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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.”


The Lord said to Moses, “Tell the Israelites this: If there are people, men or women, who want to make a vow dedicating themselves to the Lord as Nazirites for a time, this is what they must do: They must stay away from wine or other strong drink. They must not drink vinegar that is made from wine or from other strong drink. They must not drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins. During that special time of dedication, they must not eat anything that comes from grapes. They must not even eat the seeds or the skins from grapes.

“The whole time of their Nazirite vow they must not cut their hair. They must be holy until this time of special dedication to the Lord is ended. They must let their hair grow long.

“If you have taken the Nazirite vow, you must not go near someone who is dying[e] during that special time of dedication. You have given yourself fully to the Lord, so you must not let yourself become unclean like this—even for your own father or mother, brother or sister when they die.[f] This is because you have the hair that you dedicated to God on your head! It is holy because you have given yourself fully to the Lord for the full time of that dedication. So if you are with someone when they suddenly die, you will be unclean and you will have to shave the hair from your head. You must do that on the seventh day of your purification ceremony when you are made clean. 10 Then on the eighth day, you must bring two doves or two young pigeons and give them to the priest at the entrance of the Meeting Tent. 11 Then the priest will offer one bird as a sin offering and the other one as a burnt offering. The burnt offering will be a payment for the sin of touching a dead body during your special time of dedication. Then you must again promise to give the hair on your head as a gift to God. 12 This means you must again give yourself to the Lord for another time of dedication. You must bring a one-year-old male lamb to offer as a guilt offering. You must start over from the beginning with a new time of dedication because you touched a dead body during your first time of dedication.

13 “After their time of dedication is ended, Nazirites must go to the entrance of the Meeting Tent 14 and give their offering to the Lord. Their offering must be:

a one-year-old male lamb that has nothing wrong with it for a burnt offering;

a one-year-old female lamb that has nothing wrong with it for a sin offering;

one ram that has nothing wrong with it for a fellowship offering;

15 a basket of bread made without yeast—bread made with fine flour mixed with oil and wafers with oil spread on top;

and the grain offerings and drink offerings that are a part of these gifts.

16 “The priest will give these things to the Lord, and then the priest will make the sin offering and the burnt offering. 17 He will give the basket of bread without yeast to the Lord. Then he will kill the ram as a fellowship offering to the Lord. He will give it to the Lord with the grain offering and the drink offering.

18 “The Nazirites must go to the entrance of the Meeting Tent. There they must shave off their hair that they grew as a dedication to the Lord. That hair will be put in the fire that is burning under the sacrifice of the fellowship offering.

19 “After the Nazirites have cut off their hair, the priest will give them a boiled shoulder from the ram and a large and a small cake from the basket. Both of these cakes are made without yeast. 20 Then the priest will lift these things up to show that they were presented before the Lord. These things are holy and belong to the priest. Also, the ram’s breast and thigh that were lifted up and presented belong to the priest. After that the Nazirites can drink wine.

21 “These are the rules for those who decide to make the Nazirite vow. They must give all these gifts to the Lord. But they might be able to give much more. If they promise to do more, they must keep their promise. But they must give at least all the things listed in these rules for the Nazirite vow.”

The Priests’ Blessings

22 The Lord said to Moses, 23 “Tell Aaron and his sons that when they bless the Israelites, this is what they should say:

24 ‘May the Lord bless you
    and keep you.
25 May the Lord smile down on you[g]
    and show you his kindness.
26 May the Lord answer your prayers[h]
    and give you peace.’

27 In this way Aaron and his sons will use my name to give a blessing to the Israelites, and I will bless them.”


  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.”
  5. Numbers 6:6 someone who is dying Or “a dead person.”
  6. Numbers 6:7 when they die Or “that have died.”
  7. Numbers 6:25 May … on you Literally, “May the Lord make his face shine on you.”
  8. Numbers 6:26 May … prayers Literally, “May the Lord lift his face to you,” that is, “may he accept you into his presence and grant your request.”

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