Numbers 5-8: Adultery, Nazirite vow, offerings

Anyone with an eruption or discharge, or who is defiled by a corpse, must be put outside the camp.  If a person wrongs another, he must make restitution for the proper amount plus 1/5.  If a man suspects his wife of adultery, the wife shall be forced to drink a mixture of sacral water and dirt from the tabernacle floor; if this bitter water distends her belly, she is guilty and must be punished.  If the bitter water has no effect, she is innocent, but the accuser is not punished.

When someone utters a nazirite vow, he or she shall declare the term of his vow and refrain from any grape products (such as alcohol or vinegar) during the term.  He shall not come close to corpses during the term.  At the end of the term, he shall bring a male lamb as a burnt offering, an eye lamb as a purification offering, and a ram for an offering of well-being.  He shall then shave his hair and burn it along with the animal sacrifices.

Moses set up the Tabernacle, anointed it, and consecrated it.  Then the chieftain of every tribe brought as an offering a silver bowl, a silver basin, a gold ladle, along with bulls, rams, lambs, goats, and oxen for burnt and purification offerings.  Finally, the Levites are consecrated by sprinkling them with water, shaving their bodies, and making sacrifices.


  • Note that a husband has the right to accuse his wife of adultery at any time and for any reason, whereas a wife has no right to accuse her husband of the same.  Also note that if the wife is found guilty, she is punished, but there is no consequence to the husband for a false accusation (5:31).
  • Each chieftain brings an enormous offering.  Although the contents of each offering are exactly the same, they are repeated 12 times, once for each chieftain.
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