Numbers Chapter 5  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Numbers 5
 
Num 5:1(top)
Num 5:2

“a dead person.” The Hebrew text just reads “soul” is nephesh (#05315 נֶפֶשׁ) which often means a person, an individual, but here is clearly refers to a corpse. This is a good example of a place when context determines the meaning of a word. [For more information on nephesh, see Appendix 7, Usages of “Soul”].

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Num 5:3(top)
Num 5:4(top)
Num 5:5(top)
Num 5:6

“and that soul is guilty.” The Hebrew can also be understood to say something such as, “and that soul realizes their guilt,” and some versions translate the verse that way.

“unfaithfully, yes, unfaithfully.” The Hebrew text contains the figure of speech polyptoton, doubling “unfaithfully” for emphasis. For more on the figure polyptoton and the way it is translated, see commentary on Genesis 2:16.

“unfaithfully against Yahweh.” In this case, as we can see from the context, one person has sinned against another, but that sin is said to be “against Yahweh” because such sin is rebellion against God.

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Num 5:7(top)
Num 5:8(top)
Num 5:9(top)
Num 5:10

“are to be his.” That is, is to be the priest’s.

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Num 5:11(top)
Num 5:12

“unfaithful, yes, unfaithful.” The Hebrew text contains the figure of speech polyptoton, doubling “unfaithful” for emphasis (cp. Num. 5:6). The woman’s sin is considered very serious in the sight of God in part because of the importance of keeping the lineages in Israel known. [For more on the figure polyptoton and the way it is translated here, see commentary on Genesis 2:16].

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Num 5:13(top)
Num 5:14

“the spirit of jealousy.” The word “spirit” in this context can mean a demon, or a revelation from God, or just a “feeling” the husband has. The word ruach (“spirit”) has a very wide range of meanings. [For more on the meanings of ruach, see Appendix 6, “Usages of Spirit”].

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Num 5:15

“no oil.” This approach offering was not to have oil or frankincense because it was a bitter occasion when a man suspected his wife of adultery. There was not to be anything mixed with the offering that made it have a sweet smell.

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Num 5:16(top)
Num 5:17(top)
Num 5:18

“water of bitterness.” So called because the whole process was bitter and if the woman was guilty her judgment was bitter.

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Num 5:19(top)
Num 5:20(top)
Num 5:21

“cause-for-oath.” The Hebrew is “oath,” but in this context the woman does not become an oath, but the reason that the oath exists; to root out evil. (cp. Fox, The Schocken Bible).

“your thigh fall away and your body swell.” The meaning of this Hebrew phrase is not understood, and there have been many suppositions set forward as to what it means. It is fairly clear that “thigh” is used here as a euphemism for the woman’s genital organs. The “thigh” was used euphemistically for the genital organs, (see commentary on Gen. 24:2). [For more information on sexual euphemisms, see commentary on Isa. 47:2].

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Num 5:22(top)
Num 5:23

“wash them off into.” The Hebrew is more literally, “blot them into.” Exactly how that was done is not known, but the point is clear: the curses were somehow washed into the water of bitterness, and then the woman drank the water which had the curses.

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Num 5:24

“for bitterness.” The exact meaning of this phrase is unknown, and the English versions render it differently, trying to bring out its meaning. The point is clear, however, that if the woman is guilty the water will cause bitter things to happen to her.

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Num 5:25(top)
Num 5:26(top)
Num 5:27(top)
Num 5:28

“children.” Literally, “seed.”

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Num 5:29(top)
Num 5:30(top)
Num 5:31(top)
  

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