Special Cases for Purification Offerings.* 1If a person, either having seen or come to know something, does wrong by refusing as a witness under oath to give information,a that individual shall bear the penalty; 2or if someone, without being aware of it, touches any unclean thing, such as the carcass of an unclean wild animal, or an unclean domestic animal, or an unclean swarming creature,* and thus is unclean and guilty;b 3or if someone, without being aware of it, touches some human uncleanness,c whatever kind of uncleanness this may be, and then subsequently becomes aware of guilt; 4or if someone, without being aware of it, rashly utters an oath with bad or good intent,d whatever kind of oath this may be, and then subsequently becomes aware of guilt in regard to any of these matters— 5when someone is guilty in regard to any of these matters, that person shall confess the wrong committed, 6and make reparation to the LORD for the wrong committed: a female animal from the flock, a ewe lamb or a she-goat, as a purification offering. Thus the priest shall make atonement on the individual’s behalf for the wrong.
7If, however, the person cannot afford an animal of the flock,e that person shall bring to the LORD as reparation for the wrong committed two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a purification offering and the other for a burnt offering. 8The guilty party shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer the one for the purification offering first.f Wringing its head at the neck, yet without breaking it off, 9he shall sprinkle some of the blood of the purification offering against the side of the altar. The rest of the blood shall be drained out against the base of the altar. It is a purification offering. 10The other bird he shall offer as a burnt offering according to procedure. Thus the priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed, so that the individual may be forgiven.
11If the person is unable to afford even two turtledoves or two pigeons, that person shall bring as an offering for the wrong committed one tenth of an ephah* of bran flour for a purification offering. The guilty party shall not put oil or place frankincense on it, because it is a purification offering.g 12The individual shall bring it to the priest, who shall take a handful as a token of the offering and burn it on the altar with the other oblations for the LORD. It is a purification offering. 13Thus the priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf for the wrong committed in any of the above cases, so that the individual may be forgiven. The rest of the offering, like the grain offering, shall belong to the priest.
Reparation Offerings.* 14The LORD said to Moses: 15h When a person commits sacrilege by inadvertently misusing any of the LORD’s sacred objects,i the wrongdoer shall bring to the LORD as reparation an unblemished ram from the flock, at the established value* in silver shekels according to the sanctuary shekel, as a reparation offering. 16The wrongdoer shall also restore what has been misused of the sacred objects, adding a fifth of its value,j and give this to the priest. Thus the priest shall make atonement for the person with the ram of the reparation offering, so that the individual may be forgiven.
17If someone does wrong and violates one of the LORD’s prohibitions without realizing it, that person is guiltyk and shall bear the penalty. 18The individual shall bring to the priest an unblemished ram of the flock, at the established value, for a reparation offering. The priest shall then make atonement on the offerer’s behalf for the error inadvertently and unknowingly committed so that the individual may be forgiven. 19It is a reparation offering. The individual must make reparation to the LORD.
20The LORD said to Moses: 21When someone does wrong and commits sacrilege against the LORD by deceivingl a neighbor about a deposit or a pledge or a stolen article, or by otherwise retaining a neighbor’s goods unjustly;m 22or if, having found a lost article, the person lies about it, swearing falsely about any of the things that a person may do wrong— 23when someone has thus done wrong and is guilty, that person shall restore the thing that was stolen, the item unjustly retained, the item left as deposit, or the lost article that was found 24or whatever else the individual swore falsely about. That person shall make full restitution of the thing itself, and add one fifth of its value to it, giving it to its owner at the time of reparation. 25Then that person shall bring to the priest as reparation to the LORD an unblemished ram of the flock, at the established value, as a reparation offering. 26The priest shall make atonement on the person’s behalf before the LORD, so that the individual may be forgiven for whatever was done to incur guilt.
* [5:1–13] This differs from the prescriptions for purification offerings in chap. 4 by listing four specific wrongs for which a purification offering is brought and allowing the substitution of birds and grain offerings in the case of poverty.
* [5:2] Swarming creature: a rather imprecise categorization that includes various small creatures in the seas, such as fish that go about in large groups or swarms (Gn 1:20; Lv 11:10); or, similarly, various winged insects that mass in the skies (Lv 11:20; Dt 14:19); and, finally, various small creatures that move in swarms on land, whether crawlers, quadrupeds, or of the multilegged variety (Lv 11:41–42). According to 11:29–30, even various rodents and lizards can be included in this category.
* [5:11] Ephah: see note on Is 5:10.
* [5:14–26] This last half of the chapter deals with a distinct sacrifice, the reparation offering (Heb. ’asham). The Hebrew root for this term has a basic meaning of “be guilty.” The noun can have a consequential sense of “that which is due from guilt,” i.e., “compensation, indemnification, reparation”; hence the translation “reparation offering,” rather than the alternatives “guilt offering” or “trespass offering.” This offering is brought most often in cases of sacrilege.
* [5:15] At the established value: the Hebrew term ‘erkĕkā, which in context means “(established) value,” may indicate that a person could bring the monetary equivalent of a ram instead of an actual animal. See vv. 18, 25.
a. [5:1] Jgs 17:2–3; Prv 29:24.
b. [5:2] Lv 11:1–45; 15:31; 17:15–16.
c. [5:3] Lv 12:4; 13:35–36; 15:2–12, 19–27; Nm 19:14–22.
d. [5:4] Nm 30:3; Jgs 11:30–36; 1 Sm 14:24–30; Mk 6:23–26; Acts 23:12.
e. [5:7] Cf. Lv 5:11; 12:8; 14:21.
j. [5:16] Lv 22:14; 27:13, 15, 19, 27.