God Said Man Said

The Adultery Test

For many years, the GodSaidManSaid team has sought the science behind the curse and blessing of the Biblical test for adultery found in Numbers 5. How did the bitter water bring judgment to the guilty and vindication and even pregnancy to the guiltless? Could there be a scientific explanation?
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The Adultery Test

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You and I are to be grateful for the revelation God has given us, but to be satisfied to stay where we are is not good.  The redeemed are directed to hunger and thirst after righteousness.  Jesus speaks of a hidden manna (Revelation 2:17) given unto those who overcome the Devil by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony (Revelation 12:11).  James 1:5:

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

I publicly confess that I lack wisdom and, God, I’m asking.

A sure word of prophecy—a promise from the God of the Bible, the God who cannot lie—is found in Matthew 7:7.  I have found an unique acronym that will help you to memorize it.  The acronym is A.S.K.  Matthew 7:7:

💡Ask, and it shall be given you;
💡Seek, and ye shall find;
💡Knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

God’s children are searching for the hidden manna to go deeper with God and Matthew 7:7-8 will deliver the desired end.  Print these verses on a 3x5 card and place it somewhere where you will see it often.  Speak it out loud when possible.

In the journey of the redeemed, hidden manna is revealed all along the way and it begins at the place Jesus calls born again.  Jesus speaks to Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin—certainly a theologically-astute man—and Nicodemus is flummoxed by the hidden manna Jesus reveals in John 3:3:

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Jesus said, “born again”—born a most literal second time, this time of the Spirit of God.  Your first birth made you a child of Mr. and Mrs. So-and-So.  Your new birth makes you a child of God. 

Have you been born again?  Will today be the day—the first day—you eat of the hidden manna?  Start brand new!  Today, your sin and shame will be expunged from your record and all Satan’s bondages broken.  Today will be the first day of your eternal life.  God’s hand is extended.  Choose Christ Jesus while you still have time.  Click onto “Further with Jesus” for childlike instructions and immediate entry into the invisible Kingdom of God.  Don’t procrastinate!  Do it now!  We’ll wait for you here.  NOW FOR TODAY’S SUBJECT.

GOD SAID, Psalm 19:7-11:

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

GOD SAID, Numbers 5:11-31:

11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man''s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,

13 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;

14 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:

15 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.

16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD:

17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman''s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:

19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:

20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:

21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;

22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:

24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.

25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman''s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar:

26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.

28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;

30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.

31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

MAN SAID: The Bible is irrelevant claptrap filled with crazy claims and superstition for the simple.  Nobody believes it in today’s enlightened circles of academia—and I mean no-one!

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Down through the earth’s short 6,000-plus-year-old history, men have mocked the Scriptures, challenging every jot and tittle.  When God says yes, a multitude rises up to shout NO! From Genesis 1 and a six-day creation, to Paradise and an immortal Adam and Eve, the forbidden fruit, the fallen sons of God and giants, Noah’s ark and the global flood, to the day the sun stood still, the Tower of Babel, Sodom and Gomorrah, and finally to the virgin-born Christ of Glory—the fallen sons of Adam challenge, incessantly challenge.  But, be of good cheer, children!  They have failed time after miserable time and their success will not come tomorrow. 

The word science means knowledge.  God is the source of all knowledge and therefore the scientist of all scientists.  This ministry has contended for the faith for nearly 50 years and we have found God’s Word fully capable of defrocking its detractors—and today’s feature is a shocker. 

For many years, the GodSaidManSaid team has sought the science behind the curse and blessing of the Biblical test for adultery.  Keep in mind that God does not do magic, but has created all things by wisdom and understanding.  Let’s consider Numbers 5:11-31 again:

11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man''s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,

13 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;

14 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:

15 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.

16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD:

17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman''s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:

19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:

20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:

21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;

22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:

24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.

25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman''s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar:

26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.

28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;

30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.

31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

Certainly, human psychology plays a critical role in these mysterious verses, like the body’s chemical creation of the stress hormone cortisol, which would be instigated by outside stressors interacting in some way, at least psychologically, with the bitter waters as well as with the foreign sperm in the body, and more.  Could there be any science that says yes?

Some of Jewish tradition concerning the adultery test was reported in the following excerpt from Wikipedia:  

This trial consisted of the wife having to drink a specific potion administered by the priest.  The text does not specify the amount of time needed for the potion to take effect; 19th century scholars suspected it was probably intended to have a fairly immediate effect. The Mishnah mentions there could also be a suspension of the ordeal for one, two, or three years, if she has an acquittal.  Maimonides records the traditional Rabbinical view: “Her belly swells first and then her thigh ruptures and she dies.”  Others maintain that since the word “thigh” is often used in the Bible as a euphemism for various reproductive organs, in this case it may mean the uterus, the placenta, or an embryo, and the woman would survive.  [End of quote]

Our search for the science to support Numbers 5 just recently met with success. A microbiologist requesting anonymity due to workplace issues weighed in with the following eye-opening dissertation:

The water of bitterness begins with water (not wine), which was used for ceremonial washings, but never normally drunk.  If it wasn’t already contaminated by airborne bacteria, adding dust from the tabernacle floor would ensure that it was inoculated with bacteria.  The alcohol in wine would prohibit the growth of bacteria; water would support it.  Of greatest importance would be those bacteria that can survive in prolonged dry conditions by forming endospores. Once introduced into the water, they could germinate, but would probably be limited in their growth by a lack of nutrients.  Nutrients would be added when the priest scraped the curses off of the papyrus scroll into the water.  That would add cellulose (sugar), charcoal, and gum—the most likely components of the ink used to write on the scroll. 

It is probably significant that the water of bitterness was made in a clay pot rather than the bronze or gold vessels that were commonly used in the tabernacle.  The heavy metals in bronze would kill any bacteria that were introduced into the water.  Clay does not contain such antibacterial metals. 

The bacteria which is most intriguing in this context is Clostridium perfringens, the cause of gaseous gangrene.  This bacteria forms endospores, which can survive indefinitely in dust.  It is also a common cause of food poisoning, with a short incubation period of 6-24 hours, so symptoms would appear quickly.  If the bacteria lodged in the colon—“stomach”—gas production could cause the swelling of the abdomen.  This bacteria produces a toxin which causes tissue necrosis.  (Gangrene involves tissue necrosis.)  Necrosis in the area of the rectum could spread to the adjacent uterus, bladder, and vagina, causing an obstetric fistula.  Obstetric fistula is often seen in girls who become pregnant before their bodies are capable of carrying a baby to term.  The uterus, rectum, and urinary bladder all fuse together, producing a constant dribbling of urine +/- feces from the vagina and a stench noticeable by others.  Interestingly, the word translated bitterness comes from a root meaning trickle.  Could the water of bitterness refer to the trickle of urine +/- feces down the legs of the guilty woman?  It is unlikely that the water itself was bitter.  This very visible sign of guilt is reminiscent of the visible spots of leprosy.  Both resulted in banishment from the community.  That, plus infertility, would be bitter indeed. [End of quote]

You’ve just read a scientific explanation for God’s strange instructions concerning the test for adultery, but our scientist was only able to supply half of the answer.  The rest of the mystery is offered to the rest of the GodSaidManSaid family to discover.  Numbers 5:28:

28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

How did the bitter water bring judgment to the guilty and the same bitter water bring vindication and even pregnancy to the guiltless?  One suggestion was that stress is a known inhibitor of pregnancy.  After this very stressful ordeal was completed, could the huge sigh of relief and rehabilitation of the damaged marital union have played a part?  Keep in mind, emotions such as guilt, fear, and shame play a heavy role in disease.  The innocent woman had none of these.  GodSaidManSaid is looking for the rest of the story. 

God’s Word is true and righteous altogether, no matter how bizarre it may seem.  Adultery is a terrible and devastating sin and God’s judgment in this matter is severe indeed.  Beware! 

GOD SAID, Psalm 19:7-11:

7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.

8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.

9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

GOD SAID, Numbers 5:11-31:

11 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying,

12 Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man''s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him,

13 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;

14 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:

15 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.

16 And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD:

17 And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water:

18 And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman''s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse:

19 And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse:

20 But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband:

21 Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell;

22 And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen.

23 And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water:

24 And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.

25 Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman''s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar:

26 And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water.

27 And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people.

28 And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.

29 This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled;

30 Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law.

31 Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.

MAN SAID: The Bible is irrelevant claptrap filled with crazy claims and superstition for the simple.  Nobody believes it in today’s enlightened circles of academia—and I mean no-one!

 

Now you have THE RECORD.

 

 

References:

Authorized King James Version

“Ordeal of the Bitter Water,” Wikipedia

 

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