Leviticus 20:10 tells us, “And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” The Lord considers the act of adultery to be an incredibly serious matter. So serious, that under the law, if a man and woman were caught in the act of adultery, they were both to be put to death.

Numbers 5:11-31 concerns the ‘law of jealousy’ where a woman is suspected by her husband of committing adultery. Because of space, we cannot include this whole portion here, so I strongly encourage you to read these verses before going further. There was a sort of a lie detector the Lord put in place to learn if a woman was, indeed, unfaithful to her husband. It is understandable that even the suspicion of unfaithfulness is enough to ruin a marriage relationship. How can there be peace in a marriage when one is suspected of committing adultery? The Lord in His grace, gave His people a way to find out if there truly was unfaithfulness by the wife.

Let’s read Numbers 5:12-15, “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.” Notice that this ‘offering of jealousy’ contains no oil or frankincense, which would be a type of joy and worship. This is a sad state and there is no joy in this offering. Suspicion and joy cannot exist in a marriage relationship.

Verses 16-31 show us the details of this event to learn the innocence or guilt of the wife. The priest takes ‘holy water in an earthen vessel’ and add to the water ‘dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle’. The water is a type of the Word of God (Ephesians 5:26). The dust is a type of death (Genesis 3:19). This is a most solemn service. For the innocent one, the bitter water would only vindicate her (verse 19). For the guilty one, the bitter water will cause her guilt to be manifest to everyone (verses 20-21).

The Lord could easily identify with the injured husband as a type of His own relationship with His earthly people, Israel. We read in 1 Chronicles 5:25, “And they transgressed against the God of their fathers, and WENT A WHORING AFTER THE GODS OF THE PEOPLE OF THE LAND, whom God destroyed before them.” Along with that, let’s read Jeremiah 31:3, “The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I HAVE LOVED THEE WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” How greatly the Lord loved His earthly people. He speaks of them as His wife in Jeremiah 3:20, “Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.” Yet, in spite of the Lord’s great love, grace and provision for His people, they were constantly unfaithful to Him.

What does all this mean to us today? The church today is the espoused bride of Christ. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a CHASTE VIRGIN to Christ.” As individual believers on the Lord Jesus, may we remain ‘chaste’ or pure with hearts that pursue Him and are not drawn away into unfaithfulness. Matthew 22:37, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with ALL thy heart, and with ALL thy soul, and with ALL thy mind.” He certainly deserves that. (227.6)