Fraud and Forgiveness
Numbers 5:6-10
Speak to the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD…


1. As assuming many forms.

(1)  Fraud in the matter of goods entrusted to the keeping of another.

(2)  In business transactions.

(3)  In seizing by force that which belongs to another.

(4)  In wronging another by means of deceit.

(5)  In the finder of lost property injuring the loser by falsehood.And in our own age fraud assumes many forms, and is widely prevalent. The employer who does not pay just wages to those in his service is guilty of it (Proverbs 22:16; Isaiah 3:14, 15; Colossians 4:1; Isaiah 5:4). So also is the servant or workman who squanders the time for which his employer pays him; in so doing he defrauds his employer. The trader who takes an unfair advantage of his customer, which he calls by some special name, e.g., "practice of the trade," &c.; the broker or speculator or manager who induces persons to invest their money in unreliable enterprises; the person who contracts a debt without the sincere intention and reasonable prospect of paying it — all these, and others, are guilty of fraud.

2. As a wrong done to God.


1. Consciousness of guilt. "The expression, 'that person be guilty,' does not merely refer to his actual criminality; but to his consciousness of guilt respecting it: for this case must be distinguished from that of a person detected in dishonesty which he attempted to conceal." Without the consciousness of guilt the other conditions of forgiveness could not be truly complied with.

2. Confession. "Then they shall confess their sin which they have done." This is an essential condition of forgiveness (Psalm 32:5; Proverbs 28:13; 1 John 1:9). In itself it relieves the burdened soul, and leads to the joy and peace of forgiveness.

3. Restitution is essential to remission of sin; for where restitution is not made it is evident that sincere repentance is absent (Ezekiel 18:7, 9, 12, 13; Ezekiel 33:15).

4. Sacrifice. In addition to making restitution the offender was commanded to offer "the ram of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him."Conclusion:

1. Let those who have injured others make speedy and full confession and restitution.

2. Let us all cultivate the most thorough integrity and uprightness in our whole life and conduct.

(W. Jones.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Speak unto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sin that men commit, to do a trespass against the LORD, and that person be guilty;

WEB: "Speak to the children of Israel: 'When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit, so as to trespass against Yahweh, and that soul is guilty;

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