Numbers 5-6 Test for a broken marriage

From Numbers 5-6

04 NumbersToday we look at one of the more uncomfortable rules in the law of Moses.

This post is part of my bible in a year series.

Passage and Comments

Reading this section of the chapter I would imagine to be quite difficult for most.

[11] And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, [12] “Speak to the people of Israel, If any man’s wife goes astray and breaks faith with him, [13] if a man lies with her sexually, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and she is undetected though she has defiled herself, and there is no witness against her, since she was not taken in the act, [14] and if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife who has defiled herself, or if the spirit of jealousy comes over him and he is jealous of his wife, though she has not defiled herself, [15] then the man shall bring his wife to the priest and bring the offering required of her, a tenth of an ephah of barley flour. He shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, for it is a grain offering of jealousy, a grain offering of remembrance, bringing iniquity to remembrance. (Nu 5:11-15)

Clearly it is not very politically correct by today’s standards. What about the man involved in the adultery? Why isn’t there a test for him? Could wives protest the unfaithfulness of their husbands? With regard to sex and marriage things are different for them. Marriage was more about property rights and continuing family lines than love. What if the test on the woman goes wrong? Presumably it wouldn’t. What does this say about the trust that should be between a man and his wife?

Story of Israel

Click to enlarge.
Click to enlarge.
There are lots of questions to ask. Sorry I can’t answer them all. One thing to note is that the Hebrew culture was a patriarchal society. Does this change?

Story of Jesus

Consider how Jesus treated women. The New Testament context was a patriarchal society. But the Christians were different. The Christians were those who gave increased rights and status to women. And Jesus was the instigator of their behaviour. Jesus and the woman at the well (Jn 4), Mary and Martha (sisters of Lazarus), and Mary whom Jesus told to leave her life of sin just to name a few. Incidentally, there are at least three different Mary’s in the gospel.

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