Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall act against any one of them:
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George Leo Haydock
Ignorance. To be ignorant of what we are bound to know is sinful: and for such culpable ignorance, these sacrifices, prescribed in this and the following chapter, were appointed. (Challoner)
Not to be done. Hence the Rabbins admit sins of ignorance, only against the negative precepts. But when God forbids one thing, he commands the contrary; and we may sin by ignorance against any of his ordinances. If the ignorance be voluntary, it enhances the crime; and Aristotle well observes that drunkards, who do an injury, are to be doubly punished, because their fault is voluntary in its cause, (ad Nicom. iii. 7). But if the ignorance were perfectly involuntary, and in culpable, no sacrifice was required; so that God here speaks only of that sort of ignorance which involved some degree of negligence. This fault could not be forgiven without interior good dispositions. The sacrifice only reached to the cleansing of the flesh, (Hebrews ix. 13,) or to screen the culprit from the severity of the l...