Numbers 5:21-22

21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the LORD cause you to become a curse[a] among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.
22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.” “ ‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”

Numbers 5:21-22 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO NUMBERS 5

This chapter contains a repetition of some former laws, concerning putting unclean persons out of the camp, Nu 5:1-4; making restitution in case of trespass against another, Nu 5:5-8; and of giving the offering of all holy things and all hallowed things to the priests, Nu 5:9,10; and a new law concerning jealousy, in a man, of his wife, Nu 5:11-14; when she was to be brought to the priest, and various rites and ceremonies to be used, Nu 5:15-23; who was to give her bitter water as a trial of her chastity, which, if guilty, would have a strange effect upon her, and make her accursed, but if not, would not affect her, and she would be free and happy, Nu 5:24-31.

Numbers 5:21-22 In-Context

19 Then the priest shall put the woman under oath and say to her, “If no other man has had sexual relations with you and you have not gone astray and become impure while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not harm you.
20 But if you have gone astray while married to your husband and you have made yourself impure by having sexual relations with a man other than your husband”—
21 here the priest is to put the woman under this curse—“may the LORD cause you to become a curse among your people when he makes your womb miscarry and your abdomen swell.
22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body so that your abdomen swells or your womb miscarries.” “ ‘Then the woman is to say, “Amen. So be it.”
23 “ ‘The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and then wash them off into the bitter water.
24 He shall make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and this water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering will enter her.

Cross References 4

  • 1. Joshua 6:26; 1 Samuel 14:24; Nehemiah 10:29
  • 2. Psalms 109:18
  • 3. ver 18
  • 4. Deuteronomy 27:15

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. That is, may he cause your name to be used in cursing (see Jer. 29:22); or, may others see that you are cursed; similarly in verse 27.
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