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CHAPTER IV

THE SIN-OFFERING
Little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And

if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Faker, Jesus Christ the

righteous: and he is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only,

but also for the sins of the whole world."--1 John ii. 1, 2
WERE a scorpion on our brow, prepared to thrust in its

deadly sting, while we were unconscious of any danger,

surely the friend would deserve our thanks who saw the

black scorpion there, and cried aloud to us to sweep it

off. Such is a sin of ignorance; and God, who is "a

God of knowledge," is the gracious friend. In this char-

acter he appears here.
Ver. 1, 2. And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto

the children of Israel, saying, if a soul shall sin through

ignorance against any of the commandments of the Lord, con-

cerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do

against any of them:--
The former chapters of this book have been in sub-

stance like the first chapter of John's first Epistle. We

have been shewn in type that life eternal which was

manifested to us in Christ the great Atonement. Next,

we were shewn that the Lord had a claim on all that is

ours, and therefore must we give up ourselves and all


THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 63
that is ours to him. This done, we walk in fellowship

with him.

These things having been written to us, in the first

three chapters, to the end "that we sin not"--that we

may not live like the dark world around us, but may be

drawn to him who draws us with his cords of love--the

Lord now speaks again to "the children of Israel"--his

"little children." He points out what is to be done

when they come to the knowledge of sin of which they

were not aware before. The cases are understood to be

things committed, not mere omissions of duty; and how

saddening to find that we grieve the Lord in so many

hidden ways! We have a heart as prone to sin, as the

body is to weariness.

The sin through ignorance (hgAgAw;) is the same that

David prays against in Ps. xix. 12, "Who can under-

stand his errors (tOxygiw;)? cleanse thou me from secret

things!" These are not sins of omission, but acts com-

mitted by a person when, at the time, he did not suppose

that what he did was sin.* Although he did the thing

deliberately, yet he did not perceive the sin of it. So

deceitful is sin, we may be committing that abominable

thing which cast angels into an immediate and an eternal

hell, and yet at the moment be totally unaware! Want

of knowledge of the truth, and too little tenderness of

conscience, hide it from us. Hardness of heart and a

corrupt nature cause us to sin unperceived. But here

again the form of the Son of man appears! Jehovah,

God of Israel, institutes sacrifice for sins of ignorance,

and thereby discovers the same compassionate and con-


* Josh. xx. 3, "Who killeth any person in ignorance (hgAgAw;bi ) and did not

know," i. e. did not know that his action would have had that effect (comp.

Deut. xix. 4).

64 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV


siderate heart that appears in our High Priest, "who can

have compassion on THE IGNORANT!" (Heb. v. 2.) Amidst

the types of this Tabernacle we recognise the presence of

Jesus--it is his voice that shakes the curtains and speaks

in the ear of Moses--"If a soul shall sin through igno-

rance!" The same yesterday, to-day, and for ever!


THE PRIEST'S SIN
Ver. 3, 4. If the priest that is anointed do sin according to the

sin of the people; then let him bring, for his sin which he hath

sinned, a young bullock without blemish unto the Lord for a

sin-offering. And he shall bring the bullock unto the door of

the tabernacle of the congregation before the Lord; and shall

lay his hand upon the bullock's head, and kill the bullock

before the Lord.
The anointed priest must mean the High Priest, for he

only was anointed. In ver. 5, the Septuagint have so

understood it, for they give "o[ i[ereuj o[ Xristoj o[ teteleiw-

menoj." Now, the first case, is that of the anointed priest

sinning. " The law maketh men high priests that have

infirmity" (Heb. vii. 28). This sin the priest may have

committed in his public services, in the execution of his

office. Being invested with office, his sins are peculiarly

aggravated, and peculiarly dangerous--their effect upon

others may be incalculable. The words, "according to

the sin of the people" (MfAhA tmaw;xAl;) are more properly

rendered, "so as to cause the people to sin,"--he sins to

the sinning of the people. (Tou? ton laon a[martei?n.--Sep-

tuagint. "Delinquere faciens populum."--Vulg.) The Old

Testament ministry involved awful responsibilities, as well

as the New. The personal holiness of the priest is pro-

vided for by this consideration, that if he, because of de-

ficient wisdom, or because he had not faithfully sought


THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 65
help from the sanctuary, were guilty of some mistake in

the service, or polluted some of the holy vessels, his sin

would injure thousands of souls. It might destroy the

comfort of thousands; it might misrepresent the way of

acceptance to thousands, and thereby ruin their souls.

It left the sanctuary-door open to Satan. And, on the

other hand, in such circumstances, surely the people would

learn to pray for the ministering priest, and to feel, that

after all, he was no more than an instrument used by

God for their sakes. There seems thus to have been, in

all ages, the flow of the same sympathies through Christ's

body, the Church. The Church has been ever "com-

pacted by that which every joint supplieth." But let us

proceed.


Hitherto we have seen atonement made by sacrifice,

but now we are to see imputation of sin. Atonement is

effected by imputation of sin to another. The priest's

sin is to be brought to the altar. He is to bring "a bul-

lock." This is the very same kind of offering as when the

whole congregation sin. As the most bulky and most

expensive form of sacrifice was the bullock, the priest

must take this form of sacrifice, in order to make more

obvious to the eye his concern for his sin. He spares no

cost in bringing his sin to the altar; and the people

learn from him to spare no cost in bringing their sins to

the atoning blood.

The type, applied to our Surety, may be this—that

when Christ, our Anointed Priest, took upon him our sin

as his own, he had to offer exactly what we would have

had to do ourselves, had we been reckoned with in our

own persons. If there be sin found upon the priest,

then his offering must be no less than the whole congre-

gation's.
66 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV
Ver. 5, 6. And the priest that is anointed shall take of the bul-

lock's blood, and bring it to the tabernacle of the congrega-

tion. And the priest shall dip his finger in the blood, and

sprinkle of the blood seven times before the Lord, before the

veil of the sanctuary.
The " seven times," throughout all Scripture, intimates

a perfect and complete action.* The blood is to be

thoroughly exhibited before the Lord--life openly exhi-

bited as taken to honour the law that had been violated.

It is not, at this time, taken within the veil, for that

would require the priest to enter the Holy of holies--a

thing permitted only once a year. But it is taken very

near the mercy-seat--it is taken "before the veil," while

the Lord, that dwelt between the cherubim, bent down

to listen to the cry that came up from the sin-atoning

blood.

Was the blood sprinkled on the veil? Some say not,



but only on the floor, close to the veil. The floor of the

Holy Place was dyed in blood; a threshold of blood

was formed, over which the high priest must pass on the

day of atonement, when he entered into the Most Holy,

drawing aside the veil. It is blood that opens our way

into the presence of God; it is the voice of atoning blood

that prevails with him who dwells within. Others, how-

ever, with more probability, think the blood was sprink-

led on the veil.† It might intimate that atonement was
* The "seven times" of some passages, and the "once" of others (Heb. x.

10; 1 Pet. iii. 18), intimate the same thing, viz. so completely done that no

more is needed. It is the one action in seven parts, for the satisfaction of all

who see it done. And so the "One Spirit," and the "Seven Spirits." The

Pythagoreans learned from the Hebrews to account this number very important

in religious acts.

† The Hebrew is doubtful tkerPA ynep; tx, is put at the close of the sentence.

Most probably it is so put, in order to define what "before the Lord" meant.

The Septuagint is "kata> to> katape

"he shall sprinkle on the veil."


THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 67
yet to rend that veil; and, as that beautiful veil repre-

sented the Saviour's holy humanity (Heb. x. 20), O

how expressive was the continual repetition of this

blood-sprinkling seven times! As often as the priest

offered a sin-offering, the veil was wet again with blood

which dropt on the floor. Is this Christ bathed in the

blood of atonement? Yes; "through that veil" the way

was opened to us--through the flesh of Jesus--through

the body that for us was drenched in the sweat of blood.
Ver. 7. And the priest shall put some of the blood upon the horns

of the altar of sweet incense before the Lord, which is in the

tabernacle of the congregation; and shall pour all the blood

of the bullock at the bottom of the altar of the burnt-offering,

which is at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
The priest retires a few steps from before the veil.

Having gazed solemnly on the seven times sprinkled

blood, in the light of the golden candlestick, he is

directed to another act. He is to approach the golden

altar-that altar whereon sweet incense was presented.

Incense, being fragrant, represented that which is pleasing,

and which has in it acceptability; and when offered

along with prayer, praise, or any feeling, of the soul,

exhibited a type of the merits of the Surety enveloping

his people's services. The horns of this altar (said to have

been of a pyramidical shape) represented the power and

strength that lay in this mode of approaching Jehovah.

The horn is the recognised symbol of power. Incense

ascending between the four horns was symbolical of

praise, prayer, or any service presented to God, ascend-

ing with all prevailing merit. And blood, placed on

these horns,* exhibited the strong appeal to God made
* There is no incense burnt on this altar on this occasion, "in order to teach

us," says an old writer, “not to confide in our prayers for pardon.”

68 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV
by atonement. A strong appeal to God is made by the

blood thus placed on the horns of the golden altar. It

is like the voice in Rev. ix. 13.

We have seen that the priest first of all sprinkled the

blood on the floor, close to the veil, or on the veil, whence

it fell in drops to the ground, so that a cry was heard

ascending from the Holy Place itself. And then he

sprinkled it on the four horns of the altar of intercession,

that an appeal of unbroken strength might go up into the

ears of the Lord from the very place of strong crying.

He knew that it spoke better things than the blood of

Abel. When the anointed priest was thus engaged, was

he not a type of Jesus in the act of expiating his people's

guilt? Probably the priest knelt, and then prostrated

himself on the ground, as he sprinkled the blood before

the veil; and it would be with many tears, and strong

crying from the depths of his soul, that he touched the

altar's horns--a type of Jesus in the garden, when he

fell on his face, and, being in an agony, prayed more

earnestly, and "offered up supplications, with strong

crying and tears, to him that was able to save him from

death" (Heb. v. 7). Although in this case, the priest's

sense of guilt was personal, and therefore was deep and

piercing, yet when Jesus took on him our sins, he, too,

felt them, and felt them as if they had been his own. He

cried, "Mine iniquities have taken hold upon me!" (Ps.

xl. 12.) Identifying himself with us, his soul grieved

immeasurably for the sin he bore, and his tears dropt on

the awful burden which he took up, as sincerely as if it

had been altogether his own.

At length the priest comes from the Holy Place--leaving

it, however, filled with the cry of blood--a cry for pardon!

--and proceeds to the altar of burnt-offering, directly
THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 69
opposite the door. There he pours out the rest of the

blood, at the foot of the altar,* his eye locking straight

toward the Holy Place. Within and without the Holy

Place, the voice of atonement was now heard ascending

from the blood. What a sermon was thus preached to

the people! Atonement is the essence of it--atonement

needed for even one sin, and applied as soon as the sin

was known. There is no trifling with God. What a

ransom for the soul is given!--life--the life of the Seed

of the Woman! What care to present it--what earnest-

ness! The Holy Place is filled with its cry, and the courts

without also; and the priest's soul is intently engaged in

this one awful matter! The people, perceiving the whole

transaction, must have felt it singularly powerful, first, for

conviction--Whosoever shall keep the whole law, and

yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all" (James ii. 10);

and, secondly, for invitation—“To-day, if ye will hear

his voice, harden not your hearts."


Ver. 8-10. And he shall take of from it all the fat of the

bullock for the sin-offering; the fat that covereth the inwards,

and all the fat that is upon the inwards, and the two kidneys,

and the fat that is upon them, which is by the flanks, and the

caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away,

as it was taken of from the bullock of the sacrifice of peace-

offerings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar of the

burnt-offering.
The same ceremonies as were used in the peace-offer-

ings are intentionally introduced here (see iii. 10). The

object seems to be, to shew the offerer that he is now

accepted. It is not in vain that he has sprinkled the

blood on the floor of the Holy Place and its altar of incense,

and poured out what of the blood remained, in sight of


* It is said, that in Jerusalem, there was an underground canal at the altar

in the temple, by which the blood was carried off to the brook Cedron.--Patrick.


70 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV
all the people. God gives this sign of reconciliation, viz.

at this stage of his offering, the sacrifice is treated as a

peace-offering. The voice of peace now breathes over the

sacrifice, and through the courts, as much as if a voice had

said, "It is a savour of rest."
Ver. 11, 12. And the skin of the bullock, and all his flesh, with

his head, and with his legs, and his inwards, and his dung,

even the whole bullock shall he carry forth without the camp

unto a clean place, where the ashes are poured out, and burn

him on the wood with fire: where the ashes are poured out

shall he be burnt.
But that the priest, and all present, might go home

with an awful conviction of the heinousness even of for-

given sin, other things remained to be done. We are not

to forget sin, because it has been atoned for; and we are

not to think lightly of sin, because it is washed away.

Our God wishes his people to retain a deep and lively

sense of their guilt, even when forgiven. Hence the con-

cluding ceremonies in the case of the priest's sin.

The very skin of the bullock is to be burnt--thus

expressing more complete destruction than even in the

case of the whole burnt-offering. Here is the holy law

exacting the last mite; for the skin is taken, and the

whole flesh, the head and legs (i. 8), the intestines, and the

very dung--"even the whole bullock!" Unsparing justice,

that is, unspotted justice! And yet more. As if the

altar were too near God's presence to express fully that

part of the sinner's desert which consists in suffering

torment far off from God, all this is to be done "without

the camp"--a distance, it is calculated, of four miles from

the Holy Place. In all sacrifices, indeed, this separation

from God is represented in some degree by the ashes

being carried away out of the camp; but, to call attention


THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 71
still more to this special truth, we are here shewn the

bullock burnt on the wood, "without the camp, where the

ashes were wont to be poured out." It was over the very

ashes that lay poured out there; for, in the last clause of

the verse, the preposition lfa is used. "The clean place"

is defined to be this place of ashes. It was clean, because,

when reduced to ashes by consuming fire, all guilt was

away from the victim, as intimated in Ps. xx. 3, "Let him

turn thy burnt-sacrifice to ashes" (hn,w.;day;), the word used

here also.

At this part of the ceremonies, there was meant to be

exhibited a type of hell. This burning afar off, away

from the Holy Place, yet seen by the whole congregation,

was a terrible glance at that truth--"They shall be tor-

mented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the

holy angels, and in presence of the Lamb; and the smoke

of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever" (Rev.

xiv. 10).

It is plain, also, that God took the opportunity which

this offering afforded, or rather shaped this part of the

rites belonging to the offering, in order to shew somewhat

more of Christ's death.

In every sacrifice which was of a public nature, or for

a public person, the animal was carried without the camp,

as we may see in chap. xvi. 27, on the day of atonement.

The reason of this was that, in these cases, Christ's public

sacrifice, as offered to the whole world, and every creature,

and as fulfilling the law's demands to the last mite, was

to be especially prefigured. It is carried "without the

camp," as Jesus was crucified outside of the gates of

Jerusalem (Heb. xiii. 12), that it might be in sight of all

the camp, as Christ's one offering is held up to all the

world, to be used by whosoever will. Next, suffering far
72 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV
off from the Holy Place, with his Father's face hidden,

and all the fire of wrath in his soul and on his body, Jesus

farther fulfilled this type in regard to the entire satisfaction

demanded by the law. And, inasmuch as he suffered at

Jerusalem, where the ashes of the sacrifices were poured

out, he may be said to have fulfilled the type of the "clean

place." For we see him, over these remnants of typical

sacrfrice, offering up the one true and perfect offering.

But it was Calvary that was specially a "place of ashes,"

inasmuch as there the demands of justice were wont to

be satisfied, and the bones of victims to human law cast

out. Joseph's new tomb, hewn out of the very rock of

Calvary, is the exact counterpart to the "clean place,"

at the very spot where the ashes of so many dead men

were to be found all around.

What a view of hell does the suffering Saviour

give! The face-covering between him and his Father-

the criminal's veil hung over him for three hours, the

three hours of darkness--away from the Holy Place--

driven from the mercy-seat, and beyond the bounds of

the holy city--an outcast, a forsaken soul, a spectacle to

all that passed by--wrath to the uttermost within, and

his person, even to the eye, more marred than any man,

while his cry, "My God! my God! why hast thou for--

saken me?" ascended up as the smoke of the sacrifice, to

heaven, shewing the heat of the unutterable agony, and

testifying the unswerving exactness of the holy law.

What a contrast to his Coming again without sin, and

entering Jerusalem again with the voice of the archangel,

in all his glory, bringing with him those whom he

redeemed by that death on Calvary!

In one respect his people are to imitate the view of

him shewn in this type. As he went forth to witness for
THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 73
God's holy law--went forth without the gate, a spectacle

to all the earth; so they, redeemed by him, are to go

forth to witness of that death and redemption which he

has accomplished (Heb. xiii. 12). We are to "go forth

unto him;" we are to be constantly, as it were, viewing

that spectacle of united love and justice, looking to his

cross; though in so doing we make ourselves objects of

amazement and contempt to the world, who contemn those

whom they see going forth to stand by the side of the

Crucified One.


THE CONGREGATION'S SIN
Ver. 13. And if the whole congregation of Israel sin through

ignorance, and the thing be hid from the eyes of the assembly,

and they have done somewhat against any of the command-

ments of the Lord, concerning things which should not be done,

and are guilty;--
The moral law was sometimes broken by the nation at

large; as in the matter of the golden calf, and the mur-

muring at the report of the spies. It is thought by Rashi

that a sin like this occurred when "the Sanhedrim did

not instruct, the people in regard to some ceremonial

observance." Admitting that such cases occurred, yet it

is important to notice, that even if the people were led

into sin by their priest, they are not excused: they are

guilty, and suffer the consequences." The prophet Hosea

(iv. 6-9) shews that people are not freed from sin or

punishment in such cases.

This, however, is but one way whereby the congrega-

tion are led into sin. Often it happened that a man made

little use of his knowledge, and so ate holy things, as we


* The proper rendering of "are guilty," UmwexA, is, in this place, "are suffer-

ing the penalty." As in Ps. xxxiv. 21, 22, "shall be desolate;" and Isa.

xxiv. 6.
74 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV
find, chap. xxii. 14; and the whole people, in 1 Sam. xiv.

33, ate of the blood. Though they had not despised the

priest, nor refused the law at his lips, yet they might let

the word slip from their mind; as in Heb. ii. 1, we are

told may still occur.

We all know that it is possible for a child of God to be

cherishing unawares some idol, or indulging, like Eli, a

too easy temper. Or he may be rash in his words, and

frowning in his looks, where Jesus would only have looked

on in grief. He may be cherishing pride like Hezekiah

(Isa. xxxix.), or exhibiting blind zeal as the sons of Zebe-

dee. He may be unawares substituting labour for fellow-

ship with God, working without love, and suffering without

faith in exercise. Prejudice against particular doctrines

may be his secret sin; or wrong motives may be in-

fluencing him to do right actions. He may contrive to

retain the look of greenness when the sap is gone. Even

a whole community of believers may be pervaded by some

such sin.

But more specially, a whole church may be in the state

of the congregation referred to here. It may be deny-

ing some great truth in theory or in practice. Thus, it

may make light of the duty which kings and magistrates

owe to Christ; as is done by some churches. It may be

suffering "that woman Jezebel to teach and to seduce"

(Rev. ii. 20). It may be admitting some civil element

into the management of its spiritual affairs, as is done in

many Protestant Churches. It may be shutting its eyes

to some great truth, or winking at some heresy. It may

teach error in doctrine; or it may have left its first love.

It may have allowed discipline to have become lax and

corrupt, as, alas! is too generally true of all the Churches

of the Reformation.
THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 75
These secret sins may be keeping God from blessing

the whole people, though he blesses individuals. Some-

where amid these sources is to be found the origin of much

of our inefficiency and unprofitableness. Ai cannot be

taken because of the accursed thing in the camp. The

mariners cannot make out the voyage to Tarshish with

Jonah on board.

Israel was thus led to constant self-examination and

close attention to the revealed will of God.
Ver. 14. When the sin, which they have sinned against it, is known,

then the congregation shall offer a young bullock for the sin,

and bring hint before the tabernacle of the congregation.
Their offering is the same as the priest's, because of

their mutual relation. The people's sin is not overlooked,

but is judged with as much severity as the priest's. Every

man must bear his own burden; and God is jealously

holy.
Ver. 15. And the elders of the congregation shall lay their hands

upon the head of the bullock before the Lord; and the bullock

shall be killed before the Lord.
The elders, in the name of the people, convey the guilt

of the people to the head of the victim. It was this class

of men--the elders--that put Jesus to death, with the

priests. Now here we see that their act was a national

act--strictly national--since they were representatives of

all Israel. And their cry, "His blood be on us," joining

with the multitude, was a national rejection of Jesus.

Ah, had they then joined to put their hands on him as

the acknowledged sacrifice, they might have remained to

this day!

The guilt of the whole people was thus made to meet

in one point, viz. on the bullock. It is to a scene like


76 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV
this that Isaiah (liii. 6) refers--" The Lord made the

iniquity of us all to meet on him" (Ob faygp;hi).


Ver. 16-20. And the priest that is anointed shall bring of the

bullock's blood to the tabernacle of the congregation; and the

priest shall dip his finger in some of the blood, and sprinkle

it seven times before the Lord, even before the veil. And

he shall put some of the blood upon the horns of the altar

which is before the Lord, that is in the tabernacle of the con-

gregation, and shall pour out all the blood at the bottom of

the altar of the burnt-offering, which is at the door of the

tabernacle of the congregation. And he shall take all his

fat from him, and burn it upon the altar. And he shall do

with the bullock as he did with the bullock for a sin-offering,

so shall he do with this: and the priest shall make an atone-

ment for them, and it shall be forgiven them.
The expression, ver. 20, is to be understood, "He shall

do in this case as he has done already," in the case of a

bullock for sin-offering, viz. ver. 3. The declaration, "It

shall be forgiven," seems inserted here because otherwise

there is not here, as in the last case, any particular exhi-

bition of peace, as in ver. 8-10. This declaration, there-

fore, is made, that pardon may be assuredly known.
Ver. 21. And he shall carry forth the bullock without the camp,

and burn him as he burned the first bullock: it is a sin-offering

for the congregation.
It is remarkable, that after the declaration of forgive-

ness, these other ceremonies take place. They are in-

tended, no doubt, to impress a horror of sin on the soul,

even after it is forgiven. The forgiven man is most capa-

ble of seeing the horror of sin ; and therefore the people

are first pardoned, and then led out to see the last mite

exacted without the camp. See the same order observed,

and for the same reason, we suppose, at ver. 11, 12.

None but a pardoned man could have uttered Paul's cry,
THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 77
“0 wretched man that I am; who shall deliver me from

the body of this death?" (Rom. vii. 24.)

The identity of Christ and his people, also, is taught

by their offering being burnt exactly in all respects as the

priest's, whose offering more especially typified Jesus.
THE RULER'S SIN
Ver. 22, 23. When a ruler hath sinned, and done somewhat

through ignorance against any of the commandments of the

Lord his God, concerning things which should not be done,

and is guilty; or if his sin, wherein he bath sinned, come to

his knowledge; he shall bring his offering, a kid of the goats,

a male without blemish.
If a ruler has sinned. . . . and is suffering the penalty,"

as in ver. 13. The ruler may sin ignorantly, and be led

to know his sin by some suffring, like Abimelech, in Gen.

xx. 3-17; or it might be by some friend's reproof, or by

new circumstances occurring. So ver. 27.

The ruler is such a one as those princes (MyxiWin;) of the

tribes in Numb. vii. It includes all civil magistrates. His

high responsibility is here shewn just as in Prov. xxix.

12, "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants will be

wicked."


It is said, "The Lord his God;" as if to call attention

to the duty of publicly recognising the Lord, and of rulers

having the Lord as their own God. A ruler is specially

bound to be a man of God. This is taken for granted

here, "The Lord his God." No casting off of Messiah's

cords here. He that ruleth over men must be as the Just

One, "ruling in the fear of God."

A kid of the goats" is his sin-offering. It is a differ-

ent victim from that offered by the priest or congregation,

in order to shew that God definitely marks sin. And yet

still the essence of atonement is the same, the blood of a

78 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV


victim that dies. Priest or prince must alike be atoned

for by blood. The "male without blemish" is the spot-

less Saviour, the Son of man.
Ver. 24, 25. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of the

goat, and kill it in the place where they kill the burnt-offering

before the Lord: it is a sin-offering. And the priest shall

take of the blood of the sin-offering with his finger, and put it

upon the horns of the altar of burnt-offering, and shall pour

out his blood at the bottom of the altar of burnt-offering.
It seems intentionally twice stated here, that the altar

of burnt-offering was to be the place where his sin-

offering was to be presented;--it is to be killed where

the usual sacrifices for that altar are killed, and its blood

is to be sprinkled there. The reason may be this:--

The altar of incense in the Holy Place was peculiarly the

scene of the priest's intercession, and of the people's

prayers as a congregation. The sins in holy things

pointed inward, toward the Holy Place. On the other

hand, a ruler's sins pointed toward the camp. Hence,

the blood that atones for his sin is sprinkled on the horns

of that altar where it would be publicly observed. The

cry of the blood on the four horns,--the strong cry,

based on all prevailing atonement,--was to ascend within

hearing, as it were, of all his subjects, inasmuch as his

sins affected the welfare of the nation.


Ver. 26. And he shall burn all his fat upon the altar, as the

fat of the sacrifice of peace-offerings: and the priest shall

make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall

be forgiven him.
The last clause may be intended to draw attention to

the fact, that in this instance the atonement is because of

this particular sin, and not simply because he is a sinner
THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 79
in nature and by common actual transgressions. The

opportunity is here embraced of impressing on us the

need of atonement for particular sins,--for every sin by

itself; and for those little-regarded sins which we apolo-

gise for by saying, "I did not know of it." Jonathan's

sin in taking a little honey (1 Sam. xiv. 39, 43), and

Abimelech's sin (Gen. xx. 6), shew how jealous God is

of even what appears sin, especially in public persons.


SINS OF INDIVIDUALS
Ver. 27, 28. And if any one of the common people sin through

ignorance, while he doeth somewhat against any of the com-

mandments of the Lord, concerning things which ought not to

be done, and be guilty, (see ver. 13); or if his sin, which he

hath sinned, come to his knowledge: then he shall bring his

offering, a kid of the goats, a female without blemish, for his

sin which he hath sinned.
“A female" is here offered. Each kind of sin is thus

definitely noticed, and each sinner's case treated by itself.

But why is it a female, since Christ is typified by these

offerings?--It is not easy to say. Perhaps it was intended

by God, that by occasionally taking female sacrifices;

Israel should be kept from ever once supposing that atone-

ment was not intended equally for the daughters of Zion.

The circumstance that a female kid is here fixed upon

served to take off the impression that the male intimated

only the atonement of the men of Israel. Though, how-

ever, its being male or female is of use for other lessons,

it is not the chief point to be noticed; the point to be

observed is, that the blood is an atonement. The sub-

sidiary ideas are not to be dwelt upon always; but every-

where the principle of atonement by blood is to be kept in

the sinner's view.


"For his sin which he hath sinned." Lest the man

80 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV


should think that the sin was trifling, because he was a

common man, and not a ruler, this emphatic notice is

taken of his sin:--
Ver. 29-31. And he shall lay his hand upon the head of

the sin-offering, and slay the sin-offering in the place of the

burnt-offering. And the priest shall take of the blood thereof,

with his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of

burnt-offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the

bottom of the altar. And he shall take away all the fat

thereof, as the fat is taken away from off the sacrifice of peace-

oferings; and the priest shall burn it upon the altar for a

sweet savour unto the Lord; and the priest shall make an

atonement for him, and it shall be, forgiven him.
The clause, "for a sweet savour unto the Lord," occurs

here, though omitted in the three preceding cases. The

reason may be to shew the worshipper, that though he

was a common man, and not a ruler, yet still as much

attention is paid to him as to the others. The offering

which he presents is a sweet savour, as much as Noah's.

The full acceptance and full favour shewn to every

believer alike is immeasurably sweet. One family! all

alike accepted! and all alike kept as the apple of his eye!

And thus this sin, that unawares was troubling him, is

away. And when even one sin, and that a sin of igno-

rance, is completely removed, who can tell how much

light may flow into our now cleansed souls? A new

window is opened,--a new eye--when the scale has fallen

from it.
Ver. 32-34. And if he bring a lamb for a sin-offering, he

shall bring it a female without blemish. And he shall lay

his hand upon the head of the sin-offering, and slay it for a

sin-offering in the place where they kill the burnt-offering.

And the priest shall take of the blood of the sin-offering with

his finger, and put it upon the horns of the altar of burnt-

THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV 81


offering, and shall pour out all the blood thereof at the bottom

of the altar.
It might sometimes not be easy to bring a kid. If so,

let a lamb be taken. Only, blood must be shed. The

poor man's lamb is specially noticed and fully received as

the richer man's offering. "Like precious faith" is the

common property of all God's family--"One Lord, one

faith."
Ver. 35. And he shall take away all the fat thereof, as the fat



of the lamb is taken away from the sacrifice of the peace-offer-

ings; and the priest shall burn them upon the altar, according

to the offerings made by fire unto the Lord: and the priest

shall make an atonement for his sin that he hath committed,

and it shall be forgiven him.
The expression, "according to the offerings made by

fire," should be "in addition to (lfa) the offerings,"--the

daily sacrifice, morning and evening,--or, "upon the

offerings," i.e. over the very, remnants of the daily

sacrifice. It is exactly like chap. iii. 5. We are there

taught that particular sins must be cast upon the one

great Atonement; and the cases that occur in this chapter

of special guilt are just specific applications of the great

truth taught in the daily sacrifice.

Israel was taught that their different offerings were

all of one nature in the main with the general burnt-

offering;--one Saviour only was prefigured, and one

atonement. These sin-offerings, presented "upon the

daily sacrifice," resemble tributary streams pouring in

their waters into one great ocean. "Christ once suffered

for sins, the Just for the unjust, to bring us unto God"

(1 Pet. iii. 18).* 0 how anxious is our God to purge
* In Numb. xxii. 26, another direction is given, viz. in a case where the

nation had for a time forsaken the law of Moses. This happened under several


82 THE SIN-OFFERING CHAP. IV
us from every stain! The priest's hyssop is introduced

into every corner of the building, that we may be alto-

gether pure. Well may we join the seraphim in their

song, "Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts."

Some have regarded the offences for which satisfaction

is made in this chapter as offences of a national kind-

offences against the Theocracy, by which an Israelite for-

feited the favour of Jehovah as his Theocratic Ruler, and

was for a time cut off from his protection. Even when

taken in this limited view, how significant are the sacri-

feces! The offender comes confessing his sin, and bringing

a victim to suffer in his stead. The animal is slain in his

room; the man is forgiven, and retains his standing as a

protected Israelite--remaining under the shadow of the

Guardian Cloud. The sacrifice never failed to produce

this effect; but nothing else than the sacrifice ever did--

"Without shedding of blood there is no remission." This

principle of the Divine government was engraven on the

hearts of Israel, viz. whosoever is pardoned any offence

must be pardoned by means of another's death. "The

great multitude" of the saved are all pardoned by one

of infinite worth having died for them all (see 2 Cor.

v. 14).
idolatrous kings, such as Manasseh. Ignorance became the sin of the next

generation. Perhaps, Josiah's alarm at the hearing of the law found in the

temple is the kind of case there intended. In ver. 27-29, individuals are taught

to seek personal pardon besides.

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