Leviticus 4

The Law of Sin Offerings

Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, ‘If a person sins unintentionally in any of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and commits any of them— if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then he shall offer to the Lord a young bull without blemish as a sin offering for the sin he has committed. He shall bring the bull to the doorway of the Tent of Meeting before the Lord, and shall lay his hand on the bull’s head [transferring symbolically his guilt to the sacrifice] and kill the bull before the Lord. Then the anointed priest is to take some of the bull’s blood and bring it into the Tent of Meeting; and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood and sprinkle some of it seven times before the Lord in front of the veil (curtain) of the sanctuary. 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. All the rest of the blood of the bull he shall pour out at the base of the altar of the burnt offering which is at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. He shall remove all the fat from the bull of the sin offering—the fat that covers the entrails, and all the fat which is on the entrails, and the two kidneys with the fat that is on them at the loins, and the lobe of the liver, which he shall remove with the kidneys (just as these are removed from the ox of the sacrifice of peace offerings), and the priest is to offer them up in smoke on the altar of burnt offering. But the hide of the bull and all its meat, with its head, its legs, its entrails, and its refuse, that is, all the rest of the bull, he is to bring outside the camp to a clean place where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on a fire of wood. Where the ashes are poured out it shall be burned.

‘Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the matter escapes the notice of the assembly, and they have done any one of the things which the Lord has commanded not to be done, and they become guilty; when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the congregation shall offer a young bull of the herd as a sin offering and bring it before the Tent of Meeting. Then the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the Lord [to transfer symbolically the congregation’s guilt to the sacrifice], and they shall kill the bull before the Lord. The anointed priest is to bring some of the bull’s blood to the Tent of Meeting, and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the Lord, in front of the veil [which screens off the Holy of Holies and the ark of the covenant]. He shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar [of incense] which is before the Lord in the Tent of Meeting; and he shall pour out all the rest of the blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering which is at the doorway of the Tent of Meeting. He shall remove all its fat from the bull and offer it up in smoke on the altar. He shall also do with the bull just as he did with the bull of the sin offering; that is what he shall do with this. So the priest shall make atonement for [the sin of] the people, and they will be forgiven. Then the priest is to bring the bull outside the camp and burn it as he burned the first bull; it is the sin offering for the congregation.

‘When a ruler or leader sins and unintentionally does any one of the things the Lord his God has commanded not to be done, and he becomes guilty, if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, he shall bring a goat, a male without blemish as his offering. He shall lay his hand on the head of the male goat [transferring symbolically his guilt to the sacrifice], and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the Lord; it is a sin offering. 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. And he shall offer all its fat up in smoke on the altar like the fat from the sacrifice of peace offerings; so the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to his sin, and he will be forgiven.

‘If anyone of the common people sins unintentionally by doing any of the things the Lord has commanded not to be done, and becomes guilty, if his sin which he has committed is made known to him, then he shall bring a goat, a female without blemish as his offering for the sin which he has committed. He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering [transferring symbolically his guilt to the sacrifice], and kill it at the place of the burnt offering. The priest shall take some of its blood with his finger and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering and shall pour out all the rest of its blood at the base of the altar. 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 as a sweet and soothing aroma to the Lord. In this way the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven.

‘If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish. He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering [transferring symbolically his guilt to the sacrifice], and kill it as a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 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 the blood of the lamb he shall pour out at the base of the altar. 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 it up in smoke on the altar, on the offerings by fire to the Lord. In this way the priest shall make atonement for him in regard to the sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

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Leviticus 5:1-13

The Law of Guilt Offerings

‘If anyone sins after he hears a [a]public adjuration (solemn command to testify) when he is a witness, whether he has seen or [otherwise] known [something]—if he fails to report it, then he will bear his guilt and be held responsible. Or if someone touches any [ceremonially] unclean thing—whether the carcass of an unclean wild animal or the carcass of an unclean domestic animal or the carcass of unclean creeping things—even if he is unaware of it, he has become unclean, and he will be guilty. Or if he touches human uncleanness—whatever kind it may be—and he becomes unclean, but he is unaware of it, when he recognizes it, he will be guilty. Or if anyone swears [an oath] thoughtlessly or impulsively [b]aloud that he will do either evil or good, in whatever manner a person may speak thoughtlessly or impulsively with an oath, but he is unaware of it, when he recognizes it, he will be guilty in one of these. So it shall be when a person is guilty in one of these, that he shall confess the sin he has committed. He shall bring his guilt offering to the Lord for the sin which he has committed, a female from the flock, a lamb or a goat as a sin offering. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for his sin.

‘But if he [c]cannot afford a lamb, then he shall bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons as his guilt offering for his sin to the Lord, one as a sin offering and the other as a burnt offering. He shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering, and shall nip its head at the front of its neck, but shall not sever it [completely]. He shall also sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, and the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar; it is a sin offering. The second [bird] he shall prepare as a burnt offering, according to the ordinance. So the priest shall make atonement on his behalf for the sin which he has committed, and it will be forgiven him.

‘But if he cannot afford to bring two turtledoves or two young pigeons, then he shall bring as his offering for his sin the tenth part of an [d]ephah of fine flour as a sin offering; he shall not put [olive] oil or incense on it, for it is a sin offering. He shall bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful of it as a memorial portion and offer it up in smoke on the altar, with the offerings by fire to the Lord; it is a sin offering. In this way the priest shall make atonement for him for the sin which he has committed in one of these things, and it will be forgiven him; then the rest shall be for the priest, like the grain offering.’”


Footnotes
  1. Leviticus 5:1 Lit voice of an oath. This refers to a public announcement calling for witnesses to testify.
  2. Leviticus 5:4 Lit with his lips.
  3. Leviticus 5:7 Lit if his hand cannot reach enough for.
  4. Leviticus 5:11 Approximately one bushel.

Read More of Leviticus 5