Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Unfaithful Wives

The books of Leviticus and Numbers are not exactly light reading. They’re full of laws and punishments, many of which are hard for us to understand. It’s easy to gloss over the difficult Scripture and focus on the feel-good stories, but if we do that, we miss out on the full message of God.

Numbers 5:11-31 deals with the unfaithful wife and how she should be addressed.

God began by explaining the circumstances. “If any man’s wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully toward him, and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and it is concealed that she has defiled herself, and there was no witness against her, nor was she caught—if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself—Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest.” (Numbers 5:12-15 NKJV)

God explained the husband’s offering of jealousy that he was to make on behalf of his wife. Then he gave the priest instructions on what to do with the wayward wife. It’s all most unusual to our modern day practices, but here’s what we can take away from it.

First, though the woman may sin in secret with no witnesses, God sees. He instills a sense in the husband to know something is wrong. But God also covers if the husband is unjustly jealous. If the woman is innocent, she is cleared. If she is guilty, her punishment fits her crime. Check it out for yourself, but don’t just read it, read commentary as well, so you can understand.

Read about unfaithful wives in Scripture: Numbers 5:11-31

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