← Back

What did it mean for the adulteress to have her 'belly swell' and 'thigh rot away' in Num 5:27?


Numbers 5:27

NKJV - 27 When he has made her drink the water, then it shall be, if she has defiled herself and behaved unfaithfully toward her husband, that the water that brings a curse will enter her and become bitter, and her belly will swell, her thigh will rot, and the woman will become a curse among her people.

Clarify Share Report Asked June 28 2016 Mini Juliana Santos

Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.

84924d6f 9be5 4261 9e07 ab5f6a8c5842 Lena Wms Student @Christ Gospel Church, S.S.Teacher, Observer
What a beautiful question that brings in so many wonderful spiritual Truths! My head is reeling! 
First, If a married woman was suspected of adultery by her husband, and the waves of jealousy burned in him, he presented her to the High Priest for inspection. The High Priest, in the TABERNACLE and I emphasize this because of it's importance, would question the woman. She would be standing on Holy Ground, that God Himself met with them daily through the sacrifices, as she answered the High Priest questions. If the husband was still not satisfied, she would be asked if she would submit to the bitter waters. Numbers 5:11-31

These bitter waters consisted of Water from the Laver, which came from the Rock that followed them. Mixed with dust from the Holy Place where the Candlestick, the Altar of Incense, and the Table of Shewbread resided. It was from the Holy Place that the High Priest would stand before the curtain and the LORD God would speak to him from the Mercy Seat on top of the Ark of the Covenant. This Holy dust, mixed with the Water would be presented to the woman. 

If she did not drink of it, she was taken out and stoned for her adultery. Her guilt was assumed. However, if she did drink of it one of the two following things happened. 

One: The bitter waters caused her belly to swell and her thigh to rot. The belly swelling signified the child that should have been her husband's had she not been in adultery. Her thigh rotting was a witness she had broken the wedding covenant, The woman had sinned against the thigh witness of their marriage covenant. This goes back to Abraham demanding that his servant place his hand under his thigh and swearing that he would not return without a bride for his son. Genesis 24:2-8 

Two: The woman would be blessed by God, and she would become pregnant with a little boy. Remember, in those days, no one knew who would be the lineage to the Christ, so having a male child was a HUGE blessing! Her name would be restored among the daughters of the people and her husband would be blessed. 


June 29 2016 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
My understanding is that the word "thigh" in the translation was used as a euphemism for the woman's reproductive organs (similar to the use of the term "loins" for the same purpose).

The result of drinking the bitter water (if the woman were guilty) would, in our terminology, either be a cancerous growth in her uterus, causing her abdomen to swell and the woman to miscarry (if she were pregnant) and become infertile; or what we would call a prolapsed uterus, in which the muscles holding the uterus in place weaken, causing the uterus to drop from its normal position in the woman's body and also to swell up, ending the woman's ability to conceive.

June 29 2016 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

Add your Answer

All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.

What makes a good answer? ▼

A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.

  1. Adhere to the eBible Statement of Faith.
  2. Your answer should be complete and stand-alone.
  3. Include supporting arguments, and scripture references if possible. Seek to answer the "why".
  4. Adhere to a proper tone and spirit of love and understanding.
  5. For more info see The Complete Guide to eBible
  1. 4000 characters remaining