Leviticus Chapter 6
Verses 1-7: While all sins are against God (compare Psalm 51:4), some are direct (5:14-19), and others are indirect, involving people (6:1-7), as here. These violations are not exhaustive, but representative sample used to establish and illustrate the principle.
Leviticus 6:1 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,”
Continuing his speech with him, for the same law of the trespass offering is still discoursed of, only with respect to different persons.
“Saying”: As follows.
We notice from this brief statement, that the LORD (JEHOVAH), was the one giving the instructions. Even though Moses wrote the book of Leviticus, he did not speak of himself as me in the above verse, because he did not want any doubt to arise, who this message was given to.
Leviticus 6:2 “If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the LORD, and lie unto his neighbor in that which was delivered him to keep, or in fellowship, or in a thing taken away by violence, or hath deceived his neighbor;”
“And commit a trespass against the Lord”: It will be seen that the trespass against God is, strictly speaking, a violation of the rights of a neighbor’s property. As fraud and plunder are most subversive of social life, a crime of this sort is described as an insult to God, who is the founder and sovereign ruler of his people.
“In that which was delivered him to keep”: To deposit valuable property with a neighbor was, and still is, a common practice in the East where no responsible establishments exist for the reception of private treasure. Hence, when a man went on a journey, he concealed his precious things underground. This was connected with the danger of forgetting the spot where they were hidden, when search and digging had to be resorted to. This not only accounts for the fact that treasure is called in Hebrew by a name which denotes hidden, or things which men are in the habit of hiding underground, but explains such allusions as “hidden riches of secret places” (Isa. 45:3). “And searchest for her as for hid treasure” (Prov. 2:4). “Dig for it more than for hid treasure” (Job 3:21). To avoid this danger, men entrusted their treasure to the custody of a neighbor. It is to this practice which the text before us refers. And it is from this practice that the apostle took the expression when he declares, “I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Tim. 1:12; see also Lev. 6:14, 1 Tim. 6:20).
“Or in fellowship”: Literally, or in something that is placed in the hand. That is, put in his hand, a deposit. It is similar in nature to the trust mentioned in the preceding clause, for which reason it is not repeated in the general recapitulation of the offences in (Lev. 6:4-5).
“Or in a thing taken away in violence”: Having specified two cases of embezzlement in connection with things voluntarily handed over to the defrauder. Two other frauds are adduced, in which the offender possessed himself of his neighbor’s property by violence and extortion.
Leviticus 6:3 “Or have found that which was lost, and lieth concerning it, and sweareth falsely; in any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein:”
Who having found anything lost, at once concludes it his own, and converts it to his own use, never inquiring after the proprietor of it, or taking any method to get knowledge of him, and restore it to him. But so far from that, being suspected of finding it, and charged with it denies it. Maimonides gives a reason why a lost thing should be restored, not only because so to do is a virtue in itself praiseworthy, but because it has a reciprocal utility. For if you do not restore another’s lost things, neither will your own be restored to you.
“And sweareth falsely”: Which is to be understood, not of the last case only, but of all the rest, or of anyone of them, as it follows.
“In any of all these that a man doeth, sinning therein”: By unfaithfulness in a trust, cheating, defrauding, lying, and false swearing.
Leviticus 6:4 “Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, that he shall restore that which he took violently away, or the thing which he hath deceitfully gotten, or that which was delivered him to keep, or the lost thing which he found,”
These offences have to do with moral sins against one’s neighbor, or friend. These sins would not be ceremonial sins against God. Jesus reminded us of the seriousness of these trespasses in the following verses.
Matthew 5:23-24 “Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;” “Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”
The thing that stands out clearly in these verses, is the need to make the offense right with the person you offended, before you come to offer in the tabernacle. Soul means a breathing creature. This is used so that there would be no question whether all would be subject. A female can trespass against her neighbor the same as a male. You can read a more detailed explanation (in Exodus chapter 22:7-13), on this subject. When teaching this lesson, turn there and read the explanation. These verses go into detail about the things that you are taking care of for someone else. We read a more detailed explanation of things we find, and what we are to do with them in the next 3 verses.
Deuteronomy 22:1-3 “Thou shalt not see thy brother’s ox or his sheep go astray, and hide thyself from them: thou shalt in any case bring them again unto thy brother.” “And if thy brother [be] not nigh unto thee, or if thou know him not, then thou shalt bring it unto thine own house, and it shall be with thee until thy brother seek after it, and thou shalt restore it to him again.” “In like manner shalt thou do with his ass; and so shalt thou do with his raiment; and with all lost thing of thy brother’s, which he hath lost, and thou hast found, shalt thou do likewise: thou mayest not hide thyself.”
We must see in this that anything thy brother has lost should be returned to him, even if it is a billfold full of money. Jesus taught that we are not to swear at all, but to swear a lie would be doubly serious. In all of this, we are to make amends to the person we offended, before God will accept the trespass offering. God will not overlook this trespass. We must go to the person offended and make it right, and then go to the tabernacle and offer our offering.
Leviticus 6:5 “Or all that about which he hath sworn falsely; he shall even restore it in the principal, and shall add the fifth part more thereto, [and] give it unto him to whom it appertaineth, in the day of his trespass offering.”
In all of the above cases, in which he had committed a trespass and denied it, and to the denial adds a false oath, and yet after all acknowledges it.
“He shall even restore it in the principal”: Whatsoever he has embezzled, or cheated another of, or detained from the right owner, the whole of that was to be restored.
“And shall add the fifth part more thereto”: To the principal (see Lev. 5:16). But Maimonides says, this was an instruction to add a fifth to a fifth.
“And give it unto him to whom appertaineth”: As, to his neighbor, who had deposited anything in his hands. Or his partner, he had any ways wronged; or whomsoever he had defrauded in any respect; or the proprietor of lost goods.
“In the day of his trespass offering”: When he brings that, but restoration must first be made. The Targum of Jonathan renders it; in the day he repents of his sin. and so Aben Ezra interprets it, “in the day he returns from his trespass;” when he owns and confesses it, is sorry for it, and determines to do so no more. Maimonides observes, that one that takes away anything by violence (which is one of the cases supposed), is not fined so much as a thief. He only restores the principal. For the fifth part is for his false oath. The reasons of which are, because robbery is not so frequently, and is more easily committed, and is more open, and against which persons may guard and make resistance, and the robber is more known than a thief who steals secretly (see Exodus 22:1).
You can see here, that not only must the person repay, but must add 20% more for the trouble they caused their neighbor. After all this is done, then they can go to the tabernacle and make a trespass offering, to make this right with God.
Leviticus 6:6 “And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD, a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest:”
That is, to the tabernacle of the Lord, to the altar of the Lord in it, and to his priest ministering therein, as it follows.
“A ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering unto the priest”: The same offering that was ordered for a trespass through ignorance (Lev. 5:16). Typical of the sacrifice of Christ offered up both for sins of ignorance and willful transgressions. For his blood cleanses from all sin (see note on Lev. 5:16). The phrase “with thy estimation”, used there also (Lev. 5:16), is here interpreted by Ben Gersom of two shekels, the value the ram was to be of, brought for the trespass offering. The priest served as an appraiser to give appropriate value to the goods in question.
Leviticus 6:7 “And the priest shall make an atonement for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him for any thing of all that he hath done in trespassing therein.”
By offering the ram he brought, by which a typical, but not real atonement was made. For the blood of bulls and goats, of sheep and rams, could not take away sin; but as they were types of Christ, and led to him, the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.
“And it shall be forgiven him, for anything of all that he hath done, in trespassing therein”: Any and every one of the above sins, with all the aggravations of them, were forgiven, upon the atonement made. Though they were so enormous; and, indeed, all manner of sin is forgiven for Christ’s sake, except the sin against the Holy Ghost.
You can easily see how expensive this trespass can be. Not only would the person have to give 20% extra to the one he offended, but would be required to bring an offering to the tabernacle, also. It is much better and in fact, less expensive to just go ahead and do the right thing at first and not have to do all of this. The best promise in all of this is, it shall be forgiven him. This reminds me of people who cheat on their income tax. When you are caught, you have to pay a penalty above the tax owed. Why not just do right at first and save all the hassle? We will jump away from this train of thought now and get into the law of the offerings.
Verses 6:8 – 7:38: These were laws of sacrifice for the priesthood. (Leviticus 1:1 – 6:7), has dealt with 5 major offerings from the worshiper’s perspective. Here instructions for the priest are given, with special attention to the priests’ portion of the sacrifice.
Leviticus 6:8 “And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,”
Here begins a new subject, and if our Bibles were rightly divided, it ought to begin a new chapter. As in Junius and Tremellius, who join the first seven verses of this chapter to the former. Indeed, according to the Jewish division, the twenty-fifth section of the law begins here.
It seems that every time we begin a new thing, Moses reminds us that God gave him these rules for the people. These laws are divine in nature. Every one of them served a purpose. At the time these laws were given, Israel did not have a king. God was their King.
Leviticus 6:9 “Command Aaron and his sons, saying, This [is] the law of the burnt offering: It [is] the burnt offering, because of the burning upon the altar all night unto the morning, and the fire of the altar shall be burning in it.”
“Upon the altar all night”: This resulted in the complete incineration of the sacrifice, picturing it as totally given to the Lord, with the smoke arising as a sweet aroma to Him (1:7, 13, 17).
The very first thing that we must see in this, is the fact that this was not just a suggestion of what they might do, but was a commandment of God. On the burnt offering, they were not to let the fire go out at all, but were to keep it burning until the offering was completely burned up. Aaron and his sons were to wear their linen garments while this offering was being made. This was a very holy offering, and they were to be attired properly while it burned. If you need to read again about the lamb being offered every evening, it can be found (in Exodus 29:38 on). Remember, the burnt offering was to be totally burned up, except for the hide which was given to the priest. Remember also, the burnt offering showed that the individual had turned themselves over completely to God. My favorite saying that says the same thing is: Make Jesus Christ your Lord and not just your Savior. Total commitment to God is all He will settle for. He does not want 50% of you, He wants all of you.
Leviticus 6:10 “And the priest shall put on his linen garment, and his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh, and take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed with the burnt offering on the altar, and he shall put them beside the altar.”
A garment that was just the measure of his body, and exactly fitted it. It was a sort of a shirt, which he wore next his body, and reached down to his feet. And in this he always officiated, and was an emblem of the purity and holiness of Christ our high priest. Who was without sin, and so a fit person to take away the sin of others, by offering up himself without spot to God.
“And his linen breeches shall he put upon his flesh”: To cover his nakedness; that indecency might be prevented, and that he might not be exposed to ridicule. And though these two garments are only mentioned, yet the wise men say the word “put on”, includes the bonnet and the girdle. For the removing of the ashes from the altar, which is the thing he was to be thus clothed to do, was done in the four garments, though the Scripture mentions but two.
“And take up the ashes which the fire hath consumed, with the burnt offering on the altar”: This was the first thing the priests did in a morning, and which in later times they cast lots for, and the first lot was for this service, and which was performed very early.
“And he shall put them beside the altar”: At the corner of the altar, as Aben Ezra, on the east side of it. So says Jarchi, the priest takes a full censer of the innermost consumptions (that is, of the innermost parts of the sacrifice reduced to ashes), and puts them in the east of the rise of the altar.
Notice the linen garment. To handle the things of God, the priest should be free from sin. The linen garment indicates freedom from sin. This linen garment was not worn outside the tabernacle. The linen garment was not to be contaminated with the world. We have discussed it before, but the plain linen garment was worn when the priest was representing the people to God. The fancy garment with the jewels on the breastplate was worn when the high priest was representing God to the people. No flesh at all was to be showing on the priest, and that is why the linen breeches were worn.
Leviticus 6:11 “And he shall put off his garments, and put on other garments, and carry forth the ashes without the camp unto a clean place.”
Those before mentioned, he is said to put on.
“And put on other garments”: Not common garments or lay-habits, but what the priests wore when they were not on duty.
“And carry forth the ashes”: When these, gathered on a heap, had become large, as Jarchi says, and there was no room for the pile of wood, they carried them out from there. And this, he observes, was not obligatory every day. but the taking of them up, as in the preceding verse (Lev. 6:10), they were bound to every day. And these they carried:
“Without the camp, unto a clean place”: For though they were ashes, yet being ashes of holy things were not to be laid in an unclean place. Or where unclean things were. As the burnt offering was a type of Christ in his sufferings and death, enduring the fire of divine wrath in the room and stead of his people. So the carrying forth the ashes of the burnt offering, and laying them in a clean place, may denote the burial of the body of Christ without the city of Jerusalem. Wrapped in a clean linen cloth and laid in a new tomb, wherein no man had been laid (Matt. 27:59).
The priest is to never wear the ceremonial clothes outside the tabernacle. He would change his clothes to street clothes before he left the tabernacle. The ashes would be carried without the camp. This burnt offering had been totally consumed, and the remains carried out of the camp. Jesus paid it all outside the city wall for us.
Leviticus 6:12 “And the fire upon the altar shall be burning in it; it shall not be put out: and the priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and lay the burnt offering in order upon it; and he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings.”
There were three fires, or piles of wood for fire continually. The first was a large one, on which the daily sacrifice was burnt. The second less, and called the pile of the incense, because they took from it fire in a censer to burn the morning and evening incense. And the third was only for preserving the fire that it might not go out.
“And the priest shall burn wood in it every morning”: Until the fourth hour of the day, according to the Targum of Jonathan. That is, unto ten o’clock in the morning.
“And lay the burnt offering in order upon it”: Both morning and evening, and as often as any sacrifices of that kind were offered up.
“And he shall burn thereon the fat of the peace offerings”: That which was upon the inwards and covered them, and upon the kidneys, and flanks, and caul of the liver (see Lev. 3:3-4).
This altar was to have wood on it burning continuously, because there would be an offering on the wood every morning and every night. Each time before the offering was to be made, the priest laid fresh wood sufficient to burn the entire animal.
Leviticus 6:13 “The fire shall ever be burning upon the altar; it shall never go out.”
“Ever be burning”: The perpetual flame indicated a continuous readiness on the part of God to receive confession and restitution through the sacrifice.
This fire was to burn continuously. It was never to go out. God wants us to worship Him forever after, when we once commit our lives to Him. We must not let our fire go out either. The walk with God must be a daily walk. In fact, it must be a never ending walk. The best way to stay in right standing with God, is to go to Him in prayer at least 2 times a day. Christianity is a walk through life with Jesus.
Leviticus Chapter 6 Questions
1. Who spoke unto Moses to give these instructions?
2. Why did Moses not say me when referring to himself?
3. In chapter 6:2, what is the sinner called?
4. Name several ways a person could sin in lying to a neighbor.
5. What kind of swearing is spoken of in verse 3?
6. What was required of the sinner to do, if he was guilty of a trespass against his neighbor?
7. Are the sins spoken of here moral sins or ceremonial sins?
8. Explain the difference in a moral sin and a ceremonial sin.
9. In Matthew 5:24, what does Jesus tell us to do before we bring an offering to God in the temple?
10. What is the clear lesson taught in this?
11. What is the definition of soul in these verses?
12. Why was the word soul used instead of man?
13. Where in Exodus, can we find more on taking care of someone else’s property?
14. Where do we find a more detailed explanation about things we find, and what we are to do with them, than here in Leviticus?
15. What should we do, if we find a billfold full of money?
16. To swear a _____ would be doubly serious.
17. What should we do first, before we go to God, if we have done wrong against our neighbor?
18. What % of interest should be paid when you cheat your neighbor?
19. What should be brought to the temple for a trespass offering?
20. Who should he present the offering to?
21. What must be the condition of the ram?
22. What is the best promise made to the offender in all of this?
23. What does Moses remind us of every time we change to a different subject?
24. These laws are _________ in nature.
25. Who was Israel’s King?
26. What one word, in Leviticus 6:9, lets us know this was not an option with the priests and high priest?
27. When were the all linen garments worn by the priest?
28. When did the priest wear the garment with the breastplate of stones on it?
29. What was the only part of the burnt offering which was not burned up?
30. When the ashes were taken out of the camp, what did the priest wear?
31. How often did the priest put wood on the altar?
32. Our walk with God must be a _______ walk.