Numbers 5:8
But if the man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the LORD, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him.
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Numbers 5:8. No kinsman — This supposes the person injured to be dead, or gone into some unknown place. To the priest — Whom God appointed as his deputy, to receive his dues, and take them to his own use, that so he might more cheerfully and entirely devote himself to the ministration of holy things. This is an additional explication to that law, Leviticus 6:2, and for the sake thereof it seems here to be repeated.

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.Whereby an atonement shall be made for him - literally, "which shall clear him of guilt as to it," i. e. as to the trespass.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.

If the man have no kinsman, which might be the case commonly with proselytes, if not with Israelites. This also suppposeth the person injured to be dead or gone away into some unknown place, and the person injured to be known to the injurer.

God appointed

the priest as his deputy to receive his dues, and take them to his own use, that so he might more cheerfully and entirely devote himself to the ministration of holy things. This is au additional explication to that law, Leviticus 6:2, and for the sake thereof it seems here to be repeated.

But if a man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass to,.... This supposes that if a man should die, against whom the trespass is, before the restitution is made, then it shall be made to his heirs; and if he has none, then it was to be given to the priest, as after directed: the Jews (g) generally understand this of a proselyte, that has no heirs, for they say, there is no Israelite but has kinsmen, a brother or a son, or some one or other near of kin to him, of his father's family, even up to Jacob:

let the trespass be recompensed unto the Lord, even to the priest; that is, let the principal, with the fifth part, which is the recompence for the trespass committed, be given to the priest of the Lord, which is the same as if it was given to him, he being his minister:

beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him; which, in this case, was ordered to be offered for the expiation, of the trespass, see Leviticus 6:6; the Jewish canon is,"he that takes away anything by force from a proselyte, and swears to him, and he (the proselyte) dies, lo, he shall pay the principal and the fifth to the priests, and the trespass offering to the altar, as it is said, "if a man has no kinsman", &c. when he brings the money and the trespass offering, and he is dead, the money shall be given to his sons, but the trespass offering (the ram) shall feed until it contracts some blemish, and then it shall be sold, and the price of it shall fall to the freewill offerings (h).''

(g) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Bava Kama, c. 9. sect. 11. Jarchi in loc. (h) Misn. Bava Kama, ib.

But if the {c} man have no kinsman to recompense the trespass unto, let the trespass be recompensed unto the LORD, even to the priest; beside the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him.

(c) If he is dead to whom the wrong is done and also has no relatives.

8. The verse deals with the case in which the injured person dies before restitution has been made to him, and leaves no representative.

kinsman] Heb. gô’çl. A technical term of considerable importance in Israelite law. A man’s next of kin was (1) a full brother, (2) failing him, an uncle on the father’s side, (3) failing him, a first cousin on the father’s side, (4) failing him, any near kinsman. His duties were manifold. In civil law: (a) to buy back the family estate of his kinsman, which the latter had sold through poverty (Leviticus 25:25, Ruth 4:1-6). He also had the refusal of it before it was sold (Jeremiah 32:8-12). (b) To buy back the person of his kinsman, if the latter had sold himself as a slave through poverty (Leviticus 25:47 ff.). In both these cases his action may be denoted by the word ‘redeem.’ (c) To receive restitution due to his deceased kinsman (here). In criminal law: to claim satisfaction for the blood of his murdered kinsman, in which case he was known as the gô’çl haddâm, ‘avenger of blood.’

unto the Lord shall be the priest’s] lit. ‘shall be for Jehovah for the priest.’ The priest shall receive it as the representative of Jehovah.

the ram of the atonement] The guilt-offering described in Leviticus 6:6.

Verse 8. - If the man have no kinsman. No goel, or personal representative. This supposes that the wronged man himself is dead, and it is an addition to the law of restitution as given in Leviticus 6, an addition clearly necessary to its completeness. The wrong-doer must in no case be the gainer by his own wrong, and if the trespass could not be "recompensed" to man, it must be "recompensed" to the Lord, who was as it were joint-plaintiff in the cause. To the priest. On the general principle that the priest was the visible representative of the invisible majesty. Numbers 5:8Restitution 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 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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