The sin offering of an ordinary person (Lev 5:7-5:13)

“But if you cannot afford a sheep, you shall bring to Yahweh, as your penalty for the sin that you have committed two turtledoves or two pigeons, one for a sin offering and the other for a brunt offering.   You shall bring them to the priest, who shall offer first the one for the sin offering, wringing its head at the nape without severing it.  He shall sprinkle some of the blood of the sin offering on the side of the altar, while the rest of the blood shall be drained out at the base of the altar.  It is a sin offering.   Then he shall offer the second bird for a burnt offering according to the regulation.  Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed.  You shall be forgiven.”

The ordinary person could bring two turtledoves or two pigeons instead of a sheep.  You are guilty because you did something wrong, whether you knew it or not at the time of the action.  There are two offerings.  One of the birds is for a sin offering and the other is for a brunt offering.  The priest followed the same procedure as in chapter 2, by wringing off its head, and turning it into smoke on the altar.  The blood was to be drained out against the side and base of the altar.

 “But if you cannot afford two turtledoves or two young pigeons, you shall bring as your offering for the sin that you have committed, one-tenth of an ephah of choice flour for a sin offering.  You shall not put oil or frankincense on it, for it is a sin offering.  You shall bring it to the priest.  The priest shall scoop up a handful of it as a memorial portion.  He will turn this into smoke on the altar with the offerings by fire to Yahweh.  It is a sin offering.  Thus the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for whichever of these sins you have committed.  You shall be forgiven.  Like the grain offering, the rest shall be for the priest.”

If you could not afford the birds, you had to bring 1/10th of an ephah of flour.  The ephah was an ancient Hebrew unit of dry measure, roughly equivalent to a bushel or 33 liters.  1/10th would be about 3 liters of flour.  You should not put oil or frankincense on it.  This is a sin offering so you bring it to the priest.  He will offer it on the altar with the burnt offerings.  He would scoop up a handful of it as a memorial portion.  Anything left over, like the grain offering, the priest would keep.

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