Leviticus 5:15
"If someone acts unfaithfully and sins unintentionally against any of the LORD's holy things, he must bring his guilt offering to the LORD: an unblemished ram from the flock, of proper value in silver shekels according to the sanctuary shekel; it is a guilt offering.
Trespass AmendedS.R. Aldridge Leviticus 5:14-16
Error, Though Inadvertent, is GuiltyW. H. Jellie.Leviticus 5:14-19
Gain by RedemptionC. H. Mackintosh.Leviticus 5:14-19
ReparationF. W. BrownLeviticus 5:14-19
SacrilegeF. W. BrownLeviticus 5:14-19
The Trespass-OfferingA. Jukes.Leviticus 5:14-19
The Trespass-Offering; Or, Substitution and RestitutionLady Beaujolois Dent.Leviticus 5:14-19
Trespass in SacrilegeJ.A. Macdonald Leviticus 5:14-19
Restitution to GodW. Clarkson Leviticus 5:15, 16

The trespass for which "God spake unto Moses" that the children of Israel should make atonement, was an offense in which there was present the element of reparable wrong-doing. Something, it was contemplated, would be done which could be in some respects made good, and where this was possible it was to be done. In most cases this would refer to wrong done to man; but here we have the truth that God may be wronged, and that he condescends to receive restitution at our hands. We may look at -

I. SIN REGARDED AS A DEBT WHICH IS DUE TO GOD. Jehovah was sovereign Lord of the Hebrew commonwealth, and actual proprietor of all; anything withheld from those who were his ministers was a sacred due withheld, a debt undischarged. Our God is he:

1. Who has placed us under immeasurable obligation - by creation, preservation, benefaction, fatherly love, Divine interposition.

2. To whom we owe everything we are and have - our hearts and lives.

3. From whom we have withheld that which we shall never be able to pay: our reverence, gratitude, obedience, submission; "ten thousand talents" (Matthew 18:24). But there are some special defaults: -

II. ARREARS IS HOLY THINGS. "If a soul commit a trespass.., in the holy things of the Lord" (verse 15). The Israelites were under many injunctions; they probably received professional instruction from the Levites, as well as religious teaching at home (Deuteronomy 6:7). But they might be betrayed into ignorance or fall into forgetfulness, and they might come short of their duty

(1) in the offerings they were to bring to the altar,

(2) in the contributions they were to make to the ministers of God. They might ignorantly rob God in offerings and in tithes, as they even did intentionally (Malachi 3:8). We also may fall far short of what we should bring to God; we may take a totally inadequate view

(1) of the nature of the worship we should render,

(2) of the frequency of our devotional engagements,

(3) of the contribution we should give to the support of the Christian ministry,

(4) of our due share in the maintenance of the cause and the extension of the kingdom of Christ. Thus we may ignorantly but guiltily (verse 17) fall short of our sacred obligations.

III. THE ATONEMENT WHICH MUST BE FIRST PRESENTED. First of all, there was the offering "not without blood" to be made: the ram must be brought by the offender, and" the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram.... and it shall be forgiven him." First, we must plead the atoning blood of the slain lamb, seeking and finding forgiveness through the Saviour's sacrifice. But this is not all; there is -

IV. THE RESTITUTION WHICH SHOULD SUBSEQUENTLY BE MADE. The Jew was required to "make amends for the harm he had done in the holy things," and not only to give an equivalent to that which he had withheld, but to "add the fifth part thereto;" he was not only to make up, but do more than make up for his default. We cannot and we need not attempt to act according to the letter of this injunction, but we may and should act in the spirit of it, by letting our consciousness of past deficiency in the worship and the service of Christ incite us to multiplied endeavours in the future. In looking back we recall negligences to attend the sanctuary, to come to the table of the Lord, to worship God in the secret chamber of devotion; therefore let us seek his face and his favour with constancy and earnestness in the days to come. We have not served his cause and our generation according to the measure of his bountiful dealings with us; therefore let us open our hand freely, and give far more generously than we should otherwise have done to those various agencies of beneficence which are turning the wilderness of wrong into the garden of the Lord. - C.

If a soul commit a trespass.

1. It was not a "sweet savour" offering. Christ is here seen suffering for sins; the view of His work is expiatory.

2. It was a trespass as distinct from a sin-offering. Not the person, but the act of wrong-doing, is the point noticed and dwelt upon. And how solemn is the truth here taught us, that neither our conscience, nor our measure of light, nor our ability, but the truth of God, is the standard by which both sin and trespass are to be measured. "Though he wist it not, yet is he guilty; he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord." If man's conscience or man's light were the standard, each man might have a different rule. And, at this rate, right or wrong, good or evil, would depend, not upon God's truth, but on the creature's apprehension of it. At this rate, the filthiest of unclean beasts could not be convicted of uncleanness, while it could plead that it had no apprehension of that which was pure and seemly. But we do not judge thus in the things of this world; neither does God judge so in the things of heaven. Who argues that because swine are filthy, therefore the standard of cleanliness is to be set by their perceptions or ability; or that because they seem unconscious of their state, therefore the distinction between what is clean and unclean must be relinquished. No: we judge not by their perceptions, but our own; with our light and knowledge, not their ignorance, as our standard.

3. In the trespass-offering we get restitution, furl restitution for the original wrong. The amount of the injury, according to the priest's valuation of it, is paid in shekels of the sanctuary to the injured person. The thought here is not that trespass is punished, but that the injured party is repaid the wrong. The payment was in shekels: these "shekels of the sanctuary" were the appointed standard by which God's rights were measured; as it is said, "And all thy estimation shall be according to the shekel of the sanctuary." Thus they represent the truest measure, God's standard by which He weighs all things. By this standard the trespass is weighed, and then the value paid to the injured person. And God and man, though wronged by trespass, each receive as much again from man in Christ through the trespass-offering. Whether honour, service, worship, or obedience, whatever God could claim, whatever man could rob Him of, all this has He received again from man in Christ, "according to the priest's estimation in shekels of the sanctuary." But man also was injured by trespass; and he, too, receives as much again. Christ for man as offerer of the trespass-offering, must offer to injured man the value of the original injury. And such as accept His offering find their loss through man's trespass more than paid. Has trespass wronged man of life, peace, or gladness, he may claim and receive through Christ repayment. For man to man, as for man to God, Christ stands the One in whom man's wrongs are remedied.

4. But this is not all. Not only is the original wrong paid, but a fifth part more is paid with it in the trespass-offering. Who would have thought that from the entrance of trespass, both God and man should in the end be gainers? But so it is. From man in Christ both God and man have received back more than they were robbed of. In this sense, "where sin abounded," yea, and because sin abounded, "grace did more abound."

II. THE VARIETIES OR GRADES IN THIS OFFERING. These are fewer than in any other offering, teaching us that those who apprehended this aspect of Christ's work, will apprehend it all very much alike. It will be remembered that in the sin-offering the varieties were most numerous and that because sin in us may be, and is, so differently apprehended; but trespass, the act of wrong committed, if seen at all, can scarce be seen differently. Accordingly, we find but one small variety in the trespass-offering, for I can scarce regard the two different aspects of trespass as varieties. These aspects are, first, trespasses against God, and then trespasses against our neighbour; but this distinction is more like the difference between the offerings than the varieties in different grades of the same. It simply points out distinct bearings of trespass, for which in each case the atonement seen is precisely similar. There is, however, one small yet remarkable difference between the two grades of the offering for wrongs in holy things. In the first grade, which gives us the fullest view of the offering, we read of the life laid down, the restitution made, and the fifth part added. But in the lower class, the last of these is unnoticed: "the fifth part" is quite unseen. And how true this is in the experience of Christians. Where the measure of apprehension is full, there not only the life laid down, and the restitution made in the trespass-offering, but all the truth also which is caught in the "fifth part," will be seen as a consequence of trespass and a part of the trespass-offering. Not so, however, where the apprehension is limited: here there is no addition seen beyond the amount of the original trespass.

(A. Jukes.)

I. THE TRESPASS-OFFERING (or guilt-offering, R.V.) refers more especially to the evil actions which are the outcome of our corrupt nature: while the sin that is inherent in that nature, as descendants of fallen Adam, is fully met in the sin-offering — last considered. The evil deeds, or sins, met by the trespass-offering may be thus divided — as against God and against man.

II. "A TRESPASS... THROUGH IGNORANCE, in the HOLY THINGS OF THE LORD," is the first mentioned. Here there is a similarity to the sin spoken of in chap. Leviticus 4., for it is "through ignorance." Who can measure the holiness of God, or know the extent of sin against such a Being? Perfect purity and holiness demand the same; but we are born in sin, "shapen in iniquity" (Psalm 51:5); and "who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one" (Job 14:4). Hence, till the heart is changed by "the grace of God" (Romans 5:15; 1 Corinthians 15:10), the sin within is ever showing itself in evil actions; and even after we know the Lord we are apt to trespass in His "holy things." In men's very religion, too, there may be sin. How often do they invent a worship of their own, not in accordance with God's Word; a way of salvation which dishonours Him; a way of approach to Him other than He has given! If living for self, the world, or other purpose than God's glory, we are robbing God. It may be through ignorance, but "though he wist it not, yet he is guilty, and shall bear his iniquity" (vers. 17-19), saith the Lord. There is thus no hope for us in ourselves, but He has met this (as all) our need in His "Beloved Son," as shown in type before us, for the sinning one is bidden to bring —

1. "A ram without blemish... for a trespass-offering" (guilt-offering, R.V.), "and the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his ignorance...;" for "he hath certainly trespassed against the Lord." Mark well the words "certainly trespassed," though in ignorance. The same truth is here again shown, that no sin could be atoned for without the shedding of Jesu's blood; but His was a full, perfect, and complete atonement, when He made "His soul a guilt-offering" (Isaiah 53:10, marg., R.V.; same word as vers. 5:19, R.V.). He "was delivered up for our trespasses" (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:16, R.V.)

2. "Shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary," were also to be brought with the ram, to "make amends for the harm... done in the holy thing." No lower standard than God's could be accepted. Have we a just perception of God's holiness?

3. A fifth part added. Who could do this in its full meaning? None but Jesus. And He brought more glory to God by redemption than could have accrued from creation. Christ was perfect in His obedience to God's holy law, and gave rich surplus. He — the Antitype of trespass-offering (both of ram and silver, 1 Peter 1:18, 19) — was also Priest who made atonement or reconciliation (Romans 5:10, 11; 1 John 2:2); and the blessed result is —

4. Forgiveness (vers. 16, 18) to "all that believe" (Acts 13:38, 39).

III. WRONG DONE TO A NEIGHBOUR is equally described as "trespass against the Lord" (Leviticus 6:1-7). This the unregenerate heart fails to see, but God pronounces it to be "sin"; and the truth of Hebrews 9:22 is once more brought before us; but, in contrast to the trespass against the holy things, in the case of wrong done to a neighbour — restitution with addition of fifth part must be made, before bringing the trespass-offering of "a ram without blemish," with the "estimation." The former teaches that only on the ground of blood shed could God accept the offerer, or "the amends" He would have him make; whereas, in the case of wrong done to a neighbour, "amends" must first be made to that neighbour before pardon can be sought of God. This is the lesson enforced by our Lord (Matthew 5:23, 24; Matthew 6:14, 15). See, too, Zaccheus ready to "restore fourfold" (Luke 19:8). To approach God with a wrong against a neighbour unredressed will not bring acceptance; while in the case of trespass against the Lord in holy things, pardon through Jesus must first be sought before "amends for the harm" done, can be accepted. Each must be according to God's ordering, and then there is the same gracious promise of forgiveness (vers. 16, 18, 6:7; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13).

IV. THE LAW OF THE TRESPASS-OFFERING opens out some further details (Leviticus 7:1-7). It was to be —

1. Killed in the same place as the burnt-offering (Leviticus 1:5, 11), that is, "on the side of the altar northward before the Lord." It was the "same Jesus" in all, though different aspects and results of His death are presented in each.

2. The blood was to be sprinkled "round about upon the altar." Only in the sin-offering was it to be poured out, as that offering presented a more comprehensive view of the fulness of the atonement.

3. The costliest parts were to be burned on the altar, as in the sin-offering, telling of the rich and intrinsic excellency of the Lord Jesus which could stand the searching fire of God's holiness.

4. "Most holy" (Leviticus 6:25, 29; Leviticus 7:1, 6). The use of such an expression, in connection with sin-offering and trespass-offering is most striking. The more we meditate thereon the more we learn how the heart's affection, mind, inward parts, were all perfect in Jesus — hence He is a perfect Saviour. Lastly, the trespass-offering was —

5. To be eaten in the Holy Place, by "every male among the priests," typifying the Church, as partakers of Him who bare their "sins" (1 Peter 2:24), while "the priest that maketh atonement" was type of Jesus, thus seen to identify Himself with His people.

(Lady Beaujolois Dent.)

The trespass here indicated is sacrilege — mistake and misappropriation in the use of sacred things: a culpable trespass, whether done wittingly or unwittingly. From this rite we are taught —



1. Sensitiveness of feeling.

2. Tenderness of conscience.

3. Scrupulousness of conduct.

(F. W. Brown).


II. SIN IS A WRONG DONE TO MAN. Amends must be made by —

1. Appropriate contrition.

2. Personal sacrifice.

3. Unreserved consecration: evincing itself in a holy, useful, Christly life.

(F. W. Brown)

I. A SOPHISTRY NEEDING CORRECTION. This: that intention constitutes the quality of an action, whether conduct is criminal or not. But this declaration of "guilt," though in the action he "wist it not," testifies against a sweeping and all-inclusive application of that principle, viz., that intention qualifies action.

1. Ignorance may and does extenuate the guilt of an action. Knowledge deepens guilt (John 9:41; John 15:22). Ignorance alleviates it (Luke 23. 34; Acts 3:17; 1 Timothy 1:13).

2. Yet ignorance cannot excuse guilt. A man is not excused for breaking the laws of the land because he was ignorant of them. Nor is he innocent who trespasses, through error, against any ordinance of the Lord. And, if so in respect of ceremonial observances, much more so in relation to moral duties. Hence the curse stands against "every one that continueth not in all things written in the book of the law to do them" (Galatians 3:10).

3. God Himself refuses to condone such ignorance. His Word declares that men "perish for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6); and that though "a people be of no understanding, He will not have mercy on them, and will show them no favour."


1. Reckon up our remembered sins. "They are more in number than the hairs of our head."

2. Add the sins realised at the time but now forgotten. Memory lets slip multitudinous trespasses.

3. Yet what can represent the number of our unrecognised sins, done in ignorance, done in error?

4. Deviations and defects also, which God's eye alone detected, and which we too self-indulgently condoned.


1. Under the ceremonial arrangements for expiation, how manifold and minute and numerous were the regulations and provisions necessary to make atonement for sin!

2. When all sin had to be expiated by Christ's one offering, what value it must needs possess! Yet "by one offering" the Saviour "purged our sins."(1) It summons us to faith. "Look unto Me and be ye saved." "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world."(2) It incites us to grateful adoration. "Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood," &c. (Revelation 1:5, 6).(3) It assures us of perfect redemption. "There remaineth no more offering for sin," for "the blood of Jesus Christ, God's Son, cleanseth us from all sin."

(W. H. Jellie.)

In the addition of "the fifth part," as here set forth, we have a feature of the true trespass-offering, which, it is to be feared, is but little appreciated. When we think of all the wrong and all the trespass which we have done against the Lord; and, further, when we remember how God has been wronged of His rights in this wicked world, with what interest can we contemplate the work of the Cross as that wherein God has not merely received back what was lost, but whereby He is an actual gainer. He has gained more by redemption than ever He lost by the fall. "The sons of God" could raise a loftier song of praise around the empty tomb of Jesus than ever they raised in view of the Creator's accomplished work. The wrong has not only been perfectly atoned for, but an eternal advantage has been gained by the work of the Cross. This is a stupendous truth. God is a gainer by the work of Calvary. Who could have conceived this? When we behold man, and the creation of which he was lord, laid in ruins at the feet of the enemy, how could we conceive that, from amid those ruins, God should gather richer and nobler spoils than any which our unfallen world could have yielded? Blessed be the name of Jesus for all this! It is to Him we owe it all. It is by His precious Cross that ever a truth so amazing, so divine, could be enunciated.

(C. H. Mackintosh.)

Ephah, Moses
Act, Acts, Anyone, Blemish, Breach, Bring, Cattle, Commit, Commits, Committeth, Connection, Defect, Error, Estimation, Faith, Fixed, Flock, Flocks, Forfeit, Guilt, Guilt-offering, Holy, Ignorance, Inadvertence, Lord's, Male, Mark, Offering, Penalty, Perfect, Proper, Ram, Regard, Sanctuary, Scale, Sheep, Shekel, Shekels, Silver, Sin, Sinned, Sinning, Sins, Soul, Terms, Trespass, Trespass-offering, Unfaithfully, Unintentionally, Untrue, Unwittingly, Valuation, Value, Valued, Violation
1. He who sins in concealing his knowledge
2. in touching an unclean thing
4. or in making an oath
6. His trespass offering, of the flock
7. of fowls
11. or of flour
14. The trespass offering in sacrilege
17. and in sins of ignorance

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Leviticus 5:15

     4363   silver
     5615   weights

Leviticus 5:14-16

     1657   numbers, fractions
     8269   holiness, separation from worldly

Leviticus 5:14-19

     7316   blood, OT sacrifices

Leviticus 5:15-18

     7370   guilt offering

Leviticus 5:15-19

     4681   ram

An Unalterable Law
EVERYWHERE under the old figurative dispensation, blood was sure to greet your eyes. It was the one most prominent thing under the Jewish economy, scarcely a ceremony was observed without it. You could not enter into any part of the tabernacle, but you saw traces of the blood-sprinkling. Sometimes there were bowls of blood cast at the foot of the altar. The place looked so like a shambles, that to visit it must have been far from attractive to the natural taste, and to delight in it, a man had need
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 60: 1914

List of Abbreviations Used in Reference to Rabbinic Writings Quoted in this Work.
THE Mishnah is always quoted according to Tractate, Chapter (Pereq) and Paragraph (Mishnah), the Chapter being marked in Roman, the paragraph in ordinary Numerals. Thus Ber. ii. 4 means the Mishnic Tractate Berakhoth, second Chapter, fourth Paragraph. The Jerusalem Talmud is distinguished by the abbreviation Jer. before the name of the Tractate. Thus, Jer. Ber. is the Jer. Gemara, or Talmud, of the Tractate Berakhoth. The edition, from which quotations are made, is that commonly used, Krotoschin,
Alfred Edersheim—The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

VI. Objections answered. I will consider those passages of scripture which are by some supposed to contradict the doctrine we have been considering. 1 Kings viii. 46: "If they sin against thee, (for there is no man that sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them to the enemy, so that they carry them away captives unto the land of the enemy, far or near," etc. On this passage, I remark:-- 1. That this sentiment in nearly the same language, is repeated in 2 Chron. vi. 26, and in Eccl.
Charles Grandison Finney—Systematic Theology

Entire Sanctification
By Dr. Adam Clarke The word "sanctify" has two meanings. 1. It signifies to consecrate, to separate from earth and common use, and to devote or dedicate to God and his service. 2. It signifies to make holy or pure. Many talk much, and indeed well, of what Christ has done for us: but how little is spoken of what he is to do in us! and yet all that he has done for us is in reference to what he is to do in us. He was incarnated, suffered, died, and rose again from the dead; ascended to heaven, and there
Adam Clarke—Entire Sanctification

Christ a Complete Saviour:
OR, THE INTERCESSION OF CHRIST, AND WHO ARE PRIVILEGED IN IT. BY JOHN BUNYAN Advertisement by the Editor. However strange it may appear, it is a solemn fact, that the heart of man, unless prepared by a sense of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, rejects Christ as a complete Saviour. The pride of human nature will not suffer it to fall, as helpless and utterly undone, into the arms of Divine mercy. Man prefers a partial Saviour; one who had done so much, that, with the sinner's aid, the work might be
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Second Stage of Jewish Trial. Jesus Condemned by Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.
(Palace of Caiaphas. Friday.) ^A Matt. XXVI. 57, 59-68; ^B Mark XIV. 53, 55-65; ^C Luke XXII. 54, 63-65; ^D John XVIII. 24. ^d 24 Annas therefore sent him bound unto Caiaphas the high priest. [Foiled in his attempted examination of Jesus, Annas sends him to trial.] ^b and there come together with him all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. ^a 57 And they that had taken Jesus led him away to the house of Caiaphas the high priest, ^c and brought him into the high priest's house. ^a where
J. W. McGarvey—The Four-Fold Gospel

The Earliest Christian Preaching
1. THUS far we have confined ourselves to the words of Jesus. The divine necessity of His death, indicated in the Old Testament and forming the basis of all His teaching regarding it, is the primary truth; the nature of that necessity begins to be revealed as the death is set in relation to the ransoming of many, and to the institution of a new covenant -- that is, a new religion, having as its fundamental blessing the forgiveness of sins. I do not think this view of our Lord's mind as to His own
James Denney—The Death of Christ

The emphasis which modern criticism has very properly laid on the prophetic books and the prophetic element generally in the Old Testament, has had the effect of somewhat diverting popular attention from the priestly contributions to the literature and religion of Israel. From this neglect Leviticus has suffered most. Yet for many reasons it is worthy of close attention; it is the deliberate expression of the priestly mind of Israel at its best, and it thus forms a welcome foil to the unattractive
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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