Numbers 5

Listen to Numbers 5
1 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
2 "Command the children of Israel that they put out of the camp every leper, and everyone who has an issue, and whoever is unclean by the dead.
3 Both male and female shall you put out, outside of the camp shall you put them; that they not defile their camp, in the midst of which I dwell."
4 The children of Israel did so, and put them out outside of the camp; as Yahweh spoke to Moses, so did the children of Israel.
5 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
6 "Speak to the children of Israel: When a man or woman commits any sin that men commit, so as to trespass against Yahweh, and that soul is guilty;
7 then he shall confess his sin which he has done, and he shall make restitution for his guilt in full, and add to it the fifth part of it, and give it to him in respect of whom he has been guilty.
8 But if the man has no kinsman to whom restitution may be made for the guilt, the restitution for guilt which is made to Yahweh shall be the priest's; besides the ram of the atonement, whereby atonement shall be made for him.
9 Every heave offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they present to the priest, shall be his.
10 Every man's holy things shall be his: whatever any man gives the priest, it shall be his."
11 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying,
12 "Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them: If any man's wife goes astray, and is unfaithful to him,
13 and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and is kept close, and she is defiled, and there is no witness against her, and she isn't taken in the act;
14 and the spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, and she is defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy comes on him, and he is jealous of his wife, and she isn't defiled:
15 then the man shall bring his wife to the priest, and shall bring her offering for her: the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal. He shall pour no oil on it, nor put frankincense on it, for it is a meal offering of jealousy, a meal offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to memory.
16 The priest shall bring her near, and set her before Yahweh;
17 and the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water.
18 The priest shall set the woman before Yahweh, and let the hair of the woman's head go loose, and put the meal offering of memorial in her hands, which is the meal offering of jealousy. The priest shall have in his hand the water of bitterness that brings a curse.
19 The priest shall cause her to swear, and shall tell the woman, 'If no man has lain with you, and if you haven't gone aside to uncleanness, being under your husband, be free from this water of bitterness that brings a curse.
20 But if you have gone astray, being under your husband, and if you are defiled, and some man has lain with you besides your husband:'
21 then the priest shall cause the woman to swear with the oath of cursing, and the priest shall tell the woman, 'Yahweh make you a curse and an oath among your people, when Yahweh allows your thigh to fall away, and your body to swell;
22 and this water that brings a curse will go into your bowels, and make your body swell, and your thigh fall away.' The woman shall say, 'Amen, Amen.'
23 "The priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out into the water of bitterness.
24 He shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that causes the curse; and the water that causes the curse shall enter into her and become bitter.
25 The priest shall take the meal offering of jealousy out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the meal offering before Yahweh, and bring it to the altar.
26 The priest shall take a handful of the meal offering, as the memorial of it, and burn it on the altar, and afterward shall make the woman drink the water.
27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall happen, if she is defiled, and has committed a trespass against her husband, that the water that causes the curse will enter into her and become bitter, and her body will swell, and her thigh will fall away: and the woman will be a curse among her people.
28 If the woman isn't defiled, but is clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.
29 "This is the law of jealousy, when a wife, being under her husband, goes astray, and is defiled;
30 or when the spirit of jealousy comes on a man, and he is jealous of his wife; then he shall set the woman before Yahweh, and the priest shall execute on her all this law.
31 The man shall be free from iniquity, and that woman shall bear her iniquity."

Numbers 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

The unclean to be removed out of the camp, Restitution to be made for trespasses. (1-10) The trial of jealousy. (11-31)

Verses 1-10 The camp was to be cleansed. The purity of the church must be kept as carefully as the peace and order of it. Every polluted Israelite must be separated. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable. The greater profession of religion any house or family makes, the more they are obliged to put away iniquity far from them. If a man overreach or defraud his brother in any matter, it is a trespass against the Lord, who strictly charges and commands us to do justly. What is to be done when a man's awakened conscience charges him with guilt of this kind, though done long ago? He must confess his sin, confess it to God, confess it to his neighbour, and take shame to himself; though it go against him to own himself in a lie, yet he must do it. Satisfaction must be made for the offence done to God, as well as for the loss sustained by the neighbour; restitution in that case is not enough without faith and repentance. While that which is wrongly gotten is knowingly kept, the guilt remains on the conscience, and is not done away by sacrifice or offering, prayers or tears; for it is the same act of sin persisted in. This is the doctrine of right reason, and of the word of God. It detects hypocrites, and directs the tender conscience to proper conduct, which, springing from faith in Christ, will make way for inward peace.

Verses 11-31 This law would make the women of Israel watch against giving cause for suspicion. On the other hand, it would hinder the cruel treatment such suspicions might occasion. It would also hinder the guilty from escaping, and the innocent from coming under just suspicion. When no proof could be brought, the wife was called on to make this solemn appeal to a heart-searching God. No woman, if she were guilty, could say "Amen" to the adjuration, and drink the water after it, unless she disbelieved the truth of God, or defied his justice. The water is called the bitter water, because it caused the curse. Thus sin is called an evil and a bitter thing. Let all that meddle with forbidden pleasures, know that they will be bitterness in the latter end. From the whole learn, 1. Secret sins are known to God, and sometimes are strangely brought to light in this life; and that there is a day coming when God will, by Christ, judge the secrets of men according to the gospel, ( Romans 2:16 ) . 2 In particular, Whoremongers and adulterers God will surely judge. Though we have not now the waters of jealousy, yet we have God's word, which ought to be as great a terror. Sensual lusts will end in bitterness. 3. God will manifest the innocency of the innocent. The same providence is for good to some, and for hurt to others. And it will answer the purposes which God intends.

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries