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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

Chapter 5

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Cities of Refuge. 1The LORD said to Moses: 2“Order the Israelites to expel from camp every leper, and everyone suffering from a discharge, and everyone who has become unclean by contact with a corpse.* z Nm 19, 11. 13; Lv 13, 46; 21, 1; 22, 4 . 3Male and female alike, you shall compel them to go out of the camp; they are not to defile the camp in which I dwell.” a Nm 35, 34 . 4The Israelites obeyed the command that the LORD had given Moses; they expelled them from the camp.

Unjust Possession. 5 *The LORD said to Moses, 6 b 6ff: Lv 5, 21–25 . “Tell the Israelites: If a man (or woman) commits a fault against his fellow man and wrongs him, thus breaking faith with the LORD, 7he shall confess the wrong he has done, restore his ill‐gotten goods in full, and in addition give one fifth of their value to the one he has wronged. 8However, if the latter has no next of kin* to whom restoration of the ill‐gotten goods can be made, the goods to be restored shall be the LORD’s and shall fall to the priest; this is apart from the atonement ram with which the priest makes amends for the guilty man. 9Likewise, every sacred contribution that the Israelites are bound to make shall fall to the priest. c Dt 18, 3f; Ex 44, 29f . 10Each Israelite man may dispose of his own sacred contributions; they become the property of the priest to whom he gives them.” d Lv 10, 12–15 .

Ordeal for a Suspected Adulteress. 11The LORD said to Moses, 12“Speak to the Israelites and tell them: If a man's wife goes astray and becomes unfaithful to him 13by having intercourse with another man, e Lv 18, 20; Jn 8, 4 . though her husband has not sufficient evidence of the fact, so that her impurity remains unproved for lack of a witness who might have caught her in the act; 14or if a man is overcome by a feeling of jealousy that makes him suspect his wife, whether she was actually impure or not:15he shall bring his wife to the priest and shall take along as an offering for her a tenth of an ephah of barley meal. However, he shall not pour oil on it nor put frankincense over it, since it is a cereal offering of jealousy, a cereal offering for an appeal in a question of guilt.

16“The priest shall first have the woman come forward and stand before the LORD. 17In an earthen vessel he shall meanwhile put some holy water,* as well as some dust that he has taken from the floor of the Dwelling. f Nm 19, 17 . 18Then, as the woman stands before the LORD, the priest shall uncover her head and place in her hands the cereal offering of her appeal,* that is, the cereal offering of jealousy, while he himself shall hold the bitter water that brings a curse. 19Then he shall adjure the woman, saying to her, ‘If no other man has had intercourse with you, and you have not gone astray by impurity while under the authority of your husband, be immune to the curse brought by this bitter water. 20But if you have gone astray while under the authority of your husband and have acted impurely by letting a man other than your husband have intercourse with you’— 21so shall the priest adjure the woman with this oath of imprecation—‘may the LORD make you an example of malediction and imprecation* among your people by causing your thighs to waste away and your belly to swell! 22May this water, then, that brings a curse, enter your body to make your belly swell and your thighs waste away!’ g Ps 109, 18 . And the woman shall say, ‘Amen, amen!’* 23The priest shall put these imprecations in writing and shall then wash them off into the bitter water, 24which he is to have the woman drink, so that it may go into her with all its bitter curse. 25But first he shall take the cereal offering of jealousy from the woman's hand, and having waved this offering before the LORD, shall put it near the altar, 26where he shall take a handful of the cereal offering as its token offering and burn it on the altar. h Lv 5, 12 . Only then shall he have the woman drink the water. 27Once she has done so, if she has been impure and unfaithful to her husband, this bitter water that brings a curse will go into her, and her belly will swell and her thighs will waste away, so that she will become an example of imprecation among her people. 28If, however, the woman has not defiled herself, but is still pure, she will be immune and will still be able to bear children.

29“This, then, is the law for jealousy: When a woman goes astray while under the authority of her husband and acts impurely, 30or when such a feeling of jealousy comes over a man that he becomes suspicious of his wife, he shall have her stand before the LORD, and the priest shall apply this law in full to her. 31The man shall be free from guilt,* but the woman shall bear such guilt as she may have.”

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