Numbers 5-6

Sunday Evening Bible Study

November 30, 1997


The book of Numbers is the history of Israel during their forty years of wandering in the wilderness. It is called "Numbers" because twice Israel is numbered, once at the beginning of the forty years, and once at the end.

We’ve seen how at the beginning, God is in the process of organizing this nation of delivered slaves into a lean, mean fighting machine.

Numbers 5

:1-4 Removal of unclean persons

What it meant practically, historically

1. It quarantined those with disease

These laws protected the Jews during the Middle Ages, when everybody was dying of the black plague. The plague was spread by rats, who were in abundance because of the uncleanliness of the people. But the Jews were spared because of their following of the Law

2. It taught the holiness of God to the people.

This was because God was in the midst of the camp.

God does not tolerate uncleanness in His presence.

It's not just outright sin, but even areas that are just unclean, yucky.


Separate from the unclean

1 Cor 5:9-11 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: {10} Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. {11} But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Those who call themselves Christians, yet continue to live in sin, without repenting, those who don’t care that they’re living in sin, we are to distance ourselves from.

It’s not that we’re "better" than they are, but the problem is that eventually they will influence us and cause us to stumble.

:5-10 Restitution

If you were caught and convicted of a particular sin you had to do three things (vs.7)


True repentance

1. Confess your sin

Admit what you did, spell it out.

2. Make full restitution

If you stole $50 from the cash register, you had to pay back $50.

3. Pay a penalty

20% penalty given toward the victim.

Could you imagine today if you had your car stolen, and when they caught the thief, he not only had to give you your car back, but pay you %20 of it's worth?

In some circumstances, the penalty was higher:

EXO 22:1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep, and slaughters it or sells it, he shall pay five oxen for the ox and four sheep for the sheep.

I think that some people have the mistake idea that if they confess their sin to God, that God forgives them and it's all done and over with.

It may be done and over with in God's ledger book, but it isn't with others if you've wronged them with your sin.

:11-31 Law of Jealousy

Read the passage

:14 spirit of jealousy

The word "spirit" has several different kinds of interpretations.

It can mean something like a demonic spirit, as in some kind of spirit being.

It can also have the meaning of a human attitude.

Here, the word doesn’t carry the idea of something demonic, that needs to be cast out, but a human attitude that needs to be dealt with.

Jealousy is a work of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21)

You don't cast out the flesh, you must crucify it.

:31 guiltless from iniquity

Two kinds of Jealousy

1. Good jealousy

Example: God's jealousy towards us.

(Exo 34:14 KJV) For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:

God wants us all to Himself.

There's nothing wrong with wanting your spouse all to yourself. That's the way God intended it to be.

2. Bad jealousy

Example: The kind seen here.

It's a kind of fear, an irrational paranoia about losing your spouse. It isn't always well founded.

In our passage, the woman may have committed adultery, but she just as likely might not have.

If you don't deal with it, it can destroy your marriage or other relationships.

I've seen the vicious circle where one partner starts experiencing jealousy, and no matter what the other person does, there's always a reason to feed the jealousy.

It can get so bad that a wife doesn't feel safe if their husband is even in the same room with any other woman, any woman.

The victim starts feeling cornered, and frankly doesn't enjoy not being trusted. They usually are very much in love with their spouse, and can't even figure out why they aren't trusted. Eventually the jealousy will drive them away.


1. Confront the issue.

The whole point of having a ritual like this was to make provision for something to be done.

We have a big problem confronting people. It's hard.

EPH 4:14-15 As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all {aspects} into Him, who is the head, {even} Christ,

2. Bring out the truth before the Lord

It wasn't done lightly. The whole intricate ceremony was to bring home to the woman just how important it was that she tell the truth.

A New Testament example of the importance of speaking the truth before the Lord.

(Acts 5:3-4 KJV) But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? {4} Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.

Make sure that all parties know that God is squarely in the middle of it.

That’s the whole purpose of the elaborate ritual. Getting it clear that God is watching, that God knows, and that God will take care of it.

3. Drop the issue.

Let God take care of it.

(Rom 12:19 KJV) Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.

Pray and trust it into God's hands.

If you love them, you'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

1CO 13:7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Marriage has to be built on trust.

But you have to give trust a chance, you have to give them a chance to show you they're telling the truth.

If you really trust God with it, then you can rest, knowing that if they aren't telling the truth, they are going to have to face God, not you.

Issues that relate to jealousy:

Sometimes we place all the blame on the person who is jealous. They certainly deserve some blame, but many times the other person is contributing to the problem, whether consciously or not.

1. Lack of trust

Perhaps the person has been hurt either by you or by another person in the past.

Jealousy is their safety mechanism to protect them from getting hurt again.

The problem is that it is often unjustified.

What can you do?

You need to look at your life, your actions, your relationships with other people, and see if you are doing anything that can contribute to a lack of trust.

Example: Be careful that you aren't cultivating close relationships with members of the opposite sex. Be careful that you don't spend time alone with another member of the opposite sex.

Taking proper precautions not only can build up your spouse's trust in you, but it can safeguard you from falling into temptation yourself. Nobody's above falling into sin.

To me, this is one of the scariest things about the church hiring a secretary, especially if it’s a "she".

Be open with your spouse, don't hide things from them. If someone at the office of the opposite sex gives you a birthday card, make sure your spouse sees it.

There does have to be a reasonableness about all this. Obviously a man isn't going to be able to avoid any contact with women, or vice versa.

2. Poor self-value

Sometimes the person who is jealous just doesn't feel like they have what it's going to take to keep you all to themselves, so they begin to figure that they've probably already lost you to someone else.

What can you do?

If you see this in your spouse, you need to recognize that you have a job to do.

You need to make it your project to build up the other person, let them know over and over just how much you love them, and just how beautiful and wonderful they really are to you.

Listen to the words that come out of your mouth.

So often the little communication we have with each other is negative. We are sure to tell the other person what is wrong, what needs to be changed.

Wouldn't it be great if we spent more time telling the other person how much we appreciated them and the things they do for us, than telling them what they did wrong?

EPH 4:29-32 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such {a word} as is good for edification according to the need {of the moment,} that it may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

A wife or husband who is loved like this is not very likely to develop this "spirit of jealousy".

Numbers 6

:1-21 Nazirite Vow

:1-5 Nazirite (read)

Nazirite – nazir – one consecrated, devoted

It's the an idea very similar to the word "holy", which means "set apart for a specific use".

Joseph is called nazir, because he was set apart or distinguished among his brothers.

GEN 49:26 "The blessings of your father Have surpassed the blessings of my ancestors Up to the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; May they be on the head of Joseph, And on the crown of the head of the one distinguished among his brothers.

This vow of the Nazirite was one where a person would specifically consecrate themselves to God, for God's own special use, whatever that may be.

Conditions in keeping the Nazirite Vow

1. Dedication to God (:2)

This is the very foundation of what a Nazirite was all about.

The Hebrew word nazar (the verb) is translated here as "dedicate", but it and it's related words, nezer (noun, the state of being nazar), and nazir (noun, the person who is nazar), are woven all through this passage, at least 23 times in Numbers 6.

Other ways of translating these words would be: consecration, dedication, separation, to abstain

It's not just some kind of obscure, general kind of dedication

We might say, "He's a dedicated person...". "He's so dedicated to his work..."

This is specifically a dedication to God

2. No alcoholic beverages (:3-4)

"he shall abstain from wine..."

The Hebrew word is again nazar, to be dedicated, to be a Nazirite.


a. Alcohol impairs your judgement.

It keeps you from thinking straight. It makes it easier to give into temptations.

After Nadab and Abihu were killed for running into God’s presence in an unacceptable way, God had a word for their dad, Aaron –

(Lev 10:9-11 KJV) Do not drink wine nor strong drink, thou, nor thy sons with thee, when ye go into the tabernacle of the congregation, lest ye die: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations: {10} And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; {11} And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses.

If you partake of alcohol, it becomes harder and harder to tell the difference between right and wrong in your life, to make a distinction between what is holy and what isn't.

b. Alcohol is a bad substitute for the Holy Spirit.

EPH 5:18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit,

It gives a person a high, it relaxes them, reduces their tensions, etc.

These are all things the Holy Spirit wants to do for you, and much, much more.


How far can you stay from sin.

God was so concerned about these Nazirites staying away from alcohol, that He even asked them not to eat or drink any grape products at all.

I think the idea is to promote total abstinence, without leaving any room for questioning just where you can draw the line.

Someone might say, "Well could it be okay if I just have a sip of a "low-alcohol" drink?

How far can I go?

Make it simple, just eliminate all grape products.

I believe the whole point is learning to become usable to God.

The Scripture does not specifically prohibit alcohol altogether for every person.

But there seems to be a pattern for those who wish to be used by God.

The priests were to abstain from alcohol.

The Nazirite was to abstain from alcohol.

2TI 2:20-22 Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. 21 Therefore, if a man cleanses himself from these {things}, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 22 Now flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love {and} peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

3. No haircuts (:5)

This would be an outward sign to those around you that you were a man with a mission. You were on special assignment from God.

It would probably go like this: Someone notices you have extremely long hair, and they ask you, "Hey bub, what's with the long hair?" You would respond, "I'm on a mission from God."

The hair would be a witness to those around you, letting them know

Temporary Nazirites


ACT 18:18 And Paul, having remained many days longer, took leave of the brethren and put out to sea for Syria, and with him were Priscilla and Aquila. In Cenchrea he had his hair cut, for he was keeping a vow.

Lifetime Nazirites


MAT 2:23 and came and resided in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."

Nazarene - one who is from Nazareth, not a Nazirite.

Wedding at Cana, turning water into wine (John 2)

LUK 7:33-34 "For John the Baptist has come eating no bread and drinking no wine; and you say, 'He has a demon!' 34 "The Son of Man has come eating and drinking; and you say, 'Behold, a gluttonous man, and a drunkard, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners!'

Probably not

John the Baptist

LUK 1:15 "For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and he will drink no wine or liquor; and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, while yet in his mother's womb.


1SA 1:11 And she made a vow and said, "O \Lord\ of hosts, if Thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of Thy maidservant and remember me, and not forget Thy maidservant, but wilt give Thy maidservant a son, then I will give him to the \Lord\ all the days of his life, and a razor shall never come on his head."

1SA 1:27-28 "For this boy I prayed, and the \Lord\ has given me my petition which I asked of Him. 28 "So I have also dedicated him to the \Lord\; as long as he lives he is dedicated to the \Lord.\" And he worshiped the \Lord\ there.


Probably the most famous (or infamous) of the Nazirites.

A good example of how not to be a Nazirite

Judges 16:4-22 – Samson with Delilah

Even though Samson was a Nazirite from birth, you notice that he has a habit in his life of playing it close to the edge, whether it’s marrying a forbidden Philistine, or spending the night with a prostitute. Now he’s with a woman that is going to bring him down.

16:6 – shouldn’t this be a tip off that this woman isn’t good for him?

16:11 – I’m sure Samson is telling himself, "Hey, I can handle this little temptation … no problem …" The problem is that a Nazirite should be getting farther from sin, not closer.

16:17 - the secret was not his hair, but his being dedicated to God (Nazirite). The long hair was simply the outward show of his dedication to God.

Note: Up to this time, he's had this long hair, and even though he's got lots of problems, God has still honored the fact that he is dedicated to God.

The cutting of the hair was only an outward sign of what had already been happening to Samson on the inside, in his heart.

16:20 - the saddest of all, he didn't even realize that the Lord had stopped working in him.

The work of God's Spirit isn't always a bunch of fireworks, with skywriting in front of your face in God's handwriting saying, "I'm now working in your life."

Sometimes God's work in our lives is so subtle, so mixed into our actions and words, that we don't even realize what's happening.

1CO 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but {only} one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 And everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then {do it} to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; 27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.

What's at stake here is not salvation, it's effectiveness in your ministry, being a vessel of honor, fit for the Master's use.

:22-27 Aaron's Blessing

:23 'Thus you shall bless the sons of Israel.

Part of the priest's responsibilities was to bless God's people.

We too are priests.

We have a responsibility to bless others.

This is often one of the most precious times in the service to me, when I get to give a "blessing" to you.

:24 #The \Lord\ bless you,

To bless - to give a happiness.

To call down a happiness on someone, given by God.

:24 and keep you;

JUD 1:24 Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy,

:25 The \Lord\ make His face shine on you,

To smile on you

:26 The \Lord\ lift up His countenance on you,

His face, smiling

:26 And give you peace. '#

What a great thing to ask for a person!

:27 "So they shall invoke My name on the sons of Israel,

calling God's presence on them.

:27 and I then will bless them."

Do that to someone, bless them in Jesus' name!