Numbers 5:22
And this water that causes the curse shall go into your bowels, to make your belly to swell, and your thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.Gone aside ... - literally, "gone astray from" thy husband by uncleanness; compare Hosea 4:12.22. the woman shall say, Amen, Amen—The Israelites were accustomed, instead of formally repeating the words of an oath merely to say, "Amen," a "so be it" to the imprecations it contained. The reduplication of the word was designed as an evidence of the woman's innocence, and a willingness that God would do to her according to her desert. i.e. So let it be if I be guilty. The word is doubled by her as an evidence of her innocency, and ardent desire that God would deal with her according to her desert. And this water that causeth the curse,.... Upon the drinking of which the curse follows, if guilty:

shall go into thy bowels; and there operate and produce the above effects, which are repeated again to inject terror:

to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot; here ends the form of the oath, which begins Numbers 5:19,

and the woman shall say, amen, amen; so be it; let it be as pronounced, if I am guilty; which, as Aben Ezra observes, is repeated for the sake of confirmation; though the Jewish writers commonly understand it as respecting various things, the oath and the curse, the thing charged with, and the persons suspected of (x).

(x) Misn. ib. sect. 5. Targum Jon. & Jerus. & Jarchi in loc.

And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, {l} Amen, amen.

(l) That is, may it be as you wished, as in Ps 41:13 De 27:15.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 22. - Into thy bowels. Cf. Psalm 109:18. Αἰς τὴν κοιλίαν σου, Septuagint. It has been thought that these symptoms belonged to some known disease, such as dropsy (Josephus, Ant.,' 3:11, 6), or ovarian dropsy. But it is clear that the whole matter was outside the range of the known and of the natural. An innocent woman may suffer from dropsy, or any form of it; but this was a wholly peculiar infliction by direct visitation of God. The principle which underlay the infliction was, however, clear: δἰ ῶν γὰρ ἡ ἁμαρτία διὰ τούτων ἡ τιμωρία - the organs of sin are the seat of the plague. Amen, amen. Doubled here, as in the Gospel of John. The woman was to accept (if she dared) the awful ordeal and appeal to God by this response; if she dared not, she pronounced herself guilty. The priest was to bring her near to the altar at which he stood, and place her before Jehovah, who had declared Himself to be present at the altar, and then to take holy water, probably water out of the basin before the sanctuary, which served for holy purposes (Exodus 30:18), in an earthen vessel, and put dust in it from the floor of the dwelling. He was then to loosen the hair of the woman who was standing before Jehovah, and place the jealousy-offering in her hands, and holding the water in his own hand, to pronounce a solemn oath of purification before her, which she had to appropriate to herself by a confirmatory Amen, Amen. The water, which the priest had prepared for the woman to drink, was taken from the sanctuary, and the dust to be put into it from the floor of the dwelling, to impregnate this drink with the power of the Holy Spirit that dwelt in the sanctuary. The dust was strewed upon the water, not to indicate that man was formed from dust and must return to dust again, but as an allusion to the fact, that dust was eaten by the serpent (Genesis 3:14) as the curse of sin, and therefore as the symbol of a state deserving a curse, a state of the deepest humiliation and disgrace (Micah 7:17; Isaiah 49:23; Psalm 72:9). On the very same ground, an earthen vessel was chosen; that is to say, one quite worthless in comparison with the copper one. The loosening of the hair of the head (see Leviticus 13:45), in other cases a sign of mourning, is to be regarded here as a removal or loosening of the female head-dress, and a symbol of the loss of the proper ornament of female morality and conjugal fidelity. During the administration of the oath, the offering was placed in her hands, that she might bring the fruit of her own conduct before God, and give it up to His holy judgment. The priest, as the representative of God, held the vessel in his hand, with the water in it, which was called the "water of bitterness, the curse-bringing," inasmuch as, if the crime imputed to her was well-founded, it would bring upon the woman bitter suffering as the curse of God.
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