Biblical Precepts on Adultery: The Old Testament [Podcast]


My spouse is cheating, and I’m a Christian, but I’m so upset I don’t know what God wants me to do! I’m the spouse who cheated and I am a Christian, but I ended the affair and confessed to God–do I have to tell my spouse?

In this week’s episode, we continue our new our series “Biblical Precepts on Adultery” as we begin a summer study of what the Bible has to say about infidelity and how God would have us act. Today we discuss three topics we can glean from the Old Testament about adultery: 1) God condemns adultery, 2) the lure of adultery, and 3) the entire process of recovering from adultery.


Every “adultery” verse in the Old Testament:

Exodus 20:14

14 “Do not commit adultery.

Leviticus 20:10

10 ” ‘Suppose a man commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife. Then the man and the woman must be put to death.

Deuteronomy 5:18

18 “Do not commit adultery.

Job 24:15

15 Those who commit adultery wait until the sun goes down. They think, ‘No one will see us.’ They keep their faces hidden.

Psalm 50:18

18 When you see a thief, you join him. You make friends with those who commit adultery.

Proverbs 2:16

16 Wisdom will save you from a woman who commits adultery. It will save you from a sinful wife and her tempting words.

Proverbs 5:3

3 A woman who commits adultery has lips that drip honey. What she says is smoother than oil.

Proverbs 5:20

20 My son, why be captured by a woman who commits adultery? Why hug the wife of another man?

Proverbs 6:24

24 It keeps you from a sinful woman. It keeps you from the smooth tongue of a woman who commits adultery.

Proverbs 6:32

32 A man who commits adultery has no sense. Anyone who does it destroys himself.

Proverbs 7:5

5 They will keep you from a woman who commits adultery. They will keep you from the smooth talk of a sinful wife.

Proverbs 20:16

16 Take the coat of one who puts up money for what a stranger owes. Hold it until you get paid back if he does it for a woman who commits adultery.

Proverbs 22:14

14 The mouth of a woman who commits adultery is like a deep pit. Any man the LORD is angry with will fall into it.

Proverbs 23:27

27 A prostitute is like a deep pit. A wife who commits adultery is like a narrow well.

Proverbs 27:13

13 Take the coat of one who puts up money for what a stranger owes. Hold it until you get paid back if he does it for a woman who commits adultery.

Proverbs 30:20

20 “This is the way of a woman who commits adultery. She eats. She wipes her mouth. Then she says, ‘I haven’t done anything wrong.’

Isaiah 57:3

3 The LORD says, “Come here, you children of women who practice evil magic! You are children of prostitutes and those who commit adultery.

Jeremiah 3:2

2 “Look up at the bare hilltops. Is there any place where you have not committed adultery with other gods? By the side of the road you sat waiting for lovers. You sat there like someone who wanders in the desert. You have polluted the land. You are like a sinful prostitute.

Jeremiah 3:6

6 During the time Josiah was king, the LORD spoke to me. He said, “Have you seen what the people of Israel have done? They have not been faithful to me. They have committed adultery with other gods. They worshiped them on every high hill and under every green tree.

Jeremiah 3:8

8 “I gave Israel their letter of divorce. I sent them away because they were unfaithful to me so many times. But I saw that their sister nation Judah did not have any respect for me. They were not faithful to me either. They also went out and committed adultery with other gods.

Jeremiah 3:13

13 Admit that you are guilty of doing what is wrong. You have refused to obey me. I am the LORD your God. You have committed adultery with other gods. You worshiped them under every green tree. And you have not obeyed me,’ ” announces the Lord.

Jeremiah 5:7

7 The LORD says, “Jerusalem, why should I forgive you? Your people have deserted me. They have taken their oaths in the names of gods that are not really gods at all. I supplied everything they needed. But they committed adultery. Large crowds went to the houses of prostitutes.

Jeremiah 7:9 

9 You continue to steal and commit murder. You commit adultery and tell lies. You burn incense to Baal. You worship other gods you have not known anything about before.

Jeremiah 9:2

2 I wish I had somewhere to go in the desert where a traveler could stay! Then I could leave my people. I could get away from them. All of them commit adultery by worshiping other gods. They aren’t faithful to the Lord.

Jeremiah 13:27

27 They will see that you have not been faithful to me. You have committed adultery with other gods. And you have acted like a prostitute who does not have any shame. I have seen what you did on the hills and in the fields. And I hate it. How terrible it will be for you, Jerusalem! How long will you choose to be ‘unclean’?”

Jeremiah 29:23

23 “That will happen because they have done awful things in Israel. They have committed adultery with their neighbors’ wives. They have spoken lies in my name. I did not tell them to do that. I know what they have done. And I am a witness to it,” announces the Lord.

Ezekiel 16:38

38 I will hand down my sentence against you. You will be punished like women who commit adultery and sacrifice their children to other gods. My anger burns against you so much that I will sentence you to death for everything you have done.

Ezekiel 23:37

37 They have committed adultery. Their hands are covered with the blood of the people they have murdered. They have worshiped other gods. They have not been faithful to me. They have even sacrificed their children as food to other gods. Those children belonged to me.

Ezekiel 23:43

43 “Then I spoke about Oholibah. She was worn out by adultery. I said, ‘Let them use her as a prostitute. After all, that is what she is.’

Ezekiel 23:45

45 “But men who are right with God will sentence the sisters to be punished. They will be punished in the same way as women who commit adultery and murder. After all, they have committed adultery. And their hands are covered with the blood of the people they have murdered.”

Hosea 1:2

2 The LORD began to speak through me. He said to me, “Go. Get married to a woman who will commit adultery. Take as your own the children who will be born as a result of her adultery. Marry her because the people of the land are guilty of the worst kind of adultery. They have not been faithful to me.”

Hosea 3:1

1 The LORD said to me, “Go. Show your love to your wife again. She is loved by another man. And she has committed adultery. But I want you to love her just as I love the people of Israel. They turn to other gods. And they love to offer raisin cakes to Baal and eat them. In spite of that, I love my people.”

Hosea 4:2

2 People call down curses on others. They tell lies and commit murder. They steal and commit adultery. They break all of my laws. They keep on spilling the blood of others.

Hosea 4:13

13 They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops. They burn offerings on the hills. They worship under oak, poplar and terebinth trees. The trees provide plenty of shade. So your daughters become prostitutes. And your daughters-in-law commit adultery.

Hosea 4:14

14 “I will not punish your daughters when they become prostitutes. I will not judge your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery. After all, the men themselves have sex with sinful women. They offer sacrifices where temple prostitutes earn their living. People who can’t understand will be destroyed!

Malachi 3:5 

5 “So I will come and judge you. I will be quick to bring charges against all of you,” says the LORD who rules over all. “I will bring charges against you sinful people who do not have any respect for me. That includes those who practice evil magic. It includes those who commit adultery and those who tell lies in court. It includes those who cheat workers out of their pay. It includes those who crush widows. It also includes those who mistreat children whose fathers have died. And it includes those who take away the rights of outsiders in the courts.


The “Biblical Precepts” series:

  1. Last Week: Introduction
  2. Today:  Old Testament precepts about adultery
  3. July 12th: New Testament precepts about adultery
  4. July 19th: Notable adultery in the Bible and what we can learn
  5. July 26th: Q&A – Typical Questions/Biblical Answers!


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