The woman guilty of sexual misconduct was to lose her capacity for childbearing. This was a fearsome penalty indeed, for women in the ancient Near East established their sense of personal value and esteem on one activity only-bearing and raising children. Education, business, military status, community leadership-none of these were open to women; motherhood was everything.

With so much at stake, a woman had every motivation to resist the overtures of a scheming male suitor. Why should the burden of propriety fall on the female? A woman’s sexual sensibilities would be entirely protective, a man’s more frequently adventurous. But without the cooperative partner, a man obviously could not make his conquest. It was better for all to remain passionately monogamous and for the more emotionally stable woman to protect the integrity of marriage and family.

NUMBERS 5:21-24 – 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.

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