Posted by Mark Herzer

Leviticus 5:14-6:7, Guilt Offerings

This section has three types of sins that require the “guilt offerings” (vv. 15, 19, 6:6) of a ram (vv. 15, 18, 6:6). These offenses seem to be more serious than the sin offerings (5:1-13). How these guilt offerings differed from the previous sin offerings is difficult to understand except these are weightier offenses. The three general types are sins against “the holy things of the Lord” (v. 15), “any of the things that …ought not to be done” (v. 17), and sins against a neighbor’s rights and property (6:2-7).

Of the three, the first sin against holy things and the third type against a neighbor’s property are deemed to be a “breach of faith” (5:14, 6:1). In 6:1-7, the sins are deliberate (one doesn’t rob or lie accidentally) while sins against holy things were “unintentional” (5:14) — yet both are breaches of faith. It probably means that the offenses were very great.

In matters that related to property, a full restoration of the item plus an added 20% compensation fee was required along with the required “guilt offering.” In 5:14-16, the property withheld was probably against the priests (cf. M. Henry).

The three kinds of sin against a neighbor’s property are, deceptive use of a trust or pledge, robbery, and extortion while “swearing falsely” (6:3) about them. These sins against one’s neighbor are deemed to be fundamentally (though not exclusively) “against the Lord” (6:1).

Let me make a few applications from this passage. Let us see the importance of restitution. When it is in our power to restore, we must do all that we can. M. Henry says “we cannot have the comfort of the forgiveness of the sin” if we do not do so. I think some criminal cases would be better served if this principle was applied — have the person pay back the same with an additional amount. The person would learn a valuable lesson. Lastly, we can make no restitution for our sins — our eternal death is required. Praise God, who out of His great mercy, sent His Son to pay the debt we incurred through our sins!


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