Why was God more strict with women than with men when it came to unfaithfulness?

Author: BibleAsk Team


Automatic Transcript Generated:

Speaker 1

You.

Speaker 2

So Alden is asking, why is God so much more strict with women than with men, testing them for being unfaithful and having no such test for men, as in Numbers 522 and 27. So continuing this so this is the first part. Why is God more strict with wives than with husbands? She is tested for adultery. Numbers 511 to 31. He is not. Why are the rules so much more strict with wives than with husbands? Numbers 511 to 31.

Speaker 1

All right. And again, this is super important and super interesting because we want to understand the Bible. We want to make sure what we’re understanding is exactly what the Bible means and what it’s saying. And so let’s go ahead and go there. Like I said, this is part of the law of jealousy, which is a very interesting law. And again, I really believe that was because God wanted women to be protected and respected, and there was something going on during that time that maybe women need to be protected from. So let’s go ahead and go there to the Book of Numbers, chapter five, and we’ll kind of look at it in its context, as I’ll kind of summarize it. But, yeah, nine, verses 22 and 27, just to get to the first part. So when you go to Numbers, chapter five, like I said, this is the law of jealousy. And it begins in verse actually, let’s go Numbers, chapter five, verse eleven. So we’ll just kind of get some context here. And so it says numbers five, starting in verse eleven, it says, and the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, speak to the children of Israel.

Speaker 1

And say to them, 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 is no witness against her, nor was she caught. If the spirit of jealousy so this is why it’s called the law of jealousy in verse 14. If the spirit of jealousy comes upon him, this woman’s husband, and he becomes jealous to 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. So he doesn’t know whether or not his wife was unfaithful. But he’s jealous as though she is. So that’s kind of the context that is going on here with this specific law. So if a man has a wife and he thinks he’s suspecting her of being unfaithful, then this is when this law comes into place. And it says in verse 15, then the man shall bring his wife to the priest, and he shall bring the offering required of her one 10th of an EPA barley meal.

Speaker 1

He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense because it is a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering, for bringing iniquity to remembrance. So basically there’s something very specific about this offering because basically the truth needs to come out is what’s going on. Now, when you think about this, this is a very interesting test. So basically this was a test that the Lord put in place so that if a woman was unfaithful that the truth would come to light. And if she wasn’t, if she was innocent, that would also come to light. Now, in most cases, if there was suspected infidelity, the husband would never know and so he would just live the rest of his life questioning, was my wife unfaithful? Was she true to me or was she not? And back in these days, thousands of years ago, women didn’t have the same rights that they do today. If a woman was thought to be unfaithful, like most men, they would harm their wives. Or even if they didn’t harm their wife, they would treat her terribly because they would be so jealous and suspecting her unfaithfulness. It would just bring problems into the home that the Lord wanted to prevent.

Speaker 1

And which is why God was in his mercy, I believe, put this law in order. So basically the context of what was to happen and this begins now in Numbers, chapter five, verses 16 and all the way basically down, quite away. So basically there was this test that the priest could do in order for the truth to come out as far as was the wife faithful or not. And so basically the priest would stand before the woman and in verse 14 it says he would uncover her head and put the offering in her hands and the offering of jealousy. And the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that could bring a curse. So he would put some dirt or whatever in this cup of water and it says basically the priest would have her under oath and say if no man has lain with you, if you have not gone astray to uncleanness while your husband under your husband’s authority, you’re free from the bitter water that could bring a curse. But if you’ve gone astray while under your husband’s authority and if you’ve not defiled yourself and someone other than your husband is lame with you, then basically you will have a curse.

Speaker 1

And the curse that would happen was that basically the woman’s stomach would swell and your thighs would rot and that the water would cause you to basically, just basically become sick in this way. And so basically, if she was innocent, nothing would happen to her, she’d be fine. But if she was not innocent, if she was guilty of this, then she would have this phenomenon happen where her stomach would swell, her thighs would rot and then her husband would know for sure whether or not she had been unfaithful. So I think it’s kind of interesting because just having this law in place kind of put a sense of like, hey, even if you think you did something, you know, in secret, the Lord sees and the Lord knows, and the truth will find you out. And so just having this in place, somebody would know. Like, hey, this would prevent you from trying to get away with something that you did in secret. And so it would just minimize the problems that could have happened in the first place. But second of all, I’m sure there have been so many women in the past who were innocent, who did not cheat on their husbands but were punished as if they did because the husband was just crazy with jealousy.

Speaker 1

And so I think that God in his mercy put this law into order. Now, as far as the law of God, because you ask why is God so much harsher with women than with men? I don’t think that’s the case because when you look at the law of God, the immutable, eternal law of God, the ten Commandments that you read in Exodus chapter 20, their 7th Commandment, verse 14 of Exodus 20, says thou shalt not commit adultery. And that was the same for both men and women. There is no women shall not commit adultery. Men you can do whatever you want, but women you can’t. No, the Bible is very clear. Thou, men, women, doesn’t matter, cannot commit adultery. It’s against the law of God. So it’s equal in that sense. And secondly, if there was adultery, if that did happen, the punishment was still the same. So this little method just got the truth to come out. But as far as whether or not God’s punishment for adultery was the same, it was because when you look at the Book of Leviticus in chapter 20 in verse ten let’s go there really quick. Leviticus 20 in verse ten, it’s talking about these are the law of Moses and it’s talking about adultery and infidelity at this time.

Speaker 1

And it says, the man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. So both the adulterer, the man and the neighbor’s wife, the woman he had an affair with who was consenting to this, they were both having the same exact punishment, which was in this society, in this government. It was the death sentence. And so it was the same. It wasn’t all women got to have this weird punishment and men did it. It was like, no, this is just a means for innocent women who would have been treated harshly by their husband to just take a sip of water and be fine. I don’t think that’s that harsh. As opposed to her husband possibly hurting her or condemning her to death, saying, oh, I’m sure she did, when he doesn’t know whether or not she did or not did commit adultery to protect her. So again, I think what I see when I look at this levitical or excuse me, this Mosaic law in the Book of Numbers, chapter five, I see a God of mercy who’s protecting women, who’s finding a way of showing to basically calming down husbands that were just overly jealous, without cause, without reason, and to just bring peace to people’s homes and bring peace to people’s lives.

Speaker 1

Because really and truly, we have a God who desires us to be faithful. That’s why he made the punishment for adultery, both for men and women the same and very serious, because it is a serious offense. And so, again, I don’t see a God that’s unfair or unequal. I think, if anything, God is being extra protective and extra loving towards women, especially in a time where women just really didn’t have physical rights in a lot of ways and in a lot of societies. So I hope that answers your question. And if you have anything else, please be sure to share it with us. We appreciate it. Jay or Wendy, any other thoughts on that?

Speaker 3

Yeah, I just want to especially emphasize that last point you made, which is really important. We’re trying to compare Moses to today’s modern standards, and we think, oh, boy, so behind the times and how awful and patriarchal that was. But the reality is, for that time, for that era, it was hugely liberal. It was very radical, and nobody ever seen anything like this in terms of women’s rights, rights for the poor, rights for orphans, all these things. Like God is providing for all these different classes and even for women. So it was very radical, forced time. And God, the Bible really shows God is very patient and he doesn’t just force us to go from A to Z instantly. He knows humans have to be babystepped. And really, I don’t think what we see in Exodus was God’s, in Leviticus was ever where God wanted it to stop. That was a big move coming out of Egypt and then where we are today, in some sense, he’ll be happy. Happy that slavery is abolished, happy that women have more rights, things like that. And we could always quibble over, okay, to what degree and things like that.

Speaker 3

But reality is, yeah, we need to look at Moses in the full context, as you were saying. So thank you for that wonderful walkthrough.

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