Leviticus 5:4
Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knows of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) Pronouncing with his lips.—Better, speaking heedlessly with his lips. That is, if he uttered an oath in thoughtlessness or in passion, without his heart realising it, that he will do this or that.

To do evil, or to do good.—That is, anything whatsoever which is comprehended under the name good and evil, as these two categories are idiomatically used to embrace all human action. (Comp. Genesis 24:50; Genesis 31:24; Numbers 24:13; Isaiah 51:23.)

Whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath.—Better, that a man heedlessly utters with an oath. That is, anything that a man may rashly or thoughtlessly undertake to do, or to abstain from doing, with an oath.

And it be hid from him.—That is, if through this careless way in which it was done, he forgot all about it. (See Leviticus 5:2.)

When he knoweth of it . . . —Better, and he then considereth it, and acknowledgeth that he is guilty (see Leviticus 4:13; Leviticus 4:22; Leviticus 5:2, &c.), in one of these things with regard to which a man may rashly swear that he will do or not do them, and contract guilt.

Leviticus 5:4. If a soul swear — Rashly and unadvisedly, without consideration, either of God’s law or of his own power or right, as David did, 1 Samuel 25:22 : so the following word, לבשׂא, lebattee, rendered pronouncing, properly signifies, Psalm 106:33. The meaning is, Whosoever shall, in a passion or otherwise, make an oath to do a person an injury, or to do him a kindness, and afterward, forgetting his oath, shall fail in the performance, so soon as he recollects himself he shall make atonement for his offence. In the case of threatening private revenge, or to do evil in any other way, the oath ought to be recalled, as being a thing in itself unlawful. But the person who thus rashly uttered that oath was involved in guilt, and needed to have his sin expiated. And for a similar reason he was punishable, if with an oath he promised to do any thing that was not in his power. It may also be understood of a person’s making a vow to do something either beneficial or hurtful to himself, as to fast, or afflict himself. For that is the sense of swearing to do evil, or to his own hurt. And it be hid from him — That is, if through forgetfulness he neglect punctually to perform what he promised on oath. When he knoweth it, he shall be guilty in one of these — As soon as he recollects himself, and comes to the knowledge of such an omission, he shall be obliged to expiate his offence by sacrifices, being guilty in one of these; that is, in one of the things which are forbidden to be done.5:1-13 The offences here noticed are, 1. A man's concealing the truth, when he was sworn as a witness to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. If, in such a case, for fear of offending one that has been his friend, or may be his enemy, a man refuses to give evidence, or gives it but in part, he shall bear his iniquity. And that is a heavy burden, which, if some course be not taken to get it removed, will sink a man to hell. Let all that are called at any time to be witnesses, think of this law, and be free and open in their evidence, and take heed of prevaricating. An oath of the Lord is a sacred thing, not to be trifled with. 2. A man's touching any thing that was ceremonially unclean. Though his touching the unclean thing only made him ceremonially defiled, yet neglecting to wash himself according to the law, was either carelessness or contempt, and contracted moral guilt. As soon as God, by his Spirit, convinces our consciences of any sin or duty, we must follow the conviction, as not ashamed to own our former mistake. 3. Rash swearing, that a man will do or not do such a thing. As if the performance of his oath afterward prove unlawful, or what cannot be done. Wisdom and watchfulness beforehand would prevent these difficulties. In these cases the offender must confess his sin, and bring his offering; but the offering was not accepted, unless accompanied with confession and humble prayer for pardon. The confession must be particular; that he hath sinned in that thing. Deceit lies in generals; many will own they have sinned, for that all must own; but their sins in any one particular they are unwilling to allow. The way to be assured of pardon, and armed against sin for the future, is to confess the exact truth. If any were very poor, they might bring some flour, and that should be accepted. Thus the expense of the sin-offering was brought lower than any other, to teach that no man's poverty shall ever bar the way of his pardon. If the sinner brought two doves, one was to be offered for a sin-offering, and the other for a burnt-offering. We must first see that our peace be made with God, and then we may expect that our services for his glory will be accepted by him. To show the loathsomeness of sin, the flour, when offered, must not be made grateful to the taste by oil, or to the smell by frankincense. God, by these sacrifices, spoke comfort to those who had offended, that they might not despair, nor pine away in their sins. Likewise caution not to offend any more, remembering how expensive and troublesome it was to make atonement.Pronouncing - Idly speaking Psalm 106:33. The reference is to an oath to do something uttered in recklessness or passion and forgotten as soon as uttered.Le 5:4-19. For Swearing.

4. if a soul swear—a rash oath, without duly considering the nature and consequences of the oath, perhaps inconsiderately binding himself to do anything wrong, or neglecting to perform a vow to do something good. In all such cases a person might have transgressed one of the divine commandments unwittingly, and have been afterwards brought to a sense of his delinquency.

If a soul swear, to wit, rashly, without consideration, either of God’s law, or his own power or right, as David did, 1 Samuel 25:22.

To do evil; either,

1. To himself, to wit, to punish himself, either in his body, or estate, or something else which is dear to him. Or rather,

2. To his neighbour, as 1 Samuel 25:22 Acts 23:12.

Or to do good, to wit, to his neighbour, as Mark 6:23, when a man either may not or cannot do it, which may frequently happen.

And it be hid from him, i.e. he did not know, or not consider, that what he swore to do, was or would be impossible or unlawful.

When he knoweth of it; when he discovers it to be so, either by his own consideration, or by information from others.

In one of these; either in the good or evil which he swore to do. Or if a soul swear,.... A rash or vain oath:

pronouncing with his lips; not in his heart, as Jarchi notes; not saying within himself that he would do this, or that, or the other thing, but expressing his oath plainly and distinctly, with an audible voice:

to do good, or to do evil; which was either impossible or unlawful for him to do; whether the good or evil he swears to do is to himself or to another; whether he swears to do good to himself, and evil to another, or, good to another, and evil to himself, see Psalm 15:4. The Targum of Jonathan paraphrases it,"whatsoever a man expresses, whether of anything present or future;''as if he swears he has done such and such a thing, whether good or evil; or that he will do it, be it what it will, and it is not in the power of his hands to do it, or, if he did it, it would be doing a wrong thing:

whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; he has forgot that he ever swore such an oath:

and when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these; when he is told of it, and it is made clearly to appear to him, that he did at such a time, and in such a place, deliver out a rash oath concerning this, or the other thing, then he shall be chargeable with guilt in one of these; either in rashly swearing to do good when it was not in his power, or to do evil, which would have been unlawful. The Targum of Jonathan is,"if he knows that he has falsified, and repents not, he is guilty.''

Or if a soul {b} 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.

(b) Or, vow rashly without just examination of the circumstances, and not knowing what shall be the issue of the same.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. The third case—when anyone utters a rash oath or vow.

swear rashly] The Heb. verb occurs in the Pi‘el form (baṭṭç) only here and Psalm 106:33; in sound it resembles the first part of βαττολογήσητε in Matthew 6:7. To take an oath or vow lightly, without considering its purport, is a breach of the 3rd commandment, and when he knoweth of it (i.e. reflects on, or is reminded of, what he has thoughtlessly uttered), he will acknowledge his guilt, and bring a Sin-Offering. It is not clear whether the offering not only makes atonement for the sin of rash swearing but also procures release from the obligation incurred by the rash oath.

to do evil, or to do good] i.e. to perform any act whatever.

Each of the four verses forms a complete sentence with protasis and apodosis in the text of R.V. and A.V., but all four verses should be taken as forming one long protasis to which Leviticus 5:5 is the apodosis. The translation would then be as follows: 1 If anyone sin … if he do not utter it, but bears his iniquity; 2 or if anyone touch … things, [and it be hidden from him, and he be unclean and guilty;] 3 or if he touch the uncleanness … wherewith he is unclean, and it be hid from him, and he knoweth of it, and is guilty; 4or if anyone swear … oath, and it be hid from him, and he knoweth of it, and is guilty in one of these things: 5then it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that.… The words in brackets are omitted in LXX.; ‘in one of these things’ at the end of Leviticus 5:4 seems strange, and may be a repetition of the phrase in Leviticus 5:5.Verse 4. - The ease of a man who had neglected to fulfill a thoughtless oath. If he sware to do evil, or to do good, that is, to do anything whatever, good or bad (see Numbers 24:13), and failed to fulfill his oath from carelessness or negligence, he too must bring his offering, as above. In the case of the sin of a common Israelite ("of the people of the land," i.e., of the rural population, Genesis 23:7), that is to say, of an Israelite belonging to the people, as distinguished from the chiefs who ruled over the people (2 Kings 11:18-19; 2 Kings 16:15), the sin-offering was to consist of a shaggy she-goat without blemish, or a ewe-sheep (Leviticus 4:32). The ceremonial in both cases was the same as with the he-goat (Leviticus 4:23.). - "According to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord" (Leviticus 4:35): see at Leviticus 3:5.
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