Numbers 5

1 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying,
2 `Command the sons of Israel, and they send out of the camp every leper, and every one with an issue, and every one defiled by a body;
3 from male unto female ye do send out; unto the outside of the camp ye do send them; and they defile not their camps in the midst of which I do tabernacle.'
4 And the sons of Israel do so, and they send them out unto the outside of the camp; as Jehovah hath spoken unto Moses so have the sons of Israel done.
5 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying,
6 `Speak unto the sons of Israel, Man or woman, when they do any of the sins of man, by committing a trespass against Jehovah, and that person [is] guilty,
7 and they have confessed their sin which they have done, then he hath restored his guilt in its principal, and its fifth is adding to it, and hath given [it] to him in reference to whom he hath been guilty.
8 `And if the man have no redeemer to restore the guilt to, the guilt which is restored [is] Jehovah's, the priest's, apart from the ram of the atonements, whereby he maketh atonement for him.
9 `And every heave-offering of all the holy things of the sons of Israel, which they bring near to the priest, becometh his;
10 and any man's hallowed things become his; that which any man giveth to the priest becometh his.'
11 And Jehovah speaketh unto Moses, saying,
12 `Speak unto the sons of Israel, and thou hast said unto them, When any man's wife turneth aside, and hath committed against him a trespass,
13 and a man hath lain with her [with] the seed of copulation, and it hath been hid from the eyes of her husband, and concealed, and she hath been defiled, and there is no witness against her, and she hath not been caught,
14 and a spirit of jealousy hath passed over him, and he hath been jealous of his wife, and she hath been defiled; -- or, a spirit of jealousy hath passed over him, and he hath been jealous of his wife, and she hath not been defiled --
15 `Then hath the man brought in his wife unto the priest, and he hath brought in her offering for her, a tenth of the ephah of barley meal, he doth not pour on it oil, nor doth he put on it frankincense, for it [is] a present of jealousy, a present of memorial, causing remembrance of iniquity.
16 `And the priest hath brought her near, and hath caused her to stand before Jehovah,
17 and the priest hath taken holy water in an earthen vessel, and of the dust which is on the floor of the tabernacle doth the priest take, and hath put [it] into the water,
18 and the priest hath caused the woman to stand before Jehovah, and hath uncovered the woman's head, and hath given into her hands the present of the memorial, it [is] a present of jealousy, and in the hand of the priest are the bitter waters which cause the curse.
19 `And the priest hath caused her to swear, and hath said unto the woman, If no man hath lain with thee, and if thou hast not turned aside [to] uncleanness under thy husband, be free from these bitter waters which cause the curse;
20 and thou, if thou hast turned aside under thy husband, and if thou hast been defiled, and any man doth give his copulation to thee besides thy husband --
21 (then the priest hath caused the woman to swear with an oath of execration, and the priest hath said to the woman) -- Jehovah doth give thee for an execration, and for a curse, in the midst of thy people, in Jehovah's giving thy thigh to fall, and thy belly to swell,
22 and these waters which cause the curse have gone into thy bowels, to cause the belly to swell, and the thigh to fall; and the woman hath said, Amen, Amen.
23 `And the priest hath written these execrations in a book, and hath blotted [them] out with the bitter waters,
24 and hath caused the woman to drink the bitter waters which cause the curse, and the waters which cause the curse have entered into her for bitter things.
25 `And the priest hath taken out of the hand of the woman the present of jealousy, and hath waved the present before Jehovah, and hath brought it near unto the altar;
26 and the priest hath taken a handful of the present, its memorial, and hath made perfume on the altar, and afterwards doth cause the woman to drink the water:
27 yea, he hath caused her to drink the water, and it hath come to pass, if she hath been defiled, and doth commit a trespass against her husband, that the waters which cause the curse have gone into her for bitter things, and her belly hath swelled, and her thigh hath fallen, and the woman hath become an execration in the midst of her people.
28 `And if the woman hath not been defiled, and is clean, then she hath been acquitted, and hath been sown [with] seed.
29 `This [is] the law of jealousies, when a wife turneth aside under her husband, and hath been defiled,
30 or when a spirit of jealousy passeth over a man, and he hath been jealous of his wife, then he hath caused the woman to stand before Jehovah, and the priest hath done to her all this law,
31 and the man hath been acquitted from iniquity, and that woman doth 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