Verses 1–7

This is the latter part of the law of the trespass-offering: the former part, which concerned trespasses about holy things, we had in the close of the foregoing chapter; this concerns trespasses in common things. Observe here,

I. The trespass supposed, Lev. 6:2, 3. Though all the instances relate to our neighbour, yet it is called a trespass against the Lord, because, though the injury be done immediately to our neighbour, yet an affront is thereby given to his Maker and our Master. He that speaks evil of his brother is said to speak evil of the law, and consequently of the Law-maker, Jas. 4:11. Though the person injured be ever so mean and despicable, and every way our inferior, yet the injury reflects upon that God who has made the command of loving our neighbour second to that of loving himself. The trespasses specified are, 1. Denying a trust: If a man lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep, or, which is worse, which was lent him for his use. If we claim that as our own which is only borrowed, left in our custody, or committed to our care, this is a trespass against the Lord, who, for the benefit of human society, will have property and truth maintained. 2. Defrauding a partner: If a man lie in fellowship, claiming a sole interest in that wherein he has but a joint-interest. 3. Disowning a manifest wrong: If a man has the front to lie in a thing taken away by violence, which ordinarily cannot be hid. 4. Deceiving in commerce, or, as some think, by false accusation; if a man have deceitfully oppressed his neighbour, as some read it, either withholding what is due or extorting what is not. 5. Detaining what is found, and denying it (Lev. 6:3); if a man have found that which was lost, he must not call it his own presently, but endeavour to find out the owner, to whom it must be returned; this is doing as we would be done by: but he that lies concerning it, that falsely says he knows nothing of it, especially if he back this lie with a false oath, trespasseth against the Lord, who to every thing that is said is a witness, but in an oath he is the party appealed to, and highly affronted when he is called to witness to a lie.

II. The trespass-offering appointed. 1. In the day of his trespass-offering he must make satisfaction to his brother. This must be first done if thy brother hath aught against thee: Because he hath sinned and is guilty, (Lev. 6:4, 5), that is, is convicted of his guilt by his own conscience, and is touched with remorse for it; seeing himself guilty before God, let him faithfully restore all that he has got by fraud or oppression, with a fifth part added, to make amends to the owner for the loss and trouble he had sustained in the mean time; let him account both for debt and damages. Note, Where wrong has been done restitution must be made; and till it is made to the utmost of our power, or an equivalent accepted by the person wronged, we cannot have the comfort of the forgiveness of the sin; for the keeping of what is unjustly got avows the taking, and both together make but one continued act of unrighteousness. To repent is to undo what we have done amiss, which (whatever we pretend) we cannot be said to do till we restore what has been got by it, as Zaccheus (Luke 19:8), and make satisfaction for the wrong done. 2. He must then come and offer his gift, must bring his trespass-offering to the Lord whom he had offended; and the priest must make an atonement for him, Lev. 6:6, 7. This trespass-offering could not, of itself, make satisfaction for sin, nor reconciliation between God and the sinner, but as it signified the atonement that was to be made by our Lord Jesus, when he should make his soul an offering or sin, a trespass-offering; it is the same word that is here used, Isa. 53:10. The trespasses here mentioned are trespasses still against the law of Christ, which insists as much upon justice and truth as ever the law of nature or the law of Moses did; and though now we may have them pardoned without a trespass-offering, yet not without true repentance, restitution, reformation, and a humble faith in the righteousness of Christ: and, if any make the more bold with these sins because they are not now put to the expense of a trespass-offering for them, they turn the grace of God into wantonness, and so bring upon themselves a swift destruction. The Lord is the avenger of all such, 1 Thess. 4:6.