Numbers 5 begins by telling Moses to instruct the people to put outside the camp those infected with leprosy. And the people did as God commanded. I love how scripture records it: “as the Lord said to Moses, so the people of Israel did”. Can you imagine if our society today was tuned into God the way Moses and the people of Israel were. God declared it, Moses shared it, the people did it. No questions asked – just plain obedience. If we did things God’s ways in God’s time the world would be a whole lot different.
Then the passage moves on to how to deal with sin. Pretty simple formula:
- ”confess his sin that he has committed
- make full restitution
- adding a fifth to it
- giving it to him to whom he did the wrong”
Not a bunch of complexity. If you sin – you confess and make restitution. Now, with penalty, to right the wrong. It doesn’t have to be complicated.
The rest of the chapter deals with marriage and a woman who causes her husband to be suspicious. From the commentary we learn: “This law would make the women of Israel watch against giving cause for suspicion. On the other hand, it would hinder the cruel treatment such suspicions might occasion. It would also hinder the guilty from escaping and the innocent from coming under just suspicion”. It deals with the relationship between husband and wife and whether she was faithful to him.
It comes down to the woman being brought to the priest and questioned. No woman, if she were guilty, could say “Amen” to the probing, and drink the water after it, unless she disbelieved the truth of God, or defied his justice. She would confess out of fear of God’s justice. This was how the bad actions would be found out. Thus sin is called an evil and a bitter thing. We learn these lessons:
- Secret sins are known to God, and sometimes are
strangely brought to light
- God will surely judge those who are guilty
- God will protect the innocent