Speak unto the children of Israel, [saying]…
law concerning the sin offering, as the rest, only belonged to them,
and such as were proselyted to them:
if a soul should sin through ignorance;
sin is from the soul,
though committed by the body; it is the soul that sins, (Ezekiel 18:4)
it includes, as Aben Ezra observes, both Israelites and proselytes; who
sinned through ignorance either of the law, that such things were
forbidden, or of having committed them, they being done unobserved, and
through inadvertency; or were forgotten that they were done, or were
done through error and mistake; these sins are what the apostle calls
the errors of the people, their strayings out of the way through
ignorance and inadvertency, (Hebrews 5:2) (9:7) such sins as a man is
overtaken with unawares, and is drawn into at once through temptation
and the prevalence of corruption; these are the errors and secret
faults which David distinguishes from presumptuous sins,
(Psalms 19:12,13) :
against any of the commandments of the Lord ([concerning things]
which ought not to be done.
) The Jewish writers F13 distinguish the
commandments of the Lord into affirmative and negative, and make their
number to be six hundred and thirteen; two hundred and forty eight are
affirmative, according to the number of bones in a man's body, and
three hundred sixty five are negative ones, according to the number of
the days of the year; and they observe F14, it is only the
transgression of negative precepts that is here meant, and for which a
sin offering was to be brought:
and shall do against any of them;
it must be something done, and
not merely said: hence the Jews F15 say, that as the neglect of
circumcision, and of the passover, does not come under this law,
because they are affirmative precepts; so neither blasphemy, because
there is nothing done, only something said: of these sins of ignorance,
they give instances as follows; if any man eats the fat that is about
the kidneys, thinking it is the fat that is about the heart; or that
lies with a woman forbidden by the law, thinking her to be his wife; or
that commits idolatry, by bowing to the idol, thinking that the law
forbids sacrifice, incense, and libation, but not bowing; or that
profanes the sabbath, thinking it is a common day F16.
F13 T. Bab. Maccot, fol. 23. 2.
F14 Maimon. in Misn. Horayot, c. 2. sect. 3. Bartenora in Misn.
Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 1. Gersom in loc.
F15 Misn. Ceritot, c. 1. sect. 2. & Bartenora in ib. Maimon. Hilchot
Shegagot, c. 1. sect. 2.
F16 Maimon & Bartenora in Misn. Ceritot, ib.