Numbers 5:22
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, 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. Numbers 5:22The oath which the priest required her to take is called, in Numbers 5:21, האלה שׁבעת, "oath of cursing" (see Genesis 26:28); but it first of all presupposes the possibility of the woman being innocent, and contains the assurance, that in that case the curse-water would do her no harm. "If no (other) man has lain with thee, and thou hast not gone aside to union (טמאה, accus. of more precise definition, as in Leviticus 15:2, Leviticus 15:18), under thy husband," i.e., as a wife subject to thy husband (Ezekiel 23:5; Hosea 4:12), "then remain free from the water of bitterness, this curse-bringing," i.e., from the effects of this curse-water. The imperative is a sign of certain assurance (see Genesis 12:2; Genesis 20:7; cf. Ges. 130, 1). "But if thou hast gone aside under thy husband, if thou hast defiled thyself, and a man has given thee his seed beside thy husband,"...(the priest shall proceed to say; this is the meaning of the repetition of לאשּׁה...והשׁבּיע, Numbers 5:21), "Jehovah shall make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, by making thy hip to fall and thy belly to swell; and this curse-bringing water shall come into thy bowels, to make the belly to vanish and the hip to fall." To this oath that was spoken before her the woman was to reply, "true, true," or "truly, truly," and thus confirm it as taken by herself (cf. Deuteronomy 27:15.; Nehemiah 5:13). It cannot be determined with any certainty what was the nature of the disease threatened in this curse. Michaelis supposes it to be dropsy of the ovary (hydrops ovarii), in which a tumour is formed in the place of the ovarium, which may even swell so as to contain 100 lbs. of fluid, and with which the patient becomes dreadfully emaciated. Josephus says it is ordinary dropsy (hydrops ascites: Ant. iii. 11, 6). At any rate, the idea of the curse is this: Δι ̓ ὧν γὰρ ἡ ἁμαρτία, διὰ τούτων ἡ τιμωρία ("the punishment shall come from the same source as the sin," Theodoret). The punishment was to answer exactly to the crime, and to fall upon those bodily organs which had been the instruments of the woman's sin, viz., the organs of child-bearing.
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