Restitution, Adultery, Sacred Vows, and Blessings (Numbers 5-6)

Daily reading assignment – Numbers 5-6

While the Commandments of the LORD are recorded in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, the specifics for addressing disease and sin in the midst of the people is given in Numbers 5.  The LORD required His people to be a clean and holy people. Contagious diseases like leprosy were not tolerated in the camp (Numbers 5:1-4).

Saying, “I’m sorry” was not enough. (Numbers 5:5-10)

Justice was demanded when one’s actions caused another to suffer loss (5:5-6).  The need to “own” the hardships and consequences of one’s sin is illustrated.

Three steps of “making right one’s wrong” are stated.  The first, “confess their sin which they have done” (5:7a). The second, restitution, making the one who suffered loss whole (“recompense his trespass with the principal” – 5:7b). Finally, giving one-fifth more above the loss (5:7c).

Adultery and “the Law of Jealousies” (Numbers 5:11-31)

Knowing marriage is a holy covenant instituted by God between one man and one woman, the nation was intolerant of adultery and an adulterous man and woman might be put to death (Leviticus 20:10).

In Numbers 5, a man suspects his wife of adultery; however, there was no witness to her sin (5:12). Presenting his wife before the priest, the husband would state his suspicions (5:14-15). Because adultery is not only a sin against one’s spouse, but also a sin against the LORD, the priest set the wife accused of adultery “before the LORD” (5:16).

The priest was to take a clay vessel of water, put dust from the tabernacle floor in the water, and demand the accused drink the “bitter water” (5:17-20).  Stating an oath, the priest asked the wife to drink the water, charging her should she be guilty of adultery, the Lord would cause female organs “to rot, and thy belly to swell” (5:21, 27).

Should an accused wife be innocent, she was assured of the Lord’s blessings and her fertility to bear children (5:28).

The Law of the Nazarite (Numbers 6)

Vows to the LORD are sacred; however, the vow of the Nazarite was especially sacred and binding for the man or woman who voluntarily set themselves apart from lawful liberties and dedicated themselves to the LORD for as little as 30 days and as much as a lifetime (6:1-8).

Nazarites denied themselves the pleasures of “wine and strong drink…vinegar…[and] grapes” (6:3).   As an outward sign of devotion to God, a Nazarite male did not cut his hair (6:5).  Nazarites were also forbidden to touch dead bodies (6:6-8).

The Aaronic (Priestly) Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26)

We close today’s devotional with a three-step blessing known as the Aaronic Blessing.  This is my prayer for my family, church, and my “Heart of a Shepherd” family.

Numbers 6:24-26 – “The LORD bless thee, and keep thee [guard, protect, and preserve]: 25  The LORD make his face [countenance] shine [be a light] upon thee, and be gracious [favor; i.e. merciful] unto thee: 26  The LORD lift up his countenance [face] upon thee, and give thee peace [safe; well; whole].”

Copyright 2020 – Travis D. Smith