Leviticus 5

Leviticus 5


“When anyI of you sinII in that you have heardIII a publicIV adjurationV to testifyVI and,

Notes on verse 1a

I “any” = nephesh. Related to naphash (to refresh or be refreshed). This is soul, self, person, emotion. It is a breathing creature. Can also refer to appetites and desires.
II “sin” = chata. This is properly to miss, and so figuratively it is used for sinning, bearing the blame. It implies a forfeiture or loss of something.
III “heard” = shama. This is to hear, call, consent, or consider. It implies listening intelligently, giving attention, and, because of these two factors, obedience and action are often implied.
IV “public” = qol. This is a sound, used often for human voices. Also used when God speaks or angels, animals or instruments. It can be a cry or a noise, thunder or earthquakes and so on.
V “adjuration” = alah. From alah (to swear, take an oath, curse – usually negative). This is oath, curse, swearing.
VI “testify” = ed. From ud (to admonish, repeat, testify, restore, record, relieve). This is a witness, testimony, or one who records testimony. It can also refer to a prince.

although able to testify as one who has seenVII or learnedVIII of the matter, do not speak up,IX you are subjectX to punishment.XI 

Notes on verse 1b

VII “seen” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
VIII “learned” = yada. This is to know, acknowledge, advise, answer, be aware, be acquainted with. Properly, this is to figure something out by seeing. It includes ideas of observation, recognition, and care about something. It can be used causatively for instruction, designation, and punishment.
IX “speak up” = nagad. This is to declare, make conspicuous, stand in front, manifest, predict, explain.
X “subject” = nasa. This is to lift in a broad sense, literally and figuratively. So it could be to carry, take, or arise. It could also be bring forth, advance, accept.
XI “punishment” = avon. Perhaps related to avah (to bend, twist, be amiss). This is sin, mischief, guilt, fault, punishment for iniquity, or moral evil.

Or when anyXII of you touchXIII any uncleanXIV thing,XV whether the carcassXVI

Notes on verse 2a

XII “any” = kol. From kalal (to complete). This is all or every.
XIII “touch” = naga. This is touch, reach, arrive, come near, strike. This is touching for any reason including sexual or violent.
XIV “unclean” = tame. From tame (to defile, be unclean, pollute in a ritual or ethical sense). This is unclean, ill, or ritually impure.
XV “thing” = dabar. From dabar (to speak, declare, discuss). This is speech, a word, a matter, an affair, charge, command, message, promise, purpose, report, request. It is a word, which implies things that are spoken of in a wide sense.
XVI “carcass” = nebelah. From nabel (to fall away, faint, wither, languish, sink; figuratively, being senseless, foolish, or wicked; to despise, disgrace, or fall to nothing, to be seen with contempt). This is a body, whether human or animal. It can also refer to an idol.

of an unclean beastXVII or the carcass of unclean livestockXVIII or the carcass of an unclean swarming thing,XIX and are unawareXX of it, you have become unclean and are guilty.XXI 

Notes on verse 2b

XVII “beast” = chay. From chayah (to live or keep alive literally or figuratively). This is alive, living, lifetime. It can also be used to describe someone’s age. It can refer to animals, plants, water, or a company or congregation of people. It is life in a very broad sense.
XVIII “livestock” = behemah. This is animal or cattle. It is often used of large quadrupeds.
XIX “swarming thing” = sherets. 15x in OT. From sharats (to swarm, creep, abound, breed a lot, wriggle). This is things that teem or swarm – insects, moving creatures.
XX “are unaware” = alam. This is to conceal, cover from sight in a literal or figurative sense. Could be to escape, liar, neglect, or secret thing.
XXI “are guilty” = asham. This is to be guilty, suffer, be punished; to destroy, condemn, be desolate, or perish.

Or when you touch humanXXII uncleannessXXIII—any uncleanness by which one can become uncleanXXIV—and are unaware of it, when you come to knowXXV it, you shall be guilty. 

Notes on verse 3

XXII “human” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
XXIII “uncleanness” = tum’ah. Related to “unclean” in v2. From tame (see note XIV above). This is filthiness or uncleanness. It can refer to ritual or moral impurity.
XXIV “become unclean” = tame. Related to “unclean” in v2 & “uncleanness” in v3. See note XIV above.
XXV “know” = yada. Same as “learned” in v1. See note VIII above.

Or when any of you utterXXVI aloudXXVII a rash oathXXVIII for a badXXIX or a good purpose,XXX

Notes on verse 4a

XXVI “utter” = shaba. Perhaps from sheba (seven – the number of perfection/sacred fullness). This is to swear, curse, vow, make a covenant. Properly, it can mean to be complete. This is to seven oneself – as in affirming something so strongly it is as though it were said seven times.
XXVII “aloud” = saphah. Literally, “with…lips.” This is lip, edge, border, bank – used for a boundary. It can also be speech or language.
XXVIII “rash oath” = bata. 4x in OT. This is to babble or talk in a thoughtless or careless way.
XXIX “bad” = ra’a’. This is to be evil, bad, afflict. Properly, it means to spoil – to destroy by breaking into pieces. Figuratively, it is to cause something to be worthless. It is bad in a physical, social, or moral sense – something that displeases, does harm or mischief, punishes or vexes.
XXX “good purpose” = yatab. This is to be good or pleasing, joyful. It can also mean doing good in an ethical sense or be beautiful, happy, successful, or right.

whateverXXXI peopleXXXII utterXXXIII in an oathXXXIV and are unaware of it, when you come to know it, you shall in anyXXXV of these be guilty. 

Notes on verse 4b

XXXI “whatever” = kol. Same as “any” in v2. See note XII above.
XXXII “people” = adam. Same as “human” in v3. See note XXII above.
XXXIII “utter” = bata. Same as “rash oath” in v4. See note XXVIII above.
XXXIV “oath” = shebuah. Related to “utters” in v4. From sheba (see note XXVI above). This is oath or curse.
XXXV “any” = echad. Perhaps from achad (to unify, continue on a path; figuratively, to gather one’s thoughts). This is the number one, first, united. It can also be alone, altogether, a certain, a few.

XXXVIWhen you realize your guilt in anyXXXVII of these, you shall confessXXXVIII the sin that you have committed,XXXIX and you shall bringXL to the Lord,XLI

Notes on verses 5-6a

XXXVI {untranslated} = hayah. This is to be or become, to happen.
XXXVII “any” = echad. Same as “any” in v4. See note XXXV above.
XXXVIII “confess” = yadah. From yad (hand). This is to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise. So, it is to praise, give thanks, or make a confession.
XXXIX “sin…committed” = chata. Same as “sin” in v1. See note II above.
XL “bring” = bo. This is to enter, come in, advance, fulfill, bring offerings, enter to worship, attack. It can also have a sexual connotation.
XLI “Lord” = YHVH. Related to {untranslated} in v5. From havah (to be, become) or hayah (see note XXXVI above). This is the name of the God of Israel, the self-existent and eternal one, the tetragrammaton. This pronunciation has been lost to time so “Lord” is generally used in its place.

as your penaltyXLII for the sinXLIII that you have committed, a femaleXLIV from the flock,XLV

Notes on verse 6b

XLII “penalty” = asham. Related to “guilty” in v2. From asham (see note XXI above). This is guilt, sin, wrong, or offense. It is also a sin or guilt offering.
XLIII “sin” = chatta’ah. Related to “sin” in v1. From chata (see note II above). This is sin itself as well as punishment for sin. It is sometimes used specifically to refer to sin that is habitual.
XLIV “female” = neqebah. From naqab (to pierce, bore holes, puncture; to make a hole more or less forcefully; also to curse or libel). This is female or woman from an anatomical reference.
XLV “flock” = tson. This is a flock of sheep and goats.

a sheepXLVI or a goat,XLVII as a purification offering,XLVIII and the priestXLIX shall make atonementL on your behalf for your sin.

Notes on verse 6c

XLVI “sheep” = kisbah. 1x in OT. From keseb (young lamb or sheep); from kebes (root may mean to dominate; a young male sheep at the age of butting other sheep). This is a young ewe.
XLVII “goat” = seirah + ez. Seirah is 2x in OT. From sair (male goat); from the same as sear (hair, hairy, rough); perhaps from sa’ar (to storm, scattered by a storm, blow away, rage, fear, storm tossed; to toss in a literal or figurative sense). This is a female goat. Ez is perhaps from azaz (to be strong in a literal or figurative sense, overcome, be impudent). This is a female goat, but can refer to male goats when plural.
XLVIII “purification offering” = chatta’ah. Same as “sin” in v6. See note XLIII above.
XLIX “priest” = kohen. This is literally the one who officiates i.e. the priest. This is where the Jewish last name “Cohen” (and its variants) comes from.
L “make atonement” = kaphar. This is to appease, cover, pacify, cancel, make atonement, placate. Specifically, it can mean to cover with bitumen.

“But if you cannot affordLI a sheep,LII you shall bring to the Lord, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed, twoLIII turtledovesLIV or twoLV pigeons,LVI

Notes on verse 7a

LI “afford” = naga + yad + day. Naga is the same as “touch” in v2. See note XIII above. Yad is hand, ability, power. Hand in a literal sense, but also what one can do or the means by which one does it. Day is enough, plenty, overflow, or ability.
LII “sheep” = seh. Perhaps from sha’ah (to make a loud noise or crash, devastate, rush). This is a lamb, sheep, or goat – a part of a flock.
LIII “two” = shenayim. From sheni (double, again, another, second); from shanah (to fold, repeat, double, alter, or disguise). This is two, both, second, couple.
LIV “turtledoves” = tor. 14x in OT. This is a literal dove – it can also be a romantic term of affection.
LV {untranslated} = ben. From banah (to build or obtain children). This is son, age, child. It is son in a literal or figurative sense.
LVI “pigeons” = yonah. Perhaps from yayin (wine; root means to effervesce). This is a dove or pigeon. Used to refer to the exiles coming home, to describe sails of ships. Also used figuratively for mourning or as a description of beauty.

oneLVII for a purification offering and the otherLVIII for a burnt offering.LIX 

Notes on verse 7b

LVII “one” = echad. Same as “any” in v4. See note XXXV above.
LVIII “other” = echad. Same as “any” in v4. See note XXXV above.
LIX “burnt offering” = olah. From alah (to go up, climb, approach, bring; to be high or actively climb; can be literal or figurative). This is a step, stairs, or some kind of ascent. It is also used for whole burnt offerings, being the offering in which the whole things is burned and rises as smoke. Burnt offerings were the least common of the offerings: most were eaten, shared with the priest and the one bringing the offering.

You shall bring them to the priest, who shall offerLX firstLXI the one for the purification offering, wringingLXII its headLXIII atLXIV the napeLXV without severingLXVI it. 

Notes on verse 8

LX “offer” = qarab. This is to come near, offer, make ready, approach, take.
LXI “first” = rishon. From rishah (beginning or early time); from rosh (head, captain, or chief; excellent or the forefront; first in position or in statue or in time). This is first, former, ancestor, beginning, ranked first.
LXII “wringing” = malaq. 2x in OT– both in Leviticus. This is to wring a bird’s neck so as to crack the joint, but not cut it apart.
LXIII “head” = rosh. Related to “first” in v8. See note LXI above.
LXIV “at” = mul. Perhaps from mul (to cut short, circumcise, blunt, destroy). This is in front of, opposite, with, abrupt. Literally, it refers to some kind of precipice.
LXV “nape” = oreph. This is the back of the neck – also used for stiff-necked. It is also used for the back more generally in a literal or figurative sense.
LXVI “severing” = badal. This is to divide, distinguish, select, differ, sever. It is to divine in a literal or figurative sense.

He shall sprinkleLXVII some of the bloodLXVIII of the purification offering on the sideLXIX

Notes on verse 9a

LXVII “sprinkle” = nazah. This is to sprinkle, spurt, or leap. Sprinkling especially refers to rituals of expiation.
LXVIII “blood” = dam. Perhaps from damam (to cease, be or become mute, silent, still, cut off, hold peace, be astonished, die). This is blood, bloodshed, bloodguilt, lifeblood, and death. It is used for people and animals. More often blood from a wound or the blood of the innocent. Used figuratively for violence or for wine. Closely tied to life and death.
LXIX “side” = qir. Perhaps from qur (to dig, destroy, wall up). This is a wall, ceiling, surface, mason, or town.

of the altar,LXX while the restLXXI of the blood shall be drained outLXXII at the baseLXXIII of the altar; it is a purification offering. 

Notes on verse 9b

LXX “altar” = mizbeach. From zabach (to kill, slay, offer; slaughtering an animal to offer as a sacrifice). This is an altar.
LXXI “rest” = shaar. Properly, this is swelling up i.e. being left over, a remnant, remaining, being redundant.
LXXII “drained out” = matsah. 7x in OT. This is to drain, squeeze, or suck out.
LXXIII “base” = yesod. From yasad (to establish, appoint, instruct; to set in a literal or figurative sense; also, to sit down together and so to consult or take counsel). This is a foundation in a literal or figurative sense. It can also refer to a thigh or other base.

10 And the secondLXXIV he shall offerLXXV for a burnt offering according to the regulation.LXXVI Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed, and you shall be forgiven.LXXVII

Notes on verse 10

LXXIV “second” = sheni. Related to “two” in v7. See note LIII above.
LXXV “offer” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
LXXVI “regulation” = mishpat. From shaphat (to judge, defend, pronounce judgment, condemn, govern). This is a verdict or formal sentence whether from humans or from God. It includes the act of judging as well as the place that judging takes place, the suit itself, and the penalty. Abstractly, this is justice, which includes the rights of the participants.
LXXVII “forgiven” = salach. This is forgive or spare.

11 “But if you cannot affordLXXVIII two turtledoves or two pigeons, you shall bring as your offeringLXXIX for the sin that you have committed one-tenthLXXX of an ephahLXXXI of choice flourLXXXII for a purification offering;

Notes on verse 11a

LXXVIII “afford” = nasag. This is to reach in a literal or figurative sense. It is to overtake, catch, or be able to.
LXXIX “offering” = qorban. Related to “offer” in v8. From qarab (see note LX above). This is an oblation or offering, which is to say, a sacrifice.
LXXX “one-tenth” = asiri. From the same as eser (ten, -teen); perhaps from asar (to tithe, render a tenth of). This is a tenth.
LXXXI “ephah” = ephah. Perhaps from Egptian ipet (“a dry measure of volume equivalent to…about 19.2 litres”). This is an ephah – specifically, a measure for flour or grain. It can also be used ore generally to refer to a measure. See https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jpt#Egyptian
LXXXII “choice flour” = soleth. It may come from a word that means to strip. This is fine flour.

you shall not putLXXXIII oilLXXXIV on it or layLXXXV frankincenseLXXXVI on it, for it is a purification offering. 

Notes on verse 11b

LXXXIII “put” = sim. This is to put or place in a literal or figurative sense. It can be appoint, care, change, make, and may other things.
LXXXIV “oil” = shemen. From shamen (to shine, which implies being oily, growing fat). This is fat, oil, grease, olive oil – often with perfume. Used figuratively for fertile, lavish, rich.
LXXXV “lay” = natan. This is to give, put, set, offer. It is to give literally or figuratively.
LXXXVI “frankincense” = lebonah. From laban (white); from laben (to be or make white, to make bricks). This is frankincense – it may be because it is white itself or because its smoke is.

12 You shall bring it to the priest, and the priest shall scoop upLXXXVII a handfulLXXXVIII of it as its memorial portionLXXXIX

Notes on verse 12a

LXXXVII “scoop up” = qamats. 3x in OT. This is to take or grasp with one’s hand.
LXXXVIII “handful” = melo + qomets. Melo is from male (fill, satisfy, replenish, accomplish, fulfill, confirm, or consecrate; fill in a literal or figurative sense). This is fullness in a literal or figurative sense. Qomets is related to “scoop up” in v12. 4x in OT – all in Genesis and Leviticus. From qamats (to grasp). This is a fist, handful, a reference to plenty.
LXXXIX “memorial portion” = azkarah. 7x in OT. From zakar (o remember, to mark something so that it can be recalled, to be mindful of, to mention). This is a token portion or memorial offering.

and turn this into smokeXC on the altar, with the offerings by fireXCI to the Lord; it is a purification offering. 13 Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for whichever of these sins you have committed, and you shall beXCII forgiven. As with the grain offering,XCIII the rest shall be for the priest.”

Notes on verses 12b-13

XC “turn…into smoke” = qatar. Perhaps from qetoreth (smoke, incense, the scent of the sacrifice as it burned); from the same as qitor (thick smoke, vapor). This is to make an offering, particular one of burned incense. It focuses on the fragrance made from the sacrificial fire. This is generally used to refer to worship.
XCI “offerings by fire” = ishsheh. From eshshah (a fire); from esh (fire, burning, flaming, hot; fire in a literal or figurative sense). This is an offering by fire or a burnt offering. More broadly, it can refer to any kind of sacrifice.
XCII “be” = hayah. Same as {untranslated} in v5. See note XXXVI above.
XCIII “grain offering” = minchah. This is a gift or an offering, particularly a sacrificial one that is generally bloodless and given spontaneously (voluntarily).

14 The Lord spokeXCIV to Moses,XCV saying, 15 “When anyXCVI of you commitXCVII a trespassXCVIII

Notes on verses 14-15a

XCIV “spoke” = dabar. Related to “thing” in v2. See note XV above.
XCV “Moses” = Mosheh. From mashah (to pull out in a literal or figurative sense, to draw out) OR from Egyptian mes or mesu (child, son i.e. child of…). This is Moses – the one drawn out from the water, which is to say, rescued. If derived from the Egyptian, his name would share a root with Rameses and Thutmose.
XCVI “any” = nephesh. Same as “any” in v1. See note I above.
XCVII “commit” = maal. This is to be or behave in a way that is unfaithful, to violate or transgress. It can also mean to cover up.
XCVIII “trespass” = maal. Related to “commit” in v15. From maal (see note XCVII above). This is falsehood, treachery, or sin.

and sin unintentionallyXCIX against any of the holy thingsC of the Lord, you shall bring, as your guilt offeringCI to the Lord, a ramCII

Notes on verse 15b

XCIX “unintentionally” = shegagah. 19x in OT. From shagag (to go astray, sin, be deceived; to sin through ignorance). This is an inadvertent sin or a sin that came from an error/mistake.
C “holy things” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
CI “guilt offering” = asham. Same as “penalty” in v6. See note XLII above.
CII “ram” = ayil. From the same as ul (mighty, strength, body, belly; root may mean to twist and that implies strength and power). This is strength so it is used to indicate things that are strong or powerful: political chiefs, rams, posts, trees, oaks.

without blemishCIII from the flock, convertibleCIV into silverCV by the sanctuaryCVI shekel;CVII it is a guilt offering. 

Notes on verse 15c

CIII “without blemish” = tamim. From tamam (to finish or accomplish; to make perfect, demonstrate that you are upright; consume; to complete in a literal or figurative sense). This is entire in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be complete, full, intact, or without defect. Alternately, it could refer to being sound, having integrity, being sincere or perfect.
CIV “convertible” = erek. From arak (to arrange by setting in a row; to set a battle, estimate, put in order, or compare). This is order, arrangement, price, estimate, value. It refers to something that is brought into order.
CV “silver” = keseph. From kasaph (to long for, be greedy; to become pale). This is silver or money.
CVI “sanctuary” = qodesh. Same as “holy things” in v15. See note C above.
CVII “shekel” = sheqel. From shaqal (to weigh, spend, trade). This is shekel or sheqel. It is a unit of weight, generally used in trade.

16 And you shall make restitutionCVIII for the holy thing in which you were remissCIX and shall addCX one-fifthCXI to it and giveCXII it to the priest. The priest shall make atonement on your behalf with the ram of the guilt offering, and you shall be forgiven.

Notes on verse 16

CVIII “make restitution” = shalam. This is to be complete or sound – to have safety mentally, physically, or extending to one’s estate. So, if these things are safe and complete, the implication is that one would be friendly; and, if being friendly, one would make amends and that friendship would be reciprocated. This is the root verb that “shalom” comes from, the Hebrew word for peace.
CIX “remiss” = chata. Same as “sin” in v1. See note II above.
CX “add” = yasaph. This is to add, increase, continue, exceed.
CXI “one-fifth” = chamishi. From chamesh (five). This is fifth or one-fifth.
CXII “give” = natan. Same as “lay” in v11. See note LXXXV above.

17 “If anyCXIII of you sin without knowing it, doing anyCXIV of the things that by the Lord’sCXV commandmentsCXVI ought not to be done, you have incurred guilt and are subject to punishment. 

Notes on verse 17

CXIII “any” = nephesh. Same as “any” in v1. See note I above.
CXIV “any” = echad + kol. Echad is the same as “any” in v4. See note XXXV above. Kol is the same as “any” in v2. See note XII above.
CXV “Lord’s” = YHVH. Related to {untranslated} in v5 & “Lord” in v6. From the same as YHVH (see note XLI above). It has the same meaning as “Lord” in v6, but a different vowel pointing.
CXVI “commandments” = mitsvah. From tsavah (to charge, command, order, enjoin). This is a commandment, law, ordinance obligation, or tradition. It is something commanded whether by God or by a human authority. This term is sometimes used collectively to refer to the Law.

18 You shall bring to the priest a ram without blemish from the flock, or the equivalent,CXVII as a guilt offering, and the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the error that you committedCXVIII unintentionally,CXIX and you shall be forgiven. 19 It is a guilt offering; you have incurred guiltCXX before the Lord.”CXXI

Notes on verses 18-19

CXVII “equivalent” = erek. Same as “convertible” in v15. See note CIV above.
CXVIII “error…committed” = shagag. Related to “unintentionally” in v15. 4x in OT. See note XCIX above.
CXIX “unintentionally” = lo + yada. Yada is the same as “learned” = in v1. See note VIII above.
CXX “incurred guilt” = asham + asham. Same as “are guilty” in v2. See note XXI above. The word is repeated twice – the first time as an Infinitive Absolute. The Infinitive Absolute serves to emphasize the sentiment of the word. It is rather like Foghorn Leghorn’s speech pattern, “I said, I said.”
CXXI “Lord” = YHVH. Same as “Lord” in v6. See note XLI above.

Image credit: “Procession to an altar to sacrifice a lamb, accompanied by the flute and lyre. The dedication to the Charites. Painted wooden plaque found near ancient Sikyon, in a cave aboce the village Pitsa in Corinthia. 540-530 BC. National Archaeological Museum of Athens, 16464.” Photo by Zde, 2019.

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