Numbers 5:7
Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Numbers 5:7. They shall confess their sin — They shall not continue in the denial of the fact, but give glory to God, and take shame to themselves by acknowledging it. The principal — That is, the thing he took away, or what is equivalent to it. And add — Both as a compensation to the injured person for want of his goods so long, and as a penalty upon the injurious dealer, to discourage others from such attempts.

5:1-10 The camp was to be cleansed. The purity of the church must be kept as carefully as the peace and order of it. Every polluted Israelite must be separated. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. The greater profession of religion any house or family makes, the more they are obliged to put away iniquity far from them. If a man overreach or defraud his brother in any matter, it is a trespass against the Lord, who strictly charges and commands us to do justly. What is to be done when a man's awakened conscience charges him with guilt of this kind, though done long ago? He must confess his sin, confess it to God, confess it to his neighbour, and take shame to himself; though it go against him to own himself in a lie, yet he must do it. Satisfaction must be made for the offence done to God, as well as for the loss sustained by the neighbour; restitution in that case is not enough without faith and repentance. While that which is wrongly gotten is knowingly kept, the guilt remains on the conscience, and is not done away by sacrifice or offering, prayers or tears; for it is the same act of sin persisted in. This is the doctrine of right reason, and of the word of God. It detects hypocrites, and directs the tender conscience to proper conduct, which, springing from faith in Christ, will make way for inward peace.Recompense his trespass - i. e. make restitution to the person whom he has injured.6-8. When a man or a woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the Lord—This is a wrong or injury done by one man to the property of another, and as it is called "a trespass against the Lord," it is implied, in the case supposed, that the offense has been aggravated by prevaricating—by a false oath, or a fraudulent lie in denying it, which is a "trespass" committed against God, who is the sole judge of what is falsely sworn or spoken (Ac 5:3, 4).

and that person be guilty—that is, from the obvious tenor of the passage, conscience-smitten, or brought to a sense and conviction of his evil conduct. (See on [62]Le 6:2). In that case, there must be: first, confession, a penitential acknowledgment of sin; secondly, restitution of the property, or the giving of an equivalent, with the additional fine of a fifth part, both as a compensation to the person defrauded, and as a penalty inflicted on the injurer, to deter others from the commission of similar trespasses. (See on [63]Ex 22:1). The difference between the law recorded in that passage and this is that the one was enacted against flagrant and determined thieves, the other against those whose necessities might have urged them into fraud, and whose consciences were distressed by their sin. This law also supposes the injured party to be dead, in which case, the compensation due to his representatives was to be paid to the priest, who, as God's deputy, received the required satisfaction.

They shall not continue in the denial of the fact, as such persons oft do, but shall give glory to God, and take shame to themselves, by acknowledging their sin with grief and remorse. See Leviticus 5:5 6:4.

With the principal thereof; i.e. the thing he took away, or what is equivalent to it.

The fifth part thereof is added both as a compensation to the injured person for the want of his goods so long, and for his trouble for the supposed utter loss of them, and as a penalty upon the injurious dealer to discourage others from such attempts.

Quest. How doth this agree with that law, Exodus 22:1?

Answer. That law was made against notorious and obstinate thieves, who were legally convicted of their crime, and this against more modest thieves, whose necessities might induce them to steal, and whose consciences are affected with their sin.

Then they shall confess their sin which they have done,.... The form of which confession, according to Fagius, was, O Lord, I am guilty of death, I have deserved to be stoned for this sin, or to be strangled for this trespass, or to be burnt for this crime, &c.

and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof; paying the whole of whatsoever he had in any manner defrauded his neighbour of, to which he was to add a fifth part of that; that is, as Aben Ezra interprets it, it he confesses of himself, but if there are witnesses of it he must add two fifths, and some say a fifth of a fifth:

and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed; as a satisfaction for the injury done him.

Then they shall confess their sin which they have done: and he shall recompense his trespass with the principal thereof, and add unto it the fifth part thereof, and give it unto him against whom he hath trespassed.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. make restitution for his guilt] lit. ‘restore his guilt,’ abstract for concrete; he shall restore that which he guiltily holds in possession; and similarly in Numbers 5:8.

the fifth part] The same compensation is enjoined in other cases—the eating of sacred food unwittingly (Leviticus 22:14), the redemption of an unclean animal that has been vowed (Leviticus 27:11-13), or that is a firstling (id. 27), and the redemption of tithe (id. 31).

Numbers 5:7Restitution in Case of a Trespass. - No crime against the property of a neighbour was to remain without expiation in the congregation of Israel, which was encamped or dwelt around the sanctuary of Jehovah; and the wrong committed was not to remain without restitution, because such crimes involved unfaithfulness (מעל, see Leviticus 5:15) towards Jehovah. "If a man or a woman do one of the sins of men, to commit unfaithfulness against Jehovah, and the same soul has incurred guilt, they shall confess their sin which they have done, and (the doer) shall recompense his debt according to its sum" (בּראשׁו, as in Leviticus 6:5), etc. האדם מכּל־חטּאת, one of the sins occurring among men, not "a sin against a man" (Luther, Ros., etc.). The meaning is a sin, with which a מעל was committed against Jehovah, i.e., one of the acts described in Leviticus 6:3-4, by which injury was done to the property of a neighbour, whereby a man brought a debt upon himself, for the wiping out of which a material restitution of the other's property was prescribed, together with the addition of a fifth of its value, and also the presentation of a sin-offering (Leviticus 6:4-7). To guard against that disturbance of fellowship and peace in the congregation, which would arise from such trespasses as these, the law already given in Leviticus 6:1 is here renewed and supplemented by the additional stipulation, that if the man who had been unjustly deprived of some of his property had no Gol, to whom restitution could be made for the debt, the compensation should be paid to Jehovah for the priests. The Gol was the nearest relative, upon whom the obligation rested to redeem a person who had fallen into slavery through poverty (Leviticus 25:25). The allusion to the Gol in this connection presupposes that the injured person was no longer alive. To this there are appended, in Numbers 5:9 and Numbers 5:10, the directions which are substantially connected with this, viz., that every heave-offering (Terumah, see at Leviticus 2:9) in the holy gifts of the children of Israel, which they presented to the priest, was to belong to him (the priest), and also all the holy gifts which were brought by different individuals. The reference is not to literal sacrifices, i.e., gifts intended for the altar, but to dedicatory offerings, first-fruits, and such like. את־קדשׁיו אישׁ, "with regard to every man's, his holy gifts...to him (the priest) shall they be; what any man gives to the priest shall belong to him." The second clause serves to explain and confirm the first. את: as far, with regard to, quoad (see Ewald, 277, d; Ges. 117, 2, note).
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