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S3. Committing Adultery.    [Make a Comment]

We are not to commit adultery.

This precept is derived from His Word (blessed be He):

Key Scriptures

Exodus 20:13a(14) (Maimonides RN347; Chinuch C35)
Do not murder. Do not commit adultery.

Leviticus 18:8
You are not to have sexual relations with your father's wife; that is your father's prerogative.

Leviticus 18:20 (Maimonides RN347; Meir MN124; Chinuch C35)
You are not to go to bed with your neighbor's wife and thus become unclean with her.

Leviticus 20:10
If a man commits adultery with another man's wife, that is, with the wife of a fellow countryman, both the adulterer and the adulteress must be put to death.

Numbers 5:12-16 (Maimonides RP223, RN105; Chinuch C365, C367)
Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'If any man's wife goes astray and behaves unfaithfully toward him, and a man lies with her carnally, and it is hidden from the eyes of her husband, and it is concealed that she has defiled herself, and there was no witness against her, nor was she caught - if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, who has defiled herself; or if the spirit of jealousy comes upon him and he becomes jealous of his wife, although she has not defiled herself - then the man shall bring his wife to the priest. He shall bring the offering required for her, one-tenth of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil on it and put no frankincense on it, because it is a grain offering of jealousy, an offering for remembering, for bringing iniquity to remembrance. And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD.'

Deuteronomy 23:1(22:30)
A man is not to take his fathers wife (thus violating his fathers rights.'')

Jeremiah 13:27
On the hills and in the fields, I have seen your abominations - your adulteries, your lustful neighings your shameless prostitution. Woe to you, Yerushalayim! You refuse to be purified! Won't you ever allow it?"

Proverbs 6:32
He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself.

Matthew 5:27-28
You have heard that our fathers were told, 'Do not commit adultery.' But I tell you that a man who even looks at a woman with the purpose of lusting after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:32
But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and that anyone who marries a divorcee commits adultery.

Matthew 19:9
Now what I say to you is that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery!

Mark 7:21
For from within, out of a person's heart, come forth wicked thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery ...

Mark 10:11-12
He said to them, "Whoever divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against his wife; and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another man, she too commits adultery."

Luke 16:18
Every man who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and a man who marries a woman divorced by her husband commits adultery.

Luke 18:18-20
One of the leaders asked him, "Good rabbi, what should I do to obtain eternal life?" Yeshua said to him, "Why are you calling me good? No one is good but God! You know the mitzvot - 'Don't commit adultery, don't murder, don't steal, don't give false testimony, honor your father and mother,...'"

John 8:4-11
Then they said to him, "Rabbi, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in our Torah, Moshe commanded that such a woman be stoned to death. What do you say about it?" They said this to trap him, so that they might have ground for bringing charges against him; but Yeshua bent down and began writing in the dust with his finger. When they kept questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "The one of you who is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Then he bent down and wrote in the dust again. On hearing this, they began to leave, one by one, the older ones first, until he was left alone, with the woman still there. Standing up, Yeshua said to her, "Where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, sir." Yeshua said, "Neither do I condemn you. Now go, and don't sin any more."

Romans 7:2-3
For example, a married woman is bound by Torah to her husband while he is alive; but if the husband dies, she is released from the part of the Torah that deals with husbands. Therefore, while the husband is alive, she will be called an adulteress if she marries another man; but if the husband dies, she is free from that part of the Torah; so that if she marries another man, she is not an adulteress.

Romans 13:9
For the commandments, "Don't commit adultery", "Don't murder", "Don't steal", "Don't covet", and any others are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself."

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
Don't you know that unrighteous people will have no share in the Kingdom of God? Don't delude yourselves - people who engage in sex before marriage, who worship idols, who engage in sex after marriage with someone other than their spouse, who engage in active or passive homosexuality, who steal, who are greedy, who get drunk, who assail people with contemptuous language, who rob - none of them will share in the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage is honorable in every respect; and, in particular, sex within marriage is pure. But God will indeed punish fornicators and adulterers.

Supportive Scriptures

Matthew 15:19-20
For out of the heart come forth wicked thoughts, murder, adultery and other kinds of sexual immorality, theft, lies, slanders ... These are what really make a person unclean, but eating without doing n'tilat-yadayim does not make a person unclean.

Romans 1:26-28
For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting

Romans 13:13-14
Let us live properly, as people do in the daytime - not partying and getting drunk, not engaging in sexual immorality and other excesses, not quarrelling and being jealous. Instead, clothe yourselves with the Lord Yeshua the Messiah; and don't waste your time thinking about how to provide for the sinful desires of your old nature.

1 Corinthians 5:1-5
It is actually being reported that there is sexual sin among you, and it is sexual sin of a kind that is condemned even by pagans - a man is living with his stepmother! And you stay proud? Shouldn't you rather have felt some sadness that would have led you to remove from your company the man who has done this thing? For I myself, even though I am absent physically, am with you spiritually; and I have already judged the man who has done this as if I were present. In the name of the Lord Yeshua, when you are assembled, with me present spiritually and the power of our Lord Yeshua among us, hand over such a person to the Adversary for his old nature to be destroyed, so that his spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord.

1 Corinthians 5:9-13
In my earlier letter I wrote you not to associate with people who engage in sexual immorality. I didn't mean the sexually immoral people outside your community, or the greedy, or the thieves or the idol-worshippers - for then you would have to leave the world altogether! No, what I wrote you was not to associate with anyone who is supposedly a brother but who also engages in sexual immorality, is greedy, worships idols, is abusive, gets drunk or steals. With such a person you shouldn't even eat! For what business is it of mine to judge outsiders? Isn't it those who are part of the community that you should be judging? God will judge those who are outside. Just expel the evildoer from among yourselves.

1 Corinthians 6:13
"Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food"? Maybe, but God will put an end to both of them. Anyhow, the body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord is for the body.

1 Corinthians 6:18-19
Run from sexual immorality! Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the fornicator sins against his own body. Or don't you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh who lives inside you, whom you received from God? The fact is, you don't belong to yourselves

1 Corinthians 10:8
And let us not engage in sexual immorality, as some of them did, with the consequence that 23,000 died in a single day.

Galatians 5:19
And it is perfectly evident what the old nature does. It expresses itself in sexual immorality, impurity and indecency

Ephesians 5:3
Among you there should not even be mentioned sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or greed; these are utterly inappropriate for God's holy people.

Colossians 3:5
Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature- sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry)

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5
What God wants is that you be holy, that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you know how to manage his sexual impulses in a holy and honorable manner, without giving in to lustful desires, like the pagans who don't know God.


Adultery is sexual intimacy between a married person and a person who is not his or her spouse. The Scriptures on adultery in the Tanakh refer only to physical intimacy, but it is broader than that in the New Covenant, and even includes lusting after someone of the opposite sex, and divorcing without biblical grounds (Matthew 5:27-28).

Adultery is also mentioned in the New Covenant Scriptures as (arguably) the only reason that one may divorce a spouse (Some include abandonment and cite 1 Corinthians 7:15). The Scriptures usually quoted to support this are Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9, which speak of fornication and sexual immorality; fornication during marriage is adultery.

Adultery is one of the foundational prohibitions in the Bible because it negates the marital covenant of two becoming one (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:4-5; Mark 10:7-8; and Ephesians 5:31). Not often discussed, however, is verse 32 that follows Ephesians 5:31:

There is profound truth hidden here, which I say concerns the Messiah and the Messianic Community.

Some translations call it a profound mystery, so what might the mystery be? I believe that it refers to a husband-wife relationship that exists between Messiah and the Messianic Community,1 a relationship within which adultery can be committed in the same way as with married couples.

1. Variously called the "Commonwealth of Israel", the "Body of Believers", and the "Church".

Let's see how that can happen; Yeshua is described as a "bridegroom" several times in Scripture:

Mark 2:18-20: Also Yochanan's talmidim and the P'rushim were fasting; and they came and asked Yeshua, "Why is it that Yochanan's talmidim and the talmidim of the P'rushim fast, but your talmidim don't fast?" Yeshua answered them, "Can wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is still with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, fasting is out of the question. But the time will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them; and when that day comes, they will fast."

John 3:28-29: You yourselves can confirm that I did not say I was the Messiah, but that I have been sent ahead of him. The bridegroom is the one who has the bride; but the bridegroom's friend, who stands and listens to him, is overjoyed at the sound of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine is now complete.

Although the "bride" is only referenced in John 3:29, her identity can be inferred from other Scriptures that speak of the "bridegroom" (a bridegroom has a bride) and also from Ephesians 5:22-24:

Wives should submit to their husbands as they do to the Lord; because the husband is head of the wife, just as the Messiah, as head of the Messianic Community, is himself the one who keeps the body safe. Just as the Messianic Community submits to the Messiah, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.

This Scripture makes it clear that, by analogy, the Messiah is "husband" to the "Messianic Community" that is the "wife". Saying it another way, Yeshua is "bridegroom" to the "Commonwealth of Israel" who is the "bride" so, also by analogy, whenever a member of the bride (the Commonwealth of Israel) sins against Yeshua (the bridegroom) by pursuing the ways of other gods (sin), he or she commits adultery.

Historically, states of the United States made adultery a crime by statute but, to the best of my knowledge, that is no longer the case. It is, however, prosecuted under the U.S. Uniform Code of Military Justice that prohibits conduct likely to bring discredit upon the armed forces, or conduct that is prejudicial to good order and discipline.

Classical Commentators:
Maimonides, Meir, and HaChinuch describe adultery as having sexual relations with another man's wife, and do not consider that adultery occurs when a married man has sexual relations with an unmarried woman. Also, they define "adultery" in the usual way of limiting it to physical intercourse.


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