Numbers 5

Numbers 5

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1 The LORD gave these instructions to Moses:

2 "Command the people of Israel to remove anyone from the camp who has a contagious skin disease* or a discharge, or who has been defiled by touching a dead person.1

3 This applies to men and women alike. Remove them so they will not defile the camp, where I live among you."

4 So the Israelites did just as the LORD had commanded Moses and removed such people from the camp.

5 Then the LORD said to Moses,

6 "Give these instructions to the people of Israel: If any of the people--men or women--betray the LORD by doing wrong to another person, they are guilty.

7 They must confess their sin and make full restitution for what they have done, adding a penalty of 20 percent and returning it to the person who was wronged.

8 But if the person who was wronged is dead, and there are no near relatives to whom restitution can be made, it belongs to the LORD and must be given to the priest, along with a ram for atonement.

9 All the sacred gifts that the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him.

10 Each priest may keep the sacred donations that he receives."

11 And the LORD said to Moses,

12 "Say to the people of Israel: `Suppose a man's wife goes astray and is unfaithful to her husband.

13 Suppose she sleeps with another man, but there is no witness since she was not caught in the act.

14 If her husband becomes jealous and suspicious of his wife, even if she has not defiled herself,

15 the husband must bring his wife to the priest with an offering of two quarts* of barley flour to be presented on her behalf. Do not mix it with olive oil or frankincense, for it is a jealousy offering--an offering of inquiry to find out if she is guilty.2

16 " `The priest must then present her before the LORD.

17 He must take some holy water in a clay jar and mix it with dust from the Tabernacle floor.

18 When he has presented her before the LORD, he must unbind her hair and place the offering of inquiry--the jealousy offering--in her hands to determine whether or not her husband's suspicions are justified. The priest will stand before her, holding the jar of bitter water that brings a curse to those who are guilty.

19 The priest will put the woman under oath and say to her, "If no other man has slept with you, and you have not defiled yourself by being unfaithful, may you be immune from the effects of this bitter water that causes the curse.

20 But if you have gone astray while under your husband's authority and defiled yourself by sleeping with another man"--

21 at this point the priest must put the woman under this oath--"then may the people see that the LORD's curse is upon you when he makes you infertile.*3

22 Now may this water that brings the curse enter your body and make you infertile.*" And the woman will be required to say, "Yes, let it be so."4

23 Then the priest will write these curses on a piece of leather and wash them off into the bitter water.

24 He will then make the woman drink the bitter water, so it may bring on the curse and cause bitter suffering in cases of guilt.

25 " `Then the priest will take the jealousy offering from the woman's hand, lift it up before the LORD, and carry it to the altar.

26 He will take a handful as a token portion and burn it on the altar. Then he will require the woman to drink the water.

27 If she has defiled herself by being unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings the curse will cause bitter suffering. She will become infertile,* and her name will become a curse word among her people.5

28 But if she has not defiled herself and is pure, she will be unharmed and will still be able to have children.

29 " `This is the ritual law for dealing with jealousy. If a woman defiles herself by being unfaithful to her husband,

30 or if a man is overcome with jealousy and suspicion that his wife has been unfaithful, the husband must present his wife before the LORD, and the priest will apply this entire ritual law to her.

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1: Traditionally rendered leprosy. The Hebrew word used here describes various skin diseases.

2: Hebrew 1/10 of an ephah [2 liters].

3: Hebrew when he causes your thigh to waste away and your abdomen to swell.

4: Hebrew enter your body so that your abdomen swells and your thigh wastes away.

5: Hebrew Her body will swell and her thigh will waste away.

New Living Translation Bible and Notes used with permission Tyndale House Publishers.

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