Numbers 5:11-31: Adultery

Numbers: A Book of Worship  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:29
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Numbers 5:11-31

Numbers 5:11–31 LEB
11 Yahweh spoke to Moses, saying, 12 “Speak to the Israelites and say to them, ‘If any man’s wife goes astray and acts unfaithfully to him, 13 and a man sleeps with her and ejaculates and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband and she is concealed, although she is defiled, and there is no witness against her and she was not caught, 14 if a spirit of jealousy comes over him, and he is jealous of his wife and she is defiled; or if a spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife but she is not defiled, 15 he will bring his wife to the priest. And he will bring her offering for her, one-tenth of an ephah of flour. He will not pour oil on it, and he will not put frankincense on it because it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembering, a reminding of guilt. 16 “ ‘Then the priest will bring her near and present her before Yahweh; 17 the priest will take holy waters in a clay vessel, and from the dust that is on the floor of the tabernacle, and the priest will put it into the waters. 18 And the priest will present the woman before Yahweh, and he will uncover the head of the woman; he will then put in her hands the grain offering of the remembering—which is the grain offering of jealousy—and in the hand of the priest will be the waters of bitterness that brings a curse. 19 Then the priest will make her swear an oath, and he will say to the woman, “If a man has not slept with you, and if you have not had an impurity affair under your husband, go unpunished from the waters of bitterness that brings this curse. 20 But if you have had an affair under your husband, and if you are defiled and a man other than your husband had intercourse with you,” 21 the priest will make the woman swear an oath of the sworn oath of the curse, the priest will say to the woman, “May Yahweh give you a curse and a sworn oath in the midst of your people with Yahweh making your hip fall away and your stomach swollen; 22 and these waters that bring a curse will go into your intestines to cause your womb to swell and to make your hip fall away.” And the women will say, “Amen. Amen.” 23 “ ‘And the priests will write these curses on the scroll, and he will wipe them off into the waters of the bitterness. 24 He will make the woman drink the waters of the bitterness that brings a curse, and the waters of bitterness that bring a curse will go into her. 25 The priest will take the grain offering of jealousy from the hand of the woman, and he will wave the grain offering before Yahweh, and he will present it to the altar; 26 the priest will grasp her memorial offering from the grain offering, and he will turn it into smoke on the altar, and afterward he will make the woman drink the waters. 27 When he has made her drink the waters, it will come about, if she has defiled herself and acted unfaithfully to her husband and the waters of bitterness that bring a curse go into her and her stomach swells and her hip falls away, the woman will be as a curse in the midst of her people. 28 And if the woman is not defiled, and she is pure, she will go unpunished and be able to conceive children. 29 “ ‘This is the regulation of jealousy, when a woman has an affair under her husband and she is defiled, 30 or when a spirit of jealousy comes over a man and he is jealous of his wife, he will present the woman before Yahweh ,and the priest will do to her all of this law. 31 The man will go unpunished from guilt, and the woman, she will bear her guilt.’ ”

The Ordeal

This Trial is a trial of Jealousy.
Two possibilities are envisaged: Either, a woman has been unfaithful to her husband, but the sin has been hidden and secret, and there are no witnesses (the husband suspects but does not have proof, vv. 12–14a); or, the woman is innocent, and the husband is jealous and suspicious without cause (v. 14b). Either way there isn’t enough evidence to know one way or the other. Just Suspicion
The OT always forbids adultery (Exodus 20:14). The Status of the woman is what determined adultery. See Lev 20:10
A man was only guilty of adultery for having sex with a woman who was married or engaged (Deut 22:22–27). If a man had sex with an unmarried woman who was still part of her father’s household, he was required to marry her if they were discovered (Deut 22:28–29).
If the couple were caught in the act, they would both be executed (see Lev 20:10; Deut 22:22).
Trial by ordeal prevented the community and the jealous husband from taking matters into their own hands. As such, it served as a means of protecting women.
There is no equivalent test for a woman who suspects her husband of committing adultery.
This defilement refers to the status of her womb. Since an adulterous woman’s womb is viewed as tainted by the genetic material of a man who is not her husband, the husband’s line is in danger; the paternity of future children is now suspect.
In This situation God must judge between them; and the ritual is laid down for the priest, as the representative of God, to perform: to determine whether the woman is guilty or not.
The husband must bring to the priest “a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering,” to bring guilt to remembrance; the woman must take an oath of purgation, and drink a potion described as “the bitter water that brings a curse” (v. 18). If innocent, she would come to no harm from drinking it; but if guilty it would have dire consequences for her (vv. 21, 27).
This is ordeal indeed, and it must surely raise questions in our minds today.
This piece of legislation is altogether obsolete today. But what wee see her is a piece of legislation that shows the moral law of God.
The sanctity of the marriage bond and the fateful consequences of any act or attitude by which it might be endangered or put at risk. It is not a light thing that some thing so sacred in God’s sight should be assailed, and we should learn from this passage just how seriously He regards any departure from total faithfulness within the marriage relationship and chastity outside it.
What is clear is that the health, well-being, and indeed safety of the whole nation was held to be imperiled by such an act—hence the full and detailed account of the procedure to deal with it.
Today increasing numbers even of Christian people seem to take these sanctities lightly. They seem to have adopted an attitude to the marriage bond which regards it as little more than a civil contract, to be broken at will by mutual agreement, forgetting that the marriage service contains the words “till death us do part” and not “till we no longer are in love with each other.” And what are we to say about the attitude under lying the words spoken by the mother of a bride who whispered to her daughter as she was about to leave on her honeymoon, “If it doesn’t work out you can always get a divorce”?
Divorce is only an option if you make it one.
Scripture teaches, two people when they are married are made “one flesh,” it means that a new person has been brought into being by God, and it is therefore impossible to think of marriage as a mere association of two individuals which can be broken at will and by consent. To break up a marriage is to tear themselves in pieces; as
Calvin puts it:
“He who divorces his wife tears, as it were, the half of himself. But nature does not allow any man to tear in pieces his own body.

Jealousy Destroys

Jealousy and cruel suspicion invades families and poison the purest source of human happiness.
Today we don’t live in a society that has multiple wives. In the Scripture every time we see it we see a negative of multiple wives. So men don’t get upset.
As Jesus Came an fulfilled the law he has shown that adultery and Jealousy destroys both men and women. Both are equal under the law.

Adultery a Serious Offence

To be unfaithful to the marriage covenant will not just bring shame upon you a person and lead to negative consequences in your life.
To be unfaithful to the marriage covenant will be to lie to the world about Christ and His church. It would be for you to say that Christ is not faithful husband, does not keep His promises, and that the church does not trust Christ. To walk away from this marriage covenant would be to trample the blood of Christ under your feet.
Marriage is not just about love. Marriage is about a commitment to God. It isn’t just a commitment to one another it is a commitment to the Father. Marriage isn’t about legally sleeping together. It is about a intimacy that can be with no other. Every time you sleep with someone else you are inviting them into your mind your, bed. They will never leave.
Physical Adultery
Emotional Adultery

Next Steps

The wonderful thing about Jesus is the grace and mercy that he has provide. We Read in John 8:1-12 that Jesus offers Grace and mercy to those who do make mistakes(Jesus writes on the Ground).
But ends it with Go and send no more.
If you have been cheated on that doesn’t mean it has to be the end. but God can heal but both sides have to be willing. One to forgive and allow restitution. It will take time. One to take the necessary steps. Quit the job, cut off contact, shut down the internet, Get counseling.
Moving usually doesn’t work tho can if willing to make new mistakes instead of old. Usually it just try to hide old mistakes.


Barry, John D., Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, Michael S. Heiser, Miles Custis, Elliot Ritzema, Matthew M. Whitehead, Michael R. Grigoni, and David Bomar. Faithlife Study Bible. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2012, 2016.
Philip, James, and Lloyd J. Ogilvie. Numbers. Vol. 4. The Preacher’s Commentary Series. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1987.
Spence, H.D.M., Joseph S Exell. The Pulpit Commentary. Vol. 2 Leviticus-Numbers. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, third ed. 2011.
Noordtzij, A. Bible Students Commentary: Numbers, Zondervan, 1983Martin Noth, Numbers: A Commentary, Old Testament Library (London: SCM Press, 1968)
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