Old Testament

Numbers 5
Separation From the Unclean
51The Lord spoke to Moses: 2“Command the Israelites to send outside of the camp everyone who has an impure skin disease,[] everyone who has a bodily discharge, and everyone who is unclean because of contact with a dead body. 3You must send them away, male or female. You must send them outside of the camp so that they will not defile their camps, where I dwell in their midst.”
4The Israelites did exactly that and sent them outside of the camp. The Israelites did just as the Lord said to Moses.
Compensation for Wrongdoing
5The Lord spoke to Moses and told him 6to tell the Israelites this:
Whenever a man or a woman commits any wrong against another person and so in this way is unfaithful to the Lord, that person must be held responsible. 7Such people are to confess the wrong which they have done. They are to make full restitution for their guilt, then add one fifth of its value on top of that and give it to the person they have wronged. 8But if the wronged person has no next-of-kin to receive the restitution, the restitution goes to the Lord for the priest, in addition to the atonement ram, with which the priest will make atonement for him. 9Every elevated offering that the Israelites present to the priest will belong to the priest. 10Anyone's holy things[] are his own, but whatever anyone gives to the priest is the priest's.
A Test to Absolve a Woman Suspected of Adultery
11The Lord told Moses to speak to the Israelites and tell them this:
12If any man's wife goes astray and is unfaithful to him, 13and another man lies down with her,[] but this remains hidden from her husband and she is not found out, she has defiled herself even though there is no witness against her and she was not caught in the act.
14If a feeling of jealousy comes over her husband and he becomes jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if a feeling of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife, even though she has not defiled herself, 15then the man is to bring his wife to the priest. He is also to bring an offering on her behalf: two quarts[] of barley flour. He is not to pour oil on it or put frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering for jealousy, a grain offering for remembrance, to reveal guilt.
16The priest is to bring her near and present her before the Lord. 17The priest is to take holy water in a clay vessel, take some of the dust that is on the floor of the Dwelling, and put it into the water. 18The priest is to present the woman before the Lord, let down the woman's hair, and put into her hands the grain offering for remembrance, which is the grain offering for jealousy. The priest is to have in his hands the bitter water that brings a curse. 19The priest will make her take an oath, and he will tell the woman, “If no man has slept with you, and if you have not gone astray by becoming defiled while married to your husband, may this bitter water that brings a curse not affect you. 20But if you have gone astray while married to your husband, and if you are defiled and another man besides your husband has had sex with you—” 21Then the priest will make the woman take an oath with a curse, and the priest will tell the woman, “May the Lord make you an object of cursing and swearing among your people when the Lord allows your thigh to shrivel and your belly to swell. 22May this water that brings a curse go inside you and make your belly swell and your thigh shrivel.” The woman will say, “Amen, Amen.”
23The priest is to write these curses on a scroll and wipe them off into the bitter water. 24He will make the woman drink the bitter water that brings a curse. The water that brings a curse will enter into her and become bitter. 25The priest will take the grain offering for jealousy out of the woman's hand, wave the grain offering before the Lord, and bring it to the altar. 26The priest will take a handful of the grain offering as its memorial portion and burn it on the altar. Afterward he will make the woman drink the water.
27When he has made her drink the water, if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her husband, the water that brings a curse will enter into her and become bitter. Her belly will swell, and her thigh will shrivel. The woman will be an object of cursing among her people. 28If the woman has not defiled herself but is clean, then she will be unaffected and will be able to conceive children.
29This is the law regarding jealousy when a wife, while married to her husband, goes astray and defiles herself, 30or when a feeling of jealousy comes over a husband and he is jealous of his wife. Then the man will present the woman before the Lord, and the priest will apply this entire procedure to her. 31The man will be free from guilt, but that woman will bear her guilt.


  • 5:2 Traditionally leprosy. However, the term is wider than this specific disease. The term includes various sorts of skin diseases.
  • 5:10 Or dedicated things
  • 5:13 As a term for sexual intercourse, lie down with usually refers to illicit sexual relations initiated by a man. The same word is used in verses 19 and 20 where it is translated more freely.
  • 5:15 One tenth (of an ephah). The text lists no unit of measurement. It is assumed it is an ephah.