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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 4

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-3

LEVITICUS- CHAPTER FOUR

Verses 1-3:

"If a soul" denotes that the following applies to all classes alike in Israel, no matter what their social, political, or religious status might be.

The "Sin Offering" was similar to the "Whole Burnt Offering." The "Sin Offering" was offered when one committed a "sin through ignorance," bishgagah. The term covers all sins, except those committed in defiance, "with a high hand."

This offering is a type of Jesus’ suffering for the sin principle. This is referred to by various terms: (1) Adamic sin; (2) inbred sin; (3) original sin; (4) total hereditary depravity. This may be illustrated: The fact that one sins does not make him a sinner; he sins because he is a sinner, Pr 23:7; Mt 12:34-37; 5:22, 28. Every human being inherits this sin nature, Ps 51:5; Ro 5:12; Eph 2:1-3. Jesus died for sin, the inherent depravity and inbred sin with which every human being is infected. Because this is true, no infant will be lost in hell; this holds true for any person who is mentally incapable of perceiving right and wrong, 1Ti 4:10.

The sins for which this sacrifice was offered were those committed merely because one is a sinner, as the natural result of the sin-nature. For example: the profane expletive when one unexpectedly mashes his finger; the lustful glance at another person; the sudden outburst of temper, etc. It does not refer to those deliberate acts which come as the result of planning and willful determination, such as "murder with malice aforethought," or a carefully laid plan to commit immorality, etc.

The "Priest that is anointed" refers to the high priest. Verses 3-12 prescribes the manner in which he was to offer the sacrifice for his own "sin through ignorance."

In the case of the high priest, he was to bring a "Sin Offering" of a young, unblemished bull.

Verses 4-12

Verses 4-12:

Requirements for the Sin Offering differed according to the position of the offerer. If the offerer were the high priest, he must:

I. Offer a young bullock in the tabernacle courtyard;

2. Place his hands upon the head of the sacrifice;

3. Slay the sacrificial animal;

4. Take some of the animal’s blood into the holy place of the tabernacle, and there sprinkle some of it seven times toward the veil separating the Holy of Holies from the holy place, then smear some of the blood on the horns of the golden incense altar;

5. The rest of the blood must be poured out at the base of the brazen altar of burnt offering;

6. The internal fat must all be burnt upon the altar;

7. The remainder of the sacrifice must be carried outside the camp, and burned.

Verses 13-21

Verses 13-21:

The text makes provision for the "Sin Offering" on behalf of the whole congregation. This affirms that a nation may become guilty of national sin, in differing ways:

I. Directly: by laws passed by the legislature, or interpreted by the judiciary. An example: the legalization of abortion, or prostitution, or sodomy.

2. Indirectly: by the society’s condoning of a sin or sins committed in the name of the nation, by its rulers.

In the event of national sin, the provisions for the Sin Offering were the same as for the high priest, except the "elders," or recognized leaders, were to place their hands on the sacrificial animal

The provision for the Sin Offering on behalf of the "whole congregation" shows that God does require repentance for sin from nations as a whole, and that He will forgive their sin and stay His judgment. The city of Nineveh is an example of this, Jonah chapter 4; see also 2Ch 7:14.

Verses 22-26

Verses 22-26:

If the offerer of the Sin Offering were a ruler of the people, a government official, the requirements were the same as for the priest, with these exceptions:

1. The animal was to be a male kid goat;

2. The priest was to smear the blood of the sacrificial animal on the horns of the altar, instead of taking a portion into the holy place of the tabernacle;

3. The flesh of the sacrifice was not to be taken outside the camp and burned, but it was to be eaten by the priests in the tabernacle court, see Le 6:26.

Verses 27-35

Verses 27-35:

In the event the one bringing the Sin Offering was of the "common people," the sacrificial animal was to be a young she-goat, or a young ewe lamb.

The ritual was the same as for the ruler (verses 22-26).

One lesson the Israelite learned from the Sin Offering was the terrible nature of sin, and the necessity for a cleansing for sin, in addition to penitence.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Leviticus 4". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/leviticus-4.html. 1985.
 
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