New International Reader's Version

Numbers 5

Making the Camp Pure

1The Lord spoke to Moses. He said, “Tell the Israelites that certain people must be sent away from the camp. Command them to send away anyone who has a skin disease. They must send away all those who have liquid waste coming from their bodies. And they must send away those who are ‘unclean’ because they have touched a dead body. That applies to men and women alike. Send them out of the camp. They must not make their camp ‘unclean.’ That is where I live among them.” So the Israelites did what the Lord commanded. They sent out of the camp those who were “unclean.” They did just as the Lord had directed Moses.

Sins Against Others Must Be Paid For

The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites. Say to them, ‘Suppose a man or woman does something wrong to someone else. Then that person is not being faithful to the Lord. People like that are guilty. They must admit they have committed a sin. They must pay in full for what they did wrong. And they must add a fifth of the value to it. Then they must give all of it to the person they have sinned against. But suppose that person has died. And suppose that person does not have a close relative who can be paid for the sin that was committed. Then what is paid belongs to the Lord. It must be given to the priest. A ram must be given along with it. The ram must be sacrificed to the Lord to pay for the sin. All the sacred gifts the Israelites bring to a priest will belong to him. 10 Sacred gifts 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 spoke to Moses again. He said, 12 “Speak to the Israelites. Say to them, ‘Suppose a man’s wife goes astray. And suppose she is not faithful to her husband. 13 Suppose another man has sex with her. And suppose this is hidden from her husband. No one knows she is not “clean.” So there is no witness against her. And she has not been caught in the act. 14 Suppose her husband becomes jealous. He does not trust his wife, and she is really “unclean.” Or suppose he does not trust her even though she is “clean.” 15 Then he must take his wife to the priest. He must also bring an offering. It must be eight cups of barley flour. The offering is for his wife. He must not pour olive oil on it. And he must not put incense on it. It is a grain offering for being jealous. It calls attention to the wrong thing a person has done.

16 “ ‘The priest must have her stand in front of the Lord. 17 He must pour some holy water into a clay jar. He must get some dust from the floor of the holy tent. And he must put it into the water. 18 The priest must have the woman stand in front of the Lord. Then he must untie her hair. He must place in her hands the offering that calls attention to the wrong thing a person has done. It is the grain offering for being jealous. The priest must keep the bitter water with him. It is the water that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest must have the woman give her word. He must say to her, “Suppose no other man has had sex with you. And suppose you haven’t gone astray. You have kept yourself pure while you are married to your husband. Then may the bitter water that brings a curse not harm you. 20 But suppose you have gone astray while you are married to your husband. You have made yourself ‘unclean.’ You have had sex with a man who isn’t your husband.” 21 At that point the priest must put the woman under the curse that will come if she breaks her word. He must say, “May the Lord cause you to become a curse among your people. You will become a curse when the Lord makes your body unable to have children. 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your body. May it make your body unable to have children.”

“ ‘Then the woman must say, “Amen. Let it happen.”

23 “ ‘The priest must write the curses on a scroll. He must wash them off in the bitter water. 24 It is the water he will make the woman drink. It is bitter water that brings a curse. It will enter her body. And it will cause her to suffer bitterly. 25 The priest must take from her hands the grain offering for being jealous. He must lift it up and wave it in front of the Lord. He must bring it to the altar. 26 Then the priest must take a handful of the grain offering. It is the offering that calls attention to the wrong thing a person has done. The priest must burn it on the altar. After that, he must have the woman drink the water. 27 Suppose she has made herself “unclean.” She has not been faithful to her husband. And she has drunk the water that brings a curse. Then it will go into her body. It will cause her to suffer bitterly. It will make her body unable to have children. She will become a curse. 28 Suppose the woman has not made herself “unclean.” But suppose she is “clean.” Then she will be free of guilt. And she will be able to have children.

29 “ ‘This is the law about being jealous. It applies to a woman who has gone astray. She has made herself “unclean” while she is married to her husband. 30 And it applies to a man who becomes jealous. He has doubts about his wife. The priest must have her stand in front of the Lord. He must apply the entire law to her. 31 The husband will not be guilty of doing anything wrong. But the woman will be punished for her sin.’ ”