Numbers 5

1 The LORD said to Moses, 2 ‘Speak to the Israelites. They must send any person with an illness of the skin away from the camp. Somebody may have an illness that makes water. Any person like that is not clean. Any person who has touched a dead person is not clean. Send those people out of the camp too. 3 Do those things with both males and females. Send them out of the camp. They must not make the camp, where I live among the people, not clean.’

4 The Israelites did what the LORD had said to Moses. They sent those people outside the camp.

Gifts to the LORD and to the people when someone sins

5 The LORD said to Moses, 6 ‘Tell these rules to the Israelites: A person might do a wrong thing against another person. If they do, then they have sinned against the LORD. 7 That person must agree that they have sinned. They must pay the right amount to the other person. Also, they must pay an extra 20% of that amount. 8 But the other person may have died. The other person may not have a relative who can accept the money. If that happens, the money must go to the LORD. The person who did a wrong thing must give the money and a male sheep to the priest. The sheep is a special gift to the LORD to make everything right. Then I will forgive that person. 9 All the special gifts from the Israelites to God are for the priest. 10 The priest will keep all the special gifts.’

How to find out if a wife is doing something wrong

11 The LORD said to Moses:

12 ‘Speak to the Israelites. Tell them to follow these rules. A woman may do wrong things against her husband. 13 She might have had sex with another man. The husband might not be sure about this. His wife might have kept it secret. Nobody came in while it was happening. So there is nobody to say that it happened. 14 But the man may think that it happened. He will be angry. But she may not have made herself unholy in that way. 15 The man must take his wife to the priest. He must bring 0.1 ephahs of flour from barley with him. This is an offering of flour to discover if his wife really did do those things. So he must not put oil or incense on the offering of flour. That is an offering of flour because the man does not trust his wife.

16 Then the priest will bring the woman to stand in front of the LORD. 17 He must pour some holy water into a bowl that someone has made out of clay. He must take some dust from the floor of God's Tent. And he must put the dust into the water. 18 Then the priest must bring the woman in front of the LORD. The priest must make the woman's hair free. He must put into her hands the offering of flour. That is the offering of flour because the man does not trust his wife. The priest must hold the bowl that contains the bitter water. The bitter water brings a curse. 19 Then the woman must agree to the special promise that the priest speaks. The priest should tell her that she must agree.

He must say, “This water brings a curse. If no other man has had sex with you, it will not hurt you. 20 But if another man has had sex with you, 21 may the LORD cause the curse. The bitter water will cause your female parts to decrease. Your stomach will become very big. 22 That will happen when you drink the bitter water.”

The woman must say, “That should happen. I agree!”’

5:22‘Holy water’ (verse 17) was water that the priests kept in God's tent.

23 ‘Then the priest must write everything on special paper. Then he must wash off the words into the bitter water. 24 He must tell the woman that she must drink the bitter water. This water that brings a curse will go into her body. It may cause her to be very ill. 25 But first, the priest must take the offering of flour from her hands. That is the offering of flour because the man does not trust his wife. The priest must lift it up in front of the LORD. Then he must bring it to the altar. 26 He must burn a small part of it as a sacrifice. After that, the woman must drink the bitter water. 27 If the woman has had sex with another man, the water will cause her to have very bad pain. Her female parts will decrease. Her stomach will become very big. And people will curse her. 28 But, if she did not do those wrong things, the water will not hurt her. She will be able to have babies.

29-30 Perhaps a man is angry because his wife has had sex with another man. Or a man may think that his wife has had sex with another man. You must do this. This is the rule. The man must bring her in front of the LORD. The priest must obey all these rules. 31 If the woman did not do those wrong things, you must not punish her husband. But if the woman did do those wrong things, you must punish her.’