1 And if a soul sin, and hear the voice of swearing, and is a witness, whether he hath seen or known of it; if he do not utter it, then he shall bear his iniquity.This chapter contains a lot of language that is open to multiple modern interpretations and misintepretations, including "swearing" and "unclean thing," so let's tackle it verse by verse. Peeking at the parallel translations helps get a consensus view of what these words mean.
2 Or if a soul touch any unclean thing, whether it be a carcase of an unclean beast, or a carcase of unclean cattle, or the carcase of unclean creeping things, and if it be hidden from him; he also shall be unclean, and guilty.
3 Or if he touch the uncleanness of man, whatsoever uncleanness it be that a man shall be defiled withal, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty.
4 Or if a soul swear, pronouncing with his lips to do evil, or to do good, whatsoever it be that a man shall pronounce with an oath, and it be hid from him; when he knoweth of it, then he shall be guilty in one of these.
5 And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess that he hath sinned in that thing:
6 And he shall bring his trespass offering unto the LORD for his sin which he hath sinned, a female from the flock, a lamb or a kid of the goats, for a sin offering; and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his sin.
7 And if he be not able to bring a lamb, then he shall bring for his trespass, which he hath committed, two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, unto the LORD; one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering.
8 And he shall bring them unto the priest, who shall offer that which is for the sin offering first, and wring off his head from his neck, but shall not divide it asunder:
9 And he shall sprinkle of the blood of the sin offering upon the side of the altar; and the rest of the blood shall be wrung out at the bottom of the altar: it is a sin offering.
10 And he shall offer the second for a burnt offering, according to the manner: and the priest shall make an atonement for him for his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him.
11 But if he be not able to bring two turtledoves, or two young pigeons, then he that sinned shall bring for his offering the tenth part of an ephah of fine flour for a sin offering; he shall put no oil upon it, neither shall he put any frankincense thereon: for it is a sin offering.
12 Then shall he bring it to the priest, and the priest shall take his handful of it, even a memorial thereof, and burn it on the altar, according to the offerings made by fire unto the LORD: it is a sin offering.
13 And the priest shall make an atonement for him as touching his sin that he hath sinned in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: and the remnant shall be the priest's, as a meat offering.
14 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
15 If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering.
16 And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.
17 And if a soul sin, and commit any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the LORD; though he wist it not, yet is he guilty, and shall bear his iniquity.
18 And he shall bring a ram without blemish out of the flock, with thy estimation, for a trespass offering, unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him concerning his ignorance wherein he erred and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him.
19 It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD.
#1: If you are a witness to a sin and don't tell what you know, you're guilty of a sin of your own.
#2: If you unwittingy touch something nasty, like the carcass of an unclean animal or "creeping thing," you're unclean and guilty.
#3: If you unwittingly "touch the uncleanness of man," once you realize it happened, you're guilty. It's not clear what's included in "uncleanness." Pee and poop? Blood? Pus? Semen? Saliva? BTW, "unclean creeping things" would be an excellent name for a rock group.
#4: If you unwitting pledge to do evil, once you realize it, you're guilty.
#5: If you've done any of the above, you must confess...
#6: And bring a "trespass offering," a female goat or lamb, which the priest will use to atone your sin.
#7: If you can't come up with the goat or lamb, an alternative animal-sacrifice options is available: two turtledoves or two young pigeons.
#8: The sinner brings the critter(s) to the priest, who wrings the sin offering's neck (but doesn't bisect the animal)...
#9: And sprinkles and wrings the blood about the altar. 'Cause, you know, "it is a sin offering."
#10: The second animal (this confuses me, because the scenario in Verse #6 suggested that just one animal is needed, while the alternative scenario in #7 involves multiple smaller animals) is used as a burnt offering; the priest thusly atones the sinner, who is forgiven.
#11: If you can't even swing plan B (the birds), then you can pay up with fine flour, without oil or frankincense. 'Cause, you know, "it is a sin offering."
#12: Bring the flour to the priest, and he'll burn it, though you'll never guess why: "it is a sin offering." Now, if you don't even have any flour, is there a Plan D option, like lint? Could that be a sin offering?
#13: The priest does the atonement and keeps the leftover "meat offering."
#14: The Lord tells Moses...
#15: If one unwittingly commits a sinful trespass against the His holy rules (were the aforementioned transgressions of a different category?), then the culprit has to bring an unblemished ram (and? or?) silver sanctuary-style shekels of a comparable value.
#16: The sinner will make amends and will add a (an extra?) fifth to the pot, which the priest will use to atone the sin, which will be forgiven. The sleight-of-hand is getting a little tricky. Beyond the question of how you provide an extra fifth of lamb, what happens if the sinner forks over the shekels instead of the lamb (or in addition to, whichever is meant. Does the priest pocket the coins, burn 'em, or consider it a tax free donation to the local temple.
#17: If one unwittingly commits a commandment-forbidden sin... Have we started again...?
#18: The sinner brings an unblemished ram and/or cash... Help, I'm caught in an infinite loop...!
#19: The sacrifice/cash is "a trespass offering," since trespassing on one of God's special rules is certainly a trespass against God. Help, I'm caught in a double-tautology inside an infinite loop!