Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Saturday - Numbers 5 - Trial by Ordeal

This chapter begins with instructions from God requiring Israel to expel certain unclean individuals from their camp.  That severe injunction certainly sets the tone for what is to come. The second matter that is brought up briefly here is the proper way to deal with sin. "Confess your guilt; make amends for the damage you have done" - that was the admonition given in Numbers 5:7. Then there are a few comments about the proper role of priests in the exchanges between God and His people. But, the primary issue at hand is the jealousy that can arise between a husband and his wife.

If and when a man became jealously suspicious of his wife's fidelity, God ordained a particular ritual to handle such situations. If the woman was guilty then she would suffer from it and his anger would be justified. If she was innocent, then her virtue would be vindicated and his confidence in her would be restored. It was to be a trial by ordeal.  In modern times the idea of using ordeals to discover truth seems asinine. However, under certain circumstances God did indeed ordain specific ordeals that would require His supernatural intervention in order for them to work.  Such is the case here.

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