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In the Ten Commandments, the seventh commandment (Exodus 20:14) was, "You shall not commit adultery." Also, according to Old Testament passages such as Leviticus 20:10 and Deuteronomy 22:22, adultery was to be punished by death. Even when one spouse was seemingly "permitted" by the other to commit adultery (as was the case of Sarai allowing Abram to father Ishmael with Hagar), the resulting pregnancy caused bitter feelings from Sarai and her retaliation against Hagar. Similar strife resulted from Jacob taking two wives (although Laban's treachery contributed to that), as well as Jacob subsequently having children with his wives' handmaidens. Jesus expanded the prohibition on adultery to include not only the sexual act itself, but also merely looking at another person of the opposite sex with lustful intent (Matthew 5:27-28). He also gave infidelity as the sole valid reason for divorce (Matthew 5:32). In John 8:2-11, Jesus mercifully spared the life of an adulterous woman who was brought before Him, because of the hypocrisy of the sinful religious authorities who had brought her. However, at the same time, He also told the woman not to sin again. Infidelity is undoubtedly one of the greatest challenges that any marital relationship can face. If the couple are to remain married, total honesty and future commitment to each other (including the involvement of God in the forgiving and healing process) will be required.
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