This is the seventh in a 10-part series that focuses on the covenant law of Yah which was inscribed on tablets of stone at Mount Sinai. What do these laws really mean and how are we to keep them?
Other Videos in this Series:
As I’ve stated before, the covenant laws have both a literal and spiritual fulfillment. They represent both types and shadows as well as higher spiritual substances that are to be fulfilled throughout eternity by Yah’s servants, who will become his sons and daughters when they receive the full inheritance that awaits them. The same holds true for the seventh commandant, which, while speaking to the physical aspects of faithfulness to a spouse, also applies to our spiritual faithfulness as a people to Yah.
14 You shall not commit adultery.
This law is made a little clearer in the book of Leviticus:
20 Moreover you shall not lie carnally with your neighbor’s wife, to defile yourself with her.
When two people are joined together in marriage, they become one flesh, according to Genesis chapter 2 verse 24. And in the beginning, that union was only supposed to be broken by death. But over time, we were allowed to break the bonds of marriage by another means: adultery. Yeshua himself said:
8 Moses because of the hardness of your hearts allowed you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery: and whoever marries her who is put away does commit adultery.
The term translated “fornication” in verse 8 is from the Greek, porneia, which is word 4202 in the Strong’s Concordance. Porneia, as it happens, is the root word for porno, or pornography in modern English. Porneia,which means “sexual immorality,”itself comes from an older root, pernao, which carries the meaning, “to sell off,” and refers to sexual purity being sold. This speaks of prostitution in other words. But the word porneia is simply referring to a spouse who lies carnally with someone outside of their marriage.
When Moses allowed Israelites to sign bills of divorcement, in other words, if that bill was issued for anything other than adultery (that is, one’s spouse lying carnally with someone outside the marriage) then the spouse who issued the bill of divorce would be guilty of adultery him or herself if they decided to go and marry someone else. This is because they were still considered to be the wife or husband of the first spouse. Therefore, actual adultery became the only acceptable reason for divorce.
But it’s interesting that the root word for the only cause for divorce—sexual immorality—in Yeshua’s statement is actually tied to an older word that speaks of prostitution. You see, Yah views adultery in pretty much the same light as prostitution. In fact, we get a clear illustration of this in the account of the prophet Hosea. Starting at chapter 1 and verse 1 of his book, we read:
1 Yah gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
2 When Yah first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against Yah and worshiping other deities.”
3 So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son.
4 And Yah said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence.
5 I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”
6 Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And Yah said to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them.
7 But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as Yah their Elohim.”
8 After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son.
9 And Yah said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their Elohim.
In this account, it clearly demonstrated that Israel’s spiritual adultery, which in this case was idolatry, is equated to prostitution, not just fornication. This is the national level of the breaking of the seventh commandment in the covenant law, and it is the spiritual fulfillment of the individual husband and wife level.
What’s more, the seventh commandment is the only commandment that involves a covenant within a covenant. You see, this command is connected to marriage, which carries a built-in obligation of its own, that a spouse shall be faithful to another spouse. This obligation is in fact its own covenant, and none of the other nine commandments are structured this way. The book of proverbs tells us:
16 Wisdom will save you from the immoral woman, from the seductive words of the promiscuous woman.
17 She has abandoned her husband and ignores the covenant she made before Elohim.
So husbands and wives are bound to each other via a covenant before Elohim. Also, the seventh commandment, unlike some of the others in the covenant law, actually carries the severe penalty of death upon being broken.
22 If a man be found lying with a woman married to a husband, then they shall both of them die, both the man that lay with the woman, and the woman: so shall you put away evil from Israel.
Again, the penalty of death, as we saw in our last study, was merely in place to rid the land of evil. And adultery is one of the chief evils committed among the people of Israel to this day. And it begins with the lust of the eyes, which is the reason believers break many of the commandments. What the eye sees, the heart wants. And the heart is what produces the evil we act out. Yeshua made this plain when he said:
19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you.
Again, keeping the commandments and breaking them is a heart condition. In truth, we are who we are in heart first, and words and actions second.
19 As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.
And concerning the heart of man, Yah himself, who created us perfect in the beginning, says that since the fall of man:
21 . . . the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.
Repeatedly in Scripture we are told to guard the heart. We are not to lust after others in our heart. Of the seductress we are told:
25 Lust not after her beauty in your heart; neither let her allure you with her eyelids.
The Word of Inspiration tells us that lust is the cause of the corruption in the world:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of Elohim, and of Yeshua our Master,
3 According as his divine power has given unto us all things that pertain unto life and righteousness, through the knowledge of him who has called us to glory and virtue:
4 By which are given unto us exceedingly great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
—2 Peter 1
Corruption is in the world through lust. Men lust after power, and so they commit abominable acts to secure that power. But it starts with the eyes. You’ve heard the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.” This is borne out of the lust of the eyes. And it is what leads us to commit many sins. It is chiefly lust, which is the reason for much of the corruption in the world, and lust is the gateway to adultery.
In the story of David and Bathsheba we get a clear account that perfectly illustrates this idea.
1 In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem.
2 Late one afternoon, after his midday rest, David got out of bed and was walking on the roof of the palace. As he looked out over the city, he noticed a woman of unusual beauty taking a bath.
—2 Samuel 11
Here, David’s eyes have taken in the naked beauty of a woman who not only is not his wife, but is the wife of another. This is the beginning of his lust, which will soon grow into a beast of a sin with many heads.
3 He sent someone to find out who she was, and he was told, “She is Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam and the wife of Uriah the Hittite.”
—2 Samuel 11
Being told that she was the wife of another man should have ended this matter, but lust is a powerful engine, and it drives us to commit greater and greater offenses against Yah. And bear in mind that this all started with David simply beholding a woman with his eyes, and nothing more.
4 Then David sent messengers to get her; and when she came to the palace, he slept with her. She had just completed the purification rites after having her menstrual period. Then she returned home.
5 Later, when Bathsheba discovered that she was pregnant, she sent David a message, saying, “I’m pregnant.”
—2 Samuel 11
Following this act of abomination, Scripture tells us that David sent word to Joab to send Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, to Jerusalem. When Uriah arrived, David made small talk and eventually told him to go on home and relax, and he even sent Uriah a gift after he had left the palace. But Uriah didn’t go home. Instead he slept that night at the palace entrance with the king’s guard. Continuing in 2 Samuel we read:
10 When David heard that Uriah had not gone home, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?”
11 Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and my master’s men are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear that I would never do such a thing.”
—2 Samuel 11
Why did Uriah reply that he could not go home to wine and dine and sleep with his wife, a thing he swore he would never do? Well back in 1 Samuel chapter 21 we learn the answer. When David and his men were hungry, they went to the tabernacle to fetch the showbread that only the priests were to eat. And when David asked for five loaves of this pure bread the priest on duty replied:
4 “We don’t have any regular bread . . . But there is the pure bread, which you can have if your young men have not slept with any women recently.”
5 “Don’t worry,” David replied. “I never allow my men to be with women when they are on a campaign. And since they stay clean even on ordinary trips, how much more on this one!”
—1 Samuel 21
So even before he became king, David charged the men under his command to abstain from having relations with women. And he himself lived up to this obligation as their leader. Now, Uriah, being a man of honor, decided to commit to this obligation and he remained in Jerusalem several days. One night David invited Uriah to dinner and got him drunk and still he refused to go home when urged by David, even though he was intoxicated. Continuing in 2 Samuel we read:
14 So the next morning David wrote a letter to Joab and gave it to Uriah to deliver. 15 The letter instructed Joab, “Station Uriah on the front lines where the battle is fiercest. Then pull back so that he will be killed.”
—2 Samuel 11
In this final insult, on top of the ones that included sleeping with his wife and getting her pregnant, David has Uriah deliver a letter that spells the details of his own future murder. These are the low levels to which lust will lead you if you continue on its treacherous path.
16 So Joab assigned Uriah to a spot close to the city wall where he knew the enemy’s strongest men were fighting. 17 And when the enemy soldiers came out of the city to fight, Uriah the Hittite was killed along with several other Israelite soldiers.
26 When Uriah’s wife heard that her husband was dead, she mourned for him. 27 When the period of mourning was over, David sent for her and brought her to the palace, and she became one of his wives. Then she gave birth to a son. But Yah was displeased with what David had done.
—2 Samuel 11
In letters written to seven assemblies that existed in John the Revelator’s day, Yeshua highlighted seven stages the spiritual assembly, those who formed his body on earth, would go through. And in the letter to the assembly in Thyatira it is written:
20 Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her time to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds.
23 And I will kill her children with death; and all the assemblies shall know that I am he who searches the minds and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.
In the preceding we see that one of Yeshua’s corporate judgments for national adultery is to cast the offenders into great tribulation. That is how seriously Yeshua views this sin. And adulterers, or fornicators are also on the list of those who will be cast into the lake of fire as stated in Revelation chapter 21 verse 8.
Adultery, as stated, begins in the heart. In his Sermon on the Mount, Yeshua says:
27 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: 28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
It doesn’t get any plainer than that. And of course this is true of a woman who lusts after a man also. But in closing, I will leave you with a portion of Job’s final protest of innocence, which we should all be able to proclaim before the face of Yah:
1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look with lust at a young woman. 2 For what has Elohim above chosen for us? What is our inheritance from the Almighty on high?
3 Isn’t it calamity for the wicked and misfortune for those who do evil? 4 Doesn’t he see everything I do and every step I take?
9 “If my heart has been seduced by a woman, or if I have lusted for my neighbor’s wife, 10 then let my wife belong to another man; let other men sleep with her.
11 For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. 12 It is a fire that burns to destruction. It would wipe out everything I own.
Keywords: law of moses, covenant laws, You shall not commit adultery, do not commit adultery, fornication, bill of divorce, bill of divorcement, 10 commandments, ten commandments