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Numbers - Chapter 5

Numbers Chapters

1 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said:

2 'Order the Israelites to expel from the camp all those suffering from a contagious skin-disease or from a discharge, or who have become unclean by touching a corpse.

3 Whether man or woman, you will expel them; you will expel them from the camp, so that they do not pollute their encampments, in the heart of which I dwell.'

4 The Israelites did so: they expelled them from the camp. The Israelites did as Yahweh had told Moses.

5 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

6 'Speak to the Israelites: "If a man or woman commits any of the sins by which people break faith with Yahweh, that person incurs guilt.

7 "The person must confess the sin committed and restore in full the amount owed, with one-fifth added. Payment is to be made to the person wronged.

8 "If, however, the latter has no relation to whom restitution can be made, the restitution due to Yahweh reverts to the priest, apart from the ram of expiation with which the priest makes expiation for the guilty party.

9 For of everything the Israelites consecrate and bring to the priest he has a right to the portion set aside.

10 Whatever anyone consecrates is his own; whatever is given to the priest belongs to the priest." '

11 Yahweh spoke to Moses and said,

12 'Speak to the Israelites and say: "If anyone has a wife who goes astray and is unfaithful to him,

13 if some other man sleeps with the woman without the husband's knowledge, and she secretly makes herself unclean, without any witness against her, and without anyone catching her in the act;

14 if, then, a spirit of suspicion comes over the husband and makes him suspicious of the wife who has disgraced herself, or again if this spirit of suspicion comes over him and makes him suspicious of his wife even when she is innocent,

15 the man will bring his wife before the priest, and on her behalf make an offering of one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal. He will not pour oil over it or put incense on it, because this is a cereal offering for a case of suspicion, a memorial offering to recall guilt to mind.

16 "The priest will then bring the woman forward and place her before Yahweh.

17 The priest will then take fresh water in an earthen jar, and on the water throw dust that he has taken from the floor of the Dwelling.

18 After he has placed the woman before Yahweh, he will unbind her hair and put the commemorative cereal offering (that is, the cereal offering for a case of suspicion) into her hands. In his own hands the priest will hold the water of bitterness and cursing.

19 "The priest will then put the woman on oath. He will say to her: If it is not true that a man has slept with you, that you have gone astray and made yourself unclean while under your husband's authority, may this water of bitterness and cursing do you no harm.

20 But if it is true that you have gone astray while under your husband's authority, that you have made yourself unclean and that a man other than your husband has slept with you . . .

21 Here the priest will impose an imprecatory oath on the woman. He will say to her: . . . May Yahweh make you the object of your people's execration and curses, by making your sexual organs shrivel and your belly swell!

22 May this water of cursing entering your bowels, make your belly swell and your sexual organs shrivel! To which the woman will reply: Amen! Amen!

23 "Having written these curses on a scroll and washed them off in the water of bitterness,

24 the priest will make the woman drink the water of bitterness and cursing; when the water of cursing enters into her, it will become bitter.

25 "The priest will then take the cereal offering for a case of suspicion from the woman's hands, and hold it up before Yahweh with a gesture of offering, and so carry it up to the altar.

26 He will take a handful of it as a memorial and burn it on the altar. "After this, he will make the woman drink the water.

27 After he has made her drink it, if it is true that she has made herself unclean and been unfaithful to her husband, the water of cursing then entering into her will indeed be bitter: her belly will swell and her sexual organs shrivel, and she will be an object of execration to her people.

28 But if she has not made herself unclean, but is clean, then she will go unscathed and will bear children.

29 "Such is the ritual in cases of suspicion, when a woman has gone astray and made herself unclean while under her husband's authority,

30 or when a spirit of suspicion has come over a man and made him suspicious of his wife. When a husband brings such a woman before Yahweh, the priest will apply this ritual to her in full.

31 The husband will be guiltless, but the woman will bear the consequences of her guilt." '


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