[b-hebrew] Lev 5:23 (Lev 6:4)

kgraham0938 at comcast.net kgraham0938 at comcast.net
Thu Aug 24 14:10:24 EDT 2006

A textbook of mine agrees with Milgrom.  It's called "Readings in Biblical Hebrew an Intermediate Textbook" by Ehud Ben Zvi, Maxine Hancock, & Richard Beinert says regarding this passage:

"The issue, therefore, is not if they come to know that they were doing wrong, but rather if they feel remorse for doing wrong. (Milgrom, Leviticus 1-16, 334, 38,39-45).

The condition of feeling remorse for one's guilt is the regular conclusion of the protasis in Lev 4:13,22,27;   5:2,3,4,5,17,23.  These priestly text claim that there is no possible ritual expiation for a sinner unless he or she feels remorse.  In otherwords, sacrifices are not seen as a mechanical gate to purification, on the contrary, the right attitude of the heart-repentance-is essential for the efficacy of the ritual.

Moreover, the sacrifice is only the last of a series of actions a person should take upon feeling guilty.  One assumption on which a text such as Lev 5:20-26 rests is that a person cannot expect expiation and forgiveness while retaining the fruits of misbehavior.  Thus, the first action to be taken are those concerned with restitution and the rectification of the wrong.  The description of these actions opens the apodosis of our text immediately following ve`ashem.

Not sure if I buy it but it does have merit.

Kelton Graham 
KGRAHAM0938 at comcast.net

-------------- Original message -------------- 
From: "K Randolph" <kwrandolph at gmail.com> 

> Bill: 
> Looking at the uses of )$M, it refers to the status of being guilty. 
> Of course, if a person's moral compass is healthy, he should also feel 
> guilty, but it is the status, not the feeling, that counts. 
> Karl W. Randolph. 
> On 8/23/06, Bill Rea wrote: 
> > Hello B-Hebrewers, 
> > 
> > I was reading Milgrom's Anchor Commentary on Leviticus and 
> > he makes an usual translation of we`ashem in Lev 5:23 which is 
> > Lev 6:4 in most English translation. The common understanding 
> > is like the KJV:- 
> > 
> > Then it shall be, because he hath sinned, and is guilty, ... 
> > 
> > Milgrom translates this as feeling guilty and makes extensive 
> > comments on this on page 372 where he draws on Jewish commentators, 
> > exegetes, and rabbis going back to Philo. It appears that 
> > his translation is well supported by Jewish tradition but it 
> > is not the one used in most commonly used. I checked KJV, NASB, 
> > and NRSV and they use something similar. 
> > 
> > Would anyone care to comment on the validity of ``feeling 
> > guilty'' as a legimate understanding of the use of this word 
> > in this context. 
> > 
> > Thanks. 
> > 
> > Bill Rea, University of Canterbury Supercomputer \_ 
> > E-Mail bill.rea at canterbury.ac.nz > > Phone 64-3-364-2331, Fax 64-3-364-2332 /) Zealand 
> > UCSC Supercomputer Systems Administrator (/' 
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