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.
You are responsible, in principle, if you are a witness to a sin and do nothing about it. In our society there have been many debates about the responsibility of witnesses to a crime. The landmark case was that of a murder victim named Kitty Genovese who screamed for help and was ignored by frightened neighbors who wanted to “mind their own business.”
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.
This commandment is so obviously, through its religious application, a health oriented rule that it defies argument as such.
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.
This also argues for the ignorance and poor hygiene that mankind had fallen into. Consider today, the spread of Ebola and other diseases through the cultural practice in Africa of washing the dead relative’s body in preparation for burial.
Keep in mind how unclean spirits and devils are obsessed with death and the dead. Spiritually, it is essential that we bury our dead and put them out of our sight, not leaving them on a hillside to rot like some ancient Celts.
Genesis 23:4 I am a stranger and a sojourner with you: give me a possession of a buryingplace with you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.
With regard to the fascination with the dead and with death.
Isaiah 65:2 I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; 3 A people that provoketh me to anger continually to my face; that sacrificeth in gardens, and burneth incense upon altars of brick; 4 Which remain among the graves, and lodge in the monuments, which eat swine’s flesh, and broth of abominable things is in their vessels;
Mark 5:1 ¶ And they came over unto the other side of the sea, into the country of the Gadarenes. 2 And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, 3 Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:
4 Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. 5 And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.
Of course, the uncleanness of a man may refer to excrement and body waste or “seed of copulation” as well.
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.
We sometimes do things without realizing what we’ve done immediately, but it is clear by all of these statements that we are not excused from our guilt. This is perhaps one of the things that infuriates critics of the Bible so much. They are incensed that a person could be held guilty for a sin of which he is unaware. This accounts for the need to reach the lost in other cultures who have never heard the name of Christ to give them a chance to be saved for they will be held accountable even in their ignorance.
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:
Your safest response to sin is to immediately confess it to God. Don’t hang onto it so you can crawl up front on Sunday morning and cry out to God at the step on which the pulpit sits and impress the preacher with your spirituality.
6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD 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.
Keep in mind the setup after Christ’s death and resurrection. We are a priesthood.
1Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
So, keep thinking that each Christian is like, in type, the entire nation of Israel. Each Christian is also a priest. Each Christian is also the temple of the Holy Ghost. Just as each Christian is part of the organic body of Christ.
7 ¶ And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the LORD; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering.
Joseph and Mary were poor and notice Mary’s offering.
Luke 2:24 And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.
Notice the impossibility of Mary being sinless.
8 And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off his head from his neck, but shall not divide it asunder:
9 And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar: it is a sin offering.
10 And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.
11 But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering.
Apparently, Mary wasn’t the poorest of the poor, however.
12 Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: it is a sin offering.
In that Christ Himself was our offering for sin and in that He spent three days in Hell, this is an interesting verse.
13 And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest’s, as a meat offering.
Meat is synonymous with food in most places in Scripture.
Genesis 1:29 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
14 ¶ And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
15 If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering:
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.
17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.
Here is a repetition of the concept that ignorance of the law is no excuse. Even if the person did not know that what he did was against God he is still guilty. This grates at our modern communist sensibilities because to modern man no one is guilty of anything.
18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him.
Ignorance itself is a sin. There is no Christian, in particular, who should not make it a lifelong practice of reading and studying the Bible to know what God’s standard for his life is. I’m not talking about some goofy dress code, some non-scriptural commandments that modern Pharisees add to the word of God but what God’s standard is. Ignorance of the Bible, when there has been nearly a billion put into print is no excuse for any Christian. As soon as you get saved the very first thing you should be doing is reading God’s Book and letting Him talk to you daily, hourly if necessary.
19 It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD.