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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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Is a criminal connection between persons who are engaged, one or both, to keep themselves wholly to others; and thus it exceeds the guilt of fornication, which is the same intercourse between unmarried persons. As the highest sin of its kind, and son including all other sins of the flesh, it is forbidden in the seventh commandment. Where polygamy was allowed, as among the ancient Jews, illicit intercourse between a married man and a woman who was not married, nor betrothed, constituted not adultery, but fornication.

Fornication may be, in some sense, covered by a subsequent marriage of the parties; but adultery cannot be so healed. Hence God often compares himself to a husband jealous of his honor, Jeremiah 31:32 ; and hence the forsaking of the true God is compared to fornication and adultery of the vilest kind, Jeremiah 3:9 ; Ezekiel 23:36-49 .

By the Law of Moses, both the man and the woman who had committed adultery were punished with death, Leviticus 20:10 ; 21:9 ; John 8:5 . A woman suspected of this crime might, in order to clear herself, drink the "water of jealousy," as prescribed in Numbers 5:1-31 .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Adultery'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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