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Numbers 5Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Rules About Cleanliness

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the people to send away from the camp anyone who is unclean, that is, anyone who has a serious skin disease[a] or discharge and anyone who has touched a dead body. Whether they are a man or a woman, send them away so that the camp where I am living among you will not be made unclean.”

So the Israelites obeyed God’s command. They sent those people outside the camp. They did what the Lord had told Moses.

Paying for Doing Wrong

The Lord said to Moses, “Tell this to the Israelites: You might do something wrong to another person. When you do that, you are really sinning against God. So you are guilty of doing wrong. You must confess that sin. Then you must fully pay for that wrong thing you did. You must add one-fifth to the payment and give it all to the person you had done wrong to. But maybe the person is dead and does not have any close relatives to accept the payment. In that case, you will give the payment to the Lord. That is, you will give the full payment to the priest. The priest must sacrifice the ram that makes people pure. This ram will be sacrificed to cover over your sins, but the priest will keep the rest of the payment.

“If any of you Israelites gives a special gift to God, the priest who accepts that gift can keep it. It is his. 10 You don’t have to give these special gifts, but if you do, the gifts belong to the priest.”

Jealous Husbands

11 Then the Lord said to Moses, 12 “Tell the Israelites this: A man’s wife might be unfaithful to him. 13 She might have sexual relations with another man and hide this from her husband. And there might not be anyone to tell him that his wife committed this sin. Her husband might never know about the wrong thing she did, and she might not tell her husband about her sin. 14 But the husband might begin to think that his wife sinned against him, whether she has or not. He might become jealous. He might begin to believe that she is not pure and true to him. 15 If that happens, he must take his wife to the priest. The husband must also take an offering of 8 cups[b] of barley flour. He must not pour oil or incense on the barley flour. This barley flour is a grain offering to the Lord that is given because the husband is jealous. This offering will show that he thinks his wife has been unfaithful to him.

16 “The priest will take the woman before the Lord and make her stand there. 17 Then he will take some special water and put it in a clay jar. He will put some dirt from the floor of the Holy Tent into the water. 18 He will force the woman to stand before the Lord. Then he will loosen her hair and put the grain offering in her hand. This is the barley flour that her husband gave because he was jealous. At the same time, he will hold the clay jar of special water. This is the special water that can bring trouble to the woman.

19 “Then the priest will make the woman promise to tell the truth and say to her: ‘If you have not slept with another man, and if you have not sinned against your husband while you were married to him, then this water that causes trouble will not hurt you. 20 But if you have sinned against your husband—if you had sexual relations with a man who is not your husband—then you are not pure. 21 If that is true, you will have much trouble when you drink this special water. You will not be able to have any children. And if you are pregnant now, your baby will die.[c] And the Lord will cause your people to speak evil of you and curse you.’

“Then the priest must tell the woman to make an oath. She must agree for the Lord to cause these things to happen to her if she lies. 22 The priest must say, ‘You must drink this water that causes trouble. If you have sinned, you will not be able to have children. Any baby you have will die before it is born.’ And the woman should say, ‘I agree to do as you say.’

23 “The priest should write these warnings on a scroll. Then he should wash the words off into the water. 24 Then the woman must drink the water that brings trouble. This water will enter her and, if she is guilty, it will cause her much suffering.

25 “Then the priest will take the grain offering from her (the offering for jealousy) and raise it before the Lord. Then he will carry it to the altar. 26 The priest will fill his hands with some of the grain and put it on the altar and let it burn there. After that he will tell the woman to drink the water. 27 If the woman has sinned against her husband, the water will bring her trouble. The water will go into her body and cause her much suffering. Any baby that is in her will die before it is born, and she will never be able to have children. All the people will turn against her.[d] 28 But if the woman has not sinned against her husband and she is pure, the priest will say that she is not guilty. Then she will be normal and able to have children.

29 “So this is the law about jealousy. This is what you should do when a woman sins against her husband while she is married to him. 30 Or if the man becomes jealous and thinks his wife has sinned against him, this is what the man should do. The priest must tell her to stand before the Lord. Then the priest will do all these things. This is the law. 31 The husband will not be guilty of doing anything wrong, but the woman will suffer if she has sinned.”

Footnotes:

  1. Numbers 5:2 serious skin disease This could be leprosy, or it could be another kind of contagious skin disease.
  2. Numbers 5:15 8 cups Literally, “1/10 of an ephah” (2.2 l).
  3. Numbers 5:21 You will … die Literally, “Your loins will fall and your belly will swell.”
  4. Numbers 5:27 All … against her Literally, “She will be like a curse among the people.”
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International

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