Well, this chapter was pleasantly refreshing! This chapter actually explains quite a lot of things about the sin-offerings discussed in the previous chapter. For starters, it continues on with its different levels of giving. Rather than leaving it implied, as with burnt offerings, it flat out says that if you can’t afford sheep, you should bring two doves (v7), and if you can’t afford two doves, you should bring the equivalent of about 2 quarts of grain (v 11). And apparently it all counts equally, so I wonder why anyone ever bothered to do more than the grain offering save as a way to show off their wealth… not that anyone would ever do that in a religious setting!
More significantly, though, it lists the sins that these sacrifices erase:
- not speaking up in a trial when you had information you could have shared
- touching an unclean animal (to be defined later)
- touching “human uncleanness” (to be defined later)
- saying a rash oath
That last one will become significant when we get to Judges, so remember it…
But there are definitely other sins you can commit, and for those there are “offerings with restitution,” where you have to pay 120% of “the holy thing in which you were remiss” (v 16). What counts for an offering with restitution? Well, this is where that strange difference in verse numbering is definitely in the Jewish tradition’s advantage, since their version (and thus the NCT’s version) continues on for another seven verses, which list what these sacrifices are for:
- deceiving a neighbor about deposits or pledges
- defrauding a neighbor
- finding something lost and lying about it
In other words, basically things where you took something from someone else, lost them some money, etc. you have to pay them back, with interest. Makes sense. What doesn’t make sense is why the Christian traditional verse-numbering would leave this until the next chapter.
But because I had to read the next chapter to figure this out, I also got to find out that next chapter explains more things. Yay! It’s all coming together. It’s not how I would have organized my holy scriptures, but this book wasn’t written by me or for me. I’m just trying to perceive the spirit flowing in it.
The Japanese: ~uru “to be able to” (v 1), hachuurui “reptile” (v 2), kotogara “matters, concerns,” karuhazumi “thoughtless, rash” (v 4), hineru “to twist off” (v 8), hitotsukamitoru “to take a handful” (v 12), izureka ni “any of” (v 13), soutou suru “to correspond to” (v 15), kashitsu “error, mistake, failure, negilgence” (v 18), azamuku “to deceive, to trick,” azukarimono “belongings,” kyoudoushusshi “co-financed, jointly invested,” touhin “stolen article,” ouryou suru “to misappropriate” (v 21), funshitsubutsu “lost goods,” chakufuku suru “to embezzle” (v 22), takare “the other person” (v 24).
Notice again that the NCT is following the Jewish verse numbering rather than the traditional Christian one that the NRSV uses. That means that there will be a seven verse discrepancy in the next chapter, so bear that in mind when you see the Japanese list next time… which will hopefully not be as long as this.