A Chiasm Centered on the Sota

A: 4:1-48 – Parallelism in the census of the Levites
B: 4:49 – Levites chosen & blessed by God through Moses
C: 5:1-4 – Keeping a holy people holy
D: 5:5-10 – Restitution vow of consecration
E: 5:11-16 – Jealous husband puts his wife in God's hand
F: 5:17-24 – Water of blessing and curses / innocence and guilt
G: 5:25-26 – Grain offering removed from hand
F: 5:26-28 – Water of curse and blessings / guilt and innocence
E: 5:29-31 – Jealous husband puts his wife in God's hand
D: 6:1-5 – Nazirite vow of consecration
C: 6:6-21 – Keeping a holy people holy
B: 6:22-27 – Israel chosen & blessed by God through Aaron
A: 7:1-88 – Parallelism in the gifts of the chiefs

What exactly is this structure trying to tell us? Here's one idea, not guaranteed to be correct:

(A) God's people are to be set apart from the world. (B) We have His stamp on us, and we are to behave accordingly. (C) If, by purpose or chance, we fail, we must confess our sins and (D) make them right again. (E) If we believe that our sin is secret and God will never know or won't mind, we deceive ourselves. Our sins cannot be hidden from God or His chosen High Priest. (F) The Spirit will produce through us the fruit of our actions, whether they be for life or death. (G) In the end we will be judged by Him who was made the Firstfruits of the Resurrection and taken up to Heaven. If we have been faithful to confess our sins, to repent of them, and to make them right when we are able, He will be faithful to forgive us before the Father, and we will live. If we have been unfaithful, He will know and will judge us accordingly, also before the Father.

Further, there is a parallelism between chapters 4 and 7.

  • 4:1-33 – Commissioning the census and assignments
    • 4:34-45 – Taking the census
      • 4:46-49 – Summary of the census
  • 7:1-9 – Tribal chiefs bring gifts to aid the Levites in their assignments
    • 7:10-83 – A census of gifts the tribal chiefs brought for the altar
      • 7:84-88 – Summary of the gifts
So that the chiasm is framed by a parallelism.

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