Numbers 5

* The unclean to be removed out of the camp, Restitution to be

made for trespasses. (1-10) The trial of jealousy. (11-31)

1-10 The camp was to be cleansed. The purity of the church must

be kept as carefully as the peace and order of it. Every

polluted Israelite must be separated. The wisdom from above is

first pure, then peaceable. The greater profession of religion

any house or family makes, the more they are obliged to put away

iniquity far from them. If a man overreach or defraud his

brother in any matter, it is a trespass against the Lord, who

strictly charges and commands us to do justly. What is to be

done when a man's awakened conscience charges him with guilt of

this kind, though done long ago? He must confess his sin,

confess it to God, confess it to his neighbour, and take shame

to himself; though it go against him to own himself in a lie,

yet he must do it. Satisfaction must be made for the offence

done to God, as well as for the loss sustained by the neighbour;

restitution in that case is not enough without faith and

repentance. While that which is wrongly gotten is knowingly

kept, the guilt remains on the conscience, and is not done away

by sacrifice or offering, prayers or tears; for it is the same

act of sin persisted in. This is the doctrine of right reason,

and of the word of God. It detects hypocrites, and directs the

tender conscience to proper conduct, which, springing from faith

in Christ, will make way for inward peace.
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.
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