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1 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, saying,

2 Commaund the children of Israel, that they put out of the campe euery leper, and euery one that hath an issue, and whosoeuer is defiled by the dead:

3 Both male and female shal ye put out, without the campe shall yee put them, that they defile not their campes in the middest whereof I dwell.

4 And the children of Israel did so, and put them out, without the campe: as the Lord spake vnto Moses, so did the children of Israel.

5 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, saying,

6 Speake vnto the children of Israel, When a man or woman shall commit any sinne that men commit, to doe a trespasse against the Lord, and that person be guiltie;

7 Then they shall confesse their sinne, which they haue done: and hee shall recompense his trespasse, with the principall thereof, and adde vnto it the fifth part thereof, and giue it vnto him against whom he hath trespassed.

8 But if the man haue no kinsman to recompense the trespasse vnto, let the trespasse be recompensed vnto the Lord, euen to the Priest: beside the ramme of the atonement, whereby an atonement shall be made for him.

9 And euery offering of all the holy things of the children of Israel, which they bring vnto the Priest, shall be his.

10 And euery mans halowed things shall be his: whatsoeuer any man giueth the Priest, it shall be his.

11 And the Lord spake vnto Moses, saying,

12 Speake vnto the children of Israel, and say vnto them, If any mans wife goe aside, and commit a trespasse against him;

13 And a man lye with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witnesse against her, neither she be taken with the maner;

14 And the spirit of ielousie come vpon him, and he be ielous of his wife, and shee be defiled: or if the spirit of ielousie come vpon him, and hee be ielous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

15 Then shall the man bring his wife vnto the Priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an Ephah of barley meale: hee shall powre no oyle vpon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of ielousie, an offering of memoriall, bringing iniquitie to remembrance:

16 And the Priest shall bring her neere, and set her before the Lord.

17 And the Priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessell, and of the dust that is in the floore of the Tabernacle the Priest shall take, and put it into the water:

18 And the Priest shall set the woman before the Lord, and vncouer the womans head, and put the offering of memoriall in her hands, which is the Ielousie offering: and the Priest shall haue in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse.

19 And the Priest shall charge her by an othe, and say vnto the woman, If no man haue lyen with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to vncleannesse with another in stead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse.

20 But if thou hast gone aside to another in stead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man hath lien with thee beside thine husband:

21 Then the Priest shall charge the woman with an othe of cursing, and the Priest shall say vnto the woman, The Lord make thee a curse, and an othe among thy people, when the Lord doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell.

22 And this water that causeth the curse, shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: and the woman shall say, Amen, Amen.

23 And the Priest shall write these curses in a booke, and hee shall blot them out with the bitter water:

24 And he shall cause the woman to drinke the bitter water, that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.

25 Then the Priest shall take the ielousie offering out of the womans hand, and shall waue the offering before the Lord, and offer it vpon the Altar.

26 And the Priest shal take an handfull of the offering, euen the memoriall thereof, and burne it vpon the Altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drinke the water.

27 And when he hath made her to drinke the water, then it shall come to passe, that if shee be defiled, and haue done trespasse against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse, shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shal rot: and the woman shalbe a curse among her people.

28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be cleane, then she shall be free, and shall conceiue seed.

29 This is the law of ielousies, when a wife goeth aside to another in stead of her husband, and is defiled:

30 Or when the spirit of ielousie commeth vpon him, and hee be ielous ouer his wife, and shall set the woman before the Lord, and the Priest shal execute vpon her all this law.

31 Then shall the man bee guiltlesse from iniquitie, and this woman shall beare her iniquitie.

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Commentary for Numbers 5

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

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, #Ro 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.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Numbers 5

  • Cynthia Bromback
    I do not see how the jealousy curse indicates a miscarriage or abortion. It says nothing about her being pregnant.
  • Terri l nyberg
    Numbers 5:21 and 27: Womb shrink and abdomen to swell - is the curse to cause a woman to miscarry or to be infertile?
  • Miguel Atkinson
    The law of jealousies foretell Jesus Christ being born! God has shown me This! Believe in Jesus Christ and you shall have everlasting life! Get a king james bible and believe. In Exodus chapter 20 we see what makes God jealous and this is "law of jealousies". The adulteress or non faithful woman is "israel" and is under the curse. The faithful wife "Judah" is made free of curse and conceives seed.
  • Michael
    Does anyone think law of jealousies points to Israel and Judah? One committed adultery with stones and other brought forth the seed. I think so but I am still studying this.
  • BSP
    Verse 2~Jehovah God gave the command for the lepers to be separate. Leprosy is contagious and so God was trying to keep his people healthy, safe, and holy.
  • A disciple
    David, this part in the Law was only a part of what all is said about adultery: the commandment is, Thou shalt not commit ADULTERY. And the Lord Jesus expounded it to the Jews; who ought to have known already; that the Word goes to the thoughts and intents of the heart; and not only in the physical action. Other Scriptures mention the death penalty applying to both the man and woman for that sin.

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