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Numbers 5, the pure, the right, the faithful

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Barry and Helen Setterfield, Jan 23, 2003.

  1. Barry and Helen Setterfield

    Dec 28, 2002
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    Numbers 5 is in three sections, but there is a definite reason they are together. Each of these sections holds up a standard given by the Lord.

    The first section, verses 1-4, reiterates the necessity of keeping the camp itself pure by sending outside the camp those with infectious skin diseases or who have a discharge (the term was used almost exclusively for genital discharges often associated with sexually transmitted diseases and/or infections). Here the uncleanliness is shown in a physical and tangible way, not simply as something vaguely 'spiritual.' Cleanliness in behavior and thought was pictured by physical cleanliness in the same way Christ used physical pictures such a vineyards, trees, and harvests, to explain a bit about spiritual truths. This kind of theme runs through the Bible.

    The second section of this chapter has to do with something else that has already been dealt with in the Law given by the Lord: restitution for wrongs. This is summarized again both in regard to relations between man and man as well as in terms of gifts to God and to a priest.

    The third section, starting at verse 11, is one often ridiculed by those not knowing or understanding the Bible. It is the test for a faithful wife. There are two very important points to note as you read from verse 11 to the end of the chapter:

    1. The man, because of this ritual, is not encouraged to make an accusation of infidelity against his wife lightly.

    2. The final judgment is God's. Period.

    God's judgment of infidelity when done in the way prescribed in this passage was that the guilty woman would be denied children from then on ('her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away'). The symptoms with which the punishment is expressed are interesting and the cause of a number of interpretations and arguments. One interesting idea to note, however, is that she loses her female curves, and therefore her attractiveness. It is not stated that she will die, only that there will be some radical physical changes. This would make her extremely undesireable to her husband, which is another reason he might not want to press charges of infidelity against his wife.

    In fact, there is not one time in recorded history when this method of determining infidelity was put in to practice.

    [ January 23, 2003, 01:26 AM: Message edited by: Barry and Helen Setterfield ]
  2. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer Active Member
    Site Supporter

    Oct 10, 2001
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    Bible in a year forum:

    March - Reading 3