Numbers 5:5-10: Restitution Must Be Made

Numbers: A Book of Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  21:50
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Numbers 5:5-10

Numbers 5:5–10 LEB
5 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 6 “Speak to the Israelites: ‘When a man or woman commits any of the sins of humankind by acting unfaithfully, it is a sin against Yahweh, and that person will be guilty; 7 they will confess their sin that they did and will make restitution for their guilt by adding a fifth to it and giving it to whomever was wronged. 8 But if the man does not have a redeemer to make restitution to him for the reparation, the reparation is to be given to Yahweh for the priest, in addition to the ram of atonement by which atonement is made for him. 9 And every contribution of all the holy objects of the Israelites that they bring to the priest for him will be his. 10 The holy objects of a man will be for him; whatever he gives to the priest will be for him.’ ”
These verses deal with the question of guilt and restitution, and the regulations laid down here supplement Leviticus 5:14-6:7
In both passages it is about the damage done and loss sustained by wrong dealing between man and man or mankind and mankind. The wrong act against man is considered a sin or a “breach of faith” against the Lord. And as such they both demand restitution, even if it is just unto the Lord.
If restitution cannot be made to the person then it is to the priest.
Thus that is called a Trespass offering.
Trespass differs from sin in that trespass involves injury to another, whether man or God. All trespass is sin; but all sin is not trespass. Forgive me my trespass. Those times that I have wronged others, as I forgive those who wrong me.
This was to keep the people pure as the divine presence was among them. They had to protect the fellowship. Which means at times they had to purge the fellowship of sin. See Joshua 7
Sin Must be dealt with if God is going to prevail.

Confession and Restitution

There is an emphasis within this passage on confession and restitution.
Confession is putting things right with God
Restitution is putting things right with one’s fellows
Both are necessary for a wrong situation to be rectified, that is, if atonement is to be made.
Confession is more than mere admission of wrongdoing. Admission need not accept responsibility for the offense. When God confronted Adam and Eve in the Garden with their sin, each in turn admitted what he or she had done, but neither accepted responsibility: Adam blamed “the woman whom You gave to be with me,” and Eve blamed the serpent. Both fell short of true confession, which by derivation means “to say the same thing” about it as God does, that is “to call it by its proper name,” and accept full responsibility for it. There must be no “passing the buck” in this realm. We must say, without reserve, “I have done this terrible thing, and I have no excuse for having done so.”
Restitution has hardly figured at all in our criminal law until comparatively recently. If one’s house is burglarized, and valuables stolen, the thief when caught will receive a prison sentence, but we may never recover our lost property, and our courts have been very slow to help with any compensation. It is, of course, open to us to take the criminal to the civil court and sue him for damages, but the process is so cumbersome that it could take years for the case even to be heard.
Sins committed against God should be confessed to God, sins committed against one’s fellow confessed to him, and sins committed against the fellowship confessed to the fellowship.
We should also remember, however, that the peace of God will not come with mere confession, if it lies within a man’s power to make restitution for his sin, and he does not do so.
Restitution must be made
If restitution cannot be made we must rely on the forgiveness of God
as John says in
1 John 1:9 LEB
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, so that he will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
This is the promise of God, and when we come to Him with hearts opened, confessing and forsaking all that would grieve Him, putting it away in penitence and contrition, allowing the white light of His Holy Spirit to search and probe into the deepest places of our hearts until we walk in the light as He is in the light, so shall we have fellowship with Him, and so shall the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanse us from all sin.

Next Steps

Rely on Jesus Forgiveness
Do you have restitution that needs to be made?


Philip, James, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Numbers. Vol. 4. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987.
Harris, W. Hall, III, Elliot Ritzema, Rick Brannan, Douglas Mangum, John Dunham, Jeffrey A. Reimer, and Micah Wierenga, eds. The Lexham English Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012.
Barry, John D., Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, Michael S. Heiser, Miles Custis, Elliot Ritzema, Matthew M. Whitehead, Michael R. Grigoni, and David Bomar. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
Barry, John D., Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, Michael S. Heiser, Miles Custis, Elliot Ritzema, Matthew M. Whitehead, Michael R. Grigoni, and David Bomar. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
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