Reference: Sin Offering
(See SACRIFICE; ATONEMENT; LEPROSY.) As chatteth, hamartia, is the "sin offering", so asham (implying "negligence"), lutron, is the "trespass offering". (See SIN.) The trespass offering was a forfeit for the violated rights of others, whether of Jehovah as head of the nation or of a fellow man. It related to the consequence of sin more immediately than to sin itself in the sinner's heart. Its connection with the consecration of the leper, and reconsecration of the Nazarite, expressed the share each has in sin's consequences, disease, death, and consequent defilement (Le 5:14,14-15). It was less connected with the conscience than the sin offering (Le 4:3). There was no graduation of offerings according to the worshipper's circumstances. It was accompanied with pecuniary fine, one fifth besides the value of the injury done, in fact "fine offerings" (Nu 5:5-8). None of the blood was put on the altar horns, as in the sin offering. The victim was a ram instead of a female sheep or goat.
In Isa 53:10 translated "when His soul shall have made an offering for sin" (asham, a "trespass offering", Mt 20:28, "a ransom for many," lutron anti polloon), He voluntarily laying down His life (Joh 10:17-18; Eph 5:2; Heb 9:14). (On the ceremonies of the Day of Atonement. see DAY OF ATONEMENT.) The later Jews, instead of setting the scape-goat free in the wilderness, led it to a high precipice called Sook ("narrow") and dashed it down. This was done to avoid the recurrence of what once occurred, namely, the scape-goat came back to Jerusalem, which was thought a bad omen. Lieut. Conder has discovered the spot, the hill el Muntar, half a mile beyond the well of Suk beside the ancient road from Jerusalem. The ridge still is named Hadeidun, answering to the Hebrew name of the district, Hidoodin ("sharp").
A tabernacle was erected at every space of 2,000 cubits, to evade the law of the Sabbath day's journey, for they led the scape-goat out on the Sabbath; after eating bread and drinking water the conductor of the goat could go on to the next tabernacle; ten stages were thus made between Seek and Jerusalem, in all six and a half miles to el Muntar, from whence the conductor caught the first sight of the great desert. Beside the well probably was the tenth tabernacle, to which he returned after precipitating the goat, and where he sat until sundown, when he might return to Jerusalem. (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, July 1878, p. 118). Sins of ignorance, rather of inadvertence. Ec 5:6; 10:5; Heb 9:7, "errors," Greek "sins of ignorance." Le 4:2, in contrast to presumptuous sins entailing (ipso facto, whether the crime incurred civil punishment or not) the being cut off (Nu 15:22-30; Ps 19:12-13; Heb 10:26-27; Pr 2:13-15; Ex 31:14; Le 7:20; Mt 12:31; 1Jo 5:16; Ac 3:17; Eph 4:18; 1Pe 1:14; Lu 12:48).
The sin offering among the Jews was the sacrifice in which the ideas of propitiation and of atonement for sin were most distinctly marked. The ceremonial of the sin offering is described in Levi 4 and 6. The trespass offering is closely connected with the sin offering in Leviticus, but at the same time clearly distinguished from it, being in some cases offered with it as a distinct part of the same sacrifice; as, for example, in the cleansing of the leper. Levi 14. The distinction of ceremonial clearly indicates a difference in the idea of the two sacrifices. The nature of that difference is still a subject of great controversy. We find that the sin offerings were --
1. Regular. (a) For the whole people, at the New Moon, Passover, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets and Feast of Tabernacles,
... besides the solemn offering of the two goats on the Great Day of Atonement. Levi 16 (b) For the priests and Levites at their consecration,
besides the yearly sin offering (a, bullock) for the high priest on the Great Day of Atonement.
Special. For any sin of "ignorance" and the like recorded in Levi 4 and 5. It is seen that in the law most of the sins which are not purely ceremonial are called sins of "ignorance," see
and in Numb 15:30 it is expressly said that while such sins call be atoned for by offerings, "the soul that doeth aught presumptuously" (Heb. with a high hand) "shall be cut off from among his people." "His iniquity shall he upon him." Comp.
But here are sufficient indications that the sins here called "of ignorance" are more strictly those of "negligence" or "frailty" repented of by the unpunished offender, as opposed to those of deliberate and unrepentant sin. It is clear that two classes of sacrifices, although distinct, touch closely upon each other. It is also evident that the sin offering was the only regular and general recognition of sin in the abstract and accordingly was for more solemn and symbolical in it's ceremonial; the trespass offering was confined to special cases, most of which related to the doing of some material damage, either to the holy things or to man. Josephus declares that the sin offering is presented by those "who fall into sin in ignorance." and the trespass offering by "one who has sinned and is conscious of his sin. But has no one to convict him thereof." Without attempting to decide so difficult and so controverted a question, we may draw the following conclusions. First, that the sin offering was for the more solemn and comprehensive of the two sacrifices. Secondly, that the sin offering looked more to the guilt of the sin done, irrespective of its consequences, while the trespass offering looked to the evil consequences of sin, either against the service of God or against man, and to the duty of atonement, as far as atonement was possible. Thirdly, that in the sin offering especially we find symbolized the acknowledgment of sinfulness as inherent in man, and of the need of expiation by sacrifice to renew the broken covenant between man and God. In considering this subject, it must he remembered that the sacrifices of the law had a temporal as well as a spiritual significance and effect. They restored sin offender to his place in the commonwealth of Israel; they were therefore an atonement to the King of Israel for the infringement of his low.