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Numbers 5 Common English Bible (CEB)

Instructions about purity in the camp

The Lord spoke to Moses: Command the Israelites to send out from the camp anyone with a skin disease, an oozing discharge, or who has become unclean from contact with a corpse. You must send out both male and female. You must send them outside the camp so that they will not make their camp, where I live among them, unclean.

The Israelites did so and sent them outside the camp. The Israelites did just what the Lord said to Moses.

The Lord spoke to Moses: Tell the Israelites: When a man or a woman commits any sin against anyone else, thus breaking faith with the Lord, that person becomes guilty. Such persons will confess the sin they have done. Each will make payment for his guilt, add one-fifth more, and give it to the injured party. If the person has no close relative to whom the payment can be made, then the compensation payment will go to the Lord for the priest. This is in addition to the ram of reconciliation by which the guilty party himself is reconciled. Any gift offering from all the sacred donations that the Israelites offer will be the property of the priest. 10 The sacred donations belong to each person alone; whatever anyone gives to the priest will be his.

A woman accused of adultery

11 The Lord spoke to Moses: 12 Speak to the Israelites and say to them: A man may suspect that his wife has had an affair[a] and has broken faith with him, 13 that a man has had intercourse with her unknown to her husband and that she has defiled herself in secret—even though there are no witnesses and she isn’t caught. 14 If jealousy overcomes him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if jealousy overcomes him and he is jealous of his wife who hasn’t defiled herself, 15 then the man will bring his wife to the priest. He will bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah[b] of barley flour. He will not pour oil on it, nor offer frankincense with it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a grain offering for recognition in order to recognize guilt. 16 The priest will bring her close and make her stand before the Lord. 17 The priest will take holy water in a clay jar, and taking dust from the floor of the dwelling, the priest will place it in the water. 18 The priest will make the woman stand before the Lord, let the hair of the woman hang down, and place the grain offering for recognition, that is, the grain offering for jealousy, in her hands. The water of bitterness that brings the curse will be in the hands of the priest.

19 Then the priest will make her swear a solemn pledge, saying to the woman, “If no man has slept with you and if you haven’t had an affair, becoming defiled while married to your husband, then be immune from the water of bitterness that brings these curses. 20 But if you have had an affair while married to your husband, if you have defiled yourself, and a man other than your husband has had intercourse with you”— 21 then the priest must make the woman utter the curse and say to the woman, “May the Lord make you a curse and a harmful pledge among your people, when the Lord induces a miscarriage and your womb discharges. 22 And may the water that brings these curses enter your stomach and make your womb discharge and make you miscarry.”

And the woman will say, “I agree, I agree.”

23 The priest will write these curses in the scroll and wipe them off into the water of bitterness. 24 Then he will make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings the curse. And the water that brings the curse will enter her, causing bitterness. 25 The priest will take the grain offering for jealousy from the woman’s hands, elevate the grain offering before the Lord, and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest will take a handful of the grain offering as a token part of it and turn it into smoke on the altar. And afterward he will make the woman drink the water. 27 When he has made her drink the water, if she has defiled herself and has broken faith with her husband, then the water that brings the curse will enter her, causing bitterness, and her womb will discharge and she will miscarry. The woman will be a curse among her people. 28 But if the woman hasn’t defiled herself and she is pure, then she will be immune and able to conceive.

29 These are the instructions about jealousy, when a wife has an affair while married to her husband and defiles herself, 30 or when jealousy overcomes a man and he is jealous of his wife. The priest will make the woman stand before the Lord and will follow all these instructions concerning her. 31 The man will be free from guilt, but the woman will bear her guilt.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 5:12 Or goes astray; see also 5:19-20, 29.
  2. Numbers 5:15 Two quarts; one ephah is approximately twenty quarts dry.
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

Numbers 5 New International Version (NIV)

The Purity of the Camp

The Lord said to Moses, “Command the Israelites to send away from the camp anyone who has a defiling skin disease[a] or a discharge of any kind, or who is ceremonially unclean because of a dead body. Send away male and female alike; send them outside the camp so they will not defile their camp, where I dwell among them. The Israelites did so; they sent them outside the camp. They did just as the Lord had instructed Moses.

Restitution for Wrongs

The Lord said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites: ‘Any man or woman who wrongs another in any way[b] and so is unfaithful to the Lord is guilty and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged. But if that person has no close relative to whom restitution can be made for the wrong, the restitution belongs to the Lord and must be given to the priest, along with the ram with which atonement is made for the wrongdoer. All the sacred contributions the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him. 10 Sacred things belong to their owners, but what they give to the priest will belong to the priest.’”

The Test for an Unfaithful Wife

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘If a man’s wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him 13 so that another man has sexual relations with her, and this is hidden from her husband and her impurity is undetected (since there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act), 14 and if feelings of jealousy come over her husband and he suspects his wife and she is impure—or if he is jealous and suspects her even though she is not impure— 15 then he is to take his wife to the priest. He must also take an offering of a tenth of an ephah[c] of barley flour on her behalf. He must not pour olive oil on it or put incense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a reminder-offering to draw attention to wrongdoing.

16 “‘The priest shall bring her and have her stand before the Lord. 17 Then he shall take some holy water in a clay jar and put some dust from the tabernacle floor into the water. 18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the Lord, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse. 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[d] 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. 25 The priest is to take from her hands the grain offering for jealousy, wave it before the Lord and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is then to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial[e] offering and burn it on the altar; after that, he is to have the woman drink the water. 27 If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse. 28 If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.

29 “‘This, then, is the law of jealousy when a woman goes astray and makes herself impure while married to her husband, 30 or when feelings of jealousy come over a man because he suspects his wife. The priest is to have her stand before the Lord and is to apply this entire law to her. 31 The husband will be innocent of any wrongdoing, but the woman will bear the consequences of her sin.’”

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 5:2 The Hebrew word for defiling skin disease, traditionally translated “leprosy,” was used for various diseases affecting the skin.
  2. Numbers 5:6 Or woman who commits any wrong common to mankind
  3. Numbers 5:15 That is, probably about 3 1/2 pounds or about 1.6 kilograms
  4. Numbers 5:21 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.
  5. Numbers 5:26 Or representative
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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