Chapter 4

The Sin Offering

    • The Lord told Moses to give these instructions to the Israelites:

      • The following are instructions for dealing with someone who sins by violating any of the Lord’s commands unintentionally:

        • Guzik makes an important note here, “The idea is not so much of an accidental sin, but of a sin committed by a person who basically loves God. The contrast to an unintentional sin is to sin presumptuously (Numbers 15:30). Literally, this was “to sin with a high hand.” There was no atonement available for the one whose heart was so defiantly turned against the Lord in presumptuous sin. If your heart wasn’t turned towards the Lord, then all the animals in the world sacrificed on your behalf did you no good.”

        • “If the High Priest sins (which brings guilt on the entire community) he must give a sin offering of a young, unblemished bull. He must bring it to the entrance of the Tabernacle, lay his hands on its head and kill it. He must then take some of the bulls blood into the Tabernacle, dip his finger in it, and sprinkle it seven times in front of the inner curtain of the sanctuary. Then he must put some of the blood on the horns of the incense altar. The rest of the bulls blood must be poured at the base of the altar for burnt offerings out at the entrance of the Tabernacle. Then, the priest must remove all of the bull’s fat and burn it on the altar. Whatever is left of the bull must be carried to the place outside camp where the ashes are dumped (a ceremonially clean place) and burned.”

        • “The blood of this bull was applied to the veil in the tabernacle of meeting, to the altar of incense, and to the altar of sacrifice outside the tabernacle… Sin is an offense against the holiness of God, and so the veil guarding His holy presence must receive sacrificial blood…Sin affects our prayer life, and so the altar of incense representing the prayers of God’s people must receive sacrificial blood…Sin makes our atonement necessary, so the altar of the burnt offering – the place of atonement – must receive sacrificial blood.” (Guzik)

        • “The valuable hide and the meat of the bull were burnt outside the camp, along with the worthless portions of the bull. It could not be offered to God, but it was burned as if it were a worthless thing…All selfish motives had to be removed in the sin offering. If a priest brought the offering, the whole offering had to be destroyed. If a non-priest brought the offering, the priest could eat of it, but not the one bringing the sacrifice. You couldn’t bring a sin offering because you wanted meat or leather, but only because you wanted to get right with God. This emphasized the idea that there is no benefit to our sin.” (Guzik)

        • “The portions of the priest’s sin offering that could not be burned on the altar had to be burned at a special place ‘outside the camp.’ Such a designated dump for the sacrificial ashes existed outside Solomon’s temple (Jeremiah 31:39-40). In Hebrews 13:11-12, the death of Christ ‘outside the gate’ is compared to the burning of the sin offering ‘outside the camp.” (HCSB commentary)

      • “If the Israelite community as a whole sins by violating one of God’s commands, even if it is unintentional, they are still guilty. Once they realize they have sinned, they must bring a young bull for a sin offering to the Tabernacle. The elders must lay their hands on the bull’s head and kill it.” The High Priest would then follow the same protocol listed for the sin offering above. The people would then be forgiven and made right with the Lord.

“The National Sin Offering,” The Holy Bible. Illustration. Public domain (U.S.). Philadelphia, Penn.: A.J. Holman & Company, 1890. via Wikimedia Commons.
      • “If one of the Israelite leaders sins by breaking one of God’s commands, even if it is unintentional, he is still guilty. When he realizes he has sinned, he must bring an unblemished male goat to the Tabernacle, lay his hands on it, and kill it. The priest will dip his finger in the blood, put it on the horns of the altar for burnt offerings, pour the rest of the blood out at the base of the altar, then burn the bull’s fat on the altar. Then he will be forgiven and be right with the Lord.”

        • Guzik notes, “The procedure was similar to, yet distinct from the offering for a priest or the nation at large. The sacrificial victim was a male goat, and the blood was only applied to the altar of burnt offering, and the fat was burnt on the altar – as in the peace offering…According to Leviticus 6:24-30, the rest of the animal was available for the priest.”

      • “If any of the common people sin by violating one of God’s commands, even if it is unintentional, they are still guilty. Once they realize their sin, they must bring an unblemished female goat or sheep to the Tabernacle, lay their hands on its head, and kill it.” The priest will then follow the same procedure as with the male goat for the sin offering of a leader. Through this process the person will be forgiven and made right with God.”