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People Are Sent Outside the Camp

The Lord told Moses 2-3 to say to the people of Israel, “Put out of the camp everyone who has leprosy[a] or a bodily discharge or who has touched a dead body. Now that I live among my people, their camp must be kept clean.”

The Israelites obeyed the Lord’s instructions.

The Penalty for Committing a Crime

The Lord told Moses to say to the community of Israel:

If any of you commit a crime against someone, you have sinned against me. You must confess your guilt and pay the victim in full for whatever damage has been done, plus a fine of twenty percent. If the victim has no relative who can accept this money, it belongs to me and will be paid to the priest. In addition to that payment, you must take a ram for the priest to sacrifice so your sin will be forgiven.

9-10 When you make a donation to the sacred tent, that money belongs only to the priest, and each priest will keep what is given to him.

A Suspicious Husband

11 The Lord told Moses 12-14 to say to the people of Israel:

Suppose a man becomes jealous and suspects that his wife has been unfaithful, but he has no proof. 15 He must take his wife to the priest, together with two pounds of ground barley as an offering to find out if she is guilty. No olive oil or incense is to be put on that offering.

16 The priest is to have the woman stand at my altar, 17 where he will pour sacred water into a clay jar and stir in some dust from the floor of the sacred tent. 18-22 Next, he will remove her veil, then hand her the barley offering, and say, “If you have been faithful to your husband, this water won’t harm you. But if you have been unfaithful, it will bring down the Lord’s curse—you will never be able to give birth to a child, and everyone will curse your name.”

Then the woman will answer, “If I am guilty, let it happen just as you say.”

23 The priest will write these curses on special paper and wash them off into the bitter water, 24 so that when the woman drinks this water, the curses will enter her body. 25 He will take the barley offering from her and lift it up[b] in dedication to me, the Lord. Then he will place it on my altar 26 and burn part of it as a sacrifice. After that, the woman must drink the bitter water.

27 If the woman has been unfaithful, the water will immediately make her unable to have children, and she will be a curse among her people. 28 But if she is innocent, her body will not be harmed, and she will still be able to have children.

29-30 This is the ceremony that must take place at my altar when a husband suspects that his wife has been unfaithful. The priest must have the woman stand in my presence and carefully follow these instructions. 31 If the husband is wrong, he will not be punished; but if his wife is guilty, she will be punished.

Rules for Nazirites

The Lord told Moses to say to the people of Israel:

If any of you want to dedicate yourself to me by vowing to become a Nazirite, you must no longer drink any wine or beer or use any kind of vinegar. Don’t drink grape juice or eat grapes or raisins— not even the seeds or skins.

Even the hair of a Nazirite is sacred to me, and as long as you are a Nazirite, you must never cut your hair.

During the time that you are a Nazirite, you must never go close to a dead body, 7-8 not even that of your father, mother, brother, or sister. That would make you unclean. Your hair is the sign that you are dedicated to me, so remain holy.

If someone suddenly dies near you, your hair is no longer sacred, and you must shave it seven days later during the ceremony to make you clean. 10 Then on the next day, bring two doves or two pigeons to the priest at the sacred tent. 11 He will offer one of the birds as a sacrifice for sin and the other as a sacrifice to please me.[c] You will then be forgiven for being too near a dead body, and your hair will again become sacred. 12 But the dead body made you unacceptable, so you must make another vow to become a Nazirite and be dedicated once more. Finally, a year-old ram must be offered as the sacrifice to make things right.

13 When you have completed your promised time of being a Nazirite, go to the sacred tent 14 and offer three animals that have nothing wrong with them: a year-old ram as a sacrifice to please me, a year-old female lamb as a sacrifice for sin, and a full-grown ram as a sacrifice to ask my blessing.[d] 15 Wine offerings and grain sacrifices must also be brought with these animals. Finally, you are to bring a basket of bread made with your finest flour and olive oil, but without yeast. Also bring some thin wafers brushed with oil.

16 The priest will take these gifts to my altar and offer them, so that I will be pleased and will forgive you. 17 Then he will sacrifice the ram and offer the wine, grain, and bread.

18 After that, you will stand at the entrance to the sacred tent, shave your head, and put the hair in the fire where the priest has offered the sacrifice to ask my blessing.

19 Once the meat from the ram’s shoulder has been boiled, the priest will take it, along with one loaf of bread and one wafer brushed with oil, and give them to you. 20 You will hand them back to the priest, who will lift them up[e] in dedication to me. Then he can eat the meat from the ram’s shoulder, its choice ribs, and its hind leg, because this is his share of the sacrifice. After this, you will no longer be a Nazirite and will be free to drink wine.

21 These are the requirements for Nazirites. However, if you can afford to offer more, you must do so.

The Blessing for the People

22 The Lord told Moses, 23 “When Aaron and his sons bless the people of Israel, they must say:

24 I pray that the Lord
    will bless and protect you,
25 and that he will show you mercy
    and kindness.
26 May the Lord be good to you
    and give you peace.”

27 Then the Lord said, “If Aaron and his sons ask me to bless the Israelites, I will give them my blessing.”

Footnotes

  1. 5.2,3 leprosy: The word translated “leprosy” was used for many different kinds of skin diseases.
  2. 5.25 lift it up: Or “wave it.”
  3. 6.11 sacrifice to please me: This sacrifice has traditionally been called a “whole burnt offering,” because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such a sacrifice was to please the Lord with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV it is often called “a sacrifice to please the Lord.”
  4. 6.14 sacrifice to ask my blessing: This sacrifice has traditionally been called a “peace offering” or an “offering of well-being.” A main purpose of such a sacrifice was to ask the Lord’s blessing, and so in the CEV it is often called a “sacrifice to ask the Lord’s blessing.”
  5. 6.20 lift them up: See the note at 5.25.

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