|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:11-31 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. When no proof could be brought, the wife was called on to make this solemn appeal to a heart-searching God. No woman, if she were guilty, could say Amen to the adjuration, and drink the water after it, unless she disbelieved the truth of God, or defied his justice. The water is called the bitter water, because it caused the curse. Thus sin is called an evil and a bitter thing. Let all that meddle with forbidden pleasures, know that they will be bitterness in the latter end. From the whole learn, 1. Secret sins are known to God, and sometimes are strangely brought to light in this life; and that there is a day coming when God will, by Christ, judge the secrets of men according to the gospel, Ro 2:16. 2 In particular, Whoremongers and adulterers God will surely judge. Though we have not now the waters of jealousy, yet we have God's word, which ought to be as great a terror. Sensual lusts will end in bitterness. 3. God will manifest the innocency of the innocent. The same providence is for good to some, and for hurt to others. And it will answer the purposes which God intends.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity,.... Which otherwise he would not, by conniving at her loose way of living, and not reproving her for it, and bringing her either to repentance or punishment; and retaining and encouraging jealousy in his mind, without declaring it, and his reasons for it: the sense of the passage seems to be, that when a man had any ground for his suspicion and jealousy, and he proceeded according as this law directs, whether his wife was guilty or not guilty, no sin was chargeable on him, or blame to be laid to him, or punishment inflicted on him:
and the woman shall bear her iniquity; the punishment of it, through the effects of the bitter waters upon her, if guilty; nor was her husband chargeable with her death, she justly brought it on herself: or if not guilty, yet as she had by some unbecoming behaviour raised such a suspicion in him, nor would she be reclaimed, though warned to the contrary, she for it justly bore the infamy of such a process; which was such, as Maimonides says (p), that innocent women would give all that they had to escape it, and reckoned death itself more agreeable than that, as to be served as such a woman was; See Gill on Numbers 5:18.
(p) Moreh Nevochim, par. 3. c. 49. p. 499.
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