If you are confused about the term adultery in the Bible, know that it is a relation that is being prohibited. In order to seek a piece of in-depth information, go through this article.
According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, the superficial meaning of adultery is marital infidelity. An adulterer was a man who had illicit intercourse with a married or an affianced woman, and such a woman was an adulteress. Intercourse between a married man and an unmarried woman was termed fornication. Adultery was regarded as a great social wrong and a great sin. The Mosaic law (5:11-31) prescribed that the suspected wife should be tried by the ordeal of the “water of jealousy.” There is no recorded instance of the application of this law.
The Rabbis subsequently made various regulations to discover the guilty party and bring about a divorce. It has been inferred from John 8:1-11 that this sin became very ordinary during the age preceding the devastation of Jerusalem. Keep reading this article to know what adultery is in the Bible.
What is adultery in the Bible?
Adultery is the voluntary sexual relations between a married person and someone other than that person’s present spouse. Adultery can also be termed as cheating, infidelity, and unfaithfulness. There is sometimes confusion between adultery and fornication. Fornication is the intercourse between a married man and an unmarried woman. Both are relatable topics, but there are considerable distinctions between the two. According to Easton’s Bible Dictionary, the simple definition of adultery is marital infidelity.
Adultery is prohibited and was regarded as a great social wrong and a great sin. The Mosaic law suggested that the suspected wife should be tried by the ordeal of the “water of jealousy.” There is no recorded instance of the application of this law. In subsequent times the Rabbis made various constraints with the view of discovering the guilty party and bringing about a divorce. It has been concluded from John 8:1-11 that this sin became very common during the age preceding the destruction of Jerusalem. Idolatry, covetousness, and apostasy are said of as adultery spiritually (Jeremiah 3:6-9, Ezekiel 16:32, Hosea 1:2-3, Revelation 2:22).
An apostate church is an adulteress (Isaiah 1:21, Isaiah 23:4-37), and the Jews are styled “an adulterous generation” (Matthew 12:39). Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology also offers the description given below of sexual immorality in the Bible, including the sin of adultery:
- When God entered into a covenant relationship with the Israelites, he furnished them with specific fundamental regulations engraved in stone to symbolize their permanence. The “Ten commandments” are styled, including specific injunctions of a moral character dealing with adultery, false witness, theft, and covetous behavior (Exod 20:14-19).
The last three offenses are social in character, concerning the community of God to a greater or lesser degree. But the commandment forbidding adultery deals with an action of a highly personal nature, occurring between usually consenting adults, violating the “one flesh” character of marriage.
Is kissing adultery in the Bible?
The Bible tells a lot about lust and sexual immorality and that we are to flee from sexual immorality and lustful desires. If kissing before marriage boosts lust or leads to sexual immorality, it is a sin and should be avoided between couples that are not married. In several places in the Bible, kissing was a ritual or practice shared among close family members or friends to share affection or greet each other. In 1 Peter, you can see that kissing was shared among other believers.
“Greet one another with the kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ,” – 1 Peter 5:14 ESV. You can even see in 1 Samuel that David and Jonathan kissed each other as friends as they wept together. “As soon as the boy had gone, David rose from beside the stone heap and fell on his face to the floor and bowed three times. And they kissed and wept with one another, David weeping the most.” 1 Samuel 20:41 ESV.
You can see kissing shared among family members in several places in the Bible as a way to show love and affection. “Then they lifted up their voices and cried again. And Oprah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.” -Ruth 1:14 ESV.
Then his father Isaac said to him, “Come near and kiss me, my son,” So he came near and kissed him.” Genesis 27:26-27 ESV. Then he fell upon his brother Benjamin’s neck and wept, and Benjamin wept upon his neck. 15 And he kissed all his brothers and wept upon them. After that, his brothers talked with him.” – Genesis 45:14-15
Consequences of adultery in the Bible
There are logical reasons and practical benefits for each of God’s laws. He established them as intelligent designs. We must make the mindful decision and effort to not live by the flesh but by the Holy Spirit within us. “For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)
The consequences of adultery can be stated as an unhealthy soul tie that could be created when you lust after another person, making it difficult to break free from the sin, needing God’s intervention to sever the tie. The joy of looking in lust, amusing the idea of someone else, or having a “crush” on someone other than your spouse can be “fun” for a moment but realize what you are signing up for when you do it. You could lose your wife or husband, your family, not be capable of seeing your children anymore, or pay significant child support fines for a great deal of your life.
Additionally, you will be distant from your spouse and unsatisfied with them, bringing strife and stress to your marriage and home. You will be a bad example to other believers and send the message that you are not serious about following Jesus, but you would also be guilty before God, which is the scariest thing. Here are some of the Bible’s instructions:
“But whoso committed adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyed his own soul. A wound and dishonor shall he get, and his reproach shall not be wiped away.” (Proverbs 6:32-33)
As you can see, the Bible’s instructions are clear, guard your heart and flee from evil. When you feel that hint of attraction towards someone, it’s time to escape. Get yourself out of such a situation as soon as you can because anything else is in agreement with adultery. “A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself, but the simple pass on, and are punished.” (Proverbs 27:12)
The cost of executing adultery in any form is high. You have to choose for yourself if it is worth it. One major pitfall is assuming you are “above” the sin and won’t do it. The Bible explains sin in 1 Corinthians 10:12: “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he falls.”
Examples of adultery in the Bible
The firstborn said to the younger, “Our father is old, and there is not a man on earth to come into us after the manner of the world. Let us make our father drink wine and lie with him so we may preserve our family through our father.” So they made their father drink wine that night, and the firstborn moved in and lay with her father, and he did not know when she lay down or when she arose.
On the next day, the firstborn said to the younger, “Behold, I lay last night with my father; let us make him drink wine tonight also; then you go in and lay with him, that we may maintain our family through our father.” So they made their father drink wine that night also, and the younger one arose and lay with him, and he did not know when she lay down with him or when she arose. Thus both the daughters of Lot were with their father. The firstborn gave birth to a son called his name Moab; he is the father of the Moabites to this day. As for the younger, she also gave birth to a son and called his name Ben-Ammi; he is the father of the sons of Ammon to this day.
And it came about at that time that Judah departed from his brothers and visited a certain Adullamite named Hirah. Judah saw a daughter of a certain Canaanite named Shua; he took her and went into her. So she conceived and gave birth to a son and called him.
Then she conceived again, gave birth to a son, and named him Onan. She bore another son and named him Shelah, and it was at Chezib that she held him. Now Judah brought a wife for Er, his firstborn; her name was Tamar. But Er, Judah’s firstborn, was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord took his life. Then Judah said to Onan, “Go into your brother’s wife, perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went into his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the Lord, so He took his life also.
Then Judah told his daughter-in-law Tamar, “Remain a widow in your father’s house until my son Shelah grows up,”; for he thought, “I am afraid that he too may die like his brothers.” So Tamar went and lived in her father’s house. After a significant time, Shua’s daughter, Judah’s wife, died; when the time of mourning ended, Judah went up to his sheepshearers at Timnah, and he and his friend Hirah the Adullamite. It was told to Tamar, “Behold, your father-in-law is going up to Timnah to shear his sheep.”
So she removed her widow’s garments, covered herself with a veil, wrapped herself, and sat in the gateway of Enaim, which is on the road to Timnah, for she saw that Shelah had grown up, and she had not been given to him as a wife.
When Judah watched her, he thought she was a harlot, for she had covered her face. So he pivoted to her by the road and said, “Here now, let me come into you,”; for he did not know that she was his daughter-in-law. And she said, “What will you give me, that you may come into me?” He said, “I will send you a young goat from the flock.” She said, “Will you give a pledge until you send it?” He said, “What promise shall I give you?” And she said, “Your seal, your cord, and your staff that is in your hand.” So he gave them to her and went in to her, and she was conceived by him.
Then she arose, departed, removed her veil, and put on her widow’s garments. When Judah sent the young goat by his friend the Adullamite to receive the pledge from the woman’s hand, he did not find her. He asked the men of her place, saying, “Where is the temple prostitute who was by the road at Enaim?” But they said, “There has been no temple prostitute here.” So he returned to Judah and said, “I did not find her; furthermore, the men of the place said, ‘There has been no temple prostitute here.’”
Then Judah said, “Let her keep them. Otherwise, we will become a laughingstock. After all, I sent this young goat, but you did not find her.” About three months later, Judah was informed, “Your daughter-in-law Tamar has played the harlot, and behold, she is also with child by harlotry.” Then Judah said, “Bring her out and let her be burned!”
Spiritual consequences of adultery
Spirit is essentially pure and untouched by anything material. The false ego is another matter. The person we think we are suffering consequences all the time. The effects of adultery will not be nice, especially if it causes significant misery to others, but they do not prohibit a person from spiritual life. In some cases, it is legal and may result in prosecution and jail, but that is not a bar to spiritual life.
Plenty of adulterers have taken to spiritual life despite a sinful background. There are those on the path of spiritual life who have committed adultery but managed to keep going despite the interruption. “Even if you are considered the evilest of all sinners when you are situated in the boat of transcendental knowledge, you will be able to cross over the ocean of miseries. Bg 4.36
It is a distraction in spiritual life, but when it comes down to the physical act of adultery, it means a person has been struggling for a while, and the problem is more profound than the physical act. There is nothing to do but feel remorse, put safeguards to stop it from happening again, and carry on. It should be avoided not just because it will put the brakes on our spiritual progress but because it involves others implicating them in sinful activity and can have severe consequences for two entire families.
Who committed adultery in the Bible?
In the passage, Jesus taught in the Second Temple after coming from the Mount of Olives. A group of subscribes and Pharisees confronts Jesus, interrupting his teaching. They bring in a woman accused of committing adultery, claiming she was caught in the very act. The basis for punishment of stoning specifically for adultery is provided in Leviticus (20:10-12), which reads: “If a man executes adultery with another man’s wife, even with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and adulteress must be set to death.
Whether a Christian who has divorced their mate on biblical grounds is unrestricted to remarry is a question of scripture. Their spiritual status has not changed in any manner in the eyes of the Lord or the church.
Punishment for adultery in the Bible
The rationale for the punishment of stoning specifically for adultery is clearly provided in Leviticus (20:10-12), which reads: “If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, even with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and adulteress must be set to death. So, the heaviest embargo, the death penalty, is charged for adultery. In the Bible, this includes every form of voluntary sexual relations of a married or affianced woman with any man other than her husband.
The Bible teaches that the blood of Jesus shed on the cross covers all sin, including infidelity, and purifies us from all sin (John 1:7). This means any sin we commit, including adultery, can be forgiven when we come to Jesus with a repentant heart. In Jesus’ time, a woman was brought to him accusing her of committing adultery, claiming she was caught in the very act. They tell Jesus that the punishment for someone like her should be stoning, as defined by Mosaic Law.
Can a man or woman forgive infidelity?
Infidelity is one of the most typical reasons that heterosexual couples break up. Researchers who have studied 160 different cultures discover it to be true worldwide. However, men and women look at various kinds of infidelity differently. Men usually regard physical infidelity more seriously when the partner has sex with another person than women. Women consider emotional infidelity more serious when the partner initiates a close relationship with another person.
Despite experiencing the different types of infidelity differently, men and women are about equally ready to forgive their partner. And the new results show that the degree of forgiveness is not related to the type of infidelity. The mechanisms underlying forgiveness are more or less similar between genders. Regardless of gender and the type of infidelity, most people think it is unlikely they would forgive their partner’s infidelity.
Whether or not the couple breaks up counts mainly on how threatening the relationship they perceive the infidelity to be. The more startling the infidelity feels, the worse it is for the relationship. Whether partners believe the relationship can continue also relies on how willing they are to forgive each other, especially in avoiding distancing themselves from their partner. Critical individual differences exist, even within each gender. People react differently to infidelity, according to their personality and events.
Many people think that couples with strong relationships would be better able to tolerate infidelity, but that was not indicated. Another factor plays a role in cases of emotional infidelity, where no sex has taken place. If you willingly had sex with another person, it doesn’t matter whether you feel it’s your fault. The degree of blame attributed to the partner was related to the willingness to forgive. The relationship is at greater risk if the partner is mandated to bear a big part of the responsibility for ending up in a confidential relationship with someone else.
The blame aspect doesn’t come into play when the partner is physically disloyal. If you voluntarily have sex with someone other than your partner, it’s more or less extrinsic whether you think it was mostly your fault or not. Possible forgiveness does not depend on tolerating blame.
Can you remarry after adultery?
Whether a Christian who has divorced their mate on biblical bases is free to remarry is a question of scripture. Their spiritual status has not changed in any manner in the eyes of the Lord or the church. Jesus allows someone to remarry when adultery has taken place. Whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery, and marries another raises the issue of remarriage. Jesus declares that divorcing a mate on the grounds of immorality frees the offended mate to remarry without committing adultery.
Remarriage following a biblical divorce for adultery seems explicitly allowed by Christ, and remarriage following a biblical divorce for desertion by a non-believing spouse may be allowed as an implication of the teaching of Paul. The elders remember that among orthodox evangelical churches, there are conflicting interpretations of scripture concerning the possibility of remarriage in the case of biblical divorces.
The bottom line
As adultery is the voluntary sexual relationship between a married person and someone other than that person’s current spouse, it is strictly prohibited in the Bible. If a man commits adultery with another man’s wife, even with his neighbor’s wife, both the adulterer and adulteress must be put to death. So, the heaviest sanction, the death punishment, is imposed for adultery. If a Christian who has divorced their mate on biblical bases is free to remarry is a question of scripture. Their spiritual status has not changed in any manner in the eyes of the Lord or the church.