Leviticus 6:2
If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie to his neighbor in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or has deceived his neighbor;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) And commit a trespass against the Lord.—It will be seen that the trespass against God is, strictly speaking, a violation of the rights of a neighbour’s property. As fraud and plunder are most subversive of social life, a crime of this sort is described as an insult to God, who is the founder and sovereign ruler of his people.

In that which was delivered him to keep.—To deposit valuable property with a neighbour was, and still is, a common practice in the East where no responsible establishments exist for the reception of private treasure. Hence, when a man went on a journey, he concealed his precious things underground. This was connected with the danger of forgetting the spot where they were hidden, when search and digging had to be resorted to. This not only accounts for the fact that treasure is called in Hebrew by a name which denotes hidden, or things which men are in the habit of hiding underground, but explains such allusions as “hidden riches of secret places” (Isaiah 45:3), “and searchest for her as for hid treasure” (Proverbs 2:4), “dig for it more than for hid treasure” (Job 3:21). To avoid this danger, men entrusted their treasure to the custody of a neighbour. It is to this practice which the text before us refers, and it is from this practice that the apostle took the expression when he declares, “I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2Timothy 1:12; see also Leviticus 6:14, and 1Timothy 6:20).

Or in fellowship.—Literally, or in something that is placed in the hand; that is, put in his hand, a deposit. It is similar in nature to the trust mentioned in the preceding clause, for which reason it is not repeated in the general recapitulation of the offences in Leviticus 6:4-5.

Or in a thing taken away in violence.—Having specified two cases of embezzlement in connection with things voluntarily handed over to the defrauder, two other frauds are adduced, in which the offender possessed himself of his neighbour’s property by violence and extortion.

Leviticus 6:2. If a soul sin — This sin, though directly committed against man, is emphatically said to be done against the Lord, not only in general, for so every sin against man is also against the Lord, but in a special sense, because this was a violation of human society, whereof God is the author, and president, and defender; and because it was a secret sin, of which God alone was the witness and judge; and because God’s name was abused in it by perjury. In that which was delivered to keep — By breach of trust in any goods committed to his care, and by denial of the facts when brought upon his oath before the judges. Or in fellowship — Hebrew, in putting the hand; alluding to the form of making contracts, by the parties giving the hand to each other. So it may either signify, in carrying on a common trade by joint stock, or in any matter of trust, for which he gave his hand, and plighted his faith to another. In any thing taken away by violence — By robbery or stealth, for the word signifies both. Theft not being punished among the Jews with death, they tendered an oath to those who were accused or suspected of it, to clear themselves from the imputation, Exodus 22:11. Or hath deceived (rather defrauded) his neighbour, as Malachi 3:5, where the same word signifies to defraud a hireling of his wages, and to oppress the widow and fatherless by acts of injustice.6:1-7 Though all the instances relate to our neighbour, yet it is called a trespass against the Lord. Though the person injured be mean, and even despicable, yet the injury reflects upon that God who has made the command of loving our neighbour next to that of loving himself. Human laws make a difference as to punishments; but all methods of doing wrong to others, are alike violations of the Divine law, even keeping what is found, when the owner can be discovered. Frauds are generally accompanied with lies, often with false oaths. If the offender would escape the vengeance of God, he must make ample restitution, according to his power, and seek forgiveness by faith in that one Offering which taketh away the sin of the world. The trespasses here mentioned, still are trespasses against the law of Christ, which insists as much upon justice and truth, as the law of nature, or the law of Moses.In the Hebrew Bible Leviticus 6:1-7 form part of Leviticus 5. It is evident that they ought to do so. 2-7. If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord—This law, the record of which should have been joined with the previous chapter, was given concerning things stolen, fraudulently gotten, or wrongfully kept. The offender was enjoined to make restitution of the articles to the rightful owner, along with a fifth part out of his own possessions. But it was not enough thus to repair the injury done to a neighbor and to society; he was required to bring a trespass offering, as a token of sorrow and penitence for having hurt the cause of religion and of God. That trespass offering was a ram without blemish, which was to be made on the altar of burnt offerings, and the flesh belonged to the priests. This penalty was equivalent to a mitigated fine; but being associated with a sacred duty, the form in which the fine was inflicted served the important purpose of rousing attention to the claims and reviving a sense of responsibility to God. This sin, though directly committed against man only, is here emphatically said to be done against the Lord; not only in general, for so every sin against man is also against the Lord, whose image in man is thereby injured, and whose law, which obligeth us to love, and fidelity, and justice to other men, is thereby violated; but in a more special sense, because this was a violation of human society, whereof God is the author, and president, and defender; see Numbers 5:6; and because it was a secret sin, of which God alone was the witness and judge; see Acts 5:4; and because God’s name was abused in it by perjury, Leviticus 6:3.

To keep, to wit, in trust. Or in fellowship, Heb. or in putting of the hand. Which may be either,

1. Another expression of the same thing immediately going before, which is very frequent in Scripture; and so the sense is, when one man puts any thing into another man’s hand to keep for him; and when he requires it, to restore it to him. Or,

2. A distinct branch, which seems more probable, and so it belongs to commerce or fellowship in trading, which is very usual, when one man puts any thing into another’s hand, not to keep it, as in the foregoing word or member, but to use and improve it for the common benefit of them both, in which cases of partnership it is easy for one to deceive the other, and therefore provision is here made against it. And this is called a putting of the hand, because such agreements and associations used to be confirmed by giving or joining their hands together, Jeremiah 1:15 Galatians 2:9. Compare Exodus 23:1.

Taken away by violence, to wit, secretly; for he seems to speak here of such sins as could not be proved by witness.

Or hath deceived his neighbour, got any thing from him by calumny, or fraud, or circumvention; for so the word signifies. If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord,.... All sin is against the Lord, contrary to his nature and will, and a transgression of his law; but some sins are more apparently so than others, and against which he expresses greater indignation and abhorrence, being attended also with very aggravating circumstances, as these that follow; which are such as are not only contrary to the will of God, but to the good of society, and tend to the subversion of it, of which he is the founder and supporter, and especially when he is sworn by, and appealed to as a witness, in a case not only injurious but false:

and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep; whether money or goods, or any living creature, sheep, cow, horse, &c. and should deny that ever anything was delivered to him, and take his oath upon it; which is a very grievous crime, and not to go unpunished, as was known by the light of nature, and declared by the Heathen oracle (h); and yet there was to be a trespass offering to make atonement for such a sin: Jarchi thinks, by his neighbour is meant a third person between them; but if that third person was a witness of the goods being delivered, there would have been no occasion of an oath, as follows: the case supposed seems to be, when anything was delivered to the care and custody of another, without the knowledge of any but the person that delivered it, and he to whom it was delivered; who retaining it for his own use, embezzling the goods, and acting the unfaithful part, affirms to the owner he never had anything of him, and so lies to him, and to that lie adds an oath of perjury:

or in fellowship: in partnership; as, for instance, having received money belonging to them both, denies he ever received any, and so cheats his partner of what was his due, and being put to his oath, takes it: or, "in putting of the hand" (i), as persons usually do when they enter into fellowship or partnership, they give each other their hand in token of it; or in putting anything into the hand, as money to trade with, and he denies he received any; or by way of purchase for anything bought, and the person of whom the purchase is made affirms the purchaser never put anything into his hand, or paid him anything, but insists upon being paid again; or in a way of lending, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom, because then money is put into the hand of him that receives it, and, in the case supposed, the borrower denies that ever any was put into his hand, or he borrowed any; and being called upon to swear, swears falsely:

or in a thing taken away by violence: without the will and knowledge of the owner; privately and secretly, but being suspected, is challenged with it, and denying it, is made to swear, which he does falsely:

or hath deceived his neighbour; cheated him in trade and commerce, defrauded him in business, extorted money from him; or by calumny and false accusation got anything out of his hands, see Luke 19:8 or by detaining the wages of the hireling; so Jarchi and Ben Gersom.

(h) "Spartano cuidam respondit", &c. Juvenal. Satyr. 13. prope finem. (i) "in positione manus", Montanus.

If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or in {a} fellowship, or in a thing taken away by {b} violence, or hath deceived his neighbour;

(a) To give, and occupy for the use of him that gave it.

(b) By any deceit, or unlawful means.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. a matter of deposit] if he has taken anything which was delivered him to keep. In ancient times when there were no banks or safe places where a man might deposit his private property, he was obliged to conceal anything of value which he possessed; sometimes he entrusted it to a friend for safe custody. Cp. Sir 42:7 with note (C. B.).

or of bargain] lit. something placed in the hand, pledge R.V. mg. The difference between this and the preceding is slight, and this latter expression is omitted in the recapitulation of Leviticus 6:4. The rendering of A.V., fellowship, is supported by LXX. and Syr., and means partnership in any transaction agreed to by placing the hand in that of another.

The next two offences are direct attacks on a neighbour’s goods.Verse 2. - This verse would be better translated as follows: - If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and falsely deny to his neighbour something that was delivered to him to keep, or something that he had received in pawn, or something that he had taken away by violence, or hath got something by oppression from his neighbour. Cf. the injunction in Leviticus 19:11: "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another." Exodus 22:7-13 contains earlier legislation on the subject of things taken in trust. (Ch. 5:14-6:7)

(Note: In the original the division of verses in the Hebrew text is followed; but we have thought it better to keep to the arrangement adopted in our English version. - Tr.)

The Trespass-Offerings. - These were presented for special sins, by which a person had contracted guilt, and therefore they are not included in the general festal sacrifices. Three kinds of offences are mentioned in this section as requiring trespass-offerings. The first is, "if a soul commit a breach of trust, and sin in going wrong in the holy gifts of Jehovah." מעל, lit., to cover, hence מעיל the cloak, over-coat, signifies to act secretly, unfaithfully, especially against Jehovah, either by falling away from Him into idolatry, by which the fitting honour was withheld from Jehovah (Leviticus 26:40; Deuteronomy 32:51; Joshua 22:16), or by infringing upon His rights, abstracting something that rightfully belonged to Him. Thus in Joshua 7:1; Joshua 22:20, it is applied to fraud in relation to that which had been put under the ban; and in Numbers 5:12, Numbers 5:27,it is also applied to a married woman's unfaithfulness to her husband: so that sin was called מעל, when regarded as a violation of existing rights. "The holy things of Jehovah" were the holy gifts, sacrifices, first-fruits, tithes, etc., which were to be offered to Jehovah, and were assigned by Him to the priests for their revenue (see Leviticus 21:22). חטא with מן is constructio praegnans: to sin in anything by taking away from Jehovah that which belonged to Him. בּשׁגגה, in error (see Leviticus 4:2): i.e., in a forgetful or negligent way. Whoever sinned in this way was to offer to the Lord as his guilt (see Leviticus 5:6) a ram from the flock without blemish for a trespass-offering (lit., guilt-offering), according to the estimate of Moses, whose place was afterwards taken by the officiating priest (Leviticus 27:12; Numbers 18:16). שׁקלים כּסף "money of shekels," i.e., several shekels in amount, which Abenezra and others have explained, no doubt correctly, as meaning that the ram was to be worth more than one shekel, two shekels at least. The expression is probably kept indefinite, for the purpose of leaving some margin for the valuation, so that there might be a certain proportion between the value of the ram and the magnitude of the trespass committed (see Oehler ut sup. p. 645). "In the holy shekel:" see Exodus 30:13. At the same time, the culprit was to make compensation for the fraud committed in the holy thing, and add a fifth (of the value) over, as in the case of the redemption of the first-born, of the vegetable tithe, or of what had been vowed to God (Leviticus 27:27, Leviticus 27:31, and Leviticus 27:13, Leviticus 27:15, Leviticus 27:19). The ceremony to be observed in the offering of the ram is described in Leviticus 7:1. It was the same as that of the sin-offerings, whose blood was not brought into the holy place, except with regard to the sprinkling of the blood, and in this the trespass-offering resembled the burnt-offerings and peace-offerings.

The second case (Leviticus 5:17-19), from its very position between the other two, which both refer to the violation of rights, must belong to the same category; although the sin is introduced with the formula used in Leviticus 4:27 in connection with those sins which were to be expiated by a sin-offering. But the violation of right can only have consisted in an invasion of Jehovah's rights with regard to Israel, and not, as Knobel supposes, in an invasion of the rights of private Israelites, as distinguished from the priests; an antithesis of which there is not the slightest indication. This is evident from the fact, that the case before us is linked on to the previous one without anything intervening; whereas the next case, which treats of the violation of the rights of a neighbour, is separated by a special introductory formula. The expression, "and wist it not," refers to ignorance of the sin, and not of the divine commands; as may be clearly seen from Leviticus 5:18 : "the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his error, which he committed without knowing it." The trespass-offering was the same as in the former case, and was also to be valued by the priest; but no compensation is mentioned, probably because the violation of right, which consisted in the transgression of one of the commands of God, was of such a kind as not to allow of material compensation. The third case (Leviticus 6:1-7) is distinguished from the other two by a new introductory formula. The sin and unfaithfulness to Jehovah are manifested in this case in a violation of the rights of a neighbour. "If a man deny to his neighbour (כּחשׁ with a double ב obj., to deny a thing to a person) a pikkadon (i.e., a deposit, a thing entrusted to him to keep, Genesis 41:36), or יד תּשׂוּמת, "a thing placed in his hand" (handed over to him as a pledge) "or גּזל, a thing robbed" (i.e., the property of a neighbour unjustly appropriated, whether a well, a field, or cattle, Genesis 21:25; Micah 2:2; Job 24:2), "or if he have oppressed his neighbour" (i.e., forced something from him or withheld it unjustly, Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14; Joshua 12:8; Malachi 3:5), "or have found a lost thing and denies it, and thereby swears to his lie" (i.e., rests his oath upon a lie), "on account of one of all that a man is accustomed to do to sin therewith:" the false swearing here refers not merely to a denial of what is found, but to all the crimes mentioned, which originated in avarice and selfishness, but through the false swearing became frauds against Jehovah, adding guilt towards God to the injustice done to the neighbour, and requiring, therefore, not only that a material restitution should be made to the neighbour, but that compensation should be made to God as well. Whatever had been robbed, or taken by force, or entrusted or found, and anything about which a man had sworn falsely (Leviticus 6:4, Leviticus 6:5), was to be restored "according to its sum" (cf. Exodus 30:12; Numbers 1:2, etc.), i.e., in its full value; beside which, he was to "add its fifths" (on the plural, see Ges. 87, 2; Ew. 186 e), i.e., in every one of the things abstracted or withheld unjustly the fifth part of the value was to be added to the full amount (as in Leviticus 5:16). "To him to whom it (belongs), shall he give it" אשׁמתו בּיום: in the day when he makes atonement for his trespass, i.e., offers his trespass-offering. The trespass (guilt) against Jehovah was to be taken away by the trespass-offering according to the valuation of the priest, as in Leviticus 5:15, Leviticus 5:16, and Leviticus 5:18, that he might receive expiation and forgiveness on account of what he had done.

If now, in order to obtain a clear view of the much canvassed difference between the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings,

(Note: For the different views, see Bhr's Symbolik; Winer's bibl. R. W.; Kurtz on Sacrificial Worship; Riehm, theol. Stud. und Krit. 1854, pp. 93ff.; Rinck, id. 1855, p. 369; Oehler in Herzog's Cycl.)

we look at once at the other cases, for which trespass-offerings were commanded in the law; we find in Numbers 5:5-8 not only a trespass against Jehovah, but an unjust withdrawal of the property of a neighbour, clearly mentioned as a crime, for which material compensation was to be made with the addition of a fifth of its value, just as in Leviticus 5:2-7 of the present chapter. So also the guilt of a man who had lain with the slave of another (Leviticus 19:20-22) did not come into the ordinary category of adultery, but into that of an unjust invasion of the domain of another's property; though in this case, as the crime could not be estimated in money, instead of material compensation being made, a civil punishment (viz., bodily scourging) was to be inflicted; and for the same reason nothing is said about the valuation of the sacrificial ram. Lastly, in the trespass-offerings for the cleansing of a leper (Leviticus 14:12.), or of a Nazarite who had been defiled by a corpse (Numbers 6:12), it is true we cannot show in what definite way the rights of Jehovah were violated (see the explanation of these passages), but the sacrifices themselves served to procure the restoration of the persons in question to certain covenant rights which they had lost; so that even here the trespass-offering, for which moreover only a male sheep was demanded, was to be regarded as a compensation or equivalent for the rights to be restored. From all these cases it is perfectly evident, that the idea of satisfaction for a right, which had been violated but was about to be restored or recovered, lay at the foundation of the trespass-offering,

(Note: Even in the case of the trespass-offering, which those who had taken heathen wives offered at Ezra's instigation (Ezra 10:18.), it had reference to a trespass (cf. vv. 2 and 10), an act of unfaithfulness to Jehovah, which demanded satisfaction. And so again the Philistines (1 Samuel 6:3.), when presenting gifts as a trespass-offering for Jehovah, rendered satisfaction for the robbery committed upon Him by the removal of the ark of the covenant.)

and the ritual also points to this. The animal sacrificed was always a ram, except in the cases mentioned in Leviticus 14:12. and Numbers 6:12. This fact alone clearly distinguishes the trespass-offerings from the sin-offerings, for which all kinds of sacrifices were offered from an ox to a pigeon, the choice of the animal being regulated by the position of the sinner and the magnitude of his sin. But they are distinguished still more by the fact, that in the case of all the sin-offerings the blood was to be put upon the horns of the altar, or even taken into the sanctuary itself, whereas the blood of the trespass-offerings, like that of the burnt and peace-offerings, was merely swung against the wall of the altar (Leviticus 7:2). Lastly, they were also distinguished by the fact, that in the trespass-offering the ram was in most instances to be valued by the priest, not for the purpose of determining its actual value, which could not vary very materially in rams of the same kind, but to fix upon it symbolically the value of the trespass for which compensation was required. Hence there can be no doubt, that as the idea of the expiation of sin, which was embodied in the sprinkling of the blood, was most prominent in the sin-offering; so the idea of satisfaction for the restoration of rights that had been violated or disturbed came into the foreground in the trespass-offering. This satisfaction was to be actually made, wherever the guilt admitted of a material valuation, by means of payment or penance; and in addition to this, the animal was raised by the priestly valuation into the authorized bearer of the satisfaction to be rendered to the rights of God, through the sacrifice of which the culprit could obtain the expiation of his guilt.

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