Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Numbers-Chapter 5

Num 5.1-31 deals with how to remove unclean persons from the camp; sins of and against another human being and interpersonal purity; and the ceremony for a jealous husband who thinks his wife may have gone astray, called the Sotah. This ceremony was done in the Mishkan and the Temple, and has implications in the birth of Yeshua.

v 1…Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

v 2…”Command the sons of Israel that they send away from the camp every leper and everyone having a discharge (Zav) and everyone who is unclean because of a dead person.

v 3…You shall send away both male and female, you shall send them outside the camp so that they will not defile their camp where I dwell in their midst (These instructions allude to how we should deal with an “unclean issue.” First, you deal with it right away. In a conflict, remember you are dealing with a brother or sister, not an enemy. Whatever the issue is, it may be based on a misunderstanding and not a wilful act. Treat them as the Lord has treated us. Put sin away, especially unrepentant sin).”

v 4…And the sons of Israel did so and sent them outside the camp just as the Lord had spoken to Moses, thus the sons of Israel did.

v 5…Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

v 6…Speak to the sons of Israel, ‘When a man or a woman commits any of the sins of mankind (commonly done by them), acting unfaithfully against the Lord (every sin against another person is also against the Lord), and that person is guilty,

v 7…then he shall confess his sins (owns up to it) which he has committed, and he shall make full restitution in full for the wrong, and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged.

v 8…But if the man (who has been wronged dies and) has no relative (goel or kinsman redeemer; no near relatives to whom restitution may be made for the wrong (to give the restitution to), the restitution which is made for the wrong must go to the Lord for the priest), besides the ram of atonement, by which atonement is made for him.

v 9…Also every contribution (terumah) pertaining to all the holy gifts of the sons of Israel, which they offer to the priest, shall be his (who performed the service).

v 10…So everyman’s holy gifts shall be his, whatever any man gives to the priest, it becomes his (who performed the service and not to be divided with the other priests of his course).’ “

v 11…Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying,

v 12…”Speak to the sons of Israel, and say to them, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray (Hebrew “Sotah”) and is unfaithful to him (This ceremony will be linked to the Parah Adumah, or Red Heifer ceremony, the cleansing of a Leper, Yom Kippur and the Azazel, and to the bride of Yehovah; this is what Joseph’s family thought about Mary-Matt 1.18-19; we will discuss the possible “Sotah of Mary” and the sign of Isa 7.14 after v 31),

v 13…and a man has intercourse with her and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband and she is undetected (kept close; not known by her husband) although she has defiled herself (secretly), and there is no witness against her and she has not been caught in the act (John 8.1-4 is not applicable here because she was caught in the act);

v 14…if a spirit (desire, thought) of jealousy come over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has defiled herself (she is a symbol of Israel here who has been unfaithful, and that is why there is no ceremony for a man), or if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife when she has not defiled herself (a suspicion),

v 15…the man shall then bring his wife to the priest, and shall bring as an offering for her one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal (the food for beasts; offerings were usually fine flour not coarse); he shall not pour oil on it , nor put frankincense on it (these were symbols of joy and would not fit in the seriousness of this event), for ity is a grain offering (minchah) of jealousy, a grain offering of memorial, a reminder of iniquity (that may be discovered).

v 16…Then the priest shall bring her near and have her stand before the Lord (in the Temple to the eastern gate),

v 17…and the priest shall take holy waters (taken from the kior which had a kedusha) and an earthenware vessel (a type of mankind); and he shall take some of the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle (also with a kedusha considering where it was taken) and put it into the water.

v 18…The priest shall then have the woman stand before the Lord and let the hair of the woman’s head go loose (a sign of mourning-Lev 10.6; or as a sign of her immorality), and place the grain offering of memorial (v 15) in her hands (to make her emotionally feel the gravity of the situation so that she may confess), which is the grain offering of jealousy, and in the hand of the priest is to be the water of bitterness (that produces bitter results) that brings a curse (or the guilt to light).

v 19…And the priest shall have her take an oath and shall say to the woman, “If no man has lain with you and if you have not gone astray into uncleanness, being under the authority (head of influence-1 Cor 11.1-3) of your husband be immune to this water of bitterness that brings a curse;

v 20…if you, however, have gone astray, being under the authority (head of influence-1 Cor 11.1-3) of your husband, and if you have defiled yourself and man other than your husband has had intercourse with you,”

v 21…then the priest shall have the woman swear with the oath of the curse , and the priest shall say to the woman, “The Lord (Yehovah) make you a curse and an oath among your people (that the people would use the name of the woman as a warning example) by the Lord making your thigh waste away and your abdomen swell (not as a natural cause);

v 22…and this water that brings a curse shall go into your stomach and make your abdomen swell and your thigh waste away.” And the woman shall say, “Amen, Amen (so be it; let it be).”

v 23…The priest shall then write these curses on a scroll and he shall wash them off into the water of bitterness (relaying the thought that the curse has now been passed into the water).

v 24…Then he shall make the woman drink the water of bitterness that brings a curse, so that the water which brings a curse will go into her and cause bitterness.

v 25…And the priest shall take the grain offering of jealousy from the woman’s hand, and he shall wave the grain offering before the Lord and bring it to the altar;

v 26…and the priest shall take a handful (a “kamatz” with the three middle fingers) of the grain offering as its memorial offering and offer it up in smoke (burned) on the altar, and afterward she shall make the woman drink the water.

v 27…When he has made her drink the water, then it shall come about if she has defiled herself and has been unfaithful to her hussssssband, that the water which brings a curse shall go into her and cause bitterness, and her abdomen will swell and her thigh waste away, and the woman will become a curse among her people (an example and a warning).

v 28…But if the woman has not defiled herself and is clean, she will then be free and conceive children.

v 29…This is the law (“torah” or instruction) of jealousy when a wife, being under the authority (head of influence-1 Cor 11.1-3) of her husband, goes astray and defiles herself;

v 30…or when a spirit of jealousy comes over the man and he is jealous of his wife (a suspicion), he shall then make the woman stand before the Lord, and the priest shall apply all this law to her.

v 31…Moreover, the man (husband) shall be free from guilt (if he found any reason to suspect her and he proceeded as the Torah has instructed, if she is guilty or innocent the man is not charged with any blame or punished), but the woman shall bear her guilt (through the punishments just listed should she be guilty).’ “

The Sotah ceremony may have another application and it involves the conception of Yeshua. We know that Isa 7.14 is a prophecy about the birth of the son of Isaiah, and it also is a double reference prophecy about the birth of Yeshua. So, what was the “sign” in regards to Yeshua? That a virgin would conceive and give birth, but how could you prove it? In Luke 1.26-56 we have the story of Miriam (Mary) and how she became pregnant. We learn that after the visit from Gabriel, she immediately goes to stay with Zechariah and her cousin Elizabeth, and they were descended from Aaron and priests, with Zechariah being of the course of Abijah. She stays with them three months, and then returns home. Why did she do that? Because she was supervised by Elizabeth and nobody was left alone with her, especially Joseph. Miriam was betrothed to Joseph and he found out Miriam was pregnant. Joseph, being a righteous man, did not want to disgrace MIriam publicly because he did not believe her story, so he was going to divorce her privately.

But an angel appeared to him and told him not to be afraid to take Miriam as his wife because the child was conceived by the power of the Ruach Ha Kodesh (Holy Spirit). So, he marries her and he kept her a virgin (did not consummate the marriage) until the birth of Yeshua to fulfill Isa 7.14. Now, how could she prove to all others that she did not commit adultery? She could volunteer for the Sotah ceremony.

It is possible that this is exactly what she did. She could have gone into the Temple and submitted herself to this ceremony and a record of this ceremony would have been recorded in the Temple records for anyone to go and check out if there was an issue about her being a virgin and being pregnant. Nobody could have refuted this fact because none of the curses ever came upon her. To challenge this would have been challenging God himself and his word, thus giving a fulfillment to the “sign” of Isa 7.14 and that the child within her was indeed conceived by God and not another man.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, Tying into the New Testament

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