Leviticus 6:2 MEANING

Leviticus 6:2
(2) And commit a trespass against the Lord.--It will be seen that the trespass against God is, strictly speaking, a violation of the rights of a neighbour's property. As fraud and plunder are most subversive of social life, a crime of this sort is described as an insult to God, who is the founder and sovereign ruler of his people.

In that which was delivered him to keep.--To deposit valuable property with a neighbour was, and still is, a common practice in the East where no responsible establishments exist for the reception of private treasure. Hence, when a man went on a journey, he concealed his precious things underground. This was connected with the danger of forgetting the spot where they were hidden, when search and digging had to be resorted to. This not only accounts for the fact that treasure is called in Hebrew by a name which denotes hidden, or things which men are in the habit of hiding underground, but explains such allusions as "hidden riches of secret places" (Isaiah 45:3), "and searchest for her as for hid treasure" (Proverbs 2:4), "dig for it more than for hid treasure" (Job 3:21). To avoid this danger, men entrusted their treasure to the custody of a neighbour. It is to this practice which the text before us refers, and it is from this practice that the apostle took the expression when he declares, "I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day" (2 Timothy 1:12; see also Leviticus 6:14, and 1 Timothy 6:20).

Or in fellowship.--Literally, or in something that is placed in the hand; that is, put in his hand, a deposit. It is similar in nature to the trust mentioned in the preceding clause, for which reason it is not repeated in the general recapitulation of the offences in Leviticus 6:4-5.

Or in a thing taken away in violence.--Having specified two cases of embezzlement in connection with things voluntarily handed over to the defrauder, two other frauds are adduced, in which the offender possessed himself of his neighbour's property by violence and extortion.

Verse 2. - This verse would be better translated as follows: - If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord, and falsely deny to his neighbour something that was delivered to him to keep, or something that he had received in pawn, or something that he had taken away by violence, or hath got something by oppression from his neighbour. Cf. the injunction in Leviticus 19:11: "Ye shall not steal, neither deal falsely, neither lie one to another." Exodus 22:7-13 contains earlier legislation on the subject of things taken in trust.

6:1-7 Though all the instances relate to our neighbour, yet it is called a trespass against the Lord. Though the person injured be mean, and even despicable, yet the injury reflects upon that God who has made the command of loving our neighbour next to that of loving himself. Human laws make a difference as to punishments; but all methods of doing wrong to others, are alike violations of the Divine law, even keeping what is found, when the owner can be discovered. Frauds are generally accompanied with lies, often with false oaths. If the offender would escape the vengeance of God, he must make ample restitution, according to his power, and seek forgiveness by faith in that one Offering which taketh away the sin of the world. The trespasses here mentioned, still are trespasses against the law of Christ, which insists as much upon justice and truth, as the law of nature, or the law of Moses.If a soul sin, and commit a trespass against the Lord,.... All sin is against the Lord, contrary to his nature and will, and a transgression of his law; but some sins are more apparently so than others, and against which he expresses greater indignation and abhorrence, being attended also with very aggravating circumstances, as these that follow; which are such as are not only contrary to the will of God, but to the good of society, and tend to the subversion of it, of which he is the founder and supporter, and especially when he is sworn by, and appealed to as a witness, in a case not only injurious but false:

and lie unto his neighbour in that which was delivered him to keep; whether money or goods, or any living creature, sheep, cow, horse, &c. and should deny that ever anything was delivered to him, and take his oath upon it; which is a very grievous crime, and not to go unpunished, as was known by the light of nature, and declared by the Heathen oracle (h); and yet there was to be a trespass offering to make atonement for such a sin: Jarchi thinks, by his neighbour is meant a third person between them; but if that third person was a witness of the goods being delivered, there would have been no occasion of an oath, as follows: the case supposed seems to be, when anything was delivered to the care and custody of another, without the knowledge of any but the person that delivered it, and he to whom it was delivered; who retaining it for his own use, embezzling the goods, and acting the unfaithful part, affirms to the owner he never had anything of him, and so lies to him, and to that lie adds an oath of perjury:

or in fellowship: in partnership; as, for instance, having received money belonging to them both, denies he ever received any, and so cheats his partner of what was his due, and being put to his oath, takes it: or, "in putting of the hand" (i), as persons usually do when they enter into fellowship or partnership, they give each other their hand in token of it; or in putting anything into the hand, as money to trade with, and he denies he received any; or by way of purchase for anything bought, and the person of whom the purchase is made affirms the purchaser never put anything into his hand, or paid him anything, but insists upon being paid again; or in a way of lending, as Jarchi and Ben Gersom, because then money is put into the hand of him that receives it, and, in the case supposed, the borrower denies that ever any was put into his hand, or he borrowed any; and being called upon to swear, swears falsely:

or in a thing taken away by violence: without the will and knowledge of the owner; privately and secretly, but being suspected, is challenged with it, and denying it, is made to swear, which he does falsely:

or hath deceived his neighbour; cheated him in trade and commerce, defrauded him in business, extorted money from him; or by calumny and false accusation got anything out of his hands, see Luke 19:8 or by detaining the wages of the hireling; so Jarchi and Ben Gersom.

(h) "Spartano cuidam respondit", &c. Juvenal. Satyr. 13. prope finem. (i) "in positione manus", Montanus.

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