The Trespass Offering

1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.

This refers to a failure of disclose equivalent to concealment - tantamount to harbouring or condoning the iniquity.

Law of uncleanness

2 Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.

3 Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.

The true nature of flesh (unclean) revealed to the Hebrews

'...if he touch the uncleanness of man'. Lesson: moral defilement IS spread by unclean thoughts and errors, the evil fruit of the thinking of the flesh.

'Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners'. (1 Cor 15:33)

Apart from leprosy, all the diseases of which they (the uncleanness laws) took account were diseases of the reproductive organs.

Even the normal menstrual flow in healthy women bore close enough an affinity to the idea of the defilement caused by ancestral sin to be classed as a cause of seven days' uncleanness.

This in itself was pointed enough an indication of the hereditary effects of Eve's and Adam's sin (Lev 15:19-24; Gen. 3:16).

Hidden away out of sight though the source of the defilement might have been, yet its existence could not be denied. In man and in woman alike the same fatal symptom bore witness to it.

Law and Grace

4 Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.

Or if anyone swears [an oath] thoughtlessly or impulsively 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. AMP

(Failure to perform a forgotten oath/ commitment - when it comes again to mind - seek forgiveness)

5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing...

6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto Yahweh for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.

Why, then, should there be a trespass offering as distinct from a sin offering? Because, while all trespass is sin, all sin is not trespass. There is what Paul calls "sin that dwelleth in me" (Rom. 7:17). There is sin of forgetfulness; sin of "unadvised" but unintentional words, in "the multitude of which", in an ordinary way, as Solomon says, "there wanteth not sin"; sin of omission; sin of thought--all of which cause a righteous man to exclaim with Paul, "O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me?" - but which do not constitute trespass. Trespass is an open and hurtful act, in disobedience of express statute, as when a man lies or steals.

The enumeration of the offences for which trespass offerings were to be provided shows this: the concealing of known and unrepented sin in others [v1]; the contraction of uncleanness [v2-3]; the utterance of an unlawful oath [v4]; the embezzlement of things committed in trust; treachery, violence, misrepresentation, false swearing, etc. (Lev. 6:1, 5). The fact that provision was made for such offences, when truly repented of, is an illustration of what Christ teaches:

"All manner of sin shall be forgiven unto men, except the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit".

Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is rebellion against the authority of God, and is naturally in a different category from sins of weakness that are not conceived in the spirit of presumptuous disobedience. Even human law distinguishes between treason and breaches of recognized law: and "Shall mortal man be more just than God?" Treason is a capital offence, while breaches of common law' may be condoned by restitution or apology.

Law of Moses Ch 25.

16 And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.

Blood sacrifice.

This touches a subject high, deep and wide. It calls attention to the origin of death in relation to man and to the nature of life in relation to God. Both these subjects are liable to be skimmed over in this merely naturalistic age. Men find death a universal law of the animal world, so far as they have experience of that world upon earth: and they are apt to regard it as the inseparable corollary life - the necessary and other half of the phenomenon of vitality.

They see animals, great and small, born, grow, decay, and die: and they see man do the same. Therefore they write it down as a "law of nature', for which they do not require to seek a special origin, and to which, therefore, it is impossible they can attach the odious character suggested by these provisions of the Mosaic law regarding it. But it is evident there is a fallacy in this way of looking at the subject . . .

So far as man is concerned, death is the result of sin. and not the necessary quality of the nature with which he was endowed in the first instance. This truth enables us to understand

the peculiar detestation of death expressed by the ordinances we are considering.

The presence of death - the touch of death - means presence of sin, and sin is the awful thing that fools make a mock at. The crime of insubordination against the wish, will, or law of the Eternal Author and Proprietor of Creation."


19 It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against Yahweh.

The combined effect of all these sacrificial provisions of the law is to give ground of hope to all men who fear God and submit to His appointments.

They may be erring and shortcoming, and a trouble to themselves because of their many imperfections: but if they are "humble and contrite of heart", and make confession of their sins in the name of Jesus, in whom all these sacrifices concentre as the end and substance foreshadowed, they may trust to be forgiven.

"If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared" (Psa. 130:3-4). May it not, then, be said to many a fearful one, "Lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way"? (Heb. 12:12-13).

Law of Moses Ch 25.