Chapter 5

Cases Requiring a Sin Offering

    • A sin offering is required if someone sins in the following ways:

      • If you have seen or heard about something and fail to respond to a public call to testify, you are guilty of sin.

        • “It wasn’t enough to merely not tell lies. God also required His people to make the truth known, so even if one merely knew about a lie, they were responsible to make the truth known.” (Guzik)

      • If you touch something unclean (even if you are unaware you touched it) such as the carcass of an unclean animal, livestock, or something that scurries on the ground, you are unclean.

      • If you touch another person who is ceremonially unclean (whether you realize it or not), you are guilty.

        • ‘Clean’ and ‘unclean’ did not pertain to hygiene but to suitability for participating in worship or, in the case of animals, suitability for sacrifice for human consumption…The requirement for becoming clean after touching an unclean animal was merely to wash ones’ clothes and remain apart from the community until evening. Most likely, therefore, the requirement of this sin offering indicates the person had failed to follow the prescription for cleansing. Any bodily discharge, even blood, would render a person temporarily unclean. The uncleanliness itself was not a sin, but it was a sin to neglect cleanliness, allowing it to spread. Once people became aware of their unclean state, they were guilty if they neglected it.” (NLT Illustrated Study Bible)

      • If you make a foolish oath or vow (whether it be for a good purpose or bad) that you later realize is foolish, you are guilty.

    • Anyone who is guilty of one of these sins must confess their sin and bring the Lord your penalty for the sin- a female goat or sheep. Through this sin offering the priest will purify you and make you right with the Lord.

    • If a person can’t afford to bring an animal from the flock to sacrifice, he can bring two turtledoves or two pigeons instead- one for a burnt offering and one for a sin offering. He must take them to the priest and the priest will present the one for the sin offering first. He’ll wring its neck (but not detach its head), sprinkle some blood on the sides of the altar and pour the rest at the base of the altar. The second bird will be prepared for a burnt offering according to regulation. This is how the priest will make atonement on behalf of the person and they will be forgiven.

    • If a person can’t afford two turtledoves and two pigeons, he can bring two quarts of fine flour (with no olive oil or frankincense on it) to the priest as a sin offering instead. The priest will remove a handful and burn it on the altar (the remainder will belong the priest). This is how the priest will make atonement on behalf of the person and they will be forgiven.

The Guilt Offering

    • The Lord told Moses that if anyone unintentionally sins by defiling the Lord’s sacred property (things dedicated to the Lord such as Tabernacle furnishings, the priestly portion of sacrifices, tenths, firstfuits, and firstborn livestock), they must bring a guilt offering to the Lord.

      • “When holy things had been descrated in some way, a mere sin offering was not enough. Restitution was also required, paying back what was lost plus twenty percent (he shall add one-fifth to it).” (Guzik)

    • They must bring an unblemished ram from their own flock or purchase one for an equal value in silver. They must make restitution for the sacred property by paying for the loss plus an extra 20%. When you pay the priest, he will purify you by sacrificing the ram you brought and you will be forgiven.

    • If someone sins unintentionally by violating one of the Lord’s commands, they are guilty and must be punished. They must bring a ram as a guilt offering to the priest according to the procedure above and they will be purified and forgiven.