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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 5

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verse 1


The Leviticus 5:1-1 Chronicles : of Leviticus 5 are a kind of intermediate form between sin offering and guilt offering. The sin offering in Leviticus 4 shows what the character of sin is, that sin is contrary to the holy nature of God, and not so much what that sin consists of, what sin was committed. It also shows that the position of someone who is sinning is important. The guilt offering is more about the deed that is done and the satisfaction to the LORD toward Whom the deed is done.

The word ‘guilt’ means to be guilty towards someone to whom we are accountable. It is debt that we charge on ourselves if we usurp the property of another person illegally or withhold from someone something to which he is entitled. It can be about material things, but also about immaterial things, like someone’s good name or something that puts him at a disadvantage.

Guilty By Not Telling the Truth

A “pronounced curse” that someone hears is a situation in which a judge implores an accused person under oath by pronouncing the oath formula (Numbers 5:20-Ecclesiastes :; Matthew 26:63). This places an obligation on the defendant to speak the truth. If he does not do so, and there is someone present who knows the facts, but does not tell them, then he too is guilty. So it is about someone sinning and blaming himself when he is silent, while he has to speak.

An example of this can be found in Proverbs 29. It is about the henchman of a thief (Proverbs 29:24). If the thief and he are caught, he must testify against the thief and against himself. The judge hears him under oath, which he indicates by pronouncing a curse. The henchman can remain silent because he is afraid of the thief’s revenge and is also afraid of a conviction by the judge. This makes him guilty of two sins: his help to the thief and his refusal to testify.

It isn’t enough to merely not tell lies. God also requires His people to make the truth known. Even if one merely knew about a lie, he is responsible to make the truth known. If he does not tell it, he bears guilt: Therefore, it was the duty of someone who was a witness to come forward and tell the truth about the matter. Not to witness was a sin.

We can say that the same principle applies to our witness of Jesus Christ in Christianity. It isn’t enough that we refrain from actively denying the Lord Jesus or lying about our relationship with Him. We must also, if it is asked from us, tell the truth about Him, about everything He has made known about Himself in His Word.

In a broader sense we can apply this to the responsibility we have to people who do not know the gospel. Then we are responsible for giving our testimony that we know the Lord Jesus. God can bring us into circumstances where we clearly see His hand to give a testimony of Who He is. If we then remain silent, we are guilty. We should always be ready “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you” (1 Peter 3:15).

Verses 2-3

Guilty Through Carelessness

Someone sins and charges guilt upon himself by touching something unclean. It is an unconscious, direct, personal contact with something unclean. It is a sin of carelessness. However, it will somehow become clear to him that he has become unclean. Only then he will be able to see it and bring the appropriate offering.

There are two forms in catching uncleanness. The first is by touching the carcass of unclean animals. That represents death in the world around us. Death stands for everything that is not connected with the living God. We cannot take death out of the world and therefore we run the risk of coming into contact with it in all sorts of ways.

‘Touching’ has a spiritual meaning for us. This is done, for example, by seeing impureness and violence and hearing falsehood. It is our responsibility that we do not (continue to) look at it and do not (continue to) listen to it. In cases where we cannot help it, we can learn spiritual lessons from the precepts of Numbers 19 (Numbers 19:11-Song of Solomon :).

The second is to touch the uncleanness of a human being. We can apply this to, for example, taking over things from the people of the world, such as their behavior, talking and striving. This happens when we make friends with the world, have friends who do not know the Lord. Scripture calls this “hostility toward God” (James 4:4). Friendship with the world makes us come under its influence. Not we have influence on them, but they have influence on us. “Do not be deceived: Bad company corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

The Christian cannot become unclean by literally touching certain things. The Lord Jesus has already pointed this out with an emphatic “hear and understand”: “[It is] not what enters into the mouth [that] defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man” (Matthew 15:11). Defilement happens in the heart, as the Lord says a few verses later: “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man” (Matthew 15:18-Proverbs :).

Verse 4

Guilty Through Thoughtless Speaking

Someone sins and charges guilt when he speaks hastily and overconfidently. This is failure in self-control, there is no control over the flesh. Peter first claims at high and low in gross self-esteem that, although all his fellow disciples fall away because of the Lord, he will never fall away (Matthew 26:33). But a while later he swears that he does not know the Lord (Matthew 26:69-Susanna :). Both times he has lost control of himself and he is acting carnally.

We can apply this to well-meant promises, like saying to someone that we will come to visit, but we don’t do it. We make such a promise more to encourage the other person at the moment of the promise that we will not forget him than that we really intend to visit him. Also if we wish someone something bad out loud because he has done us an injustice – which we fortunately, in general, didn’t commit the act – these are words that have been “thoughtlessly” spoken. It is because of these words that we are guilty. If we are later to be resigned to our promise, we will have to confess that we have spoken those words thoughtlessly.

Verses 5-13

Sin Offerings According to Capacities

If we have committed any of these sins, this sin should be confessed as soon as it is known. Confession means that sin is called by name – “he shall confess that in which he has sinned”. Also a guilt offering must be brought as a sin offering. This means for us – not that the Lord Jesus must die again, but – that we must realize that He had to die for the sin we just committed. It must also be clear to us that God has been dishonored by this sin.

The size of the offering determines the extent to which we are aware of how much God has been dishonored by this sin and how much the Lord Jesus has had to suffer. A larger offering indicates a greater awareness of this, a smaller offering indicates a smaller awareness. But apart from the extent of the awareness there is forgiveness on the basis of the offering. This shows that in the end it is God who deals according to the value that the offering has for Him. And it is also fortunate that we do not receive forgiveness because of our understanding of the work of the Lord Jesus, but because of what God sees in it. This does not mean, however, that it does not matter to what extent we penetrate into the meaning of the cross.

Someone who comes with two birds (Leviticus 5:7-2 Samuel :), brings a small offering. The burnt offering, for which the second bird must be prepared, serves as a substitute for the fat of the larger sin offerings. The sin offering is a horrible thing for God, but the fat is not. Now there is no fat on a bird. That is why the second bird is destined as a burnt offering. However horrible the sin offering may be, there is something in it that glorifies God. God would like to hear from us that He Who wanted to die for our sins is also the One Who glorified Him and in whose work He found complete satisfaction.

Someone can be so poor that he brings only a handful of fine flour as a sin offering (Leviticus 5:11-1 Chronicles :). It is exceptional that a non-bloody offering serves for reconciliation. This speaks of someone who has very little awareness of the work of the Lord Jesus. It is someone who hardly realizes that blood had to flow to forgive sin. The only thing such a person sees is that the Lord Jesus is a perfect Man Who did not commit the sin he did. He realizes that there is salvation only through Him, without being aware that death is necessary as God’s judgment of his sin.

This offering of flour is reminiscent of the grain offering, but it is not. The oil and incense may not be added. It is a sin offering, and it is not pleasant to God.

This regulation for the poorest of the poor among God’s people is also proof that God does not forgive according to our understanding of the work of the Lord Jesus, but according to His appreciation of it. For God it is important that He sees the sincerity of the confession, that someone really recognizes his deed as sin for Him.

Verses 14-16

Sin Against the Holy Things

The offering of guilt provides for two forms of guilt, for guilt can arise in two ways: guilt toward God (Leviticus 5:14-Psalms :) and guilt toward the neighbor (Leviticus 6:1-Judges :). Guilt toward God can also arise in two ways: by withholding from Him something that is due to Him (Leviticus 5:15-Nehemiah :) and by doing something that He has forbidden (Leviticus 5:17-Psalms :).

When we become unfaithful to “the LORD’s holy things” we can think of taking away something that is set apart for Him – “holy” means “set apart for”. It may be something that He has set apart for Himself, or it may be something that we have set apart for Him. We are “bought with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20) and we were “purchased for God” (Revelation 5:9). We belong to God. He is entitled to our sacrifices of praise and thanks and to our material sacrifices (Hebrews 13:15-Nehemiah :), yes, our whole life (Romans 12:1).

If we deny Him our thanks, our gifts, our lives, we are guilty. For example, we can be in the meetings and sing along, without really thanking Him from our hearts. We can only spend our money for our own pleasure. We can spend our time on worthless things. In all those aspects, which should all be sanctified to the LORD, we can become unfaithful.

It is assumed it happens “unintentionally”. Yet we can become guilty if we do not keep an eye on the fact that everything belongs to the Lord. If we become aware of this, we will have to bring a guilt offering and a further twenty percent. The prescribed animal as a guilt offering is a ram. There is no talk of any other kind of offering. This indicates that this offering is equal for everyone.

The ram is the animal that speaks of the devotion of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus has always sanctified everything to God perfectly. Everything in Him is for God. His devotion has been to death. That death was necessary, also for my lack of sanctification of everything God is entitled to. I have to realize that again. I need to dedicate myself to Him again and with even more dedication, twenty percent more.

The valuation of which is spoken is destined by Moses. The LORD speaks to him. Moses is the picture of the Lord Jesus as the great Teacher, who speaks the Word of God with authority, the great Prophet, who applies the Word of God to heart and conscience. The valuation in silver by shekels refers to the price the Lord Jesus paid on the cross. It is reminiscent of His blood. The valuation happens “in [terms of] the shekel of the sanctuary”. This brings us into contact with the sanctuary, the place where God dwells. We do not determine the valuation of the guilt offering. The Lord Jesus does, in the sanctuary, before God.

The guilt must not only be confessed, but also paid back, with an additional amount of one fifth. If we confess our guilt before God and rededicate ourselves to Him, we will do so with greater zeal than before. This is because we have learned a little more about the grace of God and the work of the Lord Jesus. Peter is an example of this. He has denied the Lord three times. After his confession and restoration, he devotes himself, in the knowledge of the grace that has been bestowed upon him, diligently to the work that the Lord has commissioned him to do (2 Peter 1:12-Ezra :).

Verses 17-19

Violation of a Commandment

For the violation of a commandment of the LORD may not be used as an excuse that we are unfamiliar with that commandment. It is like the saying: every citizen is supposed to know the law. Laws are always published. Violation of it is punishable by a penalty. What is self-evident in the jurisdiction of a people does not seem to apply to God. At least, that’s how we sometimes behave.

But even if we have just been converted, we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, through Whom we know all things (1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27). So we cannot apologize if we do something the Lord has forbidden. What He wants of us always can be controlled by His Word. He will never ask anything of us that is contrary to His Word.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Leviticus 5". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/leviticus-5.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
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