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Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

5:12 any man’s wife go aside. This remarkable test (Numbers 5:12-31) for adultery was established by God (Numbers 5:11) for the purpose of maintaining family purity and integrity in His chosen people. The “holy water” (Numbers 5:17) is mentioned only here, so its nature and activity are not known. Also unknown is the chemical composition of the “dust” mixed with it, so the capabilities of the resulting solution is also unknown. It may be that some as yet undiscovered chemical reaction would produce the described results in a guilty wife, or it may be that her guilt would affect her psychologically and this would generate such a physiological reaction. Most likely, however, God would intervene supernaturally in such cases, to make the decision Himself. This was a very special period in world history and miracles were common–the manna itself was a daily miracle! It would not take many such miraculous decisions to put a high restraint on future temptations to wifely infidelity.

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