Leviticus 4

1 The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Speak to the children of Israel, saying, ‘If anyone sins unintentionally, in any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and does any one of them: 3 if the anointed priest sins so as to bring guilt on the people, then let him offer for his sin, which he has sinned, a young bull without defect to the LORD for a sin offering. 4 He shall bring the bull to the door of the Tent of Meeting before the LORD; and he shall lay his hand on the head of the bull, and kill the bull before the LORD. 5 The anointed priest shall take some of the blood of the bull, and bring it to the Tent of Meeting. 6 The priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle some of the blood seven times before the LORD, before the veil of the sanctuary. 7 The priest shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar of sweet incense before the LORD, which is in the Tent of Meeting; and he shall pour out all of rest of the blood of the bull at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 8 He shall take all the fat of the bull of the sin offering off of it; the fat that covers the innards, and all the fat that is on the innards, 9 and the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the loins, and the cover on the liver, with the kidneys, he shall take away, 10 as it is taken off of the bull of the sacrifice of peace offerings. The priest shall burn them on the altar of burnt offering. 11 The bull’s skin, all its flesh, with its head, and with its legs, its innards, and its dung, 12 he shall carry the whole bull outside of the camp to a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn it on wood with fire. Where the ashes are poured out, it shall be burnt. 13 “‘If the whole congregation of Israel sins, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and are guilty; 14 when the sin in which they have sinned is known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for a sin offering, and bring it before the Tent of Meeting. 15 The elders of the congregation shall lay their hands on the head of the bull before the LORD; and the bull shall be killed before the LORD. 16 The anointed priest shall bring of the blood of the bull to the Tent of Meeting: 17 and the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and sprinkle it seven times before the LORD, before the veil. 18 He shall put some of the blood on the horns of the altar which is before the LORD, that is in the Tent of Meeting; and the rest of the blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar of burnt offering, which is at the door of the Tent of Meeting. 19 All its fat he shall take from it, and burn it on the altar. 20 Thus shall he do with the bull; as he did with the bull of the sin offering, so shall he do with this; and the priest shall make atonement for them, and they shall be forgiven. 21 He shall carry the bull outside the camp, and burn it as he burnt the first bull. It is the sin offering for the assembly. 22 “‘When a ruler sins, and unwittingly does any one of all the things which the LORD his God has commanded not to be done, and is guilty; 23 if his sin, in which he has sinned, is made known to him, he shall bring as his offering a goat, a male without defect. 24 He shall lay his hand on the head of the goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt offering before the LORD. It is a sin offering. 25 The priest shall take some of the blood of the sin offering with his finger, and put it on the horns of the altar of burnt offering. He shall pour out the rest of its blood at the base of the altar of burnt offering. 26 All its fat he shall burn on the altar, like the fat of the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and he will be forgiven. 27 “‘If anyone of the common people sins unwittingly, in doing any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, and is guilty; 28 if his sin, which he has sinned, is made known to him, then he shall bring for his offering a goat, a female without defect, for his sin which he has sinned. 29 He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill the sin offering in the place of burnt offering. 30 The priest shall take some of its blood 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. 31 All its fat he shall take away, like the fat is taken away from off of the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn it on the altar for a pleasant aroma to the LORD; and the priest shall make atonement for him, and he will be forgiven. 32 “‘If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without defect. 33 He shall lay his hand on the head of the sin offering, and kill it for a sin offering in the place where they kill the burnt offering. 34 The priest shall 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 its blood he shall pour out at the base of the altar. 35 All its fat he shall take away, like the fat of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of peace offerings; and the priest shall burn them on the altar, on the offerings of the LORD made by fire; and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin that he has sinned, and he will be forgiven.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1–12

Burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and peace-offerings, had been offered before the giving of the law upon mount Sinai; and in these the patriarchs had respect to sin, to make atonement for it. But the Jews were now put into a way of making atonement for sin, more particularly by sacrifice, as a shadow of good things to come; yet the substance is Christ, and that one offering of himself, by which he put away sin. The sins for which the sin-offerings were appointed are supposed to be open acts. They are supposed to be sins of commission, things which ought not to have been done. Omissions are sins, and must come into judgment: yet what had been omitted at one time, might be done at another; but a sin committed was past recall. They are supposed to be sins committed through ignorance. The law begins with the case of the anointed priest. It is evident that God never had any infallible priest in his church upon earth, when even the high priest was liable to fall into sins of ignorance. All pretensions to act without error are sure marks of Antichrist. The beast was to be carried without the camp, and there burned to ashes. This was a sign of the duty of repentance, which is the putting away sin as a detestable thing, which our soul hates. The sin-offering is called sin. What they did to that, we must do to our sins; the body of sin must be destroyed, Ro 6:6. The apostle applies the carrying this sacrifice without the camp to Christ, Heb 13:11–13.

Verses 13–21

If the leaders of the people, through mistake, caused them to err, an offering must be brought, that wrath might not come upon the whole congregation. When sacrifices were offered, the persons, on whose behalf they were devoted, were to lay their hands on the heads of the victims, and to confess their sins. The elders were to do so, when the sacrifices were offered for the whole congregation. The load of sin was supposed then to be borne by the guiltless animal. When the offering is completed, it is said, atonement is made, and the sin shall be forgiven. The saving of churches and kingdoms from ruin, is owing to the satisfaction and mediation of Christ.

Verses 22–26

Those who have power to call others to account, are themselves accountable to the Ruler of rulers. The sin of the ruler, committed through ignorance, must come to his knowledge, either by the check of his own conscience, or by the reproof of his friends; both which even the best and greatest, not only should submit to, but be thankful for. That which I see not, teach thou me, and, Show me wherein I have erred, are prayers we should put up to God every day; that if, through ignorance, we fall into sin, we may not through ignorance abide in it.

Verses 27–35

Here is the law of the sin-offering for a common person. To be able to plead, when charged with sin, that we did it ignorantly, and through the surprise of temptation, will not bring us off, if we have no interest in that great plea, Christ hath died. The sins of ignorance committed by a common person, needed a sacrifice; the greatest are not above, the meanest are not below Divine justice. None, if offenders, were overlooked. Here rich and poor meet together; they are alike sinners, and welcome to Christ. From all these laws concerning the sin-offerings, we may learn to hate sin, and to watch against it; and to value Christ, the great and true Sin-offering, whose blood cleanses from all sin, which it was not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away. For us to err, with the Bible in our hands, is the effect of pride, sloth, and carelessness. We need to use frequent self-examination, with serious study of the Scriptures, and earnest prayer for the convincing influences of God the Holy Spirit; that we may detect our sins of ignorance, repent, and obtain forgiveness through the blood of Christ.

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