Leviticus Chapter 4  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Leviticus 4
Lev 4:1(top)
Lev 4:2

“unintentionally.” The sin offering and trespass offering were for unintentional sins. If a person sinned on purpose, willfully, defiantly, he was to be “cut off” from his people (Num. 15:30-31). That is why we sometimes see the wrath of God fall on people in the Old Testament, such as on Aaron’s sons who disobeyed God about the offerings (Lev. 10:1-2), or when the ground opened up and swallowed Korah and the rest of the leaders who rebelled against God and Moses (Num. 16:1-2, 31-35).

If a person sinned intentionally, and had no intention of repenting, then their life was in danger from God, the Devil, or people. However, we all sometimes sin intentionally, and God is gracious and so often there are no immediate consequences for that sin; but there certainly will be on the Day of Judgment unless the person repents and God accepts their asking for His forgiveness (cp. 1 John 1:9 and note the record of the tax collector in Luke 18:13).

Lev 4:3

“sin offering.” The Hebrew word translated as the short phrase “sin offering” is chatta'ah (#02403 חַטָּאָה or spelled חַטָּאת). The Hebrew word can either mean “sin” or “sin offering,” depending on the context. Here it means “sin offering.” The Greek word in used in the Septuagint is hamartia (#266 ἁμαρτία), and it, too, can be understood to be “sin” or a “sin offering” according to the context. Here in Leviticus 4:3, 8, 21, 24, 25, 29, 32, and 4:33, the Hebrew word chatta'ah and the Greek translation hamartia are properly translated into English as “sin offering” in the various English versions.

Leviticus 4 should have set the pattern for Christ being our sin offering, and 2 Corinthians 5:21 should have read in most English versions that Christ was a “sin offering” on our behalf, and thus paid the penalty for our sin. There is no textual or typological reason for 2 Corinthians 5:21 to be translated as Christ became “sin” for us. He did not become “sin,” he became our sin offering.

[For more on Christ being our “sin offering,” see commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:21.]

Lev 4:4

“to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, before Yahweh.” The “Tabernacle” (“Dwelling Place”) is also referred to as the “Tent of Meeting” because it was the place where people met with God. The Hebrew phrase is 'ohel mo'ed, in which 'ohel (#0168) means “tent,” and is followed by mo'ed (#04150 מוֹעֵד or מֹעֵד) which means a “meeting” or a “place for a meeting.” Thus the 'ohel mo'ed is the “Tent of Meeting” (see commentary on Exod. 27:21).

The entrance of the Tent of Meeting was the entrance to the Holy Place, the first room of the Tabernacle, where the menorah, Bread of the Presence, and the golden altar of incense were. God dwelt in the Tabernacle, so to bring the bull to the entrance of the Tent of Meeting, before Yahweh, was to bring the bull into the Tabernacle courtyard but not into the Tabernacle itself.

Lev 4:5

“bring it into the Tent of Meeting.” The priest was to bring the blood “into” the Tent of Meeting. Although the Hebrew text can be either “to” or “into,” the priest was already before the Tent of Meeting, so in that context, the Hebrew means “into.” The priest slaughtered the bull in the courtyard of the Tabernacle, then went into the Holy Place and sprinkled the blood before Yahweh, before the curtain to the Holy of Holies (Lev. 4:6).

Lev 4:6(top)
Lev 4:7

“the altar of sweet incense before Yahweh that is in the Tent of Meeting.” After sprinkling the blood toward the Holy of Holies, the priest is to put blood on the horns of the golden altar of incense.

“Then he is to pour out all of the rest of the blood of the bull at the base of the altar of burnt offering.” So, the process of the sin offering involves the priest slaughtering the animal in the Tabernacle courtyard, then going into the Holy Place, the first room of the Tabernacle, and sprinkling the blood toward the Holy of Holies, then putting blood on the horns of the golden altar of incense, then going back out into the Tabernacle courtyard and pouring out the rest of the blood at the base of the altar of sacrifice. Then the priest deals with the parts of the animal that are burned on the altar as an offering to God (Lev. 4:8-10), then the priest deals with the parts of the sacrifice that must be burned outside the camp (Lev. 4:11-12).

Lev 4:8(top)
Lev 4:9(top)
Lev 4:10

“burn...into smoke.” See commentary on Exodus 29:13.

Lev 4:11(top)
Lev 4:12

“And and burn it on wood with fire.” Students of Scripture are well aware that the Tabernacle and Temple had two altars: the golden altar of incense inside the Holy Place (Exod. 30:1-10; 37:25-28) and the large altar of sacrifice in the courtyard of the Tabernacle/Temple (Exod. 27:1-8; 38:1-7). However, there was a third altar associated with the Tabernacle and Temple that was “outside of the camp,” that is, it was outside of the area of the Tabernacle/Temple. It was on this third altar that things that were often considered unclean, such as the bodies of sin offerings, were burned (cp. Exod. 29:14; Lev. 4:12, 21; 8:17; 9:11; 16:27). This altar is associated with the death of Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:10, and see commentary on Heb. 13:10).

Lev 4:13(top)
Lev 4:14(top)
Lev 4:15(top)
Lev 4:16(top)
Lev 4:17(top)
Lev 4:18(top)
Lev 4:19(top)
Lev 4:20(top)
Lev 4:21

“carry the bull outside the camp and burn it.” There were three altars associated with the Tabernacle and Temple: the golden altar of incense, the bronze altar of sacrifice, and a third altar east of the camp where certain parts of sacrifices were burned, and that altar is closely connected to the death of Christ (see commentary on Heb. 13:10).

Lev 4:22(top)
Lev 4:23(top)
Lev 4:24(top)
Lev 4:25(top)
Lev 4:26(top)
Lev 4:27

“one person.” The Hebrew text is “soul” (nephesh) but here it refers to the person.

“the common people.” The Hebrew text is literally “the people of the land,” but this is one of the places where a literal translation could be confusing. The “people of the land” are the common, ordinary people who live in Israel. The phrase does not refer to farmers, and certainly not to “landed people” like we think of land owners in Europe.

“by doing one of the things​.” Even breaking one commandment is breaking the Law and is sin. The Hebrew word “one,” echad, is in the text and should not be played down in translation. James 2:10 says that breaking one of the commandments makes a person guilty of breaking the whole Law.

Lev 4:28(top)
Lev 4:29(top)
Lev 4:30(top)
Lev 4:31

“burn...into smoke.” See commentary on Exodus 29:13.

Lev 4:32(top)
Lev 4:33(top)
Lev 4:34(top)
Lev 4:35(top)

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