Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 4: Harmony of the Law, Part II, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
14. And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,
14. Loquutus est insuper Jehova ad Mosen, dicendo:
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:
15. Anima quum praevaricata fuerit praevaricationem, et peccaverit per errorem in una re ex sanctificationibus Jehovae, adducat oblationem pro delicto suo Jehovae, arietem perfectum de pecudibus, secundum aestimationem tuam argenti siculorum, secundum siculum sanctitatis pro delicto.
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.
16. Et quod peccaverit in sanctificatione reddet, et quintam partem ipsius addet ei, tradetque illud sacerdoti, sacerdos vero expiabit eum in ariete oblationis pro delicto: et remittetur ei.
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.
17. Itaque si anima peccaverit, et fecerit unum ab omnibus praeceptis Jehovae, quae non sunt facienda, et non cognoverit, et deliquerit, et portaverit iniquitatem suam:
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.
18. Tunc adducet arietem immaculatum de pecudibus, secundum aestimationem tuam in oblationem pro delicto ad sacerdotem, et expiabit eum sacerdos ab errore suo quem per errorem commisit, neque intellexit, et remittetur el.
19. It is a trespass offering: he hath certainly trespassed against the LORD.
19. Delictum est, delinquendo deliquit Jehovae.
14. And the Lord spake unto Moses. The difference of the victim clearly shews, that another kind of offense is here referred to; for God now requires a male instead of a female. Before, He had been contented with an ewe lamb or a female kid; but inasmuch as a ram is more valuable, it follows that punishment is now awarded to a heavier offense. The heinousness of the fault depends upon the quality of the act; i.e., when a person shall have wronged not a mortal man merely, but God Himself, nor shall have transgressed only one of the Commandments of the first Table, but shall not have paid a vow, or shall have offered a defective victim, or shall have defrauded God of His right in any oblation; since this is what is meant by the clause “in the holy things of the Lord.” In this expression Moses includes both vows voluntarily made, as well as the legitimate oblations, such as tithes, first-fruits, the offering of the first-born; since in all these things the Israelites were strictly charged to deal most faithfully with God. If by chance avarice had blinded any one, so that in pursuit of personal gain he paid God less than he ought, his recklessness justly received a heavier punishment. Yet it must be understood, that the offense here referred to is one in which no fraud or evil deceit had place; for if any one had designedly and craftily appropriated what was sacred, the impiety of this sacrilege was not so easily expiated. But inasmuch as it often happens that the covetous and grasping are too ready to spare themselves, God enjoins a sacrifice in such a case, where private advantage has through thoughtlessness prevailed over religious feeling. The words, “with thy estimation,” some refer to Moses, others to the priest; but I prefer taking it passively for the estimation prescribed by God; which is called the estimation of the people, because they were bound to acquiesce in the Law appointed by Him, and not arbitrarily to alter the value. Moses estimates the ram at two shekels of the sanctuary, equivalent to four common shekels, 269 amounting in French money to about twenty-eight sols, (asses.)
16. And he shall make amends for the harm. Hence it more plainly appears, as I have recently stated, that they, who withheld anything of God’s full right, are said to have sinned “in the holy thing;” since they are commanded to make restitution with the addition of a fifth part. Yet let my readers remember, that those who are compelled to make restitution, are not such as have fraudulently embezzled the sacred things, but those who under some vain pretext have flattered themselves for a time, so as to be unaffected by any conviction of their fault. The object therefore of this sacrifice, was to arouse the people to attention, so that postponing their private advantage, they should freely pay what was due to God. 270 Theirs is but foolish trifling who think that Moses, having before spoken of sins (peccata), now prescribes the mode of making expiation for delinquencies (delicta), since he uses the same words indifferently on all occasions, and also designates all the victims by the same name. But to make out a delinquency to be greater than a sin is a piece of gross ignorance; nor does it need a long refutation, since it manifestly appears that in this passage a special rule is delivered as to the means of obtaining pardon when a person through thoughtlessness has not reflected that he has omitted to discharge in full either his vows or oblations.
17. And if soul sin. Although the expressions seem to be general, as if he briefly confirmed what he had said before, yet it is necessary to connect them with the last sentence, or at least to restrict them to certain cases. The former exposition appears to me to be the right one; nor is there any absurdity in the repetition, to cut off all occasion for subterfuge from the disobedient. Still I do not deny that the reason which is added at the end, applies to all the modes of expiation of which he has been treating; viz., that although he may pretend ignorance who has fallen into sin inconsiderately, or who has not intentionally sinned, or who through forgetfulness has contracted any defilement, still he is guilty before God until he makes reconciliation. When therefore he again commands that a ram without blemish, and of full value should be offered, he once more shews how they must purge themselves who have been too stingy in their oblations. Immediately after he adds a reason common to all the other errors; as if he had said, that they are not absolved before God who offer the excuse of ignorance as a cover for their fault.
“Ainsi revienent a vingt huit sols de roy, ou environ;” thus they amount to twenty-eight sols of the king, or thereabouts. — Fr.Vide note, vol. 1 p. 483.
This is the gloss of Bonfrerius in Poole’s Synopsis.