through the same routine of putting the blood upon the altar and sprinkling it before the Lord.

And if he bring a lamb for a sin offering, he shall bring it a female without blemish ( Leviticus 4:32 ).

And thus the sin offerings. And as I say, sin was related to ignorance. It was the missing of the mark. It comes to your attention; it wasn't really a deliberate thing. But now what about those deliberate things.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Leviticus 4". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/leviticus-4.html. 2014.
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