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Bible Commentaries
Leviticus 5

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

Verses 1-19


The subject of the sin offering is continued in this chapter up to the end of verse 13. It is a descending scale, for the specific sin has to be brought to the attention of the offender, and the offering made, but allowance also made for a lesser offering in the case of poverty. Verse 1 is a sin of omission. One may hear and know of a matter of serious importance and yet not report it. In law this is called misprision, but it is sin before God. “The voice of adjuration” put one under solemn obligation to bear witness to what he knew was true. Thus, though the Lord said nothing in defense of Himself before the Sanhedrim, yet when the high priest adjured Him in God's name, He answered what was true, that He is the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 26:63-64).

Also, touching the dead carcass of an animal would involve one in defilement, or touching a human who was defiled by any type of uncleanness, though this happened inadvertently (vv. 2-3). Or one might thoughtlessly swear an oath that he afterward realized was sinful (v. 4). Touching an unclean thing was of course simply ceremonial defilement, but pictures for us any associations we may make that are morally corrupt. If we identify ourselves with others living corruptly, we too shall be defiled by this.

When any such things were brought to a person's attention, he was to confess that he had sinned in that thing. How good it is when such a confession is made, with no excuses added!

In verse 6, because a trespass offering was here required, some have thought this introduces the subject of the trespass offering, but a sin offering and a burnt offering were also required (vv. 6-7), and then the sin offering is emphasized in verses 8 and 9. Properly speaking, the subject of the trespass offering begins in verse 14. But the trespass offering and the sin offering (v. 6) were both brought, a female from the flock, or a kid of the goats as a sin offering. This shows a close connection between the two offerings, for the act of disobedience (requiring a trespass offering) exposes the disobedient character of the person, that is, his sinful nature, which is emphasized in the sin offering.


One who was unable to bring a lamb would be allowed to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons as a sacrifice. This pictures one who is poor in his apprehension of the value of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus as fully atoning for sin. At least he recognizes that the Lord Jesus is from heaven (pictured by the birds), therefore above him, and though his understanding is weak, God receives his offering.

The birds' heads were to be wrung off, symbolizing the intelligence being set apart, but otherwise no division of the parts of the bird was allowed, for the birds speak of the heavenly character of the Lord Jesus, which is above our ability to discern. Some of the blood was then sprinkled on the side of the altar and the rest drained out at the base of the altar. The first bird was for a sin offering, no doubt offered in accordance with Leviticus 1:14-17.


Because of poverty one might not be able to bring even the birds for an offering. In this case the grace of God allowed an offering of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour, a small amount, but unlike other meal offerings, no oil or incense was put on it, because it was a sin offering. Since no blood was involved, it could not properly be atoning. It speaks of the purity of the Man Christ Jesus, however, and if there is in the offender a true regard for the person of Christ, though he has no understanding of the value of Christ's work of redemption, God can still graciously receive this offering, making this concession for ignorance.

There is no sweet savor in this, for it is a sin offering. A handful of this was taken by the priest and burned on the altar, and the remainder was the priest's, as was the case with a meal offering. Thus, God was given His part and the priest (typical of Christ) was given his.

THE TRESPASS OFFERING (vv. 14 to Leviticus 6:7 )


The trespass offering deals with sin also, but not simply in its general evil character, rather in its being injurious either to God or to people. These are said to be sins of ignorance also. In this section sin in sacred things is first mentioned. For this a ram without blemish was to be offered, and also silver according to the proper estimation of the injury done. The trespass must be fully paid for, but a fifth part also added. Only this could be considered making proper amends.

Thus, the Lord Jesus has not only paid the penalty for the sin that Adam introduced into the world, but has gone beyond this, as Romans 5:17 tells us. He has not only restored what Adam lost, but much more. Adam lost earth, but Christ has introduced heavenly blessing for us.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Leviticus 5". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/leviticus-5.html. 1897-1910.
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