Numbers 5:24
And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causes the curse: and the water that causes the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
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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.Shall cause the woman to drink - Thus was symbolised both her full acceptance of the hypothetical curse (compare Ezekiel 3:1-3; Jeremiah 15:16; Revelation 10:9), and its actual operation upon her if she should be guilty (compare Psalm 109:18).23, 24. write these curses in a book—The imprecations, along with her name, were inscribed in some kind of record—on parchment, or more probably on a wooden tablet.

blot them out with the bitter water—If she were innocent, they could be easily erased, and were perfectly harmless; but if guilty, she would experience the fatal effects of the water she had drunk.

To drink, to wit, after the jealousy-offering was offered, as is affirmed, Numbers 5:26. And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse,..... Having the curse imprecated upon herself, if guilty, scraped into it; and this she was obliged to drink, whether she would or not; so it is said, if the roll is blotted out, and she says I am defiled, the water is poured out, and her offering is scattered in the place of ashes; if the roll is blotted out, and she says I will not drink, then force her, and make her drink whether she will or no (z):

and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter; produce the sad and bitter effects mentioned.

(z) Misnah, ut supra, (Sotah) c. 3. sect. 3.

And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
24. and become bitter] lit. ‘for bitterness,’ i.e. proving injurious.Verse 24. - He shall cause the woman to drink. This is said by anticipation, because she did not really drink it until after the offering (verse 26). 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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