Leviticus 4:23
Or if his sin, wherein he has sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:
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(23) Or if his sin.—That is, if on his failing to see it himself, his sin is shown to him by another person.

A kid of the goats.—The expression here used (sāêr) properly denotes the rough, shaggy-haired he goat, and is distinguished from athud (literally, ready, vigorous), which occurs in conjunction with it (Numbers 7:16-17; Numbers 7:22-23), and which is also translated goat in point of age. The sāêr, or the shaggy or longer haired he-goat, here used is the older buck of the goat, whose hair has become long with age; whilst the athud is the same animal, younger and more vigorous. Hence the former was never killed for food, or used for burnt or thank offerings at the festivals (Leviticus 16:9; Leviticus 16:15; Leviticus 23:19; Numbers 28:15; Numbers 28:22; Numbers 28:30; Numbers 29:5; Numbers 29:11; Numbers 29:16), and at the consecration of the priests and sanctuary (Leviticus 9:3; Leviticus 9:15; Leviticus 10:16), whilst the latter was killed for food (Deuteronomy 32:14; Jeremiah 51:40), and hence, like the bull, the ram, and the lamb, was regularly presented as burnt and thank offerings (Numbers 7:17; Numbers 7:23; Numbers 7:29, &c.; Isaiah 1:11; Isaiah 34:6; Ezekiel 39:18; Pss. 1. 9, 13, Ixvi. 15). It will be seen that the first difference in the sin offering of a prince is that he is to bring a longhaired he-goat, and not a bull.

4:22-26 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.Or if his sin - Rather, And if his sin.

Come to his knowledge - i. e. when he had become conscious of his sin.

A kid of the goats - A shaggy he-goat, in distinction from a smooth-haired he-goat. It was the regular sin-offering at the yearly festivals Leviticus 16:9, Leviticus 16:15; Numbers 28:15, Numbers 28:22, Numbers 28:30, and at the consecration of the priests Leviticus 9:3; while the smooth-haired goat appears to have been generally offered for the other sacrifices Psalm 50:9; Isaiah 1:11.

22-26. When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat through ignorance against any of the commandments—Whatever was the form of government, the king, judge, or subordinate, was the party concerned in this law. The trespass of such a civil functionary being less serious in its character and consequences than that either of the high priest or the congregation, a sin offering of inferior value was required—"a kid of the goats"; and neither was the blood carried into the sanctuary, but applied only to the altar of burnt offering; nor was the carcass taken without the camp; it was eaten by the priests-in-waiting. The disjunctive or is here put for the copulative and, as it is 1 Corinthians 12:13 13:8 15:11; for it is evident that he speaks of the same person, and of the same sin. Or if his sin wherein he hath sinned come to his knowledge,.... Or rather, "and if his sin", &c. (m) either by means of others informing him of it, or of himself calling to mind what he has done, and considering it to be a transgression of the law:

he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish; his offering was to be a "kid of the goats", a fat and a large one; because, as Baal Hatturim observes, he ate fat things every day; and to distinguish it from the offering of one of the common people; and "without blemish"; as all sacrifices were, that they might be typical of the offering of Christ without spot.

(m) Sept. "et postea", V. L. & Noldius, p. 3. No. 23.

Or if his sin, wherein he hath sinned, come to his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats, a male without blemish:
23. a goat] lit. a shaggy one of goats, i.e. a hairy goat, an expression used of female goats (Leviticus 4:28) as well as males. The phrase occurs, with the exception of Genesis 37:31, exclusively in Lev. and Ezek. of the animal brought as a Sin-Offering. Whether a particular breed with long hair is meant, or whether the long hair is due to age, seems doubtful, but the rendering of A.V. ‘kid of the goats’ is misleading.Sin of the whole congregation. - This is still further defined, as consisting in the fact that the thing was hid (נעלּם)

(Note: In the correct editions נעלּם has dagesh both here and in Leviticus 5:2, Leviticus 5:4, as Delitzsch informs me, according to an old rule in pointing, which required that every consonant which followed a syllable terminating with a guttural should be pointed with dagesh, if the guttural was to be read with a quiescent sheva and not with chateph. This is the case in ויּאסּר in Genesis 46:29; Exodus 14:6, תּעלּים in Psalm 10:1, and other words in the critical edition of the Psalter which has been carefully revised by Bהr according to the Masora, and published with an introduction by Delitzsch. In other passages, such as בּכל־לּבּי Psalm 9:2, על־לּשׁנו Psalm 15:3, etc., the dagesh is introduced to prevent the second letter from being lost in the preceding one through the rapidity of reading. - Ewald's conjectures and remarks about this "dagesh, which is found in certain MSS," is a proof that he was not acquainted with this rule which the Masora recognises.)

from the eyes of the congregation, i.e., that it was a sin which was not known to be such, an act which really violated a commandment of God, though it was not looked upon as sin. Every transgression of a divine command, whether it took place consciously or unconsciously, brought guilt, and demanded a sin-offering for its expiation; and this was to be presented as soon as the sin was known. The sin-offering, which the elders had to offer in the name of the congregation, was to consist of a young ox, and was to be treated like that of the high priest (Leviticus 4:14-23 compared with Leviticus 4:3-12), inasmuch as "the whole congregation" included the priesthood, or at any rate was on an equality with the priesthood by virtue of its calling in relation to the Lord. חטא with על signifies to incur guilt upon (on the foundation of) sin (Leviticus 5:5, etc.); it is usually construed with an accusative (Leviticus 4:3, Leviticus 4:28; Leviticus 5:6, Leviticus 5:10, etc.), or with בּ, to sin with a sin (Leviticus 4:23; Genesis 42:22). The subject of ושׁחט (Leviticus 4:15) is one of the elders. "The bullock for a sin-offering:" sc., the one which the anointed priest offered for his sin, or as it is briefly and clearly designated in Leviticus 4:21, "the former bullock" (Leviticus 4:12).

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