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Unknown trespass

17 “If a person sins and violates any of the Lord’s commandments that must not be violated[a] (although he did not know it at the time,[b] but later realizes he is guilty), then he will bear his punishment for iniquity[c] 18 and must bring a flawless ram from the flock, convertible into silver shekels,[d] for a guilt offering to the priest. So the priest will make atonement[e] on his behalf for his error that he committed[f] (although he himself had not known it) and he will be forgiven.[g] 19 It is a guilt offering; he was surely guilty before the Lord.”

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  1. Leviticus 5:17 tn Heb “and does one from all of the commandments of the Lord that must not be done.”
  2. Leviticus 5:17 tn The words “at the time” are not in the Hebrew text, but are implied.
  3. Leviticus 5:17 tn Heb “and he did not know, and he shall be guilty and he shall bear his iniquity” (for the rendering “bear his punishment [for iniquity]”) see the note on Lev 5:1.) This portion of v. 17 is especially difficult. The translation offered here suggests (as in many other English versions) that the offender did not originally know that he had violated the Lord’s commandments, but then came to know it and dealt with it accordingly (cf. the corresponding sin offering section in Lev 5:1-4). Another possibility is that it refers to a situation where a person suspects that he violated something although he does not recollect it. Thus, he brings a guilt offering for his suspected violation (J. Milgrom, Leviticus [AB], 1:331-34, 361-63). See also R. E. Averbeck, NIDOTTE 1:561-62.
  4. Leviticus 5:18 tn The statement here is condensed. See the full expression in 5:15 and the note there.
  5. Leviticus 5:18 sn Regarding “make atonement” see the note on Lev 1:4.
  6. Leviticus 5:18 tn Heb “on his straying which he strayed.” See the note on Lev 4:2.
  7. Leviticus 5:18 tn Heb “there shall be forgiveness to him” or “it shall be forgiven to him” (KJV and NASB both similar).