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Numbers 5:17-27 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

17 Then the priest is to take holy water in a clay bowl, and take some of the dust from the tabernacle floor and put it in the water. 18 After the priest has the woman stand before the Lord, he is to let down her hair[a] and place in her hands the grain offering for remembrance, which is the grain offering of jealousy. The priest is to hold the bitter water that brings a curse. 19 The priest will require the woman to take an oath and will say to her, ‘If no man has slept with you, if you have not gone astray and become defiled while under your husband’s authority, be unaffected by this bitter water that brings a curse. 20 But if you have gone astray while under your husband’s authority, if you have defiled yourself and a man other than your husband has slept with you’— 21 at this point the priest must make the woman take the oath with the sworn curse, and he is to say to her—‘May the Lord make you into an object of your people’s cursing and swearing when He makes your thigh[b] shrivel and your belly swell.[c] 22 May this water that brings a curse enter your stomach, causing your belly to swell and your thigh to shrivel.’

“And the woman must reply, ‘Amen, Amen.’

23 “Then the priest is to write these curses on a scroll and wash them off into the bitter water. 24 He will require the woman to drink the bitter water that brings a curse, and it will enter her and cause bitter suffering. 25 The priest is to take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, wave the offering before the Lord, and bring it to the altar. 26 The priest is to take a handful of the grain offering as a memorial portion and burn it on the altar. Then he will require the woman to drink the water.

27 “When he makes her drink the water, if she has defiled herself and been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings a curse will enter her and cause bitter suffering; her belly will swell, and her thigh will shrivel. She will become a curse among her people.

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 5:18 Or to uncover her head
  2. Numbers 5:21 Possibly a euphemism for the reproductive organs
  3. Numbers 5:21 Or flood

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