In Leviticus 5:14-16, God tells Moses that if someone sins through ignorance, they must take a blemish-free ram and sacrifice it at the altar. Then, they must pay the priest the equivalent of 11.5 grams of silver (paying for sins, what an indulging idea!). These two sacrifices together are known as a guilt offering.
Then, in Leviticus 5:17-19, God tells Moses that if someone sins through ignorance, they must take a blemish-free ram and sacrifice it at the altar. This single sacrifice is known as a guilt offering.
Now, my memory is a bit hazy what with these two passages being so far apart and all, but Iím pretty sure we just witnessed two back-to-back definitions of a guilt offering, one with a payment of silver and one without. Iím suspicious, not only because of the unnecessary repetition, but by the omission between the two. However, oddities like these donít bother believers in the slightest.
Weíve seen repetition like this many times before. Biblical scholars make sense of the numerous repeats with minor variations by claiming there were multiple sources for the bible that were consolidated together. Believers, on the other hand, say that this isnít a bug, itís a feature! Specifically, it was a feature God concocted to ensure the accurate duplication of bibles. You see, humans are prone to errors when making copies of the bible, but if you have to write the same thing thing three times, chances are youíre only going to screw up one out of the three, and then later generations will be able to point out the mistake due to it not matching the other two! Boy that God fellow really thought ahead!
Of course, such ad hoc reasoning doesnít apply here since itís only written twiceóone requires you to donate silver, and the other doesnítóbut cases like this still donít dismay believers! You see, when two passages say different things, it doesnít mean they contradict each other, it just means that different things were focused on by different authors. For example, if say I saw two cars get into an accident, and you say you saw one car get into an accident, that doesnít mean weíre contradicting, it just means that for some reason you felt it unnecessary to mention the second car. Again, it defies all intellectual honestly, but itís not entirely false.
But then, believers say that this passage was written by Moses alone. HmÖ well, Iím sure they have a nice unfalsifiable way to reconcile this too.